The Beauty of Road Trips
I finally made it back from two different road trips over the extended Golden Week holiday. Thursday April 29th was a day off (Showa Day), I took the following Friday (30th) off, and Monday-Wednesday of the next week (3rd – 5th) were all also national holidays, which means I had 7 days in a row without work. Nice.
Anyway, it allowed for two pretty sweet road trips, the first of which I’ll be posting about here.
There are two reasons why I road trip it rather than travel by rail. First and foremost, it’s the most time effective and least restrictive way to find and get to all the greatest photo sites. Navigation systems are key to getting around areas you don’t know, and you gain flexibility in terms of changing plans on the fly to suit the weather or your own fancies. For many of the plaecs I like to go, no car = no go.
The flip side is that you then have to actually drive everywhere. But I like that. I’ve come to enjoy countryside drives and exploring new areas. I also like to sleep in the car to cut down on costs (or put that money into eating great food, whether it be local cuisine or just a night of drinking after a hard days worth of photo taking) – not reccomended if you like your beauty sleep, but I’m up at dawn to catch the sunrise anyway, so it’s not like I’m sleeping all that much!
Most of the time I go it alone but this time Dave came out with me, and the two of us really had a great time. The trip this time was mighty short – a quick 36 hour blitz down to the southern coast of Wakayama prefecture. I’d been last year around the same time and ran into some of the most foul weather I’ve ever been in. This time, though, I managed to catch the sunrises and sunsets I’d been longing for for the last year.
Without further ado, here they are:
Sunrise. Dave and I had driven 4 hours, starting at about Midnight of the same day. Our first stop was a place called Hashigui-iwa (橋杭岩). I found out about this place when I broswed through a book of the “50 Most Beautiful Spots In Japan” last year. We slept for an hour before the sun started coming up.
A wide shot. All the shots on the first day were taken by my s90, which once again proved to be more than up to the task. I never cease to be amazed. With this I can take one film camera and the small s90 and be ready for just about anything.
After Nachi we drove another 90 minutes to Shirahama (白浜). I’d heard about the beautiful beaches from Steve last year, but they really are very white and very beachy 😀 This was taken at Shira-ra-hama (白良浜).
Engetsu-to (円月島), literally meaning circular moon island, a tribute to it’s unique shape. Apparently a few days a year you can see the setting sun INSIDE the small hole in the middle of the island. Unfortunately this wasn’t one of those days! There were still about 30-40 people gathered on small concrete pier waiting for the decisive moment…
Hands down the picture of the trip. I call it, “Lone Hawk at Sunrise”. I was starting to take down my gear as the sun continued to rise, when this one hawk swooped in low towards the rocks. I had my 7D and 20-35 on hand (thankfully!) and I grabbed two shots. 8fps is a blessing; I was able to grab one frame with the birds wings extended and in the flapping motion! I chose this one as my winner because I think this universal symbol of a bird (wings extended v-shape) makes the picture easier to understand.
Morning light at Maruyama Senmaida (丸山千枚田) – literally “1000 fields of Maruyama”. Apparently there are 1000 rice fields on this terraced mountain, but I doubt anyone counts them. It’s a beautiful sight, especially in spring when they flood the fields for planting. We were a bit early as most fields had yet to be filled with the young rice shoots.
All in all a great trip. 36 hours turned into one hell of a post – if you made it this far thanks for reading! Look forward to my post about my 2nd road trip to Mt Fuji! (No, I didn’t climb it but I plan to in July!)