Tag Archives: HDR

A swamp in Banff

When I went Bow lake mentioned in my previous blog, it was snowing, but next day, I could see stars in the morning. I woke up at 04:30 AM and drove up to the location I had found the day before. I wanted to try a new location in Banff. In Banff, Vermilion lake is the most photographed location by photographers. But I have found that many other places have potentials. Banff may be my hit this year.

Swamp in Banff by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K)) on 500px.com
Swamp in Banff by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Please click the image for larger size.

This photo is HDR image.  It looks still natural, doesn’t it? I used Oloneo HDRengine for this image.

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Visiting old, Learn new

In my last post, I share my current approach I have been trying lately. However, I am still using the composition technique I am familiar with. You can find the similar compositions in my landscape photos in my website. This photo was taken at the same day as the photo in my last post.

Giant steps by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K)) on 500px.com
Giant steps by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Related post  :Keep it simple

 

 

I like shooting portraits, too!

I have been publishing mostly nature photography. But when I got a digital camera at the end of 2008, my favorite photography still was street photography, so actually I like shooting people as well. However, a difference is, compared to 3 years ago, I am more into more sophisticated lighting techniques. Find good light, read the light, it is the nature photography. On the other hand, you can create light; that is fun part of this type of photo session. Also it is collaborative work with models and assistants. It is a great charm.

I had location-model photo-session at the end of August. For the day, I forgot wireless system for flashlights. So I could not try any fancy lighting techniques. But I was lucky enough that I asked my friend to be an assistant so we completed our works with only reflector. One thing I found from this experience was I could keep up shooting tempo with the only reflector. If I had set up multiple lights at different locations, it would have been so time-consuming. The concept of this session was a wondering girl in the city. I may be too shy to be like David Hemmings in “Blow-up“. (Austin Powers must be easier for you to associate with what I want to say.) So I ususaly set up concept for portrait sessions.  

Please let me how you think about these photos.

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For the last two images, I used HDR. I guess Photomatix did decent job, and I kind of like them. But still degraded sharpness looks problematic. So unless I want HDR feel, I would go with proper lighting setup. Or cut and paste the best exposure of the main subject into the HDR image. I should try the technique  when I have time.

I HAVE TO to introduce the model. Her name is Krystal Shuhyta. One of fears of photographers’ side in the cases of photo sessions is poor communication and unprofessional attitude. But I really appreciate her professionalism. Krystal always responded to my email so quickly and she dealt very well with my strange concept. (I am bad one. I had to ask her to wait for me providing images for over 2 months due to the photo gallery.) She is highly recommended. Krystal is also a photographer and she has started her new business, Fly Free Photography. Please check out her Facebook page.

Lastly, while I was processing the photos of this session. I found I had not taken any close-up shot of her due to the concept. Here is her lovely close-up photo.

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The green sweater by eleven:eleven Butique   

Appeared podcast – Yeah! that’s big deal

I was kindly invited to podcast appearance by Al Del Degan and Andrew Bolton. I remember a note in a medical book, which says that a red face or nervousness was one of Japanese people national character. I am not exceptional, truly. What made me even more nervous was Al’s microphones, …3 microphones. I had imagined it would be recorded by iPhone or some sort of digital recorder. But his microphones were not even like ones used in Karaoke bars. They are condenser microphone used in music studios. Anyway, because of their welcome atmosphere, I had really fun time. But….I am still hoping everybody can understand what I am saying.

I met Al yesterday first time and I saw his wonderful portraits and nude photography in his room. I have known Andrew for quite some time. He is my type of photographer. He likes talking about Polaroid film or Yashica flex, rather than mega pixel or Canon 5D mk II. Please check out their interesting portraits in their websites. http://www.aduro.ca/ and ZOMBEI DARKROOM.

