Sunset Image Awards Spotlight: Dwight Okumoto

When it comes to weddings, it’s no secret that a bride wants everything to go perfect on the big day. One of the most important guests at the wedding is the photographer. For Honolulu-based Dwight Okumoto, it’s always been about capturing those special moments.

Once the Sunset Image Awards opened for submissions, Okumoto knew he had a few great entries for the “Wedding” category. After the judging was finished, two of his images had captured the attention of the panel. “Elegance” took first place and “Spirited” placed third.

“Elegance” by Dwight Okumoto – 1st Place – Wedding

“I took those during the COVID shutdown. The wedding was downsized from 300 attendees to 10,” says Okumoto. “I assured her that we would make it work. We were able to spend more time on the photography and try different locations.”

With few people milling about town, Okumoto and the beautiful bride were able to set up some shoots at local government buildings. “We tried to make the most of the time and tried different locations on the same day,” he says. “What was great for us was the lighting, because it was so flat.”

“Spirited” is his personal favorite of the images he submitted. “It really showed off her gown and that was my intent,” says Okumoto. “I wanted to photograph the back of it and show all the lacing. I thought it was very feminine.”

But after 40 years in the industry, he also knows that when it comes to competitions, the judges usually like to see the details in the face. “I know judges like closeup headshots and portraits seem to score better than when you try to show the entire dress,” he says.

Looking back over the years he’s spent capturing important family moments for others, it’s a member of Okumoto’s own family who led him to pick up a camera for the first time. “It was an older cousin. I was 8 years old, and he was 11,” he says. “He was always interested in photography, and we had Instamatic cameras, way back then. That’s how I got interested in photography.”

Once he went pro, Okumoto started working with Don Emmerich, a pioneer in commercial photography. “Don was a technical advisor with PPA during the 90s and into the 2000s,” he says. “He was doing commercial photography with film and did beta testing with digital cameras for Eastman Kodak. He also got me interested in dry lab and wide-format printers.”

Whether he’s picking up an Instamatic camera for the first time or capturing a bride’s special day, Dwight Okumoto certainly knows the importance of finding the right setting, lighting, and staging to create award-winning photos.

If you are interested in submitting your creative wedding shots for a chance to win $300, you can enter the current Sunset Image Awards HERE. Not a wedding photographer? That’s OK, enter in Fine Art/Composite, Portrait, or Wildlife/Landscape.

To see highlights of Photography Essentials, check out our series of LexJet Reviews to get ideas on new equipment or media, contact a LexJet sales specialist at 800-453-9538, or visit LexJet.com.

Start Preparing For the Holiday Rush with August Rebates

The Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decorations may still be in storage, but it’s never too early to replace or add equipment to your workflow and prepare for the holiday print rush.

Read on to see highlights of the August savings and check out the printer pages for full details:

HP:

In August, you can still save $10,000 instantly on the HP Latex 570, but supplies are running low and they’ll be gone before you know it. Cash-in and Trade-up to get up to $1,000 back on the purchase of a DesignJet printer, including the HP DesignJet Z9 + dual roll 44-in PostScript® Printer or the HP DesignJet Z6810 60” Printer.

To see all available Latex and DesignJet rebates, visit the HP rebates resource page HERE.

Canon:

Right now, you can instantly save $400 on the PRO-Series 4100S or $500 on the PRO-Series 4100.

Visit your Canon rebates resource page HERE.

Epson:

From signage to shirts, Epson has a versatile line-up to fit your project. Instantly save up to $5,000 when you purchase a new Epson printer. Choose from dye-sub, photo, solvent, and even the new resin technology.

To find your new Epson, visit the Epson rebates resource page HERE.

For complete rebate information, visit our rebate resource pages. If you have questions about which printer is right for you, please contact a LexJet printer specialist at 800-453-9538.

Make Your Wall Graphics Grand with Covertex Now Available at LexJet

We are excited to announce the addition of JM Technical Textiles grand format digital wallcoverings to our digital décor products. Junkers & Müllers (JM Technical Textiles) – a family-owned company based in Mönchengladbach, Germany – has been producing technical textiles since 1950.

