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Photographer Focus: BrandKnewMe

March 1, 2010

For our second installment of Photographer Focus we sat down with an awesome photographer from Canada based in Taichung Taiwan; he goes by the handle BrandknewMe. BrandKnewMe is known by some as Kyle. Kyle specializes in HDR photography.

Name: BrandKnewMe

Age: 30

Location: Taichung City, Taiwan

Favorite Types of Photography:

  • Landscape
  • Portraiture
  • Street Photogprahy
  • Wildlife
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR)

Processing Tools:

  • Lightroom
  • Photomatix

fePhoto: Where do you go to learn more about photography?

BrandKnewMe: I love podcasts like TWIP (This Week in Photography) and I also look to the great tutorials at Lynda.com

big buddha

fePhoto: Are you knee-deep in any projects?

BrandKnewMe: I am always working on my other obsession, web design. When I am not out with my camera or in the digital darkroom I am buried in CSS Edit and WordPress.

dragon

fePhoto: What camera are you carrying and what other gear are you using?

BrandKnewMe: I have been using a Nikon D90 for over a year now, and I’m really happy with it. I have been saving my pennies to invest in a few new lenses because I’d eventually like to move into a nicer body. I tend to use my 18-105mm lens more than my other lenses mainly due to convenience, but when I break out my 50mm 1.4 I kick myself for not using it more. I often get dirty looks from my 70-200mm for not dusting it off enough. I guess there’s a time and a place for everything though.

monkeys

fePhoto: Well if you need help giving that 70-200 some work I can help out with that. Where did you get your start before your D90 and your lonely 70-200 f2.8 (sweet glass)?

BrandKnewMe: I’ve always been interested in photography. When I first started out, I must’ve went through a dozen point and shoot cameras, because I would bring them everywhere I went. I was always eager to take photos, even before I knew how to post process them. Above all, I’ve always been fascinated with gadgets in general, so it was just another toy to add to my repertoire.

taj mahal

fePhoto: You moved from point-and-shoot cameras and no understanding of post-processing to using an awesome camera, the D90, and some sweet glass. At the same time you found HDR photography. What drew you to HDR photography?

BrandKnewMe: High Dynamic Range photography started to come to the forefront when I saw a photo by Trey Ratcliff of StuckinCustoms.com. It blew my mind. He still does. He posts a photo a day on his site and in my opinion, he’s the best HDR photographer out there. Seeing his work has motivated me to push my photography to new heights.

Actually, I came to HDR photography before my move to a DSLR. Back then, all I had was an old Olympus 720sw point and shoot which wasn’t the greatest or easiest camera for HDR photography. I was constantly trying to keep my camera movement to a minimum and still maintain the 3 exposures. It didn’t always goes as planned and post [processing] was always a nightmare.

I’ll always remember that day when Trey released a tutorial explaining how he post processed his work. I noticed how much easier it was to produce HDR images using RAW images and bracketing, so I felt it was time to upgrade. The Nikon D90 followed shortly after which opened up a whole new world of photography for me.

New Delhi

fePhoto: You discovered HDR photography and learned how to process your images from Trey Ratcliff. Why HDR photography? I know that it can be a lot more work than simple one click photography.

BrandKnewMe: The thing about HDR photography for me is that a lot of times I take a photo of somewhere I have been, and when I try to show my family or friends, I feel that the photo doesn’t really portray how my mind’s eye felt being there. Especially when travelling around Asia. With HDR photography, it helps me store that memory in a very deep and real way that I can equate to how I felt taking that photo or experiencing that scene for the first time. I truly get pleasure out of it. With each shot I take, I can never really guess how it’s going to turn out, because it picks up details that not even I could pick up while taking the shot. These days, if I’m not out racking up actuations, I don’t think I spend a single day without opening up either Photomatix or Lightroom on my iMac.

pushkar monkey: waiting, wondering, wishing

fePhoto: When you get home from taking photos and you sit down to proces whats your workflow?

BrandKnewMe: I start by managing all my photos in Adobe Lightroom, then bring them into Photomatix. After I’ve processed a HDR image (saved as TIFF), I’ll bring it back into Lightroom. Photomatix is merely a program to help you achieve that greater dynamic range. Lightroom is built to do all the heavy lifting afterwards. There is a lot of debate to which program is better, Aperture or Lightroom. Both are great, but for me, it’s Lightroom. I like the workflow better, and management of photos. Recently, I’ve been trying to organize my photos into separate catalogs which helps Lightroom run a lot smoother on my machine. I must have over 30,000 photos in my library, all itching to get out in some way or another.

pushkar

fePhoto: What is your favorite photo so far?

BrandKnewMe: I would say my favorite thus far is the one of Laotian kid who wanted to sell me a bird for a buck. The shot of the dirty bathroom is up there as well. It was taken in an abandoned apartment building I found, which was extremely creepy walking around inside of. There were people still squatting there, and lots of memories people left behind in that place. I feel that photo really portrays how I felt skulking around looking for those shots.

Buck for a Bird

fePhoto: Does HDR photography of people differ from landscape and architecture?

BrandKnewMe: Taking HDR images of people is very difficult, and they never seem to turn out right, so I was extremely happy when I finished that one.

abandoned classroom

fePhoto: Lastly, What advice would you give new photographers?

BrandKnewMe: The best advice I try to give people is try to cover as much ground as you can. Be it, getting out every day to get at least a few shots, talking with others, or viewing other people’s work. Look at as many photos as you can, and try to visualize how they took that photo, because seeing great images can motivate you.

The photos that you have seen from India are from Kyle’s (brandknewme) most recent trip. I have been holding this interview until he returned and had time to get his photos processed. For more photos from India and the many places Kyle has visited or simply found here on our little island home check out his galleries at brandknewme.com. You can also order prints and customizable photo books at his site.

You can find Kyle on flickr at brandnewme and on the twitters also at brandknewme.




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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 12, 2010 10:34 am

    Excellent interview. Kyle is one of my favorite photographers in Taiwan.

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