I Got My First Moleskine from Isetan's Moleskine Concept Corner, The First In Malaysia

Earlier this morning I attended the media launch of Malaysia's first ever Moleskin Concept Corner at Isetan (in The Gardens Mall).  Veedoo Malaysia is officially bringing in  the premium luxury notebook (the actual thing that you can write with real pen, not something with a screen and keyboard) brand, Moleskine to Malaysia and has plans for expansion in the local market here. Veedoo is also an official distributor for major photography brands such as Lowepro and Manfrotto, both having products prominently displayed in their concept corner at Isetan in The Gardens Mall.

I have not owned an actual Moleskine before, but have always had that lust for the Italian premium notebook featuring their signature elastic band seal, ribbon bookmark, expandable pocket inside the rear cover and also rounded corners. Everyone who attended the event walked away with a small classic hard cover Moleskine notebook. Mine was "willow green" in color. Yay, finally I have one now!

All images in this entry were shot on Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko lenses 25mm F1.2 PRO or 12mm F2

You know your day started right when the Barista chose a matching color coffee cup and saucer to go along perfectly with the color of the Moleskine. I swear I did not talk to the Barista in advance. Sometimes the Universe has a way to tell you that some things are meant to happen and they happen beautifully. Or maybe I have collected sufficient karma points from the photography gods. 

The size of the Moleskine notebook was just perfect. Any larger than this I would dread bringing it out with me. I will slot it somewhere in my camera bag, which I minimize the gear I carry inside. 

There is a story about that Parker Pen that has my name on it. I shall probably share that next on my coming blog entry!

I was pleased to find that finally Moleskine is getting proper brand concept treatment in a premium shopping gallery. I have known reporter/journalist friends who use Moleskine and swear by its quality. Previously Moleskine is only available in obscure hideouts in several bookstores around town, but never being displayed out openly and proudly. I was told that Moleskine has evolved from just producing notebooks, journals and paper based products to more everyday used accessories such as wide array of bags and carry around cases. Primarily all the signature Moleskine products are available at the concept corner, including the notebooks,  planners as well as bags and accessories.

The Moleskine concept corner in Isetan is currently debuting their 2018 Fall Winter collection of products. The main highlight was the "Metro Bag Collection" that has simple and minimalistic overall appearance yet being overall stylistic. Moleskine claimed that these bags, ranging from backpack, duffel bags, messenger and tote bags were made to be practical both for work and play. They even have a dedicated wall to fully display numerous bag products from Moleskin available here. To find out more about the Metro Bag Collection, click here. 

The Moleskine corner in Isetan, The Gardens Mall has extensive collection of latest products, including their signature notebooks and planners, as well as new bags and accessories which have just been launched for this season. 

I was pleased to see that Moleskine is not purely making notebooks and journals anymore, as they are constantly diversifying their product options. 

I really like the wall of bags that has a wide selection of different designs, all to suit the extensive preferences of the market. I was also surprised to see how adventurous Molekine is getting with their color choices, not being too conservative with neutral and flat colors only. 

The hallmark of Moleskine - notebooks, pens and carry cases. 

The recently launched limited edition "007" line of products from Moleskine is also available at the concept corner. 

During the launch, a calligraphy artist was present to scribble the names of participants into their Moleskines. I chose not to have mine written as I wanted a blank, clean cover. I am simple and straightforward like that!

If you are shopping (or window shopping, like what I usually do) at The Gardens Mall, do drop by Isetan's 3rd floor Men's Department. Currently, the Moleskine Concept Corner is situated right next to the entrance to Isetan on the 3rd Floor. Also, that same corner hosts plethora of gadgets and accessories from huge brands. I particularly love the collection of fresh and modern Lowepro lifestyle bags displayed there. There were also Lowepro products (their unfailing lens pouches), bags as well as Manfrotto products. There were also something for audio-heads like myself, featuring Fender speakers as well as headphones and other audio related accessories. Also worth noting is that they are having huge discounts for premium mobile accessories from now until 22 November, you may find out more at their Facebook posting here (click). 

Special thanks to Veedoo for the invitation to the launch of the first Moleskine Corner in Malaysia. Who knows, in near future, we may get a Moleskine Concept Store, or better, a Moleskine Cafe in Malaysia?

Solving Life Problems with Ramen

Last Sunday, I found this cool Ramen (dry, non-soup based style) place at Sri Petaling called Menya Hanabi. I went for their signature dish, the Nagoya Mazesoba, a dry Ramen served with toppings of minced meat, lettuce, seaweed, a raw egg yolk and chasu (braised pork). This was my first time eating a Ramen which was not a broth/soup based. You know what? It was fantastic!

Image was shot with Olympus PEN E-P5 and M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8

I remember back in the days when I was working in Olympus, I had opportunities to travel to Japan for business trips. The common question which I have asked my then Japanese colleagues was - "what is your favourite Japanese food, being a Japanese yourself? Or, in other words, what is the Japanese food which you are most proud of?" The answers that I have received have always been consistent - Ramen. Bear in mind Japan has no shortage of awesome food and I particularly like their clean and subtle style of cooking and food preparation which is a total contrast to Malaysia's overbearingly strong and rich flavoring in food.

The struggle is real coming back from my several Japan trips, as it is a challenge to find high quality Ramen places in Kuala Lumpur. Do not get me wrong, there are too many Ramen places around, but the truly good ones are too few and far in between.

Sometimes, when the going gets tough in life, perhaps the only thing that can make everything OK was a beautiful bowl of Ramen.

Happy Deepavali

Happy Deepavali to all you beautiful people who celebrate the Festival of Lights! I almost made a shooting outing to capture the vibrant and joyous festive mood of Deepavali Eve in Kuala Lumpur but I had a last minute plan change. Nonetheless, here is an image from my original review of the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 lens 6 whooping years ago in 2012. Image was shot on then Olympus PEN E-PL5 at a local Indian Temple, with the people there so warm, friendly and welcoming of us outsiders who sought to just took some nice photos. It was such a beautiful experience!

Profoto B10 Launch in Malaysia

Still hot from the recent announcement in Photokina 2018, Profoto had just organized a product launch for the new Profoto B10, their smallest and lightest light in Kuala Lumpur on 31 October 2018. The launch event was held at Ilford Galerie in Oasis Square, Ara Damansara. I was there at the launch event together with many familiar faces from the local imaging industry contacts as well as photography friends. I went with my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and several prime lenses and decided to ease the itch of my fingers by clicking the shutter away throughout the whole launch event. Here are some shots from the event!

Wesley Wong, the man behind Ilford Galerie Malaysia, the first Ilford Galerie in the world, as well as a certified print master in Malaysia, gave the opening remarks as well as some introduction to history of Profoto in Malaysia. 

I am not a studio photographer, and I rarely use studio environment for my shoots. Therefore, I am not experienced enough to write about Profoto light and their newly launched B10. I shall leave the heavy analysis, review and discussions to the real pros. Nevertheless, the new Profoto B10 is so small and light, that it was almost unbelieveable that it could pack so much power. It has rough equivalent power to 5 external flash/speedlights, and is capable to overpower the sun under mid day shoot outdoors when needed. Yet it is portable and compact enough to be stored into a camera bag, and operates on its own battery power pack without the need or external power source. In addition, the B10 also has a powerful video continuous light which has adjustable light color temperature. 

Wesley Wong, a well-respected printmaster from Malaysia as well as the man behind Ilford Galerie, the venue of the event, opened the event for the evening. Leonard Goh from Srishti Singapore followed next, sharing product information about the Profoto B10, and what the "Power of Small" means. Tanes (TJ) the Profoto ambassador and a commercial photographer in Malaysia shared some of his work as well as experience with the Profoto lights. Next, Wesley came back on stage to talk about his shoots with the B10 and specifically addressed how accurate and bias free the colors from the B10 lights were. He claimed that the video light has sufficiently high CRI (Color Rendering Index) that he could use it for his commercial print proofing work. 

After the talk about the products and seeing what the B10 can produce through TJ and Wesley's photo sharing session, TJ then demonstrated live what the Profoto B10 can do while shooting a real life model. He was using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, and I believe he has set the burst continuous sequential shooting mode to 10 frames per second, and each and every shot was captured with the Profoto B10 firing rapidly. The B10 caught up successfully for each frame and showed completely no color bias, and full accuracy throughout the shoot. 

Spotted in the audience, some of my friends attending the event, including Robert, Sim and Van. 

Leonard Goh from Srishti Singapore, giving the product presentation of Profoto B10

Leonard demonstrated how easy and effortless the setup and operation of wireless control over the smartphone. 

After the talks and demonstration, the attendees were allowed to try the Profoto B10. There were two beautiful models for everyone to shoot, but I shied away from the shooting session, and I made my time worthwhile by spending time with many other photographers whom I have not seen in a while and finally be able to catch up with them. The good news is, there is a native TTL adapter for Olympus (Micro 4/3) system and my Olympus photographer friends were able to use the Profoto B10 to its fullest potential, with TTL operating capabilities. 

Leonard showed that the Profoto B10 can be used as an external light source for smartphone photography too! And the smartphone was connected to the B10 via Bluetooth, with smooth and lag free operation. 

 Tanes (TJ) sharing about his experience and work with Profoto B10, as a Malaysian Profoto Ambassador. 

Wesley Wong also took his turn to share his images shot using the Profoto B10. He also had some prints exhibited at the galerie space. 

Wesley claimed that the B10's video light has high CRI that is good enough for him to utilize for print proofing work. 

Tanes (TJ) was shooting his E-M1 Mark II at 10 frames per second and the Profoto B10 caught up to each and every frame with no issues. 

It was a successful launch event, and I do hope to hear more from Profoto as they announced during the event that they have just established a local business center in Kuala Lumpur. I wish to attend more Profoto events, and maybe some lighting workshops to enhance my own operations with off camera lights. And maybe, I can convince Ming Thein to review the Profoto B10, who knows?

Robert And Isabella from Austria

One fine day I received an email with an alarming disturbing title "help after being robbed". It was from an Austrian who was travelling to Mongolia, and he lost his gear in a robbery. Since he was coming to Kuala Lumpur next, Robert (the Austrian) was asking me via email if I could recommend some local dealers to get his camera replacement. We exchanged emails back and forth and he was here yesterday, we had lunch and coffee, and I believe Robert and Isabella were the first Austrians I have met in my life! I could be wrong, but I cannot remember any other Austrians I personally know before this.

Meet Robert and Isabella from Austria. Image shot with Olympus PEN E-P5 and M.Zuiko 25mm F1.2 PRO lens

You may follow their travel adventure here on their blog: https://www.happinessontour.com/blog/

Robert and Isabella are currently travelling around the world for a year, taking a break from everything. I wonder if this is something that Europeans like to do, as my other friend Matti from Finland also did the same thing. Maybe I should just drop everything off and started exploring the world for a year, that would give me a lot of interesting opportunities when it comes to photography! And I get to meet many of you beautiful readers everywhere! Oh well, for now that has to be a dream, unless I can successfully finance the travel funds. We shall see, anything can happen and I sure hope it happens sooner rather than later. 

Unfortunately Robert caught me during my super, super busy time. I have multiple shoots, workshops for Olympus as well as events happening out of town throughout the duration of his stay in Kuala Lumpur! I wish I could be more helpful to show around and maybe introduce some Malaysian food. Nonetheless, I did leave them with some recommendations and suggestions of food and locations of interest to explore! I cannot wait to see his photographs after their Malaysia travel. 

Robert told me that he was originally a Pentax user (I do not know that many Pentax fans!), before exploring other options, including Sony A7 series full frame mirrorless. He finally settled with Micro Four Thirds mainly for the smaller size and light-weight setup as well as better straight out of camera JPEGs. He was showing me the shots he took at Mongolia and I must say I was blown away, and almost did not believe they were all shot in JPEG. Sometimes I forgot how amazing Olympus JPEG colors can be, since I have been shooting RAW all the time now. 

To Robert and Isabella I hope you guys have a wonderful time in Kuala Lumpur! And please do eat all the food you can. I do wish you both will come back again some time with a longer stay so I can show you around properly next time. And I must plan to trip to Europe, if I ever get there, I will stop by Austria for sure.