One of the many joys and reasons of coming back to hometown would definitely be the friends and people that I have come to know over the years. It was Frankie whom I have been wanting to catch up with initially, since he has also made the jump into the world of DSLR, and much dramatic improvements can be evidently observed in the photos he has taken over the months !! Frankie suggested a meet up with other familiar friends and bloggers, and to create a mountain out of a mole, we threw in a surprise Birthday for Santa Louis !!
MEET FRANKIE from http://funkye.blogspot.com/
Man it feels good to camwhore amongst bloggers once again !!
Frankie was one of the first few bloggers I actually got to know in Kuching, alongside with the usual partners of crime like Allen. I see a lot of myself in Frankie actually, both of us were utilizing compact cameras initially, and we believed in stretching the camera to the limit. We also have the thought that it is the photographer behind the camera that truly matters to bring out the best in the photographs, and camera is just a tool. Nevertheless, we have both exhausted our compact cameras in more ways that ordinary people would. I made the dive sooner, no thanks to that guy in Malacca, but I was encouraging Frankie to pick up a DSLR. I am really glad he finally did, and I have got to say, I do envy his shots from time to time.
CALVIN from http://domain-13.blogspot.com
and M from http://m-senses.blogspot.com/
The meeting place was at Tarot Cafe, which was somewhere in the middle of Bormill Garden. The cafe must have been opened recently, or during the times I was away from Kuching. The concept of the place was designed based on the Tarot cards, and the menu, alongside the interior decorations sported strong sense of tarots. They literally have framed enlarged tarot cards plastered all over the walls.
There was Calvin, another fellow blogger from Kuching. A fellow old Thomian who was my senior and also another photo-kaki !! One of the person with the nicest smile I have seen in a while. He claimed that the shutter sound of Olympus E-520 is actually nice !! I think he was probably one of the very few people who said that, in opposition to Canon and Nikon shutter sounds.
Besides the usual suspect, Mike, whom I have known since secondary school days
MIKE from http://cloudedpawn.blogspot.com/
The main event of the night was the surprise birthday celebration for Louis !! It was a simple one, but executed with much effort and thought. We got him a cake, which was hidden by the staff of the cafe. When the timing was right, we had the cake brought out, and a tradition of Birthday Song with the lit candles, being blown off after the wish was made by the birthday boy, and cake cutting right at the end. Louis was successfully surprised alright, and everyone shared the joy of the birthday boy !!
Darn Allen why oh why did you not bring your most awesomest camera???
LOUIS from http://santalouis.blogspot.com/
Photo note: Mike giving Louis an interview !!
Photographing this session was an extreme challenge. The ceiling was painted blood red, which negated the feasibility of employing the flash bounce method which I have been favoringly utilized as of late. I could not snap the pictures with no flash either, since the lighting available was too dim for my set of lenses to function adequately. Firing directly would have create a very flattened out image, and washed out colours and skin tone. I did what I could best, and though the results were less than satisfactory, but it was not entirely that bad either.
BIRTHDAY BOY LOUIS IN ACTION !!!
I intended to capture the ambient lighting in the photo, to add the feeling of warmth and fuzziness that the atmosphere of the cafe conjured. Firing flash directly would have resulted in completely dark background. I pointed the flash upwards 60-75 degrees and toned down the flash intensity/output power significantly.
I fired the flash this way with the omni bounce diffuser adapted on the external flash to just lightly kiss the light on the faces to get rid of unwanted shadows, and boost up the glow on the skin. The settings on camera was on manual, and high ISO (800 wtfffff !!!!) while the shutter speed was dragged to 1/25 seconds to gather in as much light as possible. The supposingly anticipated ideal output was natural bright background with nicely and evenly lit faces.
GOOD PEOPLE COME IN GROUPS !!
Unfortunately the attempt was nothing that successful. Overblown highlights can be observed in almost all faces, and background was nowhere bright enough. The one thing I got right was the ambient lighting on the skin, which portrayed the warmth and fuzziness !! Oh well, maybe I should explore better ways in tackling this situation in the future.
All in all, it was one great night of fun and laughter. This made me feel like I am really home.
To Louis, Happy Birthday man !! May the blessings from heaven flow your way abundantly.
Cheers mate !!