Japanorama For lovers of photography and Japan: photography in japan, photo tours in japan, photo agency in japan, learn photography in japan 2016-10-23T09:19:49Z http://www.japanorama.co.uk/feed/atom/ http://www.japanorama.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/cropped-japanorama-www-icon-512x512-125x125.png Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Flash photography portraits: testing out some strobes with Joe]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1839 2016-10-23T04:21:27Z 2016-10-23T04:21:27Z

My eldest son and I took an hour out of yesterday to go test out some strobes, shooting around the neighbourhood.

I recently picked up a couple of older Bowens flash heads. I’d used Bowens in the past and had a few accessories with their S-fit [reflector dishes, a snoot, some grids] so Joe and I headed around the corner to shoot a few test shots. The flashes are fired by Photix Ares triggers.

Here’s a few shots made using the reflector dish, a couple of different grids [10 and 30 degree] and a snoot. All were shot on the Nikon with a 28-85mm zoom.

joe-www-alf_4428a joe-www-alf_4426a joe-www-alf_4424a joe-www-alf_4423a

We then dropped the Bowens back at the house and headed back out with an Elinchrom A-Head run off of the Quadra Ranger battery pack, which I currently have from a friend who is asking me to sell the two-head kit for him. I’ll post something shortly, with pics of the kit, but it has two A-Heads, the Quadra Ranger pack, two batteries and I will have the ring-flash and a couple of soft-boxes for it soon. The whole kit is for sale. Very nice lights. Drop me a line if you are interested in buying them.

The A-Head is tiny and fits on top of my monopod easily, giving one a rig that can very easily be carried for making superb location portraits. The heads, although tiny, are 600WS each. Very powerful for such small gear.

We made the following shots using the Nikon, 28-85mm lens and just one A-Head fitted on top of the monopod… giving me a light that I can get up to about 9-10ft high and nicely angled down. We tried a few with and without a grid which I’d jerry-rigged to go on the light head.

These were shot monochrome in-camera and are straight out of the Nikon. Here you see with and without grid…..

joe-www-grid-no-gridHere’s a few more, shot with the same lighting setup: one Elinchrom A-Head, on monopod, with and without grid.

joe-www-alf_4445 joe-www-alf_4444 joe-www-alf_4443 joe-www-alf_4485a joe-www-alf_4473a joe-www-alf_4453a

The Elinchrom kit for sale includes:

  • 2x A-Heads
  • Quadra Ranger Control Unit
  • 2x Lead Gel Batteries
  • Cables and connectors
  • EL-Skyport Wireless Trigger
  • Elinchrom RQ Ringflash
  • 2x Softboxes for the A-Heads

If you are interested in finding out more about the Elinchrom, price etc… drop me a line.


Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Some of my recent Instagrams]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1781 2016-10-22T04:57:47Z 2016-10-22T04:56:52Z

Just in case you haven’t found me on Instagram yet, here are few of my recent posts and a link to my Insta stream.

Despite having lots of lovely cameras, I do like shooting with the iPhone. Sometimes it’s just about the fact that the iPhone is the widest lens camera in my pocket. Sometimes it’s because I want to shoot square. Sometimes… well sometimes I’m just lazy and the phone is easier.

Here are a few of my recent posts to Instagram.

You can find my Insta here.

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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Location-scouting day down near Mount Fuji: shooting with the Kerlee 35mm f/1.2]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1722 2016-10-10T01:56:51Z 2016-10-10T01:48:20Z

An opportunity to get out of Tokyo for the day and scout locations for an upcoming shoot with a trucking company. 

On some location-scouting days, I shoot a lot of test shots with the ‘real’ cameras, to get a feel for what the place will look like when I get back there for the proper shoot. Last Friday was more about going back to places I know very well and just looking at them with the specifics of the shoot in mind. Mainly how the locations would work to swallow the 10-tonne truck I need to shoot there soon.

So, yes, I took some cameras but actually did most of the location research snaps with the panorama function on my iPhone.

In between looking at spots that myself and my client knew we’d be coming back to try with the truck, we had some time just to walk around a couple of spots.

