Saturday, March 23, 2013

New Moo cards, a nice Oki sunset and a crab with a funny home.

Finally got my new Moo cards in just 1 day before I head off to Hawaii for a wedding shoot. 
Id originally ordered them almost a month ago but they never arrived and got sent all the way back to the UK for some reason. I explained to the nice lady at Moo that I needed these new cards for the upcoming trip and she was nice enough to express ship them to my home here in Okinawa. Only 3 days! I changed the design around a bit on the cards and ordered a set of matte and glossy ones this time. They all look great and you can really see the quality in them. I highly recommend giving Moo cards a try if you haven't already. 

So today was mostly about getting things sorted for my trip to Hawaii tomorrow but I saw there was some nice afternoon light brewing so grabbed my 5DmkIII and headed down the road a bit to the Nikko Alivila resort area in hopes of catching a good colours in the sky. To make things a little more interesting this time I bought down with me my glass ball to play with. Haven't played with it too much yet but there a lot of cool creative stuff you could do it. 

Unfortunately in my haste to get out the door I forgot to bring my tripod and so was hand holding and doing speed bursts of 5 bracketed images in order to blend together back in Lightroom and Photoshop.
In reality I didn't need 5 bracketed images but I already had the Canon set up that way and didn't want to muck around changing settings while the beautiful colours were fading quickly.

Today's Bonus Photo: iPhone snap of a little crab I found on the way to the beach this afternoon. How cute is his little bottle cap house!!

Hope your all having a great weekend and thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Warming up in Okinawa. Underwater model shooting

Since I bought the Ikelite underwater housing last year for my old Canon 5DmkII and Canon 8-15mm f4L I've only been out snorkeling with it a few times. But had been wanting to try underwater photography with a model for ages now. In order to get some basic practice in I borrowed good friend and model Talisa to come get in the cold water with us for some fun.

Although the water looked great from above it was not as clear as I hoped under the water. Plus we probably should have been out much deeper so as not to kick up all the sand below us.

I still have a lot to wrap my head around with this underwater business but its a fun journey.

Here are a few of the shots from today.

Talisa getting used to keeping her eyes open in the salt water. 

The water wasn't really clear and we were probably too shallow as the sand was getting kicked up. 


Water magnification does some strange things with half/half shots like these

Trying to walk on water

Talisa getting goosebumps. Yeah it was pretty cold in the water today!

Falling in backwards

Here's my underwater rig. The Canon 5DmkII with 8-15mm f4L with the 
Ikelite housing. 

Not cheap but good fun! The housing is made up of 3 parts. The body, port and front dome. All together I think it cost about $2500 from B&H Photo in The States. It takes some getting used to controlling all the dials on the camera with the housing on and underwater but works quite well and has never got a drip inside it yet. Although I've only taken it down a couple of meters so far. Looking forward to finally getting my divers license this summer so I can really take advantage of the beautiful waters of Okinawa and work on my underwater photography skills more. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

From Russia with Love (Natali & Pavel pre wedding shoot)

Natali & Pavel from Russia recently came down to Okinawa for their pre wedding photo shoot. Originally we planned to shoot two locations, one at the beach and the other at Bios no oka (Bios on the Hill) a large beautiful botanical gardens type park not far from here. But because of time constraints we just ended up shooting at the beach.

Behind the scenes with Haruna assisting with the Lastolite EZYbox. 
Awesome kit for quick mobile lighting on location!

We nailed the timing and weather giving us that beautiful golden afternoon light and a bit of a sunset to boot. Click thumbnails to view larger.

As you can see Natali is such a natural model in front of the camera. 
It was great to meet you both!

Пит, большое спасибо за фотографии. Все очень классно! Нам понравились фотографии. Ждем вас летом в гости в Россию!

Natali & Pavel

To book your photoshoot in Okinawa or overseas contact me through the email button above. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hong Kong weddings in Okinawa!

Roger & Helen on the beach outside 
Coral Vita chapel Manza, Okinawa

Thought I would share a couple of photos I did recently with happy couples from Hong Kong that came to Okinawa for their wedding. I had the honor of being their photographer for their big day.

Once the ceremony is out of the way we walk down to the beach for some fun Okinawa location shooting.

Nelson & Theresa behind Aquagrace chapel with some amazing 
Okinawa ocean behind. 

