Tag Archives: Visual Arts

It is not “beautiful” sunset but… – Overlapping Memories

As I mentioned before I sometimes have precise vision of final image before I press a shutter button at the scene, but also I often just capture a scenery without particular idea of final image. Occasionally, images are just only “beautiful” and did not speak to me regardless of how process the image, but occasionally my imagination grows while I am editing the image.

This is one of the such type of my photos. I took this photo in Jasper last year. I was shooting sunset on the mountains and reflection. While I was waiting for the sky turned to beautiful orange, this scene came to my eyes from the position I stood to different angle. I changed to long distance lens and took some shots. Even I did not use a tripod for this image.

I edited the “beautiful” sunset shot but it did not speak to me even though I took hours for processing. Then I looked at this image. It somehow appealed to me. Although I needed some trials and errors before I got an idea of editing map to the final image, I like this image much better than the sunset image….maybe because this reflect my personality? The sunset image is staying in a hard drive; this image was exhibited at my Wabi-sabi wanderlust show in February and sold.

 

Overlapping Memories

 

By the way, I am on process of rebuilding my business and my business name will be changed to Wide Bright Sun photography from Wide Bright Pass Photography. I hope I can announce my new web site before long.

 

My photographic exhibition at Framed on fifth in February.

It has been 2 years since Framed on Fifth, lovely framing and art gallery booked me for a gallery show. Now it is happening.  Although 2 years seems long enough to prepare images, it passed very quickly. I must be a rain man and I got bad weather whenever I go to big trips. I end up to get many subtle, gentle almost melancholic images. Then I went through all landscape images I have taken since 2009. I realized I am getting more subtle images because my style may have been changing. 

So I titled this gallery show,  “Wabi-sabi wanderlust”. Wabi-sabi is Japanese term, in part portrays a true sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing.

My show will be at Framed on Fifth (1207 – 5th Avenue N.W., Calgary) from Feb 1st to Mar 1st. The opening reception will be Feb 8th from 5pm. Also I will have artist talk, ” Meet the artist” on Feb 15th from 2 pm to 4 pm. I will have a photo critiquing session as a part of the artist talk.  Please bring a couple of your photos.

image

By the way, this show is part of Exposure Photo Festival 2014. Many gallery shows are listed this year as well. You should check the out.

Lastly,  I will share a time-lapsed video, I made for fun. Just check it out.

Black and White conversion to the image “Island” (3) – Technique from wet darkroom

In my last blog, each parts of the image were looked after and vignetting was applied. It is getting close to what I imagined. But I felt the island, the woods at the center, was somewhat still weak as a main subject. So I need to spice up a little bit. I used “Curve” layers to modify contrast and brightness. But it did not give delicate control over the intricate patterns of the woods. So I used a different technique.

Before showing the process, please allow me to talk about a little bit about conventional dark room process. In darkroom processing, can contrast be adjusted LOCALLY, like I did in my previous post? Originally, contrast was determined by a GRADE of the paper (#1 to 5, #1 is lowest contrast and #5 is highest) so the contrast can’t be adjusted locally. Then Multigrade paper was developed. With the MG paper, contrast was determined by different density of filters, placed between enlarging lens and the paper. The darker filter, the more contrast. By applying different density of the filter to particular part of the image, contrast can be adjusted locally. This is same as I have done in my previous post. As a more advanced technique, different densities of filters are applied to the SAME part. The principle of enlargement is same as shooting with a camera. It requires certain exposure time; it is just longer than shooting. Now please imagine you need 30sec to get proper exposure to a particular part of the image. With a moderate contrast filter, you get a result with lack of punch. Now, you need more contrast but you don’t want to lose gradation of the tone. So what you can do is divide the exposure time (30 sec) to different filters. E.g, High contrast filter for 8sec, medium one for 15 sec and low contrast one for 7 sec to preserve the gradation. I use this technique for the wood part in digital processing.

Step 1. Create a mask on the woods as precise as possible.

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 Step 2. Create a Curve layer for high contrast. Please take a look a curve and the image below.

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Step 3.  Create a Curve layer for low contrast.    

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Step 4. Change opacity of the each curve layer. The high contrast curve adds edges of lines but it will sacrifice tonal gradation. The low contrast will recover the tonal gradation. I find this technique is effective to clouds or hair.

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It is done. I saw bluish toning would suit this image so I added selenium toning by Nik SilverEfex. This is finally competed image.

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Black and White conversion to the image “Island” (2)

In the last post, my photo, “Island” was converted to B&W by B&W conversion software, TrueGrain. This time, I will share how I edited the converted image. As I mentioned in the previous post, my inner vision I imagined was that the woods at the center was floating in the air, like floating Island. Now I have to make changes to achieve the concept.

At first, short grasses are growing around the island. I brightened this area to separate from the outer part (photo 1).  By the way, I used “Curve” layers of Photoshop for this type of changes.

