Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Available Light

Shot in Changburi Resort & Spa, Koh Chang, using a Canon 1Ds Mark 2, and the beautiful EF 85/1.2L lens. The model, Anna, has beautiful fair skin, so I have her sit by the side of the bath tab in the spa room with most of the natural light flooding into the room, so that her skin is nicely lit by the natural light, at the same time, I was able to get the exposre on the background approximately 2 stops over the skin to result the final image with softer, lighter touch.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Koh Chang, revisited

Although billed as Thailand's second largest island of Thailand, Koh Chang is really not that big, but given its size, Koh Chang still offer enough diversified landscape to shoot, with different beaches.
This picture, again taken at Koh Chang Island, using Canon 1Ds Mark 2, and the EF 16-35/2.8L, available light, on this lovely model. The rock on the beachside makes a perfect bed, with nice color reflecting the temperature of setting sun, and the nice tanned skin model. The cloudy sky reflect just enough sunlight on the model and allow me to take the pciture from this angle without haivng to deal with high contrast or use of reflector, whcih I usually don't have for location work, especially for shot such as this.

Dance of light

Taken in Bangkok, an unusual firework presenting this fantastic light dance. I mount the Phase One P45+ on Contax 645, with Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 45-90/4.5, this is one of the many images took.
Fireworks is in fact a lot easier to shoot than most people think it is. I simply open the camera shutter, wait for the firework, and close the shutter when my visual record the right pattern suggests it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Contrast & Color, take 2

With digital capture, each parameter useful in raw conversion is a tool for photographer, or for the graphic artist. Contrast is a relative term, higher is not always better, of course, this is a subjective matter. So is the color, and all the combination between all the controllable elements.
This shot, taken in the garden of my apartment, in an otherwise normal afternoon, except after a short rain. Still overcast light, soft, so I tune my camera to have a less saturate tone, reduce the sharpness a little, as well as lower the contrast, to get the final result that is more pleasing for me. Shot with Canon 1Ds 3, EF 24-105/4L, I use a Bron-color Verso A4 to power a Pulso G light, defuse the light through umbrella.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


This shot took for Mazda for their 2009 model of Convertible MX-5, using a Nikon D3X with PC-E Micro 45/2.8 ED lens.
The MX-5 is not a new car, but it is a young car, so the casting to have a model match its look and spirit is what makes this picture work. Of course, as a convertible, the MX-5 also allow the photography direction more room to work. The use of PC-E Nikkor is to make sure the depth of field is covered, as most of other photographers do, or often use a technical camera for automobile shots.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Contrast & Color

Most of the optical design is trying to achieve higher contrast and resolution of a lens, and at digital capture age as today, most of the raw conversion software also provides adjustment of contrast, to further increase it, or reduce it.
Not all the time, but sometimes, I reduce the contrast of an image in order to increase softness. There is really no rule to tune down the contrast, form the lighting, form the software, from intentionally under-expose or over-expose and image and use highlight or shadow recovery, or combination.....
So is the color!
Shot in my studio with Sinar eMotion 75LV on Hy6, Schneider 180/2.8AF.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Koh Chang Island, Thailand

Another shot took in Koh Chang Island, also known as Elephant Island, in Thailand. I like the location here, especially for swimsuit shot, is the sand although is not particular white, in fact a little yellow, but at sunset, it all turn to gold, and what a breath taking view it is.
This shot made on a Thai model, Gift, with Panos Emporio swimwear, taken with Canon 1Ds 2 with EF 85/1.2L, the artificial light to balance the beautifully lit golden sand beach is a Bron-color ring light powered by a mobile powerpack.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Street photography