Thinking of coming to Okinawa for your pre wedding photos? I offer photo packages from single location to all day multiple location Okinawa tours. Drop by my website at for more information or press the email button at the top and leave me a message 8)

Seniors Photo Sessions in Okinawa

When someone first asked me if I would photograph seniors here in Okinawa I thought they were talking about senior citizens! We don't have "senior photography sessions" back in Australia.

With such a big US military family presence here on Okinawa there are a lot of young adults finishing their schooling and want to have their graduation photos in a unique location.

Here's a recent senior photo shoot with Brandon I did on location down by the water here in Yomitan and also at our home studio.

If your interested in doing a senior photo shoot while your here on Okinawa please hit that email button top right and drop me a message. Packages starting from ¥15,000

Visit my facebook photography page at

Monday, March 11, 2013

Return to Fukushima | 2 years after the tsunami

Today marks the two year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that wiped out so many houses and took so many peoples lives along the coast of Fukushima. Before moving down to Okinawa about 3 years ago I lived in Fukushima for about 10 years as a photographer and taught some English for a few years also. It's such a beautiful place abundant with natural beauty. 4 very distinct seasons makes it perfect for photography, world class snowboarding and skiing in the winter and amazing onsen "hot springs" dotted all over the mountains. 

I remember during the time of the tsunami I was photographing a pre-wedding shoot on the beach here on Okinawa with a couple from Taiwan when one of their friends came running down the beach shouting something about a big tsunami and earthquake in Fukushima. 

Its funny that I'd never heard Fukushima mentioned once since living down here and most people had never heard of the place. I immediately tried to contact friends and family still up in Fukushima as thousands of others were no doubt doing the same. Needless to say there was no answer as the phone lines were either all tied up or there was no power etc. Eventually though we did get through to my in-laws and thankfully they were all ok as they live further inland not too far from Fukushima city. Other friends parents were not so lucky. Some lost forever in the anarchy, some instantly homeless. 

My family and I returned to Fukushima recently to catch up with friends and family. On one of the days there my wife and I took a trip out to the major effected areas to document how it has changed 2 years on and this is what we found. 
On the way out to the ocean side we ran into a few road blocks were areas had high levels of radiation. We had a Geiger Counter with us to keep on eye how the different areas had different levels. Around Fukushima city the average was 0.19uSv/h which I'm told is relatively fine. In certain areas though we saw it spike as high as 4.4uSv/h which is very bad. We had to retrace our route back 20km to find a different way to get to the seaside. 
Heading into the danger zone.

Haramachi seaside park or whats left of it. We used to go camping around here, its a popular place for surfers and families from all around would come to enjoy the beach and nice camp area. The toilet and shower room is all that's still standing now. 
You can see below one of the sinks in the toilet caked with sand. 

Some volunteers still cleaning up rubbish and debris from the beaches. 

Until just recently there was a 20km roadblock around the nuclear power plant. Now it has just been opened up to a 10km radius. As soon as we crossed the 20km radius there was a huge difference as this area looks to be pretty much as it was since the tsunami. Ghost town after ghost town with the only sign of life to be found were scavenger birds, cats and a few police patrolling the area on the look out for people trying to loot from the deserted houses and shops. 

So as you can see there is still a very long way to go. I can't imagine this area ever being populated again. Its such a shame as its such a beautiful area. 

 This is how our beloved Haramachi seaside park looks today. Thousands of Tetrapods have been made and moved into the area in hopes of preventing this kind of destruction from happening again.

Temporary living quarters have been set up in various surrounding areas for those who have been left homeless. People are only allowed to return to their houses to collect whats left of their belongings at certain times. This temporary housing set up in Iino Machi where I lived with my wife's family just out of Fukushima city. They are very small and basic but better than nothing.

Hopefully in time the radiation will clear and rebuilding can begin. Efforts are being made around my old home of Iino machi to ride the area of radiation by washing down all of the houses and removing and replacing polluted dirt from gardens with fresh soil. Where does all this radiated dirt go? I found several huge pits dug out around the area where they bury the radiated waste. I don't know if this is a fix or a just a temporary measure to limit the amount of radiation in the air. For now though people for the most part in Fukushima are going about their daily routines as normal from what I found. 
Many friends in Fukushima asked me to get these photos out to the public and to let them know that they still need lots of support to get things back to the way it used to be which was a beautiful, peaceful and clean place to live. With awareness, continued help and funding hopefully Fukushima will return to being the beautiful place I remember it was before.