The few and far between

17 04 2012

Times are few and far between when I get to shoot portraits of a person I really admire. Even rarer when I have full rein on creativity and lighting the scene. A couple months ago, I had one of those rare chances with Kosal Khiev. I first met him on the shoot of My Asian Americana and was moved by his energy and drive. A few weeks later, I had a chance to interview him with Princess Soma Norodom on her nightly radio show at PUC and was once again moved by him and his constant drive to better himself and his art.

We got to talking after and conspired to have a photo session in the near future. These photos are the result of the photo session.

One main element I wanted was an urban feel with the background. So we ended up shooting in an alleyway where I used to live. Another element I wanted in the shot was his ever present notebook which he is constantly writing in. The only problem is that it is quite narrow (about 10 feet wide) and was very busy with foot and motorbike traffic.

Portrait of Kosal Khiev

Portrait of Kosal Khiev

Lighting is a brollied 580ex as the fill light just a bit high and to my right. Two Viv 283’s with stofens are placed about 10 feet to the left and right of Kosal just slightly touching the wall at 45 degree angles. Not the most efficient use of light but it gave a slight rim light to him and it kept them out of the way of passing motorbikes! I wanted to accentuate his tattoos and the wall in the background so there was some manipulation there. I also brightened his brow a bit and turned the tonal contrast just a bit up for the great textures on his face and shirt. In all honesty, I would have liked to have had a reflector to push the light up on his face but sometimes, you make do with what you can.

Kosal Khiev against the wall

Kosal Khiev against the wall

Can I tell you that he is a pretty amazing subject to work with? I moved the Viv 283 on his left side a bit tighter and lower to him, but kept the rest of theĀ  lighting the same but didn’t notice thatĀ  I stupidly blew out the words in the notebook. Luckily, I always shoot in RAW so I was able to save the detail in the notebook and it makes for a great dimension to the image.

Portrait of Kosal Khiev

Portrait of Kosal Khiev

A bit of a variation to the image above, the pose makes for a striking image. I wanted to cool down the background on this file and the notebook, so some layer masks later, we got this image!

Kosal and his notebook

Kosal and his notebook

In this image you can see how tight the alleyway is. Not too much room to work with. Once again, there is a brollied 580ex to my right and two Viv 283’s directly onto the walls to his left and right. Usually you use strip lights or a grid to create these lovely rim lights but bouncing off the walls made for a great substitute!

Hope you enjoyed the photos as much as I had taking them!





Smelling the roses

16 06 2011

In the rush of being a freelance photographer, it’s hard to stop and smell the roses. Deadlines, meetings, research, pitches, more meetings keep me away from shooting for myself. Kinda like recharging the creative batteries so its nice to actually get a chance to go out and shoot just for myself.

I had a chance to do this on Sunday where I took a photography class out to Olympic stadium for a practical workshop. It was a great experience as the students were great and really took to finding their own style of photography.

I have been going to the Olympic Stadium over the years and I find it to be my favorite spot to shoot in the city. It’s a lively place no matter what time of the day.

A couple of images from the day:

Inside the Olympic Stadium

Inside the Olympic Stadium

Painting the steps at Olympic Stadium

Painting the steps at Olympic Stadium

Last one is a portrait of a football spectator that I previously snapped 5 years ago.

Portrait taken 5 years ago

Portrait taken 5 years ago

Portrait of a football fan at Olympic Stadium in 2011

Portrait of a football fan at Olympic Stadium in 2011

He was very surprised that I remembered him from 5 years ago. I told him that it was very easy to remember someone as handsome as him. He just smiled and then slapped me on the shoulder.

Nice one.





Shooting the Chairman

5 07 2010

I had the opportunity to take a portrait of the new Post Media Ltd chairman David Armstrong in their offices a couple of days ago. It all came about with a phone call the previous afternoon I took from Rick, Photo Editor of the Post who called to inquire on lighting the office.

The shot he wanted was a bit tough in terms of lighting. A long office with lots of fluoro lighting along with lots of chairs and desks to throw wierd shadows all over the place. So we met up an hour before the chairman arrived to work out the placement of the lights.

After much trial and error we ended up with this setup.

Phnom Penh Post setup

Lighting setup at the Phnom Penh Post

PPP shooter Heng Chivoan gets the credit for shooting the setup and thanks go out to Rick for limping around (broken foot) to be my lighting model. Lighting Rick was pretty easy. A 250W mono in a softbox set up at his 2:00, a goboed Viv 283 at his 7:00 for a rim light and another goboed Viv 283 fired onto the whiteboard at his 11:00 just to fill in the shadows on the left side of his face.

Lighting the office was a different story. Its just too damn long. Luckily, there are windows that cover the east side of the office so it gave me enough ambient for the long office but in the office area that covers the Khmer edition of the paper, there is an indentation that gets no light. Hence the brollyed mono sitting on the left side of the pic above.

Once it was set up, all we had to do was wait for the chairman to show up. A quick coffee, cigarette (for Rick) to wait for David to show. We wanted to do two separate shots. The first would be during the daily story meeting which usually happens around 10:30 or so.

Portrait of David Armstrong at the Phnom Penh Post

Portrait of David Armstrong at the Phnom Penh Post

The second and also the one Rick ended up using was of the newsroom with people working at their desks.

Portrait of David Armstrong at the Phnom Penh Post

Portrait of David Armstrong at the Phnom Penh Post

You can see the finished result here.

Since journalists want to be in the limelight and won’t ever admit to it, having a camera and lighting setup was putting a flame up in a room full of moths. So some goofy shots from the office.

Phnom Penh Post intern/multimedia specialist David Boyle

Phnom Penh Post intern/multimedia specialist David Boyle

Phnom Penh Post Khmer Edition Editor Kay Kimsong

Phnom Penh Post Khmer Edition Editor Kay Kimsong

Phnom Penh Post journalist Irwin Loy

Phnom Penh Post journalist Irwin Loy





Shots at the Independence Monument

23 04 2010

These were taken awhile ago but thought they were worthy of putting online. These were tester shots for an upcoming that were taken at the Independence Monument at sunset.
Rick Valenzuela and Maria Jarina were kind enough to come along and be my models.





Who you takin a picture of Willis?

1 08 2009

A baby who did not like her picture taken.

Taken in an alleyway near Sorya Mall

Baby in an alley near Sorya Mall

Baby in an alley near Sorya Mall





Three portraits

30 07 2009

Three very different portraits taken during the magic hour at Psar Thmei. Enjoy!

First off is the security guard that let Georgia, Rick and I take some shots inside the construction area.

Guard at Psar Thmei

Guard at Psar Thmei

Second is a gentleman sharpening some knives outside Psar Thmei. I like the booties.

A knife sharpened outside Psar Thmei

A knife sharpened outside Psar Thmei

Lastly is of Georgia from the Phnom Penh Post walking through the new stalls to Psar Thmei.

Georgia from the Phnom Penh Post inside Psar Thmei

Georgia from the Phnom Penh Post inside Psar Thmei