Between one of the first locations we wanted to check out, on the shores of Lake Sai, and another spot we wanted to check out on Lake Kawaguchi, we passed a place I always like to stop and take a look around. Often in the autumn and winter it’s a great place to stand by the lake, get a great view of Mount Fuji and wander through the very tall ‘susuki’ grass by the water’s edge. At this time of year, though, you can often find lots of cosmos flowers there and the display of flowers this year is stunning.

So we spent a little time there.

After a spot of lunch, we headed to a shrine I know near Kawaguchiko. The area around the shrine will almost certainly feature in our forthcoming shoot.

It’s a beautiful shrine, out in the forest on the way to Lake Yamanaka. I’ve been there a few times and it was a nice place, this time, to shoot a little with the Kerlee lens.

Here are the shots…. a few from the cosmos flowers, some from the shrine.

All are straight out of the camera and all shot using either my Ektachrome P, Monochrome 2 or Portra picture controls, which you can read about and download here.

Nice day out, ‘job-done’ on the location hunting front and it was just so nice to get some fresh air and see the mountains again.

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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Photographing the outgoing Canadian ambassador to Japan]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1705 2016-10-04T12:33:59Z 2016-10-04T12:20:15Z

An opportunity to shoot with the super-friendly outgoing Canadian ambassador to Japan in his residence.

I’ve shot for a few publications owned by the same publishing stable as The Canadian but had never had chance to shoot for the magazine, voice of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

It was also an opportunity to get inside an embassy I hadn’t yet been to in Tokyo. I’ve been to quite a few over the years and had always heard tell of how beautiful the Canadian embassy was, especially the ambassador’s residence. The rumours weren’t wrong.

Mackenzie Clugston served as ambassador to Japan for four years. His outgoing duties were to welcome Prime Minister Trudeau to the recent G8 conference in Mie. The day I shot with him, the ambassador was preparing for the trip. He seemed pretty excited about it.

When I do shoots like this, I usually go with a writer and this was like that. The writer and I turned up a little early which gave me chance to have a look around and check out some locations for shooting.

The residence is a beautiful old house that sits in the greater embassy compound, just off the main road in Aoyama-itchome. It has a lovely garden, too.

The ambassador liked the garden, so we made sure to shoot a couple of shots there; one in a favourite spot of his and one up on the steps that lead up to the side of the residence.

Inside was awesome, to be honest. A long corridor runs the length of the building and this allowed me to shoot with a longer lens as well, the 80-200mm. I like getting close to my subjects but using the long throw of an ornate hallway is super cool and I loved the background compression we got using the long lens.

For all the shots I used three Nikon speed-lights in a softbox, triggered by radio. Why not one big light? It’s heavy to carry. I’d just had a very long day the day before and I was feeling tired and a little lazy. Speedlights are convenient, light and they don’t take me very long to set up. I have a triple flash bracket for the top of my stand, which holds three speedlights on cold shoes. The softbox is an umbrella type, which folds up very small and expands to 1.5metres by 60cms. Perfectly big enough for anything shot indoors.

I did shoot some shots with the the Hasselblad H4D outside, too.

Everything you see here below was shot with the Nikon though. That’s what the magazine chose and the indoor shots were the ones I liked the most and I did all of those on the Nikon.

Great opportunity to meet a really genuinely lovely guy before he left Japan.

The shots: a few of my favourites and the ones the mag used……

thecanadian-01 thecanadian-02 thecanadian-03 canadian-ambassador-alf_3537 The Canadian Ambassador to Japan, Mackenzie Clugston canadian-ambassador-alf_3552 canadian-ambassador-alf_3556 canadian-ambassador-alf_3563 canadian-ambassador-alf_3570 canadian-ambassador-alf_3571 canadian-ambassador-alf_3572-2 ]]>
Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Nikon Custom Picture Controls: a couple of mine.]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1701 2016-10-04T08:10:49Z 2016-10-04T08:10:49Z

Nikon’s Picture Control software and system isn’t perfect but it offers a nice way to custom style your shots in-camera. First in a series of posts where I talk about using Picture Controls and give you a few of mine to download.