Junkers & Müllers products are PVC-free, Oeko-Tex® Standard 100, SCS Indoor Advantage Gold, and REACH certified.

Mediatex® Covertex FR is a PVC-free and flame-retardant wallcovering up to 201-inches (510 cm), which means a one-piece application is possible for many common spaces. Mediatex® CoverTex FR can be applied with normal wallpaper paste.

Mediatex® Covertex UPcycling FR includes a minimum of 80% recycled polyester. It’s available in widths up to 122-inches (310 cm), making it possible to cover an entire wall in one pass without any seams. Mediatex® CoverTex UPcycling FR is certified with latex, solvent, and UV curable inks, and can be cut hot or cold without fraying.

To see more information about these innovative new products, visit our dedicated resource page, contact a LexJet sales specialist at 800-453-9538, or visit LexJet.com.

Sunset Image Awards Spotlight – Kenneth Martin & Jamie Steeno

When LexJet hosted the Sunset Image Awards Click & Win Event earlier this year, the categories began to fill quickly. One of the most competitive groups was the Wildlife & Landscape category, with over 400 submissions. For Kenneth Martin, who won with “Sacred Lands of the Navajo”, and Jamie Steeno, who placed second with “The Courtyard”, there’s quite a story behind the captures.

The couple, based in Green Bay, Wis., each submitted a photo for the contest without telling the other. “Neither one of us knew the other was entering, and we live in the same house,” says Steeno. The judging came up, and Ken says, ‘I’ve got to get to the studio before the Click & Win judging’ and that’s how we found out the other entered.”

While both images are taken at Hunts Mesa, Ariz., they each have their own story to tell.

Martin set up the exclusive adventure as a birthday present for Steeno. “I’ve been to Monument Valley on many occasions and I’ve always wanted to get to the top of Hunts Mesa,” he says. “That’s a special guided tour, only by the Navajo. I purchased two tickets to the top of Hunts Mesa to wish Jamie a Happy Birthday. It was a unique adventure.”

Steeno agrees. “We are instructors for Down Every Road Adventures. We explore the adventures ourselves, then we put together a workshop,” she says. “Here we are walking on these buttes that people are normally looking up at. So, we are getting a totally different view.”

The Courtyard
“The Courtyard” – Jamie Steeno

While the views from the top are peaceful and serene, getting to that vantage point was quite literally a bumpy ride. “We loaded up a couple of SUVs and as we were on the ascent to Hunts Mesa, the road got extremely rough,” says Martin. “You’re buckled in tight, and you feel like salt in a saltshaker.”

Once they reached the top, they prepared for a nighttime shoot, which is when Steeno captured her image. “The Courtyard” is a black and white sunset image. “I chose to do mine in the old-time zone system. I felt that it brought more depth to the image, the old-time feel,” she says. “It’s in a historic area, sacred grounds. I thought that image would be better portrayed in black and white.”

While Steeno was focused on recreating a historical look, Martin chose a sunset shoot to capture every detail for “Sacred Lands of the Navajo”.

“It is a 28-image capture that I then photo merged in PhotoShop. It took 8-10 minutes to shoot,” he says. “I could have captured everything with a wide-angle lens, but the mesas and buttes in the far background would’ve just disappeared. I employed a 100 mm focal length which brought that background up closer.”

Taking first place in the Sunset Image Awards isn’t his only win for this image. “I got third in the Grand Imaging Awards. Just getting to the platform is an honor,” Martin says.

It’s not just about capturing a great image for an award-winning photo, it’s also about having the right equipment and media.

Both photographers are avid fans of Canon equipment – both cameras and printers – and Martin recently purchased the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2100 Printer from LexJet. “I got my first big printer, a Canon 8300, from LexJet. When it came time to replace the motherboard, I just purchased a Canon 2100, instead,” he says.

