Sunday, December 19, 2010


This shot was made as a part of final artwork, for a Home Furnishing company who produce high quality lacquer ware.  The Russian model, Anna, a painter herslef understood the shot I need, as venus stainding on the sea sheell - which, of ocurse, shot separately and photoshop them together.
The image was taken with a Canon 1Ds III mounted with EF 85/1.2L, the high key background was intended for the final photoshop work, for final artwork.
The cloth is reduced to minimum while keeping the image still viewable by as many people as possible, and can be appreciated by both sexes.
People who follow my blog or image work on-line somewhere else might notice woman is one of my favorite subject, not only that I am a man interested at woman (and who won't?), but also that shooting people, beautiul people, especially when they wear little or no clothings is a challenge.  The challenge is to get images that model, clients and myself all comfortable with.  My approch of taking image of near nude or sometimes nude image is always base on a goal that the final image has to be appreciated by both woman and man, or most importantly, the model in the picture will not feel embarrassed when people saw her in the picture.

Friday, December 17, 2010

After Sunset

This is a still from a recent time-lapse short film project, shot atop of the beautiful Hilton Millenium, Bangkok, over the beautiful Chaopraya River.
It was a clear day, I set up my Canon 5D2 for about 3 hours with 5sec interval for a final sequence of approximate 90 seconds. Time-lpase project is entertaining, all you need to do is set up the camera right, with right angle, right calculation, and in between start to finihs, all you really have to do is coffees (or beers) and a good book.  Lens in use is Canon EF TS-E 17mm.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Image on the fly

Not exactly flying!  This image was taken inside a cab in Taipei while I was on my to CKS airport.  I have an early flight, left the hotel at day break, it was raining in the early winter morning and sun is rising.
The cab running on the elevated highway, the city skyline blurred by the raindrops falling and dancing on the window glass and I have my Canon 1Ds II with a compact EF Macro 50/2.5 on hand and snap this image.

The need of absolute high resolution?

It is a difficult question and possible many people swear by different answers.  This one for example, shot with Canon 1Ds III + EF Macro 100/2.8L IS.  Although Canon 1Ds III is among the smallest camera I use for studio work, at 21 mpx it is among the highest resolution camera available for full frame 135mm DSLR. But this image, was in fact cropped at apporx. 1/4 of the original image - which in reality is only approx. 5 million pixels.
Should I take the exact image using my Phase One P65+, at 60 mpx original capture, even cropped at only 1/4 of original image, I will still get 15 million pixels.  But it is not the only reason to use higher resolution capture with medium format digital backs just to get flexibility of cropping the image - which I seldom do.  But a higher resolution picture does able allow flexible cropping with less fear of image print size becomes too small.
But can the photographer decided the framing of image during the shoot so there is no cropping needed?  Yes and no.  Yes for obvious reason that precise framing is the basic of photographer, I beleive too!  But sometimes I do crop the image; to get the right ratio of image, less often on that I crop the image to be tighter - especially when shooting packshots. But in general, I shot very tight composition.  But commercially, when one photographer shoot for a commercial assignments, he might not have control over the final image that the client or art director may want to apply thier own creative crop that higher resolution image will be beneficial. And for that, higher resultion the better!
Perhaps as a photographer can care less about the absolute resolution, in stead, focus on getting the best image, because the awful truth is higher resolution may in deed just better and more useful, although you may not need it everytime, but when it is there when you need it, you will appreciate it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Candle Light

This is an image shot awhile ago in St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna, Austria.  I took this image with a now discontinued Contax N Digital, which is the earliest full frame DSLR - great camera and great line of lenses, one of the good example is the beautifully made Carl Zeiss Planar 50/1.4 which I use for this image.  The camera and lens system came to an end not by its performance, and the image quality it is capable of producing but because the manufacturer - Kyocera - decided to stop it from marketing.
I cannot say it is a bad decision from Kyocera but they are in business to generate profit and it is a pulic company and they have public responsibility to their investors.  But I will not say it is a good decision either because if Kyocera persisted in supporting the N Digital and gave it a decent software support it might as well become fruitful. Or even they would be successful for a few years, will it survive this wave of convergence of still and motion is also a question.  May be or may be not.  What is certain is that such decision left many Contax owner and users hugely disappointed, me among them, and till many years later still have some negative thought about Kyocera.
In whatever scale, Contax is not a major brand by popular point of view, but it has a status like candle in the dark, tiny but shiny.  The courage to be the first full frame digital and beautiful line of optics is something to praise for,  should Kyocera continue it, it might as well developing into something that will change the landscape of digital camera we see today, Sadly enough, not many manufacturers want to be candle and often people neglects candle light.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tilt-Shift in photojournalism

Is it necessary?  Probably not!  This shot, however, was taken with a Canon 1D II + TS-E 24/3.5L. Why do I need to use a tile-shift lens for this?  The honest answer is at the time of shoot, I happened to have the TS-E 24 on my camera because I was photography an ancient temple in Bali, Indonesia and I was using the shift lens.  But since I happened to have the tilt-shit lens on camera, it does allow me to capture this image with better perspective control. So it was luck.
But is perspective control important to photojournalism image?  No, I don't think so. What I believe in photojournalism work is spontaneous and honesty, else is less important, and for this shot, if I have other lens on the camera I will just use it, won't even care to try to take the TS-E lens out from my camera bag. But does photojournalism image not require higher quality?  Certainly not!  Just that if one put too much thought of using this and that, getting this and that, you may not get the best image possible, and best image is not just about the right gear, it is right time and right mind.

