A beautiful Japanese word meaning “the effect of sunlight streaming through the leaves of trees”. It’s a beauty of the everyday in this season, with leaves needed on the trees to give the right effect. It’s evocative of the fresh, bright, long days of spring and summer; this was supposed to be an easy word to illustrate! However, the British weather lately has had other ideas and once again, I haven’t taken the set of photographs that I’d had in my head. I may add to this post, as and when I find the pictures I’d hoped for. Much as I love the rain – I’m a true pluviophile and it doesn’t bother me one bit to be out in it – I have a tussle as a photographer wanting to play with the depth of light and shadows, and to create something more interesting than flat light has to offer. I guess the closest English equivalent to komorebi is dappled sunlight, but the Japanese meaning definitely refers to the trees in their age and steadfastness. I haven’t quite managed enough tree-time this month, and must give myself some forest therapy as the Japanese are so wise to prescribe; but for now, though, here is a slim offering of my findings to illustrate this wonderful word.
On a visit to the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden near Dorking, I lay down under the giant gunnera (okay, it’s very nearly a tree!!) and loved how interesting the layers of leaves were from underneath, overlapping with light and shadows.
We also took a visit to Chawton and Jane Austen’s house, where the sort of leaves and shadow I was looking for breezily played with the light on the wall. I need to find a few more of these; it was such a particularly bright day that the light was really a bit too harsh.
While wandering the streets of Durham and through the woods over the Prebends Bridge, I found some leaves with lovely sunlight…
And below are the results of playing in the garden on my lunch break, trying out Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) and double-exposure, inspired by my blog circle friend Linda Hooper! This is great fun as you never quite know what you’ll end up with, and I like the artistry of giving the impression of how something made you feel. I know the humble lavender isn’t quite up there in the tree stakes, but its slender stems reaching up to the sun are like a mini forest in themselves. Lavender and sunlight has something very peaceful about it, and that to me is the essence of komorebi – when the light streams through the leaves and stems, it’s so perfectly summer.
This post is part of our Ineffable Wanderlust international blog circle for 2017. Each month we illustrate a different word which grabs our attention and for which it’s hard to find an equivalent translation in any other language. Please follow round to see the photography work of my talented friends: next up is lovely Ana in Barcelona, do have a look at her interpretation here.