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            Showing posts with label street photography. Show all posts
            Showing posts with label street photography. Show all posts

            Monday, June 19, 2017

            Why I Shoot Film: Hong Kong Edition

            As someone who gets to review cameras for a living, as well as being a self-professed gear nerd for many years, I've had the opportunity to test drive a plethora of cameras. I started at the height of the film era (1990s), where amazing cameras were being built and innovative technological advancements were being made (OIS was invented during the film era). At the time everyone had access to a dozen film manufacturers and hundreds of film types. Used camera stores were stocked to the ceiling with old classics like the Nikon F3, Canon AE1, Minolta X700, etc. This was the final golden age of film photography.

            Saturday, January 21, 2017

            Believe in Film: The Leica M-A with 35mm Summilux in Hong Kong

            Cinestill 800T
            Film photography. Is it dead? Not dead. Dormant? No, it's actually growing. Will it ever be what it was? Probably not. Digital photography is here to stay, but so is film photography. There will always be a niche market for any sub-section of any hobby, but film photography wasn't a hobby. It was the primary way we captured images for over 100 years, so film isn't disappearing any time soon. One reason is because of the hardware. How many film cameras exist today? In the hundreds of millions for sure. Lenses, the same. Since the 1930s, film cameras and lenses were produced for the mass market, as well as for the technical and professional markets. Many of these cameras were built like tanks, meant to last for generations. Yes, film photography and film cameras are here to stay... for a while still. It will never be a mainstream product, but it's more mainstream than people think. Many think of iconic European manufacturers of high quality film cameras who have either disappeared or moved on to making digital products exclusively. There is one major exception. Yes, Leica Camera AG of Wetzler Germany.

            Tuesday, April 12, 2016

            Reinventing the Street Portrait with Kale Friesen in Chinatown Vancouver

            Fujifilm X70 with EF-X20 flash. 1/4000th sec f/5.6 @ ISO 800 with fill flash
            The most common question I get about street photography is how to get a good street portrait. First of all, what is a street portrait? For some, it's approaching a complete stranger and asking them to pose for a picture on the spot. For others, it's taking a portrait-like candid image of a stranger without permission. Still for others, a street portrait is a simply a portrait taken of someone outside on the street. I'm not dogmatic and can appreciate each approach, but sometimes I get bored. I get bored of taking portraits of strangers. I get bored of taking portraits of friends. Is there a way to merge the two? Can I take a street portrait that's both predictable and random? With the help of local fashion photographer Kale Friesen, I decided to give it a try.

            Sunday, February 14, 2016

            Non-Review: The Ricoh GR II in Hong Kong

            Ricoh GR II: 1/60th sec f/4.0 @ ISO 400

            I haven't written an article on the Ricoh GR in a very long time. I've been shooting with the Ricoh GR series since 1998 and it's helped shape my style of photography. The ability to capture images with the confidence of a full sized camera with unique features and functions that could only be had with a compact camera makes the Ricoh GR a very powerful photographic tool. I've owned many cameras as a professional and enthusiast photographer, but my favourite images were always taken with compact EDC (Every Day Carry) cameras. I have experimented with other compact cameras over the years but I've always felt at home with the Ricoh GR. I'm not saying it's the best, but it's what I'm use to. I 'get it' when people equally praise their beloved Contax T2, Nikon 35Ti, Minolta TC-1, Rollei 35, Olympus XA, Yashica T4, Konica Big Mini, etc. If I bought any of those cameras instead of my Ricoh GR-1 back then perhaps I would be singing a different tune today, although I don't see many digital cameras with a similar legacy today except for the current Ricoh GR line. So how good is the new Ricoh GR II and is it still a worthy contender to the newly released Fujifilm X70? Let's find out.

            Sunday, October 4, 2015

            My Podcast Interview with Ibarionex's The Candid Frame

            'The Photographers'. Instagram images taken with my iPhone 5s. 

            I had the privilege of being invited as a guest on Ibarionex's The Candid Frame podcast this past weekend. Although he is a guest speaker at the big PIX 2015 show this week in Seattle, as well as a photowalk in LA right after, he made the time to fit me into his very busy schedule to talk with me about my YouTube channel and Instagram photography. If you haven't listened to Ibarionex's podcast, give it a listen. He's interviewed everyone from David Hobby (The Strobist) to Mary Ellen Mark, and even local photographer and friend Kale Friesen. I'll keep this short since the podcast is almost an hour long. Thanks for visiting and happy listening!

            Monday, September 21, 2015

            Instagram and iPhone for Daily Photography

            'Chinatown 2014' taken entirely with iPhone 5S

            To start off, I'm very sorry for not updating my blog in such a long time. Many of you who have followed me for the past few years know that I've used this blog as my primary means to review cameras and share my photographic thoughts. I will still continue to do so on a redesigned website that will be cleaner and easier to navigate. I have also started posting most of my reviews on YouTube so check it out if you haven't already done so. Eventually my YouTube reviews will be released at the same time as my written reviews with images, but that won't be for a few months yet.

