Before heading out into uncharted territory, it is often best to slow down and take a walk around your immediate area to see what photographic opportunities might be right outside your door. In my case, living in Yokosuka, there are a decent number of places within walking distance to scope out photographs. One of these places happens to be Mikasa Park, located a mere five minute walk from the Yokosuka Naval Base.
This day was a bit different from most days I head out for photographs, however. A constant threat of rain and 30-40mph winds is usually more than enough to keep me inside when I won’t get swept away. However, there’s a piece of advice I try to follow whenever it is safe to do so: you can get some really unique photographs when photographing in bad weather. Waiting for good weather and warm temperatures can work for many photographs’ favor, but the erratic conditions that can come with a stormy day can create dynamic skies and a different color palette on subjects than a “vanilla” sunny day.
So, with camera gear safe in its bag, I cautiously went on my way. In addition to the scaled ship section above, there is no shortage of pretty sights on the way to the park.
Right inside the gate visitors are greeted to a statue of Tōgō Heihachirō, a Marshall-Admiral who served in the Sino-French War, Sino-Japanese War, and the Russo-Japanese War.
On this day in particular, I did not have time to tour the inside of the ship itself, which is a pre-dreadnought battleship. However, I do plan on returning another day, camera in hand, to take a good look inside!
Moving past the park entrance, visitors can follow a tree-lined path to the accompanying Water, Sound, and Light Park that I spent most of my time hanging out in.
As visitors make it to the walkway against the Tokyo Bay, they can see Monkey Island in the misty distance. Contrary to its name, the island is instead a popular hang-out spot for picnics and relaxing, yet there are no monkeys to be found!
Continuing on the short walk, the 18-meter “Peace Arch” comes into view. Due to its finish and geometry, the arch is noted for its kaleidoscope effect when the sun strikes it at different angles.
Unfortunately, this effect is difficult to see in a photograph. Thanks to the wind and clouds, however, the constantly changing reflections can be very relaxing to look at, and are more evident on video. Unfortunately an onboard mic doesn’t do too well dealing with a howling wind, it seems! Though in the second clip showing the fountain area, you can really see how fast the wind is moving the clouds around.
About every hour and a half, the fountain area comes alive with fountains synchronized to music, and it’s different every time of the day! At night, especially, lights in and out of the water light up the fountains for a unique show. Since I arrived a bit early for the next show, I had some time to kill photographing the various smaller stone fountains that fed into the main pool.
Aside from a few children playing nearby, the park was eerily empty when the show started, likely due to the weather. I couldn’t complain much, though, as it gave me the freedom to move about and catch the bits of sunlight hitting the fountains to make small rainbows!
With its double-edged sword, the wind made it impossible to hear the music within the little recordings I made of the water show. As such, when the show ended, it was time to head back before any blowing rain started. I had been so lucky in my couple hours out there, I didn’t want to press it any further.
On my way out though, I did take a bit of time to appreciate a flower bed standing tall against the high wind, as best it could!
That’s all for this quick look around Mikasa Park, guys and gals, thanks for stopping by! I hope to return again sometime to tour the inside of the ship and see just how much detail my 16mm can capture inside an old battleship, in addition to photographing the fountain show at night for all the added colors. Until then, as always, have a great day!