Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Love to photograph what I eat

To me,  being a photojournalist was a dream job come true. I was able to travel around the world, visiting various countries not  only to photograph, but eat as well, so what could have been better.

I got married in 1980, to a women, who's mother instructed her to marry a man who could cook. Bazinga! After leaving the Navy in 1983, I followed her back to Japan, and a few yeas later the Azores and then to Panama, where I learned to cook some of those national dishes. Needless to say, Amy, normally comes home to good meals.

Since the Seattle Post Intelligencer closed down in 2009 and I wasn't assigned anymore food assignments, my love food and photography, eventually led me to combine both loves into one…food photography.

I try to keep photographing food simple, by using four EOS Speedlites, equipped with soft-boxes, snoots and various diffusers either mounted on light stands or sat onto of  various sizes of pots and pans.

Nowadays, I prepare meals with photography in mind. I know, it should be the other way around, but what the hell, it's all about texture, color and design. You can view my PhotoShelter Food gallery@

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sometimes all it takes is one drop of water

While out walking Toshiro, our dog, and looking for photos to take, water drops were falling from the trees onto my head. When I looked up, I suddenly remembered what a former photo instructor asked us in class one day. "How many of you when out taking a walk, look at the ground?" Most of us looked around at one another and raised our hands. He then said, "Next look around at your surroundings and see all the photos you're missing. Take the time to see what direction the light falls and where the shadows are." 

One thing I noticed was not only the dolled water drops falling on my head, but the way the light reflected off  them as they hung like diamonds on the leaves, and branches.

Sometimes all it takes is a simple drop of water to stir something squirreled away in the back of your mind.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Japan's Nebuta Festival

It's Spring in Japan. The Cherry blossoms are in full bloom and its the beginning of the festival season. One of the most unique festivals I covered was Aomori Citiy's Nebuta Festival.  About 2 million partiers crowd into the city from August 3rd-7th to enjoy the after dark madness.  Huge illuminated floats paper-mache floats are pushed and pulled by merry makers and are surrounded by skipping and chanting dancers to the baka dori or fools' dance.  You can view more images at:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Take the time to slow down and see

Over the years, photojournalists reach a point where they refine their personal approach to shooting skills. Each approach is different, but most of whom I have talked too all agrees that the basis a visual approach is the trained ability to see everything in great detail.

The late Frank Hoy, who I had as an instructor at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University taught his students an exercise in detailed seeing called the EDFAT – Entire, Details, Frame, Angles, and Time, a method I still use  today.

I organize a photograph in terms of using three categories: the establishing shot, the medium shot, and the close up.

One of the traits of being a good photojournalist is to slow down, observe on what's going on around you and then start making pictures. Many times I've just walked through a village, and watched without taking a picture, a habit that I still do today. While making images in a fishing village, I parked near the marina, observed what was going on and then started capturing images of fishermen working on their boats, offloading fish, preparing for the next day, net mending and fishing.

The old saying, “what you see you can photograph” only applies to someone who sees in detail. So take the time to make a short field trip as a practical test method. Sling your camera on your shoulder and carry it with you while you learn to see deeply and in detail during a short walking tour in an area where there are a lot of people, and then take pictures.