Monday, March 30, 2009

Color of the sky

What is the color of the sky? I shot this picture while traveling in Tibet, on route 318 - which is famous in China as one of the most scenic rich route that starts from Shanghai all the way to Lhasa, Tibet. This is the section perhaps 2-3 days before arriving Lhasa.
Why this color? And why not? Our eye perceives the color and interpreted with our inner vision, and thanks for the digital capture, sometimes we are able to present the picture in a somewhat false way but more realistic than otherwise a faithful reproduction, but is faithful reproduction is faithful? Because we don't see the picture with our eyes, we see the picture with our mind. A picture without a soul is a boring image.
Taken using a Hasselblad H3D39 camera, with HC 300/4.5 lens.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Coffee break

I took this picture while having a coffee break in my balcony this afternoon. I took a break from working on some final retouch work for the recent automobile shot for Mazda, and on this unusually clear late afternoon, I saw the metal cladding of the distant bridge reflect the light from the setting and I told myself, what a picture!
And this is the picture! I almost ran to my camera closet to grab a Canon 1Ds3, and mount it with a tele-lens I rarely use, but remains one of my favorite lens nonetheless, the beautifully made Leica Apo-Tylet-Emarit-R 400/2.8, a super bright and sharp lens, with an R-EOS adaptor, I fired off some pictures, and this one among them.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Beauty and the Beast

This is a new shot for Mazda MX-5 model 2009, a nice little convertible, and to match that, a young, vibrant, slim and lovely model - Martina, from Slovakia.
I made this shot using Phase One P45+ on Contax 645, mounted with Carl Zeiss Distagon 3.5/55, the main light in use was the spotlight headlamp of the small roadster, and a side light defused from a large softbox, a bron-color Pulso G lamp powered by Verso A4. I have the car park closer to the large wall of my studio so the side lamp cast an interesting light on the wall so it does not feel too hollow, and too distant. I want to show the character of the car, and went on using a little unusual light than common studio lighting, for this one, while there are also conventional shots, which is more for regular consumer, but this one I hope I can make an image that is more cult oriented and hope I have success in finishing it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Room with a feel!

This is a shot from the recent production my studio made for a wellness center operator in Europe, using rich color and exotic arrangement to produce mysterious, fantasy atmosphere for the spiritual and physical experience.
The goal was to create a richness typically won't find in the wellness center run in Europe, or in Western Hemisphere. The Caucasian, Rachel, is also a professional dancer, with very flexible body and natural pose and rich body language helped me to get this picture.
Shot with Phase One P45+ on Contax 645, mounted with Carl Zeiss Planar 80/2.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I made this shot for Mandarin Oriental, Chiangmai, one of the best Mandarin hotel around. The challenge is to reproduce the atmosphere of relaxed, quiet, and a perfect location for vocation while at the same time, it is after all located in Thailand, where beautiful sunshine is its synonym and exotic locations is its attraction.
I placed a vocation magazine, page to the image of vibrant blue sky and a lady in swimsuit, enough to show the hint and color balance with the background and bench, to provide a visual clue that the bench and hotel is patiently await for the return of guest.
Shot with Canon 1Ds II with TS-E 24/3.5L for the right perspective I need. I don't usually recommend the hotel operator to hard sell their property, because hotel is home away home, it is a harbor for the voyager to rest, and the picture needs to convey the right message, especially for hotel such as Mandarin Oriental.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Silence of the moth

One of the starring role of the Oscar winning film, Silence of the Lambs.
I shot this picture in my apartment, in fact it was where I found the moth, strangely landed on my parking lot a few days earlier, I took it and placed it on a A4 size paper as backdrop, using Canon 1Ds III, EF 100/2.8 macro lens, with Canon's Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX for this image. And what a motionless creature it is, I snap off quickly may be 30-40 pictures, using lenses between 100mm macro and the 65mm 1-5X macro lenses and the moth remained almost motionless, and silence, except with some burst of light, its antennae moves a little in reaction.
I put it back to my doorsteps, remain it on the A4 paper, and it disappeared the next day when I open my door again, and never saw it again.

The connection

Eye is the window of soul, thru it, we found the inner world of another. I always think that there is a special relationship between the photographer and the model, somehow, their inner world suddenly becomes closer with each click of shutter.
This picture was shot in Rajaprapha Dam in Surat Thani, Thailand, with Canon 1Ds MK2 and EF 180/3.4L, one of the proud macro lens of Canon. I use a Bron-color light powered by a mobile power pack for the lighting to blend with ambient light. It is the eye such as this to make me believe so.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

World, distorted!

This is a shot made a few years ago with my compact Canon iXus 400, a small 400-million-pixels digital compact camera, so small, it is in my pocket most of the time, especially while traveling.
This shot was made in a mid spring day in a small town near Shanghai, China, a routined business trip I made to review some of my industrial design work. A Chinese supplier of mine, took me to this Chinese restaurant, along with my assistant and few others, and while setting down, the waiter removed the glasses on the table and place them by the window. While I sat down, I turned to look thru the window for an outdoor view and saw the townhouses image behind the drinking glasses, and I told myself, what a picture, and so I record it.
Everyday in life presented in front of us a rich amount of visual material, awaits our discovery. A compact digital camera, being small, just enough to make shot such as this becomes possible. Should I use a much larger DSLR or even medium format digital camera backs, I could not make this picture, due to the distance between the camera and the glasses - the limitation in optical design for lens to serve larger sensor, also due to the much limited depth of field that would not register enough sharpness, and the corresponding lens needed to reach this result.
A camera is a tool, its use is depend on the photographer, to capture the image such as this that otherwise difficult or not possible to do. This picture was exhibited in Thailand National Gallery, and among one of my most favorite captures.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Shadow works

