Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Visitors from Sydney, Australia

The past weekend has been a superbly hectic, yet unusually exciting at the same time. About a couple of weeks ago, Ian from Sydney, Australia emailed me, telling me that he was coming over to Malaysia for the first time, and stopping over at Kuala Lumpur. He requested to join in one of my weekly "shutter therapy" sessions. I have had readers who contacted me through my blog or email and asked to join my street shooting routines, but they were all local Malaysians. This was the first time I had a request from outside the country, and boy was I thrilled !!

All images in this entry were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Olympus Zuiko Lens 25mm F2.8 pancake 

Ian and Magge, all the way from Sydney, Australia. 
Ian shoots with Olympus DSLR system. 




Ian arrived on Saturday morning, hence I only managed to catch up with him on Saturday afternoon briefly, because I have pre-arranged plans for the rest of the day. We made plans to shoot on Sunday morning instead. Initially I thought of bringing Ian and his lovely wife, Maggie to the "touristy" places, such as the ChinaTown (which we locals call it Petaling Street), Bukit Bintang area and leading up to Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC) where the Petronas Twin Towers are located. Nonetheless, a great friend of mine, Frederick reminded me that those are usual tourist spots that anyone from anywhere can explore on their own, and my guidance and help in those areas are actually not necessary. Frederick reminded me why Ian wanted to meet up in the first place: to join me in my shutter therapy sessions. To be able to witness and shoot at the same time the streets and the locations where I usually find my subjects, as I have blogged religiously on this blog every single week for the past year without fail. I have talked to Ian and what he and Maggie wanted was to experience the local culture, see the local people doing their everyday activities, and basically want to "smell and taste" the streets. They have no preference of locations in particular, but in the end I decided to bring them to one of my favourite street hunting ground: Pudu. 

Why Pudu? If you have followed my Olympus Gear Review history, dating back to the E-5, then the E-P3 and most recently the E-M5, I have brought all the three cameras to Pudu for testing and shooting. The place is just so full of activities, and the people there were very friendly. It was a dominantly Chinese community area, with many old shops (not very well maintained, as pointed out by Maggie) and basically the area is very free from "tourist" activities. You will not find it in one of the "must visit" brochures or promotional medias. It is not exactly a recommended place for your Kuala Lumpur tour, but I can tell you, this is the place where the locals are at their most natural state, doing what they do. That is the reason I love this place, the photographs are honest, and straightforward. The subjects are very friendly and willing to have their photographs taken, and everything just appears very real. Something that I have learned from my readers who commented on my recent photography work, they seemed to be "unpretentious". Sometimes, I think Frederick is a genius, and thats what friends are for, to keep us and our thoughts in check. 

Legs and Whells

Birds in Buckets

Cat on a Plank

Kopitiam Lifestyle

how Malaysians Dry Cloths

I want THAT one

How the street is being kept clean

Kelvin and his X-Pro 1

Ian, attacking Pudu with 12-60mm. 

Chicken Lady

Kopitiam Culture 2

Bathing the Car

Chained Soul

Breakfast

Girls Apart

Patriotism

Fred and his Weapon of choice


We started shooting at Pudu Plaza, walking towards the Wet Open Air Market. We ended our shooting at Jalan Pasar, some sort of a flea market. It was indeed an eye opener to Ian and Maggie. Ian just had so much to photograph, and he practically stopped at every corner and turn and make that snap happen on his camera. He was shooting with the same camera as I did: Olympus DSLR E-5, and he had brought along some very beautiful lenses: 11-22mm F2.8-3.5, 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 and of course the 50mm F2 macro. We attacked the people on the streets as well, and I told Ian that the people there are very approachable and friendly. We had no issues going close and got very nice close up portraits. Besides portraits of beautiful local Malaysians, I am sure Ian found many interesting subjects on the Pudu streets as well: local food, some local goods, and even unusual animals on sale at Jalan Pasar such as baby tortoise and birds. That is why Pudu is such a great place for photography: you get to experience the local culture without being tainted by tourism influences. 

I wish I could have stayed with Ian and Maggie for the rest of the day, but I had important appointments in the afternoon. I sure hope Ian has enjoyed himself, and from what he told me, he has got many wonderful images. It was indeed a great experience being a "tour guide" for the morning, and have vistitors from other country shooting alongside me on the streets. Indeed, photography is an international language that knows no barriers, and connects everyone with an invisible thread that runs through our passion. 

After street photography, we actually stopped by YL Camera at Pudu Plaza, to do a little shopping for camera accessories. 