            In this very quick article, I want to talk about Instagram as a serious platform for sharing images. I know Flick'r has long been the king for us photo nerds to share and consume images, but here's a few compelling reasons why I use Instagram as my professional portfolio for my photography:

            Thursday, October 30, 2014

            iPhone - Smartphone Street Photography Workshops

            iPhone 5S. 1/2933 sec f/2.2 @ ISO 40. Douglas Coupland's Gumhead at the Vancouver Art Gallery

            I announced back in the summer that I would start doing photography workshops... and then I went silent. Not because of lack of interest or desire on my part, but because I was busy on many other smaller projects. However, I was continually teaching and running private workshops for individuals and groups. The recurring question and inquiry I was getting was how I'm able to take 'professional' pictures with my iPhone. If you look at my Instagram Feed, 95% of the pictures are taken with my iPhone and post processed using mobile applications (VSCO, Camera+, PS Express). I've been very transparent with how I take the pictures and post process, but many have suggested I start workshops to physically show people how it's done.

            My website is not yet set-up for on-line registration (it will soon!) so if you're interested in my 2 upcoming workshops in Vancouver, please email me at takeatbigheadtacodotcom. I will run my first workshop this Saturday afternoon (1:30-4:30pm) at 40% discount because of the short notice ($60 per student), and next weekend (either Sat or Sun) at full price ($100 per student). I will only take 5 students maximum per workshop so I can give as much attention to each student. Thank you again for your patience and I look forward to meeting you. If there is any interest for those in Hong Kong ( I will be there late November to early December), please email me and I would be happy to arrange for either a private or a group workshop on street photography or smartphone post processing. 

            Thanks for all your support and happy shooting!

            Best regards, 

            Take Kayo


            Thursday, August 14, 2014

            Leica Akademie Vancouver: Guest Speaker

            Taken w/ Ricoh GR. 1/180th f/5.6 @ ISO 500. Edited in CS5 & Photoscape. @loiterbench (IG) in Chinatown, Vancouver.

            Since starting my Youtube series, I've been getting emails from people asking if I run any workshops on street photography. As you may know, when Eric Kim was in town in Vancouver, he invited me to audit his 3 day street photography workshop and I had fun watching someone formulating how to teach this unusual photographic 'art form'. Eric insisted that I should run my own workshops and I thought a good way to start was accepting the privilege of being the guest speaker and instructor for the upcoming Leica Akademie in Vancouver next week.

            Monday, July 7, 2014

            Street Photography, iPhones and Instagram

            All images taken with iPhone 5S and edited with Instagram, VSCOCam, PS Express, and/or Camera +

            I love reviewing cameras and I enjoy street photography. I only review cameras that interest me and want to use while shooting on the street. I care less about absolute image quality, but focus on what camera is best for shooting quickly and discretely, important qualities while taking street images. Funny thing, I've been spending much of my time shooting with my iPhone and using Instagram as the primary platform for my street photography work. When I upgraded my iPhone 4 with the latest iPhone 5S back in December, I saw a leap in image quality and felt it was powerful enough for me to shoot with it as a serious imaging tool. What makes smartphone cameras ideal for street photography? Here's a few things I've learned while using my iPhone and sharing my images via Instragram during my street photography project...

            Wednesday, July 2, 2014

            Street Photography 101: Zone Focusing

            Tokyo-X-Vario project: Leica X-Vario @ 18mm, 1/1000th sec f/7.1 @ ISO 1600. Zone focused to 3.5 M

            There's been much talk about scale or zone focusing and I've had a lot of people asking me what the difference is between the two and the advantages of shooting this way. I've mentioned it many times in my camera review articles, so I thought I would post a quick video to explain the basics. Scale focus just means that you focus by using a scale, instead of using a focusing aid, such as rangefinder focus or split image focusing. Many older cameras used scale focusing as the only focus aid, and with a depth of field scale, most could estimate the distance pretty good.

            Zone focus is more purposeful in that you choose a comfortable focus distance based on the focal length of your lens and the subject you're shooting, choose a suitable aperture that will give you enough depth of field within the 'zone' you are focusing on, and then leave your settings there. Once you get use to zone focusing, especially for street photography, it becomes a faster way to shoot versus relying on autofocus. Watch my YouTube video for more details. 

            Hopefully this video wasn't too complicated. If so, or if you still have questions, don't hesitate to comment below and I'll do my best to explain further. Zone focusing is good training for your eyes, to be able to estimate distances instead of relying on a focusing aid to tell you. I hope you enjoyed the video. Don't forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel, and please check out my Instagram account and my Twitter as well for updates and extra pictures.

