A Portrait Shot 30M Under Toxic Water With A Stuffed Cormorant

VonWong's Underwater Fisherman in collaboration with Ballentines

VonWong’s Underwater Fisherman in collaboration with Ballentines

What if a big company approached you with the following suggestion, how would you react?

We love what you do and want to support you as part of our Stay True campaign. Is there anything you’d like to do that you’ve never done before?

when Ballantines approached Benjamin Von Wong with such a suggestion, he reacted by upping his underwater shooting game. He wanted to “recreate the iconic scene of a young Chinese cormorant fisherman hard at work on a bamboo raft – shot 30 meters underwater in a cenote just above a toxic layer of hydrogen sulphide“.

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Von Wong and a Glimpse of the Other Side – Photographs from inside a Malaysian royal palace

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Ben Von Wong is a great friend. No, we may have never spoken or emailed or seen each other in person, but in my mind we go way back. (There’s a lot of people I know in my imagination…I’m quite the popular fellow, my therapist says.) Yet, even better than a friend, Ben makes an awesome photographer, and we’ve previously featured his work here…and here…and here… You get the idea. He’s practically family.

Recently, Ben and a team of creative professionals had the opportunity to photograph and video The Royal Istana of Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia’s newest royal palace. The palace is off-limits to the general public and access is only granted on an invitation-only basis. I mean, what rich and powerful guy wants his local deli clerk just strolling into his thirteenth living room while he and his harem are seated in a circle reading Twilight?

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Fire Wings Light Painting Captured on Smartphone

Smartphones are not naturally meant for light painting. Mostly because they (mostly) have small sensors that do not handle long exposures well, and accumulate noise like a TV set on a dead channel.

The engineering team at Huawei came up with a clever concept to overcome that limitation and they handle light painting in a very similar way to how astro-photographers capture the night skies, by stacking many images together. But where sky photographers stack many 30 seconds shots to create several hours’ worth of exposure, the Huawei P8 does it on a seconds scale.

To demonstrate the concept, Huawei commissioned photographer Benjamin Von Wong (previously) to shoot a light painted angle with fire wings.

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Ordinary People Shot As SuperHeros On The Ledge Of A San Francisco Skyscraper

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Everyone wants to be a superhero. It is not easy to become one, but given the right opportunity, talent and time, it is possible to make it for a day. Photographer Benjamin Von Wong took an ordinary team of workers from Smugmug and granted them a day of superheroness.

While a superhero shoot is always hard to pull off while maintaining a “real” look, this shoot had another high stakes factor. Ben chose to actually shoot the team on the ledge of a San Francisco skyscraper. Of course this could have been accomplished with photoshop, but Ben wanted to do it for real:

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Go Underground With Ben Von Wong On A Photography Roadtrip To Germany

 

vonwongPhotographer Ben Von Wong recently embarked on an photo adventure to Germany and he’s inviting us along for some behind the scenes action in the video clip, below. Join him as he goes on location in a cold, damp, centuries old caves where had to overcome a multitude of issues to pull of the shoot. He also travels to the oldest monastic library in the world, the Admont Abbey, where he was granted a pass to transform the historical building into a stage for his photographic wizardry.  [Read more…]

Saving Eliza – The story of a successful fundraising project to save a life

About 8 month ago, we shared an interview with Benjamin VonWong about his work in this video:

It’s the story of Eliza O’Neill, turned 5 years old a few days ago (Happy Birthday, Eliza!).
She was diagnosed one year ago with a rare terminal genetic disease, called Sanfilippo SyndromeType A. Her parents were told that they would have to watch her daughter fade away before their eyes.

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Von Wong Photoshoot Kinda Makes Us Wish We Worked At SmugMug (Plus A $20 DIY Rain Machine!)

von-wongWhen SmugMug wanted photographs of their employees to hang in the company gym, a traditional corporate portrait just wasn’t going to cut it. They wanted something sporty and they wanted it in black and white. The rest of the creative direction was handed over to Benjamin Von Wong, the photographer you call up when you want epic photos and exactly who SmugMug went to for their shoot.

As usual, Vong Wong delivers the goods. Not only is his concept intriguing, but he really knows how to make the subjects comfortable in front of the camera. And let’s not forget the sweet DIY rain machine he built using PVC pipe and sprinkler heads. You can learn more about the build on his blog along with a lot of other tidbits relating to the shoot like lighting patterns, post production tips, and advice on thinking outside the box. [Read more…]

Siros – A $1,000 Broncolor Strobe (Yes, Broncolor. Yes, $1,000)

When we did the Benjamin vs. Rebecca Challenge a few months back I asked Ben how much the Broncolor cable between the pack and head costs? It was around $800. So, in Photokina, I was quite surprised and pretty happy to see that Broncolor are coming out with Siros – a ~$1,000 strobe.

Here is the interesting part, according to the discussions we had with Broncolor those $1,000 heads will have all the features of their big $10,000 brothers. They will not be as fast, or as powerful, but they will still give you that super fast T.1 t to completely freeze water splashes.

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Angle Grinders And Sparks Make For Manly Photo Shoot Special Effect

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As a former software engineer I can completely relate to the need SmugMug programmer Ryan Doherty had do build and drive LeMons cars to let out some of the cubical fever amassed during the day.

But how to you take the dissonance between (daytime) programming and (nighttime) car-havoc-ing? Photographer Benjamin Von Wong spent a night in a car shop with Ryan, a LeMons car, some angle grinders a bunch of Broncolor strobes and a Mamiya Leaf to show that excitement.

Interestingly the first thing Ben has to say has to do with the criticality of gear in his vision:

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An Epic Photography Shootout: Benjamin Von Wong vs. Rebecca Litchfield

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to participate in a project that brought photographers to Israel to share some of its nicer sides. The project was hosted by Kinetis and brought together an amazing team: Benjamin Von Wong, Rebecca Litchfield, Simon Pollock, Mike Kelly and Adam Lerner and Jared Polin of Froknowsphoto.

With so much talent condensed in such a limited geographical area, I knew I have to do something fun. The concept evolved to make a crazy shootout between Benjamin Von Wong and Rebecca Litchfield. We planned on presenting those two very unique photographers with an ‘identical photo’ themed challenge. Only instead of having them create a single photo, we upped the ante and decided on three different themes they will have to shoot in: A Fire Challenge, A Feathers Challenge and a Flour Challenge.

So, theme was identical, props were identical, wardrobe (donated by Rebecca) was identical, hair and makeup were shared, and the timeframe was tight for both. But…

Having Ben and Rebecca almost on the opposite sides of the spectrum should be pretty interesting: Ben shoots Nikon, while Rebecca shoots Canon; Ben like massive strobes, while Rebecca usually use small constant lights; Ben comes from epic and surreal while Rebecca is keen to fine art… you name it, they differ on it.

The final photos are found below for your enjoyment… (and both Rebecca and Ben will share some more detailed info about the photographs on their own channels as well so stay tuned).

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