Okinawa, Photography
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Dalai Lama visits Okinawa

Dalai Lama in Okinawa Image property of Ryukyu Shimpo

Yesterday I went down to Naha to cover the Dalai Lama’s second visit to Okinawa. Unfortunately press access for photography had to be arranged before I was aware the event was taking place, but I was able to listen to the lecture he gave at the Budokan.

The Dalai Lama’s speech included some of the following thoughts:

Respect differences to find peaceful resolution.

Distrust, hatred, fear and jealousy disturb our peace of mind.

Compassion is not just for the benefit of others, it calms your own mind.

A self centered attitude, or extreme self centered arrogance, leads to stress and heart attacks.

Conflict is a result of a lack of conviction in the basic human values of love and respect.

Respect all religions and the non-religious.

Group culture must take care of others, we must be wise selfish, not foolish selfish.

Media coverage appeared to be exclusive to RBC (a local television station) and the Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper who was one of the co-organizers. Surprisingly, even the photographers who had access were all shooting with long lenses from the sides or back of the hall. This means that if I’d been allowed to shoot, the images would have been mediocre at best. The only press image I’ve seen was the snapshot shown above in the Ryukyu Shimpo.  I would have loved 15 seconds of his time, to get some proximity, a clean background, eye contact and decent lighting. The fact that nobody at the Ryukyu Shimpo did  this is either a missed opportunity or the Dalai Lama’s team have very strict control over images.

One real niggle for me was that the organizers had a live video feed projected on a large screen above the stage. A great idea in theory, but there were a couple of small issues. The first was that the cameraman didn’t zoom in on the Dalai Lama. This meant that the view on the screen above the stage was similar to what you could see with your own eyes: a small man, far away. The second problem was the cameraman was making a rookie mistake with exposure. In fact, anyone who has attended my Photography Fundamentals workshop could have put them straight. The camera appeared to be set to auto exposure, the bright pale yellow background misled the meter in the camera resulting in the foreground subject being too dark. Rather than a well lit shot of the Dalai Lama’s smiling face, most of the audience were looking at a shady robed figure.

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