            Happy shooting!



            Tuesday, June 10, 2014

            My First Offical Video on YouTube: Fail?

            A couple of months ago I was introduced to David and Henry who run a video production company called Second Spark Productions. After showing them my blog and Instagram account, they were eager to help me start shooting YouTube videos. They asked me to start writing script ideas and scout for locations and we would meet in 2 weeks to begin shooting our videos. You can guess what happens next. When I was free, they were busy and when they were free, I was busy. 2 weeks became 3, then 4, then it's 2 months later. That's life. Sometimes collaborations are tough to organize and coordinate. 

            However, David gave me really good advise. He said not to worry about video quality at first. Some of the most viewed and liked YouTube videos are horrible in shooting quality, but heavy on content. He told me to develop my video persona and work hard to have my real personality show through on screen. I immediately started test shooting. I began taking goofy vids in my home-office, and then I finally wandered out and started shooting outside in the evenings. The video I chose to post first was just me walking back to my car after test shooting videos all evening. I was tired and wanted to go home and sleep. However, after reviewing everything I shot, this was the one I liked, minus the out-of-focus parts (the GR has no face-detection so its hard to maintain focus on me). My wife doesn't like it when I spin, but I think it's pretty cool (I know, I just learned about the 180 rule).

            There isn't a lot of content, just me talking out loud about what I want to do with my future videos. It's funny how I bumped into Eric Kim over the week-end and he posted his interview of me before I was able to post my own introduction video first! So here it is, Bigheadtaco's first real video introduction. I'll try my best to post a video every 2 weeks. If you have any tips, tricks, or advise for me, please let me know. If anyone wants to help me shoot my videos sometimes, contact me. 

            Thanks for viewing and happy shooting!


            Monday, June 9, 2014

            Being Interviewed by Eric Kim Photography

            Eric Kim posing for Tarry of Revolver Coffee. Stranger in the line of fire. Taken with Ricoh GR.

            It was a busy few days. Thursday night I had a meeting at Matchstick Coffee with my good friend from The Lab and a major photo industry sales rep (I won't ruin the surprise, but something cool is coming to Vancouver). Friday morning I was introducing my local Leica rep with a local coffee shop owner, Tarry of Revolver Coffee. As we were finishing up our productive meeting, Tarry told me that Eric Kim was in town and that we should try and contact him. Sounds like a great idea, but how do we track this man down? My plan? Shoot near where he was doing his workshop until I accidentally bump into him.  As I was developing my ingenious strategy in my mind, George (Tarry's son) spotted someone who looked like Eric Kim sitting on the other side of the coffee shop working on his laptop. An Asian dude working in a coffee shop with his Mac laptop? That's such a rare sight in Vancouver!! Me and Tarry decided it was Eric and so we paparazzi'd him by attacking him with two cameras each... and yes, it was The Eric Kim!!

            Sunday, June 8, 2014

            Eric Kim & John Goldsmith: Interview Video

            Ricoh GR. 1/800th sec f/3.2 @ ISO 1600. Shot in Gastown.
            I was shooting my first video with world famous street photographer Eric Kim in Gastown when an unexpected guest walked into the interview... John Goldsmith!! What are the chances? He said he was walking around (taking pictures I assume) when he saw two Asian dudes shooting a video. Here's a accidental small clip at the end of a much longer full interview...thanks for the happy accident Cindy!! Ha ha. 

            Both Eric and myself will co-release this interview video on Youtube soon. Stay tuned for details...

            Tuesday, April 8, 2014

            Paparazzi versus Street Photographers: What's the big difference?

            Taken with my Ricoh GR. My paparazzi buddy Nigel, sitting, waiting, stalking? 1/1500th sec F/4 @ ISO 400.
            Spring has arrived in Vancouver and my favourite neighbourhoods are filling up with people and noise and life. The nicer weather doesn't just affect foot-traffic, but more film crews are shutting down streets and attracting spectators, especially the paparazzi. I've been bumping into a few of them lately, but my favourite is a fellow by the name of Nigel (here's a picture of him on my Instagram). He's a really nice guy and always willing to talk to me. As I look at him and then look at myself, I wonder what the difference between what he does and what I do, photographically and socially. Are we so different? Are we so similar?