So I talked about why I started using range finder cameras and why I am keeping using them even for nature photography. The mystery has been solved. Then my strong opinion about HDR. The reason is found in my previous blog post about a tone in photography. However, this is also true that I like some photographers’ HDR works and I myself use HDR. Then I was FORCED to talk
about the photographer I admire. Being honest, I have to pick the photographer
since I wouldn’t have been interested nature photography if I had not attended
their SANP seminar 2 years ago. So who is the chosen one (or took me dark side)? Lastly, I talked about infrared photography which has became an important part of my photographic expressions. So regardless of my appearance, please take a look their podpost website, I am Aduro. Every show, Al and Andrew put so many interesting news and useful tips for photographers. Just find “Listen
Now” and hit Start mark in the webpage.

Since we talked about range finder cameras, I think I should place some street photos taken at the stampede 2011. So everybody, forget about “Numbers” like mega pixels or dynamic range. Attache ONE prime lens to your camera (ideally a film camera) and go happy shooting. Beautiful outside!

Cowboy boot - Stampede 2011 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Cowboy boot – Stampede 2011 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Through garbage box - Stampede 2011 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Through garbage box – Stampede 2011 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

My Pose - Stampede 2011 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
My Pose – Stampede 2011 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Pairs - Stampede 2011 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Pairs – Stampede 2011 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Polishing a shue - Stampede 2011 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Polishing a shue – Stampede 2011 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

A big circle in dusk - Stampede 2011  by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
A big circle in dusk – Stampede 2011 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Stampede 2011 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Stampede 2011 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Stampede Wstern Gallery Show (2) – Stay on trails

This photo was taken in Lake O’Hara, British Columbiain in early September in 2010. I was walking on a trail and I found a beautiful green moss shinning in the morning sun light in a creek. However, I was with some friends heading to a location for the day. So I decided to come back in the evening. Unfortunately, the day turned to cloudy and we had a shower at the evening. But when I came back to the location I found in the morning, the sky was clearing up. I had still time before sunset.

But here was a problem. The creek was running about 3m below the trail. If I had taken Ninja action, I would’ve been able to go down to the creek. Well…now, I’ve got to tell myself…”No, I can not do this. It is not acceptable”. “Staying on trails”, that was clearly stated by a park ranger. It takes long time to recover once natural habitants are damaged. Photographers tend to bend the rule to get unique shots. But it may result in struggling own neck in long run.

Anyway, I kept walking and I came to cross the creek. Then there was a pass along by the creek. Lucky! I can reach to the green moss without stepping over natural vegetation.

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Ultra wide Heliar 12mm/f5.6, my fun lens. Lee 0.9 ND filter. This is HDR image. I used PS to develop the HDR image but the outcome was not satisfactory. Then I tried Photometix, and I am quite happy with the result.

A Socky Sock – Worth it!

Spring has come and I revisited my favorite location in Kananaskis, Alberta on the Easter weekend. The lake was still covered with snow, and it was too early to take picture of the icy lake. One morning after shooting sunrise, I found a little pool, which was covered by ice and snow. But nice blue colored water already appeared on the center of the pool. I tried some different compositions. And eventually I found very interesting composition.

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21mm lens. HDR processed with Photomatix. But still natural feel, I think.

But I knew the mountains turned orange around sun rise time. So question is…if the mountain in this image is orange sunrise one…it must be really cool shot. I grabbed my 4×5 field view camera and rehearse setting up for the shooting next morning. By the way, for who are not familiar with view camera, setting up a view camera takes usually over 20min since it allows many different adjustments by bellows technique. (Imagine the vertical and horizontal perspective control in Photoshop, plus depth of field, you can control these things with a view camera. Don’t you think it is cool?) It worth checking set up before big shooting. I left tripod mark like male dogs do; now go back to my car, have breakfast, call to youth hostel to extend stay, and take a morning nap.

Next day, I was so excited while driving in dawn; I was, however, so shocked when I arrived at the pool. It was supposed to go down to -5C at night-time so I thought it was fine in the morning. But ice was melted over night and the pool became much bigger. No way I could achieve the composition I wanted. Anyway, I set up my tripod and 4×5 in the pool as far as I could manipulate the camera. I was struggling with the situation; the sky was getting brighter. Then suddenly, I noticed my foot was in sherbet water. Actually, Ice could not hold my weight and cracked. I could save my camera from being dropped in the pool, but I had to run to my car and got to look for a sock and spare shoes. While I was changing, I saw the mountain reflecting beautiful orange sun light. No time to tie shoelaces; just ran back to my camera quickly. I got to set up the camera again. Somehow, I could manage one image from my 4X5 view camera but missed the fun bellows technique part. Damn!

