Tag Archive for graduation

Photo Friday: Haganah

It was graduation day last night at the Academy of Okinawan Karate, and once again I was there to take pictures. This time I chose a photo from a demonstration of Haganah self defense techniques, which are also taught at the school.

Hand-to-Hand Defense

Someone's about to have a very bad day

Here Pat Golden, on the left, is defending against a hand-to-hand attack. Through the course of the night he demonstrated defenses against empty hands, knives, and guns, generating a lot of oohs and aahs from the crowd. Had I been more familiar with the techniques I might have been better prepared for subsequent action shots, but I think you get the idea.

Shot with the 18-55mm kit lens and my SpeedLite 430EX external flash. There are a few more pics in the set. I had focusing issues all night, and I really wish I could afford a faster, more flexible lens.

Someday.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

A Little Photography

I’ve finally managed to put the camera to use a little more in the last month or so. Most of it has been event or family photography rather than the creative photography I’ve been intending to do all year, but at least I got out and put my rig to use.

The Power Team Demo

The Power Team Demo

Sometimes my 50mm prime lens is worth its weight in gold. I shot this in a high school gymnasium without flash, and I was very happy with the results. The Power Team put on a brief strength demo for our students, so I brought my camera along to see what I could capture. I sat in the bleachers with my son, and you can see more pictures from the event here.

New nikyus run the Tsue Sho bo kata

New nikyus run the Tsue Sho bo kata

I probably should have stuck with that lens for this second shot, taken at the last graduation night at the Academy of Okinawan Karate. My friend Toby Matthieu (on the right) was promoted to nikyu, or second degree brown belt, and demonstrated the Tsue Sho bo kata. I used the regular 18-55mm lens that came with the camera and an external flash, and with the action shots spent a little too much time going back and forth between setting up for lowlight action and for the flash (and consequently had some trouble with white balance in the set). I could have solved the white balance issue by shooting RAW, but I didn’t have the space on the card that night so put it off for another time when I can do some experimentation on practice shots.

A Bald Eagle from the Columbia Park Zoo

A Bald Eagle from the Columbia Park Zoo

My family visited the Columbia Park Zoo in Lafayette, Indiana, in September, and I captured this picture of one of their two eagles. This was also taken with the basic kit lens, but the outdoor environment really helped. It still amazes me how much more detail this camera/lens combo captures over my old 4MP PowerShot G2. I just wish I could have avoided the soft blur on the right edge, but that’s the result of shooting through a narrow viewing window cut into the enclosure’s fence. (I’m also fortunate the glass or plastic in that viewing window didn’t obscure the shot.)

My only concern with these is in the full size, the focus is just a bit soft. My tripod has a removable monopod, so next time I may bring that out and start putting it to use, see if I can’t sharpen things up. I’m very happy with these for the most part, but I think it’s time to start stepping up my game.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

That Which Does Not Kill Me…

I survived graduation night.

I got recruited to help out, so I spent most of the night lining up the new graduates before they went out onto the mat and helping tie their new belts onto them. This worked out well because it kept me busy rather than sweating my own pending performance. It proved an interesting experience in itself, too, with some of the lower ranks calling me sir and oohing and ahhing when they noticed I had just earned my brown belt.

My own kata went smooth. My biggest concern with Empi Sho is always the leap at the end, and my heel landed in a seam between the mats. Of course I sank right down into it and my leg wobbled. I had a sudden image of falling on my ass in front of the crowd, but I managed to keep my footing and finish the kata. Some friends in the crowd assured me it looked fine.

Either way, Shihan Walker tied my new brown belt around me a moment later and all was right with the world.

There are more pictures from the night on my Flickr account. Some are a little fuzzy because I left my wife with a prime lens and a low aperture without having the time to explain how to manage it. She caught me dropping an elbow on an imaginary opponent during the kata, though, and it’s in focus enough to see I need to concentrate on kicking my heels out a little more in kiba dachi. I’ll blame the nervousness.

I’ll be learning two new kata as a Sankyu: one called Seyunchin, which was only recently added to our curriculum, and Tsue sho, a bo kata. I learned Tsue sho Saturday morning and it’s not particularly difficult, especially after seeing it run in class so many times and having participated in interpretation drills for it with higher ranks. I only found one video of it here; it’s very sloppy so I almost hesitate to link it, but the moves are the same and you’ll get the idea. I hope to learn Seyunchin this week, and this is what I’m in for:

I’ve seen it run several times and have always thought it looked like fun. I suspect it will be a little more difficult to learn, but I’m up for it. If nothing else it will bring more variety to my workouts at home.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.