Luminaries. Post 2: Kenji Yamamura

April 30

5 min. to read

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Introducing "Luminaries", a new series by Skylum CEO Alex Tsepko where he introduces you to some of the world's most incredible photographers.

The First Photo

It all started when I first saw a postcard of Big Sur, California. The beauty so moved me that I just had to see the place for myself. That was where I took my first real photo. The magic of that place has really changed my life. I wouldn’t be who I am today—as a person or a photographer—if I hadn’t seen that postcard in the gift shop. Since then, I’ve done a lot of research on both photography and Big Sur, hoping to take a photo just like that one. The first year I didn’t quite achieve it. The next year, success!

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Staying Inspired

It was the amazing work of Trey Ratcliff that first inspired me to pick up a DSLR. On the day-to-day level, though, the work of Chip Phillips keeps me motivated. I really want to be able to take photos a beautiful as his. Every time I look through his photography pieces, I feel inspired to become a better photographer. Of course, there are many other photographers who inspire me as well. Sean Bagshaw, Mark Adams, and Frans Lanting all come to mind, but there are many others. I love learning all the different techniques of shooting and editing. I also love seeing all the marvelous photos being taken around the world.

Things Now Look Different

Ever since photography became part of my life, how I see my surroundings has definitely changed. I now notice the lighting wherever I go, how the quality of the light—strong, soft, spotlights, etc.—can make a huge difference. Also, my senses are much more sensitive and now capture the small details of what’s around me. I notice things I wouldn’t have seen before. And while I really love shooting landscapes, I’m finding that even small, everyday things can be interesting to shoot.


When I started getting into the landscape photography, I wanted to shoot in a large variety of locales, but I didn’t know where to look. There wasn’t yet a web service that could tell a landscape photographer “where,” “when,” and “what” to shoot. So I decided to build one—Pashadelic. Pashadelic has all the knowledge a landscape photographer needs, all in one spot. I’m really hoping that more and more people will see its value and use it to find the best places to shoot, as well as to enjoy landscape photography from around the world.

Favorite Destinations for Shooting

My favorite spot for shooting landscapes right now is most definitively Iceland. The whole country is covered in beautiful landscapes, so much so that the amazing scenery makes me stop my car every five minutes. To date, Iceland has very few artificial structures and is just full of natural, stunning landscapes. It’s absolutely fantastic. In the future, I’d really like to check out both New Zealand and the US National Parks. The national parks especially are enticing—mountains, reflections, the Milky Way—there are just so many unique landscapes to see there.

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My Tools

I’m not much of a gearoholic, but I do find that having good gear is important, especially when shooting stars or night views. My daily bag usually contains a Nikon D850, a Trinity Lens F2.8, 24mm F1.4, extra batteries and SD cards, and few candies. In the end, though, I think the relationship between the subject and myself is more significant than what specific gear I bring with me.

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Written by

Alex Tsepko

CEO of Skylum

Alex is the CEO of Skylum, a passionate photographer, an AI fanboy, a family man, and a LEGO builder. Alex learns from everyday life and gets inspiration from people he meets while traveling the globe. Together with 130 incredibly talented humans, Alex is building Skylum — a next-generation global photography company for a new generation. And they’re having the time of their lives!

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