Whenever I mention that I shoot with Custom Picture Controls, I always get a few of the same reactions. These vary from casual and polite questioning to angry, loud people questioning my sanity. So, let’s get a few things straight…

  1. Yes, I am shooting in a custom style in-camera but I am shooting RAW.
  2. Yes, I know that by shooting RAW I am giving myself unlimited and non-destructive editing possibilities afterwards, via software outside of the camera.
  3. No, I am not stupid.
  4. No, I am not shooting JPEGs.
  5. No, it’s not a waste of time for me to style the shot in-camera. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
  6. Yes, I do realise that Lightroom will turn all my RAW files back into a standard colour, thus negating the styling I have applied in-camera.

So, now that’s all out of the way, let me tell you why I use these Picture Controls and a little about my workflow:

I have Lightroom. I have Photoshop. But, typically, I don’t use them as the first part of my digital workflow. I use the software that my camera manufacturers provide. In the case of Nikon, that used to be ViewNX – until Nikon failed to update their installer and app and when Mac OS El Capitan killed ViewNX. Even un-installing and re-installing didn’t work. So, for Nikon I know use Capture NX-D. It’s not as good as ViewNX used to be. But, I am stuck with it. For the Hasselblad, I use their Phocus software.

If I am doing a big shoot with a tight deadline, with both the Nikons and my Hasselblad, I tend to not necessarily use Picture Control styling in the Nikons because I need to turn the shots around quickly and with two cameras’ RAW formats, that’s best done with LR.

But, if I have the time and I need the flexibility, then with the Nikons I am typically doing most of the photo’s styling in-camera.


Well, it’s very simple: I used to love using the darkroom. It was a quiet and contemplative space that was only used for photography. I love digital and don’t really miss film but the computer is used for so many things not just photography, that I don’t really want to sit in front of the damn screen all day doing editing. It’s just not as relaxing for me as the darkroom used to be.

Plus, in film days I used to learn what all the different films did and I used to choose my aesthetic based on the base response of the film and the things I knew I could push and pull and play with afterwards.

So when I went out shooting, I was very much reacting to my subject based on the pre-defined aesthetic parameters of the film I was shooting at the time. If that was monochrome, I was looking at the world IN monochrome. Not shooting the world in colour and turning it into monochrome afterwards. This helped me find subjects that worked in mono. It helped me think in mono.

Same goes for colour; different films created different results. These days I like to get as much of that final aesthetic result on-location, for myself or to show the client. For clients the Picture Control approach is nice; they get to see far more of the finished shot right there and then.

All of this saves time on editing and it puts my head in a better place when I am out shooting.

I’ll be posting a few more articles about m picture controls over the coming weeks. I’ll also post something about how I make them.

But, for now, I just wanted to give you a little intro as to why I am using them and give you the chance to download a couple.

One of my buddies on Google Plus he asked me specifically about the ‘Ektachrome P’ picture control that I had used on a few fashion shots that I had just uploaded. It basically simulates a kind of ‘crushed blacks, slightly over-saturated’ look that I used to get when I pushed Ektachrome film. Hence the ‘P’.

The zip file you can download here has my Ektachrome P, Kodachrome 2 and Portra picture controls on it.

You’ll need to unzip the file, upload the whole ‘NIKON’ file to your memory card and then you can use the ‘Manage Picture Control > Edit/Save > Copy to Camera’ dialogue in your Nikon.

This doesn’t work for all Nikon cameras. My files are made on D700 and work in the D700, D800, D800e, D3S and a few other models. My picture controls are .NCP files.

For further questions about the system, you may want to refer to this page at Nikon’s website.

For questions about the difference between NCP and NP2 Picture Controls, this is a helpful article. 

A few photos recently taken with my Ektachrome P picture control. Some have had a little bit of processing beyond just the picture control being applied. But in all cases, that extra post-pro doesn’t really extend to more than 15% of the style of the final shot. The core flavour of what you see here is achieved with the picture control.

