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Nearly there…

There may have been little activity on the my blog, Facebook, or Instagram the last few months, but things have been very busy behind the scenes.

Yuki is due to give birth anytime in the next few weeks. I took a few pics in the garden this morning just in case we have to rush off to the hospital before we take more photos.

Meanwhile, I’m currently sorting out taxes for 2017, invoices, contracts, and a new workstation for video work.

Spot, the kitten, is also a new arrival. He was a stray that appeared at our door on an unusually cold Okinawan night. We tried to give him away, but it turns out the local rule is “feed it once, it’s yours for life.”

Senior Session with Jocelyn

On Saturday morning I had a wonderful senior session with Jocelyn where we really got to make the most of Okinawa’s spring flowers.  Cosmos, cherry blossom, and  bougainvillea all created beautiful settings for our shoot.

A huge thank you to Sandy for choosing me to shoot her daughter’s pictures. It was a pleasure to see you again, and we wish Jocelyn all the best with her future studies and adventures.

Learn more about senior sessions with Chris Willson Photography here.

2018 – We’re going to need a bigger boat

2018 is going to be a big one. There’s a baby arriving in mid-February, so it will definitely have a memorable start.  A trip to Shuri Castle at New Year was also a reminder of how life is changing professionally. Not only am I shooting both stills and video, but I’m doing it as part of an expanding team.

More clients, more collaborations, more learning, more gear, more processing power, and a lot more data.

The first piece in a series of necessary upgrades to the studio just arrived in the mail. A 24TB G-Technology G-SPEED Shuttle external hard drive system. Data access and security have to be a priority, and there will be significant speed improvements when the setup is complete.

Collaboration is going to be the keyword of the year.  There will still be days when it is just me and a camera, but more often I’m working as part of team.

Thank you in advance to my clients, sponsors, family, friends and collaborators. Here’s to a successful, creative, and collaborative 2018.

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Chris Willson Photography 2017 Highlights

2017 has been another busy year. So many things to mention….

Photography workshops have been a success, and it’s been great sharing my passion (and terrible jokes) with so many other people, whether its learning the fundamentals,

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or dressing up as rockstars in the studio.

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We had an amazing 1-week workshop in Kyoto with six lovely ladies, and a combination of planning and a little luck meant we got to photograph maiko, cherry blossom, shrines, temples, castles, bullet trains, and blue skies over the week.

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Yuki started taking kimono classes before the workshop so she could be our subject for staged shots,

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and there were plenty of opportunities for fortuitous street photographs.  (We’re planning the next Kyoto Workshop for April 2019.)

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A huge thank you to clients who have booked me for sessions. It has been a pleasure shooting commercial portraits,

Norifumi Kid Yamamoto at Krazy Bee Gym, Itoman City, Okinawa, Japan

families,

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fairy tales,

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and senior portraits.

Savannah Fermin - Senior Session Colab.

We’ve shot several events including the USO Service Salute, the Warrior’s Ball, and karate seminars.

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We’ve also worked on assignment with international clients including NBC, Cinq Mondes, and Forbes. A huge thank you to Keith who became my mentee and assistant for the year. It was a delight working with you.

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There have also been plenty of fun shoots simply to practice skills and make new friends, especially when makeup artist Audra Pesicka could add her magic touch.

The Karate Masters Portrait Project has continued, although at a much slower pace. It was however a pleasure to photograph Hatsuko Machida, and Koichi Nakasone. On a positive note we’ve also started to record some of the karate masters on video, a new exciting challenge.

There have been a few great days exploring Okinawa on land and underwater, but things have been busy, and I hope to dive more next year.

However, 2018 is already looking like it will be a super busy, epic year!

Yuki and I are currently working on producing videos for Skylum the company that creates the award-winning photo editing software Luminar. It will be exciting to share photography and Okinawa with a much larger audience.
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We’re also expecting our first baby in February so 2018 shall be full of new experiences and challenges.

 

Once again thank you to all my students, clients, models, assistants, make up artists,  and the people of Okinawa who make the job possible.  Have a wonderful New Year and a marvelous 2018.

Photography Workshops

A great Photography Fundamentals workshop last weekend with Marco, Kristin, Heather and Gary. This was our last photography workshop for the year, but we’ll start back again in 2018.

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December 2017 Fundamentals Workshop. Photo by Yuki

There will be a Photography Fundamentals workshop on January 6th and 7th, then there will be a break for a couple of months as Yuki and I are expecting our first child in mid-February 🙂

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December 2017 Fundamentals Workshop. Photo by Yuki

By May, workshops will back on track and we’ll be hosting Fundamentals, Advanced, Off-camera flash, Studio and other exciting opportunities to learn and take photos. We hope to hold the Kyoto workshop again in early April 2019.

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December 2017 Fundamentals Workshop. Photo by Yuki

A big thank you to everyone who joined us for workshops this year, it was a pleasure hanging out with you all. A huge thank you to Yuki for making banana bread, listening to my dad jokes (again and again), and putting on kimonos at 4AM. Wouldn’t have been possible without you.

