Behind-the-scenes of a photo

A cosmos

A while back I discovered there was a flower I adored – the chocolate cosmos. True to its name, it does actually carry the faint scent of chocolate to its flowers. The flower is also a deep rusty red, happily allowing the flower to live up to its name.

I consider myself to be a horrendous but eternally optimistic gardener. I tended to buy plants based on my wanting them and then would promptly water them to death.

I would just like to say it is thanks to famous British gardener Monty Don and a show on Netflix about gardening that I finally understood I should actually research the plants I want to grow. Since that ridiculously late revelation, I haven’t killed nearly as many plants.

The chocolate cosmos is my Achilles heel of gardening. I’ve tried twice now to grow them, and each time I’ve managed to kill them within a month. Of course I’ve researched them, but they still died.

Thus, I’ve been jealous of anyone who can grow cosmos of any kind. I stumbled across the garden you see above at a farm, where they mocked me with their fields of cosmos. I’m starting to think the entire world can keep a cosmos alive, and then there’s me, banished to just enjoying the scent of a chocolate cosmos whenever I happen to find one rather than going to my tiny garden to find one.

Oh well. Maybe I’ll try again one day.

Behind-the-scenes of a photo

Shirakoma Forest in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, famous for the moss covering the forest floor.

You can find this photo on my Viewbug site as well.

I have a hate/love relationship with hiking. I hate the effort it takes to get anywhere, I hate how insects are usually absolutely everywhere, and I hate the fear of believing a bear might be nearby. I love, however, taking photos while hiking, and this love drives me to continue hiking despite my hatred of a lot of things found out in nature (mosquitoes, I’m looking at you).

With the ongoing pandemic, hiking in solitude has become a great way to get out of the house and take a better variety of photos, so I was excited to visit Shirakoma Forest in Nagano Prefecture, which is famous for the moss covering the ground.

I have to say that considering how incredible it was seeing the moss everywhere, I was impressed the locals hadn’t turned the area into a tourist trap. I can just see some spots in America milking the area to death, but as far as I can recall, this natural wonder had a sign indicating the name of the area with a little ball of moss with eyes standing next to it, serving as a kind of mascot.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve been dealing with a Canon DSLR for quite a few years now, and it took until this trip to realize I have a “natural light” setting on my camera. It’s been driving me crazy for years now that the photos I took did not express the lighting I saw with my eyes. And then destiny finally guided me to the “natural light” setting. Finally I feel like I’m taking photos that better represent what I’m seeing. It’s an exciting time for me.

Behind-the-scenes of a photo

A bench in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan

Every now and then I’d like to take a minute to briefly describe what went into making a photo either posted on my Viewbug account or that I have on here.

I thought I’d start off with the main image on this site, which is something I plan on changing with the seasons.

For a long time I’ve always declared myself to be a summer fanatic. I’m almost always cold, which means winter is out. Thanks to hay fever, spring is out, too. I thought of summer as the best of all seasons…until the heat got worse. Lately in Japan, it’s been nothing but supreme heat and humidity over the summer. The heat is just oppressive.

That’s when autumn saw its chance and creeped onto my radar. I have to admit there’s a lot to like: fall colors, crisp air, insects dying or hiding underground, lots of days of sun.

While enjoying everything autumn has to offer, I stumbled across this bench. The black bench and the dark hardwood deck it was on offered the perfect contrast to the bright yellow leaves behind it. I knelt down in front of it and spent a couple of minutes trying to get the framing just right before finally taking this photo.

I’m a huge fan of natural lighting, and usually cloudy days are my natural enemy. However, I have to say I like the softer light the clouds offered for this picture.