The Sea

My plans to play a predictable tourist and visit the castle ruins in Fukuoka were thwarted when I stopped by an area map at the train station only to realize that there is a seaside park that I absolutely must visit! 

This park, Umi no naka michi, did not come up in my Google search. Blasphemy!

I admit I am not a spontaneous person: I really don't like changing plans last minute (especially if I'm not the culprit!). That said, I can be spontaneous within a designated time frame. Let me explain: if I know that I'm going to take a day off, then flexibility within that day is not only permitted, but sometimes welcome. 

This was one of those cases.

Of course, I knew this was a solitary day, too, so I hopped onto two local trains (beaming with pride that I didn't get lost even without the English-language announcements) and walked into the drizzling glory that is essentially the Fukuoka shoreline of the Sea of Japan.

I met two funny cats, several very large winged predators (one has to have been a golden eagle), my favorite ravens in countless numbers, and a multitude of tiny and colorful birds chirping about.  I wandered down the cool, winding paths, empty on a weekday so early in the season, and even turned off the music to better tune into the sounds of the forest.

When the rain slowed down, I was able to change my lenses and photograph both the wildlife with a telephoto and the plants with a macro. 

And the brooding sea that wasn't in the best of moods? I had to use the fish-eye...then the macro...then the telephoto. You get the idea. 

I can't wait to work on the images. In the meantime, here are some mobile proofs and candids.


White Nights

With days waning and nights getting longer--it's even more apparent in the prairies than in the mountains--I realized that I never shared any White-Nights images from Russia's northern capital (apart from mobile shots on social networks).

In June, even after 10 o'clock at night, the sky remains light, and everything around--churches, statues, bridges, and you--acquires a honeyed glow. Couples stroll, and sea gulls hunt in this seemingly neverending golden hour, whereas austere stone looks as gilded as the dome of St. Isaac's cathedral eclipsing Saint Petersburg's skyline.    

Everything is reduced to two royal shades: blue and gold. 

This, perhaps, is one of the reasons Peter I chose this location to construct his imperial capital just over three hundred years ago.

At Sea

I've spent the day sailing from Denmark en route to Estonia--and having never done anything like this before--I feared claustrophobia. Instead, I realized that I could stare at the waves for hours--meditatively--especially if the said process is accompanied by the right kind of music.  (And I'm not talking about incessantly--jokingly--quoting Iron Maiden's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Coleridge's original by extension.)

I'm not very musical, but I compensate by having a heightened sense of pattern recognition, especially the visual kind. So I stood eight floors above sea level for quite some time just observing the waves emanating from the ship and matching them to one of my favorite Japanese musical projects as if this were a live, hypnotic music video. The largest, choppiest, white-crested waves created by the vessel's engine--pushing us ahead at 15 knots across the Baltic--stood for fast-paced, distorted, metallic guitar riffs, whereas the song's principal melody coincided with slower, gentler outlier waves mimicking its underlying rhythm. And then, of course, there were the deep, wailing vocals speaking to the waters' raw elemental power itself. 

"Morje" in my native Russian, "mer" in French, "mare" in Latin, and "marr" in Old Norse are all derived from the original Indo-European stem "mori." And to me, "morje" is a confusing mix of fear and fascination: I was born of, and my loyalty is with a telluric power, yet my preferred sport is long-distance swimming, not to mention some historic and cultural interest in the seafaring nations. 

There is just one more thing: there are no clouds, but I can't see the Moon.

P.S. All images are mobile.