I always think that it is a blessing to be a photographer, or painter, not because we produce artwork, or paintings. To me, it is the experience and the involvement. And everyone can be a photographer or painter if he decides it.
Being a photographer, I don't usually see the people, I see a portrait; I don't see the window, I see a painting on the wall; I don't see the street, I saw a picture, oh, not just a picture, many many pictures....
This one, took today in a normal factory building, little aged, did not got paint for awhile, kids running around and make some graffiti...... I drove by, saw this, grab the camera to take some shots, this is one of it. Taken with Canon 1Ds3, mounted with EF 50/1.2L.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Point of view

Taken in a less popular spot in Pataya Beach, Thailand, where common impression of the famous beach city is sand, beach umbrella and chair, water sport, woman hanging around man, or man hanging around woman, and of course the bars, lots of bars.
Yet, for a quick production, beach, and usually very nice sunset, and just less than 2 hours drive from Bangkok, Pataya is still hard to beat. And the point is, to select a location that is less recognizable, and has to work, work fast, so you can practically finish the work within a day.
This picture, to avoid the over exposing landscape, I lowered myself to the sand level, direct the model to pose low, for this perspective shot that I can use the beautiful sunset as nice backdrop but not overtaking the softness of the young model. Shot with a Canon 1Ds 2, EF 24-70/2.8L, to reduce the shadow and harsh contrast on the model's face, fill with a Canon flashgun 580EXII.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Balancing the light

This shot is made at Changburi Resort and Spa, Koh Chang, Thailand, one of my favorite location to shoot, and rest for short holiday, just few hours drive from the busy Bangkok city life.
I took this picture in late afternoon, when the afternoon sun gives just enough light for the detail in the shade but not over burning it, and add a little warmth to the picture. I have the model stand in the pool , and so was I, to get to the model close enough and low enough for the particular angle I like. To balance the light and raise overall contrast of the picture, a bron-color mobile light was also use, thru an umbrella to have the right reflection on the running water. I tune down the picture so the focus on the model is concentrated.
Shot with a Canon 1Ds 2, EF 24-105/4L, with bron-color mobile powerpack. By the way, regular sync-cord is not recommended, it may not fire the flash due to lack of grounding, or for safety concerns. Radio slave is the way to go, besides it frees you from obstruction of wires. In this shot, I was using a pair of Quantum Freewire, not of any particular reason, I also use Pocket Wizard often, especially when I need to use my light meter - a Sekonic light meter will work wirelessly with the Pocket Wizard. One more tip - for those not residing in America, make sure you pair the radio frequency right, a FCC unit won't work with EC unit or vice versa, my first Sekonic L-758DR was purchased in Thailand thru the official dealer but they are all EC configuration, I later bought a FCC version to use to solve the problem - note - an EC version won't even work with the plug-in FCC radio module.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cropping a medium format digital portrait

One of the picture taken during a session with this beautiful model. Taken with Phase One P45+ on Contax 645, with Carl Zeiss Planar 80/2, this image is cropped from a larger head and shoulder, 1/2 body shot. The 39 million pixels back allow the crop but there is another reason. When taking a close up portrait, one might use a smaller camera and get closer to arrive at the file size equal or even greater than one taken with digital back, it is a simple math, but not always true.
The distance between model and camera is important, so as the focal length is used. Getting to far away, you lost certain intimacy with the model, getting too close, some model may start to feel a little uncertainty so you want to stay at a optimized distance from the model, of course, this may varied from one model to another, or one photographer to another.
And the use of focal length? Equally important. When taking portrait, I use mostly fixed focal lens, not much for its usually superior optical quality, but you can train the lens and moving with the camera to get the right composition, to me, the framing will have more intensity than otherwise, of course, this is a subjective matter. Depend on the subject and approach of the image style, I do believe the certain focal length project different perspective and emotion from others. Telephoto gives a compressed point of view that make the subject far away from the viewer, less friendly, or some wider angle lens gives a widened perspective that you lost the precise sense of space.
So coming back to this subject, why I shot this with a normal lens and crop it later for a tight composition? Why not, for example an Apo-Makro-Planar 120/4 or Planar 140/2.8 or even 210/4? I want a natural and normal perspective from the 80/2, and take advantage of the high resolution digital back to allow me to crop an image that is more pleasing, at least to me. Grains were added in post process.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Show from the heaven

