Thank you for having me as your photographer at the USO Okinawa 48th Annual Service Salute. The Service Salute celebrates those individuals who work as volunteers in their community from both the American and Japanese services. Congratulations to all those who received awards. Attendees can now download images from the event from Dropbox at the link below. https://tinyurl.com/y4rghkxl This service is provided by the USO Okinawa. Attendees can share the images and make prints of their favorite photos for free.
May 5th was the final day of the 2019 Naha Dragon Boat Races. Weather was a bit hazy, but it was great to get some new pics for the blog, and some video footage of the event for future projects. Pics shot with the Pentax 645Z and the 300 mm lens. Congratulations to all the teams who took part.
Yesterday we visited the dojo of Fusei Kise and his son Isao Kise in Okinawa City. 10th dan in Matsumura Orthodox Shorin-Ryu Karate, Fusei Kise studied under Hohan Soken. Located in Okinawa City not far from the Goya Intersection, Fusei Kise has taught several generations of American service members who have taken their knowledge back to the States. Fusei Kise will be 84 years old next month, so although he still trains the majority of teaching is done by his son Isao Kise who has also reached the rank of 10th dan in Matsumura Orthodox Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo.
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 …
It’s been a big first year for Jasmine. Thank you for being daddy’s awesome little girl!
The traditional hairstyle for Okinawan women is called kanpuu. The hair is twisted on top of the head, and then held in place with a jiifaa hairpin. Photographed with the Pentax 645Z and 90mm lens. Natural light. This was shot during this months Photography Fundamentals workshop. The next one will be March 30th / 31st 2019. https://www.facebook.com/events/547482259063977/
Another great Photography Fundamentals workshop last weekend. Always a pleasure to share my love of photography and Okinawa with other people. The next workshops are at the start of February and the end of March. Click on the links to visit the Facebook event page, message me to book your spot. Photography Fundamentals with Chris Willson February 2nd & 3rd, 2019 Photography Fundamentals with Chris Willson March 30th & 31st, 2019
The biggest event of 2018 was on February 12th when Jasmine Victoria Willson was born. Over the last 10 months she’s grown to be a delightful little toddler who is excited by all her adventures. Life now revolves around bananas, Igglepiggle, and bath time. I’ve been shooting a wide range of imagery, along with producing some videos for SKYLUM software. The Karate Masters Portrait Project continued, and expanded to start a new video documentary series about the amazing martial arts sensei on Okinawa. 2019 will begin with some exciting news about the series. At the start of the year I was out photographing the humpback whales while creating a video for SKYLUM, then at the end of the year I was recording the TEDxOIST lecture series with a team of videographers. One of the speakers was my good friend Nozomi Kobayashi who talked about her job monitoring the migrating whales. In the spring I updated the Okinawa and Kyushu chapters for the next edition of Fodor’s Japan. Jasmine had her first trip down to Miyako …
A great couple of Christmas dives yesterday with my buddy Hiroshi at Cape Zanpa. Rinsed the gear and now sorting through images with a pile of reference books at my side. Identifying fish is often a challenge especially when some of them such as the bullethead parrotfish change their shape, color, and even sex over the course of their lives. Trying to identify corals is even trickier, but hopefully over the years I’ll be able to better differentiate between the various sponges, sea fans, soft corals, stony corals and anemones. The featured photo is I believe a Periclimenes psamathe ( seafan shrimp) on a Muricella sp. gogorian sea fan.
On November 30th, I had the honor to photograph and shoot some video of Yoshitsune Senaga, 10th dan Uechi ryu karate at his dojo in Tomigusku, Okinawa. He is the 82nd sensei to be photographed for the Karate Masters Portrait Project. 81 year old Senaga sensei also studies kobudo, and was willing to show us his techniques with the sai. Interestingly he showed how the pair of sai that he used would ring like tuning forks when hit. He explained that this was because these sai were made from metal that was once used in a temple bell in Nara. After taking portraits for the project, I recorded a quick interview with Senaga sensei, then finally we got some selfies of the group, and little Jasmine once again stole the show. The video, the second in the series we are working on, will be translated and hopefully appear online in the coming weeks. This is an exciting new addition to the project, and we are currently thinking about how we can take this video …