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.
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 …
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
Rainy season has started in Okinawa. The weather forecast for May’s Fundamentals Workshop wasn’t good, in fact it said there would be downpours all day. Rather than head to indoor locations for our excursion, we braved the elements, and were rewarded with a beautiful rainless Sunday. Big smiles all around. Thanks you Keith, Yuki, Charlie, Jenny, Alejandra and Adam for a great weekend. The next Fundamentals Workshop will be June 3rd & 4th.
Along with the photographs I shot for the Okinawan Martial Arts Budosai Seminar on April 29th, I also took some video of the event. I edited the footage in Final Cut Pro X and uploaded to YouTube. For those interested, I shot this with a Sony A7sII with the 16-35mm lens (at around 20mm). I manually set the exposure and the white balance. I shot with continuous auto focus. The camera was mounted on a CAME-Single 3-Axis Handheld Camera Gimbal by CAME-TV (see top image). It was a great learning experience. You have to find a balance between documenting the event fully, and not getting in the way of those attending. I didn’t want to block the view of the students or be hit with a flying foot or fist. For some techniques, it would be nice to have another camera angle to show close ups, but for this occasion a single viewpoint will have to suffice. Looking forward to shooting a lot more video this year.
Last Saturday I photographed a special 1-day seminar at the Karate Kaikan taught by 4 masters of different styles. In the morning there was a demonstration and class by Isao Yagi, 9th -dan of Ryuku Royal Family Martial Arts Bu Mai Moidi Motobu ryu Gassen Tuidi school. In the afternoon the first class was given by Yoshio Kuba 10th Goju ryu karate and followed by Tetsuhiro Hokama 10th-dan Goju ryu karate. At the end of the day, the event organizer Terry Wingrove 9th-dan karate jutsu gave a final class focused on the efficacy of techniques. The seminar was a clear reminder that Okinawan karate goes a lot further than simple punches, kicks and blocks. Although not covered in sanitized sport karate, there are plethora of different ways to incapacitate an attacker’s body and mind. Along with documenting the seminar, I brought a long a black background and strobe to take a few portraits for Terry Wingrove. At 75-years old he’s still a fearsome man.
One of the highlights of the Kyoto Photography Workshop was tea with a maiko in Gion. The maiko we met was Kanohiro-san who is just 18 years old. After her years of training she will become a geiko (Kyoto geisha). We took photos and asked her many questions with Yuki interpreting for the group. Kanohiro san was very happy that we were so excited to met her. She gave us tea, performed a traditional dance, then posed for individual and group photographs. A really memorable experience with a lovely young lady.
A few pics from today’s 100 Kobudo Kata Challenge at the new Karate Kaikan in Tomigusku, Okinawa. The event was organized by James Pankiewicz of the Dojo Bar in Naha. The welcoming message was given by Toshimitsu Arakaki, 10th dan Matsubayashi-ryu karate. Participants spent 2 to 3 hours performing a hundred kata with various weapons including bo staff and sai. Congratulations to all that took part, it was great to see people actively helping keep Okinawan traditions alive. I also got to take a few new “Beyond the Dojo” pics of Arakaki sensei outside of the new Karate Kaikan building. Arakaki-sensei demonstrates a technique with two sai, while also reminding me that “Iron Fist” isn’t just something from comic books. Gear: Pentax 645Z with 25mm lens. Profoto B1 with softlight reflector white.
Last weekend I was doing some test shots with new gear while mentoring my friend Keith about off camera flash techniques. 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) 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. 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) 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.
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”. 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. 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.) Then we headed out to the village of Bise and its roads lined with Fukugi trees. …