Digital versus film

This is an image taken with Hasselblad X-Pan and the 45mm lens, scan by Nikon Coolscan 8000ED, this was an old stock.  X-Pan was once the most popular panoramic camera, using stock 135mm film.  The first camera I can remembe and use was the Mamiya 6/7 with its 135mm film adapter with basically the same result, however with a much larger camera body, although it is also fair to say Mamiya 6/7 is relatively compact for what it is and light for what it is.
All the discussions on film versus digital are mostly focus on the image result and even today it is still a hot topic among few photographer, for me, the film days were clear gone for me and I have no desire to engage in discussion of which is better, because my mind has made.  But film does remind me some of the images I took, particular this one.  Not that I could have not take this image with a digital camera, but for that film stored in the small canister can be actually quite flexible, simply stretch it inside the cametra, then you can get a panoramic image with the exact media.  With digital, the image sensor is static. Certainly there are also solutions for digital panoramic that I covered a few times in this blog, but they may not deal with this image well for its releatively close foreground, and the fact to use a slower shutter speed to allow the flower blur by the breeze.  Swiss camewra maker, Seitz, in fact did a panoramic camera Seitz 617 - with a mechanism to move the image sensor inside the camera chamber as a field scanner, and it works, with the result of 160mpx resolution.  It has its limitation, but that applies to all camera equipment.
I often wondered, how long will it take a modern day Hasselblad X-Pan? With a panoramic format of capturing sensor? The flexibility to capture full 16:9 to even sub-full frame 35mm image in one small body such as X-Pan?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Venus air walk

A part of an artwork, this shot is made to capture the model in mid air, using Canon 1Ds III and EF 85/1.2L, lighting in use was a couple of Profoto Acute 2 and lights.
It was a rather straight forward shot, as well as lighting, intended to give the model almost 1 stop over exposure so she will appear lighter, as she would need to be in mid air.
Not that I think all the angles are fair skin, I personally have no preference of skin tone, in fact, I would rather to work with a nicely tanned or even over tanned skin as there are more ways to light than models with really fair skin, looks nice in person but more challenge in actual work. However, for the purpose of the final image, the lighter color will suggest the model is lighter and more conveniencing that she can stay afloat in air.

Control the shot

One of the most challenging work in photography is to shoot products with highly reflective surfaces, especially when group them together.
This one, shot for Kohinoor - Crystalized with Swarovski, is a good example.  The set up of the product to reach a visual balance may not benefit the condition of photography, which means, the priority of the arrangement of the products is weighted far above whether it is easier to shoot.  And it is not.  The entire shot takes hours to set up while just 1/125s to actually shoot it, with Phase One P45 on Contax 645 + Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar 45-90/4.5.  Already mentioned a few times in this blog that I rated this lens with sharpness not inferior than many primes, especially at 2.5 meter range where I found it to have the highest level of sharpness.
In order to avoid the reflections on all the surface went crazy, the set up on a table, control the reflection all around, tilt the light box to achieve the nice shading with even illumination while not over burn the detail of  highly reflective surface of mirror polished stainless steel is the challenge, resulted here a shot with in fact minimum photoshop.
In to digital capture, many have the impression that most of the shots are the result of time consuming photoshop works, may be some are, but not all of them.  The highest quality work come directly from skilled photography, not skilled photoshop. And luckily in early 21 century, the fundament in classic photography is still required.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Skin Tone

This is a shot for a fashion accessory laebl, Sunny Rose, the oversize bag made an ideal application that I simply have the model to wrap herself behind the bag. However, this particular iimage was less ablut the bag than the beautiful skin of the lovely American model, Jennifer.
Because the reflexitve material use on the bag I somehow want to lit the model with high ligfht to match the bag but at the same time to retain the skin tone of the model.
The main light use is a bron-color Para 220 fitted with a Pluso G from a Graffi A4. The background was lit with 2 large silver reflector to right amount of luminous to give the skin and background a nice contrast.
Shot with Sinar eMotion 75LV on H6, Schneider 80/2.8 HFT lens.

Friday, November 19, 2010

After Sunset

This is a shot made awhile ago, using the relatively old camera, Canon 1D II with EF 27-70/2.8L at Pataya beach, Thailand.  The shot was made shortly after sunset and the sky displayt a very attractive color.  I use a simple Canon flash gun 580EXas to highlight the skin of the model and balance with the background color, while honestly reproduce the realistic ambient light.
It is not always needed for a large production crew for shot like this but a practice of using small flash.  The modern flash gun from all the major manufacturers are all quite good and qith adequate manual adjustments. Although the Canon 580 EX does come with a dedicated E-TTL exposure, however, as always, I tried to rely on my own experience of using manual output to balance the light the way I prefer. There is nothiong wrong to use auto exposure but iot is always nice to spend a little more time to adjust everytihng with each one's preference and get the result that is a little different from those common ones.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another take on portrait

Shot recently using Canon 1Ds III with EF Macro 100/2.8L IS, the focal length is use here again to portrait the model in a slightly close up framing, but still want to keep the distance from a model slightly longer, with a little compressed perspective.
Taking portrait really has no certain rule, and really it matters with the final use of image or where it is taken and the lighting set up. I remembered years ago when using film, outdoors especially, I used the Contax RTSIII with Carl Zeiss Distagon ME 28/2 - although a wide angle, but because of the ability to shoot close up with very nature perspective control, it was my prime choice of lens back then, but of course, I did not shoot for commercial then.  But will a particular lens gives some inspiration to photographer?  I think it does, at least it is to me. Coming to the age of digital capture, and the relatively high resolution image that the room to crop the image becomes more flexible, and then my choice of focal length became a little narrower, now mostly between 35mm to 100mm for smaller DSLR such as Canon 1Ds III or 5DII, and 80mm to 150mm with medium format, similar to most photographers.  The most different approach is, I almost use prime lens exclusively, not really because I think prime lens final image quality is superior than zoom, it often does, not not all the time.  My favorite zoom lens, Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 45-90 for Contax 645 is perhaps one fo the best lens I ever use, prime or zoom, of any format.  But the preference in using prime is the particular concentration in framing, with a fixed focal length prime, I need to move forward or backward to get the best framing, rather than simply use a zoom lens so my composition seldom change, and result less variety.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Perspective Control

