On Assignment: Kyoto

Travelers line up at Kyoto station. Photograph by cory Lum.

Travelers line up at Kyoto station. Photograph by cory Lum.

Aloha all! Apologies for not posting sooner. Work has been steady with interesting gigs !
Sharing some behind the scenes images from a project shot in Kyoto, Japan. Strict contract requirements prevent me from sharing the ‘take’ but more announcements will come in 2015.  I’ve also started a Instagram account, please check it out @corypix @corypix @corypix for recent photographic meanderings.

Model being dressed by expert staff. Kyoto, Japan. Photograph by cory Lum. Instagram via @corypix

Model being dressed by expert staff. Kyoto, Japan. Photograph by cory Lum. Instagram via @corypix

Whirlwind of a trip shuttling photography gear much like a snail carrying the house on the back. Complete with 3 Nikon bodies, lenses and a full location lighting kit that was really worked as the most important tenet is ‘quality light’


Below we have some of the amazing hand made textiles. Each garment is a unique work of art.




Kyoto is an amazing city. Lots of history and amazing views. Below a torii or gate at one of the many gate entrances to the Royal Palace in Kyoto. Much of Kyoto has been photographed. The extreme challenge is making unique images of a well photographed city, story telling visually and giving the viewer a ‘cory Lum’ view of Kyoto.

Tilt shift torii

Tilt shift torii

More to come.


fav focal lengths part 2 50mm

part 2 in a series. LOL

the infamous and standard focal length, the 50mm lens.

in my camera ‘stash’ i use various incarnations of the 50mm lens, each with its own signature and character. Starting with the fastest of the fastest, is the Canon 50mm f/0.95 in Leica mount, Zuiko 50mm f/1.4, Lensbaby 50mm f/2.0 in Nikon PB-4 tilt/shift bellows, and the most used, very sharp Nikkor AI 55mm f/3.5 Micro Nikkor for studio work.

above image created with Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 freelensed on a Canon 7D.

fitting into a nikon PB-4 TILT/SHIFT bellows, a Lensbaby 50mm f/2.0 . very versatile and fantastic on cropped sensor cameras. the bellows allows for some fantastic macro images. image below.

lastly, the Nikkor AI 55mm f/3.5. fantastically sharp and versatile with its flat field, or low distortion and the ability to make macro or closeup images.

image above, Nikkor 55mm micro nikkor. sharp and nice bokeh signature.
while below image, the macro also performs well for closeups too. two lenses in one.

each 50mm variant has its own character. the lensbaby features a very shallow depth and interesting bokeh signature. while sharp in the ‘sweet spot’, the lens also doubles as an interesting lens at infinity. the zuiko is a fast f/1.4 all around lens, super compact and sharp. lastly, the micro nikkor is also compact but razor sharp for all around images and most especially, closeup macro pics.

thanks for reading ! please chime in if u have any questions or comments !

quality of light

learning about facebook and twitter… the million dollar questions, how do i connect a potential client to the vendor, in my case, how do i connect with new clients or companies needing images for their corporation or brand ? if u know please let me know. i’m learning about how social media can spawn new clientele. many humble thanks to our readership.

not just any kind of photographic images that any tom, dick or harry can make w/ a $2000 multi megapixel camera, but instead images that move beyond a snapshot by a ‘picture taker’ as opposed to an ‘image maker’.

one important key is LIGHTING. what is LIGHT ? simple photons you might say ?

there is one key component of light in the photographic world called ‘quality of light’. the sun is a light we commonly know and see every day, morning to evening. the most beautiful ‘quality of light’ of the sun happens at the moments before the sun actually rises and another time before the sun plops below the horizon and a magical time after the sunsets. i see many ‘picture takers’ leave after the sunset, they don’t realize or ‘see’ the magical ‘quality of light’. these ‘picture takers’ have the gear but lack the sensibility of how to see light.

i often wondered why i was sitting in art history class up at manoa listening to countless lectures and millions of slides being projected on huge auditorium screens. engrained in my subconscious was the renaissance works of rembrandt and his iconographic sense of light. what made him a painting meister was his sense of creating a mood with highlights and shadows.

PHOTOGRAPHY is ‘drawing with ight’ or in my case ‘painting with light’. when i set out, i brainstorm a few ideas, sketch them. most importantly, i think about the background (BACKGROUND, BACKGROUND, BACKGROUND) and of course foreground light and how and what tools i might schlepp along. less is more… sometimes.

if you have any questions, please chime in, this is a two way dialogue. sharing, growing and learning together.