All posts filed under: Pentax 645D

Hisao Hamamoto, Koden HachimanRyu Jissen BattoJutsu Hamamotoden BattoKai

Hisao Hamamoto is a master of Japanese swords. At 83 he continues to teach how to use katana and wakizashi. I first photographed Hamamoto sensei on October 1st 2011, before the Karate Masters Portrait Project began. The single-light beauty dish portrait I took of Hamamoto would become the lighting setup I’d then use for the entire series. I met up with Hamamoto sensei today at the Budokan in Naha City, to get some video of him teaching his class. Afterwards I asked to take a few location portraits at the shrine next to the Budokan. We then grabbed some lunch before heading over the Dojo Bar with James Pankiewicz to film a short interview with Hamamoto sensei. It won’t be part of the Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate series, but a bonus interview about his life and art. A real delight to meet him once again. Thank you to Hamamoto sensei for giving up his time, to James for helping set up the shoot and letting us conduct the interview in the Dojo Bar, and …

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 …

Okinawa – International Destination Weddings

Okinawa is a popular wedding destination for mainland Japanese, and more recently couples from Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. I teamed up with the Marine Bijou wedding chapel, and model Yuki to produce some stock imagery that I can use in future projects. I shot with the Pentax 645Z allowing me to provide clients with huge data files if needed. For the “pre-wedding” images I used only natural light then switched to Profoto strobes in the chapel and on the beach. Outdoors in the blazing sunshine, one assistant (Chris) held the Profoto B1 in a white softlight reflector, while another assistant (Cody) held a large Lastolite diffusion panel that put Yuki into soft shade. The strong tropical sunlight really brought out the colors in the ocean, while the diffuser and powerful strobe allowed us to avoid harsh shadows. I got a great series of images so a huge thanks to Marine Bijou, the make up artist, Yuki the model, and assistants Chris and Cody. If you’ve found this blog because you’re looking for a wedding photographer in …

Seiyu Nakamura – 10th Dan Okinawa Dentou Shidokan Karate and Kobujutsu

Seiyu Nakamura is a master of traditional shidokan karate and kobudo. More than a decade ago, Nakamura-sensei was my briefly my karate instructor. It was great to meet each other again, although he did note that we’d both got a little grayer over the years. Once again after shooting the black background portraits indoors, I switched the plug-in 7a generator for the battery powered B1, and we went outside. A huge storm was quickly approaching, but we managed to get a few shots in the sugar cane fields before the heavens opened.

Pentax 645Z – Just the facts, ma’am

The Pentax 645Z digital medium format camera will be available for purchase at the end of June 2014. It’s predecessor, the Pentax 645D, went on sale in June 2010  for 848,000 yen. You can pre-order the  645Z at B&H for $8,496.95  or from Amazon Japan for ¥777,110. The 645Z uses a 51.4MP Sony CMOS sensor unlike the 40MP Kodak CCD sensor in the 645D. The sensor remains the same size at 43.8mm x 32.8mm, this means it is a crop 645 sensor. The sensor is the same one used in the 50 megapixel Hasselblad H5D-50C camera ($29,000) and Phase One IQ250 digital back ($37,000). At around $8,500 dollars, the 645Z is a third the price of it’s MF digital competitors. The use of a CMOS sensor allows the 645Z to offer live view, a video mode, and a higher ISO range. The PRIME III image processor is significantly faster than in the 645D. The camera can now shoot at 3 fs rather than 1 fs in the 645D and instant reviews will be quicker. The autofocus system and metering systems have also been improved. The …

Pentax SMC DA 645 25mm F4 AL (IF) SDM AW

I recently purchased a 25mm lens for my Pentax 645 system. This is one of the new lenses designed for the digital 645D / 645Z cameras alongside the DFA 645 55mm and the DFA 645 Macro 90mm. A few important facts about the lens: At 25mm when used on the 645D it is equivalent to 19.5mm on a FF 35mm camera. This is one of the widest medium format lenses available.  I also use the excellent 645 35mm. It’s a heavy beast  at 1040g and expensive US$ 4,996.95 at B&H (although still several thousand less than the Hasselblad 24mm). Occasionally they appear used on Ebay, which is where I purchased mine. As with the 645D body, the 90mm, and 55mm, it’s weather sealed so can stand up to the elements. This really separates the Pentax system from other medium format digital systems which are more suited to a controlled studio environment. The front element is curved, which means filters are designed to be inserted internally. The filters are 40.5mm and polarizers can be rotated with a nifty dial on the holder. Interestingly, this …

Riley Marx – Fitness Model

A few studio images for the portfolio of fitness model Riley Marx. We’ll do a second session outdoors when rainy season has finished. Always great to work with such a dedicated athlete. If you’d like to have a go at using studio lighting, the next Intro to Studio Lighting Workshop is June 14 & 15, 2014. Click on  the workshops tab for more details, then send me a message to book a place.

Channeling Michael Bay

It’s only when I start looking through images in Lightroom that I notice that I’m picking up certain habits while shooting. When using the Profoto B1 strobe, I tend to position it off to my right and a little higher than the subject. For natural light portraits I usually have eye contact, but with off camera flash I seem to prefer them looking out of the frame towards the light. The unexpected result is that several of the images look like stills from a Michael Bay movie. All you need in the next frame is an asteroid, an autobot, or an alien spaceship.