Shots from a recent interior work for Narai Hotel located in Bangkok, Thailand.  Naturally, for interior and architecture work I would use either a technical camera or DSLR system with perspective control lenes and  for this work due to the final requirement of image does not require larrge print, so I took use a compact Canon 5DII (also to shoot 360 degree QTVR using Seitz VR Drive) and the PC-E lenses Canon currently carries, namely the 17mm, 24mm, 45mm and 90mm.
As an intering alternative, Hasselblad also re-introduce its former PC Mutar T* 1.4X (first of which in the world, to my knowledge) with the now reknown HTS 1.5 (offer both shift and tilt movement however it is movement is no independent as the new Canon TS-E lense did and perhaps Hasselblad might have a HTS 1.5.2 at works? - would be even more useful.
Coming back to the acronym of PC, one might refer it as perspective correct or more creatively to call it perspective control, with the later my prefer term and use of PC lenses.
One may pre-occupy with the idea that for interior or architecture work that the converging line needed to be corrected so they appear parallel; yes, but perhaps not always.   Human eye of course has an excellent optical and neual system that we can register complicated architecture form mostly correctly, wihtout needing mechanical shift like on the old fashion photography - which is to say the possible devleopment of independent glass movement in a lens may deliver even better result, but such development might targeted to a market so small that will cost too much that make itself becomes unfeasible, perhaps only time would tell and we may know sooner than later than we think.  Anyway, our eyes do have their lmit, when the scale of object is becomeso big, then our eyes do see tall things converging - so it does means that there is no true definition what perspective correctness is, and so may be interior or architecture photographers can be a little less obssessed.
For example of the two image below, both use Canon 5DII and the extremely sharp Canon PC-E 17/4L (perhaps one of the best lens in Canon's EF line-up today and best of ites type in the world), both with multiple shots and digitally stitched together in Adobe Photoshop CS5.
This image is a traditional perspective corrected images, using VR Drive to get 7 catures and stitched together.
While this one also shot with Canon 5DII with 17/4L, but rather than trying to apply the so-called perspective correction, I leave the perspective as it is define by the lens in zero correction setting, but do shift the lens from top-middle-bottom for 3 captures and stitched them together to get the final image. Yes, the image does not have the expected PC correction from what the PC-E lens is designed to do but come to think of the PC is not always perspective correction, it is about control, and control means one can decide whatever he wants to do, which in this image, I took the liberty to leave it as is so the final image was perspective stretch to portrait the looby of hotel with more dramatic and spacious effect.
Sure, there are photogrpahers may insist what certain image needed to be done, but luckily, I don't know hardly anyone who can rightfully define the photography by oneself, no one is really right or wrong, what I do believe is as long as one can polish his craft to as far as he could, he is a master of his work. And I am still learning.

Simple Portrait

A recent shot on a very beautiful Brazilian girl.  The set upo of lighting in studio was rather simple, it is simple because I want the portrait to be simple and why not.
Sometimes the simplest element will have less distraction for a fine protrait, which unless for specific commercial needs, is really to naturally display the spirit, and character.
Shot with Canon 1Ds III mounted with EF Macro 100/2.8L IS, Profoto Pro-7 light.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Crystal White

A recent shot for a Thailand based cosmetic company, UStar, taken with Canon 1Ds III with EF Macro 100/2.8L IS.  The use of slightly longer focal length is to portrait the beauty in a somewhat magnified way. It is possible to use a normal focal length, for example a 50mm, or a classic portrait lens such as the 85mm which will give the protrait a little more friendlier perspective.
The use of 100mm in this image is not that I do not want an image to be friendlier, it was opted for the final image to portrait the beauty in a magnified way, so the model to appear a little far away but not too far away.
The visual experience of human is very complicated, because our eyes and our mind has almost unlimited experience in perception of world around us, even very subtle difference in perspective will have different impact in our mind, however, at the end of it, it is perhaps the photogrpaher's subjective choice, nothing is absolutely right or wrong.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Panorama Image

In the time of digital capture, many fields of photography get their shares advancements, some evolutions, some revolutions, of course photography is still photography.
I have covered many times in this blog of my point of view on the panaramic image which I considered one of the type of photography get the largest benefit.  And the benefit is not just on the photography itself, rather, the digital technology open the gate to many photographers who has never possess the idea to do or adequate equipment to do are now all doing it.   Yes, one may argue that panoramic image is just a small branch of photography, and they are not wrong.  But then to envision the landscape or location or situations and see them in panoramic is totally different, it gives the photographer very different vision into their own craft, allow them varies approaches for their image.
With digital technology continue to develop, the panoramic image sure will contonue to develop. Sony has developed recently their 3D panoramic image to be taken automatically with their digital cameras, is one good example and certainly will be followed by most manufacturers.
Image here is stitched from 5 captures using Hasselblad H3D-39 with HC 300/4.5 using a Seitz VR Drive, at Ranwu Lake, Tibet.


This is an image shot for a lighting company, taken with Phase One P45 mounted on Contax 645, using Carl Zeiss Distagon 55/3.5.  The shot used a com-bination of slow shutter speed to register enough light of the chandelier, as well as a studio light for the model, with a bron-color Verso A4.
The trick of combining ambient light in a time exposure and incident light is not that complicate as it sound since the two different light sources in fact has little to do with each other, and quite easily to get the exposure such as this. In photographic production, yes in deed the exposure is one of the most fundamental issue to deal with but with little practice, especially in digital capture, one can master quite easily in a relatively short time, however, it is the idea to get the shoot a little more challenge.  Having said it, with a good and confident control over exposure will most certainly push the limit of creative a lot further.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Head Turner

The opposite sex often possesses certain mystery, no matter how one claims how much he knows.  Perhaps the mystery comes from the fundalmental differences between two sexes, also by the fact that nature makes the differences so much yet they are meant to match. So the mystery is perhaps comes within the most basic attraction?
There are unlimited ways to shoot portrait, something one does well in his approach and others do in theirs, there are so much because each person is often unique in himself.  Whatever the difference, there are also commons to be found. Straight forward portrait is straight forward, because it is what it is.  Those shot with one turning back to camera, such as this one what with Canon 1Ds III with EF Makro 100/2.8L IS, often portraits a little mystery on the final image because part of the face was hidden, eye in the shadow, that makes otherwise common portrait with something extra.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Nagarkot Morning

This image was made with a Phase One P65+ digital back mounted on Hasselblad H2, using HC 50/3.5 lens.  It was a cool morning in March, at a hotel I stayed at Nagarkot, a small toruist hub known for splendid panoramic view of Himalayan mountain range.
I took the image right after day break so the rising sun warming up the distant clounds which incidentally carpeting the scenery beyond - the Himalaya.
Slightly disappointed, I made this image at least to record what I saw in the morning and a fact that although I was not able to capture the mountain view, Nagarkot itself is a little charming village anyway.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Moment

I work with lots of models, most of them professionals, but yet you still find them rather uncomfortable in front of cameras so it is a big part of the job to get them relaxed.  Perhaps they are not uncomfortable with camera, they are uncomfortable with themselves.
True, and particularly for models, no one knows them better than themselves.  One may wonder that models - or for that matter - most women spent hours in front of mirror seeing themselves, what else they did not know, or they know too much?  That nothing is perfect!  Yet the model is in a business to present perfect - of course they are not but they need to portrait that, and the photographer knows they are not but need to train his camera to get the best angle that works for the picture so the result will be closer to perfect, and if not - comes the Photoshop.
Perfection may not be realistic, but it is the ideal, so every knows what is not possible but all look for impossible and making efforts to believe impossible possible. And the victim is the model, and photographer is the victim of the Photoshop.
All said is true, but often there are moments that the camera does able to take a glimpse of them and turn that into an image, sometimes you called that luck!

