Friday, November 30, 2012

Mountain Maples

Kobe, Japan

If I appear to be obsessed with autumn leaf color this year, it's because I actually am. As much as I appreciate the calm that shades of green induce, the crimsons, russets, and golden yellows of autumn are what wow me. 
Blushing maple leaves
Sometimes natural lighting cooperates during field trips. Sometimes it does not. Yesterday a mostly overcast sky provided diffused light. For the most part, the photographs I took lacked the contrast I sought and the colors my eyes experienced differed from those my camera recorded. 

The ginko trees on Kobe's Rokko Island have begun to drop their leaves
 In Kobe the trees at lower elevations have begun to drop their leaves. The foliage on the maples on Rokko-san - the mountain range rising above this city of one and a half million souls - have just begun the transition from green to vermillion. Yesterday my daughter led me up a path above Kobe's Okamoto district so that we could enjoy the early stages of color transition.

Metropolitan Kobe glimpsed through the trees
Maple leaves
 Along the way we encountered Japanese hikers, middle-aged and older, usually alone, sometimes in pairs - these hikers also there to absorb the beauty. Often they would stop to tell us about special places further up the hill. I understood nothing beyond "Konnichiwa." Fortunately, my daughter is able to understand more of the language. 
Bits of blue sky
 As we descended the hill, a pair of elderly women motioned us toward them. At first we thought they wanted us to hurry down and vacate the path. Only when we reached the spot where they stood, and allowed our eyes to focus on the scene above, did we realize their intent - to share a beautiful display of color we might have otherwise overlooked. 
The recommended view, even more lovely in real life


For me, the wild boars we saw during our urban expedition were a bonus.
Wild boar warning
One of several wild boars we saw, this one seemed more laid back than scary
Information in Japanese about Rokko-san:
Information in English:

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