I remember about three years ago, when I have just returned from Perth, Australia, embarking on a new journey in a new city, Kuala Lumpur. I have just jumped into the DSLR bandwagon, and was still fresh to the Olympus E-410 and the humble Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens. The weekend before my first day of job in a Geotechnical Engineering consultant firm in KL, I travelled down to Malacca to assist a friend, Jasonmumbles in an assignment to cover the commemorative event of Malacca acquiring its World Heritage status. The celebration ended with a bang, literally. It was the spectacular fireworks display that I was assigned to shoot, along with several other local photographers, all stationed at different locations. A big task for a small photographer who just started to get his feet wet in the world of DSLR photography, don't you think?
I remembered making the decision was not easy, because I preferred to have a calm and relaxing weekend just before the start of my new career in KL. Nonetheless, the thrill and excitement of exploring and being on an adventure was too hard to turn down. It was the RUSH that got me going. I was fresh, and I was very eager to shoot. The desire was raw, and I can clearly see my own developing passion through those early photographs.
Before the fireworks started, it poured so heavily as if it has never rained in Malacca before. Not backing down, I braved myself to step into the stormy weather and continued clicking away. My friend Frederick Yap (who is now a photographer himself as well) was kind enough to accompany me through the impossible rain and provided me little but very helpful shelter by holding a large umbrella over ourselves. I steadied the E-410 on a tripod, and did long exposure shots. Due to ridiculously harsh weather conditions, we did not relocate around much, but I did manage to shoot from a few different angles. We both got ourselves wet (so sorry Fred !!), and I could feel my whole body being drenched, even my underwear was soaked!! I got my E-410 and the kit lens fully splashed in rain water, and my camera bag had water inside dripping out as well (not a good way to start DSLR photography by torturing your gear).
I could have decided to abandon the project with the reason not to sacrifice my gear at the very last minute. It was not a paid assignment, why should I sacrifice my gear. I could have chosen to back down. I did not. Why? Was I crazy?
All images in this entry were taken in May 2008 with Olympus E-410 and Zuiko 14-42mm Kit Lens.
You can clearly see the rain water on the lens filter front. I remembered I kept wiping the front of the filter with my shirt. It got wet every minute !!
Looking back now, I saw a lot of things in myself that I did not even realize, or was too naive to admit back then. I was very persistent, and very driven when I wanted to do something. If I wanted something to happen, I will make it happen, by any means possible. I believe that if I wanted something bad enough, I will have it. That applies to my photography development as well. I always told myself, if other photographers can do it, so can I. All I need is a camera, and I will figure everything out myself.
It was a thunderstorm, my camera was NOT weather-sealed, yet I went on shooting. I did not have any special equipments, I was using a Cheapo-No-Brand tripod (still using the same tripod now, no reason to upgrade), and I only had the budget kit lens 14-42mm, which worked wonders on its own. Did I wish I have better camera and lens back then? No, not a moment. Did I regret or felt hurt by getting myself wet and shoot in the rain with my gear? Not a slightest bit. The only thing I was concerned about was my friend Frederick, who stood by me, throughout the whole night, and he never gave up on me. In fact, I lost my original lens cap for the 14-42mm the very same night. After the fireworks was over, the rain still continued, as we took shelter in the nearby building, only I discovered I have lost the lens cap. Fred went back into the rain to look for the cap for me, and he spent a great deal of time searching for it, as I just stood at one place because I was too tired to move around much at all after all the shooting (it was extremely exhausting!!!). We never found the cap, but hey, did I make a huge fuss out of it? Not at all. I wanted the photographs of the fireworks to happen. Although any sane beginners would prioritize the safety of their equipments, strangely, I have full faith and trust in Olympus. I knew I was meant to be there at that specific time and moment.
The iconic Malacca A-Famosa fort.
All the trouble, all the time and energy spent were all worth it, when I saw my photograph being published in the Star (national paper) the following week. Was it all for the glory? No, I did not even tell anyone about that piece of article, nor did I blog about it. I kept it pretty much to myself. Only those who already knew would have known.
Why bring it up now of all times?
Because, the thrill, the excitement, the anticipation and most important of all, the RUSH, they are all coming back to me now. I am about to embark on a new adventure, and I am not sure if I am ready for it, but I will do it anyway.
I want it to happen. and I will make it happen. I want to tell myself that I can do it, and just do it. I am so looking forward to this coming event, and I cannot wait already !!
"Don't be afraid, be strong" - Joshua 10:25
I will be traveling to Indonesia from tomorrow until next Monday (30th September to 3rd October), hence I will be away from this blog for this little while.
Wish me luck guys !!