Sunday, April 28, 2013

And Then There Was A Sony A57

This may come as a surprise to many, I have just purchased a Sony Alpha A57, adding to my growing collection of Sony gear. Yes, you heard that right, an entry level DSLT, Sony A57, which was targetted at the same level as the Nikon D3200 and Canon 650D. I noticed a significant price drop in the local Malaysian street market and I quickly made the purchase. Having acquired the new Sony A57, together with a group of Sony warriors, we attacked my usual photo-hunting ground at Pudu Market this morning. 

Behold, the not so new (it is after all, more than one year after its release) Sony DSLT Alpha A57!!



Friday, April 26, 2013

My Holi Photos Published in Local Magazine!

Remember my blog entry on Holi, the Festival of Colors about a few weeks back (click here if you have not seen the blog)? Fortunately for me, Advanced Images Magazine spotted my photographs and requested to be featured on April/May 2013 issue. Therefore, if you are nearby any bookstore or magazine rack in the country, you can find my photos of the beautiful and colorful festival at Page 66-69 (spanning 4 pages!!!) with a short write up on the event. 

Here are some snapshots of these pages, of my photographs which were in PRINT (a rarity for my photos). 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Preview: Charmaine & Christopher's Wedding in Perth, Australia

In case you have not figured it out, the main reason I was in Perth, Western Australia for the past week was to shoot dear friends Charmaine and Christopher's wedding. Shooting wedding for friends whom I have known for many years is a different experience than shooting for clients that I do not personally know in life. The moments during the wedding day, each laughter, each tear, each beautiful emotion expressed carried special meaning even to myself. It was surely a privilege to witness the happiness of Char and Chris first hand, and to be able to capture them as an official photographer was a blessing I could not have asked for more. 

These are just preliminary edits I am compiling for quick preview. I shall upload my usual series after final delivery of photographs. 


For more photos, please visit my Facebook Page here: http://www.facebook.com/shuttertherapy
While you are at that, please do support by clicking "Like" !!

The interesting fact I would like to share here is that, I originally knew Charmaine through blogging !! No kidding here, before I was crazy about photography I was already an active blogger. (back in the days where bloggers do have a respectable reputation and acknowledged strong presence in the Internet. Not too sure what happened to Malaysian blogging scene these days, I somehow do not want to consider myself a part of it)

We became friends during my uni days (though we were both from different unis), and I got to know Chris when Char and Chris were already together. They have been great friends who stood by me, even through some of my toughest times in Perth, and I shall cherish this friendship forever. Thank you both, Char and Chris so much for having me in your most beautiful wedding! Seeing your happiness brought much joy to myself, and I pray nothing but abundant blessings for you two. 

Strange, but true, this blog has brought many unforgettable memories and adventures, and I have known some life-long friends from it !! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Perth That Was: Snippets of My Short Holiday

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This post is dedicated to a great friend I knew from Perth who is now in Singapore, Marcus Pang. Don't hate me !! I ate all the good food !

My brief holiday in Perth has come and gone, and I have spent almost a week in the beautiful Western Australian city. I flew there mainly to shoot a Wedding Assignment, and the wedding couple are great friends of mine from the old days In between outdoor portraiture shooting and actual day wedding photography sessions, I did find some time for myself to roam around Perth and reliving some old memories. In this blog entry, I shall post personal photographs (non-assignment) from this trip. 

I did take some time to blog about my adventures when I was in Perth, but to my horror, those images processed from my Android tablet looked horrendous !! The white balance was out of place and the images did not turn out the way I intended at all. Hence I have reprocessed a few of the photographs and included them into this collection of my selected Perth photographs. While I was strolling around Perth and the locations adjacent to it, I made sure I had a camera with me, and I snapped at whatever that caught my attention. I did not exactly do street photography (nor did I intend to in the first place) but when something caught my eye, when the camera was already on standby, it was irresistible and I made some quick street shots. My main focus was documenting the beautiful urban landscape (tall buildings, city skyline, etc) which I did miss terribly. I also had a great time satisfying my taste buds with some of the best Perth food which I have missed too much. Before I ate, I made sure photographs were also taken (much to the annoyance of my friends, but I am sure they would understand). While I was on assignment, in certain locations, I also stole some shots for myself when I could (which was not much). 

This holiday was not meant to be an all out photography session, and it did get me thinking, perhaps I should plan a holiday in Perth which was dedicated purely to just photographing the beautiful scenery, and also do serious street photography shooting. I strongly believe this place is suitable for street photography, and people seem to be responding very positively to my camera so far (though I have not done anything as daring as I have in KL).

The wedding shoot went smoothly without any major hiccups, and this was my second overseas assignment, the first being the Bali Wedding which I did about more than a year ago. Considering that I did spend some time in Perth during my uni days, I was quite familiar with this place (and the people, culture and food), and that helped me in this assignment a lot. Perhaps after the delivery of final photographs to the clients I shall then blog and perhaps talk more about the wedding itself. 

All images were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital lenses 11-22mm F2.8-3.5, 25mm F2.8 pancake, 50mm F2 macro and 50-200mm F2.8-3.5. When I was walking around (non-assignment) I only carried the wide angle and the pancake lens. I had full gear when I was on assignment. 

Perth CBD
This scene probably has been shot millions of times before, so it was not easy to come up with a fresh idea to shoot it. It was close to noon, and I decided to use the strong light from the sky to create silhouette of the buildings, while capturing the textures of the clouds. I know HDR would have saved the sunspot from burning but I liked it that way too.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

More Perth Adventures

Side Note: In case you are not aware, I now have a Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/shuttertherapy. Please support this site by clicking "like" on my page !!

The sky has been overcast and ugly since I arrived in Perth, which was not what I expected because I have remembered Perth fondly for her clear, deep blue skies, which always seemed impossbly beautiful. Though my schedule has been rather tight, I did manage to squeeze in a bit more time just to go around and rediscover Perth.

In the afternoon I went to Harbor Town, where all the factory outlets were at, and to my surprise, I found myself not doing shutter therapy, but retail therapy (well, when I was creating the phrase shutter therapy, it was actually a modification from the original "retail therapy"). I found great sale happening at Nike Factory Outlet store with 50% discount off everything in the store. I bought myself shoes, shirts and a bag.

Ironically Kuala Lumpur is known to be a place for shopping, and yes we do have dozens of incredibly large shopping malls, some of the largest in the region. However, I often found myself coming home empty handed, and was not interested in anything KL shopping malls had to offer. Although Harbor Town was no where near the size and grandness of Malaysian shopping scene, I must say I like Harbor Town a lot better. I always find a lot of things I can buy, and at very good bargain. Believe it or not the items that I bought were actually cheaper than what I could find in Malaysia !!

After doing some shopping, I took a bus down to Mounts Bay Road, where the famous blue boat house was at. It was one of the overused wedding outdoor photography shooting location, and believe it or not I have never shot it before. The same place was also a location of interest for my current assignment. I arrived in time (this time just for personal shoot) for the approaching sunset. And I regretted not bringing my tripod and ND filter along to smoothen the water, but I did what I have to do to get the shot I wanted: I placed the camera on a shoebox (I bought new shoes from Harbor Town, at 50% discount!!!!) so that I have some elevation from ground level. I used smallest aperture F22 and lowest ISO at 100, to get as slow shutter speed as I can. I then oversxposed the shot a little to get even slower shutter speed. I managed to get 3.2 seconds shutter speed, which was surely not sufficient to turn the water into smooth milk, but it worked well enough to minimize the choppy wavy water which I thought was quite unsightly. I know I know I should have carried my tripod along and the ND filter, but hey, I was on vacation and I was supposed to relax !! I took a few quick shots and spent the rest of the precious few minutes of the dying sun enjoying, taking in the breathtaking scenery. I miss Perth so much.

Just after the sunset, I met up with an old friend for dinner, and finally, I was cutting off one item from the list of things to do in Perth: eating Broadway Pizza. If you have not eaten this, I assure you it is simply amazing.

I am cutting the night off early, to get some rest, because tomorrow is the DAY. The actual wedding day happens tomorrow and I will do everything I can to get the best shots possible.

All images were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital Lenses 11-22mm F2.8-3.5  and 25mm F2.8 pancake lenses. I apologize for the inconsistency of color rendering (white balance) and exposure balance, as I am doing all this in a China cheap Android tablet with lousy LCD display.

The Blue Boathouse

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hello From Perth, Australia

I have arrived at Perth, Australia early morning yesterday, and amazing friends Chris and Char fetched us directly from the airport and we went for a quick breakfast at Mecca's. As simple and straightforward this breakfast was, it was probably the best breakfast I have had in years. And the coffee was really good too, a beautiful start for my brief Perth adventures.

To be entirely honest I have not had much time at all to do any shooting for myself. My main agenda for this short trip was to shoot a friend's wedding. Most of my time was spent on shooting on locations, and I will try to squeeze a bit of my own personal shots, if possible. I think I have come to love Perth enough, that there was not really that over-excitement to shoot it. This may sound a little surprising but I did not actually want to shoot on the streets, even if I have found some time. Why? Because I would rather spend my time catching up with old friends (from my Uni days), reliving some memories, and eating some of the food which I have come to love and miss a lot. Therefore, enjoying the moment was definitely more important than spending too much time and effort shooting.

Here are some shots, which appear to be rather personal, and nothing special to most people. Please excuse the inconsistent color rendering (white balance may be off) and exposure balance, I am currently blogging and processing my photographs on an al-cheapo China branded Android based Tablet. I loaded the images from the camera to the tablet, run Snapseed to process the images, used Google+ to upload the images to Picasa albums and finally, the Picasa Online albums were linked to Blogger directly. Not the easiest way to blog but I guess I cannot forgive myself for leaving this place unattended for such a long time.

ANything with REAL Bacon and Egg is awesome. And oh, even that coffee beats anything (even Starbucks in KL) in Malaysia.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Hungry Mother Shot: Behind the Scenes

I thought it would be nice to talk about what happened behind some of the images that I have shared on this blog, especially how I get the shot, whether it was about some camera settings that I used or how I pre-visualized and planned to make the photograph happen. One of my favourite images from my recent shutter therapy sessions is the "hungry mother" from the previous blog entry, which was taken at Pudu, Kuala Lumpur. 

The following image was taken in a series of four frames, sequentially, as numbered.



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Facebook Page and Shutter Therapy in Pudu

After frequent pestering from friends as well as dozens and dozens of emails and comments from blog readers asking for me to setup a Facebook Page, at last, I have an official FACEBOOK PAGE for this blog. You can find the page here (click). I think it is crucial in separating my own Facebook account from the page which is dedicated specifically for blog readers and people who come to know me through the photography world. I am sure you are not interested to know what I ate for lunch or places I go to shop for my sweater which I put on my own Facebook account. The official Facebook Page shall be fully photography oriented, including updates from my latest gear review (lets hope something interesting to happen soon) as well as sharing of anything related to photography in general. 

Do bear with me as the Facebook Page is still rather empty at the moment, as I have not yet find the time to post photographs and update all the relevant information/details. Working life has become unforgivingly busy (I needed to work till over midnight in many occasions throughout the weekdays, and sometimes, Saturday too). so whatever precious time I have left, I would rather spend it outdoor shooting, doing my shutter therapy, rather than in front of computer. Nonetheless, I shall do my best to get the Facebook Page up and running as soon as I can. At this moment, please do support me by clicking "LIKE" on the my Facebook Page. 

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


Hungry Mother

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A BIG Thank You, and my Travel to Perth, Australia Soon.

In my previous blog entry I was ranting about my initial dilemma on whether to start advertising on my blog to earn a few extra bucks, or maintain it as it has always been: ad-free. I also have voiced up my concerns on the adverse effects that the advertisements may cause. Unexpectedly, I have received overwhelmingly positive and encouraging response from you beautiful people, and honestly, I was a little shocked, but extremely greateful to everyone at the same time. THANK YOU all so much for being understanding, taking the time to reassure me of the path that I will undertake and remind me to stay true to myself. Rest assured I will do my best to make sure shutter therapy goes on. With shutter therapy sessions, come photographs that I can use here in my blog, and then the random thoughts that I can throw around with the photographs !!



Next week, on Tuesday 16th April 2013 I will be flying to Perth, Western Australia and stay there for about a week. I will be shooting my dear friends' wedding in Perth, and I have been looking forward for this photo-assignment and holiday break for a long, long time. It has been a while since I traveled out of the country, and it has been more than 5 years since I left beloved Perth, where I have left behind a huge chunk of my heart.

I am not sure if any of you awesome people are in Perth, but if there are, I would love to meet up and have a cup of coffee with you !! Do let me know. Email me and we will be in touch. 

I am making a list of things I want to eat and places I want to visit/re-visit. If you do not know, this blog was started when I was still a university student in Perth, back in the year 2005. It has come a long way since. When I was there all I had was a compact point and shoot Kodak camera. Now, I think it will be interesting to return with more capable gear, and more importantly, a fresh set of eyes. I think I will see Perth differently this time, after being away all these years. 

Either way, I just can't wait to be there. Exciting times ahead. 

Before Perth, there is still this coming Sunday (I am working on Saturday till late night, so no shoot on Saturday) where I am expecting to have an awesome shutter therapy session, and an interesting cultural event to follow right on the very same day. If everything goes well, there will be tonnes of photographs coming up just in time before I have my one week time off from Malaysia. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Advertising on Blog


This humble, small blog of mine, simplyROBIN which I have started and actively maintained since 2005 (and picking up pace in photography world on 2008 onward) has made an unexpected turn some time in 2010 that became some sort of an unofficial Olympus gear reviewing site. I never did intend to review any photography equipment in the first place, but the opportunity came and as most sane photographers would react, it was impossible to turn the invitation down. Consequently, something I have never expected has happened: this blog has become one of the important references when it comes to Olympus gear review, and have been mentioned many times in online discussions, may it be in photography forums or Flickr groups.  In addition, the audience has grown exponentially over the years, and I have come to appreciate the interactions I have had with all you beautiful people who took some time to leave a comment or feedback, and even dropped me an email to say hi. Life indeed has been more colorful ever since.

In Pink

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Rain


Do I want the shelter from the rain, or the rain to wash me away?
Jars of Clay - I Need You

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Less Talk, More Photos

Before we dive into my usual shutter therapy collection of photographs, allow me to direct your attention to a photography exhibition happening at the Refinery, D7 at Sentul East. The exhibition showcases a collective work from accredited local photographers in the Royal Photographic Society (RPS). You can still visit the exhibition, which should run until May. More info here (click). 

 I was there early this morning, meeting up with fellow friends Tai Foong and Ripi. After the event, of course we jumped right into the agenda of the day: shutter therapy !!

All images were taken with Sony A350 and 35mm F1.8 DT lens, unless otherwise stated. 

Walking Out

Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Stranger's Smile




Olympus E-5 and ZD 50mm F2 macro

Sometimes, seeing the smile of a stranger was enough reason to shoot a photograph. There is something magical and breathtaking about genuine, friendly and beautiful smile that makes the photograph compelling. 

Monday, April 01, 2013

Holi: Festival of Colors

Last year in November during the Deepavali shooting I did while doing my review shoot for the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 lens, I was invited by Luke Chua to return to the same temple and shoot another beautiful festival, the Holi or more popularly known as the Festival of Colors, which happened earlier this afternoon. Back then when Luke told me about the event, I immediately said yes, and it was with much anticipation that I waited, and finally, today was the day. After a long, depressing and stressful week at work, the Holi Festival was one shooting session I knew would make up for everything, and make things right again. 

First of all, I consider myself very lucky to be in Malaysia, because we have Indians as an integral part of our unique multi-cultural society. Therefore, we do not have to travel all the way to India (or its neighboring countries) to witness some of the largest traditional and cultural Indian celebrations, such as this Holi Festival. Of course some may argue that the authenticity and scale of celebration may not be as grand and as beautiful in comparison to the mother country India, but hey, having our very own local celebration within driving distance or for my case, a train ride away from where I stay, I strongly believe this was one amazing photography opportunity not to be missed. Armed with my Olympus gear and Zuiko Digital lenses, I attacked the event with a few friends, and this session was one of the few that I really went all out shooting with my gear without holding back. I seriously poured everything into this session !!

All images were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital lenses 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 and 50-200mm F2.8-3.5

Pure Joy