Still and Motion

The age of HDSLR came at no real surprise, it is not started by how the camera is made, rather, it is started by how the media is stored, so it is a move more software than hardware.  Wether or not the Canon 5D II will become a landmark camera in history is no longer much of a debate, but it is to be understood there are many cameras before it built with capability of taking video footage.  What Canon 5D II did, is to bring the large screen feel of quality - more on the definition of in and out of focus of an image, that excites photographer all over the world.  And suddenly, everyone who owns a 5D II (and many more come after it) can start making movies or short films, for one biggest advantage - capable of shooting in poor light - this can free the photographer from dealing with complicate (very complicate) and expensive (very expensive) of lighting issues.
Wether the quality came from Canon 5DII or the like can be comparable to the true moving making machines such as Panavision or Arriflex, or RED is still heavily debate. Certainly many production companies has used them, but much less of them rely only on them, which tells something.  Although one cannot rightfully say the Canon 5DII is poor man's movie camera, it is not too far from truth.
As still photographer, of course I would move on motion at any given chance, although I still like the still image, but working on motion will also give me a different perspective into producing still images.  So with Canon 5DII, the 7D, and the Tester 13 hacked Panasonic GF-1 - now converted to IR only camera, and lately the Sony NEX-5, and soon the Sony VG-10,  I too work on quite a few productions on short films, and more are planning.  And the charming of it is that with a relatively inexpensive tool, and reasonable collection of lenses I have, it is hard to resist such possibility.
without much double, Canon 5DII with its larger sensor to produce very beautiful selective focus image made it still a hot choice today, but what Panasonic did with their GH-1 (or more likely to be called GH-13 after being hacked), and the GH-2, put itself on a position serious challenging Canon and even RED, and so I am just waiting.  Waiting while using all of them, until and I think in not distant future, a HDSLR capable of producing 4K raw motion footage, perhaps in a platform or camera design we have yet to see.
The "Poisoned", is a short film capture on 5DII, with a little soft and vintage look.

The new project "Entrance and Exits", shoot on NeX-5 with a large array of primes lenses from Canon and Leica, is a little more fun.  The SONY NEX-5 is small but fun piece to work with. Although an adapter that can translate the electronics and powers between a body and non-proprietary lens is not available yet (is it that hard to make one?), I did get around the problem with a spare Canon camera for aperture setting of the lens, and remove the lens while the lens is stop-down with the camera. It may sound inconvenience but really it is not. With most of the motions captured in f/4, I just use them as fixed focal lens with few exceptions.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cropping an image

This is recent campaign shot for a manufacturer using Canon 1Ds III + EF 85/1.2L.  The original image was cropped to what is illustrated here. The original capture, however, does cover more but not everything needs to be displayed, atfter all, this is a shot for the product.
Copping the image does not only stay away from issues of pushing the image to the edge of nudity which may lost some commercial interests, but more importantly, the face was cropped so the picture attarcts the viewer with extra attention, and of course more focus on the product itself.

2 Faces

The use of mirror in photography has its great effect becasue it solves all lot of composition and directional issues.  Use here is a high quality product I designed for a client, with the almost mirror polished lacquer ware hold on the model hand, it rightfully became a mirror capable of producing the reflection in a rather nice way, particular for this image.  The wrinkle gold foil avoid the reflection to show too much detail, just enough of it, with a nude body, it became less straight forward and gave the product a chance to stand out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Eyes

One of the most difficult thing to achieve in portrait is how the photographer can make his model looks into the camera the way he likes, and it is not that easy.  
As early as Cicera (106-43 B.C.) who quoted "Ut imago est animi voltus sic indices oculi" - the face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter.  The Latin proverbs - "Vultus est index animi" or "Oculus animi index"  are usually translated as "The face is the index of the mind.  And it cannot be said better.
As a photographer to try to get the look I want, I will need to make my model totally relaxed and open so the window can open to allow me to see more, or I just get a window.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Portrait of a mountain

This image was taken during my travel to China this May, to Sichan province of China, using several images stitched made from Canon 5D II + EF 100-400L, setting at 400mm. Mountain in the picture is Xian Nairi, considered a holy mountain, more on here.  Of course one may use a wde angle, in fact, because of such distance between myself and the mountain, may be a normal lens will also do - except the finished image will be a lot smaller, and if to crop it, become even smaller. 
The modern technology has allow many useful and powerful tools to make images, with lots of choices and flexibility.  For picture such as this, my approach is always to shoot a succession of images, with longer focal length of lens, to compress the image as to take portraits, and later to stitch them together, so this way I get better perspective of the subkect, higher clarity of detail, and much larger file.  
This approach may not be preferred by many, because not all the time the larger file size is preferred, and also it is more time consuming.  SONY's handy "Sweep Panorama" is a wonderful choice as well, except it is at the moment only produce smaller file (even automatically stitched, and JPEG only), it is sure enough for many, I use often with my NEX-5.  But when I have a choice, I would go larger file, especially for the perspective of the image.   And what's the difference?  One may argue that put the pixel peeping aside, does a crop image differed from one shot at longer focal length lens?  To me it is.  To me, a wide angle lens stretch the vision,  resulting the object appeared to a little further away while a tele-photo lens compress the image, as it is closer, which I prefer to have the mountain appeared to be closer, as it is a portrait. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It all happened at once!

This is an image taken during my trip to Nepal in March, 2010, quite some months ago, captured with a Canon 5DII with EF 35/1.4L.   I don't like to use zoom, not that the zoom is not good enough, it is, and I use them sometimes in my professional works as well. But I prefer to use prime lens wheneven it is possible, include this one.
The shot was taken at the famous Dubar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal.  Check out my Nepal travel blog. The shot was made on a prime Canon 35/1.4L lens, a reasonable compact and excellent prime lens which I have over 10 years. The 35mm lens on full frame 24X36 DSLR give a very nature perspective, it is more or less like human eyes look at something at 5-8 meters away, a distance not too close, and not too far.  Or sometimes it also provides a close focus that have a little extra room to tell more story.  With this picture, I patiently wait for something to happen, something I am not sure, but I knew it will. Certainly this is not the only shot I made, but I did not shoot a whole lot, because then I might lost the intensity, and may miss more easily.  Display in front of me was a Nepali family, the monkey is wild (not exactly, but it is wild in the city, like in many Hindu nations) and join the scene later.
While I was waiting for the scene, I was looking through my viewfinder, while my brain was picturing Norman Rockwell's painting, an American watercolor artist I found of when I was crazy about watercolor in my high school days, which was quite many years ago.  Something came up my mind all of sudden, I felt a smooth, nice breeze, and for no reason I press the shutter, and got this image. It was a perfect moment for me, and something like a Norman Rockwell painting.  The expressions on the face of each one, the set up, and the skirt of little girl flip by the wind, it all happened at once.

