All posts filed under: In the Studio

Mr. Benn Redux

For those of you who are not British, and in their forties or fifties, Mr. Benn is a beloved cartoon about an ordinary man who goes on extraordinary adventures when he visits a fancy dress shop. This weekend Mr. Young came to my studio, and as if by magic a photographer appeared… With each costume change Mr. Young transformed into a new character. The question is, which is the real Mr. Young? Is he the tech entrepreneur who created an encryption protocol making him a millionaire before his 18th birthday? Is he the fisherman who works on the same boat as his grandfather, while dealing with rough seas and dwindling catches? Is he the doctor who pioneered the use of augmented reality for use in both general medicine and surgery? Is he the Marine who’s traveled the world as one of “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”? Or is he the professional wrestler whose athleticism allows him to dominate when down on the mat or flying through the air? Send your answers on a postcard …

Transformation

Came across this fascinating digital painting that was based on one of the outtakes from the 2016 “fisherman” shoot with Michael Lynch for the Pentax K-1 exhibition. UP! from hashem alshaer on Vimeo. Michael was mugging for the camera and staring wildly at the sky. The digital painting version transforms the picture to a whole new level. Here’s my finished photo of the wild seafaring Michael.

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 …

Captain’s Log 16/06/2018 – Studio Workshop

Another fun workshop. Spent the morning introducing the different types of lights and modifiers used in a professional photography studio. In the afternoon we photographed our model Brianda after makeup up artist Jessica Coupar worked her magic. Little Jasmine even joined in at the end of the shoot wearing her own baby uniform. Thank you to workshop participants Tyson and Angie for managing to join us during the heaviest rain in recent history! Thank you to Jessica Coupar for makeup, and Brianda for being our model. Finally thank you to Jasmine for bravely wearing a red shirt and surviving the mission.

Studio shoot with Brylee – Skylum Video

My next video in collaboration with Skylum Software is now online. Loving the process of making videos, it is a real team effort. Huge thanks to everyone, this includes the model Brylee Williamson, the makeup artists Jessica Ochoa and CJ Palomo, Gary Hughes for video, Keith Gordon for the intro music, Kaley Kinjo for the song, Yuki for Japanese subtitles, and Hiroshi Tsuji for proofreading. Thanks also to Skylum Software for working with me and striving to create better and better products.  

Now on YouTube!

In 2016, I was contacted by the team at Macphun Software who had come across my photography on the web. Macphun produces photo editing programs for Mac computers, and received Best of the Year awards from the Apple app store six years running. They were producing new inspirational content for their website and asked if I’d like to be involved. James Pankiewicz, Patrick Batac and I produced a behind the scenes video about The Karate Masters Portrait Project. In 2018, Macphun became SKYLUM software as it is no longer just Mac only. As its popularity grows around the world, Yuki and I are going to help introduce the software to the Japanese market. We’ve created a Japanese language YouTube series called the Shoshinsha Photographer Yuki (New Photographer Yuki) in which Yuki learns how to take photos, and edit the pictures with SKYLUM’s Luminar editing software. Episode 1 has a brief introduction then Yuki explores Bise Village in Motobu. Episode 2 is all about the 100 Kata for Karate Day event at new Karate Kaikan. Episode …

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. 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 …

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 …

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 …

Back up to the Future

A couple more pics from the shoot with Brylee last weekend.   I’m really enjoying trying to  balance natural light with flash,  varying how “lit” the images appear. For these outdoor shots I wanted to keep things looking a little more natural than usual. Images shot with the Pentax 645Z and 90mm lens around f2.8 with the Profoto B1 and OCF beauty dish white. After the shoot when I explained about setting up a Dropbox folder to share the completed images, Brylee asked if I could resend the images from her previous shoot.  I last photographed Brylee in December 2013. A couple of the images from the shoot are below. At some point Brylee’s computer had suffered a hard drive failure causing her to lose all her data.  I can resend all her images from our shoot, but there will be so many family pics she can’t get back. At least she now has multiple backups so it never happens again. Once again to all my family and friends, back up your data. If you use …