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Outlander

Cool, cloudy and rainy in Okinawa at the moment. Feels like a British summer.

I hadn’t photographed Brylee for several years so it was great to meet up for some new pics.  One of Brylee’s favorite TV shows is Outlander, and with the help of some drizzle, a few tartan shawls, and a green background we took a few new pics for her portfolio.

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Photographed with the Pentax 645Z and 90mm lens. Shot at ISO 200 f2.8 giving the very shallow depth of field. Lighting with the Profoto B1 with OCF beauty dish white at very low power to balance with the ambient light.

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The shawls are all traditional Scottish tartans: Hunting Stewart (top), Royal Stewart (middle) and Black Watch (bottom).

A huge thanks to MUA – Audra Pesicka and  Assistant – Keith Robbins

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Medieval Studio Workshop

A fun day at the medieval studio workshop. Charles brought his armor with surcoats of the Knights Hospitaller, a crusader and his family crest. Charles competes in the “Armored Combat League” where you wear historically accurate armor, and then fight with blunted weapons.

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Images were shot using variations of natural light, a single Profoto B1  strobe outdoors, and multiple studio strobes indoors. I used the Pentax 645Z with either the 90mm or 55mm lens.

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Charles also brought another one of his military uniforms, this one from a galaxy far far away.

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Huge thanks to Charles for bringing all his gear, I learned a huge amount about medieval and scout trooper armor!   Good luck in your next armored combat league battle.

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Mr. Benn

Mr. Benn was one of my favorite TV shows when I was young. The very normal Mr. Benn enters a shop, puts on a costume, and goes on a magical adventure.

In the previous blog post you met Dan the Alaskan fisherman. However, Dan has on more than just one adventure.

Please let me introduce Dan the lumberjack, Dan the highlander,  Dan the biker, Dan the convict, and Dan the mountaineer.

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Images were shot with the Pentax 645Z with either the 90mm macro or the 55mm lens. Lighting was a Profoto B2 with an OCF beauty dish white.

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Images were shot over a couple of hours around sunset. The lighting setup remained the same, I just slowly dialed down the power on the strobe as the sky darkened.

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Huge amount of fun. As a kid I always imagined what it would be like to be Mr Benn. It turns out that I’m actually the shopkeeper of the special costume shop.

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Thanks again to Dan, and once again a warning to visitors. If you pop in for coffee, there’s a reasonable chance you’ll find yourself going on your own adventure. 🙂

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Dan – Alaskan Fisherman

I invite my friends over for coffee and then force them to dress up for photos. As my little garden faces west I can get down low and place my subject against the colorful evening skies. In these shots I hid the setting sun directly behind Dan which avoids blowing out the highlights and gives both the Dan and the clouds some cool rim lighting.

Pentax 645Z with 90mm and 55mm lenses. Profoto B1 with OCF beauty dish white triggered with the Profoto Air Remote.

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Savannah Fermin - Senior Session Colab.

Practice, practice, practice.

Last weekend I met up for a collaborative test shoot with photographer Jennifer Buchanan of Sunshine Soul Photography. Jennifer specialises in couture portraits of high school seniors, and is great at producing timeless images of the young ladies before they venture out into the big world.

Jennifer arranged for two high school students Sierra and Savannah (and their parents) to meet up with us in Motobu. In exchange for their time, we’d give them a few photos they’ll hopefully love.

Savannah Fermin - Senior Session Colab.

Savannah – Senior portraits collaborative test shoot.

Jennifer and I took turns photographing the girls. We offered each other tips, watched how we posed the “clients,” compared the gear we use, but above all we could just practice.

Practice, practice, practice.

Savannah Fermin - Senior Session Colab.

Savannah – Senior portraits collaborative test shoot.

Practice, and a lot of it, is required to become proficient at any skill. One theory states that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” is required to master something. Concert musicians are well known for playing hour after hour after hour. (Two thumbs up for the movie Whiplash).

Sierra Fitzgerald - Senior Session Colab.

Sierra – Senior portraits collaborative test shoot.

Sometimes it’s not the gear that is holding us back, but the limited amount of time that we spend practicing with it.   I used to have a purple Washburn electric guitar, but wasn’t getting the sound I wanted. I upgraded to a beautiful fiesta red Fender Stratocaster with  maple fretboard, and I still couldn’t play like Buddy Holly, Eric Clapton or Mark Knopfler. The lack of callouses on my fingers was a pretty good indication of where my real problem lay.   

Sierra Fitzgerald - Senior Session Colab.

Sierra – Senior portraits collaborative test shoot.

10,000 hours of practice may not be realistic, or even necessary to achieve your goals. But without regularly picking up the camera, progress is always going to be slow or nonexistent.  As a photographer there is so much to learn, so much to practice, and so much room for improvement. One tip would be to stop spending so much time browsing through the reviews of gear, and get out there and take photos.

Sierra Fitzgerald - Senior Session Colab.

Sierra – Senior portraits collaborative test shoot.

Thank you to Savannah, Sierra and their parents for coming up to Motobu for the shoot. Thanks to my assistant Keith for working as a voice activated light stand. A huge thanks to Jennifer for suggesting the idea it was great hanging out with you again.

A few things I learned on the shoot.

You can work wonders with a big reflector. Especially to create very soft light across the entire face.

