Thursday, December 9, 2010

Snow and Daido Moriyama

 My co-worker introduced me to the work of Daido Moriyama yesterday. He is a Japanese photographer famous for high-contrast, black and white images. He tends to shoot in 1600 ISO to overexpose the photo, and then overdevelop it in the darkroom making for a really interesting effect. But the coolest thing about this kind of work is that it's incredibly easy to imitate on your own. Since his style is not so much using a tripod and lining up each shot with precision, but more of a haphazard kind of shooting style, you don't need any special equipment and you can shoot as you walk along the street (moving), even at night. The high ISO speeds will let you use faster shutter speeds for surprisingly clear shots at night. Then you need to boost your contrast and sharpness (I opted for highlights over sharpness because the sharpness tool on my photo editor is really terrible) on your camera or in the post processing. It's basically night photography made simple. These are some of the best shots I took tonight in the snow:

Let me know how mine stands up to the master... This was my first try..


  1. Great shots! I love playing with filters when shooting. Although I admit I mainly stick to video these days!

  2. These are great, and thanks for showing them here. Love the moodiness this technique gives. I guess my favorite is the one in the middle with the pharmacy and the rain reflecting in corrugated beads on the pavement.

    I think I'm going to give this a try myself. Of course, that probably means I'll have to actually leave the house, at night, maybe stand in the cold ... help me out, how does one actually hold a camera steady when your hands are shivering? Tripod? Remote shutter release? Maybe I'll wait until spring to do it. I just don't believe in all that jazz about suffering for one's art, I guess. :-)

    I think these compare quite favorably to Moriyama's stuff shown in your link. Well, you're using modern equipment and digital post-production, I guess, and he was using film and chemicals in a darkroom.

    By the way, anyone reading this should do what we always ought to be doing anyway, which is : click on the photo to get a larger image. Fascinating.

  3. The lovely thing about this style of photography is that you really don't need ANYTHING except a camera. In fact, you don't even need a steady hand. I have notoriously unsteady hands in the best of conditions but with the ISO cranked up and shutter speed priority on it wasn't an issue at all. If you don't believe me, I actually shot some clear photos with the shutter speed on 1/6 and got a clear image. But it was so light and didn't give me the contrast effect I was going for so I didn't post it. But, with 1600 ISO and not caring about how grainy your photos are, it seems, anything is possible. In fact, I little blur wouln't hurt your photos at all I think. I shot between 1/80 and 1/200 depending on how bright the lights were, but I think the best effect is when you're around bright, florescent storefront lights. But, that's just me.

  4. Nice photos - definitely an edgy style.

    By the way, using a higher ISO lets you have a FASTER shutter speed, not a slower speed.