Visible and invisible

Shot with Hasselblad H3D-II 39 with HC 120/4 Makro, the thin mesh the model held in fornt of her was to create a soft screen so the the picture is less naked, although one may said the screen does not hide away much, which is true.
But with or without a screen inf front of the model made a huge difference. The use of screen not only made the final picture a little more mysterious, but also less naked, and add a little sense of distance.  Even with medium format digital where the depth of field is extremely shallow, the sharpness of the screen and the beautiful model herself is still well reserved.
The reflective coating on the screen also worked to give the final image a little extra dimension, although it is something really difficult to control through viewfinder, and also because it is constantly moving.  This final image is one of a few captures made to achieve the look I want, and I ahve some luck here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Center the subject

Even it is a simple product shot, adding a human touch always made it more alive, and higher appeals for consumers, at least this is what I usually do, or will recommend my client to do.
For example, this is a shot for a lacquered wood bowl, an otherwise common handicraft object, although it does have something extra in its design, but however, the product was design to be use, at least to be appreciated by human.  Shot with a Canon 1Ds III with EF 100/2.8L IS Macro, of course the focus is the product, and here to avoid the actual human, a lovely Russian model by the way, to cannibalize the product in scale, or the beautiful model to share the focus of the beauty of product, the face of the model was cropped, and her pose centered around the product, to allow it to stand out.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The naked truth?

Skin, often ignored, is in fact one of the sexiest element of a woman. Shot with Hasselblad H3D-39II with HC 120/4 Makro.  To key the skin, I use a larger softbox to flood the skin to have an evenly lit exposure, to try to avoid bring the attention to the model's lovely body line, beautiful face and other noticeable elements.
The hair here is used to have a nice contrast of the fair skin tone, as well as harmonising the smoothness of skin, of course, also to keep this picture from rated "Parent Guided".

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Expecting the unexpected

It is not exact the Murphy's Law.  Photography, origin from Greek, is painting with light, is well defined with this image taken recently, using Canon 5DII, with EF 100/2.8L IS Macro.
Use mixed of studio strobe and light torch, in a 20 seconds exposure, resulted this image.  The model was mainly exposed by the studio strobe, and the traces of light came from the light torch.  The light from the light torch also cast some interesting shades on the model's fair skin, gave the final image some extra color.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

NEX in the night

Shot recently in our studio in Surat Thani, southern Thailand, using NEX-5 with 18-55 zoom, the auto ISO setting on NEX-5 turned itself to ISO 1600, to allow to shoot at f/4.5 and 1/20s, the main camera in use was a Canon 5DII using 3 strobes, while the NEX-5 just use the illumination from the pilot lamp.  Indeed, compare to a Canon 5DII, the smaller sensor on NEX-5 did not capture as many light as the larger camera, and not as clean, but judging the final result and many years in photography, the final image is absolutely useful, and beyond my expectation.  The use of NEX-5 was simply a snap shot companion camera along with the larger Canon, as well as for motion clips, but NEX-5 held itself well even with its still images.
The technology today allows the photographer wonderful tool for creativity, and faster.  The available light shots in the poor light situation, or at night, gives extra room for the photographer to play around.
This is an image of a lady washing car, a race-tuned Mini, it was a rather old fashion shot, but however still has its market.  But with the available tools today, the shot was made a lot faster and easier.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

ND in photography

Here in 2010, the still photography and motion pictures haave moved into digital age in a big way, but the basic of getting an image is still not much change from the past.
My proimarty working tool in the studio is still larger cameras, probably the Canon 1Ds III/Nikon D3X is the smallest. Of course the size of camera is not necessary related to what we do in studio, but it was a workflow developed over the years, medium format digital capture is still more efficient for us considering many factors.  So having to work with either a medium format digital camera and a heavy weight Canon or Nikon in fact give us familiar size and weight in actual work, yes, it is heavy, but it is friendly.
I am also constantly looking for a compact camera for snapshots in studio, and it has been a long serach and try, until recently the SONY NEX-5, which is used for this portrait.  The obvious missing element for the SONY is the lack of a hotshoe for radio triggering the studio flash, as well as the ISO setting started at 200, which will push us to use very small apature to get the same exposure as our main cameras - but at the loss of quality.
The radio slave on a hot/cold shoe is a problem easily solvable, although not ideal. We can put a red filter to the flash so it does not register much in final picture, or simply use a foil to deflect the flash light, then most of the problems solved.  Now leave the exposure.  In studio work we tried to use lowest possible ISO setting, and in such case we set our medium formatg digital capture to 50, and this means either we set the Canon or Nikon to the "L" level - and live with some erxtra noise or stop the lens further to compesate - possibly at loss of sharpness.  But a camera like SONY NEX-5, we cannot afford 2 extra stop on apature setting so the only solution will be either a PL or a ND, to help balance it, just as many comsumer or prosumer camcorder with a build-in ND for similar issues, although mostly outdoors.
There was a while when the silver base still and motion photography using the very same media, but with the wake of many broadcast equipment that many camcorder use tape, somehow a departure from the still capture.  Now, with the digital technology, everything come together again.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shape with light

Light does not only to illuminate subject in photography, it also shapes it.  This image, taken with SONY NEX-5 with 18-55 zoom (stretched to the longest end for this shot), the studio light set up ws Protofo, triggered with the compact flash of the NEX-5.
The 2 main light was used to illuminate the model while 2 auxiliary lights for the background.  The main subject, the model, was lit to exhibit the skin tone very close to the background so the model will look a lot lighter (she was no way close to heavy to begin with), as she can almost float in the air. Here the contrast was also reduce to give the picture a soft tone, while maintain a visble shadow on the body so it does not look too flat.
The photographer here has to make the decision before the shoot, and to set up in such wasy so the final image can be achieved, although some might argue that post production can also achieve similar result, true!,  But as a working professional, you simply does not have that much time, and such luxury to rely on post production all the time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


This is a short timescape film made for an oil refinery located at east of Bangkok. Shot with Canon 1Ds III with Leica Apo-Tylet-Emarit-R 400/2.8.  The sequence was assembled using Apple Quicktime.  With the power of modern computer, it is not possible to do extremely high quality video with still from camera such as Canon 1Ds III.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Moving forward

Shot recently with Canon 5DII with EF 24-105/4L during one of our studio's music short film project, "Poisoned".  The main lighting, in fact the only light was a cinema fresnel, create a soft shadow and beautiful highlight.  The capability of low noise character of picture shot in higher ISO setting allows the modern HDSLR, such as Canon 5DII a hybrid tool for both still and motion picture, sharing the same light source.
We have in 2010 seen the new wave of still and motion picture captue tools flood to the market offering the still, motion picture photographers or those small individual producers more tools, flexible tools, excellent in performance, and inexpensive to use, and we shall see many exciting works coming. And between 2010-2011 shall be remembered as one of those break through years.

