The rock garden at Ryoan-ji is one of the finest examples of a hire-niwa. 15 rocks are positioned in a large flat area of small stones without hills or ponds. I wanted an image that tried to show it as a place of quiet reflection, which is a little tricky at most times of day. However, if you’re the first person to arrive you may get a few moments of tranquility. Pentax 645Z with 25mm (top image) and 55mm (bottom image).
I’ve visited Kyoto’s famous Golden Pavilion several times over the last 15 years. Usually it’s been overcast, but on my latest visit there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. This was the perfect opportunity to get a wide establishing shot with plenty of room for text (thinking about the needs of clients). Shot with the Pentax 645Z and the 25mm lens held high above my head to get the correct angle. A shutter speed of 1/800 second and several bursts allowed me a sharp image without a tripod.
It’s raining, but you’ve still got to go to work. So you grab your umbrella and book a cab for yourself and a couple of workmates. The taxi arrives. The driver helps to keep your clothes dry as you get in the vehicle. Cherry blossom covers the trees. Ready to go, the evening awaits.
It’s been a while since I updated the blog. Many busy weeks, the last couple of which were spent in Kyoto prepping for, then teaching the 2017 Kyoto Workshop. Before the students arrived I spent about a week revisiting various locations thinking about possible images we could shoot, but also general planning including access, the amount of walking involved, the time required, bathrooms, and restaurants. Fushimi Inari Shrine with its tunnels of orange torii gates is one of Kyoto’s most famous locations. In 2004, I shot this post’s featured image with the Pentax 67 medium format film camera. At Inari shrines, foxes are revered as messengers. Fox statues and symbols can be found at the shrine and beside the various mountain trails. The orange torii gates are donated by individuals or business to the shrines. There are signs at various points on the route giving pricing for different sizes of gates. While scouting the trail, I came across Takeda-san who was finishing the painting of a new torii gate. I spent a few minutes chatting …
A fun day at the medieval studio workshop. Charles brought his armor with surcoats of the Knights Hospitaller, a crusader and his family crest. Charles competes in the “Armored Combat League” where you wear historically accurate armor, and then fight with blunted weapons. Images were shot using variations of natural light, a single Profoto B1 strobe outdoors, and multiple studio strobes indoors. I used the Pentax 645Z with either the 90mm or 55mm lens. Charles also brought another one of his military uniforms, this one from a galaxy far far away. Huge thanks to Charles for bringing all his gear, I learned a huge amount about medieval and scout trooper armor! Good luck in your next armored combat league battle.
A fun Off Camera Flash Workshop last Saturday. Pete Leong and I taught fellow photographers Ashley, Kali, Jessa, Ray, Corey, and Takashi a few new tips and tricks for using flash while on location. A huge thank you to Cactus and Profoto for providing some extra gear for demonstrating to the group. Thank you to Okinawan musician Nayuta for modeling and wearing the traditional ryuso kimono, and to Yuki for assisting and interpreting throughout the day. Thanks again everyone for another successful workshop!
Kyoto Workshop April 1st to 7th, 2017 An amazing photographic experience in Japan. 6 nights and 7 days exploring Kyoto and creating stunning images. We will be visiting iconic locations including temples, shrines, bamboo groves and traditional gardens. There will be monkeys, geisha, and a model (Yuki) in yukata and kimono. 6 nights and 7 days exploring and photographing Kyoto and the local area. We will also take side trips out to the castles and skyscrapers of Osaka, and the temples of Nara. As members of the workshop you’ll be doing more than just playing follow the leader. We’ll be learning as we shoot, capturing great images at each location. I’ll be bringing speedlights and a Profoto B1 so that we can add our own splash of magical light when desired. In the evenings you’ll have the opportunity to review images and work on your favorite shots in Lightroom. Price US$1800 (deposit US$500) Price includes accommodation in a business hotel in Kyoto for six nights (individual rooms with breakfasts), entry fees. Does not include transportation …
Fantastic Star Trek themed Studio Fundamentals Workshop yesterday. We started talking about the differences between speedlights and studio equipment, continuous lights v strobes, monolights v power packs. When looked at the simple one-light set up I use for the Karate Masters Portrait Project then took it to the next level with some indoor rain and a fisherman’s sou’wester. In the afternoon we worked up to a 4-light setup, and even used a bit of smoke for good measure. A super fun day filled with friends, coffee, cakes and the occasional flash of brilliance. Happy 50th Birthday Star Trek! Live long and prosper. Learn more about our workshops by clicking on the workshops tab.
Another great Fundamentals workshop last weekend. Becoming a regular at the various cafes in Motobu and Yomitan. After a hot Sunday, we reviewed the images in my friend’s cafe Majorca. On July 30/31 we’ll have the North & South intermediate workshop. Then the next Fundamentals Workshop will be on August 6/7. More details can be found on the WORKSHOPS page. Get in touch to book your place!
The Off Camera Flash workshop went really well yesterday. My buddy Pete Leong and I taught the class, and we had 3 great students Adam, Anna and Liesa. We discussed the various different types of strobes and modifiers before getting out there and practicing taking some pics around Yomitan. We finished the class down at the beach. I took a pic of Yuki to demonstrate using shutter speeds below the max sync speed. A great day. The next workshops are: June 4 & 5, 2016 – Photography Fundamentals Workshop with Chris Willson June 18 & 19. 2016 – Time-lapse Workshop with Mark Thorpe