All posts filed under: Teaching

Tokyo Photographer Irwin Wong

Lens Review: Carl Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2

Ok I’m just going to start out by saying I absolutely freaking love the Loxia lens lineup from Carl Zeiss. So the TL:DR version of this review is: get this lens if you have a Sony a7. Just get it. Anyway I know the Loxia lineup has been out for a while but I’ve spent a bunch of time with them on all sorts of jobs, especially the 35mm which was the first one that I purchased. I may not be able to provide the most technical review on the Internetz but I can definitely give you a sense of how the lens performs and feels working in the real world, where MTF charts matter less than how comfortable it feels in your hand. So to keep things concise right from the get go: Reasons why this lens is awesome: – Superb rendering and contrast – Super compact – Solid all metal construction – Manual focus throw is intuitively spaced – Great close focus – De-clickable aperture ring – Out of focus areas have a characteristic look Reasons why …

New Strobist Post – Maki Kawakita

Image copyright to Maki Kawakita. Hey everyone, I know that two posts in one day is pretty rare for me these days but I’m really pleased to announce that my second post on is up!  This time I interview Japanese commercial photographer Maki Kawakita about her epic approach to lighting Japanese rockers Glay. Some pretty good lighting tips as well as an idea for commandeering an hotel lobby for a 12 light setup (hint; it actually wasn’t too difficult). Here’s the link for anyone interested, comments welcome!

Strobist: Asia correspondent

It’s up! I’m really pleased to announce that my first post for is up on the website! If you don’t know what is, it’s probably the best place on the Internetz to learn – really learn – the nuts and bolts of lighting effectively, and cheaply.  Seriously, check it out, I know I read the site like a bible when I was getting the hang of lighting, so it’s a real honor to be actually contributing to it! I probably should have thought through the profile pic a little better tho… Anyway, here’s the link to the post, which featured photographer Ikeya Tomohide’s work, I’ve got a couple more in the pipeline as well. Looking forward to posting more up in the near future!

Prepare for salaryman-inspired glory!

Bought an iPad recently. Got it in australia without realizing that Japan has a rather insular policy regarding the distribution of SIM cards. So after a bit of back-and-forth buggery with several of Softbank’s smug staff, I had to resort to slightly illicit means to get my iPad hooked up to 3G and functioning at full capacity. Nothing totally illegal but let’s just say that I had to don my Ed Gein hat and a poor docomo SIM had several bits amputated to fit into my iPad. Now it’s working and I couldn’t be happier. How useful is it? Well, I’m writing and composing this post from my hotel room outside the beach at Enoshima and after this I’m probably going to read the latest China Mieville novel on it before it gives me a foot massage and a cooks me a nice lobster bisque. Pretty useful. One person who probably won’t be caught without his iPad is Hiro the Salaryman King, soon to star in his debut autobiographical movie 300 yen (movie poster below). …

Yoyogi Boxing Gym

Here’s another batch of photos shot at a recent workshop I held in Yoyogi, Tokyo.  The great thing about teaching photography in Tokyo is that you are always surprised at who will become willing subjects for your students – this time it was  student Rob Piazza who introduced this boxing gym to us, so we were very lucky to have two obliging and aspiring boxers to pose for us. We used Nikon speedlights (a combination of SB-800s and SB-900s) to illuminate our subjects with Honl snoots and the Orbis ringflash for the second and third photo.  Great fun was had by all – especially the boxers, who were very much getting into the spirit of things, as you can see from the last photo! Lighting workshops run every weekend – this week:  Lighting 101 for those who need a primer on flash to begin feeling confident about it.  Email if you feel like checking it out. Thanks to everyone who keeps coming out to these workshops – it’s always great to be in a …

The Importance of Having Watt-Seconds

One of my biggest concerns with my speedlighting kit is whether I’ll have enough flash power to make a dent in broad daylight. Of course, using large lights is always an option but not always feasible unless you have a gimp to carry around several battery packs and heads. So when someone suggested we do a couple of shots into the high 2pm afternoon sun, I looked at my two speedlights and knew it wasn’t going to work.  Of course, I didn’t figure on the small armada of Nikon speedlights the students had brought with them, which in total added up to 6 or 7, I can’t remember. What followed was a small debacle that ended up with a forest of tripods and lightstands divided into two groups. The strobes were ganged up to overpower the bright midday sun and it was enough to beat down the daylight enough to get a dramatic mood going. This really demonstrates the importance of having enough flash power, as a shot like this wouldn’t have been possible with …


Some shots from a workshop held *aaaages* ago at Tokyo’s Komazawa Park with the lovely Jenny.  Took ages to actually getting around to editing them!  Anyway, Jenny was stunning, as were the students as usual.  I should be worried about how good they’re getting – I’m training up photographers who’ll soon be able to take my job.  It’s all good though – we all have a ball and learn a lot about shooting. for info on upcoming photo workshops in Tokyo.      

Teva and Gen – Workshop

Big thanks to all who attended the session on Sunday!  As is always the case it’s the models and the students who provide the most creative energy, with me just sitting around in the background fiddling with lights.  Occasionally I do get to take the odd shot though, and here’s a couple from the workshop. Here’s a shot of first-time model Teva – you wouldn’t believe it was her first time in front of a camera, would you? Very difficult to concentrate looking through a lens when you’ve got that innocent yet strangely perilous gaze staring back down at you. Next is Gen, who is a dancer, and had a physique that would definitely bring more ladies to these shoots. I only managed to get shots of him with his shirt on though – sorry ladies.

Nourah – Workshop

Had a studio session on Saturday that I’ve been looking forward to for ages.  I was lucky enough to get a hold of professional belly dance instructor and dancer Nourah, who is seriously amazing to see perform. I’ve been privileged to work with Nourah before, but this is the first time I’ve gotten her into a studio to myself, and to her credit she just looked amazing in front of the camera. Many thanks to Justin and Alex for coming along and another special thanks to Justin for lending his SB900. Here are some of the shots:   Did this with three lights – 1 SB900 in a snoot pointed at her face from camera left 1/32 power, 1 SB800 bounced into a reflector for fill from the lens axis at 1/8 power, and 1 red-gelled SB-900 behind the sheer piece of fabric at 1/2 power.  1/250 sec at f6.3, though that might have changed as we fiddled around with things. These shots are some of my favourites from the session.  Used a 24″ Apollo …