Sakurajima Volcano, Kagoshima, Japan

sakurajima volcano kagoshima japanWe took sort of an unplanned side trip to Kagoshima, at the very end of the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, just to see one of the most active volcanoes in the world. (Thanks for the recommendation, RS.) A short train trip from Nagasaki, a bus ride and a ferry to the island in Kagoshima Harbor, and another bus up the mountain. They won't let you get too close when it's active, which it seems is every day. There's a little visitor center at the bottom of the mountain with a seismograph you can see, and a chart of the eruptions. (They count it as an “eruption” whenever the ground shakes.) When we first arrived at dock side about noon, the volcano was completely quiet. Only a tiny wisp of steam over the crater. But within 15 minutes, there was a belch, and before you knew it, the perfectly clear sky was full of volcano-created clouds. The crater spews a mixture of ash and steam every day, and the entire city of Kagoshima is covered with a thin layer of black pumice-y ash. After a while, you begin to notice it in your eyes and nose, and it's time to go inside. This was the third “eruption” of the day. Yesterday, there were seven. There have been more than 800 so far this year.

Shot with the Nikon D800E, hand held, ISO 100, 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at 44mm, f/5.6, 1/1250 second exposure. My god this camera is sharp. Minimal processing in Lightroom: I kicked up the clarity and presence a bit, and also the whites and blacks to make it a little more contrasty and to cut through the haze caused by the ubiquitous ash. I wish I hadn't forgotten my polarizing filter. It would have helped with that a bit.

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