Izumi's Diary Page 72    Wednesday 20 February 2013  


Here is Izumi who has been doing a bit of thinking lately about the sometimes strangeness of life.

Inspiration and ideas can come from anywhere at any time. A bit like Decisive Moments really, and also like them can suffer from droughts and floods. To counter these dry times PEN and I have been travelling slightly different paths which I have found enjoyable both creatively and personally.

So when I was watching the Tamayura television series and getting to know Fū Sawatari and her Rollei 35 I learnt about a photographer whose work she really admired, Riho Shihomi, who was to become her friend.

Fū knew about Riho because she had produced a book showing views of the sky, which she titled Sora, and which Fū discovered in her local library. Here it is...

Please note that I have used pictures from the Tamayura series made by the Hal Film Maker studio to illustrate my writings on this page, and all the rights to those images remain with their creators, and I use them with respect.
The 'Sora' book, by Riho Shihomi

The cover says 'S · K · Y Shihomi Riho Photo Collection'.
Here are Fū and her friend Kaoru discussing it...


Kaoru: “There really are lots of photos of the sky.”
Fū: “Yeah. You get a fluffy feeling when you look at it.”


And here is a page from it...

Photograph from 'Sora', by Riho Shihomi

Is the Australian sky different from the Japanese sky, I wonder? I don’t remember it being so, except in the Outback places where it is bigger and of course cleaner than in the cities.

Or do Australian eyes see it differently from Japanese eyes? There was one way to find out, and as well as PEN I had the assistance of the infra-red camera, which loves looking at skies and especially clouds.

And do you remember a short while ago, when I first found out about Fū and the Tamayura series, I was musing about the coincidental times that brought us together? Well, they didn't end there. Please let me show you a happy and sad photograph...


Upon the Eastern Road
My brush I've left behind.
Now on a journey through the skies
I go to see the famous places
In the Western Paradise.


– Hiroshige's farewell poem, 1858


Come Fly With Me
Panasonic LX2 Infrared, 1/100 sec, f/2.8, 200 ISO, 28mm (eqiv)

This above is the happy and sad photograph that helped me decide to do a series on Sora. It was taken shortly after David’s friend Bert Flugelman died and when I looked up one morning and saw it in the sky, I saw Bert waving goodbye to all his friends here on Earth as he went, like Hiroshige, to new adventures.

I wonder too if Riho knew an artist who had gone to join the ancestors and thought of him when she photographed her jet trails. Did she, like me, see them as footprints in the skies?

Riho Shihomi out photographing in Takehara

Riho had plenty of time and a lot of Japan as material for her book so please excuse my efforts if they do not match up to hers. Perhaps it can be an on-going project for me and one day you’ll be able to enjoy Sora Australis with your cuppa.

But until then perhaps it is best that for once I do not say much and you can enjoy our sky- and cloud-scapes with some suitable words from the haiku masters whom you may remember from my previous meanderings among the resting places of the ancestors.

Dawn Pigeons
Olympus E-PL1 w 12-50mm, 1/60 sec, f/8, 200 ISO, 100mm (eqiv)
Photograph from 'Sora', by Riho Shihomi
'Sora', by Riho Shihomi
Sunset Over Bayview
Olympus E-PL1 w 12-50mm, 1/100 sec, f/6.3, 400 ISO, 100mm (eqiv)

The sky colours
of dawn have changed
to summer clothes

– Issa 1807


Morning Glow
Olympus E-PL1 w 20mm, 1/200 sec, f/2.8, 200 ISO, 40mm (eqiv)

From what I can gather, all of Riho's photographs in her book are in colour. So it is interesting to see what black & white can do, especially when delving into the unseen spectrum. Here are some 630nm wavelength photographs of my soras.

Sky Arc
Panasonic LX7 Infrared, 1/600 sec, f/3.2, 80 ISO, 47mm (eqiv)
Cloud Pattern  (116)
Panasonic LX7 Infrared, 1/250 sec, f/8, 80 ISO, 24mm (eqiv)
Cloud Pattern  (117)
Panasonic LX7 Infrared, 1/250 sec, f/5, 80 ISO, 24mm (eqiv)
Cloud Pattern  (120)
Panasonic LX7 Infrared, 1/2000 sec, f/4.5, 80 ISO, 60mm (eqiv)
Cloud Pattern  (118)
Panasonic LX7 Infrared, 1/250 sec, f/5, 80 ISO, 24mm (eqiv)

You know I like pushing things optical and unusual wavelengths are no different, as you may remember from the night photographs at the ancestors' resting place. The sky is there at night, too, so...