Photo 1

Photo 1

Next, I looked at the forest at the other side of the river. The forest on right side of the island is brighter than left one so I darken the right side to make even (photo 2). It is a subtle change.

photo 2

photo 2

Then although the river is visible, it is too white and not noticeable. So I darkened the river (photo 3).

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Although the Island is main subject (center of interest) in this photo, the summits of the mountains are also an important element since they are acting as a complement of the main subject. So I wanted to enhance the edge (snow line) of the mountains. In this case, the brightness of the snow line was kept at same level, and the rocky aprt around the snow line was darkened (photo 4). It is subtle change but it is significant on print.

photo 4

photo 4

 Lastly, a tree was too white so it was darkened.

Let’s leave dodging and burning process at this point and see what will happen if I apply vignetting (Darkening or whiting corners). Before this process, I usually crop an image to appropriate composition and aspect ratio. For portrait works, I often use automatic vignetting tool equipped in Adobe Lightroom or Nik Color efex. But for landscapes, especially this case, I manually added vinetting. This is the original just after cropped.

L1050414-2 HP5 cropped copy

1.       Left bottom corner.

2.       Right bottom corner.

3.       Right top corner.

4.       I felt still not quite effective, so I darkened about 1/12 of the entire image from top edge.

5.       I see texture on a mountain on the left side. I Do Not want to see the detail. So the area was whitened.

6.       More vinetting on right top corner.

7.       Then mild vignetting was applied at all corners by Nik Color Efex to add retro mood.

8.       Still I did not see the impact of my inner vision so I added gradual neutral density digitally to darken the sky. Vignetting looks okay now. This is the result.

L1050414-2 HP5 cropped copy 08

Hmmm…it is getting closer but I still the Island is not standing out as I imagine.

So I tried another trick. It will be next time.  Stay Tuned.

Related posts

Black and White conversion to the image “Island” (1)

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I will share how I edited the black and white photo, “Island” posted in the previous blog.  First of all, I should talk about B&W conversion software I am using. Many photographers use software to convert a color image to monochrome image. It is very convenient since the software allows adding an effect of the color filter, (such as red filter for darkening sky or green filter for pleasant skin tone), mimicking many different types of B&W film, controlling grain level and adding toning such as sepia or selenium. Currently, I am using following three B&W converters.

Nik Silver Efex is the most popular B&W converter. It has many functions and some parameters can be locally adjusted by NIk’s famous “control points” method. Many types of film are listed for film mimicking. But I see “digital flavor” still remains. I would say It gives contemporary B&W image so I use the Silver Efex predominantly for my portrait works.

Topaz B&W effect doesn’t have film mimicking but is has many fancy toning so I occasionally use the software for toning at the end of process.

TrueGrain is very simple B&W converter; only I can do with the software are selecting a film type, adding an effect of the color filter, and controlling grain level. It allows modifying characteristic contrast curve of the selected film. It doesn’t have local adjustment or toning. Possibly, this is why nobody use (or knows) this software. But its film mimicking is very close to real film; it gives a kind of Lo-fi feel of the film. I use TrueGrain for my landscape photography since I would like keep natural feel to the images.

The original image was taken in foggy morning so the contrast of the entire image is somewhat low for B&W image.  I tried the B&W conversion with TrueGrain and I applied red filter but the sky is not dark enough and the “Island”, woods in the center of image was not standing out well. (photo 1)

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Photo 1

So I had to apply some preparation to the color image before the conversion. Now I should explain how the color filter works for B&W photography. When a color is mixed with a particular different color, the mixed color will be black (or white but ignore at this point). This is called complementary color. For example, the complementary color of blue is yellow; that is why a yellow filter darkens the sky. On the other hand, when the same color of the filter exists in an image, that part will be brightened. I use this idea to enhance certain parts of the image. This time, I planned using orange filter, complementary color of the orange is between blue and cyan.

First of all, I needed to darken the sky. So I have to select (mask) the sky and change its color to more blue / cyan (photo 2). Please click the image for larger view.

Photo 2

Photo 2

Next, I wanted to add a little more contrast to the trees in the island to enhance the drama and separate the island from its surroundings. Again I applied mask to the trees (Photo 3). Then the color of the trees were change to blue/cyan but the intensity of the change was not as high as the sky since I expected a little more subtle changes of the contrast (photo 4)

Photo 3

Photo 3

Untitled-3

Photo 4

At the same time, I felt trunks of the trees needed to be more distinctive, so orange (yellow and red) was added the trunks to lighten them (Photo 4).

Photo 5

Photo 5

Lastly, I brightened the whole island by “Curves” (photo 5).

Untitled-5

Now all preparation is done. Save the file as Tiff and convert the image with TrueGrain. I chose Ilford HP5 as film mimicking and applied orange filter. I added grain as well.L1050414-2 HP5

So this is the result. Please compare to the photo 1. Now the B&W image has more contrast and drama. Getting closer to the concept when I shot the image at the scene.

