• Seoul photographer Greg Samborski shoots it all -- commercial, event, engagement, wedding, portrait... Give him a mission, he will deliver.

It’s happening. This is me taking my first step towards realizing my 10 year personal/business goal: “Becoming the go-to photographer/vidographer for documenting epic motorcycle adventures across continents and around the world.” That’s exactly how it is written. So now that this page exists, and can start working its way up the to the google front page for all searches containing: “motorcycle”, “motorbike”, “enduro”, “touring”, “travel”, “photographer”,  “videographer” and “documentary maker” (did I miss anything?), it’s my job to convince you to bring me along now.

Maybe you were inspired by Long Way Around, Long Way Down or Motorcycle Diaries to tour the world on two wheels. Perhaps your desire manifested itself elsewhere. Wherever it came from, I should be the one to document your journey for these three reasons:

  1. I’m an experienced, passionate enduro rider and outdoor adventurer
  2. I’m a professional, full time, photographer (working on my videography skills)
  3. I’m fun , easygoing and a relentlessly hard worker (so I’ve been told)

Let’s begin with a little back story on the passion and experience:
Ever since I was six years old I dreamt of riding motorcycles. I was that kid who taped a hockey card to the front forks of my bicycle or rode over a pop can so that my bike sounded like a motorcycle.

I got my first real motorcycle in my second year of college as soon as I moved away from home. It was am 81 GS 550 Suzuki which I decided to COMPLETELY disassemble (just to see what’s inside) and repaint banana yellow (to match my new jacket).

My 1st motorbike, a used 1981 Suzuki GS550EF I bought as soon as I moved out of home at age 19. (At this point in my life I was just getting into photography)

Painting a motorcycle was a WAY bigger task than I had imagined. It took me days to strip the old paint off and sand all the parts down. I rented an air brush to prime and paint all the parts in my basement. This is when I learned paint dust goes EVERYWHERE. My whole house, even the inside of sealed containers had yellow dust.

Halfway through University, I took a year to work up in oil and gas to earn enough money to travel Southeast Asia for six months. I spent most of my time on two wheels in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. I had wanted to rent a big bike in North-Western Laos but when I arrived to find there was no such thing as bike rental or even big bikes in that region I ultimately had no choice but to purchase a brand new 125cc scooter. I didn’t even take the plastic off the seat, I just strapped a pillow to it and rode to the south of the country where I was able to sell the scooter for nearly what I paid.

The shop where I bought the Chinese 110cc Nice that I would ride from North to South across Laos and sell in the capital of Vientiane.

I’ve since ridden motorbikes in Korea, Vietnam, China, Mexico, the Philippines and the most epic of all, Mongolia.

Ever since I spent 10 days spent riding through the barren plains of Mongolia they have been calling me back. Never before have I experienced such a limitless Vista, the freedom to go absolutely any direction you choose only limited by natural obstacles that a 110cc Chinese Built Mustang could not clear.

The point of all this post is to show you that I am extremely passionate about motorcycles, adventure and photography. I have all the technical skills required for behind the camera and on the bike to document your adventure to the fullest.

But Greg, we could just document the journey ourselves!
Yes, you certainly could, and if photography and vidography are something you AND your crew are good and excited about then perhaps you should do it. As a rider, I understand just how amazing it can be to get in that FLOW. You know, that moment you the bike and the road are one, when the bike is an extension of your body and you’re feeling every curve and corner. When you are in the rhythm often the last thing you want to do is stop, turn off your bike, find a sold pice of ground to stand it on, undo your helmet, unpack the tripod, take out your camera, take off the lens cap, setup the shot, put away the camera, pack up the tripod, put the helmet back on, climb back on your bike, start riding, find your flow again, see another an even better shot around the corner and repeat. Even if you LIKE doing this, ask your self if the other members of your party will be equally excited about stopping and waiting every few kilometers.

Instead, let me be the guy who takes the hit to flow. I’ll ride ahead, get everything setup, catch you as you ride past and then catch back up again. You should be able to focus your time and energy on enjoying the ride, the scenery, the adventure, rather than where to setup the tripod and what lens and shutter speed to use to capture that river crossing you’re about to embark on. You should be able to give that crossing your all without worrying about your expensive camera gear getting smashed and wet. Leave the documentation to me and just be in the moment.

