Thursday, August 21, 2014

EOD U.S military bomb suit shoot BTS

I've always believed personal photo projects are important to professional photographer's (and armature photographers for that matter) as they can really help when you start to feel unmotivated and stale when shooting often the same kind of thing day in day out. For a while now I've been working on an underwater girls modeling type project and while I have done a few of these now I still very much feel like a beginner when shooting them. It's great fun and a challenging though to push the boundaries and try something new.

Another idea Id had for a photo project for quite sometime was to do a Military action series where I would get "real" people from various areas of the military with their gear on and photograph them in a dramatic kind of way. Almost a bit like a cover shot for a movie or a game like Call of Duty etc.. Why? Just for fun and I've always had a fascination with the Military ever since I was a little kid and used to collect any Military gear I could get my hands on. Especially knives, man I loved knives!

Anyway without any further ado here's the first of my Military in action photo projects with a friend Matt who I met while photographing his family on location here in Okinawa. Matt is a Master Sargent for the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Demolition) and was able to get me permission to make this project a reality. I even got to try on a 85 pound bomb suit, operate a bomb disarming robot and detonate C4 explosives! Not something your average civilian gets to experience.

Here's my little behind the scenes video I put together with bts video/photo help from good friends Chris Myers and Keith Smith.




Here are a few of my favorite images from the shoot. All shot with the Canon 1DmkIV and lenses like the new 16-35mm f4L IS, 70-200mm f2.8L IS and new 24-70mm f4L IS. 

All images edited in Lightroom then mostly taken into some plugin like Nik Color efex pro 4 or Perfect Effects. 





For the actual shots with live explosives I had to wear ear protection of course. The sound and feeling on the body from the blasts was quite incredible. The explosions you see at the end of the video were C4. For those we were further back behind a mound in a bunker for protection. I set up my Gopro to catch the explosions while I pulled the trigger to detonate it. Even down there we could feel the force. 

I already have plans for my next project in this theme and am currently working on finding the gear needed and location. Should be cool though!




All images are copyright Pete Leong Photography and can not be used without permission. If you would like to use any images on this blog please contact me via the contact icon on the right side menu bar. 


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Now an affiliate for B&H Photo

Hey everyone, thanks so much for all your support for my humble little photography biz over the past couple of years! Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm now an affiliate with one of the worlds biggest and best one stop photography and video stores in the world, B&H Photo as well as Amazon.com. So please if you can and if you wouldn't mind clicking on my link via my blog to buy all your awesome photo gear from B&H and Amazon.

You'll find the banners to get to the page anytime from the right side of my blog or also through the B&H banner below in this post.

Thanks very much and happy shooting!
Pete

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Returned from Mentawai's all Japan pro surf photo trip

Just got back to Okinawa after a couple of weeks away on a boat in the Mentawai islands of Sumatra in Indonesia with a great team of Japanese pro surfers and body boarders. For those that don't know the Mentawai islands are famous for great surf and beautiful islands and beaches.

As usual it was quite the mission traveling with lots of heavy camera gear. But I learnt a lot and wont be traveling with Peach airlines ever again thats for sure. They are not photographer friendly at all.

I was traveling with quite a bit of photo and video gear though including my Canon 300mm f2.8, 4 other lenses and two Canon bodies, the 5DmkIII and 1DmkIV. I also took along my new underwater surf housing from Liquid Eye and had a great time (although sometimes scary) shooting in the waves with the surfers. I'll be posting plenty of photos and video in the weeks to come but for now I have to sift through the 14,000 or so images and video and prepare images for all the sponsors and riders etc..

Heres just a small sneak peak of what I saw there.







More coming soon!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

On assignment for Transasia inflight magazine Renaissance

Heres a shot I snagged of the museum in Naha they ended up using as the cover shot. 
I thought I had at least a dozen better shots that would have made for a good cover but its not up to me. 


I was recently asked to shoot an assignment for Transasia's inflight magazine Renaissance in which they wanted some abstract shots of the art museum in Naha city and the city office in Nago which is known for its unique Okinawan architecture. It was quite a tricky assignment as the weather took a turn for the worst on the day I had planned for the shoot and on top of that architecture photography is not one of my stronger points as Im sure most of you know I usually deal with weddings, families, seascapes and water related photos.
The locations ended up taking pretty much all day to cover as one of the points they wanted was an hour drive north and the other an hour drive south so I set out on my mission to try and make some different looking images of these well known buildings and tried to catch something a bit abstract about them.

Apart from the main buildings they also wanted some general shots of Okinawa that I had already shot in the past and so used a couple of my images from the famous Zanpa misaki lighthouse and an underwater shot of some coral I shot with my little Canon s95 compact camera. This is the 2nd time now I've had a photo published from a point and shoot camera. Who would have thought...

Here are my images used in this months issue below.



One of my stock images of Cape Zanpa during one pretty sunset

An abstract shot of one of the art pieces at Naha's art gallery 

Another abstract shot of the museum and a long exposure of Cape Zanpa

Showing the details of the building and an underwater shot with my little Canon s95 
I shot during one dive outing. 