Actually, this is not done; real cooking will be done on the B&W image. It will be shared in the next post. Stay tuned.

Related post: Black and white photo – “Island”

Black and white photo – “Island”

This photo was taken in August, 2013 in Banff national park. I knew it would be foggy in the morning, so I prepared my camera gear for the next morning to shoot waterfowl lake. When I woke up, my tent was surrounded by mist. I rushed to the waterfowl lake. Well, usually, when I plan a shoot for a particular scene and am aiming a specific image, I don’t get images “I” feel wow. I sometimes say landscape photography is like Symphony but I have been thinking lately I still improvise a lot of time like playing jazz.
After I left the Waterfowl Lake, I drove up to Saskatchewan crossing. Then this scenery came to my eye. I stopped my car and snapped some shots. I didn’t apply any special techniques but I had particular final image in my head. The woods in the swap looked like floating island. Possibly, the idea was come from Japanese animation, unconsciously. I see it in black and white.

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Please click the image for the larger size.

Although the shooting was easy and quick, post-processing was a difficult delivery. I needed to start from scratch for 3 times to meet my inner view “Floating Island”. I am planing to share the post-processing I have applied to this in the next post.

This photo will be exhibited in my next gallery show titled “Wabi-sabi Wanderlust” in February at “Framed on Fifth” in Calgary.

A happy new year!

Sunrise in the Abraham Lake,

I have been going through landscape photos I have taken since 2009. I have to select some images for my upcoming exhibition in February, 2014 and hopefully, I am planning to publish a book at the same time. Then I realized the images I think interesting were taken in bad weather….can be cloudy, raining, snowing or very cold.

When I took this photo, it was warmer day, -6C! But it was windy and cold enough to have made my camera stop working. (I had to keep camera batteries warm and switch them frequently). But when the moment comes like this scene, adrenaline is pumping in, and I just keep clicking a shutter.


Sunrise in the Abraham Lake by Hiroaki  Kobayashi on 500px.com

Sunrise in the Abraham Lake
by
Hiroaki Kobayashi

I like this photo but I don’t think I will put this one for the exhibition in February. This image is a little too dramatic to meet the title of the gallery show, which is “Wabi-sabi Wanderlust”. The photos at the show will be more melancholic and kind of spiritual. They could be said “Oriental mood”.  More details will be announced. Stay tuned.

Gentle Beast – Beautiful Horses

Some of the readers here may have already known my project this year which is photographing my friend’s horses. They are so gentle and friendly so specific techniques are not required to photograph horses. But I realized that I have to pay attention some aspects capture their beauty and intimacy. Even a horse turns his head only a couple of inches further; his handsome face will be lost. I had to visit the ranch several times and learn a lot. Just recently, I feel I have become able to capture some good images from a visit.

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I want to capture some dynamic action shots, but also I really like to see their friendship and affection.

This photo will be exhibited at my next solo gallery show in February. Stay Tuned.

Related Article: Animal Portrait – horses – Such a gentle animal

Fall trip to Kootenay Plains

Discovering a new location is always exciting for photographers. I visited Kootenay Plains first time in fall last year. Along Highway 11, I saw variety of sceneries. I am sure I can spend days to explore over there. In fall, aspen trees in prairies type of open land is beautiful and kind of unique to me. A difference from Jasper is I saw leaves of aspen trees turned to not only yellow but also orange in Kootenay plains. This year, i visited Kootenay Plains again. This year was wired. I saw both yellow and still green. Also some aspen trees had already lost their leaves.

Some people say not to visit the same place again and explore new places. But I like revisiting familiar locations. Things changes year by year; also something never changes. The picture on left is taken in 2012 and one on right is in 2013.

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By the way, Kootenay Plains is known to be quite windy. When I see motions and nice cloud pattern, it is time to try Lee Big Stopper ND filter. This image was from the trip in 2012, last year.


Windy day in Kootenay Plains by Hiroaki  Kobayashi on 500px.com


Windy day in Kootenay Plains
by
Hiroaki Kobayashi

Please click the image for larger size.

Portrait in Winter (4) – from the 2nd session.

I have being posting images of Jillian from the session in December. This time, I would like to share images from January session . The reason I wanted to repeat a photo-session with Jillian is that I could not complete all of my ideas in the previous session and also she is so beautiful, obviously.
I guess the mood of the session may have been different from the December session. Due to my mind set, the images are more casual and kind of candid feel to them. it may have been more relaxed; even Jillian brought up some photographic ideas. I LOVE to hear ideas from a clients. That excites me and I can keep shooting forever.

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Next image, while I was processing, this image reminds me the famous poster of the musical, Les Miserable. I did not expect this happened.

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On the other hand, I had an image of the next photo at the shooting and I specifically requested her to make a pose for this image. I also know I was going to make it B&W. I experimented some digital framing, and I chose the design of the film perforations to add classic feel. Do you like the framing?

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Please click the images for larger sizes, and please check other Jillian’s images in previous posts.