Saturday, November 30, 2013

New gear in from the good folks at Expo Imaging and Rogue

Just arrived back from a great and productive trip to Las Vegas teaching a workshop and shooting a bit for myself as well but more on that in an upcoming post. The great folks at Expo Imaging and Rogue Photographic Design who make the awesome Flash Bender sent me out some new gear to try out. Some of it will also be given away as prizes at our next Off Camera Flash workshop next weekend with good friend +Chris Willson. I've been using Rogue gear for a few years now and absolutely love it for its portability and usefulness when using flash with your photography. Your able to shape, bend and defuse the light in ways that allow for much greater creativity with your speedlights.

They have come out with some great new products now like the strip soft box and diffusers that will soften the light, attach quickly and pack flat for easy transportation unlike large studio softboxes. This will be a huge advantage for me when shooting overseas weddings so I won`t have to cart so much heavy gear around on the planes and in transit.

Also included was the new Expo Disk version 2.0. I'm really looking forward to using this for keeping white balance under control at weddings as that can be one of the most time consuming aspects of photo editing. Especially when your on a tight dead line and you have 10 weddings sitting on your computer waiting to be edited. Getting white balance locked down in camera or at least getting a good reference point to sync up post be a huge frustration and time saver.

I'm looking forward to getting all this new gear out for review and showing it off at workshops. A few lucky participants will also be going home with some of it.

Check out Rogue gear and take your speedlighting creativity to the next level!

Stay tuned for full blog and video reviews coming soon!

My first traditional wedding shoot in Taiwan

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of shooting my first traditional wedding in Taipei, Taiwan. I've photographed hundreds of Taiwan couples weddings before here in Okinawa but never a traditional Taiwanese wedding so I had very little idea of what to expect going into the wedding. One of the main reasons I left my full time job as a wedding photographer at Watabe Wedding was to be able to expand to shooting overseas weddings and experience how different weddings were in other countries. So far in my first year running my own photography company I've had the pleasure of shooting overseas weddings in Australia, Taiwan, Hawaii, California and of course many here in Japan.
For this first traditional Taiwanese wedding I had no 2nd shooter or assistants so I just had to go by "must shoot" list and stay on my toes the entire day as to not miss any of the important moments.

Im not really much of an early morning person but our Taiwan wedding had me starting my shoot at 5:30am at the grooms house! After he was ready we took a ride in a convoy of Mercedes Benz's over to meet the bride and her parents. I had fun although still half asleep standing up through the sun roof of the Benz to shoot the grooms car following behind us.

Over at the brides house here Mum was helping her get ready. 

As the groom arrived fire crackers were thrown out of the car onto the street.
These are super loud! Especially when its still early and relatively quite in the morning. 

As the groom gets out of the car he's met by a young boy offering oranges. 
The groom hands him money in a good fortune envelope. 

Next the bride and groom are whisked off back to the grooms house to 
meet with his parents. 

More fire crackers as the bridal party arrives.

The bride receives more offerings as she arrives 
at the grooms house. 

Next its time for the veil up, kiss and some prayers to their ancestors. 

Time to meet kneel before the brides parents and ask for their 
blessings for their marriage.

This is a very emotional time as they speak to their parents.

Money offerings to the couple from the parents. 

Rounding up the wedding ceremony at around 10am.
Now for a little relax time before the big reception party in the evening.
The catch is the bride has to stay in her wedding dress all day until her
first dress change at the party. 

Now at the reception at a ritzy hotel in downtown Taipei the bride has some finishing touches to her hair and make up before the party. 

They had these 3 ladies playing violin for all the guests as they enter the reception hall. 
They were really good! 

Balloons hugging the ceiling at the entrance to the party hall 
which seated the 400 or so guests.  

Finally the bride enters with her father passing her
 over to her new husband


The drinking and celebrations continue on until late at night. My job is done at least the shooting part. Now I head back to Japan to edit up all the images for the couple. Im just glad I managed to capture all of the important bits and experience my first traditional Taiwanese wedding.

 Congratulations Eric & Karen and thanks for having me photograph your special day!

