Photographing The Dark Eagle Kata

Another photograph from the karate event I wrote about last week in the article, When Photographing Something Special.

Look closely at the photograph below. Do you see something that doesn’t belong?


Let me start by explaining the gear that I was using.

  • Nikon D700
  • Nikon 24-70mm f/2,8 lens
  • 2x SB-900 strobes
  • PocketWizard wireless triggers

I used the Nikon body for its speed.  The Leica M9 is a fantastic camera, but for an event that needs continuous shooting like this, it wasn’t ideal.  I scoped out the room just two weeks before the event so I used the Nikon 24-70 lens knowing that there would be a lot of movement in a small area.  I needed the ability to zoom and zoom out quick and fast.

The exposed beams, while not always flattering while shooting down low, gave me the perfect locations to mount my strobes.  What this did was give me the ability to light the entire room using two lights and also provide a great backlight for a more dramatic shot.

They are in midst of performing Kuru Washi (Dark Eagle) kata.

The karatekas are in a Neko Ashi Dachi ( Cat Stance ).

This stance requires 90% of the body weight to be placed on the rear foot enabling the karateka to easily kick with the “cat foot” or forward foot. When a house cat defends itself it usually “balls up” and humps its back. This enables it to put all the weight on one leg as it scratches you with three paws.

They just completed two blocks and are either loading up for or have retracted a Nukite (four finger eye strike).  The strike is performed very fast with a snap back motion.


Thanks for reading and happy shooting,


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