One of the great things about being at Lytro is getting the opportunity to work with amazing photographers. Jason Bradley is a nature photographer based in Monterey, California. Bradley joined the Lytro Professional Shooter Program (PSP) early on, and was responsible for capturing many of the incredible pictures featured in our living picture gallery. Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at how he captured some of our most iconic images.
EC: Tell us about your first good light field picture.
JB: The first good light field picture I created was a picture I wouldn’t normally like. It was also a picture I honestly wasn’t excited about taking, but I felt compelled to take it as a means of testing and familiarizing myself with the refocus technology. And frankly, without the refocus dynamic, the picture wouldn’t be very compelling. The image was of a group of purple wildflowers at Point Lobos State Reserve. The flowers were the photos foreground and set the stage for an ocean cove and cypress forest backdrop. The cove is a famous spot for photography, countless frames have been taken there, and it’s even named Weston Cove after the famous black and white artist Edward Weston.
Being named after such an esteemed photographer, any images I take there must be worthy. But, my Lytro shot was taken with the sun high in the sky, a simple foreground, a boring background, and a cloudless sky. I didn’t expect much from the results, but I still go back and look at that photo time and time again. I really like looking at it. The way the technology brings my focus in and out and back again, is incredible. And regardless of how many photographers have photographed this cove, and regardless of how lackluster I may have felt while shooting it, I have captured it in a totally new way and with a new technology. That’s very exciting!
Wildflowers over Weston Cove, by Jason Bradley
EC: What are some things you would recommend to someone taking their first light field photo?
JB: I would suggest thinking about light field photography in 3D. Light field photography seems to be most captivating keeping the compositional elements simple and at different places in space.
In 2D photography, we use depth of field in two ways: 1) to separate a subject from it’s background or foreground, and 2) by keeping DOF broad, to connect compositional elements that are separated by distance. With light field photography, the spacial relationships are dynamic, and therefore stories can be told by moving through space. Instead of purposefully separating or combining compositional elements, we can glide though the frame with focus—after the fact.
EC: How has light field photography changed the way you view photography in general?
JB: Light field is forcing me to keep things a bit simpler than I’m used to. That’s a good thing!
Want to see how Jason took this living picture of protea flowers in Santa Cruz?
Here is Jason, at work:
Our living picture gallery features the work of photographers in the Lytro Professional Shooter Program (PSP), a small group of forward-thinking artists who lept at the chance to be the first to use Lytro prototype cameras in the field.