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Gamelan Dancers

Early Sunday morning I had the opportunity to photograph the musicians and dancers of a Gamelan Indonesian dance group. I shot portraits using natural light and a wide aperture against green vegetation. I also used the felt black background and a single strobe setup from the karate masters series to create a second set of images. Here’s a quick behind the scenes shot showing the black Lastolite background leaning against our car, and a Profoto B1 strobe with OCF beauty dish on the stand. Portraits were shot using the Pentax 645Z with the 90mm and 55m lenses. A huge thank you to the Gamelan dancers and musicians, and to Michael Lyon for setting up the shoot. Looking forward to seeing your performances in the future.

Transformation

Came across this fascinating digital painting that was based on one of the outtakes from the 2016 “fisherman” shoot with Michael Lynch for the Pentax K-1 exhibition. UP! from hashem alshaer on Vimeo. Michael was mugging for the camera and staring wildly at the sky. The digital painting version transforms the picture to a whole new level. Here’s my finished photo of the wild seafaring Michael.

Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate #3 Koichi Nakasone

Episode 3 of the documentary series Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate is now on YouTube! After a couple of months working on it, it is a great way to end the Heisei era! A huge thank you to Koichi Nakasone for giving up his time to be interviewed and demonstrating his techniques. Thank you to James, Becka, Angelina, Yuki, Michael and Gary for help create the video. James literally got a little choked up in the making of this episode 🙂 Please share via social media to get the word out, and also thumbs up, comment and subscribe on YouTube so that it is recommended by the algorithm to more viewers. This crowd-funded documentary series would not be possible without the help of the international karate community. Thank you all. Main Sponsors: Fusei Kise, Isao Kise and the OSMKKF-USA Series Sponsors: Cezar Borkowski – Northern Karate Schools Marguerite “Peggy” Hess – Jensen Beach Uechi Ryu Karate Do Dojo Reece Cummings – Cummings Karate Dojo Michael Quinn – Okinawa Shogen-Ryu Karate-Do Europe Jerry Figgiani – Shorin …

Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate #2 Yoshitsune Senaga

I’m pleased to announce the release of the second episode in the Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate series. This episode features Uechi Ryu 10th dan Yoshitsune Senaga who at 82 continues to teach and share his passion for karate. Thank you to those who have already sponsored and supported the series.  Thank you to Yoshitsune Senaga and his students for allowing us into the dojo twice to film, and to Dell Hamby for helping set up the shoots and assisting with translation.  My passion for this project is growing as I realize that this is a way for the sensei to really talk with the international karate community directly. There’s no celebrity or TV host between the masters and the viewer. It’s simply them talking about their love of the art, and what matters to them.  I’m already setting up interviews with other karate masters for the coming weeks and months. Hopefully we can even keep pushing the quality of the videos to the next level as we purchase a boom mic, better lenses, and …

Yoshitsune Senga Video Preview

Currently editing the second video in the documentary series Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate. It is a fascinating interview with 10th dan Uechi-ryu master Yoshitsune Senaga. Hopefully we’ll have it online by Monday February 18th. Here’s a draft of the first couple of minutes to see what we’re working on. This is just an iPhone video of the screen, which should stop any confusion that this is the finished product. And here’s the ending sequence so far. If you are interested in helping making this video series possible, please get in touch with me by email or facebook. In this second video we will be able to list sponsors and supporters who have reached out to us before Sunday February 17th. Hopefully we’ll keep adding more sponsors and supporters over time, and these names will be added to the list at the end of future episodes in the series. As of February 13th, 2019 our sponsors and supporters are: Series Sponsors Ceazar Borkowski – Northern Karate Schools Marguerite “Peggy” Hess Reece Cummings – Cummings Karate …

Rest in Peace Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto

After battling cancer, Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto passed away today, September 18 2018,  at age 41. I photographed him in December 2016 when he visited Okinawa, and then was invited to take portraits for the opening of his Krazy Bee gym in Okinawa. It was a real pleasure to meet him and his family. For several years I’ve been photographing the karate masters of Okinawa. It has been sad when I’ve heard one of the elderly sensei has passed away, but the death of Yamamoto at such a young age is painful. I wish his family so much love and peace at this time.

Summer Workshops

June 2nd & 3rd  Photography Fundamentals with Chris Willson June 9th & 10th  North & South Intermediate Workshop with Chris Willson June 16th  Star Trek themed Studio Photography Fundamentals with Chris Willson July 7th & 8th  Photography Fundamentals with Chris Willson August 4th & 5th Photography Fundamentals with Chris Willson For more details please click on the course above to reach the Facebook page or visit this blog’s Workshop page. To book a spot on any of the course please email or Facebook message me and I’ll send you a PayPal request for the course fee. Payment then secures your spot.

100 Kata for Karate Day 2017

October 25th is Karate Day in Okinawa! Yesterday was the 100 kata event at the new Karate Kaikan in Okinawa. I was busy shooting some video so I passed the Pentax K-1 camera over to Yuki so she could take the photos. All the participants did really well undertaking the challenge, a huge thanks to James Pankiewicz for organizing, and great job Yuki with the pics!

10 life changes since getting LASIK

It’s been nearly 4 years since I had LASIK at the Shinjuku branch of the Kobe Kanagawa Eye Clinic Japan. You can read more about my experience with LASIK here:  http://www.travel67.com/lasik/    I was chatting with friends the other day about how positive my experience had been. Here are 10 ways my life changed! (These don’t include non-Lasik related changes such as getting married, buying a house…)  Saving money      No need to buy contact lenses, or solutions, or glasses.   Saving time        Don’t have to spend a few minutes in the morning and before going to bed dealing with contact lenses. No emergency glasses days              I’d wear contacts almost every day, but if I had sore eyes I’d have to wear glasses. I’d then have awkward conversations with friends or workmates explaining why I was wearing glasses.   No foggy glasses        No problems going from cool air-conditioned buildings to the humid outdoors.   Smaller wash kit          No extra bag of solutions, cleaning products, spare lenses, and spare glasses. Much easier for …

Koichi Nakasone 9th Dan Ryukyu Kingdom Sui-di Bujutsu

Yesterday I made the short drive over to Nakijin Village to the home of Koichi Nakasone, 9th Dan Ryukyu Kingdom Sui-di Bujutsu. He is the 76th sensei to be photographed for the Karate Masters Portrait Project. James Pankiewicz, Becka Tedder, and I sat down for a chat in the traditional wooden house that Nakasone sensei had recently built by himself. He told us a few stories about his karate training, and the three months he spent in the USA traveling from dojo to dojo, challenging the members to fight. (Known in Japanese as dojo yaburi.) After our chat, we set up the black background on the side of the house and took the portraits. (Pentax 645Z with 90mm lens. Profoto B1 with white softlight reflector.) We then drove a couple of minutes to beautiful Nagahama Beach for some more location shots. I switched lenses to the 25mm wide-angle and removed the softlight reflector as we needed as much power as possible to try and fill in shadows. Becka held the light, while James put on his …