Lester Tsai, Landscape Photography

Q: What made you want to become a photographer?

A: After living overseas and running multiple businesses for almost 10 years I decided to move back to the States. I spent four years in NYC where I felt I wanted to do something I loved instead of waking up each day wondering why I was working so hard for something I wasn’t passionate about. 

Q: Why do you enjoy using Lume Cubes? Which piece of gear is your favorite? 

A: They’re a great piece of gear to creatively light many situations. The gels and modifiers work really well and using them to light foregrounds in my astrophotography have been such a joy! My favorite piece of gear so far is the standard Lume Cubes and I really really like the barn door modifier. I would love to try the panel out soon because I think it’ll really help with some of my video work too!

Q: Who are you inspired by? 

A: It’s hard to nail it down to just one person. My mom inspires me on a daily basis, along with my sister. In regards to photographers, I was always in love with work by Ansel Adams and currently really love seeing the wildlife work Paul Nicklen is doing.  

Q: If you weren’t a photographer? What would you be instead?

A: I wouldn’t mind owning another restaurant or two. Adventure tours would be a fun thing too and that’s actually something I’m tying into my photography later this year! New website coming soon!

Outdoor and Adventure Photographer

Q: What is your go-to camera?

A: Sony A7RIV for portraiture, landscape, macro work and the Sony A9 for birds, wildlife, sports

Q: You have photographed everything from portraits to weddings, to landscape. Do you have a favorite style of photography?

A: I love astrophotography so much and also wildlife/birds. Those would definitely be my favorite.

Q: Any advice for new photographers?

A: Keep shooting, trying new things, experiment, but learn the basics of what your camera can do and how different things affect your images. I know so many “professional” photographers that point and shoot without having any clue what they need to do to the camera to capture the image and have had so many calls, texts, messages asking me what settings to use. Every situation is different so having a mental toolbox to choose from is key!

Q: What is your preferred editing software?

A: Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

Q: What is the best part of your day? 

A: Waking up knowing I’m doing what I love

Q: What’s your favorite photo you’ve taken and why? 

A: Ugh, that is a really tough one. There is one of me in a cave looking up through the light coming in through a hole in the ceiling. It was such a great adventure and I think the photo says a lot. I also have one of me on top of Saddle Mountain with two Lume Cubes in my hands with the milky way in the background. It looks like the cubes are lighting up the milky way!

Starry Night and Milky Way Photography

Q: What is your favorite thing about Photography? 

A: Capturing special moments for clients but also being out in nature shooting landscapes and wildlife. It’s meditative. I can hear every breath, feel each heartbeat. It’s the only time my mind can be truly clear from everything else going on in the world.

Q: What is your least favorite thing about Photography? 

A: Honestly… product shots lol They can be so tedious sometimes.

Q: Where is the next place that you want to shoot with Lume Cubes at and how would you use the Cubes? 

A: There are a few waterfalls I am going to be visiting at night up near Mt Hood. I would absolutely love to take a Lume Cube Panel or two with me. I’d would use them to light the falls from behind, then use some diffused Lume Cubes to creatively illuminate the foreground. 

Q: Describe your photography style in 5 words.

A: Bold, colorful, detailed, memorable, real

Q: If you could go on an adventure-photography trip anywhere in the world with one other person… where would you go and who would you take (you don’t need to know the person… celebrities are fair game)? 

A: I think I would go to Norway. The landscape with all the fjords and mountains is beautiful there. So many places to climb, dive and explore. I would take Bear Grylls. He seems like a great guy and he would help keep me alive so I could take some epic photos! Not sure I’d eat any bugs though.