IMG_0944_blog mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8351 _DSC5949-akabane_blog ALF_8636_sumo-small camping-motosu-2016-ALF_2199 alfiegoodrich_DSC0027day1 alfiegoodrich_DSC0030 ginza-toycars-alf_3900-sq norie-shibuya-16x9-alf_3926a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8326a _DSC5899-akabane_blog ginza-toycars-alf_3899-sq ALF_8756_sumo-small asakusa_DSC4754 alf_8861 _DSC5913-akabane_blog _DSC5911-akabane_blog ag_asakusa_ALF9121_01 _DSC5914-akabane_blog alf_0420 _DSC5898-akabane_blog alf_2140 nozomi_travis_ALF_1130a_www-574 moto-azabu-textures__DSC0147 alf_0422 akabane-mirro-building-diptych-feb2016 mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8336a dmarge-luc-alf_8289 alf_0482 yurakucho-h-alf_3915 dmarge-luc-alf_8392 _DSC6213_blog dmarge-luc-alf_8314 ALF_8647_sumo-small norie_DSC0209-(2)a1920x1280px alf_2173 _DSC5962-akabane_blog moto-azabu-textures__DSC0154 ginza-toycars-alf_3902-sq alfiegoodrich_DSC0049day2 Fashion photography in Tokyo with Reverie alf_0344 _DSC5903-akabane_blog alfiegoodrich_DSC0004 ALF_8698_sumo-small _DSC5946-akabane_blog alf_0340 IMG_0956_blog dmarge-luc-alf_8257 norie_DSC0208-(2)a_1920x1280px ]]>
Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Kerlee 35mm f/1.2 lens: first impressions & review]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1659 2016-10-09T01:47:54Z 2016-10-03T10:38:31Z

When I heard about the new Kerlee 35mm f/1.2 lens, I immediately got in touch with Shenzhen Dongzheng Optics in China to get hold of one to try. Very graciously, they obliged. Here are few of my first impressions and photos…..

I don’t really do gear reviews. I don’t live on ‘rumours’ websites. I’m not sitting waiting for the next big announcement from camera companies. I use what I have until it’s dead. Sometimes I see something super cool and find the money for it. But, mostly, my philosophy comes from what mum and dad taught me: use what you have, make it last, don’t always sit around wishing for something new.

I was lucky enough in 2015 to have Hasselblad to make me an ambassador. That means I get to play with a few of their toys now and again.

Now and again people send me stuff out of the blue, to try. That’s always exciting.

Recently I found a post online about a new lens from a Chinese manufacturer, Shenzhen Dongzhen Optics [maker of custom and industrial lenses]. Anything f/1.2 catches my eye as I have had a Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 since I was a kid and I still use that lens every week. So when I spotted news of a new 35mm f/1.2, I wondered if it would be possible to get hold of one to try.

Sigma’s f/1.4 Art 35mm lens is something I used recently, when a friend who was back in Holland for a while left me his gear to look after in Tokyo until he came back. I was impressed with that lens and still am. But, 1.2? That had to be worth a look.

First thing to realise is that the Kerlee [yes, that really is Lei-ca backwards when you say Leica in Chinese] is manual focus. So, it’s not really an alternative to the Sigma or to any other large aperture 35mm autofocus lens. This is a lens for people who don’t mind focusing manually. I don’t.

It’s not physically tiny or featherweight. I don’t really mind either of those things but, again, if you are looking for a tiny, super-light 35mm lens.. this is not for you.

I contacted Kerlee and their marketing lady was super nice, very helpful and a lens was dispatched to me almost immediately. The one I got sent is a pre-production copy, so it has a few little foibles that have all been engineered out of the production versions.

When it arrived, i was immediately impressed with the box and packaging: very nice indeed.

I don’t do unboxing videos, sorry. Not my thing. You’ll just have to make do with their photo of the box etc

Kerlee 35mm f/1.2 photographic lens for Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax

The lens feels very nicely built. Weighty, yes, but the sort of weighty that feels like quality and metal. Not plastic and cheap.

It was pretty obvious straight away that someone at Kerlee is a fan of Leica, as the fonts on the lens, the numbers and markings are really similar. Looking at the lens from the front of the barrel, it looks really like the older range of manual focus Zeiss lenses. I don’t mind that either. I’m not really into looking at my gear. I’m into shooting with it. But, if it looks nice too then that’s a bonus. And the Kerlee looks nice.

The lens comes with a hood. Mine is a little loose. But that’s one of the issues that’s been dealt with on production versions.

Enough about all this though… how does it shoot?

I’ve used it on five jobs but until I get permission from those clients, I can’t show any of the images. Some of the projects are still under embargo for a while.

So, when I have had the chance and the time to shoot the lens for my own work or fun, I have and I  have been very happy so far.

