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.”
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 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.
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, or dressing up as rockstars in the studio. 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. Yuki started taking kimono classes before the workshop so she could be our subject for staged shots, and there were plenty of opportunities for fortuitous street photographs. (We’re planning the next Kyoto Workshop for April 2019.) A huge thank you to clients who have booked me for sessions. It has been a pleasure shooting commercial portraits, families, fairy tales, and senior portraits. We’ve shot several events including the USO Service Salute, the Warrior’s Ball, and karate seminars. We’ve also worked on assignment with international clients including NBC, Cinq Mondes, and Forbes. …
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. 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 🙂 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. 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.
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.
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. 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). Seen at Horseshoe reef near Cape Manza, Okinawa, Japan.
A few of the amazing creatures living in Okinawa’s ocean. The top photo is of the male ribbon eel (Rhinomuraena quaesita). Amazingly, some blue male ribbon eels change to bright yellow female ribbon eels in later life. This next fish is a honeycomb grouper (Epinephelus merra) whose spots help camouflage it while on the reef. It was also named “Fish most likely to turn into a giraffe.” Next is a Naia pipefish (Dunckerocampus naia) which was about 3 centimeters long. Similar to a seahorse, but less pretentious. The striped puffer (Arothron manilensis) looks like it’s wearing prison uniform. It’s a relative of the tiger blowfish (Takifugu rubripes) that occasionally kills diners with its tetrodotoxin poison. The black-finned snake eel (Ophichthus altipennis) watches the world swim by from its hole in the sand. This tiny Dinah’s goby ( Lubricogobius dinah ) didn’t have to bother making a hole, it was quite happy with a ready-made glass bottle. Just as tiny was this sea cucumber crab (Lissocarcinus orbicularis) living on the surface of a sea cucumber. And even smaller was this tiny emperor shrimp (Periclimenes imperator) who …
Three waterfall pics I shot recently while exploring Okinawa. Above is Fukugawa Falls in Nago. Next is Utinda Falls, Uka, Kunigami Vilage, Okinawa. And finally Todoroki Falls ( Todoroki-no-taki), Nago, Okinawa. There are dozens of waterfalls on the main island of Okinawa, and far more (and even more impressive) waterfalls on Okinawa’s southern islands. Just stay safe, and be aware of flash floods after heavy rain. Or you could just stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.
Back in the water again and also hitting the marine species identification books for a job we are working on. Finally learning the names of the creatures I’ve been staring at or photographing the last couple of decades. The top featured image is a pink anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion) I encountered last week. Looking back through my old images I can start working out what they are. A tomato clownfish (Amphiprion frenatus) living in a bubble-tip anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor). Hard to tell, but I think this next guy is Amphiprion clarkii, known commonly as Clark’s anemonefish. A false clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris). This is Nemo’s species. Another pink anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion) Identifying the anemones is an even greater challenge. Particularly, as at times what looks like an anemone may in fact be a coral. Below is Amplexidiscus fenestrafer that is sometimes called the elephant ear anemone but is more accurately named the giant cup mushroom coral. Much more learning to be done.