What have changed?

In photography?  Perhaps nothing.
The digital technology today, or even the silver base film photogrpahy yesterday, all tried to use the media to express what the artist see, and wished the artwork to be seen.  True, mass market photography equipment has developed a lot, some reach 60 millon pixles in single capture, even some moble phone can allow its user to shoot picture of 10 million pixels, quite enough for most of the populat media today.
This image for example, shot with a 39 million pixel digital back - Hasselblad H3D-39, with HC 120/4 Macro, display on the conventional monitor screen is hardly any different from those captured by much smaller cameras. Although, some may argue that with much larger file size, and especially those from the medium format digital backs allow more leeway of post processing, retouch and print, perhaps.  But it is not the purpose of photography, but then again, the original definition of photography was base on the understanding of technology in its day, certaining meaning do change, and is it photography?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Take Everywhere Camera?

The rise of internet, the rise of facebook and etc. has pave the way for camera makers, include those mobile phone makers and lens makers, to be able to reach more members of a household, and anywhere in the house, and outside the house.
Waves and waves of new product introduction surfaced, photographers around the world have never been offered such many choice before, at such price.  More than 10 years ago, for a common household, it was which camera the family should have.  Now, each one wants different, sometimes more than one. Smaller cameras especially, quickly gained a cult status while some real jems in the day of film, got their name slowly, often silently.  Well, it was then, this is now.
A cemra like SONY NEX-5 hosted the features worth half a truck load of equipment, and may be cost a supercar, compares to what one has to do with silver base media or tapes. But is it a take-everywhere camera?  Almost.  What about the TX-7 from Sony?  Much closer?  Or a iPhone 4 or Blackberry?  Then people started to ask about the available print size (no matter they actually want such print or not - specification is a feel good matter, not really that practical), the capability of this and that, then the search reverse, evnetually may settle at a camera like Canon 550D or 5D2 or even the just introduced Nikon D3100. A complicate quesiton indeed, due to varies human behaviors. It is really depend on what you need.  What I see now as an interesting trend is the real professional took a really small compact as their take-everywhere while a novice one usually carry one (or more) larger with more serious look as their take-everywhere.
This image, however, a snapshot with a NEX-5 and 18-55mm, in a houseware retailer outlet, available light.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Clarity and Reality

I have posted many times, and said often, and very much believed so, that there is no rule in photography. Although all the development of camera technology, optical design, tools and so on all biased towards higher definition, more dynamic range, higher resolving power, less noise and so on, they still don't sum up a great picture, or even a good picture, becasue it is still photographer's vision related.
One can put this into contex that although human in the last 10 centuries or so have developed from dweling in caves to sky scrappers, from walk to taking supersonic jets, wearing hides to Armani, but the basic emotion hardly change, the love and hate, like and disgust, joy and sad. And for a picture, perhaps these elements matter more.
So is this simply consumer driven? Or just to fullfill engineers' dream? Or simply just because of our human nature, try to know the unkown? try to do the can't do? May be all of them.
So what leaves to us?  Still the same very basic decision. We like it because we like it.  The digital technology today has enabled a camera on just about anyone's hand, from the small hole in our notebook computer screen, the cellphone, the compact camera, the rangefinder camera, the view camera, the technical camera, the motion picture camera, or just a canvas on a wall with a window for exposure?  All of them.
But still, styles of creative individuals went on using all the tools, basic or hightech, small and big, electronic and mechnical, produce artworks that are none matter to whichever tool or media they use, because those really does not matter.
This snapshot, use SONY NEX-5, might as well taken from a cheap cell-phone, but does it matter?

What's NEXT?

