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Photography

Nature = Nurture

January 21, 2016 | by Mineh Ishida
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When life is stressful, nothing helps me relax like getting out into nature with my camera.  Recently, life has had more than it’s fair share of stressors, and so into the wilderness I’ve gone.  I’ve spent many hours in the local parks just enjoying the fresh air and wildlife. Here are some photos I’ve recently taken while exploring.


All photographs are copyrighted to Mineh Ishida.  All rights reserved.  Please contact me if you’d like to use these photographs for any purpose. 

Photography Travel

The Grand Canyon vs Mineh Ishida

November 11, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
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I lost.  Lets just start with that… in the Grand Canyon vs Mineh Ishida battle, I utterly and totally lost. It wasn’t even a battle. The canyon was there, in it’s massive glory unaware of my presence. I was no more than a spec of dust… a mere particle in comparison to the grand size and glory of the canyon… yep… Mineh: 0 – Grand Canyon: 1.

I’ve wanted to visit the Grand Canyon for as long as I can remember. As a photographer, I marveled at the idea of seeing the result of millions of years of nature running it’s course.  I thought I could see it in one day.

Yeah… and an ant has a chance of exploring an entire football field in a day.

Anyway, my good friend Alex and I drove up to the canyon and decided that we only really had time to go to one spot and spend time setting up for sunset.  We decided we’d go to Yaki point with the hopes of capturing a beautiful sunset photo.

Sadly, the weather gods were against us, and cloud cover moved in, but before that happened, we managed to get some shooting in.  The upside to the bad weather was the rainbow that settled over the canyon for a while. Maybe the weather gods aren’t so bad after all!  Yaki Point is magnificent. If you have only one day to see the canyon, I highly recommend going to this vista. You can see the Colorado River bend and twist, and the view is stunning.

Photographing the Grand Canyon is terrifying.  In order to get the shots I wanted I ended up precariously perched at the very edge of the canyon.  It’s over a mile deep!  6000 ft!  1800 meters!  Imagine being about 6 inches from the edge of that with heavy camera gear… It’s utterly terrifying. Anyone who knows me also knows that I’ll do anything for the shot… so there I was… feeling queasy and nervous, but right at the edge of the canyon taking photos.

I failed to understand the scope of the Grand Canyon.  I was utterly unprepared for the majesty, beauty and sheer magnitude of it. I now know that I need to come back. I need a week… maybe longer to explore the canyon.  I want to go down into it.  I want to hike some of it’s expanse.  I now know that I don’t have enough time to explore it all.. to take it all in… But I want to know more of it. Next time, it wont be a Grand Canyon vs Mineh Ishida battle.  I hope to have the time to get to know the Grand Canyon.

Anyway, here a few photos:


All photographs are copyrighted to Mineh Ishida.  All rights reserved.  Please contact me if you’d like to use these photographs for any purpose. The featured photo of this post was taken by my good friend Alex.

Grand Canyon 01 by Mineh Ishida | Copyright 2015 - All rights Reserved

Grand Canyon 01 by Mineh Ishida | Copyright 2015 – All rights Reserved

 

Rainbow into the Grand Canyon by Mineh Ishida | Copyright 2015 - All rights Reserved

Rainbow into the Grand Canyon by Mineh Ishida | Copyright 2015 – All rights Reserved

Perspective of the Grand Canyon by Mineh Ishida | Copyright 2015 - All rights Reserved

Perspective of the Grand Canyon by Mineh Ishida | Copyright 2015 – All rights Reserved

Grand Canyon Panorama by Mineh Ishida | Copyright 2015 - All rights Reserved

Grand Canyon Panorama by Mineh Ishida | Copyright 2015 – All rights Reserved

 

Photography Travel

Wildlife in New Mexico Photographs by Mineh Ishida

November 10, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
Pronghorn Antelope 03 | Mineh Ishida | Copyright 2015 All rights reserved

While visiting the Very Large Array, I spent some time enjoying the wildlife in New Mexico.  Unfortunately, I was about a month too early for the wintering of the cranes and snow geese, but nevertheless there were plenty of birds and animals to keep me shutter-happy.  I didn’t have a whole lot of time as my goal was to spend time at the VLA, but when I saw wildlife at the side of the road, I pulled over and tried to take a few shots.

I’d love to plan a trip out there this winter with the express purpose of photographing wildlife!

Here are some of the photos.


All photographs are copyrighted to Mineh Ishida.  All rights reserved.  Please contact me if you’d like to use these photographs for any purpose.

Photography Travel

The Very Large Array | Photo Gallery by Mineh Ishida

November 9, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
VLA (Very Large Array) 11, New Mexico | Photo by Mineh Ishida | Copyright 2015 all rights reserved

I recently had the opportunity to visit the VLA(Very Large Array) in New Mexico. Many of you may know of this radio telescope as it was featured prominently in Contact, the novel by Carl Sagan, later adapted to a movie.

Visiting the VLA was a special treat since I have always had a fascination with space, and being able to see a radio telescope of that magnitude was very exciting.

I arrived in Socorro, NM the night before and setup camp at a local motel. I arrived in town late in the evening so it was dark.  Boy was I surprised when I woke up.  The landscape was beautiful with gorgeous mountains and exposed striations of orange and red stone. I was slightly disappointed and worried in the morning due to the rain storm.  Figures I would go to the desert only to get rained out!

Luckily the rain cleared by mid-day, and I was on my way to the VLA.

I remember the feeling when I first caught sight of the array of satellite dishes far distant against the mountains.  Exhilaration! Success!  I wanted to text all of my space loving friends, but alas no cell service.  Duh. The Electromagnetic waves of cell service would disrupt the sensitive telescope.  I resigned myself to taking the best photos I could and sharing them after the fact.

When I arrived, I was stunned by how large each dish was.  It’s truly breathtaking to be standing under these giants and contemplating that they look into the far reaches of space and the history of our universe.  Luckily, it was rather unpopulated when I arrived, and I largely had the telescope array to myself. I sat there in the middle of the New Mexico desert and watched these giant dishes peer out into space and history.

Periodically, the dishes would realign, and I was delighted to watch them move in concert.  Almost as if they were posing for photographs, they configured themselves into a perfect position for photography.

I sat and watched them through sunset snapping photos periodically. It was a memorable experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in space and science.


All photographs are copyrighted to Mineh Ishida.  All rights reserved.  Please contact me if you’d like to use these photographs for any purpose.

Photography Thoughts

Creative Process of a Still Life | Michael Rose & Mineh Ishida

August 5, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
Creative Process of a Still Life - Michael Rose and Mineh Ishida

Creativity is an interesting beast. Many people talk about the “Aha” moment or the sudden strike of inspiration, but most artists I know don’t work this way.  Almost every artist I admire starts with an idea, and massages that idea through many iterations until it reaches fruition.

For quite some time, Michael Rose (a close friend and incredible photographer), and I have been talking about photography and the ingredients for creativity.  We, like many photographers before us believe that a good way to explore art and creative process is to learn from painters. Painters by nature of their craft have to produce their images so much more slowly than we do.  They have to consider their light and recreate every specular highlight, every shadow.  Whether the light is soft or hard, warm or cool, they need to consider that in every stroke of their painting.

Thus when we decided to study light and composition, we decided to start with a still life as a day project.

We started with some online research in Google.  We found a painting that struck us and we decided to use it as the basis to start our project. The painting we selected was from an artist in Holland by the name of Jos Van Riswick from his Postcard from Holland series.  We chose this painting:

Still life bowl of apples, Jul 3, 2009, 45x44cm - Artist Jos van Riswick

Still life bowl of apples, Jul 3, 2009, 45x44cm – Artist Jos van Riswick

We ran around town collecting the pieces.  A trip to Whole Foods for some apples, the local Chinese grocery store for a suitable bowl, and a few other items here and there. We setup the scene and did some quick tests:

Still life first attempts - Mineh Ishida and Michael Rose

We started with Apples on black velvet, but the lack of shadows and reflections made the images less interesting. We switched to white fabric and used a gridded soft box camera right and a reflector for fill.

Still life Apples - Mineh Ishida and Michael Rose

Upon completion of this phase, we looked at the other item’s we had picked up.  We had a bottle of sparkling wine and a loaf of bread from Whole foods.  We set up the scene with these additional items, but didn’t feel the composition was correct, so we made another trip to the Asian grocery store where they had some fresh grapes. Adding the grapes allowed us to create a pleasing composition with 3 distinct levels, a good triangle composition, and repetition in form and color.

Again, we started with a few test shots and slowly built our lighting one light at a time. Initially we played with the placement of the soft box and reflectors.  Then we added a backdrop separation light, changed one element at a time. This process was probably 20 different iterations, each adding or modifying an element or light in the scene.  Here are some of the first attempts:

Initial attempts at still life scene. Photography by Mineh Ishida and Michael Rose

Initial attempts at still life scene. Photography by Mineh Ishida and Michael Rose

Many iterations later, we figured out what we considered to be our best lighting. It involved 3 strobe units and a reflector.  Even then, we could not get the bottle lit quite right, so we decided to do a composite where we lit the bottle separately.

Final component shots of still life by Mineh Ishida and Michael Rose

Final component shots of still life by Mineh Ishida and Michael Rose

Once we finished the final shots, we began the work in Lightroom to finish the image.  A lot of clean up and dodging and burning was done, and much adjustment of proportions, color and contrast.  Over all the entire image from conception to completion was a 5 hour project. with 203 test shots where different modifications were tested. After all was said and done, we ended up with this final image:

Still Life by Michael Rose and Mineh Ishida

High fives and fist bumps! This image met our goal for the day’s project.

Both Michael and I learned a lot doing this still life, both about photography and also about the nature of creativity. The many iterations to take a photograph from concept and idea to final product taught us a lot about how we approach projects. We learned a lot from each other, as well as the project itself.  Truth is, there was never an “Aha” moment in this project.  Just many small victories that led to the ultimate realization of our shared vision.  Many people may create in a different process, but for us, and most of the artists we know, the process of iteration has served us well.

Photography

I made a friend today… Meet my buddy, the Osprey. – Mineh Ishida

August 2, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
Osprey Portrait - by Mineh Ishida

Today, I was driving around in Feather Sound when I saw this guy just hanging out.  It looked like a young osprey to my untrained eyes.  Noting the behavior was a little abnormal, I decided to stop the car and check to see if it was ok.  I couldn’t see any signs of injury, so I just stayed and watched for a while.

Osprey on the Side of the Road - Photograph by Mineh Ishida

Osprey on the Side of the Road – Photograph by Mineh Ishida

Over time, he grew accustomed to me, and his alarm changed to casual wariness.  I slowly began to approach him, being careful to watch for any signs of alarm.  Over the course of 30 minutes, I was able to get within a few feet.

It’s amazing when a wild animal decides to accept you.  Their behavior changes drastically, and you can feel the difference.  Maybe it’s just me anthropomorphizing, but it really is a magical experience to build a relationship with animals outside of confinement.

Getting Closer to the Osprey - Photo by Mineh Ishida

Over the course of 30 minutes I was able to get closer to the Osprey – Photo by Mineh Ishida

 

When we reached a reasonable  comfortable level with one another, I was literally 3 ft away from this beautiful bird.  His wariness gave way to curiosity and he posed beautifully for my camera. I stayed there for probably an hour just sitting next to this Osprey in the rain. I think I understand why ancient people worshiped nature.  It’s truly a spiritual experience.

Osprey Portrait - Photograph by Mineh Ishida

He posed quite nicely for the camera don’t you think? Photograph by Mineh Ishida

Curious Osprey - Photograph by Mineh Ishida

We sat there and stared at each other at a distance of 3ft. I was so amazed by his curiosity. Photograph by Mineh Ishida

 

I was really amused by this face… You can almost hear him saying “OMG Mineh… What is that thing? A Camera?  WHAAAAAATTTTT?”

Osprey says: OMG - Photograph by Mineh Ishida

Osprey says: “OMG Mineh… What is that thing? A Camera? WHAAAAAATTTTT?” Photograph by Mineh Ishida

 

Photography

Should this photo be black and white or color? Mineh Ishida

July 29, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
Clearwater Beach Mineh Ishida

I’m torn… Should this photo be color or black and white?