Focus is smooth. Lens is well balanced. I’m not into shooting much video with my SLR but I did shoot a little with this, again on a job that I can’t share right now, and the ability to have a ‘click’ aperture or smooth aperture with no click, via the ‘click’ switch on the lens: that was very handy.


Bokeh is lovely with the lens at 1.2 and if you are good with focusing lenses manually, the Kerlee is perfectly sharp where it’s sharp and the focus falls off really nicely. Bokeh can also look a little ‘swirly’ on occasions. Which is also nice.

The aperture has 14 blades, which give a lovely round bokeh at any aperture.

So far I’ve shot the lens for portraits, fashion, street and editorial. I found it easy and fast to focus and I’ve had no errors with the lens not working perfectly on my Nikon F mount cameras.

Lots more shooting to do with the lens but so far I am really happy and if you’re into manual focus and want a wide, fast 35mm with great bokeh then I would happily recommend this lens.

I’ll try to keep posting about the lens regularly from now on.

You can buy the lens on Amazon at the links below:

Here are some photos:

All photos have had minimal edits. RAW adjustments like shadow and highlight recovery. White Balance changes. Most were shot with custom Picture Controls which I’ve made for my Nikon: ‘Ektachrome 2’, ‘Ekatachrome P’ and ‘Monochrome 2’.

The red model/blue background shots are straight out of camera: WB at 2500K and a red gel on the flash.

The shots of my kids camping at Lake Motosu came out really well.

At the bottom right of each shot when it opens, there will be a link that says ‘full size’. Click on that and you’ll get not a totally full-size image of over 4000px [most were shot on the D3S]. But at least something that is large enough to make value judgements about.

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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Shooting in Tokyo for D’Marge magazine & Vacheron watches]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1641 2016-09-27T08:43:55Z 2016-09-27T08:43:55Z

A day out in Tokyo shooting some of Vacheron’s latest watches on location for D’Marge magazine.

I’d first come across D’Marge magazine via Flipboard, as it was part of a newsfeed on ‘mens fashion and lifestyle’ that I subscribe to. I’m no clothes-horse but I keep an eye on the mens fashion and lifestyle news for ideas and cues on what the latest styles of photography are in that world.

D’Marge magazine’s strap-line is ‘For Magnificent Bastards’, so I figured that any job for them would probably be fairly interesting. The blog’s founder, Luc Weisman, would be my model for the day and we had a few of Vacheron’s latest watches to use as props. We also had one of Vacheron’s senior folks tagging along with us for the day. Vacheron’s watches are not cheap. I dread to think what the ones we used that day are worth but I did overhear a figure of $300,000 as the total value of what we were carrying.

Luc named his style blog after a term he used to describe ‘damage’.

“A mate of mine, an American, used to call me up on a Friday and say, “Hey man, let’s go out and do some ‘d’marge’ this weekend,” says Wiesman. “So, when I started the blog I didn’t really know what I was starting or what I was doing… I called it D’Marge and it just stuck.”

Luc’s a cool guy. Some folks in Luc’s position and having the lifestyle he has can be overbearing and over the top. Luc wasn’t like that at all and from the moment we met, at Tokyo’s Andaz Hotel [where Vacheron had been hosting an event], I was happy that we were going to have a good shoot and a good time.

I’d taken along a student for the day, to assist. Dualta Daly had spent a few days with me on his travels, learning some more about travel photography. We’d also done a day of shooting with a model, just previous to my shoot with D’Marge. Dualta was free for the day and glady came along to help. The whole experience turned out to be very useful for him. A kind of ‘on the job master-class’ to finish off the two days of teaching I’d just done with him. Very capable second pair of hands and good company, too.

At the hotel, Luc showed me a few samples of the kinds of things he’d shot before and we headed off to do the first cut. The watches were the major component of the shoot but the pictures were not all going to be close-ups of them. The idea was to shoot Luc in different outfits, different locations around Tokyo that tied in with the idea of a ‘travelling man of sartorial elegance’.

We shot around Toranomon first, did some closeups of the first watch back int he hotel lobby and then headed for Tokyo Station, shooting a few more shots on the subway as we went.

We hit the elegant domed entrance of Tokyo Station, shot on the bullet-train platforms and in the busy concourses below the platforms.

