One hour earlier, I drank coffee, sitting next to my eldest, who sipped his hot chocolate. We had grabbed a couple of bar stools and sat, looking south west out of the window. Mist was rising from the great Chikuma River Valley, the distant range of mountains, only showing a few peaks. By the time we finished our drinks, the village of Nozawa Onsen was shrouded in white, above and below.
We kitted up and left the lodge, for the slopes. The weak winter sun was breaking through. The blanket of fog had risen, holding on in the mountain valley, where our chair lift waited. I wasn’t prepared. My camera was attached to my backpack's shoulder strap, easily accessible, but I had no idea of settings. I knew I only had one chance, the conditions were changing fast. I sat in the chair, wedged my poles between my knees and carefully removed my gloves, shoving them under my thigh. I span the dials, checked the settings and waited. This wasn’t textbook landscape photography! I hadn’t set up in the dark at a previously scouted location waiting for the magic to happen. I didn’t have a tripod, instead I was trundling along at 12mph, 60 feet up, trying not to drop anything. I didn’t care, this is the kind of photography I enjoy. That single five minutes journey produced three keepers.