Friday, January 25, 2013

Coconut Smashing

It was one uneventful public holiday in Malaysia which I stumbled upon an Indian ritual of coconut smashing which I have never heard of before. Growing up in Kuching, East Malaysia (Borneo) where Indians are the minority there, I was not very well versed or exposed to their culture and tradition. Hence it was quite an interesting sight for me, for the first time, witnessing an interesting ritual of coconuts being smashed just outside a Hindu temple at Petaling Street. Joining me this session was Kenyrl Loke. 

I did some digging, and this was no doubt a practice done in conjunction with the coming Thaipusam (Sunday 27h January 2013). This is the beauty of living in Malaysia, we have multi-cultural background, hence photography opportunities never run scarce. 

All images were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital 50mm F2 macro lens. 















I must admit I was not doing my best in this shooting session, mainly because I was shooting blind. I did not even know (at that time) what I was shooting !! I did not understand the ritual, or what the procedure and steps were. Not knowing anything was very hard to focus my camera on the subject matter. There was a story to tell, and I did not even know what the story was. 

Nevertheless, I just shot as I wanted to. Sometimes it did not matter if your shot did not turn out to be that international award winning worthy kind of photograph, just immerse yourself in that moment, and make the camera work. I was glad I chanced upon this ritual, my understanding and knowledge about Hinduism has been expanded and I appreciated their beautiful and vibrant tradition. 

Oh and... I almost forgot how sharp that Olympus 50mm F2 macro is. 

Thaipusam is coming. Anyone shooting?

11 comments:

  1. Hi Robin, I recognized this place. If I'm not mistaken it was located near the MayView Glory Hotel, wasn't it?

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    1. Hmm, I am not even sure where Mayview hotel is haha ! But it is very near to Petaling Street.

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    2. lol.., if I'm not mistaken too it's located near jl. Pudu Lama.

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  2. Hi robin ..see u again ..nice to see ur picture ..yes !!we are Malaysian ..nice country with multi cultural background ..as u know there are so many religion in this country ..u can see there are so many color with different story behind them ..each story will tell us about d beauty of that religion ..
    I will join with my old friend to take a picture during this thaipusam day at batu caves..as my hometown just near with this place (selayang ), for sure I will be there early in d morning ..bear in mind d traffic will getting worst as there are so many vehicle will park along d MRR2 highway ..night b4 thaipusam u can see d Indian will do a pilgrimage from their places to d batu cave just by a walking ..with colourfull clothes , they will walk cheerly among their friends n family ..anyway im glad to be here as Malaysian ..see u ..
    *hadi nik*

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    1. I will be shooting Thaipusam too, before the talk in the afternoon. Hope things won't get out of hand !

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    2. Hahahaha ..ok robin ..hopefully can see u at batu caves ..
      *hadi nik*

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  3. I'm shooting, Robin.

    I'm going to head over to Ipoh with a friend who enjoys photography. Apparently there's a parade happening over there. I don't know what time, though, which means I'm not sure what kit to take. It'll probably just be the E-P3 and 45/1.8, but if it spills over into night-time then I'll think about taking the Fl-600R flash, which I've only just bought and am still figuring out how to use. I made myself a sweet bounce-card based on your shoebox one. I used it to take the two grasshopper macro photos that I think you noticed on Facebook, so I owe those shots to you!

    I look forward to seeing your Thaipusam shots.

    Good cheer,
    Scott

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    1. Hey Scott,
      Glad to know you are shooting Thaipusam, I am sure you will love it. However I have never tested that shoebox bouncer on human subjects though... not sure how it would turn out to be !!

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  4. Seeing you photos reminds me of going for the Thaipusam event in Singapore for some photo shoot. :)

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  5. Interesting ritual - I never heard of it. Talking about interesting: you processed these shots differently from your standard B/W processing, no? It has a "documentary" feeling to it, with strong contrasts and some (added?) grain. Different, and nice!

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  6. Can you remind me if you're using Snapseed for this B&W conversion? I can't quite justify the full US$200 for SilverEfex but could see spending US$20 on Snapseed for these results.

    My favorite is the opening silhouette of the man holding the coconut. It really captures the contemplative mood of what appears to be a ceremony.

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