Saturday, April 02, 2011

Shutter Therapy With Chun Chow & Lam

Boy was I really glad weekend has arrived, and time to charge up camera batteries, ready the gear and head out for some shutter therapy actions !! This time, Chun Chow and Lam tagged along a morning walk at Chow Kit. We met up at Sultan Ismail LRT station and walked our way to Chow Kit, attacking anything that caught our attention. In case many of you are new readers, Chun Chow was the one who inspired me to take up Olympus E-System (2 years ago) as my choice of weapon, which I have fell in love with and never looked back ever since.

Chilli Pan Mee @ Kin Kin Restaurant, a perfect breakfast before a photo-walk.



Before we started our walk, we had the infamous Chilli Pan Mee at Kin Kin restaurant, a breakfast to fuel our body for hours of walking and camera work which did require a lot of energy and sweating !! It was Chun Chow and Lam's first time trying the Chilli Pan Mee, they sure liked it.

I have lent my precious 50mm Macro lens to Frederick for the past two weeks, gosh, did I miss that lens a lot !! I felt a little crippled now without my 50mm on the street. I have just got the 50mm back two days ago, now with it mounted on my Olympus E-5, I feel whole again. There is just something about shooting with the 50mm that is so enjoyable and different from shooting with any other lenses that I currently have. Probably it is due to its compact and light-weight design, very flexible, yet long reach of 50mm (100mm in 35mm equivalent format) which allows some medium telephoto coverage, the ability to do macro and not to forget, the incredible sharpness and almost technically perfect image quality. Now that there is a noticeable increase of focusing speed and accuracy being used on the Olympus E-5, it is hard to see why anyone would not be insanely in love with the 50mm F2 Macro !!

An Empty Cart

Plywood in Morning Light

Red and Rusty.

Piercing Eyes

Unwashed clothes.

A part of a kitchen

Wooden door

Sink your teeth into it

Greetings from people of the street

On the steps of a pedestrian bridge

I have a few things I tried to achieve on the streets in this session:

1) Less Chimping

Well, probably the word chimping is not exactly the best word to describe what I did, but what I usually would do if I can after snapping each shot is to check the focus accuracy, and just generally make sure the exposure and settings were what I wanted to accomplish. Nonetheless, I should also learn to trust myself more and more, have more faith in the camera, and have more confidence on my instincts in nailing the shots. I should worry less about the outcome and concentrate on nailing the shots as I walk the streets. Less chimping also allows myself to be more aware of my surroundings and stay in focus on any photo-opportunities that may happen out of a sudden.

2) Less cropping

Yes, I do crop my photographs, though not often. Even if I do crop, it is very minimal to improve the overall final presentation. I have been questioned, if you have time to compose the shot (of course with exception of sudden and quick response to a rapid action shot, for instance) why is there a need to crop it later? Do not get me wrong, I have nothing against cropping, I do believe it is important to optimize the final output, but yes, if you can get it right in the first place, you can definitely save a lot of time post-processing. Is that not what we try to accomplish, spending more time shooting, rather than post-processing?

3) Pay more attention to the direction of light

Sometimes I am so engrossed in finding the subject content that I have overlooked the condition of the lighting. I usually shoot in early mornings, hence lighting is usually very good, being directional and having the golden warmth quality. Shooting the subject from varying angles can create different outcomes. For instance, a little backlight can produce the pleasant glow of rim light around the subject, or light coming from the side can add drama to the facial profile, casting heavy shadow on one side of the face and body enhancing the overall realism feel of the image.

Undernourished

Tied and ready to go.

Morning laughter.

A look, or a stare?

Hanging origami work

Green light

Sharpen your tools

This dude was singing when I took this image, did he think I was recording a video instead?

Head facing the ground

The three street photographers. Lam, Robin and Chun Chow



I did get some interesting feedback from my friends who tagged along me this time. It was always interesting to hear what other people say about you and your photography approach. Lam commented on how dangerous and risky it was for me to walk alone on the streets of Chow Kit, especially at the backlanes where crime rates are high. I was fully aware of this, and my response was that I find the streets here so compelling that it was worth to take the risk walking here to grab the shots that I intended to take.

Our trail ended at Yut Kee, a more than 70 years old Hainanese Restaurant situated at Dang Wangi. Lunch was awesome, I had Roasted Pork.


Roasted Pork @ Yut Kee, Dang Wangi


There is always something new to discover, or learn or try in every single photography session that we do. All we have to do, is to keep an open mind, and make that shutter chick happen, and sooner or later we will find ourselves improving in photography without even realizing that we do. But the most important part of all, is to make sure that we do have great fun doing what we do, and photograph what we love to photograph.

I had a wonderful time today. Would you join me for a walk?

8 comments:

  1. Wow... I see you're having fun bro....very nice sets

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  2. Hey Jaiorgjohor,
    Thanks !! Yes I was having fun indeed. We must do this together soon.

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  3. Wow Robin - great and really stunning results!

    I love the 50mm macro as well, and today I shot some spring colours around here (Germany), while I was out with my family 3 times today. If you want to have a look, and allow me to link to it here, it's at http://wolfgang.lonien.de/2011/04/noch-mehr-blumen/ - text is in German again; sorry...

    I still have to meet and walk with Wahlau, a Malaysian Chinese who also lives nearby, and from whom I learned about Olympus - and like you, I didn't use anything else since.

    But the next time I'll be in Malaysia, we have to walk together...

    Thanks for your great blog, and sharing your shutter therapy with the rest of us!

    cheers,
    Wolfgang

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  4. Hello Wolfgang,
    Thank you for such kind words !!! You are being too generous, really.

    i wish Malaysia has spring !! The colours and atmosphere just look so different, and more lively. You do have some really great photographs yourself, and do give yourself some praises.

    Let me know when you come to KL again. Would love to meet up and shoot together.

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  5. Image # 2 is excellent. Really like the contrast on the subject.

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  6. Hi Robin ,

    I am new to your blog and love Olympus E-system too, I am current shooting with E5, 12-60, Pana F1.4 25 mm, 18-180 too. I hope I can have more stunning shots as you soon. Your shots remind me of KL and its food and I think I would revisit this place soon.

    Greeting from Hong Kong.

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  7. Ian,
    Thanks man !!

    Hello Clement,
    Wow, all the way from Hong Kong, I have never been there yet.
    Glad to know another Olympus user, I am sure you will get better and better and have some great shots. You have very good set of gear going on there, I wish I have that 25mm F1.4 !!

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  8. Hi Robin,

    Thank you for the wonderful experiences of your photographic journey. I am also an Olympus user and I am also experiencing the similar experiences. I used to rely mostly on Aperture Priority with multiple zone metering. Now to force myself to be more aware of the light condition I have push myself to use Spot metering with Manual Exposure 99% of the time. It is hard and got me quite busy in the beginning but I am starting to get used it and also like you have mentioned - starting to trust my own instinct more because with Spot metering and manual exposure setting you often find that you do not have enough time to adjust the perfect setting especially if you are taking street photography, and you often have guess or try to presume if the exposure is ok or not. I used to ignore spot metering and manual exposure setting but now I am getting to enjoy it and feel more control of my camera than before. Hope I will master the technique soon and make it part of my nature instinct so I can pay more attention of the pictorial story that I am trying to portray.

    By the way, I am from Taiwan and I have been to Malaysia twice. First time was as trip to Kota Kinabalu, a very photogenic place with great fun. Second trip was to KL, great food!




    My gear: E-420, 11-22mm, 14-54mm II, 40-150mm II, 14-42mm II, and old OM 50mm f1.4, 28mm f3.5.

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