Japan Photo: Hana Nobe No Sato

Today Jayne’s uncle took us to Hana Nobe No Sato near Katsuura, Chiba. While we used it as a beautiful place to view Japan’s summer flowers, it apparently is also a camp site with an outdoor onsen that people can camp at year round. They have many gorgeous flowers in the area, but the most abundant is the ajisai, or hydrangea, the symbol of Japanese summers.

Right now is past the prime season and the hydrangea are starting to die off, but the place is still extremely beautiful. The breeze off the nearby ocean helped sooth the 90 degree, 90% humidity weather we are having today.

Hana Nobe No Sato can be visited in all 4 seasons for different experiences. There are winter and spring blossoming cherry trees, ajisai for the summer months and maples for the autumn.

All The Small Things

ImageOccasionally when I find myself in a creative rut, I have to look at things from a different perspective. In the case of photography, sometimes a different perspective is as simple as shooting through a different lens. I have a macro lens which I first purchased years ago when we lived in Singapore. For those unfamiliar with photography terms, a macro lens is simply a lens that focuses very closely and captures a subject at life size to the distance from the lens, or slightly larger. My lens happens to be a 1:1 macro, which means it captures subjects at life size and focuses as close as a few inches away. I purchased it because I loved shooting flowers in the Singapore Orchid Gardens.

Since it’s a fairly specialized use lens, it either gets used or it doesn’t, and more often than not, it doesn’t. But today, I felt the need to see the world a bit differently, so I took my macro lens into our garden and began to look at things from a bug’s eye view.

It’s quite astounding how much detail you can see in the world around you with the right tools and a little patience. The body of the grasshopper in the photo above was less than half an inch long. He was scarcely noticeable on our zinnias, but once I got in close, I was amazed by him. His legs were translucent, his eyes like tiny opals, and his body covered in granules of pollen from sitting on the stigma of the flower.

Then I moved on to the succulent garden my daughter and I planted in a planter on our porch. Our favorite plant was this pretty little cactus with delicate pink flowers.

20131028-DSC_0173Moving in a bit closer, I noticed something just a bit larger than a flea in one of the flowers.

20131028-DSC_0151Only by the power of the macro lens was I able to see this little creature with a face full of pollen like a boy who had played in the snow!

20131028-DSC_0155There were a few other things I looked at closely, from tiny mushrooms growing in the shadow of one of our pots to tiny white flowers blossoming from our oregano gone wild. But I got what I came for: perspective. In the confines of our ¬†front yard I saw things I had never noticed before, which lead me to wonder how much I was missing in the world. Did my busyness and preoccupation with things of little consequence (like Facebook) cause me to miss out on the beauty of life? Perhaps we all need to schedule a little perspective time back into our lives to enjoy what we have and not what we’re chasing after.