Sold, so how do we book you?
Great! You can contact me via my contact link above in the header. Try and give me as many details as possible such as where you will be riding, for how long, how many people, your budget etc and we can start planning how to best way to document this once, twice, maybe thrice in a lifetime journey!

 

 

 

My 3rd motorcycle, and now the most expensive vehicle I’d ever purchased, a Suzuki DRZ 400S. The stock tires were notoriously terrible on pavement and dirt let alone in the snow.

The guys I rode with around Abbotsford in BC. Most were DRZ owners.

My 4th bike, a Hyosung Comet GS250 Naked, a pretty hardy bike that never let me down.

For my 5th bike I upgraded to the Hyosung Comet GT650R. This was the largest and fastest bike I had ever owned. Sadly she suffered from random electrical issues, namely complete power failure at a certain heat. Usually after a break and a push she would come back online for a bit.

Rented a Honda XR 200 in during my Moalboal diving trip in the Philippines.

How my bike sees me. Experimenting with camera rig and slow shutter speeds on the Hyosung GT650R.

There’s no better riding season than fall in Korea. The boys and I decided to take a trip from Iksan to Uljin. We spent a solid 5.43 hours, moving time, traversing 422.8 km of twisty South Korean roads, reaching speeds beyond 194 km/h and gaining over 5000m in elevation.

My mom visited and was surprisingly at ease ripping around Korea on the back of my sport bike!

Wishing I could ride my 2007 Hyosung GT650R after a minor snowboarding accident.

Washing a 2007 Hyosung GT650R

Burning off my old tire on a 2007 Hyosung GT650R

Took a moment to stop and smell the flowers while ripping around Geoje on a 2007 Hyosung GT650R

My 6th bike, a 1997 Hyosung RX125 I picked up for 300 bucks and affectionately named The Blender because he sounded like one. This is the first time I had ever owned TWO bikes at the same time and it was sublime!!!

Just the two of us on a snowy day in Haemi – 1997 Hyosung RX125

Ripp’n Up The Reservoir on a 1997 Hyosung RX125 after a full day of teaching.

Taking a spill for the camera on a 1997 Hyosung RX125.

Between teaching classes at Hanseo university I would dodge out with my tripod, lighting gear and remote triggers. I liked the contrast between formal attire and Blender the beater franken-bike.

When cherry blossoms erupted I knew it was time for a pink suit. This was an incredibly challenging self portrait triggered via a new laser trigger I purchased that didn’t work nearly as well as I had hoped.

Shortly after marriage I was , errr “encouraged” to sell off one bike so I kept The Blender and rented the BMW 1000RR when I needed a longer ride. What a rocket! (Not taken by me, that’s why its blurry 😉

Brandon and I exploring Bohol in the Philippines on Honda 200 XRs.

The Hyosung RX125 was fun in the mountains but it just lacked the power, engineering and reliability I needed to take on more challenging rides and improve my skills. Enter my 7th bike, a used 2007 Honda CR125 and MY FIRST TWO STROKE!!! I had always wanted to try one and it was every bit as OFF/ON as I had read. What an incredible feeling it was to go from riding a bike that felt like an old sofa to a finely tuned racing machine.

Even the snow couldn’t keep me off my newly acquired 2007 Honda CR125.

So if selfies on motorbikes aren’t hard enough now add some snow to the mix. Riding the 2007 Honda CR125 using a sound trigger to activate the camera.

For the first time in my life I have three bikes to choose from. My enduro RX125, dirt CR125 and now a BMW 1200GS Adventure borrowed from my buddy Steve. One day soon I will tour the the world on something like this! Decisions Decisions. It’s not often I have three bikes to choose from! A huge thanks to Steve for making my last three days a whole lot more enjoyable. Sadly my dream bike return home to it’s rightful owner today 🙁 On a separate note this image was taken on my very FIRST CAMERA and lens. An entry level, 6-year-old, 8mp Canon 350D with a Sigma 18-200 f3.5 – 6.3 attached. This body is ANCIENT by today’s standards and the lens was and will never be on ANY serious photographers wish list. But look at the image quality… you don’t need to drop 3,000+ dollars on a camera and glass to get good results, you just need lots of practice.