I took this photo a while back with a Canon t3i.  It was a tough time in my life, and as I often do, I turned to photography to fill the void.  I didn’t have one of the newer cameras, so I was shooting with a Canon t3i.  Situations like this are challenging for the older sensor, but I think it did admirably!

I can’t seem to decide whether I like it better in black and white or in color though.  What do you think?

Clearwater beach by  Mineh Ishida  (color) | Camera: Canon t3i

Clearwater Beach by Mineh Ishida (color) | Camera: Canon t3i

Clearwater Beach by  Mineh Ishida  (black and white) | Camera: Canon t3i

Clearwater Beach by Mineh Ishida (black and white) | Camera: Canon t3i

Design Photography Thoughts

Design comes full circle – Mineh Ishida

July 28, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
Fuji Cameras by Mineh Ishida

It’s funny how design goes in cycles.

I recently added a new camera to my gear. It’s a Fuji X-E1, a modern digital camera in an old fashioned style. I needed a high quality camera that was small enough to carry in my day bag. The fuji was released a few years ago, so I was able to get it at a good price, and the image quality is fantastic.

I love the old fashioned aesthetic.  It really hit home when I went to get the camera and grabbed my Fujica 35 Auto-M by accident. Putting them side by side I marveled at how design aesthetics and functionality tend to repeat in cycles.  This modern camera sporting some of digital photography’s newest technologies has taken design cues, both stylistically and functionally from cameras from the 60s.

Another exciting part about this camera is that due to the new technologies, this camera can accept retro lenses.  I can’t wait to get an adapter and put some M-42 or Minolta lenses on this.  Old and new are really clashing together in this camera, and I really like it.

Anyway, my point is, design tends to cycle… Thats why I think it’s so important for artists and designers to study historic styles and designers.  Looks like it’s time for me to do some research!

Photography Thoughts

Do More of What Makes You Happy

July 2, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
Do more of what makes you happy

So, I was with my good friend Lou grabbing a bite to eat at a local greek restaurant called Taziki’s.  Outside, someone had taken the time to write this message and plant it by the door.  It came at a particularly good time in my life, as I’m in a place where I could use some thoughtful advice like this.

As we walked up to the sign I said to myself “Mineh Ishida, you have got to pay attention to this… Someone planted this sign just for you!”

Often, I get caught up in the projects, the work, the business, the million errands to run, and forget that to be the best me I can be, I need to find a balance between work and life.

I’m going to structure some time in daily to do at least one thing that brings me joy.  I need to spend more time reading and exploring the natural areas of Florida.  I also need to travel more for pleasure rather than work or obligation. I want to spend time working on my photography and revamping my site at Mineh Ishida Photography, and change the focus of my photography to a more personal work, rather than commercial. I’d also like more time to write my thoughts in this blog. To do all of these things, I’m going to need to put forth a conscious effort to set aside that time and keep my commitment to find this balance.

A big thank you to the person who decided to share such inspiring words! Whether they were just for me or not, they’ve definitely made an impact.

Photography Thoughts

Florida is so Beautiful

June 15, 2015 | by Mineh Ishida
Feather Sound at Sunset - Photo by Mineh Ishida

I’ve started walking for my health reasons. I’ve been walking 5 miles a day and have the benefit of living near the Feather Sound Country Club. My daily walk takes me around a 3 mile track that circles through the golf course and some beautiful wildlife areas.

The other day, I started my walk around 8pm, about 30 minutes before sunset. I almost didn’t go, because it was raining a little bit, but given the 90+ degree weather we’ve had lately, the rain seemed like a good way to avoid the heat.

About half way around the circle, the sun broke under the clouds, and a beautiful stream of golden light shot through the rain. It made a beautiful rainbow in the sky, but also, lit the golf course and created a stunning silhouette of this heron in the rain.

It was one of those moments where I wished I had a DSLR, but luckily I had my iPhone to capture the moment.

Who knew that trying to get healthy would expose me to so many beautiful moments in Florida.