A Bumpy Path: Capturing My Wife's Pregnancy by Chase Hoffman

As my friends know, my wife and I are expecting our child to be born soon (due date is tomorrow!). During her pregnancy, we wanted to capture the progression of our child's growth. The goal was to shoot the same photo once every two weeks of Laura in the same dress in the same room. After we had captured several weeks in a row, we'd combine them all into one gird to share.

That idea seems simple enough, but an additional challenge was presented along the way. Back in late September, we learned that I would need arm surgeries for radial tunnel syndrome in each of my arms. We elected to do the surgeries as soon as possible so that I could be healed before our child was born. The surgeries themselves went well, but the recovery was difficult. I was mopey, drugged up and unable to help myself most of the time. Laura deserves a huge amount of credit for helping me while she was pregnant.

It was a pretty difficult challenge trying to keep up with the photos every two weeks. The most difficult photos required me to communicate to Laura how to position the camera on the tripod while also having to go back to her spot to be the subject. But we persisted. Today, we finally get to share the results with you.

Also, a big thanks to my brother and uncle-to-be Alex (his website) for doing the final assembly.

Influential Artists: moaan (aka Katsuaki Shoda) by Chase Hoffman


It's that time of year to break out the macro lens and with that comes the gratuitous usage of shallow depth of field. A major influence on my photography came from photographer I admire here on Flickr known as 'moaan' also known as Katsuaki Shoda from Kobe, Japan. He inadvertently showed me a lot about photography technique as well as putting yourself into your image.


His style is best described as 'dreamy'. His kit usually relies on incredibly wide-aperture prime lens which are capable of razor sharp images and razor thin depth of field coupled with Leica or Canon camera bodies. His 'Excalibur'-esque lenses like the luxurious Noctilux 50mm f/1.0 or ethereal Canon 50mm f/0.95 produce these other-worldly qualities to his images.

I selected a few of his images, but I highly suggest browsing his immense library on Flickr, Instagram, 500px or tumblr

the upper gallery
#03 in cycles
mirage in blue
13 Years

His influence caused me to invest in several prime lenses (five lenses currently, the sixth I sold a few years back). I also learned about Fuji Velvia which is a staple for landscape photographers, but moaan-san uses them for more intimate pictures in the city and of his corgi, Pochiko (who passed away last year). I selected a few older images to show how his style permeated onto my style

Beauty, Comedy, Tragedy
Ginny and Tom's First Look
Quiet Toadstool

When he posts, there's very little said. His work sits purely for your consideration. The quality speaks for itself. And while he's not a professional photographer, his following is strong enough for him to garner 20,000 views and a #1 position on Flickr's Explore for a simple iPhone photo dedicated to the loss of his corgi.

So many other photographers are trying to sell themselves as personalities on social media. They profess their superior lifestyle in some weird marketing attempt that you might vicariously live through them. The photographers with the biggest followings are really bloggers with cameras. I intend to swim against that current and maintain an old-school, more 'craftsman' style mindset. Either my images connect with you or they don't. There's no window dressing or salesmanship. It's either pure quality or it's not.

This is something I learned from moaan-san by observation and my own trial and error through my photography career. It's been a slow lesson to learn, but I'm certain my own skill has improved far more because marketing was never my goal. 


Kyoto's Kitchen, the Nishiki Market by Chase Hoffman

Last year, my wife and I traveled to Kyoto, Japan. Before the trip, we knew we wanted to start a family next year, so why not take an adventurous vacation abroad? I've wanted to visit this Japan for the longest time. We ended up picking Kyoto based off of several first-hand recommendations.

One of my favorite places in Kyoto is the Nishiki Market in the downtown area. It's about five blocks long and it's lined with a variety of small shops selling traditional goods like fish, rice, produce and sweets. There are specialty shops like Aritsugu, a 400 year old knife shop or Tanba, a shop dedicated to chestnuts. You can get the popular streetfood, takoyaki (i.e. octopus balls). If takoyaki is too pedestrian for you, you can try tako tamago, which is a steamed baby octopus stuffed with a boiled quail egg and then the whole 'assembly' is candied. Dried goods are quite popular since those goods have long shelf lives which is necessary due to Kyoto's inland geography. Overall, it's a whirlwind of sights and smells. If you visit Kyoto, you need to make time to visit the Nishiki Market.

There's something 'honest' about the local market. Surveying the goods, testing them, and then buying what you need for that night's meal. When you buy from places like Costco, the food is contained beyond an excess of packaging, bundled in excess quantities, manufactured excessively far away and sold by employees who are excessively unaware of the products they sell. In a traditional market, you buy what you need. You can immediately see, smell and maybe even taste it. You know where it comes from because you can talk to its producer right there.

This collection contains some of the goods, people, oddities that I wanted you to see. I hope you get to visit the Nishiki Market one day or at least make time to visit you own local market.