This is a shot taken with SONY NEX-5 with the kid zoom, 18-55mm.  It was shot during one of the recent short film productions of my studio.   The Russian model, Anna, just finished make up, was patiently waiting for the set up of the scene.  Being using the larger COMS sensor, the NEX-5 recorded the detail in shadow beautifully.
I have in previous post discussed about the recent EVIL trend, EVIL - acronym of Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens, is the talk among advance shooters, indi film makers and certainly some novice shooter's hot topic. Some professionals also cannot resist themselves from those talk.
At the moment of this writing, SONY NEX line of camera is the camera of the hour. It pushes the EVIL concept a little further, pack more technology, larger sensor, more bells and whistles into a smaller box.  And most likely, we will see more to come.
SONY was an electronic giant in the past, then it ambitiously entered into different, although somehow related fields, to try to market the brand as a multi media company, with some success and some failure.  Along the way, SONY picked up Minolta (and where is Konica now?) and we see the line of camera today very much the childern of this move. So expectedly, we shall see the NEX-7 and NEX-9 coming.  But different from the typical Minolta move which the milestone product being the series 7 while the flagship being the series 9, SONY cleverly introduce the NEX-5 and NEX-3, more or less as throwing stone in the pond - to wait and see. So what will be coming from SONY?  Or as a whole, what will be coming next from the giant like Canon?  Or Nikon?
This is not a post for prediction, but certainly I can see NEX-7 coming - very likely by October, quite certainly by end of 2010. And NEX-9, we shall see.  What's not the change?  The mount and lens system of course. Sensor?  May be, may be not. May be not because the current sensor is quite good, but can be better, so it is a may be. Hotshoe?  I wish, for my own reason, and I suppose so for many professional photographers, for reasons too many to say. Will it be similar size? Yes, but this is not a big matter for the market the 7 series is targeting, I suppose. Focusing system?  Can SONY imporove from the current constrast detection system to phase detection as Fuji recently introduce?  Highly expected, or may be SONY has somethines else in mind.
SONY has introduced the NEX-VG10 which was billed for is advanced amature but I can see many indi movier is eyeing it, me too. And a real pro model?  Better quick, because we will see lots of these coming soon.
Lens system?  Can we ask for a 20/2 prime, 24/2 prime, 35/2 prime, 50/2 macro?  Or is this asking too much?  Or can we even ask for Carl Zeiss?
What about Canon?  Certainly it will be coming, but Canon is less predictable.  Canon is the last to introduce AF in SLR among the maor makers, because they eye into different scale and perspective. I susppose Canon is study, studying hard. Will a new lens mount introduced?  May be and may be not. What SONY did on NEX is a good example that the mount can be somewhat larger in diameter than the camera, so why Canon just don't simply adapt the existing EF mount to an EVIL?  With additional electroniconctact for new lenses?  Or an entirely new lens mount to bring new AF system to the EVIL? More on this later.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Shot with SONY NEX-5 with the 18-55zoom, setting at 18mm, push to ISO 1600 to allow me to use a smaller aparture to record enough depth. It was shot in a parking lot in fornt of a home improvement shopping center, water from the rain shower earlier makes the parking floor a perfect reflection while still showing the nice texture of the floor, and yellow line and the palm tree and early evneing sky.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Appeared too often in a shot with woman, eventually one may find it is hard to make such kind of image difficult to shoot - without releating something has been done before.
An example here, the model was separated physically from the roses, not something that was not done before, but at least a slightly different execution.
Creating an image to claim original is increasing difficult today.  Exposed to an ever growing image galleries in the internet era, by professional and non-professional, and by house wife and student, grand son to grand dad, you might say all together they probably tried everything.  But this also pushed professional photographer to have to go extra mile to get the image a little more standout, can't say it is a bad thing.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Shot with a compact SONY NEX 5, and the beautifully made 16/2.8, at southern Thailand city, Surat Thani. It was the back yard of a little local kitchen. The color is wonderful, and the different colors coming into view that I cannot resist to take this picture.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yes, but!

I don't use this blog to reveiw camera or lens although often times I did mention the camera I use, or sometimes hinted my bias over Contax, but the fact is that really the camera or lens is not a matter, not a decisive one anyway, in final pictorial quality. But this is not to say the camera and lens has absolutely no affection on photography.  Some may say that the particular sound of a shutter of a camera does more inspiration to photographer than another, example of the classic film based Leica M, or the sexy sound of Contax RTSIII, or the whisper quiet Olumpus OM-3Ti and so on and so on.  By the same token, this can be applied to particular bags or hats for woman, penor watch for man, and so on and so on.
In my last post I gave the SONY NEX a status as "The NEX Big Thing" but this does not render the M4/3 obsolete. Far from it, in particular the Panasonic GF1, is still a powerful tool.  In practical terms, GF1 focus faster (as of this writing), more accurately and the final picture quality in most often used ISO setting, is just as good as NEX, although I would safely predict that evnetually with the advantage of sensor size, the NEX might be able to pull away more visible lead later, BUT not right now as it exhibits.  I also carefully mentioned the "most often used ISO setting" also pointed out I do beleive the larger sensor's advantage over smaller sensor.  This is simple physic, this is not a problem of Panasonc, Olypus nor as it is an advantage exclusive of SONY.  Four Third System has a lot of hype but never did deliver its size advantage until the introduction of M4/3, but then again, quickly proved by SONY that larger sensor does not necessary need a larger package, or as my last post mentioned, the Contax T2/T3 or even Minolta's TC-1, they all proved long time ago the full frame 135 format camera can be made small.  Into digital age, it is just a matter of time.  And eventually, one need a comfortabe size camera to work, not the smallest.  So the pursuit of size will eventually halt, as it is on mobile phones, to such matter, I really really don't see 4/3 or M4/3 and any more card to play.
The NEX is big because it is developed base on a lens mechanism that allows more fluid focus on video capture, something less capable by M4/3 system.  Speaking of picture taking, the camera such as GF1 is simply just as good as NEX if not better. The NEX probably designed with a price goal so its control has in most parts - electronic, rather than dials and buttons as it is on Panasonic GF1, this results the GF1 a more photographer's tool and SONY a more point and shoot camera. The GF1 alos has a hotshoe/accessory shoe that allows the use of a radio slave, for this shot of a nice Thai lady, Ploy.  GF1 + Olympus Zuiko 50/2 ED Macro.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The NEX Big Thing?

Not a spelling problem, I am referring the Sony NEX line of camera and lenses, the NEX 3 and NEX 5 and beleived many more to come.
I was not always a SONY fan! On the contrary, as an industrial designer, I thought SONY's style of industrial design is very out of date, many new products when introduced, looked old.  Old in its way of looks and old in its way of concept and execution.  To me, SONY is a giant at lost, lost its way and lost its market share, as well as its image of being innovative and quality standard. The NEX is not going to change that fact much, as still that its segment is new and also relatively small for SONY as a company and it will not save SONY as once the Walkman did.  But still, the NEX is a big thing.
"Small format, large print!" was once a synonym of original Leica camera, whereas the excellent optical quality and second-to-none craftsmanship is still very much Leica, the original concept of capturing spontaneous image, high quality image, is no longer Leica exclusive.  In fact, to me, what Leica stands for today is "Luxury Niche", it is a celerbrity camera, not necessary represent the best pictures producer.  Many would swear to defend Leica, I wish I will as I am also a long time Leica user, but it is simply not the most effective and efficient picture making tools today.  OK, enjoying using a Leica is another thing.
So why I think NEX is big?  In many ways.  Many who follow my blog know that I use lots of cameras, very small to very big, many many different brands.  Before there is a serious SONY camera,  I use the original Minolta Maxxum 9000 - the first professional AF SLR, I love the camera, but later on I passed it to  my relative; years later, I picked up 9xi - the first professional DSLR using SUS 304 stainless steel body chassis as well as for its beautiful 85/1.4 lens.  And that is the last Minolta camera I use, until now the NEX 5, arguably a 1/2 SONY, 1/2 Minolta camera. I also use Four Thirds cameras, the original Olympus E1, and then E330, and a handful of lenses, but to me, the 4/3 did not really deliver what it meant to deliver so I sold the system. It was until later on it found it niche with M4/3 format - which I quickly follow with a GF1 - and a few lenses, and very happy with it, and still very happy with it, it is in fact my prime snap shot camera and travel companion.  Then came along the NEX 5!
First impression is of course the size, what SONY did is what exactly M4/3 trying to achieve, only more effective. But I don't think the size will be staying there, my beloved Contax T2/T3 is full frame and roughly similar size of NEX cameras, so potentially there is more room to squeeze, watch out.
The NEX is big, not on its absolute image quality but on the hybrid concept - and why it pushes Leica to "Luxury Niuche" category.  First is the larger sensor, which allows NEX to deliver image quality slightly edged over GF1, but more on its ability to shoot with more flexibility in poor light, something GF1 might try to avoid, and NEX 5 delivers OK. And the most important feature, the entire lens system is buit for the benefit of video capturing.  Many motion picture professional says AF is not really needed for serious productions, they can change their mind later. The NEX 5, which I use, offer much more smooth recording than GF1, and of higher resolution.  Panosonic seemed to believe that consumer will be quite happy and appreciate with 720p recording, is obvious wrong.  Or one will not see such hype over Tester 13 and his hack of quite many dideo-able DSLR and EVIL. We may soon see his hand on NEX 3/5, wish him good luck, and please do it quick Test 13!  And finally, a powerful and capable video and image capture tool in such small package, will have its stand in history. NEX is a sad news to M4/3, a great news for photographers, go try it, and try its video.
And what happened to Canon and Nikon?  They will have answewrs, as they always have.  My hunch is, as with the original EOS cameras, a company seemed to embrace new technology the quickest, is working their brain out day and night to get the next move right, Canon will deliver its hybrid camera the last, and best.
This image, shot with Sony NEX 5, with 16/2.8, set to 2.8, 1/30s, ISO 1600.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Swimsuit shot