The famous Ufuya soba restaurant in Nago. This was my first time visiting this place and what a great location it is. Very difficult to find but very pretty traditional Okinawa location. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The new Canon 16-35mm f4L IS video review

Finally it has arrived! I'd had the new Canon 16-35mm f4L IS lens on pre order from B&H photo for a couple of months since Id first heard about it and was eager to upgrade my previous wide zoom the Canon 17-40mm f4L which has served me well for a few years even after taking a nasty fall from a tripod. The lens though was quite soft in the corners and image quality was never quite as great as Id hoped. Im very happy to report that the new 16-35mm f4 lens is a big improvement in all aspects. Beating out both the 17-40 f4 and the very popular 16-35mm f2.8L lens in sharpness across the frame plus the added benefit of having image stabilization makes this new lens a clear winner.



Here are the 100% crops used in the video of some sample shots I shot on a recent trip to outer islands Ishigaki island, Iriomote island and Taketomi island. Click the images to see them bigger.


 


Want to get yourself this lens? You can pick it up from Amazon at this link for about $1200


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Typhoon Neoguri wave shooting


Super typhoon Neoguri has finally passed over us here in Okinawa now. It was an interesting 24 hours or so with crazy amounts of rain and wind causing quite a bit of flooding and damage to buildings and cars. Some of us though do get excited when the typhoons come as they can bring some great photographic opportunities. 

For these top 3 wave shots I used my Canon 1DmkIV and new 24-70mm f4L IS inside of an Outex protection cover. If your not familiar with the Outex cases they are basically a thin moulded soft latex cover with glass that attaches to the front of the lens and rear for the lcd screen and are great for shooting in rain or dirty conditions, snorkeling and they can even take a beating in the surf. Of course its always a little scary taking $7000 or so worth of gear in the water in a thin rubber protective layer but it has worked great for me so far and much cheaper than buying at full blown housing. The Outex's come in at at around $300~$400 while my bigger housings for diving and surf come in at close to $3000 each but all serve different purposes. 




And below are a couple of shots I grabbed the morning after the typhoon as it was morning more north towards mainland Japan. 

Chocolate dirty waves at Kadena where lots of fresh rain water and mud has 
mixed with the ocean water. 

A fishing boat capsized and crashed into the sea wall from the wind and waves along Kadena norths sea wall. 

If you'd like to check out a video I made reviewing the Outex click here to be taken to my Youtube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=544b_s-BbKI

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Beginners photo tip for shooting silky smooth waterfalls

I just returned from a fantastic trip to Ishigaki, Iriomote and Taketomi islands where I did some jungle trekking, diving with giant Manta rays and swam under some beautiful waterfalls. While at one of the waterfalls I thought I would make a quick little video on how to get that silky smooth water effect you've seen in waterfall shots.

It's really quite easy and you just need a few items apart from your camera. Most importantly you need a stable surface or a tripod. If the light is just right and dark enough you might be able to do it just with the tripod but more than likely you'll also need an ND (neutral density) filter which is basically just like sunglasses for your lens. A polarizer filter is also a good idea to cut down on the reflections from the water, rocks and leaves. One other item which is always good to have but not essential for this is a cable release which allows you to trigger the camera without actually touching it.

With an ND filter on the lens you'll be able to set a slower shutter speed which is what gives you that silky look. Basically anything slower than around 10th/second should give you a nice effect but experiment with slower shutters down to 1 second or so for a very nice smooth effect.



Try the Amazon links below to the items needed for long exposure photography. By doing so it also helps me out. 
The the Induro tripod I use http://tinyurl.com/o5bzr3q


And last but not least a cable release, again heres the one I use http://tinyurl.com/nekkz4f 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Okinawa beach wedding for Rebecca and Ethan


Summer is now here in Okinawa and the busiest part of the first wedding season of the year is coming to an end. With the rain season in full effect it has been quite difficult for outdoor location weddings and preweddings to get the timing right with great weather. For Ethan and Rebecca their private beach wedding was a gamble that paid off. It was raining on and off right up to the start of the wedding but the sky came great with beautiful clouds just in time for their ceremony with a few friends and the beautiful ocean as the background. 

In all honesty this was actually quite a tricky wedding to photograph as nothing was quite in the normal order of things and all the friends were gathered in very close making it tricky to get good angles of the bride and groom during the ceremony. To make things even trickier the sun would occasionally poke through giving a very harsh light on Rebeccas face which is never a good thing in wedding photography. In the end though it all worked out great and we had a fun time exploring the island for locations to shoot at after their wedding. 

Check out a few of the photos from their day below. 

















Interested in having a wedding in Okinawa? Drop me an email and I'll be happy to photograph and help you organize your big day!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mentawai all Japan pro surf trip


Im delighted to have been asked to come along as the official photographer to the Mentawai islands in Indonesia for 10 days on a live aboard boat to photograph some of Japans best bodyboard and surfers on some of the best waves in the world to help promote these trips to the surfers of Japan.

From the end of July I'll make the trip down to Kuala Lumpur then onto Padang before getting on the boat which will be our home base for the 10 days with riders Ryu Nakamura, Kaori Mayaguchi, Akiko Sato and good friend Hayato Maki. Also joining me on the trip will be the organizer of the event and the man in charge of bookings if your interested in coming along on dream surf trips like these, Mr Dane Gillett of Surfing in Japan.



Hayato Maki on one nice ride in Indo
(photo not by me)

Dane also will be organizing trips with the pro's where budding Japanese surfers can go along on the trip with a pro surfer and will get to hang out with and learn from the best. 

If your in Japan and interested in getting some killer waves in the Mentawai then hit up Dane by clicking here to get all the info. 

No doubt it will be the trip of a lifetime for any surfer looking for the perfect waves.