Japan, Okinawa, Pentax 645D, Photography
Comments 4

Aikido in Action

Aikido Shoot - Kabayama & Templin

The above image was shot with the new 645 D FA 25mm lens. When using wide angle lenses and still trying to fill the frame with the subject, you can get a little too close to the action. A fraction of a second after this shot, Kabayama’s left foot glided a little too close to the lens for comfort. (When Q lent me the lens he had stated, “Please be careful with this one Willson.)

For the following sequence I used the standard 55mm lens giving me a little more breathing room. The third image is the real money shot – it captures the essence of the shoot in a single image, and it was the most difficult to produce.

Aikido Shoot - Kabayama & Templin

Aikido Shoot - Kabayama & Templin

Aikido Shoot - Kabayama & Templin

To freeze action in this way you have to use either bright ambient light and a very fast shutter speed, or low ambient light and a strobe with a very fast flash duration.

I turned off all the lights in the dojo, then used a strobe system with a flash duration of about 12,000 / sec to stop time.  It also required a little luck to get Kabayama sensei mid-flight as the camera only shoots one frame per second. Very pleased with this shot, I like the way the strobe casts a clear shadow of Kabayama sensei’s left hand just before impact.

A big thank you to Kabayama sensei who was willing to be slammed into the matting repeatedly in the name of photography!

4 Comments

  1. Katharine says

    This is the reason for me doing Taekwondo – I’d much rather get kicked in the head than be slammed to the floor!

    Great photos though.

  2. joey says

    Hi,I find your great photos in Flickr, and i really like your Photos.And i want some raw samples,will you show me some?*pef Format from Pentax 645D,and *rwl Format from Leica M9.Thank you very much.

    • Hi Joey,

      Sorry but I won’t be able to help you as I shoot DNG raw with the Pentax 645D, and don’t own a Leica M9. Good luck with choosing your camera.

  3. Pingback: On the bookshelf – Seal Team Six « Chris Willson's Blog

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