Comments 2

Pentax 645Z in Action – Karate Masters Portrait Project

A quick update on how I shoot the Karate Masters Portrait Project. Back in March 2012 we used the following gear:

Pentax 645D with 105mm or 150mm lens
Profoto 7a generator with a ProHead
Generic silver beauty dish
PocketWizard Plus II radio transmitters
Light stand
3.6′ x 6.6′ Lastolite Black Velvet backdrop

Karate Masters Portrait Project 1.0

Karate Masters Portrait Project (March 2012)

And the new 2014 setup.

Pentax 645Z with 90mm macro lens
Profoto 7a generator with Prohead
Profoto Softlight Reflector White
PocketWizard Plus II radio transmitters
6.6′ x 6.6′ Lastolite Black Velvet backdrop

Karate Masters Portrait Project 2.0

Karate Masters Portrait Project (July 2014)

Why the changes?

645D to 645Z – More megapixels and greater dynamic range. (However 566 not 712 images on a 64GB card, and my computer runs like molasses.)

Tripod to No Tripod – Faster, more flexible. Ambient light is low so it has little effect on image quality. Action stopped by flash not shutter.

Generic silver beauty dish to Profoto Spoftlight Reflector in white – Larger light source, white interior means better control of specular highlights, image quality.

Light stand to voice activated light stand (James) – Faster, more flexible.

Medium to Large Backdrop – Masters using weapons or kicks are less likely to move beyond borders of background.

Profoto 7a generator, heads and PocketWizards are exactly the same. They still work and do an awesome job.

Minoru Higa Hanshi 10th Dan, Kaicho of Kyudokan

Minoru Higa Hanshi 10th Dan, Kaicho of Kyudokan

The result?

I can now work faster, allowing me to get a wider selection of images in a shorter amount of time. Yesterday I set up the gear at the Budokan in Naha during a karate seminar. James and I were able to meet numerous karate masters we had already photographed which was a real pleasure.  We had a book of prints to show them how the project has progressed, and they then encouraged the other sensei to get involved.

Pics coming soon…





  1. Rémy C says

    Hi, i wanted to congratulate you for you gorgeous pictures. I’m working with Pentax too, i’ve a K3, theses are awesome DSLR.
    I’m actually contacting you because we have a Kuydokan Dojo here in France, Nimes city, we are under the supervision of Patrick Rault Sensei from Perpignan. And we need a big picture of Minoru Higa sensei to put on one of our wall. I was wondering if we could use one of yours ? The last one should be perfect. This is absolutely not for commercial use.
    Thanks a lot.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s