New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash


Shutter Drag & Off Camera Flash Create Magical Wintry Street Portraits by Satoki Nagata

By Hanssie on January 13th 2014

It’s hard for me to imagine the Polar Vortex and how it would feel to be in temperatures in the single digit and negative numbers. Having grown up in sunny Southern California almost my entire life, I’ve enjoyed warm temperatures almost year round. As I type, it’s a beach-y 79 degrees outside, and if it sounds like  I am bragging, I kind of am. Only to my East Coast friends, though, that scoff at my love of warm weather and always point out that at least they have “seasons.” To everyone in the blustering frigid temperatures, I do hope that you are staying warm and safe.

Chicago photographer, Satoki Nagata has braved the elements for the past 2.5 years to photograph strangers in his “Lights in Chicago” series. Originally from Japan, Nagata holds a PhD in Neuroscience and moved to the United States to pursue a career in the scientific field. He then discovered his love for photography and decided to become a full time photographer.

[REWIND: 2014 Canadian Winter Olympic Team as Photographed by Chris Gordaneer]

The following series of portraits were created when he started experimenting with flash in his street photography. Using the digital Leica M8 with a 75mm lens, and M9 with 50mm or 35mm lenses, he lights his figures from behind using an off camera strobe and a slow shutter speed and the resulting images create an eerie silhouette, making the image almost look like it’s double exposed.

Lights-In-Chicago-Satoki-Nagata-1 Lights-In-Chicago-Satoki-Nagata-3 Lights-In-Chicago-Satoki-Nagata-4 Lights-In-Chicago-Satoki-Nagata-5 Lights-In-Chicago-Satoki-Nagata-6 Lights-In-Chicago-Satoki-Nagata-7 Lights-In-Chicago-Satoki-Nagata-8

To see more of Satoki Nagata’s “Lights in Chicago” series and his street photography, check out his website here.

[via So Bad So Good/Leica]

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Terms: #Shutter Drag

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. mugur ic

    nice lights and shadows

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  2. Fabio

    Fantastic, brilliant, magical!!!

    Btw, the link for Satoki Nagata’s website is broken.

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  3. Firststream

    It wouldn’t be difficult to set up a motion sensor to allow the camera to record these images automatically. I don’t see much need for the photographer’s involvement in these images – he doesn’t have much at stake in the making of the pictures. What’s left is an innovative technique which the viewer would soon tire of.

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    • wjp

      Well . . . with the exception of artistic expression, technical “know how”, and finding subjects and scenery that make for a compelling image. Hell Yeah! Robots should be doing this in factories!! They should throw in prints with every purchase of a Shamwow!

      Don’t misunderstand me. I think that your comment was less informed than I would hope. Yes, you probably could set up a motion sensor and cross your fingers. Yes. You’d probably get some passable images. However, there is something about active human involvement in capturing the moment in the moment that makes it more compelling. Dismissing this photographer’s efforts by discounting the hand crafted process is demeaning to the artist and demeaning to you – the critic. So criticize all you like, but try not to make it sound like you don’t respect the art or the artist. It doesn’t add to the community. It doesn’t serve to inspire other photographers.

      More simply put, don’t be a “Debbie Downer”.

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  4. Satoki Nagata (Kaii N)

    Thanks for comments. Now is the forth season doing this series. I visited Paris last November and made “Lights in Paris” too and they are on my website if you are interested in.
    Second images one from images in summer time and I called them “Lights in Chicago” Summer 2012. There are also another series called “Lights in The City” and they were used Panasonic GM and can be seen at their product sites and my website as well.

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  5. michelle ford

    ooooohhhhh i LOVE these!

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  6. Gavin Hardcastle

    These are really nice. Makes a refreshing change to the usual street photography.

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  7. JOSH

    Great photos. I’d love to try to create some – I have a Fuji X100, pocket wizards and Nikon SB-80s … what is the technique?

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  8. Sandra

    great street photography. movement, snow – like it!

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