Cool, cloudy and rainy in Okinawa at the moment. Feels like a British summer. I hadn’t photographed Brylee for several years so it was great to meet up for some new pics. One of Brylee’s favorite TV shows is Outlander, and with the help of some drizzle, a few tartan shawls, and a green background we took a few new pics for her portfolio. Photographed with the Pentax 645Z and 90mm lens. Shot at ISO 200 f2.8 giving the very shallow depth of field. Lighting with the Profoto B1 with OCF beauty dish white at very low power to balance with the ambient light. The shawls are all traditional Scottish tartans: Hunting Stewart (top), Royal Stewart (middle) and Black Watch (bottom). A huge thanks to MUA – Audra Pesicka and Assistant – Keith Robbins
A fun day at the medieval studio workshop. Charles brought his armor with surcoats of the Knights Hospitaller, a crusader and his family crest. Charles competes in the “Armored Combat League” where you wear historically accurate armor, and then fight with blunted weapons. Images were shot using variations of natural light, a single Profoto B1 strobe outdoors, and multiple studio strobes indoors. I used the Pentax 645Z with either the 90mm or 55mm lens. Charles also brought another one of his military uniforms, this one from a galaxy far far away. Huge thanks to Charles for bringing all his gear, I learned a huge amount about medieval and scout trooper armor! Good luck in your next armored combat league battle.
Mr. Benn was one of my favorite TV shows when I was young. The very normal Mr. Benn enters a shop, puts on a costume, and goes on a magical adventure. In the previous blog post you met Dan the Alaskan fisherman. However, Dan has on more than just one adventure. Please let me introduce Dan the lumberjack, Dan the highlander, Dan the biker, Dan the convict, and Dan the mountaineer. Images were shot with the Pentax 645Z with either the 90mm macro or the 55mm lens. Lighting was a Profoto B2 with an OCF beauty dish white. Images were shot over a couple of hours around sunset. The lighting setup remained the same, I just slowly dialed down the power on the strobe as the sky darkened. Huge amount of fun. As a kid I always imagined what it would be like to be Mr Benn. It turns out that I’m actually the shopkeeper of the special costume shop. Thanks again to Dan, and once again a warning to visitors. If you pop in …
I invite my friends over for coffee and then force them to dress up for photos. As my little garden faces west I can get down low and place my subject against the colorful evening skies. In these shots I hid the setting sun directly behind Dan which avoids blowing out the highlights and gives both the Dan and the clouds some cool rim lighting. Pentax 645Z with 90mm and 55mm lenses. Profoto B1 with OCF beauty dish white triggered with the Profoto Air Remote.
Last weekend I met up for a collaborative test shoot with photographer Jennifer Buchanan of Sunshine Soul Photography. Jennifer specialises in couture portraits of high school seniors, and is great at producing timeless images of the young ladies before they venture out into the big world. Jennifer arranged for two high school students Sierra and Savannah (and their parents) to meet up with us in Motobu. In exchange for their time, we’d give them a few photos they’ll hopefully love. Jennifer and I took turns photographing the girls. We offered each other tips, watched how we posed the “clients,” compared the gear we use, but above all we could just practice. Practice, practice, practice. Practice, and a lot of it, is required to become proficient at any skill. One theory states that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” is required to master something. Concert musicians are well known for playing hour after hour after hour. (Two thumbs up for the movie Whiplash). Sometimes it’s not the gear that is holding us back, but the limited amount of time that we spend practicing …
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.
A fun Off Camera Flash Workshop last Saturday. Pete Leong and I taught fellow photographers Ashley, Kali, Jessa, Ray, Corey, and Takashi a few new tips and tricks for using flash while on location. A huge thank you to Cactus and Profoto for providing some extra gear for demonstrating to the group. Thank you to Okinawan musician Nayuta for modeling and wearing the traditional ryuso kimono, and to Yuki for assisting and interpreting throughout the day. Thanks again everyone for another successful workshop!
Hatsuko Machida 町田 初子 is ranked 6th dan in Uechi-ryu karate 上地流 空手. She teaches at the Ageda Women’s Dojo which is unique in Okinawa for offering women only karate classes. She explained that many of her students had not been allowed to study karate when they were young so now embrace the opportunity to do so. Many of the ladies are over 50 with the oldest still training at 78. Machida-san was a student of Takamiyagi Shigeru (1935-2014) who encouraged her to set up her own dojo and help spread karate to more women. Machida sensei’s class also uses the nigiri gamae (握りえ構え) ceramic jars that strengthen their grip and forearms. After shooting in the dojo we took a short walk to the local park to get a shot of Machida sensei training outside. All images shot with the Pentax 645Z with the 90mm lens (indoors) and the 25mm lens (outdoors). Lighting with the Profoto D2 (indoors) and Profoto B1 (outdoors) with a Softlight Reflector.
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 …
Portrait shoot with MMA fighter Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto on friday night. Yamamoto is perhaps most famous for his 4 second flying knee KO to Kazuyuki Miyata back in 2006. Pentax 645Z with 90mm lens. (I had brought a black background but spotted the Japanese flag in the gym so changed my plan). 2 light setup. Profoto D2 with gridded 4×1 softbox as rim light (back left), Profoto B1 with gridded softlight reflector as the main light (front right). Air remote trigger. Huge thanks to Ben of Capoeira Academy Okinawa for setting up the shoot, and Shawn Miller and Yuki for assisting. Some BTS pics and video!