Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tokyo Fashion Blogger: Letters Impromptu x Daniel Wellington Part II

Did some shooting the other day with Samantha for Daniel Wellington, on an overcast late afternoon in Daikanyama. Please check out Samantha's blog to see the rest of the photos! :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tokyo Portrait Photography: Sunflower Afternoon

Nao has only been in Tokyo for a few months so far, but she seems to already fit in well while getting into her modeling work. I asked her what aspects of Tokyo she doesn't really like, and she replied: 1. how crowded it can get, and 2. how expensive it is to live here. Both characteristics of the big city, I can understand on both points. Despite moving to a completely new place and facing new obstacles, it's fantastic that young talents like Nao are continuing to work hard and chase after their dreams. Thank you Nao for the fun photoshoot amidst surprise sunflowers!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tokyo Portrait Photography: Chiaki

The afternoon light was turning a baked golden caramel color as I met up with Chiaki for a quick walk in the park and nearby streets. Although it was my first time to shoot with Chiaki, she had such a sweet and easygoing personality that the photos we created all turned out very natural. After the park, we accidentally found that a festival was being set up not far away, and the preparations were well under way with many colorful booths and banners. It was a mysterious feeling, wandering the row of empty food stands lining the path on both sides, as though I could nearly smell the delicious food scents and hear echoes of the crowd to come. I hope I can go to a festival in Tokyo this year!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tokyo Fashion Photography: Rainy Shinjuku

Dark gray clouds and a somewhat gloomy atmosphere crept over the city as I met up with Samantha for this photoshoot. The weather changes so much in one day during Tokyo's rainy season, I almost wasn't surprised anymore. But it had been a dazzling sunny day just a little earlier in the day, and as our shoot progressed, the rain started coming down more and more. Samantha was so nice and let me use her umbrella to shoot under while she got drizzled in the rain. We quickly finished off the shoot just as the skies darkened and lights blinked on all over Shinjuku.

Please check out Samantha's blog post at Letters Impromptu for the rest of the photos!

Tokyo Portrait Photography: Mayumi

The afternoon air was glimmering with heat when I met up with model and dancer Mayumi for this photoshoot. One of my biggest challenges as a photographer is to find out the best way to photograph someone after just meeting them for the first time. Each person has a different way of showing themselves or expressing to the camera. In this case, Mayumi made the job quite easy by simply being herself, a quiet and contemplative soul.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Tokyo Night

Summer is warm in the air, thicker with each passing day. It swamps in through the nose, fills the mouth like cotton candy, sweet and melting, light and heavy. A slight breeze in the evening streets is a relief, and for some reason, it reminds me of you.

The sidewalks are milling with workers on their way home, clutching black business bags and wearing white shirts. Everyone has a story, has hardships, works toward something or works for something. So many people, countless faces that are only blanks until you happen to bump into each other and start jotting notes onto the slate. So many pass by again with just a few quick notes. Only a few end up with the slate filled and words spilling off the edges like water. And of those, sometimes time itself can wipe them all away.

How do we keep hold of the things we really want? How do we reach out with tentative hands to even define the solid edges of what it is we want? How fragile these moments, these colors and these words. They easily escape us in the ongoing torrent of everyday life.

Close your eyes... let everything go out of focus for a second, and everything fade into the background of the composition.

We are here, living and breathing, for a reason. And the reason is whatever you choose to make of it.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Tokyo Couple Photography: Kerry & Michael

It was an absolute pleasure to do this couple photoshoot for Kerry and Michael, who were both so friendly and easy to get along with as soon as we met up. The two of them began dating in high school, and their love kept strong even when college took them to different parts of the state, and then across the country from each other. I was so honored to be their photographer for their very first photoshoot, as well as their first overseas trip together and first time to visit Japan! Kerry and Michael, I had a wonderful time exploring Tokyo with you for a few hours and taking these photos for you. Hope to see you again, whether in Japan or back in the US! :)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tokyo Fashion Photography: Urban Leaves & Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Art Lens

In the second part of a collaboration with Lovey Dovey Fashion, I shot this summery green dress with the lovely Rubi as model. I wanted to contrast the dress with a bit of gritty urban-style background, and with the midday sun beating down on us with all of summer's fury, we managed to stay mostly in the shade and finish the shoot quickly. It was a lot of fun shooting with Rubi's bright and happy energy!

Thank you to Lovey Dovey Fashion for the great dress, and thank you Rubi for being a wonderful model! :)

Model: Rubi

So actually, this was my first photoshoot trying out the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Art lens. I used to have the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, which I shot with here, here, and here, but I switched it out a few months later due to the heavy weight of the lens. Although it worked like a dream, I just found myself not taking it out as much due to the heaviness, and it really made my hands tired after extended shooting. (I carried all during my trip to California for two weeks, as the only lens I took on the trip.)

I then picked up the Canon 35mm f/2 IS, which worked extremely well for me in terms of sharpness and reliability - I used it on quite a few shoots involving groups of people and shots that require capturing more of the background. It's also amazingly light and easy to carry around. However, one thing that began to bother me more and more was the bokeh - for my style, the 35mm f/2 just didn't blur out the background enough sometimes. Although it was a fantastic lens, I didn't find myself taking it out on fashion shoots very much.

So finally, that brought me to the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Art. From my first few shoots using the lens, I'm really loving the look so far! I never really considered 30mm, but it's a very interesting perspective. So far, I'm finding the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Art very sharp and quick at focusing, with beautiful colors just like the Sigma 35mm. I'll be sharing more shoots using the lens soon!