Friday, March 28, 2014

The Manfrotto MVM500A video fluid monopod review

So if you read my previous blog post you'll have seen that while I was recently up in Yokohama shooting a wedding I stopped by my favourite camera shop Yodobashi Camera and picked up the new Manfrotto MVM500A monopod for video. Although I had a devil of a time carting it back through Yokohama and Tokyo with my other camera gear and luggage it was well worth the investment.

Although I'm no professional videographer I do like to make the odd video for my Youtube channel for a bit of fun and also find this monopod fantastic for getting smooth panning shots while shooting stills at slower shutter speeds as Im able to smoothly pan the subjects with long lenses and still shoot in the range of 30th or 40th/second and still get a relatively high "keeper" rate. Much higher at least then what I could do hand held or with my old existing regular monopod.

I bought the monopod for just over 30,000yen or about $300US but looking on now I see they have it at a discount. You can check it out or buy the monopod from this link.
Buying anything on Amazon via my link also helps me keep my business going a little bit and allows me to keep making these video reviews so thank you for using it!

Here's my video review of the new Manfrotto MVM500A

And here's a couple of test photos I did using the monopod with my Canon 1DmkIV and 300mm f2.8L lens at 40th/second shutter speed. As you can see I was able to track my good friend pro surfer Danny Melhado below and keep him sharp even at this crazy slow shutter speed while allowing the water to become blurry. Below that is one of Danny's students going much slower thus the water is not as blurred but you get the idea.

For this shot of Danny above I also applied an oil filter to the water in Photoshop to make it seem almost like a painting and to increase the blurry feel even more. 

So do you need this monopod if you just want to shoot stills? No but it will allow you to get more creative and nail more of those slower shutter panning shots. 
What about for video? Do I need one of these? I would say YES! Of course tripods are great and cant be beat for stabilisation. But for times when you can't use a tripod or are in a hurry like at weddings then this thing is perfect. It will also allow you to get shots you just couldn't get with a tripod, getting into smaller tight spaces, standing up on a narrow bench say. 
Highly recommended! Again you can pick one up on sale from Amazon by clicking here!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Another random iPhone snap shot made it to Flickr Explore & a new toy for video

Another one of my random iPhone snap shots made it into Flickr's Explore. For those who don't know Flickr Explore is a thing were certain shots sometimes get chosen out of the thousands and thousands of shots that get uploaded around the world each day and get featured in Explore. I just find it pretty funny that some shots that I put a lot of effort and time into never make it but a random snap shot at my favorite shop gets in...

So the shot above "Tripod city" was taken a few days ago in Yokohama's huge Yodobashi Camera store. I love to visit these camera stores when ever I make it up to mainland Japan as they are just a photographers heaven with floors and floors of photography gear. They make most super markets look like small convenience stores. 

I was up in Yokohama to shoot the wedding of Koji & Miku. Koji is a friend I've known from years back when I used to teach business English at Canon in Fukushima. Yes back when I first moved to Japan many moons ago I was only a part time freelance photographer shooting the odd wedding and event here and there. 

Anyway back to Yodobashi Camera, I couldn't leave the store without getting a little souvenir from the trip and I found something I have had my eye one for a while now. The Manfrotto MVM500A video monopod. I had originally seen these when I did a DSLR video workshop a few years back and thought they were pretty cool then. That was with an older model which was no longer in stock. So I got this new model with bigger head and I must say it's one very useful bit of kit for both video and still photography. 

As you can see in the image below it's able to support itself by its 3 little fold out feet at the bottom. 
The fluid drag system makes it silky smooth for panning and tilting and is super quick and easy to set up. I took it for a test run today while out shooting some Flyboarding (Kind of like a water jet pack device for those that don't know) and was amazed as just how easy it was to get smooth video from. 

I'll be making a full video review of the MVM500A shortly which will be up on my Youtube channel at

If you can't wait for the video review and want to pick yourself up one of these bad boys you can get them here on Amazon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Okinawa wedding chapel OK for Pre Wedding photo shooting!

Almost daily I get the question from potential customers " Can we shoot in an Okinawa wedding chapel? " Until now its only been possible if you were actually having a wedding at one of the chapels but today I'm happy to announce that we can use a new chapel! fotoShisa Photography has worked out a deal with a new wedding chapel to allow for pre-wedding / engagement shooting inside this chapel and the beautiful beach directly out front. I took a trip to visit the chapel today and made a few images for reference.

As you can see the chapel has magnificent views of the beautiful ocean right out front and would make for a great location for a pre wedding shoot.

Want to use this chapel in your Okinawa Pre Wedding photo session? Photo packages start from ¥65,000. Drop fotoShisa Photography an email for info and bookings by clicking here! Or drop by our main website for sample photos, testimonials from other customers and info.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Published in Photography Masterclass magazine

Photography Masterclass magazine recently contacted me about using one of my favorite images in their latest issue in their Capture Perfect Panoramas section. 

My image below in the magazine entitled Something Wicked This Way Comes was shot last year back when I was visiting Australia to shoot a wedding. On my last day there at my Mums place in my home town of Redcliffe I saw this epic looking super cell storm cloud heading right for us. 
I quickly raced across the road to the beach with Canon 5DmkIII in hand and snapped a sequence of images to later stitch together in Photoshop as the cloud was too huge to fit in the frame even with my wide 17-40mm f4L lens. 
I had just enough time to snap off a few quick images before I had to race back inside. Just as I was half way across the road it started belting down rain and lightning. The shot remains of of my favorite images I've made to date. 

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Friday, March 07, 2014

Okinawa Pre Wedding location shoot for Cindy & Max (and behind the scenes video)

The wedding season is here in full force on Okinawa again now. Weddings and other edits are starting to stack up in the computer like they always do this time of year making it hard to blog or make videos for my Youtube channel. I did manage to whip up a little behind the scenes video from our 5 location shoot earlier this month with Cindy & Max from Hong Kong.

Check out the behind the scenes video below to see what we got up to.

Behind the scenes on a multiple Okinawa location pre wedding shoot with fotoShisa Photography

Here's a few other shots from the day.

Outside Aquagrace wedding chapel

Oakley reflections

Heart in the sun at Manzamo

A cool walking bridge spanning several mini islands in Onna

Let that veil fly

Love epic clouds as backdrops

On the rocks at Zanpa

As you can see it was pretty windy

Along the Zanpa cliffs

Look a whale!

Going for a stroll on Uza beach

Low tide coral

Beach 51 panorama is one of the best on the island. 

Beach 51 cave

In an old WWII dug out


Late afternoon at Manzamo

Wandering at Manzamo with in their Hakama's (kimono)

Walking into the sunset


Twilight on the cliffs of Manzamo

Interested in having a pre wedding photo session in Okinawa? Drop fotoShisa an email for details and packages fotoshisa @

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Paragliding in Okinawa

For my birthday Haruna got me a little joy flight on motorized paraglider for a tour around the Ishikawa area on the east coast of Okinawa. Of course I had to take along my Canon 5DmkIII and Gopro for the ride. Here's a little video I put together of the flight.

I had the Gopro 3+ Black Edition mounted to my Lastolite telescopic pole which is an awesome pretty long pole I use to mount my flashes to for my weddings and location shoots usually.
The ride itself lasted about 20 minutes and costs around 8000yen. Not too cheap but its a bit of fun if you want an arial view of the island.

Here's a couple of photos by Haruna with the 1DmkIV and 300mm f2.8L

Looking south a long the east coast towards Nakagusuku