            Monday, December 30, 2013

            Random Portraits of Models with Leica X-VARIO in Shinjuku East, Tokyo

            Leica X-VARIO @ 32mm. 1/400th sec F/4.5 @ ISO 400. Shot RAW, processed in CS5 & Photoscape. Shinjuku West. From left: Wendell, Diane, Leo

            I know the Tokyo-X-VARIO project is officially finished and so I shouldn't be posting any more X-VARIO images unless I have a reason to. Perhaps I'm writing an article about street photography or a how to series, and these 'unused' images fit the article? Well, I'm not. I just love this series of images I took of these models (Wendell, Diane and Leo) and I couldn't see myself using it anytime soon so I thought I would post them now. I also thought it would be a waste to use these pictures on Instagram since there's so much detail. Even the above pic has been reduced from a 23mb RAW file down to a 1.9mb jpeg... I know, it's a shame. I posted a picture from this series during my Tokyo-X-VARIO project here, but I had extra images I wanted to use later...so here's the rest of them...enjoy!

            Sunday, December 29, 2013

            Street Photography 101: Having a Child-Like Curiosity when Shooting

            Ricoh GR-D IV @ 28mm zone focused. 1/217th sec F/2.8 @ ISO 80. Cropped square. I don't even know how this child knew I was taking pictures as I was shooting from the hip. But I know he knew because even as he passed me he turned and gave me a look... Harajuku, Tokyo.

            When I'm walking down the street and taking pictures, I know how to blend in well. I often will find a spot to shoot, hang around for a while and look busy for a few minutes, and then settle in and start taking pictures. Most people are so busy thinking about where they're going, or what they're going to do, that they won't notice me... except children. Children are easily 'distracted' by visual and auditory stimuli, and for some reason, they can sense a photographer or sense that a camera is pointed in their direction. It happens so often when I'm shooting that I realize it's no coincidence, and having this child-like curiosity is a positive quality that all street photographers should try to learn...

            Friday, December 20, 2013

            Tokyo-X-VARIO: Portrait of a Photographer

            X-VARIO @ 50mm. 1/500th sec F/7.1 @ ISO 1600. Shibuya Crossing. 

            I saw the coolest guy coming out of a taxi. He was a taller Japanese fellow, probably about my age and he was adjusting his scarf as he was readying himself to shoot with his super awesome leather-cased twin reflex camera. I wanted to introduce myself to him, but I was so busy looking for my business cards and scrambling with all my camera equipment, he started walking away and disappeared into the busy Tokyo crowd. I frantically chased after him into the Shibuya crossing, wondering which of 5 directions he could have gone to... I chose the North-East corner and headed that way but it was too late. He was long gone. 

            But wait! What do I see? Another cool photographer. Completely different looking but similar. The same coolness and determination and in the zone, ready for the next great shot. The first thing I did was show him the Ricoh GR-D IV I was shooting with and asked if I could take a picture of him with my GR with his GR (image posted on my Instagram). Then I decided to shoot with the Leica X-VARIO but at 50mm equiv. This is when I really appreciated having the X-VARIO. The Ricoh GR is a great point and shoot, but not great for a proper portrait. The 50mm angle of view has the right distance to subject and the right amount of compression for a waist-up portrait.

            Wednesday, December 18, 2013

            Ricoh GR: Zone Focus to Shoot Bikeriders

            Ricoh GR-D IV zone focus. 1/710th sec F/2.2 @ ISO 160. Cropped image
            It's not easy shooting moving action with a small point and shoot camera, or any camera that doesn't have a sophisticated autofocusing system. I'm too lazy to carry around my DSLR because of the burden of weight and space, so what can I do? Easy, I just zone or scale focus. It's scary at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's actually faster than autofocusing. Some of the greatest photographers who used old school Leica rangefinder cameras to shoot action depended on zone-scale focusing. This is how its done...

            Monday, December 16, 2013

            Daido Moriyama Helped Me Decide to Use My Real Japanese Name!

            Hello everyone, 

            I was watching a documentary on fellow GR photographer Daido Moriyama (in fact, we both started shooting with the original GR1 at the same time back in 1997!) and thought to myself: most Japanese photographers, artists, movie directors use their full Japanese names, so why not me? I don't know why I wanted to have an on-line psuedonym... I just thought it was funny and cool at the same time. I also grew up in Canada and everyone, I mean everyone mispronounced it!! The first day of every school year was a nightmare for me growing up. Even after 16 years, many of my in-laws still call me Taki instead of Take (ta-keh). Because of this I was a bit apprehensive about using my given full name online. The name Bigheadtaco came from 'Big-head Take', but I misspelled my name Taco because that's what I've been called many times, and its a play-on name from the band Bighead Todd and the Monsters.

            Sunday, December 15, 2013

            Tokyo-X-Vario: Sitting and Waiting at 50mm

            Leica X-VARIO @ 50mm equiv. 1/500th sec F/5.1 @ ISO 1600, manual focus. RAW file, converted & cropped in CS5 and Photoscape.

            I love it when I find a great background to use as the foundation of my image. It's like my canvas. Once I find it, I test focus, exposure, and then I just sit and wait for the right moment to come my way. It's like fishing in a way I guess... I'm fishing for people...you never know what you'll get.