Rode Steve’s BMW1200 GS to Anmyeondo in record time and setup this selfie.

Steve let me borrow his BMW 1200GS Adventure AGAIN for a little trip with some buddies.

Bad to the bone. Timlin on his 1997 VF750 Honda Magna.

Some typical Korean country side with a BMW 1200 GS Adventure to make it even nicer. Korea has some of the best roads I’ve ever ridden both from a scenic and technical point of view.

My friend Brandon of 28 years calls up and say. “Want to go to Mongolia?” I reply, “Hell YA”. We rent 10 dollar a day Chinese made 150cc Mustangs in Ulaanbaatar, strap down our gear and literally start riding in the direction that LOOKS the coolest.

We played rock, scissors, paper to see who would cross water first. When it was dry you could see many roads and drainage areas had washed out METERS deep so you often had no idea if your 150cc Mustang was going to sink to the bottom of a ditch when crossing.

Good thing we had the 150cc Mustangs and not some BMW/KTM/ETC no one would have the knowledge or parts to fix!

Minibar: Water, Juice, Gasoline & Vodka. We learned early in our trip that water is NOT abundant in the Mongolian country side and thus you should probably carry some! I was quite proud of the storage system I rigged out of yesterday’s pictured inner-tube. I cut it into long strips which essentially created bungee tie downs. They were the easiest, strongest and most flexible way to carry ANYTHING on the bikes.

Much of the time we felt like we were on another planet.

Mongolia, possibly the only place left in the world that you can explore unimpeded by fences and property lines. We only ever checked to make sure we would get to gasoline at some point, we didn’t care much for roads which is a good thing because there aren’t many in Mongolia.

A typical scene when riding in Mongolia. The cool part is you might pass through three or four totally different terrains in just one day.

Made it to the top of ANOTHER mountain! What’s on the other side? NOTHING! Time to ride to the next horizon!

Many times I told Brandon, “Hold up a minute, I’m going to see if I can ride up there!” It’s amazing how well the 150cc Mustang handled the terrain I threw at it, slow and steady.

Not sure if this was a legit Kawasaki, my friend Brad organized it for me while I was shooting his wedding in China. When in China, set off fire crackers!

Mom’s extremely generous neighbour lent us this 250cc Kawasaki on Mother’s Day. I took her out for a leisurely ride around the neighbourhood.

2017 847cc Yamaha MT 09 I rented for the day to scout out cherry blossom photo locations in Seoul.

2017 847cc Yamaha MT 09 and I waiting for my intern to arrive. I was impressed by the POWER! Sadly the frame was a little too small for my 193cm.

Wheeling a Yamaha MT 09 I rented with a facial expression that says “I better not crash this thing!”

  • Sam - 2016/08/16 - 9:11 AM

    Now I want to go on a bike trip just so i can have your awesome documentation.ReplyCancel

I’m not going to mince words here. I REALLY NEED YOUR HELP! I’m not asking for a free ride. There’s something in it for you too so please read on…

I’m coming home this summer! Not for good, not yet, rather this visit to North America is about laying the ground work for my photography business, Hyumi’s floral services, Petal Palette, family life and Chaka’s education so we can spend more time in Canada.

If you’re reading this chances are we’re already friends, family or colleagues, but for those who don’t know me I’m a photographer based in Seoul Korea. I left Canada 10 years ago in search of adventure and money to pay for my Criminal Justice degree. Seven years later, now with a wife and child, I gave up my cushy “professor” job at a local university to pursue my newly discovered passion, photography, full time.

Living in what could very much be equated to the New York of Asia had given me some incredible opportunities to work with major clients including American Express, The Economist, Turkish Airlines, Airbnb and countless individuals, couples and families. Business is better than ever and this is what’s making it so hard to leave! But life is not all about work. Ultimately we’re shifting our home base to be closer to family, breath cleaner air, seek better education and reconnect with Canada which we all love dearly.

My goal is to book 10 photo shoots during my visit to Canada. To achieve this I really need everyone’s help. No, I’m not gonna ask you to fund my kickstarter, I don’t event have one, all I’m asking is for you to get the word out into your network be it though Facebook, email or good old face to face communication.

If you know of, hear of or can think of ANYONE who MIGHT even remotely need some photos done please recommend me. This means couples, newly engaged, those getting married, expecting moms and dads, families, your architect, actor, model, and corporate friends. Maybe someone opened a new restaurant and needs food and interior shots for social media: Maybe there’s a huge gala dinner going down at the Empress Hotel or an intimate birthday party at your friend’s cabin. Whatever it is, I can assure you I’ve got something like it in my portfolio. From photographing super cars in Singapore, to giant balls in New Zealand, and countless proposals in Korea, I’ve covered it all.

As an incentive to book, I’m offering 20% off of ALL my photography packages to anyone booking me in North America. This can be an especially huge savings on commercial, work so if you need headshots for all your staff, or lifestyle shots for your product, now would be a good time to book.

AT A GLANCE:

Available for Hire: June 23 – August 14th
Location: Anywhere in North America
Discount: 20% off for all shoots in North America
Referral: Additional 10% off if someone you referred me to books
Preferred Genres: Motorcycle Adventures, Architecture, Interiors, Food, Engagements, Weddings, Couples, Events, Headshots, Portraits
Pricing: My pricing varies according to the assignment so best to get in touch so we can discuss your needs. The base fee for any assignment starts at $250 CAD (pre discount)

GSP 2017 North America Tour

SlotNameDateLocationGenreClosest Airport(s)
1Brandon & Kim17/06/23 - 17/07/03New Jersey FamilyNewark EWR
2Emily17/06/30 - 17/07/03New York, New YorkCouple, NY LifeTrain from Jersey
3Waters17/07/03 - 17/07/05De Kalb, MississippiFamily, Country LifeJackson, Meridian, Mississippi, Birmingham Alabama
4S.17/07/05 - 17/07/09Minneapolis, MinnesotaFamily, Retro Roller RinkMinneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
5Morgan, Garry, Nina17/07/09 - 17/07/10Coquitlam, BCFamily, StoriesNA
6Chevy17/07/20Nanaimo, BCFamily, Home LifeNA
7Chevy's Neighbour17/07/20Nanaimo, BCFamily, Home LifeNA
8J.17/07/20Nanaimo, BCPortraitNA
918
1018
1118
1218
1318
1418

Some Previous Work:

MIR Coex Conceptualization – Vancouver BC Architecture Photographer

Passageway – Vancouver BC Architecture Photographer

Glass Plaza: Dream by Artist Young-ho Yoo

CorssFit Sentinel Reebok Reception – Victoria Interior Photographer

White & Case Meeting Room – Vancouver Interior Photographer

Youngsan International School – Victoria BC School Photographer

Automotive Photography in Singapore – Vancover Automotive Photographer

Singapore Auto Shoot – Victoria BC Automotive Photographer

Merchandise – Vitoria BC Product Photographer

OGO Rotorua New Zealand – Victoria BC Commercial Photographer

Wharton Event Tokyo – Vancover Island Event Photographer

Wharton Event Tokyo – Vancouver Event Photographer

 

Interview with Groove Magazine – Vancover Island Editorial Photographer

Italian Food Festival Seoul – Victoria BC Food Photographer

Hot EatSue Grill Platter – Vancouver Island Food Photographer

Italian Food Festival Seoul – Victoria BC Food Photographer

Portrait Session – Victoria Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

Intralink Headshots – Victoria BC Corporate Headshot Photographer

Intralink Headshots – Vancouver Corporate Headshot Photographer

Seoul Fashion Week – Vancouver Fashion Photographer

Seoul Fashion Week – Vancouver Fashion Photographer

Senior Portraits – Victoria BC Senior Portrait Photographer

Absurdistan Thailand – Vancouver Band Photographer

Absurdistan Thailand – Vancouver Island Band Photographer

Arron’s Proposal – Vancover Island Proposal Photographer

At the Gate – Victoria BC Proposal Photographer

Paparazzi Proposal Yonsei – Vancouver Island Paparazzi Proposal Photographer

Paparazzi Proposal Yonsei – Vancouver Island Paparazzi Proposal Photographer

Gyunbokgung – Victoria BC Couple Photographer

Bosong Tea Fields – Victoria BC Engagement Photographer

At the Palace – Vancouver Island Engagement Photographer

Carolina & Mathieu – Victoria BC Wedding Photographer

Carolina & Mathieu – Vancouver Island Wedding Photographer

Carolina & Mathieu – Vancouver BC Wedding Photographer

Carolina & Mathieu – British Columbia Wedding Photographer

Carolina & Mathieu – Vancouver BC Wedding Photographer

Hadduken – Victoria Fun Couple Photographer

Kim & Brandon – Vancouver Island Maternity Photographer

Life in Korea – Vancouver Island Family Photographer

Together – Vancouver Adoption Family Photographer

This One – Victoria BC Family Lifestyle Photographer

Merry Christmas – Vancouver BC Family Lifestyle Photographer

Picnic With a View – Victoria BC Family Lifestyle Photographer

 

  • glen - 2017/05/09 - 3:21 PM

    My sister works for a restaurant supply company in Nanaimo, so she is aware of new restaurants and resorts that open on the island. I’ll get her to ask around.ReplyCancel

    • Greg Samborski - 2017/05/16 - 3:45 PM

      Hi Glen, your support is really appreciated. I had a look at your site again and your Mekong series is wonderful. Will you be around the West Coast this summer?ReplyCancel

From time to time I accidentally hit the export button in Lightroom when my original files are not connected. When this happens, I cancel the process, connect my external drive, and re-export. But every time I hit that cancel “x” on the export window I noticed the export SEEMED to be going a lot faster than usual. This would make sense given that Lightroom need only reprocess a very small DNG file into a JPG versus a 25+ MB raw file. The reason I’ve always canceled the export in the past is because I figured the quality would be better if the develop adjustments could first be applied to the original and then exported.

So I went about searching “Lightroom original versus smart preview export quality” and couldn’t find any answers on the first page of Google, and I couldn’t be bothered digging any deeper than that. So naturally, I decided to invest three hours into running and writing up my own experiment.

Hypotheses:

JPGs up to 1285 px on the long end exported from Lightroom Smart Previews will:
a. export 25%-50% faster than from the raw files
b. be identical in quality for all web based purposes

Methodology

Test Subject: 100 5D Mark IV CR2 Files from the BCCK Cocktail Night Networking Event

I always prefer real world testing so I’ll be pulling the first 100 files I delivered for the last event I covered. Events are typically always shot under less than ideal conditions. This one is particularly dark so if quality issues arise I think they should be especially prevalent on these images shot at ISO 3200 and up.

I’ll be using Lightroom to export a set of “Web Ready” images for my clients which is preset to 2048 pixels on the long edge at 80% quality. I chose these dimensions based on Facebook’s maximum HD image upload size. I chose 80% quality because I haven’t been able to notice any quality difference and the file size is substantially smaller. I’ve also heard Facebook will apply more aggressive compression when images are larger in file size.

It should also be noted that Lightroom Smart Previews seem to have a maximum long edge of 2560. The files out of my 5D Mark IV get resized to 2560 x 1706. From what I’ve read the previews would be smaller if your original file resolution were smaller. Logically, exporting JPGs that are larger than the smart preview would be detrimental to image quality and I believe it’s not even possible. I’ll check right now… okay, I tried exporting a smart preview at 5000px and the result was a 2560px JPG regardless of if “Don’t Enlarge” was checked or not. (I wonder why Lightroom doesn’t warn you about this in the export dialogue.)

The original files were hosted on an external SSD connected via USB 3 on a Mid 2012 MacBook Pro. The JPGs were directed to export into my dropbox folder on a 5200 RPM internal spinner in said MacBook Pro.

Results

Speed Results
100 5D Mark IV CR2 Files Exported to 2048px JPGs  = 15:04.60
100 Smart Previews Exported to 2048px JPGs = 1:49.77

Analysis
WOW! So there is a MASSIVE speed difference!!! (904 seconds / 109 seconds = 8.29) The export is over 8x faster!!! That’s A LOT of saved time which means a lot of saved processing and battery power too if you’re not plugged in. All this saved speed isn’t worth much though if the image quality is poor. Lets check that out next.

