Kevin Thai Photography

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Hi Kevin. Thank you Thank you Thank you x100 for everything 😀:D

You are the awesomest teacher and also my favorite teacher. I respect you so much. I want to be a person just like you when I grow up! You taught me a lot of things – more than any others taught me. As I said before, you are one of the most influential person I met. 🙂:) I can’t believe you are leaving.

Project Looking Glass | Day 24

There are a lot influential people in my life. I have taught elementary and middle school students for the last four years and a lot my experience teaching came before i was called a “teacher.” I think back to one of my most influential teachers – Continue reading


March 28, 2011 Posted by | Inspired by..., Lessons, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Day 23: Capturing Without the Camera

Maika and I are Going Home

To capture the most important memories – sometimes we need to put the camera down. Continue reading

March 25, 2011 Posted by | Inspired by..., Lessons | , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 20: JDuels Gone Ape

If a Vampire and a Pharoh had to fight, who would win? Chuck Norris!
Project Looking Glass | Day 20

JD Hancock is one of my favorite photographers. He’s older and has kids and plays with toys. I once commented on a photo of his – “When I grow up, I wanna be just like you.” He responds with “Who says I’ve grown up?”

LOVE IT! Continue reading

March 22, 2011 Posted by | Inspired by..., LEGO, Lessons | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 11: Rim and Fill Lighting Set Up


Wow! Thanks Udi for featuring me on your Blog! Also, thanks everyone for visiting. I hope you enjoy these photos and videos you see here. I’d love for you to subscribe to my YouTube, add me as a contact on Flickr, follow me on Twitter, or RSS this blog and continue to follow this behind the scenes Project. I’d love to have your continuing support and feedback.

Project Looking Glass - Day 11

As photographers, we have the important responsibility to control light. We have the ability to control the color, the size, the intensity, the spread, to make it harsher or softer, and we can control where the light hits and don’t hit. Another photographer once said it’s not about controlling light, but about controlling shadows. Either way, we make decisions that affect the emotion and direction of our audience.

Light is also important because our eyes naturally tend to focus on what is lit, and that will draw our eyes there. That’s a reason why vignetting is really cool. Let’s take an example from Gareth Payne. In this photo, he allows the light to tell a story – We can just see his weapon, his mask with a small splash of red, his utility belt. You know just enough details think this subject is dangerous. The photo even enhances its name – Shadow Trooper. He could have simply lit the whole figure – but then it wouldn’t be as interesting anymore. Here is another example of selective lighting. On the flip side, he created a high key (lots of light) image here to create another story for a Snow Trooper in which the background is a washed with white, well, snow!

Rim Lighting is also very important as it’s used to separate the subject from the background. If I only lit my Kid Robot doll from the front, I would lose the black areas of my minifigure. There would be no depth, no 3D like quality to a very 2D image.

This is a very simple set up if you have two lights. It doesn’t have to be a small flash. What I’m going to teach you here to how to create Rim Lighting and Fill Lighting for the Toy sized subject. The equiptment here is adapted from larger human sized devices such as this strip light and this reflector. Here is also another photo that’s a Strip Light “Cheat Sheet,” which is what I had in my mind for weeks waiting for the right time apply it.

Anyways, here is the video below that has a lot of details and examples of what lights and reflectors can do. Let me know if you have any questions. You can find this video and photo on Flickr, Facebook, and YouTube – as well as right here on WordPress.

March 12, 2011 Posted by | How To's, Kid Robot, Lessons | 3 Comments

Day 10: Creating Glowing Robot Eyes with Pixelmator

Project Looking Glass Day 10

Today I’ve spent a long time learning how to use Pixelmator ($59.99 @ App Store). It’s supposed to be much easier (and cheaper) than Photoshop which is in the hundreds of dollars. Even though it’s supposed to be easier, it still took me hours playing around with it to get a basic understanding of layers and how to take advantage of them. I was also learning how to do overlays and well, after hours I’m pretty tired.

One of the reasons it took so long to learn how to use it is because I was looking through YouTube videos and Googling for something specific – how to create glowing robot eyes. I mostly learned from another blogger’s post. Though his was using Photoshop, the basic principles and terms still applied. An example of what I’m going for could be seen in Edward‘s Wall-E and Ironman toys. I’m not saying Edward used this procedure similar to mine, but this is what I learned and I want to share that with you, my fellow readers.

I’m going to include a a video that shows the the step by step of a my Terminator Bunny. I’m also going to give you a LINK to an unedited photo for you to practice on and keep. AWESOME!

