Featured Spotter of the Month (Nov'23)
Updated: Nov 20
It has been a while since we did a planespotters' feature, due to piling workload and doing research for future articles. But with the end of the year coming up, I thought I would once again do a planespotters' feature. While we have covered many regional planespotters, mainly from Singapore (and a lovely couple from Belgium), the world is far bigger than the shores of the Little Red Dot, and I decided to look at Japan. Being blessed with numerous airports, including major hubs like Kansai and Narita, Japan boosts a vibrant community of planespotters hailing from every corner of the country, whom frequently grace Instagram with numerous spectacular shots of the commercial and military traffic moving in and out of the many Japanese airports across the island chain. Just like how Planes Portrait Aviation Media is one of the major aviation communities here sharing images and aviation news in Singapore, Hikouki Club is one of the major aviation community sites that frequently shares photos of aircraft snapped in Japan. Recently, we got a chance to speak to their co-admin, Eiko Izu, one of the more notable planespotters in Japan.
Hello, you are...?
I'm Eiko, I'm a systems engineer at a trading company. I'm a bit shy about revealing about my age, so I shall keep it a secret!
Share some facts about yourself!
Well, not many people know this, but I drive a red MX5 with a 747 number plate! Gives a big hint away at what aircraft is my favourite!
When did you begin spotting?
I began spotting in 2018!
What motivates you to spot? What keeps you interested in planespotting?
I love traveling and going to different airports and locations to do aviation photography. Often at each location, I can get different chances at snapping different kinds of aircraft, liveries, angles and lightings. And as an artist at heart, I love creating work out of the different locations that people will love and remember.
What gear (camera + lens) do you use
I use a variety of camera bodies and lens. I'm a fan of Nikon, and so both of my camera bodies are Nikon bodies, namely the Z9 and the D850. And of course, like any loyal Nikon user, I have my kit of Nikon lens:
AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S
NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.2 S
Comment from the writer: I must say, that is one real impressive array of lenses you have!
What photo editing tools do you use?
Mainly I use Adobe Lightroom Classic to edit my photos; its a good combination of modern updates and AI incorporated together to maximize the editing function available to every photographer. But of course, it is very important not to over-edit your photos, something which I take great care to ensure that my edited photos retain the same vibe as the original!
Airport and spotting location
I'm based in Fukuoka, so I do a lot of my spotting here at Fukuoka Airport. However, I have visited numerous airports across Japan,
Love for Airplanes
What is your favourite aircraft?
It is without a doubt, the Queen of the Skies herself, the Boeing 747! She is the epitome of beauty and elegance, and everywhere she flies, she turns heads whereever she goes. In fact, my love of the Queen of the Skies is much that the number plate on my bike contains the number "747" in it!
What is your favourite airline and livery?
For me, it is Thai Airways! They have such an iconic purple and gold livery that it is striking everytime you see it, often setting it apart from many of the other airline liveries out there! Which of course makes the livery on HS-TGW my personal favourite livery, combining the Thai Airways logo with the unique giant lettering "STAR ALLIANCE" on its white fuselage and black tail. In fact, one shot I got of her at Haneda Airport on a wintery sunrise makes it by far my most proudest shot so far!
Aside from that, some of my personal favourite liveries are that of the Japan Air Force One Boeing 747 20-1101 and 20-1102. Being a native Japanese, seeing the giant aircraft bearing the iconic Hinomaru is definitely something feel tremendously patriotic about. Probably my favourite shot of it is of one of the 747s parked at Chitose Airport on a beautiful sunset. Another special aircraft and livery that I loved was EI-XLD Rossiya Airlines Boeing 747-400 with the "Caring for Tigers Together" livery, which I managed to snap by chance at Phuket, Thailand a few years ago.
To Round Off...
What tips would you give to aspiring spotters?
My personal tip is to shoot a lot. You'll get a lot of chances at catching the perfect shot, and you'll never know which one of them will be the magic shot you wanted!
Know a spotter you would like us to do a feature? Drop a comment below stating the person's name and social media account name! In the meantime, keep flying high and have a great November!