Monthly Archives: September 2012

Model shoot from the Indoor portraits workshop – Ashley Quan

Now I can share some images from the indoor workshop Janice Mayers Foreman and I presented. Ashley Quan is a very experienced and obviously beautiful model. Also she is a fashion designer and owner of Apiana Que. Please check out her website here.

Recently, I have been experimenting some different methods of post-processing. This time I tried to apply processing differently to each image to meet the moods. I hope you like them. Please click the photos for larger sizes.

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Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Related Article: Artistic Portrait – Is a copy bad?

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Sunset and boats – Lake O’Hara

One more photo from the Lake O’Hara trip about 2 weeks ago. I have taken so many sunset images from the viewpoint around the shelter area. Also I was leading some photographers. I wanted to show something a little more creative and different. So I took them to a boat dock as I predicted we could play with long exposure. I always think female photographers have more free thinking. Each of them created their own images.

In this trip, I opened my tripod only 3 times…infrared photography, night photography and this shot. Shutter speed is 8 sec.

Sunset and boats - Lake O'Hara by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Sunset and boats – Lake O’Hara by Hiroaki Kobayashi

My first photo workshop guide experience

Last week end, I visited Lake O’Hara, British Columbia. It was workshop by Brian Merry and I was one of leading guides. We started hike around 2 pm and it was beautiful sunny afternoon. The sky was spotless. This condition is perfect for hikers but for photographers….it is boring. I would be taking a nap in my car or searching  good subjects for  better lighting condition coming up later. Although I took my group to some iconic locations, the condition was not for open-dynamic-view type of images. Needless to say,  I have to show them something we can do without a tripod. As an instructor, I did not have time to set up a tripod. I was looking around and I got an idea.

Well…this is not super creative. Many people try the same thing. But this is fun and still some of viewers can tell where the scene is. I think documentary part of photography is also powerful tool to communicate with viewers. Having said that, I felt I had to add some effects to convey my languid feeling in the bright and warm Indian summer afternoon.

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I tried Darton Drake‘s techniques. I hope the result is more special than Instagram. Lastly, thank you, Brian, for giving me the opportunity.

Artistic Portrait – Is a copy bad?

Edmonton photographer, Daryl Benson has been one of the photographers I truly admire…I am always fascinated by his artistic images.  His images are super original. It is like Thelonious Monk who is considered to be one of the pioneers of Be-bop (one of Jazz styles post swing era). His unique approach of piano play and his music was also called “Monk music”. However, I have never tried Daryl’s methods even though I felt to creating images like his works. To be honest, I am afraid of bing a copycat. So I had just concluded and told myself “Just be an artist like him”. But how can I learn his technique and such matchless creativity without coping?

About 3 weeks ago, I attended Professional Photographers of Canada meeting and the guest speaker was Darton Drake, amazing portrait photographer from U.S. I was so moved by his philosophy and attitude toward photography and arts. Great artists always have many astonishing episodes, and we can learn from their stories. His portraits were so outstanding and only one of its kind. I am sure that words can describe only a little about his art, so please visit his web-site, http://www.dartondrake.com/.

Then I signed up the workshop by Darton and Shelly Vandervelde. He showed us his way of the photo processing, every steps from the file came from camera to the complete work of his artistic portraits. He mentioned that copy was not bad and it was necessary (but not submit images to competitions or put on sales….make sense to me).  I felt relieved. Well…think about other art-forms, everybody has to copy one point. Artists have to break the shell of the comfortable zone. I knew “copy” is the only way to expand horizon, especially when we find such inimitable artistic styles.

So I tried! This image was taken as an ice-break shot for students at the workshop Janice Meyers Foreman and I had in June. I had only 5 minutes window before students started shooting, and it was studio portraits. I had to give up the shooting before my creativity kicked in. But I think I could turn the image to something I can share, I obviously applied the processing techniques I learned at Darton and Shelly’s workshop . My confession would be…this attempt is against my policy. I should visualize the final result, even partially, before clicking a shutter button instead of using Darton’s methods as a rescue technique.
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Model: Choco Sparks

I know I have to try this methods again and again, and hopefully, I can develop my own methods and styles. I think  I will have more sleepless nights.

Evening with Large Format Cameras (2)

As I mentioned in my last blog, I would like to showcase Janice’s and my photo from the large format photo outing in May.  Although, for the location, we considered Big Hill Spring Park and Glenbow Ranche Provincial Park, we chose the Cochrane Ranche Historic site, which may be a least attractive location for photographing. The Glenbow Ranche park is usually windy and it may be hard to use large format cameras with bellows even though we could expect more attractive landscapes due to some iconic spots and open sky. The Big Hill Spring Park has many small waterfalls along with a trail. It must be great and maybe easier location for nature photography.  On the other hand,  Cochrane Ranche Historic site is located in the town of Cochrane.  If I wanted to include sky, houses came into a frame. The park does not have iconic spots or “keywords” like waterfalls.

I think Sam chose the difficult location since it is a truly good practice to create images in any situations and stimulate eyes. Furthermore, the cameras we used were 4×5 large format cameras, which requires expensive film and many adjustments before pressing a shutter-release. You can imagine how challenging it is. We have to really slow down and observe situation. I think this type of the practice is a good way to develop own styles, rather than just a being a technically good photographer.

I think of two abilities which photographer should pay attention at a scene (besides finding good subjects). The first one is reading lights. The second one would be knowing perspective of the lenses, which is related to composition. One good thing about large format cameras is we cannot use zoom lenses. Through my experience, prime lenses help us to understand how perspective works in composition. Also we have to compose and adjust bellows with an up-side-down image projected to a screen. This really force me to slow down and compose more carefully.

So first image is Janice’s image, which her very first experience of 4×5.

By the way only brightness has been adjusted and sharpening was applied to all the images since scanned images are usually degraded from originals. Some people may think the sky is overexposed, actually, she requested pushing 1 stop therefore the overall image is lit perfectly. Moreover, it is her own tone and her style. When analyzing photos by master-photographer’s from film age, I am sometimes impressed by their ability to CONTROL exposure. They selectively allow whiteout or blackout. You know they did not have histogram or screen at that time.

 

This is my image. I think I found a good subject and the light was so dramatic. But this image needs more proper cropping.

The last one is mine as well. I wanted to try something with the tree trunks, which seemed to have a lot of potentials. However, the sun quickly disappeared, and I lost the beautiful light. So I resorted to a gimmick which is the shallow depth of field in this case. Special effects are good if a final image is visualized in photographer’s mind. But I think this is just a rescue attempt to use up film for the day. I am afraid this is just interesting photo.