When it comes to media, both Martin and Steeno each have their favorites. “My favorite media is EPSON Premium Luster. For canvas, I use the Sunset Select Matte Canvas. I decided to go with the 24-inch printer so I could print 20-inch x 30-inch or 20-inch x 40-inch canvases. They are easier to handle than the larger ones I was doing on the 8300,” says Martin.

For some of the specialized work that Steeno does, she prefers something that offers a bit more shine. “For the light painting, cars, and motorcycles that we shoot, I love the Sunset Photo Metallic,” she says. “It makes the color pop. It’s amazing.”

This competitive couple was introduced to LexJet years ago through the Sunset Print Awards. “I first heard of LexJet when I won my first Sunset Print Award and I’ve been a customer since,” says Martin.

“In 2015, one of my other images – “Watercourse” – won the LexJet Sunset Print Award,” says Steeno.

For this dynamic photography duo, it’s not only capturing award-winning photos that keep them going, but also the adventure and, of course, their competitive spirit. “I’m continuously motivated to up my game to stay ahead of Jamie,” says Martin. “We’re very competitive. It keeps us on our toes,” says Steeno.

Looking to “Get Recognized”? Submit your photo through Sept. 3 for the next Sunset Image Awards and you could win $300 in cash if your image is selected by our judging panel. For more information on Canon printers or LexJet media, contact a LexJet sales specialist at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

LexJet Welcomes Mactac to the Neighborhood

We are excited to announce a new sales and distribution partnership with Mactac to provide local distribution of some of their most popular wide-format media to our customers.

While we have access to the full breadth of the Mactac catalogue, our initial focus is on their popular lines of floor, wall, and window solutions:

MacTac WallNOODLE Office Wall
Mactac WallNOODLE

Bfree Dusted and Bfree Frosted – These films are made for décor and privacy applications. They are specially formulated to be used with dry application on windows with no air bubbles or wrinkling. Provides etched, sandblasted, or frosted effects to printed window graphics and internally illuminated signs.

MacTac REBEL High Tack
Mactac REBEL High Tack

REBEL H High Tack – This 5-year, 99% opaque matte white print media offers a high tack permanent adhesive and a 90# Superflat Liner. It prints on just about everything and sticks to just about everything.

WallNOODLE – This 6.0 mil matte white semi-rigid vinyl print media is designed with an ultra-removable adhesive for temporary indoor wall posters, signage, and POP graphics. It is perfect for use on smooth, flat surfaces.

MacTac ROODLE Elevator
Mactac ROODLE

ROODLE – This 6.0 mil matte white semi-rigid vinyl print media features a removable adhesive and is ideal for indoor wall graphics, indoor and outdoor signage, bumper stickers, and tiled wall murals. It is designed for smooth, flat surfaces.

We are excited to offer this new line of floor, wall, and window solutions to our customers. If you would like more information on available Mactac products, contact a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

LexJet Now Offers the Canon Solutions America Portfolio

LexJet is excited to announce a new sales and distribution partnership with Canon Solutions America Inc.

This strategic partnership is designed to provide wide-format inkjet customers with reliable equipment, service, and support solutions that help to meet new and existing challenges.

The new Canon Colorado 1630 is the smart investment choice for print service providers looking for a cost-effective solution to meet their current and future business needs. With speeds up to 1,195/sq.ft. per hour, PSPs can offer a quick turnaround on those last-minute, just-in-time orders.

The Canon Colorado 1650 is the fastest 64-in production printer in its class, with speeds up to 1,709/sq. ft. per hour. The dual-roll printing and high-capacity ink tanks provide PSPs the option to do unattended printing in high-production environments.

“With the increased demand for temporary signage and graphics, this new partnership will give customers an opportunity to increase their output and drive down their costs,” says C.J. Forker, LexJet’s Vice President of Sales. “It also provides the chance to introduce the loyal LexJet clients to the equipment and applications available from Canon Solutions America.”

If you would like to explore the new opportunities Canon Solutions America brings to LexJet, visit our dedicated resource page or contact a sales specialist at 800-453-9538.