Without question that to shoot swimsuit pictures is not boring, but it is not as fun as many would think it is. One of the reason is that there are too many swimsuit pictures already taken, in studio, indoor situation or simply beautiful location with striking sunset, and I shot all of these, times after times. So why it is not fun? Of course it is still fun, just that when you shoot so many of them, eventually to get a pose that is fresh and not all too cliche, each time as a photographer, I need to work with the model to develop some different yet visually pleasing poses, while at the same time for the benefit of displaying the swimsuit itself, but more importantly, exhibiting the beautiful frame of model's body - afterall, it is the purpose of a successful swimwear or for that matter, most of the fashion labels.
Overall the years I shot quite many swimsuit and fashion lookbooks for different designers, one of the biggest concern I have is that often times the designer spend too much time working on details of the dress that ingore the fact the dress was designed to be worn. It is not a sample made from a sketch and finished there.  The person who would eventually wear the dress should be part of the design, or it would seldom work as a successful fashion statement.
This image was made with a Canon 5DII + EF 85/1.2L.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dress and Skin Tone

A recent image for a fashion label, the Lithuanian model's fair slin with a little touch of honey tone exhibited in this image gives the dress an extra bit of tenderness, to where the brand is targeting to.
Shot with Canon 5D II + EF 85/1.2L, an otherwise rather straight forward fashion lookbook shoot.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sense of Beauty

Entering into digital world might mislead many to beleive everything can be measured. Number of pixels, size of each pixel and pitch between pixels; then the color depth, 8, 10, 12, 14 bits and continue to move up; the modular transfer fucntion of an optical object and etc, but hardly these releate directly to quality, at most, perhaps the number exhibits the character of an object or in general what it is capable to produce, still, far away an enough justification of quality.
Pictures made by a fine artist, with the cheapest camera and lens, may be far superior than those from a photographer who more or less works like a test shooter with best possible equipment on somehting of no particular significance. At the end, time is the judge, time tells peopel generations later who to be remmebered.
FIFA World Cup 2010 just ended, age, experience, fitness, speed, skill, when you put all these together, still, you can't get a championship. It needs many other things that can't be described.
Beauty is the same thing.  It is hard to describe, or to measure.  Common sense tells us a beauty shot is to be of high clarify, skin details and so on, not so, often human is capable of looking a lot deeper than he aware of, feeling the spirit or wellness of the image protraits, regardless it is color or monotone, sharp or soft, in focus or not, fair or dark skin, or even young or old, beauty is sense.
Image shot with Hasselblad H3D39 with HC 120/4 Macro.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


A recent shot on beautiful Lithuania model, Kotryna, using Hasselblad H3D39 with HC 100/2.2.  The beautifully tanned skin of the model portraits the healthy color of summer.  
I have the model pose aginst a white wall so her beautiful skin can stand out, at the same time to use the shadow to balance the picture.  Petite but well proportioned, Kotryna stretched her lovely frame so she looks a lot taller than she really is, somewhat a classic act for swimsuit shot, but never gets dated.

Monday, July 12, 2010

White Balance

White balance was not much an issue before the digital still come into play.  Or just that it was there, but because not much can be done so people live with it, or just leave it to those real professionals.  The people who works on motions picture or videos has to deal it by applying gel to their lighting equipments to balance it, and careful to use the right type of film, lots of crafts there.
And digital still capture changes it. Adobe, the company who introduced the Photoshop change the landscape of still photography and continue to shape it, introduce the so called DNG - digital negative, introduce the white balance idea into a household awareness, or at least with the advanced users. It is a shame that many years later, the DNG were still not adapted by most camera makers.  This is a question I always have.  Camera makers must think they hold onto their proprietary raw file format will continue to help them develop specific knowhow; possible, but they can do that with DNG as well.  However, I am not working for Adobe, I am not selling the idea for them, I only bring this up for my subject here - the white balance.
The white balance has a profound impact on how we see an image.  There is really nothing about whose right or wrong. It is all preference, and most times, how photographer wants how their images to be seen. This image, taken at my studio using Canon 1Ds III with EF Macro 180/3.5L.  It has a golden color on the final image that was enhanced in the raw processing.  Canon, among those stubborn makers who stay with their own CR2 format, I am a long time EOS users, I am OK with CR2, except I don't use Canon's software to develop the CR2.  Get the picture?  The camera maker does not even make their own raw developer good enough, why not just adapt an open standard?  Anyway, this is not my subject.
This shot was made on a setup I needed for both still and video, so the WB control is important.  The still can't show the effect, but on video, it will clearly show that the golden background was a canvas, golden color, with a 3,200K ARRI for the highlight, and a fan on the back, so the canvas is not still, it is constantly moving, makes the video image really nice. The model has a very fair, fine, Caucasian skin, her skin was added a touch of gold from the raw conversion for the overall atmosphere.