Where Did the Summer Go?

Earlier this year, I was finishing up a submission of photographs for my stock agency. Since switching to digital, I haven’t been so assertive about sending out my photos, which is kind of ironic since one reason why I continue to use digital is because it has become very difficult to submit film to most publications outside Japan. But the real reason is that having two kids, a full-time job that’s 90 minutes away from home, and having extra odd jobs to help support my family means that time and money for photography isn’t what it used to be when I was single. And that’s actually the other important reason why I keep shooting digital. Maintenance of film photographs does require extra time and cost, the luxury of both I am lacking.

So, I was preparing the data to go along with the submission and I noticed that in recent years all my photography is done in a few regular annual outings: once in late December or early January, once in early May during Japan’s Golden Week holidays, once in mid-August during the O-Bon holiday, and once more on November 3rd or 4th which is a national holiday and the best time to shoot autumn scenery in the local mountains. Considering that I used to go climb mountains 8-12 times a year plus have several day trips out means that my accumulation of photographs has slowed considerably. I now have only a few morning outings in a year and if I am lucky, one trip for the NHK World program Journeys in Japan, which hasn’t been shooting since COVID came around.

Well, the summer holidays have passed now, and I actually had two plans to go out for exploring and hiking. The first was supposed to be a visit to a steep ravine deep in the mountains of Saitama. I new the location but when I arrived, I could not find any way to get down into the ravine. People had posted about a hike there but it seems getting down into the ravine was not so obvious. Instead I hiked up a ridge called Kuroiwa almost to a small hut but stopped just short to look at the view from a small lookout point. Though it was good to actually hike again and not just hunt for photographic subjects, I discovered that going down was much harder than I ever recall experiencing for a long time. My toes seemed to be ramming hard into the toe of my boots with every step. As well, I felt that the muscles used for breaking with every step hadn’t been given any exercise for two years, even though I have been going to a fitness centre on and off (when my schedule permits me) for the past two years.

The second hike was supposed to have been up one of the Hyakumeizan, Sukaisan, which I can see from a road not far from my house. However, it began raining two days before the hike and continued raining for six days straight. So that hike was postponed until next month or later.

Normally, I would have a couple of dozen photos to upload to Flickr and have a good story to tell. But I’m afraid there’s little to show for this year. Maybe I’ll try for two outings in autumn.

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