Reflections of Mount Fuji are just like vain dreams

日本語

Yuga Kurita Lake Saiko Mount Fuji Reflection_KE06536
Nikon D800E w/ SIGMA 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM

For landscape photographers, Saiko (Lake Sai) is the least popular lake among the Fujigoko (Fuji Five Lakes). The number of photos of Mt. Fuji taken from this lake is much less than the other four Fujigoko lakes. The main reason why this place isn’t very popular is that Mt. Ashiwada lies between the lake and Mt. Fuji and thus we can only see the top of Fuji from Saiko. By the way, “-ko” indicates lake so Lake Saiko is a bit redundant translation but I think it is more understandable for those who are not familiar with Japanese. There is one great location for shooting mount Fuji on the lakeshore of Saiko, which is located at the western bay of Lake Sai.

Yuga Kurita Fuji reflected in Lake Saiko_9E49189
Nikon D800E w/ SIGMA 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM

If you want to take photos of Fujisan reflected in the surface of Lake Saiko, go there at night. It is a very quiet place, and the water surface is usually more calm than daytime. The exposure time of the above shot is 273 seconds (4’33“). I like the concept of 4’33” by John Cage and thus often use this shutter speed. Needless to say that you’d better get a cable release with a built-in timer. I enjoyed sheer silence while the shutter was open. Do you know what is the most important thing to succeed in long exposure photography? It is philosophy. You need to be a philosopher to take good long exposure shots. No doubt about it.

There is another reason why I recommend you to visit there at night. It is quite difficult capture reflections in the morning.

Yuga Kurita Lake Saiko Mt Fuji DP2 Merrill_SDI0307
SIGMA DP2 Merrill

When the sky is dawning, a guy working for a boat rental shop comes down to the shore and throw his boats into the surface. Then, anglers come to the shore and get in the boats. As a result, the reflections are completely destroyed.

Since this is the only one decent place along the shore of Lake Saiko, it is rather difficult to shoot the reflection of Mt. Fuji at dawn from Lake Saiko. I understand that they have to run their business.  I just hope that they sometimes take a day off.  Then, I’d go there on that day to capture the reflections of Fujisan.


A local let me know that fishing is prohibited in winter. It may be a good idea to visit there to capture the reflection in winter (January 1 through February 28).

水面の富士は、夢幻の如くなり。

Yuga Kurita Lake Saiko Mount Fuji Reflection_KE06536
Nikon D800E w/ SIGMA 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM

富士五湖の中で一番マイナーなのが西湖だ。写真の数も他の4つの湖に比べて明らかに少ない。理由はいろいろあるが、一番大きな理由は足和田山の存在だろう。足和田山には五湖台、三湖台、紅葉台などの富士見スポットがあるのだが、西湖から見ると、これが手前にあって富士山の頭しか見えない。しかし、西側奥の入江地帯からは比較的優雅な富士山の姿を見ることができる。ここは逆さ富士も撮りやすく、なかなかの鑑賞スポットだ。西湖湖畔では、ここが唯一の富士山撮影スポットと言って良いだろう。

Yuga Kurita Fuji reflected in Lake Saiko_9E49189
Nikon D800E w/ SIGMA 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM

西湖に逆さ富士を撮りに行くなら、夜がおすすめだ。静かな所だし、水面も凪いでいることが多い。上のショットは273秒(4分33秒)の長秒露光のショットである。私はジョン・ケージのファンなので273秒を多用する。タイマー付きのケーブルレリーズは必須のアイテムだ。シャッターを開いている間、静寂を楽しみながら撮った。長秒露光は哲学だ!

夜がおすすめなのには別の理由もある。それは、西湖で朝焼けの逆さ富士を撮るのは大変難しい。理由は…

Yuga Kurita Lake Saiko Mt Fuji DP2 Merrill_SDI0307
SIGMA DP2 Merrill

夜が少し明けだして、ヘッドライト無しでもかろうじて目視できる頃になると、ボート屋のおじさんがやって来て、ダッパーン!、ダッパーン! と、容赦なくボートを水面に投げ入れる。そして朝焼けがクライマックスになった頃には、ご覧のように、ボートに乗ったおじさんたちが釣りに出かける。無論、逆さ富士はすでに消えている。

ここが西湖で唯一の撮影スポットなので、朝焼けの逆さ富士を撮るのは大変難しい。ボート屋さんも商売だから仕方ないだろうけど、週に一回ぐらいは定休日を設けてくれないだろうか? そうしたらその日に合わせて撮りに行きます。我々写真家もこうやってブログやらSNSを使って富士山の魅力を国内外に発信しています。魅力的な写真が増えると、観光客も増えて、結果的にボートに乗る人も増えるかもしれません。

みなもの富士は、ゆめ幻の如くなり。

SIGMA 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM (ニコンFマウント用)
記念すべきARTシリーズ第一弾。開放からシャープで夜の撮影では必ずと言ってよいほど持ち出します。

MC-36A (D4/D4S/D800/D800E/D810等に対応)
タイマー付きのリモートケーブルがあるとバルブ撮影が非常に楽です。

SIGMA DP2 Merrill
Quattroが出たのでお買い得感が高い。等倍の解像感ではこちらが上かもしれません。

3 thoughts on “Reflections of Mount Fuji are just like vain dreams

  1. Raymond Lara

    Thank you for the English translation. It is a little mixed up, but I can still understand what you are trying to say, so it is good! I appreciate it!

    I notice that many in the Tokyo Camera Club like to take long exposure images, and they do a very nice job! Your picture of Fujii is very nice.

    I enjoy trying long exposures too, but I need more practice. Your exposure for Fujii in reflection is VERY long! I am surprised! It is like taking a picture with a telescope.

    I am glad that I decided to buy a light travel tripod and ball head at the last moment for this trip to Japan. I will look for reflection opportunities and hope to find a few. Thank you very much for your inspiration! I have three more days at home before boarding JAL! I am so excited! Thank you for sharing, Yuga san!

    Ray

    Reply
    1. yuga Post author

      Sorry for the poor translation. I’m now making this site truly bilingual. Stay tuned!

      Reply

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