Capitaland-National Geographic Channel Exclusive Photography Seminar 2013

In conjunction with the fourth edition of the Capitaland-National Geographic Channel Photography Competition 2013, the organisers invited renowned Mr. Michael Yamashita (one of the judges for the competition), a world famous photojournalist with National Geographic for over 30 years down to Singapore for an exclusive Photography Seminar on 16th August 2013. Mr. Michael Yamashita went down to the Capitaland-National Geographic Channel Photography Exhibition at ION Orchard in the afternoon to declare the opening of the photography exhibition and giving out the prizes to the winners of the Capitaland-National Geographic Channel Photography Competition.

Mr. Michael Yamashita was one of my earliest influences in my photography journey from the time I first started playing with my Dad’s Pentax ME Super SLR to Nikon F401X, followed by compact cameras (film and digital), Canon 300D, Canon 30D before moving towards my Canon 1Dmark III setup today. This was attributed to my National Geographic magazines subscription, my very first photography book/magazines and my entry into an unforgettable photography journey spanning over 25years (there were a number of years that I deviated away from photography). The other National Geographic photojournalist that had just an impactful and great influence in learning photography was Steve McCurry. If I recalled many years ago, his Marco Polo photography works were the series that made me looked up upon Mr. Michael Yamashita.

When Mr. Yamashita started off his photography seminar, he asked the audience, how many of us were interested in photography and pursuing photography to greater heights such as turning professional or shooting for National Geographic Magazine? Mr. Yamashita shared that he was once like us sitting in the audience, somebody who loved pressing the shutter and taking photographs.  Mr. Yamashita’s photojournalist journey into National Geographic and shooting for over 30 years; is an inspiration to us photographers, photojournalists and he encouraged us to pursue our dreams and that it is possible! His words and encouragement resonate with me, for I once dreamt of becoming a photojournalist with National Geographic when I was young!

Mr. Yamashita didn’t need to use power-point slides to show photography tips and knowledge. The photographs that he showed and shared with the audience, along with his words, knowledge and experiences over his 30 years of photography shooting, were all about him sharing his tips, visions, views and how he went about capturing photographs as a photojournalist. I was so captivated and engrossed over his photographs and listening to Mr. Yamashita’s sharing that I didn’t really take down much of his sharing/talking. In a nutshell, Mr. Yamashita was telling many different stories through his photographs and experiences, the class of a world famous photojournalist.  This is very inspiring and encouraging for me, an aspiring photojournalist that seeks to tell stories with my photographs!

Since I didn’t take down any notes, I have to base on my memories of Mr. Yamashita’s sharing, the photographs that he showed to the audience, along with the interesting and mesmerizing stories that he shared with us. For the following paragraph, I will write it down in point form to recall as many memories/tips/views/perspectives that he shared (a test of my photographer’s memory)

–       Aerial View

–       He shoot only in colours

–       Doing research into the project by reading and researching as many books and not looking at photographs by other photographers

–       Using Flash ~ Fill Flash

–       Lens setup 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm

–       Elements to show the vastness of the landscape

–       Elements to make the photograph stands out e.g. colour

–       Students in his class were told to put everything Auto mode, reason was to make the students practice composition, framing, visualizing and capturing the moment (not missing the moment)

–       Turn off the preview button

–       Light, Colour, Composition

–       Waiting for the moment (a person walking into the landscape frame)

–       Frame Within a Frame

–       Waiting and observing

–       Getting up close for portraits

–       Mid Day shoot with CPL

–       Using a telephoto lens to capture landscapes

–       Foregrounds in landscape

–       Shoot RAW + JPEG

–       A story behind every photograph that can be translated across to the viewer/reader

During the Q&A session, there was an interesting question posed to Mr. Yamashita, on post processing.  He has a digital workflow and he doesn’t do Photoshop, his philosophy is What You See Is What You Get, you can’t change the reality.  Another question posed was what would be 3 tips that Mr. Yamashita can give to the audience that will help them in their photography.

His 3 golden tips

–       Look at good photography (role models and good photographs, observe and learn from them)

–       Keep shooting and shooting

–       You are your own editor, develop from your own experience, find your own vision and develop you own photography style

There is also an interview conducted by the TODAY Paper with Mr. Yamashita and do check out the link here for the article! It’s a great insight into the thoughts and views of the renowned photojournalist Mr. Yamashita.

There were no photographs taken during Mr. Michael Yamashita’s photography seminar, just my memories/listening written down into words. While I can’t remember everything, I hoped that I managed to remember most of the contents that were shared by a master photojournalist, wrote it down here and shared with friends and followers, who loved photography and photojournalism, just like me.

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