When there is a light, there is the shadow. Shadow, which often defined as negative, but without it, positive lost its meaning. The balance between light and shadow is a study of many photographers' life time work, at least it is to me.
This picture, shot quite recently, with Canon 1Ds MK3 and EF 85/1.2L, is one of the example. I went on a very high key approach, wanted to blend the very fair skin Caucasian model, Dasha, into the background and to create a sense of motion, I have her jump and swing her head to create the hair movement, to result the picture presented here, a quite subtle approach and somewhat more focus on the dress she is wearing, the subject.
The shadow, which is very subtle, but just enough to present the sense of space, dimension and contrast to the entire presentation of comfortable, soft and light.

Monday, March 9, 2009


This is a shot planed ahead of time to want to have the reflection as important element in the photograph. The only problem was that to get the desire reflection, I have to wait for the sun to set to the right angle, and not overly strong to overtaking the main subject: the model + the jewelry. And so you need to wait.
The reflection from the sun higher up will have a rather sharp sparkling, may take away the attention for the jewelry worn by the model; and if too low, will have a smaller reflection and become more distracting, also may cause a little lens flair. Not that I don't like lens flair at all, I just don't want it in this picture, but I could have been wrong anyway. Each photograph is a series of decisions to make it happen and the photographer has to decide it.
I made this picture in Ko Chang, an island situated in Siam Bay, the 2nd largest island in Thailand. Shot with a Sinar Hy6 camera attached with 33-million-pixels eMotion 75LV digital back, mounted with the Schneider AFD 80/2.8. The side light was a Bron-color light thru an umbrella, powered by a battery powered Verso A2.
Detail crop from the 100% image on the eye of the model, Elona.

Size Matters? You make the call!

Digital capture has allow many creative photography becomes less technical demand, easier and cheaper to achieve. What was once required only technical round-shot camera to capture, today, with digital stitch you can achieve the same result, and with careful set up and strong software experience, surpass what was possible before.
The digital capture also enable super large print becomes available at extremely high quality. What was once achievable only with very large camera, the 4X5, the 8X10 and even the much lager ones, can now be surpassed by multiple of stitches of smaller digital camera, and depend on how big the print is needed, the photographer can prepare ahead of time for the production of picture - although, and it is true, some may argue that there is still something, often, require single capture; but what digital presented to us is something, in fact lots of things not even possible before with film. The trade back is, in my perspective, less artistic process, but replaced with a more careful control production.
This picture was taken in Sichuan province, China, right after passed the Danba town, I arrive this spot and presented the view of the grand Tibetan Plateau. Shot with Hasselblad H3D39, with HC 100/2.2 lens, I mount the camera on my Seitz VR Drive, made 5 separate captures to stitch to achieve this final image, using RealViz. I could have use the wide angle lens really, but, I would not have achieve this compressed image of such picture size.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Summer comes closer

This is a recent shot for summer, a beautiful model from Belarus, Dasha, in Wolford swimsuit. Shot with Canon 1Ds Mark 3 camera and EF 50/1.2L lens. I increasingly use the normal lens more often, on either small DSLR or on medium format cameras, in such case, 80mm lens.
Rather than using the common short tele lens for shot like this, I found the normal lens will require the photographer to get closer to model, which works a lot better for more intimate shots.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Morning Sun

I was on a ferry from Surat Thani, a southern province of Thailand, to Samui Island. In the air conditioned cabin on board, the warmth of rising sun caused the condensation on the window, with a Leica M8 on my hand, mounted with my favorite Carl Zeiss Hologon 16/8 - originally designed for the famous Contax G and machined to fit on Leica M mount, I snap this picture at a very close distance. The Hologon faithfully recorded the minute detail of the condensation and the rising run through the window.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Luminous Green

A shot I took awhile ago and was on some of my computer as wallpaper.  I made this picture in the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden in Chiangmai, northern Thailand.  The afternoon sun cast some light thru the open wall just enough to light up the greens surrounding the flowers. Shot with Sony DSC-F828, a fine camera but unfortunately got stolen, but, fortunately survived by some images I have form it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Skin Tone

Skin tone is one of the most difficult color to capture, or in the digital avenue, difficult to develop. Is the absolute accuracy results best image? Hardly. 
It is about the right mood, and the right tone. Because skin is skin, what's beneath it or beyond it is the key to make a picture work.
This image took in late 2008, using Phase One P45+ on Contax 645, and my favorite Carl Zeiss Apo-Makro-Planar 120/4. The rich red of the glove is a nice contrast against the slightly pale skin of the model, which in reality is not nearly as pale, but the overall presentation of image came out the way I prefer.

Monday, March 2, 2009


A jewelry shot I took in 2008, with an interesting model from Zambia. Interesting also is her name, Joyce, which echos the love of jewelry.
I like the pitch dark skin tone and nice contrast against the custom jewelry. Shot with Phase One P45+ fitted to Contax 645, mounted with one of my favorite Carl Zeiss Apo-Makro-Planar 120/4.
This is one of my favorite image, especially the full lips of Joyce lit by the crystal that gives the picture a little more life than otherwise a static capture.