We got up around 5:20am and scrambled out the door, but thankfully there was still time for a coffee stop. However, after a quick drive around the northern shore of the lake, we realized we weren’t going to get much of a reflection. Fog was drifting across the roads from the water, and the wind had picked up quite a bit, so the only option was to find a composition up high.
Despite the icy roads that seemed far too narrow for our massive SUV, we made it to the Chureito Pagoda with a few minutes to spare. I wasn’t too keen on running up the stairs with a fully-loaded camera bag, and thanks to the quickie scouting session the previous night, I was able to find a spot I liked almost immediately. I snapped away and watched the tip of the mountain glow peachy pink under the morning sun, and even though my coffee was getting cold, I was loving every second of it. There were hundreds of frosty leaves beneath my feet, and there was something so satisfying about hearing them crunch every time I moved.
It wasn’t the most incredible sunrise I’ve ever seen, but it was lovely and peaceful. Fuji is one of those mountains that wows you just as much the first time as it does the 15th time you see it. I’m sure plenty of locals would say that the thousandth time they see the peak. We weren’t expecting the light to do anything amazing due to the ground fog, but we were proven wrong within a matter of minutes. We didn’t have very good visibility, but there was a spot on the lake that caught our eye. Callum was after some foggy trees, and I wandered down to the shore to see if there were any empty docks. I walked out onto one, and noticed a great egret to my left. He was slowly and quietly fishing next to a few sparse clusters of grass, and he didn't even so much as look my way. I probably shot 150 frames of him, and as the sun rose higher, the fog grew even thicker, creating a strange milky white hue all over the water. Ahh. Ethereal, eerie and everything I wanted.