Author: travel67

Hisao Hamamoto, Koden HachimanRyu Jissen BattoJutsu Hamamotoden BattoKai

Hisao Hamamoto is a master of Japanese swords. At 83 he continues to teach how to use katana and wakizashi. I first photographed Hamamoto sensei on October 1st 2011, before the Karate Masters Portrait Project began. The single-light beauty dish portrait I took of Hamamoto would become the lighting setup I’d then use for the entire series. I met up with Hamamoto sensei today at the Budokan in Naha City, to get some video of him teaching his class. Afterwards I asked to take a few location portraits at the shrine next to the Budokan. We then grabbed some lunch before heading over the Dojo Bar with James Pankiewicz to film a short interview with Hamamoto sensei. It won’t be part of the Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate series, but a bonus interview about his life and art. A real delight to meet him once again. Thank you to Hamamoto sensei for giving up his time, to James for helping set up the shoot and letting us conduct the interview in the Dojo Bar, and …

Kenichi Yamashiro 9th dan Matayoshi Kobudo

On Friday evening we travelled down to the very south of the main island of Okinawa to the dojo of Kenichi Yamashiro. He is the 83rd sensei to be photographed for the project, and it was fascinating to meet him. Kobudo is the weapons system of Okinawan martial arts and is often studied alongside karate. Arguably kobudo is an intrinsic part of traditional karate, or perhaps traditional karate is an intrinsic part of kobudo. Yamashiro sensei trains with a wide range of weapons, including some which I’d never seen before such as the spinning bo staff. Hopefully in the future we’ll be back again to interview him for the Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate documentary series. All images captured using the Pentax 645Z and 90mm lens. Lighting using the Profoto B1 and softlight reflector. A big thank you to Gary Hughes for assisting with lighting, Yuki Willson and James East for interpreting, and Mike Clayton for help setting up the shoot. A huge thank you to Kenichi Yamashiro for inviting us into his dojo and …

Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate #2 Yoshitsune Senaga

I’m pleased to announce the release of the second episode in the Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate series. This episode features Uechi Ryu 10th dan Yoshitsune Senaga who at 82 continues to teach and share his passion for karate. Thank you to those who have already sponsored and supported the series.  Thank you to Yoshitsune Senaga and his students for allowing us into the dojo twice to film, and to Dell Hamby for helping set up the shoots and assisting with translation.  My passion for this project is growing as I realize that this is a way for the sensei to really talk with the international karate community directly. There’s no celebrity or TV host between the masters and the viewer. It’s simply them talking about their love of the art, and what matters to them.  I’m already setting up interviews with other karate masters for the coming weeks and months. Hopefully we can even keep pushing the quality of the videos to the next level as we purchase a boom mic, better lenses, and …

Yoshitsune Senga Video Preview

Currently editing the second video in the documentary series Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate. It is a fascinating interview with 10th dan Uechi-ryu master Yoshitsune Senaga. Hopefully we’ll have it online by Monday February 18th. Here’s a draft of the first couple of minutes to see what we’re working on. This is just an iPhone video of the screen, which should stop any confusion that this is the finished product. And here’s the ending sequence so far. If you are interested in helping making this video series possible, please get in touch with me by email or facebook. In this second video we will be able to list sponsors and supporters who have reached out to us before Sunday February 17th. Hopefully we’ll keep adding more sponsors and supporters over time, and these names will be added to the list at the end of future episodes in the series. As of February 13th, 2019 our sponsors and supporters are: Series Sponsors Ceazar Borkowski – Northern Karate Schools Marguerite “Peggy” Hess Reece Cummings – Cummings Karate …

Traditional Okinawan Hairstyle

 The traditional hairstyle for Okinawan women is called kanpuu. The hair is twisted on top of the head, and then held in place with a jiifaa hairpin. Photographed with the Pentax 645Z and 90mm lens. Natural light. This was shot during this months Photography Fundamentals workshop. The next one will be March 30th / 31st 2019. https://www.facebook.com/events/547482259063977/

Cherry Blossom Blooms

The cherry trees are starting to bloom in the Nakijin and Motobu districts of Okinawa. For the last couple of days Jasmine has had a mild ear infection so she’s not been that happy, but is getting better. We went out together to check on the condition of the flowers to prepare for family shoots over the next couple of weeks.

Okinawan Smiles

Another great Photography Fundamentals workshop last weekend. Always a pleasure to share my love of photography and Okinawa with other people. The next workshops are at the start of February and the end of March. Click on the links to visit the Facebook event page, message me to book your spot. Photography Fundamentals with Chris Willson February 2nd & 3rd, 2019 Photography Fundamentals with Chris Willson March 30th & 31st, 2019

Karate Masters Documentary – Let’s make it happen!

It’s been three weeks since I posted the pilot for Sensei – Masters of Okinawan Karate on YouTube. The goal was to see if viewers were interested in the concept, and for me to get some feedback. This would enable me to make a decision about what to do next. If you’ve not watched already, please take 8 minutes 25 seconds out of your day, and check it out. In three weeks the video has had about 3500 views. More importantly, comments in various Facebook groups, and direct messages to me have been very positive. It seems that many in the karate community would like to see more interviews, and that the videos, similar to the photographs in the Karate Masters Portrait Project, would be valued by others. Today is January 1st 2019. It’s a time for new beginnings. A time to dream big, and aim for the stars. After talking with my wife Yuki, I’ve made the decision to go ahead with this new project. My goal is to create a series of 10 …

2018 Highlights

The biggest event of 2018 was on February 12th when Jasmine Victoria Willson was born. Over the last 10 months she’s grown to be a delightful little toddler who is excited by all her adventures. Life now revolves around bananas, Igglepiggle, and bath time. I’ve been shooting a wide range of imagery, along with producing some videos for SKYLUM software. The Karate Masters Portrait Project continued, and expanded to start a new video documentary series about the amazing martial arts sensei on Okinawa. 2019 will begin with some exciting news about the series. At the start of the year I was out photographing the humpback whales while creating a video for SKYLUM, then at the end of the year I was recording the TEDxOIST lecture series with a team of videographers. One of the speakers was my good friend Nozomi Kobayashi who talked about her job monitoring the migrating whales. In the spring I updated the Okinawa and Kyushu chapters for the next edition of Fodor’s Japan. Jasmine had her first trip down to Miyako …