Author: travel67

Rain, Rain, Beautiful Rain.

Heavy rains have hit Okinawa for the past couple of weeks. Reservoirs are full, and there have been some small landslides. No injuries that I know of, but closures of roads and some evacuations have been making life miserable for some. The downpours have brought power and fury to waterfalls that are sometimes little more than a trickle. Today Todoroki-no-Taki (Thunder Falls) in Nago was living up to its name.

Knock Out

An epic Fight Club studio workshop yesterday. In the morning we went through the basics of studio strobes, triggering, and variables such as distance, position and quality of light. Then it was fight time. In the red gloves, Zac “The Flash” Pesicka. In the blue gloves  Andre “The Body” Smith In the early rounds Zac’s speed was a clear advantage,  Andre was thrown onto the ropes with  a crushing right hook.  Shrugging off the blow, and up before the nonexistent referee had counted to 10, Andre continued the fight. A mid-fight tussle with makeup artist Audra Pesicka had left the fighters bruised and bleeding. Keith “Cutman” Robbins stepped into check on the condition of his fighters. Zac landed a punishing blow to the ribs. But moments later Andre retaliated with a fight ending uppercut. The champ. A huge thanks to both fighters for shedding sweat and fake blood during the fight. Thanks to “Cutman” Robbins for the inspiring words and continuously humming Eye of the Tiger. Once again, thank you to makeup artist Audra Pesika …

Back it Up

This is another blog post about backing up data, and protecting your images. Why? Because if it means just one reader doesn’t lose all their family photos to the digital abyss, it will be worthwhile. Hard disks have a finite lifespan. This is probably going to be around 3 to 5 years. If, for example, you only store your family photos on your laptop, when it dies (and it will) you will lose all your images or have to pay a lot of money to a data recovery firm to try and get back your treasured memories. Back up your computer at home, and ideally have another off-site backup just in case of a disaster such as theft, fire or flood that takes both hard drive and back up drive. Back up at home. If you’ve got an Apple computer use the Time Machine application. All you need is an external hard disk that is significantly larger than the total of your computers internal hard drives. I was using a 4TB external hard drive as …

Dino Park in Nago, Okinawa

Visitors to the Nature Park Yanbaru Subtropical Forest could quietly stroll along a short paved trail among the trees looking at various types of vegetation including palms and orchids. Unfortunately, the tourists didn’t really come. In 2016, the addition of around 50 dinosaurs many of which have basic animatronics and sound, has transformed the nature park into “Dino Park” a far more popular sightseeing destination. The new additions do fit in well with the subtropical forest setting and several are quite impressive. The dinosaurs are reasonably realistic and vary in the level of animatronics from static models to automatons with jointed necks, jaws, tails and eyelids.  They do not surge forwards out of the undergrowth, and there are no fully mobile dinosaurs so they probably won’t terrify many children.  The outdoor speakers that give the dinosaurs voices are also a little small and lack any bass, so although you hear the roar of the T-Rex you don’t feel it in your body. The Nago Dino Park  is located on route 85, the winding mountain road …

Krazy Bee Gym, Itoman

I photographed MMA fighter Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto last December at my friend Ben’s capoeira dojo in Chatan  (blog post here). A few days ago, I got a call from Norifumi to say that he was setting up his own Krazy Bee gym in Itoman, and could I take some photos of the team. Son of Japanese Olympic wrestler Ikuei Yamamoto,  Norifumi is a fearsome mixed martial arts fighter. (some video highlights on YouTube)   Norifumi’s older sister Miyuu is a three-time Freestyle Wrestling World Champion, and now fights mixed martial arts.  Their younger sister Seiko, also a champion wrestler, now lives in Texas and is married to baseball pitcher Yu Darvish. Miyuu’s son Erson Yamamoto is a mixed martial arts fighter competing professionally. Along with the Yamamoto family, there are several other fighters in the Crazy Bee team:  Betinho Vital a jiu-jitsu fighter from Brazil Aw Ratchayothin Sangmorakot a muay-thai fighter from Thailand. Kosuke Yokoyama a jiu-jitsu fighter from Japan.   It was great to meet the Krazy Bee team and I look forward to working with …