Night Clouds
Panasonic LX7 Infrared, 1/4 sec, f/1.4, 100 ISO, 24mm (eqiv)
Night Flight
Panasonic LX7 Infrared, 1/4 sec, f/1.4, 100 ISO, 24mm (eqiv)

Like little dots
little billows in a row...
little clouds

– Issa 1815

Cloud Pattern  (247)
Panasonic LX7 Infrared, 1/1000 sec, f/2.8, 100 ISO, 32mm (eqiv)
The Cloud-Watcher's Seat
Pentax K5 w 55-200mm, 1/250 sec, f/10, 200 ISO, 82mm (eqiv)
Sky Lines
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/320 sec, f/10, 200 ISO, 46mm (eqiv)
Photograph from 'Sora', by Riho Shihomi
High Flying
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/200 sec, f/7.1, 200 ISO, 32mm (eqiv)
Photograph from 'Sora', by Riho Shihomi
Cloud Buds
Panasonic LX7 Infrared, 1/100 sec, f/4.5, 80 ISO, 24mm (eqiv)

Clouds can truly be said to be in the sky, but my definition of 'something in the sky' also includes objects that may begin on the ground but extend upwards to include themselves in your vision when you look to the heavens.

Moon, Crane and Plane
Olympus E-PL1 w 12-50mm, 1/80 sec, f/4.5, 200 ISO, 38mm (eqiv)
Aerial Transport
Panasonic LX7 Infrared, 1/250 sec, f/5, 80 ISO, 90mm (eqiv)
Into the Unknown
Panasonic LX7 Infrared, 1/100 sec, f/4.5, 80 ISO, 43mm (eqiv)

You also know that I like images that start off being real but during the processing stage tell me that they prefer to be more abstract. The happy photograph above looks like it could be in some strange underwater realm, doesn't it?

Dancing Wisps
Panasonic LX7 Infrared, 1/4 sec, f/1.4, 100 ISO, 28mm (eqiv)

I swear
I see a demon...
billowing clouds

      – Issa, 1811

Storm Birds
Pentax K5 w 55-200mm, 1/500 sec, f/8, 200 ISO, 225mm (eqiv)

From deep in the cloud's
thunder comes

– Issa 1792
Plane Chasing
Pentax K5 w 55-200mm, 1/600 sec, f/9, 200 ISO, 172mm (eqiv)

I think Riho has a sense of humour, so she would probably enjoy photographs such as...

Sky Shoes
Olympus E-PL1 w 12-50mm, 1/125 sec, f/2.3, 200 ISO, 22mm (eqiv)
Photograph from 'Sora', by Riho Shihomi
The Cloud Watcher Comes
Pentax K5 w 55-200mm, 1/250 sec, f/9, 200 ISO, 82mm (eqiv)
Walking with Clouds
Pentax K5 w 55-200mm, 1/200 sec, f/8, 200 ISO, 82mm (eqiv)
Cloud Gazing
Pentax K5 w 55-200mm, 1/500 sec, f/9, 200 ISO, 120mm (eqiv)
Cycling to the Sky
Pentax K5 w 55-200mm, 1/600 sec, f/7.1, 200 ISO,109mm (eqiv)
Hungry Cumulus
Pentax K5 w 55-200mm, 1/1000 sec, f/7.1, 200 ISO, 132mm (eqiv)
Jogging to Cloudland
Pentax K5 w 55-200mm, 1/500 sec, f/8, 200 ISO, 75mm (eqiv)


This feeling of sadness –
a fishing line being blown by the autumn wind

– Buson
Cloud Fishing
Pentax K5 w 55-200mm, 1/400 sec, f/7.1, 200 ISO, 172mm (eqiv)

The very happy photograph above was captured by my friend David
and I
like it so much that I asked him if I could use it on my Sora page.


As well as Fū and Riho, I must also thank my friend Tomoko for helping me put this page together for your enjoyment. After all that time of looking upwards I think that Fū sums it up far better than I could, so I'll leave the final words to her...


And say goodbye from your aerial flâneuse,


To fully understand my footsteps, please read me from the start.
Izumi's Diary Page 72
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