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 …
Here are the final 4 videos from the TEDxOIST event my team and I recorded in October. It was great to see several familiar faces giving presentations, Nozomi Kobayashi is a good friend of mine, and many years ago I interviewed Makoto Suzuki for Okinawa Living magazine.
Three more videos from the TEDxOIST Okinawa event are now on YouTube. A great experience working on this project with Gary Hughes, Jon Galione, Patrick Batac, and the OIST team.
Last month our team recorded the TEDxOIST lectures, and they are currently in the process of being released on the TEDx YouTube channel. The first 3 have just come online so if you didn’t manage to see the event you can watch them here. There are 10 lectures in total, so I’ll announce on the blog when the other videos are available. A huge thanks to my team of Gary, Jon and Patrick for operating the other cameras. It was great working together filming the event, and also to be part of an even larger team who were organizing TEDxOIST.
A Jasmine mini mini movie. A great way to keep practicing shooting and editing, while creating something for the grandparents! Featured image is a pic from last year. We’re very lucky to be able to stroll from our house down the road and see this annually.
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 …
The Karate Masters Portrait Project began on March 11, 2012 with a photo session of Yoshitaka Taira sensei and Toshimitsu Arakaki sensei. Five and a half years later, James and I are starting a parallel project to interview these masters and try to create an archive of their teachings. Once again we began with Toshimitsu Arakaki sensei, and look forward to learning a great deal over the coming years. Video offers a whole new set of challenges both technical and financial. As with the Karate Masters Portrait Project we’re striving for quality, as hopefully the content we produce will be of interest both now and in the future. The basic look of the interview is similar to the portraits with a simple black background. For portraits we used a single strobe with a beauty dish, for video we’re using a CAME-TV C700D Daylight LED Edge Light as the keylight on the face and a CAME-TV Boltzen as a rim light on the subject’s right. Here’s a test shot with me looking sleepy. The lights are …
Goat wrestling is an annual event on Sesoko Island in Motobu, Okinawa. Two male goats are placed in a ring, and then do what comes naturally. If they are evenly matched they will butt heads until one turns in submission. If they are unevenly matched, or uninterested they ignore each other, or the weaker goat wanders straight back to the gate often sticking its head through the railings. The goats seem to be unaffected by the occasional headbutt. Sportingly, they never tried to headbutt their opponent anywhere except the head. The curved horns also seemed to avoid any puncture wounds or lacerations. The only goat that came off badly at the whole event was the young goat that was given away as 1st prize in the raffle. The winner was asked what he was going to do with the goat. He replied, “eat it.” The video was shot with the Sony A7SII camera with a 16-35mm lens on a CAME-TV Single gimbal. The video was shot and uploaded to YouTube in 4K.
Along with the photographs I shot for the Okinawan Martial Arts Budosai Seminar on April 29th, I also took some video of the event. I edited the footage in Final Cut Pro X and uploaded to YouTube. For those interested, I shot this with a Sony A7sII with the 16-35mm lens (at around 20mm). I manually set the exposure and the white balance. I shot with continuous auto focus. The camera was mounted on a CAME-Single 3-Axis Handheld Camera Gimbal by CAME-TV (see top image). It was a great learning experience. You have to find a balance between documenting the event fully, and not getting in the way of those attending. I didn’t want to block the view of the students or be hit with a flying foot or fist. For some techniques, it would be nice to have another camera angle to show close ups, but for this occasion a single viewpoint will have to suffice. Looking forward to shooting a lot more video this year.
Although my current cameras can record HD 1080 video, if I’m specifically working with video on a project I want to be able to shoot footage at 4K. There are a wide range of cameras that can shoot 4K from a GoPro at a few hundred dollars to cinema cameras at a few hundred thousand. After looking at the options, and discussing things with my friend Jon Galione, I bought a Sony A7S II that will allow me to start shooting 4K internally and produce high quality footage. Just in the testing phase at the moment, but here’s a few seconds shot with the A7S II and a Rokinon 85mm lens. Okay Go!