All posts filed under: Pentax k-1

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 …

Guinness World Record Breaking Kata

On October 23rd 2016 the Okinawan karate community attempted to break the record for the most people performing a kata. The record had been set in India in 2013 with 809 people. The Okinawan attempt on the record was a resounding success with 3793 confirmed participants. There was also a one of the biggest congregations of karate masters. I have photographed most of them for the Karate Masters Portrait Project so it was great to be able to say hello to so many of them. 2017 will have the opening of the Okinawa Karate Kaikan (training center), and with karate a demonstration sport at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, I expect that a mass kata performance may even become an annual event. If so, hopefully next year will be even bigger!  

Pentax K-1 Exhibition, Tokyo

Today, September 14th, the Pentax K-1 photo exhibition begins at the Ricoh Imaging Square in Shinjuku Tokyo.  The staff at the gallery just sent me some pics of the images on the wall including my photograph of Sam wearing a suit and tie. The exhibition runs until September 26th so if you’re in Tokyo please stop by and check it out. The Ricoh Imaging Square is in the Shinjuku Center Building just west of the (world’s busiest) train station. Shinjuku Center Building is a pretty generic skyscraper but it’s right next to the far more recognizable Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower モード学園コクーンタワー. A huge thanks to the people at Pentax and Ricoh Imaging for selecting me to produce work for their exhibition. Thanks also to the model Samantha Armistead and makeup by Audra Pesicka. For those interested here’s the technical details: Pentax K-1 with at 28-105 lens at 105mm ISO100 f8.0 1/200 sec Main light Profoto softlight reflector white powered by Profoto 7a 1200w generator. Fill light Profoto medium softbox 2 rim lights – 30x120cm strip boxes …

Pentax K-1 Exhibition, Tokyo

If you’re in Tokyo between September 14th and 26th,  check out the Pentax K-1 exhibition at the Ricoh Imaging Square Shinjuku. There will be images by 18 photographers from across Japan. Glad to be part of the team 🙂   https://travel67.com/exhibitions/ The Ricoh Imaging  Square Shinjuku is 5 minutes walk from Shinjuku Station. It’s on the middle basement floor of the Shinjuku Center Building which is next to the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower  just west of the station.