Friday, November 15, 2013

December Off Camera Flash workshop spaces almost full

Just about to head back to the States for the 4th time this year to teach a private workshop, shoot some models and landscapes around Las Vegas but in December myself and +Chris Willson will be holding our 3rd off camera flash workshop here on Okinawa.

Each time we try to make it just that bit better and bigger. Now for the first time we have sponsorship from the great folks at Spider Holster and Expo Imaging/Rogue. They will be sending out some of their latest photographic gear for us to to try out and give away as prizes.

There are just a few spaces left for this two day workshop which will be held at Chris's place in Ishikawa. The workshop is aimed at advanced enthusiasts, semi pro's and pro's that want to take their flash photography to the next level.

We will be learning how get more creative with off camera lighting, using various diffusers and shooting with a Japanese model on the beach.

If your interested in doing a photography workshop on Okinawa but still stuck in "auto" mode on your camera then you might like to contact +Chris Willson to take part in one of his photography 101 workshops. I also teach various workshops on everything from Adobe Lightroom workflow through to star trail and night scape photography. If you prefer to learn one on one then contact me for a private workshop on what ever photography subject you would like to improve on.

Here are a couple of testimonials from our past "strobist" or Off Camera Flash workshop participants.

The workshop was AWESOME!!! I learned a lot and will definitely be able to take better pictures with the knowledge both you and Chris were able to pass along. Thank you!

Keith Smith.

Pete, your Off Camera Flash class was great. You and Chris provide clear instruction and plenty of time to get out and shoot to practice what we discussed. Having the model on the last day was a great bonus. 

David Edenfield

To see more testimonials visit my testimonials page on my fotoShisa website here

To reserve a spot on this workshop drop me an email here or contact Chris Willson of Travel67 Photography here

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Iheya Island camping and the Moon Light Marathon

Took a little break from shooting back to back weddings through this busy bridal season to get away to beautiful lesser known Iheya island to support Haruna running in the half marathon and to also shoot as much of the island as I could in the 2 and a half days we were camping there.

Iheya island is one of the most northern islands of Okinawa and also one of the most beautiful I've visited so far. It's like Okinawa's secret paradise as even in the busy time during the Iheya Moon Light Marathon we still had entire beaches to ourselves. To get there it's a 1 and a half hour ferry ride from  a port near Nakajin, north Nago out past Izena island to Iheya. We usually always take our car along on the ferry with us as we take a fair bit of camping and photography gear but it does cost around 15,000yen to get it there and back.

The island is a seascape shooters dream with most of the island surrounded by beautiful rocky shorelines and stunning clean beaches with pretty much no one on them. We were lucky enough to have great weather for the 3 days also apart from the rough seas that we had to cross on the ferry to get there which had myself, Jet & Jenna my kids feeling pretty sick.

I ended up shooting a bit over 1000 photos during the 3 days there. With a lot of them shooting runners in the marathon. Of the 1000 I kept about 200 images and from there picked 10 or so I'll be offering as prints for purchase, use in magazines etc..

Here are a few shots which stand out to me from our time there.

Please don't copy images without permission!
All images are available as prints or can be purchased digitally for publication by contacting me here

Exploring the coast line early in the morning

I love rocks like this. The early morning golden light was lighting them up just perfectly. 

Then a rainbow came out for a few minutes also.

A couple of Iheya Moonlight Marathon runners relax at the beautiful beach right by the camp ground before the race. 

Exploring a huge cave in the side of a cliff with Jenna looking extra tiny at the bottom. 

Waiting for the full moon to rise

Morning sun beams

The early bird gets the good light!

Looking across from the campground to some of Iheya's hills and mountains. 

Exploring Iheya and Noho island in the Nissan Serena

Had to take the Ikelite underwater housing along for a play. 
Glad I did as the water was amazing

Found a cute little black piggy

Im constantly surprised at how much Okinawa has to offer. I've been here about 3 years now and still finding awesome places to explore. If your on Okinawa and haven't visited Iheya or any of the outer islands of Okinawa you owe it to yourself to check them out. The beaches there are even better then here on the main island, great visibility for snorkelling, diving and it's a perfect escape if you just want to get away from crowds of people. 

To see the rest of the images please check out the main Iheya gallery on my website

Photos from the Marathon coming in a future blog post. 

Thanks for dropping by!