New Stock Images – An afternoon at Seririt food market

A year ago, I left the cold late February of my beloved Montreal to depart on a great adventure – I knew I had to be in LA in early March and Tokyo in mid May, but in between was wide open. My friend Adrian invited me to Bali, where he was staying for the Winter, and so I decided to fill the time gap by investing in a 10 weeks photo trip through South-east Asia. It started in Bali, then I hopped to Java, had a short stop in Kuala Lumpur, then spent some time in Vietnam, South Korea and landed in Tokyo. There are no words to convey how brilliant, eye opening, heart lightening and overall wonderful this experience has been. Oh and of course productive. Through my several encounters, many discovery trips and lucky finds, I came back home with close to 15000 images and clips to edit, or, in other words, add to my already heavy back catalog of images to submit. It’s now been 9 months since my return and I’ve managed to retouch and submit 820 images of this journey – which is about two fifth of what should be the final number of available photographs.

So time to present a few of these amazing series. Here’s one. While I stayed in Bali, we would enjoy the great food that Uni cooked for us and one day, wanting to know the source of these delights, she took us to the Seririt food market. In the smoldering heat and humidity, we discovered heaps of colorful food ingredients, various items of clothing and more than one luminously happy faces. Uni introduced us to many of the vendors who allowed us to take their photos while working. The food looked so fresh and good, vibrant colors, gorgeous spices and fruits. I don’t know exactly what it is with Asian food markets, but it makes the return to our cold, huge – dead in a way- supermarkets particularly difficult. Here’s a sample of these images. You can view this series either by itself on Photoshelter (with links to purchase on Istock) or amidst my other Indonesian images directly on Istock.

These are all unreleased, so only available for editorial use.

BaliMarket

A. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for editorial RF licensing at Istock 

B. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for editorial RF licensing at Istock 

C. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for editorial RF licensing at Istock

D. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for editorial RF licensing at Istock

New Stock Images – Five friends at Times Square

Part three of my New York City  images shot last Fall during a Getty Images event. For the first time I collaborated on this shoot with my friend and colleague Martine Doucet as well as the always talented and inspiring Lise Gagné and her creative powerhouse of a partner Louis Leblanc (rebelz). In the weeks preceding the event, after deciding to go, we facebooked back and forth, casting models and pitching ideas. Quebec power! It was nice to work with such great people… and then the models! One of the great advantages of going to a place like New-York City is the availability of such great talent. Dozens of applicants sent us their portfolios of which five were selected. They were energetic, professional, open and authentic, and helped turned a rainy, overcast, cold Autumn morning into some radiant photographs.

I shot the whole thing with my 200mm lens out of respect for my colleagues who were using other focal lengths. Obviously when you shoot in groups like this the same scenes it is important to try and get very different images as much as possible to not undercut each other. Different angles, colors, approaches and of course unique point of view and sensibilities.  So in  my case, I went for character and bright colors, with lots of close-up trying to show relationships. The atmosphere of the city is present, but mostly in colorful blurred backgrounds. And boy did I push the colors to their limits. It makes for a rather chaotic result overall, but one with the bright optimism that I saw with in so many of the young people I met there. It is after all the place where all the dreams are possible…

You can view the whole series in this lightbox or this Photoshelter Gallery . Enjoy!

FivefriendsatTimesSquare

A. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for RF licensing at Istock andGetty Images

B. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for RF licensing at Istock 

C. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for RF licensing at Istock andGetty Images

D. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for RF licensing at Istock andGetty Images

E. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for RF licensing at Istock

Introducing new stock image gallery: Tokyo

Ok so first: I’m still very much active and hard at work uploading new work every day. Much less on this blog, I must admit, but amidst the numerous changes on the Istock website, and in my personal life, I have decided to focus on uploading and less on marketing. But here’s a new resolution: every Thursday I will update both my Photoshelter mirror site with new series and this blog to talk a bit about them.

This Spring, I made a long trip that filled me with tons of extraordinary moments, meaningful encounters, good times, spiritual awakenings and overall fantastic-way-beyond-anything-I-ever-imagined awesomeness.  (and about 16k files of great materiel to edit of course). Book-ended by two Getty Images-sponsored Istockalypses (Los Angeles in early March and Tokyo in mid May), this  adventure took me on a quick road trip through Central California, then on to a month in Indonesia (mostly in the Bali area but also briefly in Yogyakarta), then Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi and Halong bay (Vietnam), Seoul, a small Zen temple in Central Korea, Busan and Tokyo. So all of these will be on my slate for release in the next 4 months.