After that a little more shooting around the station, on the roof of the nearby Kitte building, before we headed back to the hotel for the ‘evening wear’ shots, in Luc’s room, the hotel corridors and lastly out in the streets nearby.

A Behind The Scenes Video from the Day…..

All in all we shot in about seven or eight locations, across about only five hours and on a day that was hot and very humid. That’s always a unique challenge, especially when you are shooting with people who don’t live here and who are used to the weather.

Shoots like this are about knowing the city well, knowing what you can do in which location, getting around quickly and working with a minimum of gear but squeezing the most from it.

I used a Nikon D800E, Nikon D3S and Hasselblad H4D bodies. Lense-wise it was mainly 50mm f/1.2, 80mm for the Hasselblad, 135mm f/2 DC, 28mm f/2.8 AF-D and the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8. One strobe got used, with and without grid.

Pretty much everything was styled in-camera on the Nikons, using the ‘Ektachrome 2’ Picture Control that I have made, for crushed blacks and punchy colours. I tend to play with the White Balance a lot on location and remember one moment, down underneath Tokyo Station, where I used the Live View to show Luc how we could get a lovely colour grading at 3030K. It’s nice when a client looks at what is on the screen and says ‘wow, that looks like a finished, graded shot’.

Everything was shot hand-held.

The gallery below is a mix of shots that were used by D’Marge for their article and shots that got rejected. On the rejects, it was mainly that we had enough shots already in the piece that said ‘lifestyle’, where the watch was a bit less the main event. The shots outside at night, with the taxi and waiting by the side of the road, were particular favourites of mine.

Great day. Lovely people to work with. Nice results. As we used to say in Wales: tidy!

See the finished article here.

A gallery of photos that were used and some of the out-takes….

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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Fashion shooting in Komazawa Olympic Park: Mari Wears Mecci.]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1628 2016-09-26T05:02:40Z 2016-09-26T05:02:40Z

Last summer I got together with a model and one of her favourite Japanese fashion designers, to make some photos in the area around the old Olympic stadia in Komazawa.

Mari Hirao is a model I’ve worked with quite a lot before. She’d told me a little about her friend, Ayako, the fashion designer. I’d seen a few of the shots that Mari had done before, wearing Ayako’s creations. Seemed like a very creative lady so when the idea came up doing a little shoot together, naturally I jumped at the idea.

Ayako – who designs under the name ‘mecci’ – had a few new clothes that she needed some shots of. I’d seen some photos of the pieces and one place immediately came to mind as a location: Komazawa Olympic Park.

Why? There’s something both futuristic and retro about Komazawa. It is a vision of the future from 50 years ago. Designed and built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, once centrepiece of the approach to the gymnasium is a large tower-like sculpture. Both gymnasium and tower were designed by Yoshinobu Ashihara, who also designed Ginza’s landmark Sony Building. The tower sort of feels like it should be in a movie like Gattaca, In Time or some 2000AD comic about a spaceport of the future.

It seemed the perfect place to shoot the mecci dresses which to me had a feel of a sci-fi future about them.

August is not pleasant in Tokyo. Hot, humid and in a place like Komazawa Park – surround by expanses of reflective concrete – a bit like being in a furnace. The light in Tokyo in the simmer is super bright. Quite different to anything you’d have experience in the parts of Europe I grew up in and around.

My son Joe came along to help. Keeping him and me cool, keeping the model, designer and make-up lady cool… it was all quite a job. The massive 72″ Westcott lighting umbrella came in handy as a sunshade.

I used one two Profoto B2 lights for the shoot. Each they lick out 250W which is OK but not really enough to kill super-strong August sun. So I paired them up, sometimes bare, once in an umbrella and for the shots in the yellow dress, under the trees, in a softbox.

We shot in three or four different spots around the park. Each piece needed front, back and side angles – as each piece had many details specific to each angle.

Great fun. Didnt take us more than an hour. Very hot day but everyone was very happy with the results.

The photos….

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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[iPhone photo digest: December 2015 to February 2016]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1568 2016-09-26T01:44:37Z 2016-09-26T01:44:37Z

I tend to periodically dump all the shots from my iPhone’s ‘camera roll’ to folders on my external hard-drives. It keeps me from filling up the phone, helps me not lose anything. 

This post is the first of a little series I’ll do, going back through those folders and picking some of my faves.

