Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sleepy, Sleepy Street

I am still under the trance of street photography frenzy, thus I shall be putting as much effort as I can to improve myself every single time I hit the streets. Interestingly this has become somewhat of a routine, which I did not originally intended to happen. Looking on the plus side, I get to motivate myself to wake up really early on the weekends to work my camera, take a long, healthy walk, and train my mind to be sharp and alert of everything that is around me. This was definitely a welcome, instead of choosing to sleep in and wasting my life away, right? You have to admit there are dozens of worse things I could have chosen to do with my life.

Thankfully I am still sane enough, and believe it or not, the camera is indeed, keeping me sane.

Grafiti is not something very common in Malaysia, but you do find some really interesting ones if you keep your eyes open. Most of them have subtle political views.

Construction workers having their breakfast, probably before the start of work. I was standing across the road waiting for the cars to pass by before having a clear shot of them, but apparently they have noticed my presence.

If you want to find homeless people opportunities, you have got to be early. Since the streets are usually empty and quiet in weekend mornings, they would sleep in till late, and you have plenty of opportunities here.

I am not too sure what this dude is selling. I do see people stopping by to see what was inside that huge pink plastic bag.

An Engineer's Struggle for Creativity

After reading much tips, and looking through millions of photos online on street photography, I still could not really push myself that much further in terms of improving myself. Struggle for perfection has always been the trouble all photography-enthusiast are facing, and looking for fresh inspirations and ideas have never been easy, especially in my case being thrown into the world of engineering where creativity, originality and artistic vision are not encouraged, or more appropriately put, forbidden. It is too late for all those sad melodramatic tone now, since I am a practicing engineer, and a photography enthusiast. I just have to accept the circumstances as they are, and find my owns ways around the limitations that have been placed around me, and break through them. I will make it, if I put my mind to it.

Shirtless uncle, basking under morning sun.

Morning shave, the street style. Who needs a mirror anyway. All you need is a friend.

In reference to the previous photo, well, you have another option. Just let it grow.

You will never run out of cobblers on the streets, really. They are in every single freaking corner.

Fast Reaction, Fast Thinking

The main problem that I faced on the street was not being fast enough to react to photo-opportunities. It was not that I could not predict what was going to happen, but when I pointed my lens to the moment it was probably already one second too late. It is crucial to have lightning quick reflex, and knowing how to plan 10 steps ahead when you saw something was about to happen. There were so many things that should be considered: am I standing at the right position? Will my lens coverage hinder me from getting the best composition? Where should the main focus be? How can I isolate the subject so it will pop out more? Are my current camera settings optimized for the shot I have in mind? Most of the time I need to answer all the above questions in less than 2-3 seconds, did a few quick readjustments like re-positioning myself while fiddling with the camera settings and zoom factor on the lens just before making the shot happen. This is really a big challenge, and a lot of practice is needed before I can master this.

What if you wake up and find out that your bicycle is gone?

Some folks do not mind direct sunlight. I think once you live on the streets, you can pretty much tolerate anything.

Cutting the rock melon and preparing for the morning business.

I do not know why but this dude just looked special, hence I snap a photo of him.


This marked the first time I did something rather stupid. I saw a corner of a street, which seemed deserted. Any sane human would have walked away but I have increasingly become more daring, hence moved my feet towards that direction. It seemed as if someone might have been there, but on the plain sight the corner appeared to be empty. As I was approaching it, suddenly I heard dog barks, and I knew trouble was coming. There were THREE guard dogs positioned there, pouncing out of nowhere (seriously I did not know where they hid themselves) and dashing towards my direction. Judging by their speed, they could have caught on to me in less than 1 second, if they were not on leashes !!! The distance separating me and the dogs were less than a meter when the leashes stopped their movement. I must remind myself to thread the streets more cautiously next time. Dog bites and scratches are not very nice souvenirs. I hate dogs anyway, cats are so much more friendlier, at home or on the streets. Seriously.

The red metal grill.

And the street gets busier with human traffic.

Mechanics on the streets.

And then there was a cat.

Practice Practice Practice

Sometimes I hear some photographers who would say things like "Oh I have shot a butterfly before, lets do something different this time. Why shoot the same thing again and again? It is boring." I cannot help but to roll my eyes. Firstly, if you truly love what you do, no matter how many times you do it you will never come to a point you will be bored. Secondly, just by doing it once or twice will definitely not be enough to achieve the satisfactory standards of a good photograph (though this may be so subjective anyway). I find myself having so many limitations and came out with crappy shots the first few attempts of street photography. Slowly, but surely steadily I improve on each and every attempt that I made, and with each failure I analyzed my shots and make a note in mind not to repeat the same mistake, and find more solutions to create better shots next time. This repeated process may take a lot more time until I finally get something that I am ultimately happy with. No, I have not accomplished that level yet, but at least my shots are hell better than what I have obtained previously.

Cold floor, cold heart, cold feet.

Rise and shine !!

I am still new to this street photography game, but I am loving it !! I do hope to meet up with more serious street shooters around KL. I believe, it would be great to draw inspiration from fellow photography-enthusiasts who share the same passion.


  1. Bravo for being so daring to go into Malaysian streets, being Malaysian and shoot street shots. It's easy to shoot in another country because it is not home - you don't have to be so daring. And your shots are well executed, they speak to me.

  2. hey anandasim,
    thanks heaps for such generous remarks !! I really appreciate them.
    I am still new to street, nonetheless, I am loving it so much !!

  3. Aku punya kamera sudah gatal

  4. Hey Rob, your pictures are by far the most interesting ones I've observed. Their sorrow expression... wow... but well done and keep up your passion in street photography.

  5. hey rustie,
    lets go shooting !!

    hey JJ,
    Is this the Kenneth JJ I used to know from Kuching and went to Perth?
    Anyway thanks !! I will certainly explore ways to continue improving in street photography !!