Taken today, June 13, 2009 with a Canon 1Ds 3 Mark 2 + EF 85/1.2L, an otherwise normal day. After a big rain 2 days ago, I noticed the sky was unusually blue for this time in Bangkok, since yesterday.
I did my usual things today..... in late afternoon, while about to jump up to my truck going home, I saw this splendid sky show, quickly grab the camera I kept inside the car, fire off a handful of shots, this is one of them.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Portrait is always a challenge, for many reasons, because people sees people differently. There is really no rule. This picture made at Ko Chang, Thailand, Thailand, is one of my favorite, and I am not too sure if I can explain it clearly. I think it is about the color, the mood, the composition, the pose.....
Shot with Contax 645 mounted with Phase One P45, Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 45-90mm.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Big Bag

A straight forward fashion shot for Sunny Rose bag. The focus is of course the bag, but the attraction is the presentation by the lovely Canadian model. I have Jenna, the model, to pose by using the bag as her dress for this image, carefully stage the bag as center of focus while gives the bag the right human touch, rather than just another bag.
Shot by using Canon 1Ds 3 with EF 85/1.2L. Using a 85mm lens means I need to stand by a little far away from the model but it also gives a feel of space and a little more glamorous look. In this kind shoot, I did not tether my camera to computer as I typically do, because I might lost the impulsive and spontaneous.
It is a pity that given the technology today, there is still not a reliable and efficient way to wirelessly connect the camera and computer that works for fashion, for instant review, or for the matter, at least to synchronize the storage to always have a safety back up.
The software I use for tethered shooting, the Phase One Capture Pro 4 is perhaps the best I have tried for many years and still using it. The shooting speed for a Phase One digital back is good but nearly not acceptable for camera such as Canon 1Ds3 or Nikon D3X, may be due to the USB in use? Should these camera comes with a powerful wireless module, that can allow simutaneous CF card and mass storage back-up (wireless) thru the capture software, it would be very welcome.


On location at Tarudao Island, southern Thailand, for this beautiful Serbian model, Aleksandria. Balance the right ambient light with artificial light is difficult especially at this swift light changing time.  Shot with Contax 645 with Phase One P25, Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 45-90mm, at 1/30s - a slow and very dangerous shutter speed for medium format digital, hand-held on the sand beach but I got my luck.  The artificial light is a bron-color ring-light powered by the bron-color mobile power pack - placed on a rack behind me. 

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Portrait of a camera

Made this shot in my hotel room while traveling to Kolon, Germany. The shadow is one of my most favorite camera, Contax G2, mounted with the beautiful Carl Zeiss 2.8/21mm Biogon, on a small Gitzo tripod, the camera recorded its own image, the setting sun bathe the hotel wall resulting a pleasing warm color. Original shot on Velvia.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Window Dresser

A shot I took in Vienna, Austria. It was a weekend, I was walking around a small shopping avenue behind the hotel I stayed, with my Contax N Digital mounted Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 28-85, I snapped this picture thru the display window on a window dresser who was painting for the new display layout..........
Original a jpeg, Photoshop to make the watercolor look.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Black and white

This is a swimsuit shot made a while ago, on a lovely model from Texas, America, Tara. It is a simple picture with clear elements.
The model has a strong black hair, nice contrast with her fair skin, the main studio light on the model, in this shoot 3 Elinchrom light unit, 2 powered by generators and one a monoblock for background fill; her while swimsuit, the white studio background was lit while enough to differentiate from the subject. The choice for the high heel is black, so that it balance with the dark hair and the picture will not look top heavy. The use of just black and white delivers this image with a simple and subtle presentation. Shot with Sinar Hy6 mounted with eMotion 75LV, Schneider AFD 80/2.8.