Fred trying on the bazuka

Self poisoning: 18mm lens for X-Pro 1


I personally did not shoot much for this session, because my priority is to make sure my guests for the morning are safe (can't be too careful, because we were wandering off the usual popularly visited areas). Also, I spent most of my time explaining and introducing Ian and Maggie to our local Malaysian culture as we walked along the streets. Dear friends Kelvin Ng and Frederick were also with us for the morning. Whenever I found opportunities, I clicked my camera away. Therefore, the quality of my photographs from this session may not be on par  

Tomorrow (Wedsneday) is a public holiday, a much needed holiday I must say. That means, MORE shutter therapy !!

19 comments:

  1. Ralf, Jakarta.4/10/2012 05:09:00 PM

    Hi Robin, I can't believe that all those images are coming from the ZD 25/2.8. I've never been very happy with the lens; in term of image's cleanness and sharpness.

    Perhaps, there's something I need to know to be able to produce some excellent images from this pancake, like yours? (I have the E-520 and the E-1)

    Appreciate your tips and suggestions.

    Sincerely..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hello Ralf,
      thanks for the kind compliments, really appreciate it.
      I agree with you the pancake 25mm lens is not exactly very sharp, and nowhere near the image quality of high grade zuiko lenses. nonetheless street photography is not about technical perfection so it is not a huge concern using a less superior lens.
      in order to get very good images from the pancake lens an important tip is to go as close as you can to your subject. only by doing so you can achieve the background blur effect or bokeh. also, if bokeh is not a priority, its recommended to stop down the aperture and not shoot wide open for sharper images.
      I am not saying this is a great lens but it is so cheap, small, compact and light.I find it perfect for street shooting.

      Delete
  2. Thank you Robin. You shot make me look younger.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelvin you always look young man!!

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    2. Kelvin Ng is leng chai la. If I saw him on the street I would shoot him....lol

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  3. Hi Robin,

    Excellent pics as always! Glad to see u entertain your fans when they come and visit you. Hoping to drop by Malaysia the July/August. How do I pre-book an appointment to have Shutter Therapy with you and your friends?. Thanks and Godspeed!

    Eric V from Edmonton Alberta

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Eric,
      Thanks for the compliments !!
      Surely I will make time for you, I appreciate your constant support here.
      Just email me directly at hamish7ian@gmail.com
      We can make arrangements from there onward. Bear in mind I work full time so I am only free to meet up and shoot on weekends.

      Delete
  4. Great pictures, I really loved the dry clothes one for some reason. The day I come to KL, I will definitely contact you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Vladimir,
      Looking forward for the day you come to KL !!

      Delete
  5. love the photos especially the "birds in the bucket" and the "Girls apart" ;)

    miss shooting in KL already!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Scott,
      Thanks !! Where have you been? Why not shooting in KL?

      Delete
  6. Hi Robin,

    After reading so many blog post of yours regarding street photography at Pudu, I tried myself for the first time today. I was carrying a rangefinder camera, wearing white t-shirt and short pants with slipper, typically a casual KL guy.

    Sadly to tell that I got very rude rejection while trying my first street shooting in Pudu today, 3 in row to be specific. I was having my friendly smile all the while, not sure why been rejected to take photograph. One old lady sitting relaxing outside her wood house even said some bad word when I was smiling and lifting up my camera.

    I would never ever shoot street at Pudu anymore, it just doesn't work for me. I ended up leaving the place with just 1 photo, becos the rude rejection had just ruined my mood :(

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello Nicholas,
    I was at Pudu this morning !!! It was raining until about 10-ish before I started shooting. It was unfortunate that your first attempt in Pudu turned out to be so bad. We should meet up next time. I shoot on weekends.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Robin,

    What great, to do this with a reader of you're blog !!
    Superb !!

    ReplyDelete
  9. hey Rick
    its a pleasure to meet and make new friends!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just saw those three chickens. Love them!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Robin,
    I have just moved 851x photos from camera to computer and viewed

    them on 24" screen. much greater number of keepers and a great improvement

    quality wise after your much appreciated time and effort given me during
    my visit to Kuala Lumpur.. As usual your shots shown above, from our Pudu 'trek'
    are real story tellers. Maggie and I will surely return for MORE "shutter therapy" in the future.

    Thanks again to yourself ,Kelvin and Fred for a most enjoyable and informative experience!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello there Ian !!
      I see that you are home in Sydney already !! I sure hope you have enjoyed Malaysia.
      It was my pleasure to have you with us on the shutter therapy session. I am glad to know that you have had many good photos !! Indeed, there are plenty of unusual and interesting subjects at Pudu, that is the reason why I love to shoot there often.
      I will make sure Kelvin and Fred sees this. They too, have enjoyed having you and Maggie around.
      All the best, and we will surely meet again in the future.

      Delete