Dia de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos (Día de Muertos) is the Mexican holiday also known as Day of the Dead. Before Spanish colonization the holiday took place in summer, but is now celebrated on November 2nd, just after All Saints’ Eve (more commonly known as Halloween).  For me, the festival seems to share more in common with Okinawa’s Obon celebrations than ghoulish Halloween.

Halloween is usually thought of as night to scare away ghosts and monsters, but during Okinawa’s Obon and on Día de los Muertos families clean graves and tombs, decorate them, and give offerings of food. The departed are welcomed back to spend time with the family once again.

Día de los Muertos celebrations were featured at the start of the Bond movie Spectre, and are the theme of the latest Disney / Pixar movie Coco.

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My friend Bernadette is Mexican American and we thought a Día de los Muertos inspired shoot would be fun. We collaborated with makeup artist Audra Pesicka who transformed Bernadette into “Catrina” with her distinctive skull.

Images were shot with the Pentax 645Z and the 90mm lens. I used a Profoto D2 with gridded beauty dish as the main light and a B1 with 1×4 softbox as the hair light.

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A huge thank you to Audra Pesicka for the amazing makeup, to Yuki for assisting, and to Bernadette for modeling and introducing her heritage to us.

100 Kata for Karate Day 2017

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October 25th is Karate Day in Okinawa! Yesterday was the 100 kata event at the new Karate Kaikan in Okinawa. I was busy shooting some video so I passed the Pentax K-1 camera over to Yuki so she could take the photos. All the participants did really well undertaking the challenge, a huge thanks to James Pankiewicz for organizing, and great job Yuki with the pics!

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Naha Giant Tug of War – Oct 8th 2017

This afternoon the world’s biggest tug of war will take place on Route 58 in Naha City, Okinawa.  I’ll be missing it this year as I’m selling prints at the Holiday Bazaar on Camp Foster, but it’s a great thing to see if you’re in Okinawa today. (You can also drop by the bazaar!) There are parades on Kokusai Street before the main event, which starts at around 2.45pm with the ceremony, then bringing the ropes together at 3.30 and the actual tug of war happens around 4pm  (Please confirm times for 2017 yourself!).

Here are a few pictures from previous years.

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Naha Tug of War October 11th, 2015

Word's Largest Tug of War, Okinawa, Japan

Naha’s Tug of War

Word's Largest Tug of War, Okinawa, Japan

Word’s Largest Tug of War, Okinawa, Japan

Word's Largest Tug of War, Okinawa, Japan

Word’s Largest Tug of War, Okinawa, Japan

 

10 life changes since getting LASIK

It’s been nearly 4 years since I had LASIK at the Shinjuku branch of the Kobe Kanagawa Eye Clinic Japan. You can read more about my experience with LASIK here:  www.travel67.com/lasik/ 

 

I was chatting with friends the other day about how positive my experience had been. Here are 10 ways my life changed! (These don’t include non-Lasik related changes such as getting married, buying a house…)

 Saving money      No need to buy contact lenses, or solutions, or glasses.

 

Saving time        Don’t have to spend a few minutes in the morning and before going to bed dealing with contact lenses.

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No struggling with contact lenses at 4AM before a dawn photo session!

No emergency glasses days              I’d wear contacts almost every day, but if I had sore eyes I’d have to wear glasses. I’d then have awkward conversations with friends or workmates explaining why I was wearing glasses.

 

No foggy glasses        No problems going from cool air-conditioned buildings to the humid outdoors.

 

Smaller wash kit          No extra bag of solutions, cleaning products, spare lenses, and spare glasses. Much easier for travel.

 

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No lost lenses while diving!

No lost lenses      No worries with water sports. When swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving, no chance of losing a contact lens.

 

Easier flights    Long flights from Japan to the UK are made easier when I don’t have to choose between contact lenses or glasses.

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View from the London Eye ferris wheel overlooking the Thames River and Houses of Parliament, London, England.

Night vision     Being able to glance over and see the alarm clock clearly without glasses.

 

Outdoor living              Camping is easier when you don’t have to deal with contact lenses. Especially if there are no places to wash your hands.

 

Peace of mind             If there is a natural disaster I won’t be searching for glasses in the middle of the night. If I’m stranded somewhere I don’t need to worry about how many hours I’ve been wearing contact lenses.

 

Read more about my experience with LASIK here:  www.travel67.com/lasik/

And finally the Shinjuku branch of the Kobe Kanagawa Eye Clinic Japan is just a couple of blocks from the Robot Restaurant. Awesome 🙂

 

 

 

Shy Guy

Nemos a.k.a. false clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) are surprisingly brave, if not aggressive. They’ll come out of their anemone and try to intimidate larger fish or scuba divers.

The pink anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion) is far more shy.

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It is quite happy to stay hidden among the tentacles of an anemone and wait until the danger has past. This little fish has made home in a sebae anemone (Heteractis crispa).

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Seen at Horseshoe reef near Cape Manza, Okinawa, Japan.