Tag Archives: Photography

A Woman in Red

I photographed Leah last summer.  She is beautiful and gorgeous. As you see, she was wearing eye catching red dress. Since the color of her dress is intense pure red, I requested her to stand in front of old back wall. That brings good contrast between pail wall and her, and she is more standing out in the image.

Now, a photographer have to work a little bit harder on the computer.  I wanted to enhance my inner imagination of kind of Gothic, like Gotham city in Tim Burton version of Batman. So added rusty “yogoshi” weathering effect on entire image.

I would be glad if you see the mood I saw in my imagination.


Please click the idea to view larger image.


Crocus – A messenger of the spring

Calgarians experienced extremely mild winter of 2015 to 2016. But still it is good to find a sign of spring arrived. I visited Drumheller and I found many crocuses blossoming in the badlands soil. Crocus would be a messenger telling us it is the end of long winter.

_DSC9199 1

_DSC9213 1

Snap with film – Grainy portraits

When going shooting, I still bring a film camera, even to serious sessions. These  images on film are for myself,…just for satisfying my artistic ego. When I have chances to “snap”, I tend to pull my film camera from a camera bag. So these photos may not be published forever; just sit in my photo album. A camera I take with me varies depends on my feeling. It can be Nikon F3 and expecting “thin line” sharp image, or old Minolta and expecting beautiful bokhe. Sometimes I expect very sharp images from medium format camera, Mamiya  645pro; some other days, I try pinhole with rangefinder camera to get ethereal feels. This time, I wanted to try very grainy images from  Ilford HP5 B&W film (Iso 400) pushed to 3200.

Although last time I tried the grainy photo from the same method was about 10 years ago. I am pretty satisfied the result this time. I used the telephoto lens made in early 1960’s. I like this lens for portraits because its contrast is not harshly high compared to modern lenses. I can get mild and gentle portraits but well balanced images. This character of the lens looks more distinguishable with film than digital. I often feel film is honest…..! So I have to be a little more serious while I snap.

My shadow by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K)) on 500px.com
My shadow by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Black and white portraits frm Arts hotel - 1 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K)) on 500px.com
Black and white portraits frm Arts hotel – 1 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Black and white portraits frm Arts hotel - 2 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K)) on 500px.com
Black and white portraits frm Arts hotel – 2 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Flash light in Landscape photographey.

I had a vacation this fall again. I visit Lake O’Hara and Jasper every year to pursue leaves changes. Although I had bad weather last two years, the sun was smiling at me most of the time this year in Lake O’Hara. However, it means light condition was a little harsh for photography. So I had to use HDR a lot in Lake O’Hara.

In Jasper, the weather was not as beautiful as when I had been in Lake O’Hara. But lighting condition at the golden time is usually difficult. I did not want to use HDR for this shot. Instead of the HDR, I tried off-camera flash light to the boats. I added tinge of colour with gels.
Rainy Evening in Japser, Alberta - 2 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Rainy Evening in Japser, Alberta – 2 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Please click the photo for the larger size.

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.



Play with shadow

At a location photo-session, I found the interesting wall decorated with some English writing  Beyond the SHADOW of a doubt, I had to use the wall. As I mentioned before, I almost always set a concept before starting shooting. This time I tried to play with shadow. Well… Idea was good but it took long time to figure out the lighting set-up to create the shadow effectively. I had to ask Janet to keep posing for long time. I wish I had an assistant.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Please click on the photos for larger images

While I was post-processing, I found this image looked like a music album cover, so I cropped to squire format.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

The model was fabulous Janet Tran from Calgary.

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