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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Festival time in Sapporo

Well even though it's cooling down here in the southern Hemisphere (although Cairns is still a balmy 25), up north things are warming up. Sapporo up in Hokkaido never really gets hot. In fact their summer is kind of like a north Queensland winter. But it's warm for them after six foot snow drifts and freezing all winter. So that's when you want to get the festivals happening and it's a time of year I love in this fabulous city.

One of my favourite festivals is the Yosakoi - a giant street procession with competing teams of dancers from all over the country, and even a few international ones. They all have to dance to the same traditional fishing song - although they can arrange the song however they like. So you have the teenagers dancing to rap versions and the oldies dancing to traditional versions. It really is a great party and one not to be missed.

It's great to photograph events like this because people are happy, have usually had a couple of beers and are more than happy to ham it up for the camera like these two. Whenever I'm shooting at night I usually put my camera in to Manual Mode. I set my shutter speed for something that will let enough ambient light in while not being so slow I can't hand hold it. Somewhere around 1/20 second or so at ISO400 or above. I set my aperture at about f5.6 and use my flash. My little secret is on the flash I have a little bit of orange gel to blend with the ambient tungsten lights on the parade street. Then it's just a matter of getting out there and looking for opportunities.

Hop on over to my website to see some more hams at the Yosakoi Festival in Sapporo.

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