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!
Another impressive Expo Park Fireworks Festival on Saturday. Very glad I live just a short walk from the event so I don’t get caught in Okinawa’s longest traffic jam of the year. Shooting fireworks against a black sky doesn’t really put the event in any context. Luckily the show started at 8pm and there was still a little color in the sky for the first 5 minutes. This was when I shot the picture above showing the fireworks, Emerald Beach, and the Orion Hotel. Then as darkness enveloped us, I got a few pics of the fireworks and reflections on the ocean. However, my favorite firework photos are still the shots I took at the Miyajima fireworks festival where the floating torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine could be silhouette by explosions. Saturday’s pics were shot with the Pentax K-1 with the 24-70mm f2.8 lens. The floating torii firework images were taken with the Pentax 67II medium format film camera and Fuji Provia 100F film.
A couple of portraits from part of last month’s studio workshop where we were using soft light and black background. Thanks Allison for joining the workshop and posing for us. Camera: Pentax 645Z with 90mm lens Lighting: Profoto D2 with softlight reflector white (right) White card as a reflector (left) Profoto 7a with 2 pro heads in RFi 1×4′ softboxes (rear left and right) for rim light. Triggered with Profoto Air Remote.
During the Kyoto 2017 Workshop we jumped on the bullet train to visit Himeji City and the finest example of a Japanese castle. I didn’t get any new shots of the castle itself, but did get a few snaps of the guards. A short BTS video taken by Tech Ninja Patrick. And here are few shots of the castle from 2016 in case you were wondering which one is Himeji. For movie fans, it’s the castle used to train the elite fighting force in James Bond’s. “You Only Live Twice.”
What’s the difference between a geisha and a maiko? How do you tell them apart? A geisha, 芸者, is a professional entertainer, the direct translation of the kanji would be art person. Geiko 芸子 is sometimes used when referring specifically to geisha from Kyoto. A maiko 舞妓 is a geiko in training. This process takes many years as she masters the various instruments, dances and social graces required to become a geiko. Along with their age, there are other ways to distinguish maiko from geiko. The hairstyle of a maiko is created with natural hair, while a geiko wears a wig. A maiko usually has many more ornate accessories that adorn her hair. For footwear, maiko usually wear okobo (platform sandals) while the geiko wear zori (low sandals). The inner collar of the kimono is usually red with patterns for maiko and plain white for geiko. And when looking from the back, the obi of the geiko is folded to form a box knot (taiko) while the maiko have the obi folded in a longer elaborate display known as …
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.
A couple more pics from the shoot with Brylee last weekend. I’m really enjoying trying to balance natural light with flash, varying how “lit” the images appear. For these outdoor shots I wanted to keep things looking a little more natural than usual. Images shot with the Pentax 645Z and 90mm lens around f2.8 with the Profoto B1 and OCF beauty dish white. After the shoot when I explained about setting up a Dropbox folder to share the completed images, Brylee asked if I could resend the images from her previous shoot. I last photographed Brylee in December 2013. A couple of the images from the shoot are below. At some point Brylee’s computer had suffered a hard drive failure causing her to lose all her data. I can resend all her images from our shoot, but there will be so many family pics she can’t get back. At least she now has multiple backups so it never happens again. Once again to all my family and friends, back up your data. If you use …
Mr. Benn was one of my favorite TV shows when I was young. The very normal Mr. Benn enters a shop, puts on a costume, and goes on a magical adventure. In the previous blog post you met Dan the Alaskan fisherman. However, Dan has on more than just one adventure. Please let me introduce Dan the lumberjack, Dan the highlander, Dan the biker, Dan the convict, and Dan the mountaineer. Images were shot with the Pentax 645Z with either the 90mm macro or the 55mm lens. Lighting was a Profoto B2 with an OCF beauty dish white. Images were shot over a couple of hours around sunset. The lighting setup remained the same, I just slowly dialed down the power on the strobe as the sky darkened. Huge amount of fun. As a kid I always imagined what it would be like to be Mr Benn. It turns out that I’m actually the shopkeeper of the special costume shop. Thanks again to Dan, and once again a warning to visitors. If you pop in …