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Woodman 4×5, Fuji 90mm, Velvia 100F scanned with Epson 750v scanner.  BTW I miss Kodak E100VS.

Well, I could not get the perfect image I expected. Is it really that bad? It may be true that Goddess did not smile at my shooting but I could feel that spring was truly coming. I had just witnessed small changes the mother of nature creates every day. That is why I go back to mountains. It is a real pleasure of the nature photography, isn’t it? Also, I got a good excuse to go back to this place next year, my favorite and secret place.

If you want to know about field view camera, here is another blog post by Samantha Chrysanthou. This is fun to read.

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Autumn color – Lake O’hara

My hiking outfits for photography

Impact of Photography, and Tone – Lisa Mercer

Last week, I FOUND this image in a bunch of prints. It was a club print competition. When I came to this image I felt something weird. It was definitely an interesting image but not straight forward. Then I started analyzing the photo and I was thinking what kind of effects had been used on the horse. Eventually, I found out the image was upside-down. I was totally tricked. Then I started wondering “Is this Lisa’s image?”. Yes, it was. Now I would like to talk about two points from this experience.

Jazz, especially after be-bop age, seems to force some sort of training on listeners to get a point to appreciate the form of the music. “A love supreme” by John Coltrane may be so esoteric for some people if they have not already had some jazz albums in their CD collection. Now, think about Mozart’s Requiem (I think most of you know about this legendary piece through the movie “Amadeus”). It is a Requiem which is supposed to be dark, sad, and heavy. However, when I listen to the piece, I sometime feel heavenly and feathery, and it is beautiful.

Back to photography, when photographers Judge or critique some others’ photos, “beautiful”, “gorgeous”, and “Wow” images tend to get rated higher. So called “wow factor” is the one we are looking for. But wait a minute, why cannot it be “Hmmm” factor or “Ah-ha!” factor? Or even “Ewww” factor? It is not doubt
that everybody likes colorful sunrise landscape shots of the Rocky mountains by
PROFESSIONAL photographers. They are gorgeous. But think about a quality of some images appearing in my head and forcing me to think about the image before going to sleep. Don’t you think they are very successful images in terms of communication to viewers?  This photo by Lisa is one of them, really.

2nd point. This is good opportunity to talk about what I have been thinking about lately. I mentioned, in the first paragraph of this posting, that I could tell it was Lisa’s image; actually, I could tell both of her two images. So how can I do that because I can see her own tone in image (In this article, tone will be dealt differently from style). I like to call it “Signature Tone”. Possibly, it is similar to “touch” which painters refer to, or distinctive sounds which musician make from their musical instruments. When looking at master photographers’ works, which of course recorded on film, I am often impressed by their signature tones (To me, extreme examples are Daido Moriyama and Joseph Sudek). Now, in the digital age, what we can do on images on a computer are limitless. Nowadays, you can easily find so many HDR photos, and the technology, quite easily, allow us to achieve these outstanding HDR images. Most of times, what we have to do is find a preset of the tone mappings you like, and click the button. But can you say it is your signature tone? I am not saying HDR is an evil; actually I could not complete some of my images without the HDR method. I believe we, as artists, should try and experiment new techniques, and it is fine to publish the results on any occasions. But to make it your signature tone and style, we need further steps and time to digest the try and errors. To be honest, I cannot answer how to develop own tones of images. Often said that to develop own flow of processing leads to own tone and style, but I feel it is not that simple.

Anyway, I am glad to show you Lisa’s very artistic photo here and I AM honored she joined the members for the “Ethereal” Photographic gallery group show in fall. Here is her comment about her photo as well.

This photo was taken in May 2010 at the farm next door to my acreage.  There is a small wetland on the front pasture there, and I usually enjoy shooting various waterfowl, but the horses were walking around in it this day. This horse’s name is River, and I met him the day he was born, also next door – we are friends with the neighbours.  The horse will be 3 this coming July.

Lisa