March 11, 2011 Posted by | Free Photo, How To's, Lessons | , , | Leave a comment

Day 9: Shooting My Friend in the Face!

Project Looking Glass - Day 9

Today I had the opportunity to shoot Melanie. I don’t usually have the chance to shoot people because they’re a lot less patient than toys. It’s okay to move toys around or sit them still for minutes, hours, and walk away to come back again at another time. It’s also okay to do a lot of experimenting. With people, photographers have to be confident in their craft and technique, that’s expected. We’re also expected to be good talkers and help ease them.

Melanie is a great friend from the last 4 years during my stint in South Korea teaching at an Academy. I’ve learned a lot, and some of that from the wisdom of Melanie. We both have the heart to push the boundaries of the expectations placed upon us by our company. And it’s hard to tote the company line and methodology when it’s part of her innate self to contribute more. To take the lesson beyond the classroom. She loves what she does and what she does is inspire children. She teaches without trying to “teach” by exposing her students to the world beyond the text book through inventive ways.

There’s always more to learn. There’s always more mistakes to make. I’m reminded of a line from my 7th grade history teacher, Mr. Spencer Blasdale. I’m paraprasing but it was something like this:

Never Stop Failing

It doesn’t mean don’t try. What it means is to set goals beyond what your actual goals are. If I know I can run a 10 minute mile, I’m going to push for an 8 minute mile. I know I won’t be able to do that but I’ll push myself harder than I would if I gave myself a “realistic” or easy goal. What Mr. Blasdale was telling me was to always challenge myself. Never be content with just enough.

Melanie reminds me of this line. I try to live by it everyday in the classroom. I try to instill this in my students. Mel and I agree – We need to keep making mistakes in our lives. We need to be willing to try. We need to be willing to challenge ourselves. We need to take risks. We need to be ready to fail. And keep failing. And only then we can become better than who were were yesterday. And only then our society can become better than who we were yesterday. And only then our world can become better than it is yesterday.


March 10, 2011 Posted by | Lessons, Portraits | 2 Comments

Day 7: Today was a Really Fun Day!

Project Looking Glass - Day 7

Last night I was talking to a friend and just going on about how bored I was. Wow, I really need to be in the classroom and really talk. Megan mentioned that a lot of my creativity comes from my time in the classroom and after a week without teaching 12 year olds I had a major creativity block. But not anymore! Well, maybe I still do.

There was a this really great photo that I wanted to take for many years now. I can’t find it, but the photo was taken by Mark Harvey and it was a shoot that was in the middle of the streets with a single flash. They ran to the middle of the road during a red light and popped off a few as people were walking by. It was really cool. I don’t have a lot of people who would be willing to do that with me, so I decided I’m going to practice a little bit on my own. Less with the people and technical side but with just building up the confidence of running into the middle of traffic (okay, a red light) and not be afraid.

I had a plan that I would go out near sunset and snap a few frames of Wall-E or an Iron Man Mighty Mugg. Here are my lessons learned.


  1. Do Research: I would scout out the place I want to take a photo of before in order to know where the sun is an how it sets. The first place I went to I saw a great site, but wasn’t able to get the light I wanted because the sun was gone before I even got my second shutter.
  2. Know Your Lens: I forgot that with a wide angle lens that I needed to be REALLY close to my subject so that it/they won’t be a tiny spot if they’re in the middle of the framing.
  3. Know Your Camera Body: I had to remember that I don’t have 51 points of AF. I have 9 on my D90 which is great. But in order for me to NOT lay on my belly on the road with a tired and frustrated bus driver directly behind me is to trust my camera and trust myself to know I’ll hit the AF points on the dot without looking at the viewfinder or screen.
  4. Set Up BEFORE you Head Out: My first shot was WAY over exposed because it was in manual mode with a +2 exposure and 1,000 ISO. I could have had a really great first shot and have been done with the day if I had set my camera settings correctly.
  5. Know Where the Light Is: I wasn’t thinking when I took a few shots in the shadows. I walked back to the curb and kicked it. Wasted a frame and endangered my life for nothing.
  6. Bring a Friend: Either to hold the camera, a flash unit, BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY to tell me when the walk light was diminishing so I could run back and be safe. I had one close call when I had 2 bars left on the sign and had to bolt back or get run over!

March 7, 2011 Posted by | Lessons, Street, Wall-E | , , | 2 Comments


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