Along with portraits I needed to get some images of groups dancing at the festival. There are several areas where they dance, but I based myself at the largest venue where hundreds of spectators watch the event from terraced seating. Organizing a press pass meant I could get much better images than shooting from the terraces, but even press are restricted to where they can go so not to impede the dancers or spoil the view for spectators. I shot hundreds of images between 6pm and 9.30pm, but nearly all the best shots came from a period of about 10 minutes during twilight just after the floodlights came on. Overall a great festival. If you’re ever in Japan between August 12 to 15, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Some portraits of the young men a Awa Odori, Tokushima. Standard modus operandi: Pentax 645Z with 90mm lens. Shake reduction within the lens useful to maximize sharpness without a tripod.
Awa Odori, one of the great Japanese dance festivals. It takes place every August in Tokushima City on Shikoku Island. I photographed the festival about 5 years ago, before I started shooting digital. In many way things have changed a great deal. I’m shooting far more frames and I’m using higher ISOs when needed. However, the job of getting the images is just the same. Before the event it’s logistics and paperwork, then travel, and on the day of the festival it’s all about interaction and hopefully artistic vision. The change to digital did mean I could sit on the train back to Okayama and review the day’s images. Otherwise, I’d have had to dump a bag of 220 rolls off at Yodobashi Camera and then patiently wait to see what develops… A few of the elegant girls and ladies taking part.