The Canadian Ambassador to Japan, Mackenzie Clugston

Photographing the outgoing Canadian ambassador to Japan

An opportunity to shoot with the super-friendly outgoing Canadian ambassador to Japan in his residence.

I’ve shot for a few publications owned by the same publishing stable as The Canadian but had never had chance to shoot for the magazine, voice of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

It was also an opportunity to get inside an embassy I hadn’t yet been to in Tokyo. I’ve been to quite a few over the years and had always heard tell of how beautiful the Canadian embassy was, especially the ambassador’s residence. The rumours weren’t wrong.

Mackenzie Clugston served as ambassador to Japan for four years. His outgoing duties were to welcome Prime Minister Trudeau to the recent G8 conference in Mie. The day I shot with him, the ambassador was preparing for the trip. He seemed pretty excited about it.

When I do shoots like this, I usually go with a writer and this was like that. The writer and I turned up a little early which gave me chance to have a look around and check out some locations for shooting.

The residence is a beautiful old house that sits in the greater embassy compound, just off the main road in Aoyama-itchome. It has a lovely garden, too.

The ambassador liked the garden, so we made sure to shoot a couple of shots there; one in a favourite spot of his and one up on the steps that lead up to the side of the residence.

Inside was awesome, to be honest. A long corridor runs the length of the building and this allowed me to shoot with a longer lens as well, the 80-200mm. I like getting close to my subjects but using the long throw of an ornate hallway is super cool and I loved the background compression we got using the long lens.

For all the shots I used three Nikon speed-lights in a softbox, triggered by radio. Why not one big light? It’s heavy to carry. I’d just had a very long day the day before and I was feeling tired and a little lazy. Speedlights are convenient, light and they don’t take me very long to set up. I have a triple flash bracket for the top of my stand, which holds three speedlights on cold shoes. The softbox is an umbrella type, which folds up very small and expands to 1.5metres by 60cms. Perfectly big enough for anything shot indoors.

I did shoot some shots with the the Hasselblad H4D outside, too.

Everything you see here below was shot with the Nikon though. That’s what the magazine chose and the indoor shots were the ones I liked the most and I did all of those on the Nikon.

Great opportunity to meet a really genuinely lovely guy before he left Japan.

The shots: a few of my favourites and the ones the mag used……

%d bloggers like this: