Taku Kumabe is a freelance event, editorial, and landscape photographer based in Toronto, Canada, and is a proud ambassador for Nikon Canada. Although Taku began his career as an event photographer, it was nature photography that garnered his interest and success on social media over the years. Taku’s passion for the outdoors has him photographing nature and landscapes in his hometown as well as throughout his travels around the world. 

Taku is a highly featured photographer, with his work being published in a number of magazines including enRoute, Lifestyles Magazine, Canadian Geographic, and Islands. His photography has also been featured in various media outlets including The Toronto Star, CBC Radio, The Guardian, Huffington Post Canada, Toronto Life, BlogTO, and The Nikka Times. It’s fair to say, his work is well respected!

Photo Credit: Taku Kumabe of Taku Kumabe Photography and Design


The Nikon Ambassador’s Gear Kit

As a Nikon Ambassador, Taku currently has all of Nikon's higher resolution mirrorless bodies. He currently uses the Nikon Z 7II and Nikon Z 9, and uses the Z-mount lenses. For lighting he uses the Nikon SB-900 Speedlight, Profoto A1, and the Profoto B1X. He now also carries the Raven and PocketWizard Flex TT5. The Raven flash trigger can trigger Profoto lights directly and Nikon Speedlights with the help of PocketWizard Flex TT5.

Chatting about his gear Taku says, “Those three have been my external light sources for the last few years. But up until this point, I could only use my Profoto trigger for my Profoto lights while my Nikon camera would only trigger my Speedlight. This meant I could only use one light source at a time. However, the Raven has changed everything for me. The gear is not in control anymore – I am. The Raven lets me control all my lights with just a touch of a button.”

Photo Credit: Taku Kumabe

To learn more about how Taku uses his gear kit to produce the kind of work that gets picked up in magazines and publications all across the globe, let’s take a look at four of Taku’s recent photoshoots. 

 

Nature-Inspired Water Balloon Series

Starting with the Water Balloon  Series, the concept of this photoshoot was to illustrate the power of Mother Nature by showing nature's lightest element bursting a balloon—a seemingly impossible feat. The secret to the series is a pin that was glued on the backside of a feather. Taku photographed it with a Profoto A1 and Nikon Z 7II with a Z MC 105mm f/2.8 lens and a setting of ISO 500, f/8, and a 1/5000 sec. shutter speed using the HSS feature of the Raven. Instead of just having a plain black backdrop he also used a shiny mesh that reflects light to give off a little more interesting bokeh of light. 

The Raven’s Focal Plane/High-Speed Sync (HSS) is a creative tool that allows more artistic control when there is the need for a faster shutter speed to freeze moving subjects, action sports, and to control ambient light. It allows shutter speeds much faster than the camera’s native flash sync – typically 1/200th or 1/250th of a second. This feature was very handy in the Water Ballon Series. 

 

Photo Credit: Taku Kumabe



Floral Series

This next series was captured at Humber Bay Park, Toronto and Taku’s backyard using a Nikon Z 7II, Profoto A1 with a 1/4 CTO gel used in some images.

“As a nature photographer I do a lot of macro photography using ambient light only. There are restrictions in doing this—especially outdoors—seeing as I have to contend with low light and wind moving my subject. With the addition of an external light source, I'm able to bring in more light, thereby allowing me to freeze the moment without having to bump my ISO too high. In the Floral Series, this was done with the Raven’s dual flash brand control and triggering feature.”

 Photo Credit: Taku Kumabe

 

Nature Drop Series

Taku photographed the Nature Drop Series at his home using a Nikon Z 7II, Profoto B1X with 3' Octabox, Profoto A1, Nikon SB-900 with Pocketwizard Flex TT5, and the Raven.

“I've always wanted to do a series like this, and now I am able to do it with the help of the Raven allowing me to talk to both a Nikon Speedlight with a Pocketwizard and Profoto lighting. The Raven did not disappoint, triggering each flash without fail.”

This series showcases the power of Mother Nature in a gravity-defying way by illustrating nature’s lightest element—a feather—creating a big splash. It's a play on the typical water drop series which uses substantially heavier items to drop in the water, creating the splash. Taku’s 3' Profoto Octabox and B1X were the backdrop while he had his Profoto A1 and Nikon SB-900 Speedlight on either side of the aquarium, lighting his subject as it hit the water.

Collage of six nature drops. Photo Credit: Taku Kumabe



Selfy Series

This cool series was photographed at a local park using the Nikon Z 7II with the Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S lens, Profoto A1, and Nikon SB-900 Speedlight with Pocketwizard Flex TT5 and the Raven flash trigger.

Taku stood about 15-20 feet away from the camera, placing his Nikon SB-900 Speedlight on the Pocketwizard Flex TT5 another 15 feet on the ground behind him. To light the foreground and give some fill light, the Profoto A1 was held by Taku’s assistant about 30 degrees above and away from the camera.

“The Raven did not disappoint as it didn’t misfire a single time. I was able to adjust the setting for each flash unit with ease, and despite my Nikon Speedlight being about 35 feet away out of the line of sight, it was triggered reliably. I loved how I could be confident about each flash unit being triggered as it was one less thing to worry about during the shoot.”

Photo Credit: Taku Kumabe

 

Finding inspiration

When it comes to photography, Taku believes his niche is creativity-based and relies heavily on inspiration. “In order to get that inspiration,” he says, “you have to expose yourself to more of these photoshoots. Take the time to see what interests you and what you might want to try, and then most importantly give your own spin to it.” We couldn’t agree more.

We look forward to seeing what Taku puts his creative spin on next!

 

Learn more about the Raven from our Explore Raven section on the website:

SyncView, HSS and Rear Curtain Sync

Dual brand connectivity

 

 

Photographer: Taku Kumabe of Taku Kumabe Photography and Design

Personal portfolio: https://www.takukumabe.com/ and https://www.smaku.com/

 

Facebook: Taku Kumabe Photography and Design

Instagram: @smaku

Twitter: @theSmaku

Share