All posts filed under: Pentax k-1

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 …

It’s a girl!

Yuki started going into labor at around 6pm on Saturday the 10th of February. We called the maternity clinic and drove from Motobu to Nago City. At the clinic they confirmed Yuki was in labor, but that it was going very slowly. The whole of Sunday was spent in bed with the contractions getting stronger. At around midnight Yuki was moved to the birthing room in the clinic. Yuki was attached to monitors,  but the birth wasn’t due for several more hours. At around 3.15AM things got very busy. The heart rate of the baby  suddenly dropped from around 130 to 60 bpm. The doctor made the decision to get the baby out right away and at 3.36AM on February 12th 2018  Jasmine Victoria Willson was born. She was weighed (2868 grams), and measured (47.2cm). She was checked and cleaned. Monitored, and then given to Yuki. Unten-sensei was able to explain to me what happened at the birth. The low heart rate was a sign of foetal distress, so he immediately delivered the baby by …

Bull Wrestling

The Motobu Kanko Bunka Festa took place the evening after the Expo Fireworks festival. There were a few hundred rather than tens of thousands of spectators, and the entertainment was far more traditional . There was a karate demonstration by Kiyoshi Yogi, followed by some goat wrestling, folk singing, and then bull wrestling. There were five bouts of bull wrestling. The bulls locked horns, and then pushed until one of them gave up and turned away. Sometimes they can can get superficial cuts from the other bull’s horns, but they all came away uninjured and lived to see another day. Occasionally you see the giant bulls being taken for walks or even a dip in the ocean. They are pampered by their owners, living a life far better than most male cows. I wonder what happens when they get older. Can a gladiator ever earn their freedom.

Dino Park in Nago, Okinawa

Visitors to the Nature Park Yanbaru Subtropical Forest could quietly stroll along a short paved trail among the trees looking at various types of vegetation including palms and orchids. Unfortunately, the tourists didn’t really come. In 2016, the addition of around 50 dinosaurs many of which have basic animatronics and sound, has transformed the nature park into “Dino Park” a far more popular sightseeing destination. The new additions do fit in well with the subtropical forest setting and several are quite impressive. The dinosaurs are reasonably realistic and vary in the level of animatronics from static models to automatons with jointed necks, jaws, tails and eyelids.  They do not surge forwards out of the undergrowth, and there are no fully mobile dinosaurs so they probably won’t terrify many children.  The outdoor speakers that give the dinosaurs voices are also a little small and lack any bass, so although you hear the roar of the T-Rex you don’t feel it in your body. The Nago Dino Park  is located on route 85, the winding mountain road …

Serendipity

A final post from the Kyoto workshop. One evening we had a memorable few minutes that resulted from being in the right place at the right time, and a fair amount of luck.  The featured image at the top of the post may be my favorite of the trip. It is nice to get a shot that captures several  aspects of Kyoto life in a single frame. Why luck? Because a maiko or geisha will prebook a taxi then wait for it to arrive.  You usually get a brief glimpse of them as they dart from a doorway into the taxi. On this occasion, however,  a geiko and a maiko were stood waiting on the sidewalk for their taxi. Close by another geiko was talking into a mobile phone.  For three or four minutes they stood on the street, and unsurprisingly, drew stares from locals and tourists. Finally the taxi arrived and the two geikos, followed by the maiko, got in and were whisked away. Another memorable moment from a great Kyoto workshop. A big …

Tea with a maiko

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.

Geisha, Geiko and Maiko

What’s the difference between a geisha and a maiko? How do you tell them apart? A geisha, 芸者, is a professional entertainer, the direct translation of the kanji would be art person.  Geiko 芸子 is sometimes used when referring specifically to geisha from Kyoto. A maiko 舞妓  is a geiko in training. This process takes many years as she masters the various instruments, dances and social graces required to become a geiko. Along with their age, there are other ways to distinguish maiko from geiko. The hairstyle of a maiko is created with natural hair, while a geiko wears a wig. A maiko usually has many more ornate accessories that adorn her hair. For footwear, maiko usually wear okobo (platform sandals) while the geiko wear zori (low sandals). The inner collar of the kimono is usually red with patterns for maiko and plain white for geiko. And when looking from the back, the obi of the geiko is folded to form a box knot (taiko) while the maiko have the obi folded in a longer elaborate display  known as …

Toei Kyoto Studio Park

Toei Company produces anime, movies, and Japanese historical dramas. The Toei Kyoto Studio Park is a theme park where you can stroll through movie sets of Edo Japan, encounter ninjas and samurai, and buy souvenirs from various TV shows. The park is worth a visit if you are traveling with children, but if you’re only in Kyoto for a short amount of time it’s better to check out Kyoto’s real historical buildings rather than a movie facade. Images shot with the Pentax K-1 with the 24-70 f2.8 lens.

2016 Highlights

2016 has been an great year with a mix of photography and putting in the groundwork for future projects. Cherry Blossom The year began with cherry blossom in Okinawa, and a few months later I was whizzing around mainland Japan shooting cherry blossom in Himeji, Kyoto, Nara and Tokyo. 2017 should be another epic year for cherry blossom pics as I run a Kyoto Workshop  in April while the trees are in full bloom. Karate The Karate Masters Portrait Project continues although at a slower pace. In 2016, I shot images for James’ new clothing brand Okinawa Dojo of Life. The Guinness World Record for the most people performing a kata was broken, and Sensei Higa took on the minotaur of Zakimi. Marine Life Didn’t spend much time shooting underwater this year, but have made new contacts with the Churaumi Research Center so it’s been great to document some of their work monitoring the migration of humpback whales. In 2017 I hope to get pictures of other monitoring programs including coconut crabs and turtles. Life on …