About Chris Hunt


Chris Hunt is a fashion and advertising photographer, based in New York, Los Angeles and Mexico City. Originally from California, he has spent the last 15 years living and working in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Moscow and across the United States. Beginning his career as a photojournalist, Chris then moved into fashion photography after working as a model agent for several years in L.A. He has recently broadened his portfolio into film, directing TV commercials for fashion and lifestyle brands. Chris balances outstanding creative talent with an impressive level of technical expertise, delivering impeccable professionalism and work of the highest quality with a relaxed and friendly attitude. On the rare moments he is not in his studio, Chris can be found pedaling his road bike through Italy, SCUBA diving in the South Pacific or riding a motocross bike in the mountains of California. His advertising clients include Google, TELCEL, Mitsubishi Automobiles, Pond's, Samsung, GNC, Chevrolet, Knorr and Garnier. He also works for fashion and beauty clients such as BCBG Max Azria, Herve Leger, Forever 21, bebe, ALDO, Nine West, Macy's, GAP, Banana Republic, Wet Seal, Arden B., Jockey International, Avon, Liverpool, Skechers, Fox Girls, Billabong, Stila Cosmetics and C&A. His work has been published in international magazines including VOGUE, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Interview, Maxim, Surface, Men's Health, Nylon and InStyle. High profile clients include sports stars Maria Sharapova and Wayne Gretzky and rappers Ludacris, Ice Cube and 50 Cent.

Posts by Chris Hunt:

The Physics Behind Sunbursts and How It Can Help You Focus Your Photos

The Physics Behind Sunbursts and How It Can Help You Focus Your Photos

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when it comes to “sunbursts” in photos – those points of light with rays streaking out of them – people often have polarizing views. Optical diffraction is the physical property that causes this effect. The appearance of sunbursts is more technically described as “diffraction spikes,” and it’s caused by the bending (sometimes referred to as spreading) of light around an object like the edges of your camera’s aperture.

When an aperture is large relative to the wavelength of light, you don’t get much diffraction. But when the size of an aperture is small, the effects of diffraction become apparent. The divergent light of varying wavelengths travel different distances to the camera sensor and cause interference – some interfering waves increase their combined amplitude, while others cancel each other out.

The diffraction that causes spikes is the same property that makes lenses less sharp at large f-stop numbers.

Lens performance is limited by aberration and diffraction. In full-frame systems, lenses are diffraction limited around f/22, with optimal performance occurring around f/8.

Diffraction spikes in camera lenses

Most modern lenses use an iris diaphragm to control the size of the aperture. Wide open, the effects of diffraction are unnoticeable because most of the light can pass directly through the diaphragm without being affected by diffraction occurring at the edges. But as the aperture becomes smaller and approaches the wavelength of light, diffraction has a pronounced effect. When diffraction occurs around an edge like an aperture blade, it creates two visible spikes of light 180° apart and perpendicular to the blade edge.

On a lens with an even number of blades, the diffraction spikes from opposite sides of the aperture overlap. So n-number of even blades yields n-spikes.

Comparison of diffraction spikes (bottom row) for camera apertures of different shapes and number of blades (top row) by CMG Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA-3.0

With an odd number of blades, there is no overlap. N-number of odd blades yields 2n spikes. So generally speaking, if you’re seeing about 10 spikes or more, the lens likely has an odd-number of aperture blades.
A camera with a circular aperture (like Waterhouse or Wheel Stops) wouldn’t exhibit a star pattern at smaller apertures. Instead, a point of light focused with the appropriate focal length and aperture would create an Airy Disk – a bright circular spot surrounded by concentric circles that represent areas of constructive and destructive interference.

Diffraction spikes from telescopes

When the Hubble Space Telescope captured the Pillars of Creation in 1995, it had a profound effect on the public’s perspective of space and space exploration and became one of the most popular space photos of all time.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has revisited one of its most iconic and popular images: the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation. This image shows the pillars as seen in visible light, capturing the multi-colored glow of gas clouds, wispy tendrils of dark cosmic dust, and the rust-colored elephants’ trunks of the nebula’s famous pillars. The dust and gas in the pillars is seared by the intense radiation from young stars and eroded by strong winds from massive nearby stars. With these new images comes better contrast and a clearer view for astronomers to study how the structure of the pillars is changing over time.

Like many space photos, some bright stars appear with 4 spikes. While this might suggest a 4-bladed aperture, the spikes actually result from diffraction caused by struts that hold the secondary mirror in place in reflecting telescope designs like Hubble.

