March 23, 2018 Last weekend, the weather was clear, so I drove to where the light pollution was not so bad. Up on the mountain, it was a bit windy, but I found a place that was sheltered from most of the wind up next to an abandoned shed, where I could point my camera to the southeast where the Milky Way would rise. At around 1:30, it’s edge began to emerge from the top of the dark treeline. The camera’s built in intervalometer proceeded to take about 350 photographs as soon as I depressed the shutter. I sat down in the chair I had brought, covered myself with a warm blanket, and sat back to enjoy the show.
After about three hours, with my feet becoming numb from the cold, I called it a night. Wiped off the frost from my camera bag, loaded my stuff into the car, and drove down the mountain, back to civilization and my warm bed.
The joy of plum blossom viewing is only surpassed by the viewing of the cherry blossoms here in Japan. The plum blossoms emerge about a month before the cherry blossoms, and wherever there are plum trees blooming, one can often find the beautiful Japanese White Eye. With their lilting songs and olive green colors, they are truly one of the harbingers of spring. I found many of them in among the plum trees that line the path through the Citizen’s Forest next to the foot of Shioji Mountain. They sip the nectar and eat the insects that begin to appear as the days get warmer. Ubiquitous as they are, I never tire of watching and photographing them.
(click on images for full-size view)