Behind the Scenes with Daniel Nahabedian

Behind the Scenes with Daniel Nahabedian

July 21, 2015

We are proud to announce the newest member of the Vanguard Professional team: Daniel Nahabedian. Daniel's work is remarkable for the way light seems to become its primary subject. Daniel is a freelance professional photographer, specializing in travel, culture, and landscapes. He is also a photography instructor, teaching in group and private workshops around the world about basic and intermediate photography, as well as post-processing in Lightroom.  His gorgeous work, along with helpful tutorials, is showcased on his site, Canvas of Light. He uses the VEO 235AB travel tripod, the Alta Pro 254CT full-sized tripod, The Heralder 46 backpack, and the BBH-300 ball head.

Daniel was kind enough to prepare a photo essay to give us an introduction to his work and his technique...


Yi Peng lantern release - Thailand

Yi Peng Lanterns in Thailand

Yi Peng is one of the most photogenic festivals I’ve ever attended. It takes place every year in Thailand around October or November. Thousands of lanterns are simultaneously released in the sky as a cleansing symbol. This shot was taken the second time I attended. I already knew from the first time where I would get the best angle and what settings to use to capture the lanterns in mid-air without having a blurry mess.

I used a wide angle to get as much as possible of the sky and include a bit of the crowd to “ground” the photo. So far I’ve attended Yi Peng 7 times and I still have plans to attend it again!


Dusky Leaf Monkey

Langur Monkeys in Thailand

I found these monkeys while on a bike tour in the South of Thailand. There was a wooden structure near the road at the edge of the jungle and a group of langur monkeys were hanging out on top of it. I got up close enough (this was shot at 70mm) to capture this shot of the baby on its mother’s lap, peeking curiously at my camera. I wanted to focus on the baby’s face and get a nice bokeh in the background.


Dancing Maasai - Tanzania

The Maasai tribe dancing in Tanzania

While leading the Giving Lens workshop in Tanzania, we were fortunate enough to spend 2 days in a Maasai village. It was very interesting to get to know their culture and their way of life. Of course, we had to ask them to perform their traditional dance that involves a lot of jumping.

I got this shot while lying in the dirt to get the composition I wanted. I opted to shoot fast to freeze the Maasai warrior while he was jumping and capture the rays of light through the clouds in the background. This has been one of my favorite photos in the past years.


Monks and Lanterns

Monks releasing lanterns in Chiang Mai, Thailand

This shot was taken during Yi Peng again. The monks were performing a meditation ritual in one of the temples in the city. Once the meditation was done, they all stood up and headed back inside a small building next to the pond. Most of the crowd left at that moment, thinking it was over and I was able to push myself towards the front and pick a good spot in case something else happened. Just a few minutes later, the monks all came back with lanterns.

I waited the best moment to capture all the monks side by side, with their lanterns lit and held up high, and include their reflections in the water. This shot was a finalist at the Smithsonian Travel Photography contest a couple of years ago.


La Seine - Paris

La Seine river in Paris, France

Paris might be a huge and overwhelming city to live in for some, but there’s no denying that it’s one of the most photogenic capitals of the world.

Beyond the obvious Tour Eiffel, I wanted to capture a different side of Paris, including one of the locations I like best: along the Seine river. It was a beautiful cold winter day, and I waited for a bateau-mouche to pass by while including the Notre-Dame cathedral in the background. I softened the colors during post-processing to give it a painting-like look.


Sunset over Granada - Spain

Overlooking the Alhambra during sunset in Granada, Spain

Granada is the city I live in, and it’s an incredibly charming city. Since it’s built on a hill, I hiked up to my favorite location, overlooking the city. The palace in the foreground is the Alhambra Palace, a gorgeous Moorish palace that is also Spain’s most visited monument.

This spot is a favorite among young couples too, since it has a beautiful view, and faces west, making it a perfect location to watch the sunset.


Maasai Kids Silhouette

Maasai Kids playing in Tanzania

Another shot from the Maasai village in Tanzania. I was walking up a hill when I spotted three kids playing together with the sun setting in the background. When they saw me with the camera in hand, they jumped and I only took one shot before they ran towards me to see the result. This is the reason I always have my camera turned on, with no lens caps.

This photo needed no processing at all, except for slight cropping.


Sheikh Zayed Mosque Reflections - UAE

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE

One of the highlights of Abu Dhabi in the UAE is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It’s a stunning place of worship, all covered in white tiles with intricate patterns. I usually spend hours there, trying to capture small details and work on different compositions. Since the sky is often a deep blue and the Mosque is all white, it works great in black and white too!

I wanted to capture the reflection of the domes and use the archway as a frame. The sunset in the background added some interesting colors to the clouds and the decision to include the guard in the shot to add a sense of scale.