I concurrently work on older shoots in order to close chapters and, ahem, clear my main hard drives. So peppered through these Asian images, you will see more of Switzerland (almost done!) and then on to my two minilypses in Florida, some more of Hong Kong, final images from the cowboy and aliens event in Montana, extended availability of successful model shoots (such as my excursion with four models through London last Fall or my lone Black office worker walkabout in Montreal) and another batch of Istanbul photographs.

So without further ado, the first collection are images from the City of Tokyo. You can view the images pertaining to the city (mostly tourism) on my Photoshelter site (with links to purchases licenses on Istock, as always) or directly on Istock. The latter lightbox also includes the images shot with models, while the Photoshelter site is divided thematically, with model images in their own collection.

So Tokyo was the last stop of my 3 months trip. I did start to feel a sense of fatigue by then, but I still held on and visited this fantastic city, shooting streets, inspiring architecture, backgrounds and of course some great people. I was so full of immense gratitude by then – I guess that would be the thematic emotion of this whole adventure. Gratitude to be there, to live this and to be part of this amazing world in these fascinating times.

My guesthouse was in the Shinjuku area, so expect many images from there, and also from Asakusa, Odeiba and Shibuya as well as short detours to some of the city’s landmark buildings. Here are a few favorites:

More later.. Enjoy!

Revamping my Photoshelter site

Ok, so I really slacked off on this one. Many apologies. One of my goals in 2014 was to get to 5000 images available on Istock, a feat that will be completed next week. Yay me! Send me many congratulations and pats on the back! But one of the things that happened to meet this goal was that I stopped using lightroom to sort out my keywords, a step that was taking way too time consuming and so easily bypassed by copying then altering keywords from similar images already uploaded with the brilliant Deepmeta tool for Istock contributors. And another is that I stopped updating my Photoshelter site which was also time consuming… and, I admit, boring as hell. And also, looking at google analytics, I found out that a lot of the traffic were people looking for porn, and not designers and ADs looking for the right photograph, which is what I had hoped for initially. So I took a break. Didn’t seem like a good investment in time nor money.

But then people left and right mentioned the site over the past year as their favorite place to look at my work. And just recently, IStock announced that they would be removing our linked banners and images from the photo close-up pages in the not too distant future. Ouch.  So… Yup, the Photoshelter  and similar personal mirroring sites, might end up being the only place left for a customer to view shoot-related images in one place easily. And so I have to do a revamp and upload the zounds of images I produced last year. Deep breath…

One of this I’ll do this time is completely separate the images by shooting themes, markets and models, to enable an easier fruitful experience for the customers. Links to Istock are provided in the information of each image, as always, if you view them at their own page. If you’re in the fancy animation section, you’ll have to copy paste the link in your browser manually because, somehow, Photoshelter never got to activate links in those spaces.

So today I did the work on a hundred images – all from the Orlando City Beautiful 4 event last February – split into these stock photography galleries (click on the text to view the gallery, and on the image to buy it on Istock):

Lifestyles: Two friends registering at hotel

Lifestyles: African American family’s Christmas

Lifestyles: Dad and kids dress up for St. Patrick’s day and Halloween

Lifestyles: African American Mother’s day gift exchange and portraits

Lifestyles: Children at the gym

 (sorry no images of this one: fail on all images from the Getty Watermark tool. Sigh.)

Lifestyles: At the movies

Lifestyles: Senior man’s birthday party

Lifestyles: Pregnant African American couple

Now, some of these collections have just a very few images. They were shot at the kind of event where we get only a few minutes with the models, and we have to think of a concept, set up the lights, direct and shoot at lightning speed, often resulting in short, but delightfully spontaneous, series. I love that kind of event. This one was fantastic, even though most of the images were uploaded at the worst possible time (ultra low Sig+ acceptance rate and a search engine that killed most new images on arrival) and as a result underperformed badly.  Perhaps the exposure on Photoshelter will give them new life. One can hope…

Introducing a new stock image gallery: Four Friends in London

Last September, I made a quick trip to London, UK and had the pleasure of working with four young models/actors for a whole day (and of seeing Kate Bush live -couldn’t help mentioning it). I had spotted some great locations in my previous trip there in 2013 for the London Istockalypse, and so I went back with these awesome young people to expand on some concepts that had been successful and try new one. I hand selected them from dozens of submissions and I’m very happy with the results.