Quality
100 5D Mark IV CR2 Files Exported to 2048px JPGs  = 65.8 MB
100 Smart Previews Exported to 2048px JPGs = 63.2 MB

Before examining the images I decided to do a quick comparison of folder sizes. Interestingly the folder containing the JPGs that were exported when Lightroom had access to the original files is larger. This along with the longer processing time is a clear indication the Lightroom is doing something different when connected to the originals.

Folder size differential between 100 JPGs exported from original file vs smart preview.

Individual image size differential between JPG exported from original file vs smart preview.

Now let’s see if that 0.04% size difference has any visible impact.

Below we will look at some side by side comparisons. The JPG exported from the RAW files is always on the left. The JPG exported from the Smart Preview is always on the right. I have also cropped at 100% so we can see the detail. (Keep in mind this is a RAW converted to DNG screen-shot as a PNG, converted to JPG agin,  compressed for the blog and then in some cases recompressed by wordpress again because was too lazy to resize the screen shots to native blog size)

A sponsor shot from the event under good light at shallow DOF. See any difference?

Same shot as above at 100% crop.

I chose this image because there was noticeable noise in the shadows. It doesn’t get noticeably worse when exporting from the smart preview.

Same image as above at 100% crop.

Again I was looking for poorer quality in the darks/shadows.

Same image as above at 100% crop.

Here I wanted to see if skin tones rendered alright. Fill flash was used.

I thought we should bring in a well lit studio style portrait to see if quality loss might be more noticeable on something clean. Again I see no difference.

Same images as above at 100% crop.

Analysis
There seems to be no noticeable quality loss to the images both at original and 100% crop.

Verdict

If you need JPGs that are smaller than 2560 for strictly digital usage then there in no reason not to export those suckers at 8x the speed from Lightroom’s Smart Previews. Not only will you save a ton of time, you will put less stress on your processor and reap all the benefits that come with that like less power consumption and heat dissipation. If you’re originals exist on a separate drive it’s as easy as not plugging it in when you export. If your catalogue, previews and images exist on the same drive you can simply modify the name of the file containing the images and lighroom will loose the link to the file. I simply add an “X” to the end in my finder/explorer window, ie. “03-Selctets” becomes “03-SelectsX”. Once I’m done editing/exporting I remove the “X” from the file name and all is linked up again.

Feedback

If you see flaws or oversights in this experiment please point them out in the comments below. Hopefully this info will help save all of us heaps of time. Thankfully I can now makeup in export time the few hours I spent putting this post together 🙂 If it helped you please share it with your photo friends!

 

 

 

Twice a year Seoul Fashion Week goes down at the iconic Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Even if you can’t make sense of fashion, like myself , or just don’t really care what the hottest celebrities are wearing, like myself, it’s still worth a visit! Actually, SFW has become a bit of a tradition for me since I started photographing my friend Amy Aleha representing Metro City. After my third visit, I think I’m finally starting to understand what SFW is all about – NETWORKING. Us photographers, we go to things like WPPI and Photokina to play with the latest toys in imaging technology, learn from the pros, and connect with others. Well to me Seoul Fashion Week looks much the same, just with a much better dressed crowd… and more women 😉 SFW brings together designers, agents, models, photographers and a few weirdos in rubber horse head masks. Everyone is there to strut their stuff. Rather than handing out cards you add instagrams.

I had the honour of being invited back stage to photograph designer Youn Yee Park’s Greedilous runway show. It was new experience for me to see what goes on behind the catwalk. The assignment was carte-blanch so while the majority of photographers I saw spent their time seeking out celebrities and shooting them at 12 frames a second with an on camera flash, I tried to document the event from a slightly different angle. Youn Yee Park would surely come away with 15+ frames from each of the 15+ photographers of each of the 15+ group shots she was front and centre in for a grand total of 225 fames per group. My goal was to leave her with an overview of what happened, a story that covered the franticness leading up to the show, the models entering and exiting the catwalk and the celebration that followed. I made sure to capture the wall of photographers capturing Youn Yee and then got the group shot too.

As much as I would like to post the whole set in black and white, the way I shot it in camera, and a mood I feel fits nicely with backstage, I need to show at least a few frames in color to convey the bold Greedilous pallet. Okay, enough words, onto the images. If you like what you see and want something backstage photographed, hit me up.