All posts filed under: Sony A7RIV

Andrea Klementisová – Gojuryu Karate

A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to photograph a karate world champion, Andrea Klementisová. After winning numerous karate championships around the globe Andrea moved from Slovakia to Okinawa. She has assisted Okinawa prefecture with the promotion of karate overseas, and helped with the organization of tournaments. She is now also teaching classes at the Asato Dojo in Naha, City. Meeting Andrea also gave me the opportunity to start a new series of portraits, Sensei: The Next Generation. Unlike the original series of portraits which are all shot with a single key light, my thought is that these will also be lit with a rim light from behind. Shooting with a single light against a black background worked well with the oldest karate masters as they usually had either white hair, or were bald. If you photograph a person with black hair against a dark background, they can sometime melt into the darkness. Adding a rim light or hair light helps the subject stand out. James and I also recorded an interview with …

Dragon boats are back!

After a four-year hiatus, the dragon boats are once again racing during the Golden Week holidays. Friday afternoon had the finals of the regular races with the boats crews made up of both locals and Americans. The sky was overcast, but luckily it was not raining on the day. After these races the special dragon boat race took place, which the crews in traditional costume, along with flag bearers and karateka. I’m not sure of the names of the sensei performing with the black-robed crew, or the blue-robed crew, but the white-robed crew was led by Onaga Sensei, a karate master I’ll be photographing in the coming weeks. Checking back through my archives I found a pic from 2011 when I actually managed to get in one of the boats for a race. Can’t believe I was shooting with a medium format digital camera, in the rain, on a boat that might sink! After going further back in the archvies, I found images shot with the Pentax 67ii medium format film camera around 20 years …

Bise Village Kimono Shoot with Tomoko

A great experience photographing Tomoko before she leaves the island next month. Bise Village in Motobu Town is famous for its fukugi trees Garcinia subelliptica which are used as windbreaks and provide shade. The idyllic tree-lined avenues are particularly photogenic and are recently the setting for a Japanese tv drama Chimudondon (ちむどんどん). Professional photography/video in Bise Village of clients in formal wear (bridal or kimono) now requires booking and a shooting fee, but it remains one of my favorite locations. Kimono styling by Yuki. Sony A7RIV with 50mm f1.2 lens. Profoto B1 strobe with softlight reflector to add a little fill.

Yoshihiro Kuniyoshi – 6th dan Uechi-ryu karate

Yoichiro Kuniyoshi is 6th dan in Uechi-ryu karate, a student of the Uechi-ryu master Kiyohide Shinjo. Recently Yoichiro Kuniyoshi set up his own dojo in Yomitan so James and I stopped by to take some portraits of him and his younger brother Wataru Kuniyoshi (3rd dan). After shooting portraits in the dojo, we popped down to the beach where Kuniyoshi performed the kata Sanchin, as his younger brother punched, kicked, and smacked him with a piece of timber. Images shot with the Sony A7RIV with the 24-105mm lens. Strobe used was a Profoto B1 with a white softlight reflector.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – Kyushu Edition :)

Season finale of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power tonight. Reminded me that I hadn’t shared the pics I took when visiting the El Patio Ranch in Aso, Kyushu. Active volcanoes gurgle away across the region, but the blackened landscape is actually due to noyaki grass burning that takes place each March. Burning the old grass encourages fresh new growth, which produces rich pasture for the local cows. The El Patio Ranch is located in Aso and visitors can take short rides around the area. The ranch dogs often join for the walk, and seem to be loving life in Kyushu’s version of Mordor. I gave the pics a quick colour grade, and a 1.85:1 aspect ratio crop to get in the mood for tonight’s finale

Takachiho Shrine, Miyazaki

In spring, while on assignment in Kyushu, I spent a couple of days in Takachiho which is famous for its gorge, and the kagura performances. Another notable site is the Takachiho Shrine which is hidden in amongst many giant cedars. As a Shinto shrine, the entrance is marked by a giant torii gate. There are komainu guardians, flanking the steps to the main shrine buidling, and another sacred komainu housed inside. Ema, prayer tablets, that are unique to the shrine, can be purchased to write your hope and dreams. Omikuji, fortune papers, tell what your future holds. These are sold in the little shrine shop manned by the miko (巫女), shrine maidens, who are dressed in red and white. As I was visiting officially, I was able to ask the staff if I could take a photograph of one of the miko in front of the shrine. This is not something I’d usually be able to do, so a huge thank you to the staff of the shrine for being so friendly and accommodating. All …

Kagura – Takachiho

Fujisaki-san is a master of Kagura, the Shinto ritual performance that tells the stories of their gods. While in Takachiho, Miyazaki Prefecture, I had the chance to meet up with him, and photograph several of his performances. Local legend is that Amaterasu Omikami, the goddess of the sun, once hid in a cave, plunging the world into darkness. The other gods worked together to bring her out of the cave, and bring back the light. First Fujisaki-san performed the Uzume Dance in which he portrays the goddess Ame no Uzume who danced outside the cave to entice Amaterasu Omikami out.  Dressed as the god Tajikarao, and wearing a white scowling mask, Fujisaki-san then performed The Dance of Tajikarao. In the myth this is when the god Tajikarao searches for the cave.  The third performance was the Totori Dance. Fujisaki-san is still the god Tajikaro, but wearing a red mask. In the first pic, the straining red-faced Tajikarao removes the giant stone that closed the cave.  After shooting inside Fujisaki-san’s home, I wanted to get a few …