I’m barely starting on editing this shoot, and it will likely go on until next Summer as I’ve thousands of images to choose from and I’m currently editing about 10 shoots at once, madly trying to clear my backlog for next Spring which will be full of new material. Still, the first few shots are available now and I’ve put them together in this lightbox:

banner4friendsLondon

Do favorite the lightbox it if this subject is of interest to you. Images will be added on and off all year. Some of the venues will include images shot in Chalk Farm, Camden Lock, a food market, Primrose Hill, Camden, a bus ride, Westminster, shots around the Thames and South bank.

Here’s an image from the first location in Chalk Farm:


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Featured Stock Image – Canadian country road lined by frosty trees

 

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It was Christmas day, a year ago. I was at that moment still living in Sutton and we just had 2 full days of non-stop ice storms. Trees were heavy and as you stepped out into the woods, you would hear the rather scary sound of trees breaking under the pressure. Branches fell every ten seconds or so and of course we were out of electricity for a couple of days.

On that morning, the sun vanquished the storm and the sky cleared, leaving the surrounding area a magical landscape of ice and snow glittering in the sunlight. I took the car and went for a drive. I shot for several hours around the village and drove back only to slide into a ditch. I walked back home – I had a dinner to cook. The next day I had my father, who was over for the Holiday, walk back with me to the car to set up an accident shoot before the car was pulled out of the ditch. When opportunity knocks…

The resulting images were pleasingly successful. This one just sold an extended license this morning (many thanks to whoever chose it). It was shot on the road leading to the house I was living in. I’m very glad that despite all the cooking I had to do that day, I took the time to go on that little photo trip… not knowing that this was the last winter I would spend in that area, and most probably the last ice storm I would see there.

You can view more Winter images in this Istock stock photography gallery.

Back from the 2014 Hong Kong Istockalypse

Hello readers, first off, thank you all for your support yesterday during 100% royalty to the artists day on Istock, especially the ones that acted from my suggestions on twitter (@mccomberphoto) and transformed the day from blah to exciting. It was the first time that I sent multiple tweets in a day and the response was far better than I expected, so I might just make this a habit.

Anyhow, I’m back from the Hong Kong 2014 Istockalypse event, and what a blast! Everything was well organized and smooth: we had great models and art direction, believable settings and of course an extraordinary destination to discover through our lenses. I spent an amazing 8 days in HK and discovered a rich, vibrant and welcoming megapolis with the kindest strangers I’ve ever met. I mean somebody actually ran after me to warn me that my photo bag was unzipped. No, we’re not in New York.

Since I registered too late to put together pitch shoots, a brilliant new concept for the Lypses, I had ample time to just walk in the city and visit some locations without feeling rushed. I did so with my two friends Lorraine and Adrian whom I met during the Switzerland minilypse in 2012 and since then had the good fortune to meet again and again all over the world at the Istock events. Really fun times.

Unlike London last Fall, I decided to try and get into people’s faces and shoot some editorial images of the daily life of the Hong Kong people. Boy, was I surprised at the reaction. Whereas in many large cities of the Western world being targeted by a camera is seen as an intrusive, borderline aggressive gesture that is often met with a frown and sometimes outright outrage, over in Hong Kong, people kindly posed and walked up to me to discuss what they and I were doing, hand me cards, invite me to participate, etc. It was wonderful. I love this city!

So I came back on the 10th and I started uploading right away. You will find my work in this Istock Lightbox as it arrives. I should work only on this shoot for the remainder of May, so check daily to see the new work. I have no firm plans yet to upload the new work to the Photoshelter site, as it is rather time consuming and brings back weak results. Here’s the banner to the lightbox:

Hong Kong Istockalypse lightbox by Nicolas McComber
Hong Kong Istockalypse lightbox by Nicolas McComber

And here are 4 early acceptances from the trip:

Stock Image - Hong Kong Commute
Stock Image – Hong Kong Commute

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Stock Image - Victoria Harbor at night
Stock Image – Victoria Harbor at night

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Editorial Stock Image - Urban Gardening
Editorial Stock Image – Urban Gardening

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Editorial Stock Image - Bird Cage artisan
Editorial Stock Image – Bird Cage artisan

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I’m editing in chronological order, so there are lots of nice surprises coming and don’t be disappointed by the more mundane material: I’m putting up anything that I think has a market. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of “wow” shots along the way. Model shots should come later, probably next week, when I get the releases.

And yes, of course, huge thanks and bravos to the team behind this event – Elissa, Rebecca, Simon, Bill and all the others: you made this one of the best Lypses ever and I hope the format survives for many Lypses to come.