A great Photography Fundamentals workshop last weekend with Marco, Kristin, Heather and Gary. This was our last photography workshop for the year, but we’ll start back again in 2018. There will be a Photography Fundamentals workshop on January 6th and 7th, then there will be a break for a couple of months as Yuki and I are expecting our first child in mid-February 🙂 By May, workshops will back on track and we’ll be hosting Fundamentals, Advanced, Off-camera flash, Studio and other exciting opportunities to learn and take photos. We hope to hold the Kyoto workshop again in early April 2019. A big thank you to everyone who joined us for workshops this year, it was a pleasure hanging out with you all. A huge thank you to Yuki for making banana bread, listening to my dad jokes (again and again), and putting on kimonos at 4AM. Wouldn’t have been possible without you.
Día de los Muertos (Día de Muertos) is the Mexican holiday also known as Day of the Dead. Before Spanish colonization the holiday took place in summer, but is now celebrated on November 2nd, just after All Saints’ Eve (more commonly known as Halloween). For me, the festival seems to share more in common with Okinawa’s Obon celebrations than ghoulish Halloween. Halloween is usually thought of as night to scare away ghosts and monsters, but during Okinawa’s Obon and on Día de los Muertos families clean graves and tombs, decorate them, and give offerings of food. The departed are welcomed back to spend time with the family once again. Día de los Muertos celebrations were featured at the start of the Bond movie Spectre, and are the theme of the latest Disney / Pixar movie Coco. My friend Bernadette is Mexican American and we thought a Día de los Muertos inspired shoot would be fun. We collaborated with makeup artist Audra Pesicka who transformed Bernadette into “Catrina” with her distinctive skull. Images were shot with the Pentax 645Z and the 90mm …
This afternoon the world’s biggest tug of war will take place on Route 58 in Naha City, Okinawa. I’ll be missing it this year as I’m selling prints at the Holiday Bazaar on Camp Foster, but it’s a great thing to see if you’re in Okinawa today. (You can also drop by the bazaar!) There are parades on Kokusai Street before the main event, which starts at around 2.45pm with the ceremony, then bringing the ropes together at 3.30 and the actual tug of war happens around 4pm (Please confirm times for 2017 yourself!). Here are a few pictures from previous years.
Nemos a.k.a. false clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) are surprisingly brave, if not aggressive. They’ll come out of their anemone and try to intimidate larger fish or scuba divers. The pink anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion) is far more shy. It is quite happy to stay hidden among the tentacles of an anemone and wait until the danger has past. This little fish has made home in a sebae anemone (Heteractis crispa). Seen at Horseshoe reef near Cape Manza, Okinawa, Japan.
A few of the amazing creatures living in Okinawa’s ocean. The top photo is of the male ribbon eel (Rhinomuraena quaesita). Amazingly, some blue male ribbon eels change to bright yellow female ribbon eels in later life. This next fish is a honeycomb grouper (Epinephelus merra) whose spots help camouflage it while on the reef. It was also named “Fish most likely to turn into a giraffe.” Next is a Naia pipefish (Dunckerocampus naia) which was about 3 centimeters long. Similar to a seahorse, but less pretentious. The striped puffer (Arothron manilensis) looks like it’s wearing prison uniform. It’s a relative of the tiger blowfish (Takifugu rubripes) that occasionally kills diners with its tetrodotoxin poison. The black-finned snake eel (Ophichthus altipennis) watches the world swim by from its hole in the sand. This tiny Dinah’s goby ( Lubricogobius dinah ) didn’t have to bother making a hole, it was quite happy with a ready-made glass bottle. Just as tiny was this sea cucumber crab (Lissocarcinus orbicularis) living on the surface of a sea cucumber. And even smaller was this tiny emperor shrimp (Periclimenes imperator) who …
Three waterfall pics I shot recently while exploring Okinawa. Above is Fukugawa Falls in Nago. Next is Utinda Falls, Uka, Kunigami Vilage, Okinawa. And finally Todoroki Falls ( Todoroki-no-taki), Nago, Okinawa. There are dozens of waterfalls on the main island of Okinawa, and far more (and even more impressive) waterfalls on Okinawa’s southern islands. Just stay safe, and be aware of flash floods after heavy rain. Or you could just stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.
Back in the water again and also hitting the marine species identification books for a job we are working on. Finally learning the names of the creatures I’ve been staring at or photographing the last couple of decades. The top featured image is a pink anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion) I encountered last week. Looking back through my old images I can start working out what they are. A tomato clownfish (Amphiprion frenatus) living in a bubble-tip anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor). Hard to tell, but I think this next guy is Amphiprion clarkii, known commonly as Clark’s anemonefish. A false clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris). This is Nemo’s species. Another pink anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion) Identifying the anemones is an even greater challenge. Particularly, as at times what looks like an anemone may in fact be a coral. Below is Amplexidiscus fenestrafer that is sometimes called the elephant ear anemone but is more accurately named the giant cup mushroom coral. Much more learning to be done.
A lovely multi-location early morning session with Angelo & Sheron from Hong Kong. Okinawa is such a great location to shoot. Gorgeous scenery and nice weather. And a beach all to ourselves. A few more shots at Cape Zanpa. And then headed to Zakimi Castle. Thanks for having us document your special day Angelo & Sheron! Hope you had a wonderful time in Okinawa, and hope to see you again soon 🙂 Images shot with the Pentax 645Z with Pentax SMC DA 645 25mm, Pentax K-1 with 24-70mm, Profoto B1 with OCF beauty dish and Priolite HotSync flash system. A big thanks to Yuki and Keith for assisting on the shoot.
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.
Another impressive Expo Park Fireworks Festival on Saturday. Very glad I live just a short walk from the event so I don’t get caught in Okinawa’s longest traffic jam of the year. Shooting fireworks against a black sky doesn’t really put the event in any context. Luckily the show started at 8pm and there was still a little color in the sky for the first 5 minutes. This was when I shot the picture above showing the fireworks, Emerald Beach, and the Orion Hotel. Then as darkness enveloped us, I got a few pics of the fireworks and reflections on the ocean. However, my favorite firework photos are still the shots I took at the Miyajima fireworks festival where the floating torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine could be silhouette by explosions. Saturday’s pics were shot with the Pentax K-1 with the 24-70mm f2.8 lens. The floating torii firework images were taken with the Pentax 67II medium format film camera and Fuji Provia 100F film.