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06-15-2001, 04:46 PM
i am wondering about any and all of the techniques used by all you aikid photographers out there. im interested in starting a portfolio of aikido photos, so plese, anysuggestions

06-15-2001, 11:15 PM
I have but one suggestion for you, when you are taking pictures dont get to close getting hit by flying people isnt to good for the camera.

06-16-2001, 04:19 PM
This is probably stupid... but check out Terry Dobson's (and 2 others) book called 'It's a lot like dancing'.
Best Wishes

06-16-2001, 11:22 PM
i have the book, but im really looking for sometechnical advice.

06-17-2001, 08:13 PM
What type of camera are you going to use?

06-17-2001, 11:05 PM
i am using a nikon fm 10 manual 35mm. its a fairly new camer, but its about as basic as a 35 mm gets.

06-18-2001, 01:54 AM
I once tried taking pictures with a old canon camera that didn't have a flash. It was a great camera but due to the lack of light within the room where the camp was held I tried using a farely light-sensitive black and white film and then pushed it even further in development so that it should just about tripple the light sensitivity. This approach can NOT be recommended. It left me with some very pale and grainy pictures (can I use this expression ? well you get the picture - so to speak;) ).
If I where to start taking pictures of Aikido now I would actually concider using a high quality digital camera, but of course that's not good enough for every purpose.
What ever you choose to do - please make the pictures available for the rest of us - it's allways interesting to see what all you other aikidoist look like :)

06-18-2001, 01:41 PM

I've had some success using both a Fuji digital camera and a Canon EOS film camera. When I use the digital camera I usually let the camera's automatic features decide what is best with regard to the picture taking environment. When I use the film camera, I like to play around with the manual settings. I've found that using film with an ISO of 400 works pretty good for most shots as long as lighting is good. If you are shooting indoors under fluorescent lights, I suggest using film that is rated for shooting under fluorescent lights (the film package will state whether or not this is the case). Most film is designed to be used with natural light and since fluorescent lighting has a tendency to distort colors, your pictures will not look as sharp using regular film.

As far as Aperture settings are concerned, one thing to keep in mind. If you choose a large aperture (small f-number), you can blur the background and make the subject standout. This works good if you have people standing around behind those you are trying to photograph, it makes the subject easier to identify. With a small aperture (large f-number), you can increase the depth of field and focus cleanly on objects in the foreground and background. This works good for taking pictures of groups of people or if you want the scenery around the subject to be visible as well.

Shutter speeds are pretty simple. If you want a blurry picture, use a tripod and a slow shutter speed. If you want a nice clear picture, use a tripod with a fast shutter speed. Sometimes a little blur is nice, it enables the viewer of the picture to see the motion, not just a picture of some guy suspended in mid air (like during a Kotegaeshi breakfall).

Well, I hope that I've helped and not confused. Have a good day!

06-18-2001, 02:21 PM
Well, here's what I've used in the past. Note that I like the grainy textures so I'm shooting for that. I take Kodak TMax black and white film (400 speed) and push it to either 800 or 1600 depending on if I'm looking for blur or not. I'm usually shooting in a room that is lit by flourescent bulbs, and probabably not enough of those, so I can hand hold most of the shots if I push to 1600, but do a lot of tripodding if I need to close down the aperature or don't push the film very far. I'm almost always using my 50 mm lens. Hrm, what else do I do that's different... Guess that's about it. This is all for action shots btw, stills are a lot easier and you don't have to push the film much to get good results. Have fun playing around with conditions to get what you find pleasing.


06-19-2001, 07:17 PM
I use a Nikon FM2 and prefer the B&W also. Make a decision before you start a session whether you are taking candid shots of aikido which is already being performed (you take whatever shots you can get) or you are taking aikido portraiture where the aikido is being performed for the benefit of the camera (you can make the shots you get.) Your frame of mind is different. After more experience, the two approaches may merge but make it easy on yourself to start.

Plan on using a tripod if at all possible. Unless the light changes, do your metering at the beginning and figure out what your exposures need to be for the effect you are after. Also try to pick an angle where the motion is across your field of view rather than toward you so that you don't have to work so hard to keep up with the focus. You want to be able to concentrate on composition and timing so keeping focus and exposure near constant makes it simpler for you.

You are taking pictures of people so if space and lighting allows you will want a slightly longer than normal lens ( > 50mm ). This helps the background focus issues mentioned by It-rentaroo. ( See the last picture at <http://www.aikidojournal.com/ubb/Forum9/HTML/000587.html> of Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba for a good example of this) It also allows you to shoot from behind people ( in seiza ) if you are not out on the mats.

If there are no obstructions, try keeping the camera at about 3.5 feet above the floor and pointing level. Most all your action will be between the mat and about 7 feet up so this is centered. You will not have to worry so much about up-and-down movement when composing the shot. It also makes some of the throws more dramatic. See the photos at <http://www.aikidojournal.com/ubb/Forum9/HTML/000587.html> where you can see the eye level of the tiny people in the background is about waist level on the practitioners. This indicates the photographer is kneeling (good manners in a public forum).

If you are doing the aikido portraiture where the aikido is being performed for the benefit of the camera, set the lighting you want, pick your background carefully (preferably distant so you can blur it out), and don't be afraid to play the role of director. Tell your practitioners (called the 'talent' on a photo shoot) what you are looking for, make a dry run or two to practice composition and timing, and make adjustments where necessary. Most of all, have fun because the camera will record whether fun is happening or not.