Sin City Tokyo – Rainy Day Projects

Rainy season is here in Okinawa. It’s a good opportunity to shoot indoors in the studio, and practice editing at the computer. Last week I met up with photographer Pauline Fortuna to collaborate on a “Sin City”-style studio shoot. Pauline invited along model Sam, makeup artist Deziree, and hair stylist Sherri. We thought we could try a series of  images so Sam, Sherri and Yuki became our three hoodlums. For lighting we used three Profoto B1s and a Profoto D2. They were modified with a gridded snoot, barn doors, a gridded zoom reflector and a gridded softlight reflector.  The models stood in front of a plain black background. We kept the lighting similar for all three shots so that pics would fit together better in a composite image. Back at home I played around in Photoshop layering the three images of the ladies along with a previously photographed image of Shibuya, Tokyo. The background image was darkened, blurred and toned to better fit with the theme and then the image was done. Of course there are …

Goat Wrestling on Sesoko Island

  Goat wrestling is an annual event on Sesoko Island in Motobu, Okinawa.  Two male goats are placed in a ring, and then do what comes naturally. If they are evenly matched they will butt heads until one turns in submission. If they are unevenly matched, or uninterested they ignore each other, or the weaker goat wanders straight back to the gate often sticking its head through the railings. The goats seem to be unaffected by the occasional headbutt. Sportingly, they never tried to headbutt their opponent anywhere except the head. The curved horns also seemed to avoid any puncture wounds or lacerations. The only goat that came off badly at the whole event was the young goat that was given away as 1st prize in the raffle. The winner was asked what he was going to do with the goat. He replied, “eat it.” The video was shot with the Sony A7SII camera with a 16-35mm lens on a CAME-TV Single gimbal.   The video was shot and uploaded to YouTube in 4K.

Rock Stars Studio Workshop

A fantastic rock star themed studio workshop last Sunday. After a few hours in the morning covering the basics of studio shooting we moved on to the theme of the day.  For most of these shots we used the Profoto 7a generator with 2 proheads as the rear hair lights. Grids on the zoom reflectors controlled the spill of light, while gels gave the lights color. A small smoke machine gave the shots more atmosphere. We had a Profoto D2 with a gridded softlight reflector as the key light and a Profoto B1 with red / orange gels on the left side. The lights were triggered with Profoto Air Remotes. Natalie and Kelley were our awesome models. Both where more than willing to sing, play guitar, and hammer away on the keytar.  Although it was probably for the best that none of the instruments were plugged in 🙂 Makeup and hair was by Audra Presika who also created the temporary tattoos for Natalie. It’s great to have an MUA to work with who can help …

Camera Test – Fujifilm EPX-4440HD

Photographers looking for lightweight portable imaging devices often give rave reviews of  mirrorless Fuji cameras. So this week I decided to test out one of the latest cameras in the Fujifilm line, the EPX-4440HD. Positive points about this camera include “User-friendly menus” and “Advanced image technology” it also offers an “anti-blur function  that allows an optimal image to be extracted from multiple images.” A great option for those with less steady hands. Portability is a little restricted. Although the camera is small, it does require a cart for the processing system and monitor. Photographers accustomed to tethered systems in the studio will probably be the most familiar with this setup. Wedding photographers and fashion photographers may find the range of angles a little limiting. Those with an interest in macro photography will enjoy the camera’s ability to focus at short distances while the “300 watt xenon primary light source” brings illumination to the most restricted of shooting locations. For portrait photographers the camera offers new possibilities beyond your basic profile, full face, and three-quarter view. This may be a way for …

USO Okinawa Service Salute 2017

The United Service Organizations Inc., better known as the USO, is a nonprofit organization most famous for bringing entertainment to United States service members while overseas. Comedians such as Bob Hope and Robin Williams are well known for having visited troops on numerous occasions. Recently the USO brought Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band to Okinawa.  The USO Okinawa service salute is when the organization honors seven enlisted service members from the U.S. Armed Forces and Japan Self-Defense Forces. They also give awards to members of the local Okinawan community.  For the last few years I’ve photographed the event and taken pics of the attendees. If you attended the event and stopped for a portrait you can download your photos from Dropbox here:   www.tinyurl.com/z7v8qps