Monthly Archives: March 2012

Obsessed photographer vs. camera geek – Janice Meyers Foreman

In my last post, I mentioned about my philosophy when I am working on portraits, “For me, you, and them”.  Actually, I was writing about “me part” in the last blog but it became too diverse and I left the part to this blog. So at the times when I started photography and switched to digital, the “me” part was huge because I had to learn so many things and no space for me to think about other people. For  experienced photographers , experiments can be the “me” part as well. I want to try different lighting technique all the times. Can I use pinhole or infrared photography for portraits? Experiments are fun and TASTY, but the quality may not meet the level to please other people.

So let me introduce the wonderful photographer and my friend, Janice Meyers Foreman. I met her at Stampede Western Photo gallery 2011 and we have been working together so often lately. Janice (and myself) are not sure to be entitled as a professional photographers, (even though both of us are the accredited photographers by Professional Photographers of Canada).  However, she set her mind to the professional level and create quality PRODUCTS. I guess it is truly important to raise the level from an amateur with an artistic eyes more than the title itself. She calls herself an obsessed photographer and I often call myself a camera geek. I am learning many things from her.

However, our styles are completely different. Please check out her photo in her blog (http://jmeyersforeman.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/taleeta-waiting-to-smile/), and my image below. We had an opportunity to photograph the same model, Taleeta, at Studio 35 in Airdrie, Alberta. You can see the difference so easily.

Taleeta 02 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Taleeta 02 by Hiroaki Kobayashi. Please click the photo for the larger size.

My image is bright, lively, comical and capturing a moment of the motion. Her image is more like subtle, faded, static…if static is not a good choice of the word…timeless or eternal. The other examples are found in the links below :

Can you see the differences? I guess her photos are beyond talking about only photographic techniques. Even I feel they  have power to portray inside of model’s.

So back to concept of the “Me”. After the TASTY experiment process, a photographer has to digest and put the intake to bones and flesh. This is style making process. So “me” as a photographer cannot be forgotten in terms of the creation of the images . And If people appreciate my photos and say “I want to be taken pictures by you because I like your style”, that must be happiest moment more than obtaining winning ribbons.  It is like the style becomes the “brand”. By the way, Taleeta and her mom really liked both Janice’s  and my photo, and there was no winner between us.  Rivalship will be continued…but please check out her blog. She takes not only portraits but also babies. And  travel photography! They are truly fabulous.

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Fashion photography – Taleeta

When working on a portrature, I often think about “me, you, and them”. “Me” is obviously myself as a photographer; “you” is a photographic subject, and “them” is other viewers. As an experienced photographer, I want to create great images. However, I believe that the desire itself is not enough. When I ask models about impression of the photos, if they replied “they are great”, these photos are just “so so” to me. If the models respond “It is cool, I love it” I achieved something. If I cannot please people in the frame, it is unsuccessful. Then if I win a contest or I get 100s of hits on my blog post, they are just bonuses.

I had an opportunity to photograph a nearly brand new model, Taleeta, last week. This session was organized by Studio 35 in Airdrie, Alberta. The photo below is the one of shots form the photo-session. Please click the image for the larger view. I hope she likes this image.

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Actually, I would like to talk about “me” part a little bit more. It will be next time. Please check out  Janice Mayer Forman’s photo from the same session. She will appear in my next blog.

Longer than usual – LEE Big Stopper

This time is a kind of the sequel from the last post.  I always take my smart-phone to back county. Not for phone calls obviously, because it is handy when I use LEE – Big Stopper filter. Big Stopper is 10 stop neutral density filter. 3 or 4 steps are commonly used to slow down shutter speed. But it is 10 stops; you can achieve minutes of exposure time! Here is the easy calculation for exposure time.

  • 10 stops is the tenth power of 2 = 1024.
  • So “Exposure time (sec) without Big Stopper” x 1024 = Exposure time with Big stopper.

For example, You have 1/125 of shutter speed before setting up Big Stopper, the final one will be (1/125)x1024=8.192 (sec). When you have 2 sec of shutter speed initially, you will have 2(sec) x 1024=2048(sec), 2048(sec)/60=34.13(min). Savvy! Now I set a timer and read an eBook. That is why I need a smart-phone all the time for the calculation, timer and eBook. One tip is, when you shoot with auto-exposure and Big Stopper is attached to a lens, you may need to compensate exposure to +1.5 to 2.0.

Melancholic - Bow Lake, Alberta

This photo was posted in my last blog post. The Bow lake in Alberta looks really calm in this picture. But in reality, the day was pretty windy and  it looked like the picture below. The 45 sec of exposure totally calmed waves on the lake. Big Stopper adds a tinge of cyan; this may be problematic for some photographers. But I like the cool tone, which often adds ethereal feel to the image.

Here is other examples, shutter speed 30 sec and the bottom one is 3 min.

Kananaskis big sky

Lastly, I should be honest and share my inspiration of the long exposure. Please check out amazing, Michael Levin. Since I saw his works 2 years ago, they have been big influence on my images.