By contrast, wide field astrophotography with DSLRs frequently relies on wide open, wide angle lenses, so diffraction spikes are typically non-existent, although comatic aberration in the corners can take on a similar appearance.

Comatic aberration, or “coma,” appears in the corners of some lenses when used wide open. The effect isn’t related to diffraction. Photo by Allen Murabayashi

The so-called “Star of Bethlehem” appearance has become so synonymous with Deep-Sky astrophotography that some photographers simulate the look even when they aren’t using reflective telescopes.

Sky & Telescope writer Dennis di Cicco responded to a reader question about the appearance of the spikes in 2006:

Many imaging enthusiasts like the look of spikes on bright stars, and they add them by placing some kind of mask in front of the aperture to mimic the effect of a Newtonian reflector’s spider vanes. Almost anything will work. I’ve used perpendicular wires, thin strips of black paper or tape, string, and so on.

Using diffraction to achieve focus

Focusing under low light conditions can be very challenging, and even the most modern phase detection systems can fail to achieve a focus lock without sufficient light. Although it might seem obvious to turn your lens’ focus ring to infinity to photograph the stars, in practice, the far end of the focus ring isn’t always accurate.

Farpoint’s Bahtinov Mask

In 2005, amateur astronomer Pavel Bahtinov came up with an elegant solution using diffraction to achieve focus. Like the struts on a reflecting telescope, the Bahtinov Mask uses slots cut at different angles to produce diffraction spikes when pointed at a bright light source like a star. The mask is placed over the lens or telescope, and focus is achieved when the center of each spike pair is aligned.

Simulation of a bahtinov mask diffraction pattern when focusing by Niels Noordhoek and licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Hence, the physical process that causes the sunburst in your photos can also be used to help achieve better focus in dim conditions. Science FTW!

About the author: Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter, which regularly publishes resources for photographers. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Allen is a graduate of Yale University, and flosses daily. This article was also published here.

Source: PetaPixel

The Physics Behind Sunbursts and How It Can Help You Focus Your Photos

Sofi Tukker Talks Going ‘Batshit’

Sofi Tukker Talks Going ‘Batshit’
When it comes to making music, New York-based dream team Sofi Tukker follow several mantras, including “make what we love” and “Fuck They.” In other words, they’ll follow their gut and fuck what you think. It’s this type of no-holds-barred commitment to individuality and self love that translates to infectious dance tracks such as “Best Friend”, “Batshit”, and “Drinkee”.

With a Grammy nomination, an Apple commercial, sold out shows and countless festival appearances o…

Keep on reading: Sofi Tukker Talks Going ‘Batshit’
Source: V Magazine

Sofi Tukker Talks Going ‘Batshit’

Why Photography’s B&W vs Color Debate Is No Debate At All

Why Photography’s B&W vs Color Debate Is No Debate At All

In the 1950s, early color photography was widely scorned. Now it’s the default. What happened?

Black and white, meet color. A composite made from one of the earliest, impractical color photos.

Prologue: No Space for Dreams

In 2015, Leica released a beautiful, ridiculous ad. It was for a special product in their lineup; a digital camera that only takes black-and-white photos.

The clip itself is strangely compelling. Set to hypnotizing black-and-white patterns, a calm voiceover says B&W is purer than color. The hyperrealism of color, it points out, isn’t just overly crass, it’s unnecessary. Color is an aid for people without imagination: “In the color world, there’s no space for dreams.”

Of course, this is wrong. If anything it’s the other way around: color is actual, we don’t see in monochrome. Insisting on black and white is often a pretentious turn. Leica’s ad rehashes one of the oldest debates in the history of photography: Which is better, black and white or color? The two do different things, the debate is fruitless. However, it helps to know about this “controversy” in order to understand how we and photography got here.

Act I: Color is Bulls**t

Let’s recall that photography only became an art form relatively recently. When it came about at the end of the 19th century, observers had considered it “too literal to compete with works of art” because it was unable to “elevate the imagination”. Leica’s ad used the same line of argument — that something too realistic couldn’t possibly be artistic.

At first, photography competed with fine art: It required long exposure times and used heavy, static equipment. The most popular subjects were landscapes and portraits — both hallmarks of painting.

Portable equipment or rolls of film (a blessing compared to the unwieldy cameras or glass plates used before) only became available around the First World War. It allowed photographers to take pictures in previously unimaginable settings — and to differentiate the photographic medium from painting.

Pioneers like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Helen Levitt did it by deploying the realism in unexpected ways. With their “decisive moments” and unexpected subjects, they froze the unseen, demonstrating that photography was about beautiful compositions and subjects far different from painting. The snapshot aesthetic emerged. Street photography was born.

Helen Levitt was one of the first photographers to capture street scenes.

These now legendary photographers learned their craft in a black-and-white world. Which is to say that whenever they took a picture, they knew it to be in black and white. The abstraction was a natural quality of the picture — just like the two-dimensionality of the shot.

Color photography only became practical in the mid-1950s after film manufacturers had invented processes that made color pictures sufficiently easy to develop. It was another technological shift to change the medium, just as the portable camera and film before. And perhaps inevitably, photographers now assumed the role that the defenders of painting had before them: They refused to embrace the new technology.

Rather than enjoy their sudden ability to depict the world more realistically, artistic photographers shunned color. In their minds, serious, documentary and fine art photography had to be shot in black-and-white. Photography legend Henri Cartier-Bresson, known for his evocative monochrome shots, even quipped that “color is bulls**t.”

Act II: Seeing in Monochrome

Why would Cartier-Bresson dismiss color so forthrightly? Most likely because black and white works so differently than color does.

Subjects that look great in black and white often don’t look good in color. It’s for the same reason that vivid color pictures look boring once desaturated. Images in the photo-historical cannon were made for one palette or another. One sees and shoots in the same color or B&W of your camera film or sensors.

Tina Modotti’s portraits relied on the stark contrast of black-and-white photography.

For the pioneers of photography, it had meant learning to shoot subjects that worked well in black and white — just look at the high contrast shots of the Modernist like Edward Weston and Tina Modotti, the abstract portraits of Man Ray. They didn’t just shoot in but also for black and white, emphasizing form, contrast, and shapes.

“Color negates all of photography’s three-dimensional values”, Cartier-Bresson would later claim. Black-and-white wasn’t limiting to him — photographers of the time knew how to use it.

A landscape by Henri Cartier-Bresson

These photographers’ ways of taking pictures also explain their stance when color arrived on the scene. Color forced them to look differently. After experimenting in polychrome, Cartier-Bresson was reportedly so unhappy that he destroyed his negatives — and now he continues to be known for his monochrome work only.

In Understanding a Photograph, John Berger wrote that “paintings, before the invention of photography, are the only visual evidence we have of how people saw the world.” I would argue that black-and-white photos, before the invention of color photography, also give us a clue how photographers saw the world: In beautiful shades of grey.

Just as black-and-white now looks reduced to our eyes, color must have seemed gaudy to the photographers of the 1950s: It looked like embellishment. When advertisement photographers embraced color, the artists’ disdain only grew. In 1959, Walter Evans dismissed, “There are four simple words for the matter, which must be whispered: Color photography is vulgar.”

Today, that stance seems absurd. Color photography has long been the standard way of picturing the world. What happened was yet another paradigm shift — and a small rebellion.

Act III: The World is in Color

While artistic photographers turned their noses at it, color film quietly conquered the global mainstream. In the post-war years, photography turned from something only professionals did to an amateurs’ hobby. The invention of (usable) color film — Kodak introduced Kodachrome in 1936 and Ektachrome in the 1940s — led to a gradual, popular adoption of color photography.

And why wouldn’t it? Why would amateurs, unperturbed by the dogma of black-and-white, use black-and-white if they could capture life in all of its brilliant colors?

In the black-and-white years, being a photographer had meant developing your own film, cropping pictures, and making prints. Processing color photographs, in contrast, was too complicated for many professional photographers — but lent itself perfectly to amateurs, who simply had their photos developed in a lab.

Most of all, it must just have seemed more realistic. Black and white “elevated a photograph from banality to a work of art”, but hobbyists just wanted to shoot realistic family photos. William Eggleston once summarized what must have been on the mind of many people at the time — and what we have come to accept:

“The world is in color. And there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Along with Saul Leiter, Steven Shore, Joel Meyerowitz and others, Eggleston is widely credited with pioneering color in the artistic realm. In the 1970s, they made the switch from black and white to color — despite fierce opposition.

“Photographers looked down on color or felt it was superficial or shallow,” said Leiter. Meanwhile, photography legend Paul Strand told Shore that shooting in color was a “disastrous career move”.

Saul Leiter used color as layers in his street photography.

They wanted to rebel. To break out of the monochrome world that had been prescribed by earlier generations. Joel Meyerowitz’ recent retrospective at C/O Berlin included plenty of quotes demonstrating that the photographer perceived color as a way to break with convention:

What I saw was that the color image had more information in it, simple as that! There was so much more to see and consider, whereas black and white reduced the world to shades of gray. And while that reduction had provided us with more than a hundred years of remarkable images, we were entering a new era at the time, and color, for me anyway, seemed to offer a challenge to the conventions that always undermine any medium.

William Eggleston, who once proclaimed to be “at war with the obvious” followed a similar line of thinking: He was able to take “perfect fake Cartier-Bressons” but wanted to do something different, to challenge the status quo. “When I switched from black and white to color, the only thing that changed was the film,” he said.

William Eggleston doubled down on color.

That isn’t quite true: The switch from black and white, as championed by these photographers, went hand-in-hand with a change in subject matter. They started shooting subjects that weren’t beholden to the logic of black and white — less geometric, high-contrast settings, but much rather everyday occurrences where the colors stood out. Eggleston shot shopping malls, Leiter the smudged colors of a rainy city, Shore the vivid mundane.

Steven Shore shot the vivid mundane.

In the excellent book William Eggleston — From Color to Black and White, art curator Agnes Sire writes:

It’s no coincidence that artists like Eggleston and Shore managed to picture banal subjects in an interesting way, and it was their use of color that helped them accomplish it. The transition from black and white to color was as much a transition from supposedly salient subjects — like the photojournalism championed by Magnum — to the more poetic everyday object.

At first, nobody wanted to see this kind of work. Now, the early exhibits of these photographers are legendary. It took a while for the artistic world to open its eyes to a new kind of subject — and to color photography. While black and white had turned the mundane artistic, the pioneering color photos were successful exactly because they were mundane: They alerted the general public to the hidden beauty in everyday life.

William Eggleston’s famous tricycle picture, an example of everyday photography.

Epilogue: An Unresolved Question

Color is no longer controversial. It is simply the standard. Today black-and-white is mostly used by photographers who enjoy the classic look, or in fashion shoots emulating the modernist style, or by marketers who want to convey a vague notion of class and sophistication.

That doesn’t mean the controversy has been fully resolved, nor can it be. It’s not about being right or wrong, being realistic or snobbish, forward-looking or old-fashioned. The controversy is fundamentally about how you think the human imagination works–or how it should work.

“Color is not a question, but rather an answer”, Joel Meyerowitz has said. For a photographer, it is a decision among many others, all part of their way of seeing and interpreting the world.

So let’s close with something the photographer Alec Soth said in an interview with Aperture a few years ago, looking back at a black-and-white world:

Sometimes you think, eighty years ago the world must have been black and white. But of course, it didn’t actually look like those photographs. The way that it was photographed shaped that reality just as much then as now.

About the author: Lars Mensel is a photographer and writer based in Berlin, Germany. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Mensel is also the host of the Available Light podcast. You can find more of his work on his website. This article was also published here.

Source: PetaPixel

Why Photography’s B&W vs Color Debate Is No Debate At All

I Shot Photos of Cameras Placed on Film

I Shot Photos of Cameras Placed on Film

Last summer, I visited Gifford Stevens at his home in Bradley, Maine. He was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. He taught English at Hampden Academy.

His classes were always fascinating, and a few favorites were Folklore and Outdoor Life. He led a guitar club, took us white water rafting, and I was fortunate enough to have been able to build an Appalachian dulcimer with him.

Gif is retired now (I think he’s on trip 74 around the Sun this year) and spends the summers here in Maine.

Last summer, he wanted to pass a few things along to me. First, he gave me a guitar, a fascinating story on its own. Then he gave me a camera.

The camera was once his grandfather’s camera. Alden Gifford Stevens, according to a letter Gif wrote for me to go with the camera, traveled to Africa in 1926 and stayed until 1929. On his travels, he met Ernest Hemingway, the Prince of Wales, and George Eastman among some other notables. George Eastman himself gave Alden this camera!

In 1960, he sent it to Rochester for a bellows repair. The folks at Kodak wanted to buy it for the collection but, to my good fortune, he declined. When Gif handed me the camera, I took off the back and tried to show him the projection of the lens onto a piece of paper where the film would usually go. I was not familiar with the proper functioning of this particular camera so my demonstration failed (so much for that Masters Degree).

This inspired me to make a series of images titled The Shadows and Projections of Cameras Placed On Film.

35mm Point and Shoot Camera Placed on 4×5 inch Film 2017

Usually film goes inside the camera, but I wanted to show the camera as an object and capture the projection through the lens all in the same image. I thought this would elegantly bridge cameraless and camera-based work.

Kodak Pocket Camera Placed on 8×10 inch Film #21 2017

By removing the backs of several cameras then placing them on larger sheets of film in film holders, I was able to make it happen. I was most surprised by how much information rendered on the film around the camera. In the images with 4×5 cameras, a trace of the handle is apparent!

4×5 inch Camera Placed on 8×10 inch Film #20 2017

The exposures were midday in the late summer and, given the process, some areas of the film around the camera would have been subjected to direct sunlight for 1 to 2 seconds. I would have thought this amount of light would have overloaded the film and not allow for any subtlety.

Other images were made at night with 1 to 2 hours of exposure.

Kodak Pocket Camera Placed on 8×10 inch Film #8 2017

Some good things do happen when a student tries to teach a teacher something and fails, but he doesn’t stop trying.

P.S. One of the coolest things I got that day was a photo of Alden taken with this camera on his journey.

About the author: Caleb Charland is a photographer best known for his photos inspired by his scientific curiosity. You can find more of his work on his website.

Source: PetaPixel

I Shot Photos of Cameras Placed on Film

This Astronaut on a Spacewalk Left His Camera’s SD Card at Home

This Astronaut on a Spacewalk Left His Camera’s SD Card at Home

Have you ever pulled out your camera to shoot, only to be horrified to find that you forgot to put a memory card inside before leaving home? That’s what just happened to a NASA astronaut while he was in the middle of a spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

The 1.5-minute video above is an extended version of a livestream clip NASA shared on Twitch, titled “Left SD card at home LUL.” In it, the astronaut (reportedly Andrew Feustel) is trying to start recording footage with a GoPro camera when he suddenly asks mission control a question. Here’s a transcript:

Astronaut: “Hey, uh, Houston, I gotta ask a question about the GoPro real quick.”
Houston: “I’m all ears. Go ahead.”
Astronaut: “Pushing the button, I see a ‘No SD’. Do I need that to record? And if it’s recording, is there supposed to be a red light on?”
*A long silence ensues*
Houston: “I’m told that if it has the card in it, it should have a red light if it’s recording.”
Astronaut: “And if it says ‘No SD,’ what does that mean?”
Houston: “I think that means no card. We’re checking though, hang on.”
Astronaut: “Well, let’s just forget it for now. I’ll get it later. Let’s just not worry about it.”

Thankfully, the ISS has an impressive arsenal of camera equipment (including 10 new Nikon D5 DSLRs), so don’t worry: the astronaut isn’t going to have to rush home to Earth to retrieve his forgotten memory card.

Source: PetaPixel

This Astronaut on a Spacewalk Left His Camera’s SD Card at Home

Karla Welch Reimagines Levi’s Iconic no. 501

Karla Welch Reimagines Levi’s Iconic no. 501
Celebrity stylist Karla Welch has casted SZA, Lauryn Hill, Amber Valletta, Sarah Paulson, and more in her new Levi’s campaign and collaboration. The collection, dropping on May 20th, honors the original iconic 501 number and style with Welch paying homage to classic adding her own creative twist. This limited collection goes on sale this Sunday and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund.

Check out the star-studded campaign video below, and stop …

Keep on reading: Karla Welch Reimagines Levi’s Iconic no. 501
Source: V Magazine

Karla Welch Reimagines Levi’s Iconic no. 501

These Epic Underwater Photos Were Shot Below Breaking Waves

These Epic Underwater Photos Were Shot Below Breaking Waves

For his project “Below the Breaking Wave,” UK photographer Matt Porteous of Studio_M visited The Maldives in the Indian ocean and shot underwater photos directly beneath powerful breaking waves. The results are stunning.

“I’ve always had a fascination with our world below the breaking waves,” Porteous writes. “To me, it symbolizes the world that we live in today, the calm after every storm. The beauty, clarity and chaos.”

“Reefs that survive and many that have gone, fish numbers are down in oceans, where others they thrive,” Porteous continues. “We live in a incredible time surrounded by a beautiful world, but we must search further to find and work harder to protect.

“This is how I see the world.”

You can find more of Porteous’ work on his website, Behance, and Instagram. This project is a part of Porteous’ project Ocean Culture Life (which is also on Instagram), which aims to share “a passion to capture the truth beauty and simplicity of people and places connected with the ocean.”

Source: PetaPixel

These Epic Underwater Photos Were Shot Below Breaking Waves

How I Got My Photos Published from a Free Trip to Paradise

How I Got My Photos Published from a Free Trip to Paradise

February 2017. For a midwesterner like my father, this was prime time to get away. So Jon decided to acquire two tickets aboard a cruise from San José, Costa Rica to the Panama Canal. His original plan was to treat my mother to a bit of mid-winter warmth and sunshine. When she wasn’t able to go, he offered the spare to me.

I’d never been on a cruise prior to this, so when presented with the opportunity to get some all-expense paid shots of Central America, I obliged.

Yes, Jon and I packed the same shirts. No I was not happy about it but we made the best of the situation. The rooms were, in fact mirrored, this image is not a collage of multiple shots.

Life Aquatic

We set sail from Puerto Caldera and were set to visit such warm, luscious destinations as Quepos, Bahia Drake, and Puerto Jimenez to name a few.

On day two of the cruise, our midsize ship stopped short of the mouth of a bay called Bahia Drake. There, we had the better part of the afternoon to explore or, for just $200 each, we could take a mangrove tour. At hearing this, Jon and I looked at each other with that “yeah, nope” look on our faces.

So along with the two couples in our group, we took the dingy (a small boat that seats about ten turistas comfortably) to the beach to do some not $200-each hiking.

While I was grateful to escape the frigid winter, I have to admit… Costa Rica was hot. Much hotter than midwest ‘hot.’ Like 98 Fahrenheit (~37 Celsius), 100% humidity hot.

The second we stepped out of the small boat, we were sweating. And not just a little brow sweat…tourist sweat. My long sleeve, Target-branded, moisture-wicking workout shirt stuck to me. Sexy right?

Their Story

We’d been walking for all of about twenty minutes through the dirt paths of paradise when our sweat ridden, pale skinned group stumbled upon a wooden bridge.

Waiting until the entire scene is void of any rays of light peeping through the clouds ensures an evenly lit scene with no blown-out bright spots that may otherwise be distracting in the final image.

After bravely traversing its neatly crafted planks, we obediently followed a gravel path to a cafe jutting out of the foliage.

At sunrise, the cafe had to be shot with a few different exposures to maintain any of the color of the sky. It’s a personal preference but otherwise the sky would have been entirely blown out. Portions of the ground and foliage were burned and contrast was added to them to amp up overall image texture and drama.

Standing behind the bar was a smaller gentleman whose kindness was apparent as his laptop cast a slightly bluish glow over his face.

He introduced himself as Yens (pronounced like “Jens”) and told us he was one of two owners of not only this cafe but the entire Drake Bay Getaway boutique resort.

For the next half hour or so, Yens told us his story — how he came to meet his business and life partner, Patrick, on a Baptist Church hike near Seattle; how they had actually been quite successful working back in the States, but were in search of a different kind of lifestyle — one not attainable there.

So they moved back to Yens’ home country, Costa Rica, and built their entire complex/resort from the ground up on land they bought from Yens’ father.

Ohio Needs More Palm Trees

Listening to this I thought, “wow, to live the life you want to make for yourself, you might have to go all in or bust; it ain’t no game of Blackjack on some passing-through cruise ship.”

Once we’d devoured this oral history, per our request, Yens led us up to one of the cabins for a quick show-and-tell.

As soon as I walked into the room: HOLY S***. It was stunning.

All interior shots were a combination of multiple exposures which I brought together in Lightroom with final touches in Photoshop, shot using a 17mm tilt-shift lens. My go-to camera body is a Canon 5D Mark IV which was tethered to my laptop.
Understanding that I had limited carrying space, I brought three lenses with me on this trip: 85mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, and a 17mm f/4 tilt-shift. Zoom lenses take up a significant amount of space. The question is: what is the most important thing that needs to be photographed? If the answer is the interiors of the rooms and food then pick your lenses based on the client’s needs. Though wildlife photographs would have been great, I’ll leave that to the guests to capture at their leisure.

There was a porch that allowed for the perfect ratio of foliage to bay water to mountain views in the distance. The room, sans decoration in almost every way, enticed us to look out onto what mother nature so delicately nurtured.

These were the kind of views most only read about. We were (momentarily) one with the world.

Since Jon and I were planning on kayaking in the bay, I’d neglected to bring my camera with me for sake of not ruining a $5,000 piece of equipment. At this moment, I kicked myself for the missed opportunity to gorge myself in photographic pleasure.

When our brief visit concluded, Yens returned to the cafe and we took to the seas in our single-person kayaks.

After heading out and back in with our watercraft, I made the executive decision to go back to the ship, have a quick lunch, grab my camera and take the next available dingy back to shore to snapshots from the cabin that wowed us two hours ago.

Meet the Locals

When I got back to shore, I ran (jogged) as fast as I could back to the resort, where I found Yens once again working on his laptop.

Still being a gringo in the jungle, sweat-soaked and panting I politely asked if I could continue my run back up the hill to snap some quick shots from the room.

His hospitable reply was, “Of course, send them to us when you get home!”

When I’d had my photographic fill, I careened back down the hill and thanked Yens for our tours and, most importantly, the conversation.

As incessantly-curious tourists, my father and I value nothing more than meeting locals and hearing their stories. If Jon and I have learned anything while traveling it’s this: the best way to fall in love with a new place is to know it through the eyes of its people.

That’s just something you can’t get in the Costa Rica Pavilion at Epcot (if there is such a treacherous thing).

Pineapple Coconut

After returning my gratitude, Yens, noting the sweat dripping from my SPF 50 laden nose, offered to make me a smoothie on the house. I did not want to be greedy by any means, but dear god did that sound great.

I took my shoes off, set down my camera bag, and continued to chat with Yens while I waited on the smoothie; pineapple and coconut, a house specialty. As he prepared the drink from scratch, he asked about my family and what I did for a living out in Columbus, Ohio.

Though I know he’s heard plenty of stories being in the hospitality business, he had a genuine interest in my midwestern tale of a starving artist. Between desperate gulps, I told him that I was a photographer and graphic designer, among other things.

He was able to empathize from his years in the States, and having met so many travelers as a resort owner, he had advice for anything under the sun. I soaked in as much of this wisdom as I could, knowing if his advice could lead me to a life anywhere near his, I’d be quite happy.

When I’d finished my refreshment, I checked my phone to find that another hour had whipped by. My sweat had temporarily dried into stains. It was time to part ways.

As I struggled with the laces of my boots, Yens opened a case on the railing. He carefully selected a bracelet and presented it to me. “For your Mom,” he said.

I graciously accepted knowing full well how much she’d love it.

The Bracelet

Nights came and went as the cruise pushed on. Highly trained waiters who referred to each of us by name served us gourmet food, plate after plate, drink after drink. Between meals, our time was filled with water sports, music, and intermittent napping.

A week after leaving Bahia Drake, we inched our way through the Panama Canal to the final destination: Colon.

As I wandered the city’s streets wearing the only other “cologne” I’d heard of — Intense Euphoria for Men, tastefully bottled by Calvin Klein — I indulged in a less obnoxious form of euphoria as I reflected on an amazing set of experiences.

When our adventure was through, Jon and I returned to Chicago (my hometown) so that I could spend a day regaling my mom with our stories from the trip.

As I told her about Yens and Costa Rica, I presented her with the bracelet he had given me. Her eyes puddled up as she put it on her wrist as I expect most moms would.

Months slid by with a few messages exchanged between the hotel owners and me. We discussed the photos I’d taken, but beyond that, we had very little communication. Certainly nothing like the invigorating conversation I had with Yens on my trip.

Until about a week before Christmas.

Long Time, No See

Reflecting on the past year, I decided to send another email to Yens and Patrick, at this point out of the blue.

Normally I don’t chock much of life’s happenstances to what many refer to as “luck.” But in this instance, I had trouble finding another storyline that led me to Yens’ doorstep.

Between that good fortune and founding my company, 301 Original, it was one of the highlights of my year. I noted this much in my “Hi, how are ya” email.

To my surprise, within no time at all, I had a response waiting in my inbox. Yens was delighted to hear from me and after a number of months, he still remembered who I was (the photo of us I attached probably helped; not included here for photography geek reasons).

His report was fairly standard; the hotel was booked for the foreseeable future (obviously), he was glad that my freelancing was going well, yadda yadda.

But halfway through my skimming, one sentence caught me off-guard.

“We are actually in great need of a pro photographer in exchange for a free stay at our resort.”

Perks of the Gig

As I read that, it was snowing in Columbus. The painfully cold kind that no one wants to go sledding in. I pounded out my response as fast as my suddenly dysfunctional fingers could.

I was in.

After a few breaths, beers, and emails to hash out the details, they flew me out for a total of ten life-changing days.

When photographing dark interiors contrasted by a bright, open-air landscapes, keep in mind that if the interior exposure does not match that of the outdoor vistas the entire shot will be ruined.
Long exposures help canote movement in a bustling kitchen as well as hide the identities of the ever-changing chefs per the request of the hotel owners. Maintaining a proper white balance is always critical to keep in mind when there are multiple light sources.
If I do not have my tripod with me for a shot of a sunrise (like this cabin, for instance), I underexpose the shot significantly so as to maintain the details in the highlights. I bring up the shadows while still maintaining the details in the sky and grass in post.
Each dish was photographed with my 35mm using available light. I earned my food — like clock work, I had to be down in the cafe in time for breakfast, lunch and dinner to photograph the food before the guests came down.
I was up at 5am to ensure I didn’t miss a moment of the sunrise to get this shot. Two strobes (LumoPro LP180’s — small, lightweight, and cheap in comparison to other studio strobes — I shoot everything from portraits to interior design with them and they travel nicely) lights were focused on the Toyota to ensure it’s brilliance in the final image.
Light painting is a great way to beef up and landscape image. The shutter was open for thirty seconds, in that time I popped my LP180 multiple times to “paint” in certain elements in the foreground.

All modesty aside, I killed it and came away with an awesome set of portfolio pieces. But I also built lifelong friendships with two amazing gentlemen.

And that’s not just because I did solid work: Yens and Patrick are some of the most passionate, hospitable people I know. They foster an environment that allows guests to be their true selves, a rare thing in today’s world.

Fortunately for all of us, their unwavering amiability hasn’t gone unnoticed.

By the time I was invited to join them once again, they’d caught the eye of some other amazing people, including the editor of Forbes Travel Guide.

Going into the trip, I had no idea that was the case; four days in they had me scramble to send off whatever pictures I had to Forbes as they were due to be listed as the top boutique hotel in Costa Rica.

And after I left, they’ve continued to see their names (and mine, by extension) popping up in the likes of GQ, Forbes, and numerous other travel and leisure publications.

The C-Word

As I’ve spent most of this article regaling you with the luscious details of my two free trips to Costa, I’ve also been avoiding an elephant in my room. Jon had a spare ticket for that first cruise because my mom hadn’t been able to finish her chemo in time to go with him.

As incredible as this whole experience was for me, the fact that the opportunity came because of my mom’s cancer keeps me grounded and truly grateful.

The good news is she’s fully recovered from her second round of ovarian cancer and she’s taken to mentoring others through their own struggles with that atrocious disease.

I’ve been blessed to have such mentorship all my life and she constantly inspires me to hold nothing back as I craft my life into one worth living. In her battles with cancer, I’ve been keenly reminded that life is fragile.

Missing a moment to tell someone how much they mean to you is to let life fizzle out unnoticed, to let the world end in the proverbial whimper. So over the past few years, I’ve taken to continually asking myself: how can I make the most of the precious few moments I’ve been allotted?

To my surprise, the answer can be as simple as sending a quick email to someone you met once, thanking them for a small gift they gave you.

And in this moment, I think it means sharing some small bit of wisdom I gained from the above experience, so I’ll leave you with this:

Be courageous, be yourself and get out there where life is lived while you can. Because every once in a while, despite the heartaches and hardships, it’s totally worth it.

About the author: Kyle Asperger is a commercial photographer, graphic designer, and the founder of 301 Original. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of his work on his website.

Source: PetaPixel

How I Got My Photos Published from a Free Trip to Paradise

GQ Mocks Vanity Fair Photoshop Fail on Comedy Issue Cover

GQ Mocks Vanity Fair Photoshop Fail on Comedy Issue Cover

Is it April Fool’s day yet? Because GQ just won next year’s contest (if there were one). In jest of all the botched jobs on other magazine covers, they decided to release this cover for the Comedy Issue with the best/worst issues! How many can you spot?

I swear I am now tempted to make one just for fun! Perhaps just as great is the statement they released with the cover:

GQ would like to apologize to Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, and Sarah Silverman for the egregious mistakes made in the process of creating the cover for our 2018 comedy issue, the latest in our pantheon of mostly annual love letters to the funniest humans we know. Our intention was to celebrate the three super-funny superstars, who are all that is smart and perceptive and riotous and necessary in comedy right now. We deeply regret that the results violated GQ’s rigorous standards of editorial excellence and the laws of nature.

In an effort to ensure that an error of this magnitude never happens again, and because this sounds like the right thing to say, GQ will be conducting a thorough internal audit of our cover-development process. To demonstrate our commitment to transparency, we will release the results of the review, quietly, in 17 months, on Medium.

Vanity Fair’s botched cover made headlines in January 2018.

(via Retouchist)

P.S. GQ and Vanity Fair are sister publications that are both owned by Condé Nast.

About the author: Pratik Naik is a photo retoucher specializing in commercial and editorial work. To see his work, head over to his website or give him a follow on Instagram and Facebook. This article was also published here.

Source: PetaPixel

GQ Mocks Vanity Fair Photoshop Fail on Comedy Issue Cover