JRaptor. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr

View my photos at bighugelabs.com

"Don't shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like."

--David Alan Harvey

I am a 36 year-old semi-professional American photographer who has lived in Japan for over 13 years. My main fields of photographic interest include travel/adventure photography, architecture, landscapes, and Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. I likewise have a confession to make...While a Canon user for some years, I have most recently committed what some might consider to be heresy, blasphemy, and sacrilege all rolled into one--I jumped ship and bought a Nikon! >gasp<) I started off with a D700 and just recently moved up to a D3s--what a low-light monster that thing is!

But I digress--if anyone in the Tokyo area is interested in meeting up for a casual shoot/drunken roving camera spree drop me a line and let's get it going on! Inspiration breeds inspiration and shutterlust is contagious ;-)

(***WARNING: Shameless Self-Serving Marketing Plug Below***)

Like what you see? Feel free to buy a copy plus one for each and every one of your friends!

Buy my Fine Art Prints at The Untapped Source

Buy my art at ImageKind.com.

Speaking of Imagekind, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for selecting me as a Featured Artist in the month of November--uh, thanks!!!

BTW here are the flyers from my first photo exhibit held at Infocurious bar/lounge/event space in Azabu-juban, Tokyo during the month of March 2008 as well my Eternal Japan exhibit in Nishi-Azabu from June to August 2009 and my August-October 2009 Transdimensional Jipangu exhibit at NOS in Ebisu featuring 1 m x 1.5m 5mm-thick acrylic panels printed with Taiyo Printing Inc.'s proprietary Barrier Dot Stochastic Printing Process, both of which were covered in the Nikkan Gendai, one of Japan's largest news periodicals:

Going Prime Time The Past Is the Future, and the Future Is Now: Eternal Japan 過ぎ去りしものは未だ来ぬ時空と同化し、そして現在に姿を写す ~エターナル ジャパン~ Eternal Japan Coverage In The Nikkan Gendai 俺の写真展が日刊現代に出ました!! Transdimensional Jipangu Flier Front My NOS Exhibit in the Nikkan Gendai

I am also absolutely thrilled to announce that I have been chosen as one of the featured artists at the Toast Gallery in Paris, France (thanks Alex!)--please check out the website for more details:


Likewise, I am equally pleased that Getty Images deigned to invite me to be a Flickr Contributor--woo-hoo! And as an added bonus, thanks to my buddy Richard (aka, "Maxismus"), one of my images, "The Children's Brigade"(www.flickr.com/photos/jraptor/2914438492/in/set-721576033...), has been selected to represent Japan in the 2009 edition of the Relais Et Chateaux Asia guidebook, an exclusive collection of images detailing 475 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 55 countries.
Thanks so much Richard!!!

Additionally wildlife photographer Martin Bailey was awesome enough to invite me to be the guest speaker on his weekly podcast on the topic of HDR--if anyone's interested, the episode can be downloaded here: www.martinbaileyphotography.com/podcasts.php?dt=df&ep...

Will keep you posted on more upcoming exhibits as they develop--I am currently scheduled to do an exhibit in the next couple of months at Amrta in Nishi-Azabu and will be exhibiting at the FIACT International Art Fair in Taza, Morocco from June 27-30, 2010.

Cheers and keep on snapping!

A word about my HDR photos...

I get a lot of e-mails inquiring into how I produce the HDR images in my gallery, so I thought I would go ahead and post my workflow as it were as follows:

My workflow generally consists of either splitting a single RAW image into 5 different exposures with CS4 or Bibble Pro (which I use in the event I had to shoot the pic at an extremely high ISO (which on the D3s would be like 6400 and above), since it has Noise Ninja built in and will allow you to clean up the image before post-processing, which is often necessary in HDR because the process is inherently noisy) or taking 3 different RAW exposures of the same shot and merging and tonemapping them in Photomatix. For panos I drop the RAW files directly into AutoPano Pro and take the HDR image it generates and tonemap it in Photomatix.

After I have the basic tonemapped image I will usually take it back into CS4 and apply contrast, curve, and other global adjustments and maybe a few masks and some additional Noise Ninjaing, after which I will sometimes (depending on the image) drop it into Capture NX2, where I use its absolutely awesome control point functionality to adjust local hue, saturation, etc. and perform other finetuning on specific elements. Finally I run the nearly-finished image through Lightzone and apply local contrast and sometimes other effects, such as B&W.

Speaking of Lightzone, I also use it on NDR (that is to say, "normal") photos to enhance local contrast and apply other effects--a great app win a fantastic interface and powerful toolset for all types of pictures. Likewise, I use an action in Photoshop to apply the so-called "Orton Effect" (named after photographer Michael Orton wherein a given image is "sandwiched" between a layer with Gaussian blur applied and one where sharpening has been applied) to both selected NDR and HDR pics which gives images a very nice, soft, almost ethereal glow and saturation while retaining essential details--look for photos with "Orton Effect" in their titles for some examples. While normally this process is somewhat time-consuming since it involves creating multiple layers and tweaking each one accordingly, the Photoshop action automates the entire process with just one click of a button--it works great, if anyone's interested e-mail me and I will send it to you! :-) Note, however, that the action does tend to darken the image somewhat depending upon the photo so sometimes it's necessary to brigthen it up a bit with the Shadows and Highlights sliders located in the Image Adjustments submenu in CS4.

Also, just in case you were curious, I use (or until recently used) the following equipment:

Canon EOS 30D (retired)
Canon EOS 40D (retired)
Canon EOS 5D (retired)
Nikon D700 (backup)
Nikon D3s (primary)

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR
Nikon 50mm F1.4S
Nikon AF-S TC-14E II1.4x teleconverter
Combination of Singh-Ray, Tiffen, and Lee filters

Canon Speedlite 580EX
Nikon SB-900 Speedlite
Nikon Wireless Infrared Release
Litepanels Microlite Pro LED lighting panel
ExpoImaging Ring Flash

Gitzo GT2541 6X Mountaineer carbon fiber tripod
Acratech GP ballhead
Kirk L-bracket, Super Grip, and other bits n' bobs

Gitzo Four-Season Photographer's Jacket
Thinktank Photo Modulus speed belt and harness system

Well, I think that about covers it--please note that this is by no means the end-all be-all of HDR tutorials, just my own personal workstyle. I am of course always open to suggestions, critiques, pointers/hints/tips, etc. so please don't hesitate to drop me a line--I hope we can all learn from each other and continue to refine our picture-taking and post-processing skills! :-)


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    bananajode says:

    "I am absolutely tickled to be the first to write a testimonial for Jon. I stumbled upon his photostream just recently. What a wonderful “accident”. I wish there was a way to fave his entire photostream rather than just one photo at a time! But then I’d be missing out on all the juicy details, shadings, and nuances in each little masterpiece. This stuff is eye candy in its highest form. Once you enter Jon’s magical world, you will be captivated and mesmerized. He is an artist and a poet, and his amazing images linger in the mind long after view. Jon doesn’t merely take pictures…he tells stories. I am awed and inspired by this man’s body of work. And you will be too. And I just can’t wait to see what‘s around the next bend. Kudos to you, Jon! Thank you for sharing your vision with us."

    October 17th, 2008

Jon Sheer
December 2007
San Fran
Tokyo, Japan
I am:
Male and Open
Usually occupied but sometimes vacant
Jon Sheer Photography