Watch the shape of hands. Are they relaxed, posed, flat to the camera or side on.

Cosmos flowers bloom for around 2 weeks, but different parts of a field  can bloom at different times. There may still be a section with beautiful flowers when other sections just have dead heads.

Gear used 

Pentax 645Z, 90mm 2.8   Profoto B1 with OCF beauty dish white, large white reflector.

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Test shoot with Profoto OCF softbox and umbrella

Last weekend I was doing some test shots with new gear while mentoring my friend Keith about off camera flash techniques.

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We headed back to the cosmos field but this time rather than using the Profoto B1 strobe with an aluminum softlight reflector  I was using the new collapsible OCF beauty dish with a front diffuser. ( OCFビューティーディッシュ・ホワイト)

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A crop of the top image shows the octagonal shape of the OCF softbox catchlight, and also the amazing resolution of the Pentax 645Z camera.

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Back at the house  M.U.A. Audra Pesicka switched the makeup and hair for a bohemian look with white henna on the hands. We shot in the garden but this time switched the softbox for a Profoto 41′ Umbrella Deep White ( Profoto 写真撮影用アンブレラ アンブレラ ディープ ホワイト M)

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Another great day of shooting! A huge thanks to Natalie for being a fantastic model, and to Audra Pesicka for hair and makeup. Thanks also to Yuki and Keith for assisting on the shoot.

Okinawa musician Nayuta Hirano with sanshin (instrument) and traditional Okinawan ryuso kimono at Murasaki Mura, Yomitan, Okinawa

Off Camera Flash Workshop

A fun Off Camera Flash Workshop last Saturday. Pete Leong and I taught fellow photographers Ashley, Kali, Jessa, Ray, Corey, and Takashi a few new tips and tricks for using flash while on location.

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Comparing the Profoto B1 with Deep White Umbrella and the Cactus 90x with umbrella.

A huge thank you to Cactus and Profoto for providing some extra gear for demonstrating to the group.

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Demonstrating the Profoto B1 with the OCF gel holder system.

Thank you to Okinawan musician Nayuta for modeling and wearing the traditional ryuso kimono, and to Yuki for assisting and interpreting throughout the day.

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The OCF Team! by Pete Leong

Thanks again everyone for another successful workshop!

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From Princess to Queen

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Last Saturday I had a great location / studio shoot with Kelley. Kelley’s husband gave her a portrait session as a Christmas present and she had some magical ideas about what she’d like to do.  Her initial idea was to be a queen for a day, but with a change of outfit and makeup we realized we could first shoot softer images of “the princess” before turning to the dark side as “the queen”.

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Cosmos fields are blooming at the moment so they made a beautiful background. I shot with the Pentax 645Z along with the 90mm and 300mm lenses. For light I used the Profoto B1 with a softlight reflector white.

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After the softer images, makeup artist Audra Pesicka switched the hair and makeup to the second look. We first shot in the studio with a simple 3 light studio setup. ( Profoto D2 with beauty dish, and a Profoto 7a generator to 2 proheads in 1×4′ softboxes.)

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Then we headed out to the village of Bise and its roads lined with Fukugi trees. This created a moody Into the Woods background.

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We packed up the gear and started to walk back to the beachside carpark, then I noticed the sky. I asked Kelley if she was up for one more shot and we quickly set up the gear again. As the wind picked up and the rain began, Kelley struck the pose and we got a final epic shot.

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A huge thanks to Kelley and Zac for being such fun and inspirational clients. Thank you to Audra Pesicka for her great work with hair and makeup, and to Yuki as my assistant.

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Kelley & Zac 🙂

Hatsuko Machida  町田 初子 6th dan Uechi-ryu, Uechi-ryu Ageda Women's Dojo

Hatsuko Machida 6th dan Uechi-ryu Karate

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Hatsuko Machida  町田 初子 is ranked 6th dan in  Uechi-ryu karate 上地流 空手. She teaches at the  Ageda Women’s Dojo which is unique in Okinawa for offering women only karate classes. She explained that many of her students had not been allowed to study karate when they were young so now embrace the opportunity to do so. Many of the ladies are over 50 with the oldest still training at 78.

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Machida-san was a student of Takamiyagi Shigeru (1935-2014) who encouraged her to set up her own dojo and help spread karate to more women.

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Machida sensei’s class also uses the nigiri gamae (握りえ構え)  ceramic jars that strengthen their grip and forearms.

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After shooting in the dojo we took a short walk to the local park to get a shot of Machida sensei training outside.

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All images shot with the Pentax 645Z with the 90mm lens (indoors) and the 25mm lens (outdoors). Lighting with the Profoto D2 (indoors) and Profoto B1 (outdoors) with a Softlight Reflector.

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Family Sessions in Motobu

Wonderful family session with the Lyon family at the end of December. I photographed Michael and Kana’s wedding in Kagoshima 4 years ago, so it’s always a delight to see them again.

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Holiday visits are always a great opportunity to take photos of the extended family. Big smiles and warm feelings on a cold and blustery day!

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It’s always a pleasure to show clients my favorite spots in Motobu, and take some nice pics.

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Thanks to you all for a lovely afternoon. See you on your next visit to Okinawa!

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If you’d like to have your own family session in Motobu, check out the details here.