All photos below shot and edited with the phone.

Typically, I am shooting ‘straight to Instagram’ and often just doing that in square aspect. Edits are done with just the filters available to me in Instagram.

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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Fitness regimes for photographers, staying sharp, getting out of the rut: the photographer’s gymnasium]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1558 2016-09-26T04:00:28Z 2016-09-26T01:04:23Z

One question I get asked a lot is about how to ‘get out of a creative rut’.

For me it’s not just about getting out of a temporary funk, a creative cul-de-sac or talking myself out of the fact that one day a month I’ll wake up and think all my work is shit.

As a professional photographer, it’s more about my staying fit on an ongoing basis and for that I have developed a bunch of regular exercises.

Pro photographers are visual athletes. We need to stay fit, stretch and warm-up our muscles. The eye IS a muscle. It needs regular exercise.

Here are a few of my exercises. I like to call all of this stuff ‘my photographer’s gymnasium’
1. 24 shots, no deleting, one prime, black and white.
2. Put all the prime lenses on the floor in a circle, spin a bottle and shoot for a week with the lens the bottle picks.
3. For those without primes, go to https://www.random.org/ and put the numbers for the widest and longest ends of the zooms you own into the random number generator and shoot for a week at the focal length the RNG picks.
4. ‘The Square Mile’: shoot 24 pics [one ‘roll of film’s worth’] within 1sq mile of your home, ever day for three days. Variation: make those 24shots last a week.
5. ‘The World at My Feet’: 24exp, one prime, only subjects at your feet.
6. ‘The World Above My Head’ same rules as above.
7. If you have galleries nearby, go see an exhibition and write 250-500 words about it.
8. Set the ISO, set the aperture, guess the speed: this one I do once a day at least. Keeps the part of my head that is a light-meter sharp.
9. Put the 50mm on, focus it manually at 3m [10ft] and then go hip shooting in the street to see how many subjects at 3m you can get sharp.
10. Use random.org to get you to a place you’ve never been before. This is how I do it in Tokyo with that Random Number Generator [RNG]:
a. Give the main railway hubs a number: Tokyo 1, Ueno 2, Shinjuku 3 etc etc. then pick one with the RNG.
b. Give all the train lines using that station a number, then pick one with the RNG.
c. Using the total number of stations on the line you get picked, use the RNG to pick a station.
d. Go to that station and shoot 24 shots, one prime lens.
11. Using my iPhone, shoot just square photos, in monochrome.
12. Using my iPhone, shoot panoramas but vertically, not horizontally.
13. Using my iPhone, walk into a place. Take a look around. Close my eyes. Imagine directly in front of me is 12 o’clock. Hold the phone out at 12, 9 and 3 o’clock and take a photo each time.
14. Start a Tumblr just as a scrapbook. I used to keep scrapbooks, real ones, but I dont really buy so many magazines now. Tumblr is a great way to create an inspiring scrapbook you can keep in your hand the whole time you have your phone. I use mine all the time, on location and in the studio. To keep me inspired, remind me of poses, colours, makeup, hairstyles, light, etc etc . Here’s mine: http://alfiegoodrich.tumblr.com/

These are a few of my exercises. I have quite a lot of others as I am teaching regularly and use them for students.

The other big thing I do is to ‘collect things’. I don’t collect real things much these days as we live in a small flat and when we moved here from the UK, we used that opportunity to free ourselves of ‘collecting’ or ‘hoarding’.

So, I collect things with my camera. It helps keep my eye sharp, to never be outside the house with a camera ‘just to take some photos’. My collections mean I am always looking for something. It’s the photographic equivalent of going to a yard-sale or antique fayre and having the excitement of ‘maybe I’ll find something for my collection’.

I think perhaps too many people out there in the photo community online or offline obsess about projects. Yes, they are good but projects are sort of like ‘work’. You still need recreational photography and exercise to balance that ‘work’.

For my workshops on ‘visual literacy’, I have a worksheet which I’ll take with me to an exhibition. If you want to take a look at that, it’s here:


It can be a great way of structuring how you look at the work you see on the walls.

With my model friends, I do the ‘cup ramen’ shoots from time to time. One strobe, one prime, five minutes time-limit for setup and shooting. This article is about a recent one of those shoots: