Trust and Believing in Someone

Greetings from Kuching !!

I am now in my beloved hometown, spending most of my time with my beloved mother. Just moments ago, we were watching one of the Smallville's episodes in season 10. In that particular episode, the main theme was revolving around trust, faith and believing in someone.

Note: All photographs were taken with Olympus PEN E-PL1 and 14-42mm mk1 kit lens. Exposure and colour balance may be off, because I am away from my desk working computer.

Kolo Mee

Art Filters with Olympus PEN on KL Streets

Side Note: I will be flying home to Kuching later this evening (Sunday 29 May 2011). I will be in Kuching for one week, so anyone who wants to meet me up, please email me at, or buzz me at my FB page.
Can't wait to balik kampung !!!!!!

Anston, a dear friend called me up asking for a street shooting session, and I was thrilled because I have always wanted to do some shooting with him. Everyone has been rather busy and life has gotten a little traumatic lately, but I was really glad Anston called, and we attacked the streets of Kuala Lumpur on this glorious Sunday morning. Shutter therapy started at Masjid Jamek area and ended at Petaling Street. I was armed with the Olympus PEN E-PL1 and 14-42mm mk1, while Anston also used E-PL1, but with 9-18mm ultra wide angle lens instead. Damned I want that lens !!

Since I was not using my usual setup (E-5 and the beautiful 4/3 lenses), I thought of doing something different this session. I thought, micro 4/3 PEN series was supposed to be all about simplicity with minimal fuss. PEN philosophy is all about shooting and shooting, with less thinking and worries about the technicalities that usually weigh the DSLR users down. Therefore, I decided to just shoot with Art Filters ALL the time. On the PEN there were only six to choose from, and I made use of my favourite three: Pin Hole, Grainy Film and Pop Art.

Left alone.
PIN HOLE Art Filter
This was my favourite shot of the day. I know how some people would get all worked out having the eye contact in the photograph, but you have to admit, it was the direct eye contact of that child which made the photograph work the way it did.

Justice League Live Action Show @ Pavilion, KL

I was having lunch with a friend at Fahrenheit, and after lunch we decided to take a walk at Pavilion, KL. Little did I know, there was some superheroes event going on. As I dug further, there was going to be an Live Action Show of Justice League. Now if you guys do not know me well enough, I am a HUGE fan of Justice League, and I particularly love Batman and Superman. Alright, alright now the cat is out of the hat, it was indeed a delightful surprise. The stage event would take place at 5pm, and we had plenty of time to kill before that.

Therefore, we headed for desert. Cream and Fudge factory may just be the best place to lounge around and kill time. I have to tell you, the French Vanilla ice cream with mixed in crushed roasted almonds was probably the best ice cream I have ever put in my mouth.

All images in this entry were taken with Olympus PEN E-PL1 and 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 mk1 kit lens.

French vanilla with crushed roasted almond.

Yummy !!!

Since I was not out for shutter therapy session, I only brought along the Olympus PEN E-PL1 and the standard kit lens. If I have known earlier about the Justice League show, I would have prepared the E-5 and its army. Nonetheless, PEN is still a very capable camera system by itself, and I have no doubt that it would perform satisfactorily.

I got myself rather close to the stage, about 12 feet away, and most of the people in front of me were kids, so there was nothing blocking my view on the elevated stage. Lighting was bright, but not even. I set my camera to Aperture priority mode, at ISO 1600, and -0.7 EV. Now all I wished for was for the camera's AF to perform well enough to capture some good shots.

Harley Quinn and her band of dancing girls.

Portrait of a Homeless Man

It was about one or two months ago, in my usual shutter therapy sessions, I stumbled upon a homeless guy lounging out in the open by the Pertama Complex.

Photographs in the following were taken with Olympus E-5 and ZD 40-150mm F3.5-4.5

I was drawn to him in some ways, because he sat out there as if he was one, blended in with the crowd, yet he stood out in such stark contrast in the way he dressed and obvious appearance in the lack of personal hygiene.

Did I walk to him and ask his permission if I could take a photograph of him? No, I did not. Did I just steal a shot of him and run away? No. Why not hip shot? Too impersonal, and I wanted to establish a connection between the photographer and the subject.

So I stopped my walk, and turned my body to face him directly, standing about 6-7 feet away from him. He did not appear threatened or agitated. So I looked into his eyes, assuringly giving him the unspoken message that I am not an enemy and I meant no harm. Then I gestured my camera, and nodded my head as a sign of getting his consent, from that distance. He nodded back, to my astonishment. There onwards, the shutter just fired away.

These portrait shots are nothing extraordinary, not award-winning material, but I love them to bits. That eye contact of the man was extremely important, to create the sense of connection. I acknowledge that most street photographs work best in their natural, undisturbed state. However, sometimes, moving in to stir the look in the eyes to emphasize, and amplify the intimacy and closeness of the subject can make the image even more compelling, and haunting in the same way. Sometimes, the story all lies in the eyes.

Hak Jeng and Sulin: KL Wedding Dinner

Side Note: I was not the official photographer for this wedding. I was attending a friend's wedding, and decided to play along with the E-PL1.

It was my first official invitation to a wedding dinner ever in my life. How ironic, because I have shot quite a number of wedding assignment already as a freelance photographer, but I have not been to one with an invitation addressed directly to my name before this. Hak Jeng, a dear friend whom I have known since my school days in Kuching, had his KL wedding ceremony on 21st May 2011, and I attended the wedding dinner.

I could not help but to notice how happy Hak Jeng was. Seeing him so happy somehow kept me smiling the whole night too. There is just something about seeing a friend’s happiness that is so contagious that it infects you whole-heartedly.

The Olympus Lens That Survived a Pond Dive

We all have heard of great stories on how Olympus 4/3 E-System gear survived the harshest and cruelest conditions, may it be thunderstorms, sandstorms, freezing temperatures, physical drops or knocks, and some accidental dip into the river or ocean. We all know how amazing the weather sealing of Olympus E-X series, used in combination with the High Grade or Super High Grade lenses, providing full splashproof and dustproof setup. Hearing stories is one thing, but seeing it happen first hand, with my own eyes, was quite an unexpectedly flabbergasting experience altogether.

1/60sec, F/6.3, ISO200

Pudu with Primes

Shutter therapy resumes on the weekends, and this time I was accompanied by the infamous Jasonmumbles. There is just something awesome about going out really early in the morning (though losing sleep is not awesome at all) walking along the streets, breathing in the life and energy from the busy people crowding all over the place with all sorts of morning activities. I always feel alive and re-energized after each session of walkabout session, no matter how many times I have done so, or no matter how many times I have shot the same street. The street may be the same, but it is different each time I visit, and I get different sets of photographs too. Possibilities are endless on the streets, that is the miraculous thing about street photography.

All images in this entry were taken with Olympus E-5 and Zuiko Digital 8mm F3.5 Fisheye or 50mm F2 Macro lens.

Jason Lioh with his awesome gigantic lens. You can shoot through brick walls with that lens.

Wesak Day Adventures

Wesak Day was a national public holiday, a perfect excuse to sleep in without paying attention to the time passing by. I was woken up by a text from a friend asking for a lunch meetup at one of the Hokkien Restaurant in Sungai Wei. I hesitated at first (sleep is hard to come by these days) but I got off bed, and stormed out of the door to meet up with a bunch of photo-crazy people, who also have big hearts for Olympus.

Meet the Olympus PEN-Lovers

David, Mun Keat, Yeow, Thian Jin, Simon, and Yong
Photo taken with Olympus ZD 8mm F3.5 fisheye lens.

Know Your Camera

It was the same Saturday which I have discovered my photography work in a large print inside Olympus Malaysia, that I joined a group of brave and adventurous PEN Lovers for an outing in the afternoon at Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur. Although it was a PEN outing, I chose to bring my Olympus E-5 instead. I do not have any reason at all for my choice of camera, but I brought out what I felt like shooting with, and on that particular session, I wanted to go out with the E-5.

The time was around 3pm in the afternoon, and the shooting session lasted about 2 hours long. The sun was harsh, not exactly the best time to capture any good lighting, but I have had dinner plans on the very same evening, hence I had to cut the session short and leave by 5pm. All was good, I did manage to capture some shots which I was rather happy with.

All images were taken with Olympus E-5 and 50mm F2 Macro or 8mm F3.5 Fisheye lens.

Asking hands.
Pinhole Art Filter applied.

Butterfly Boy Large Print

I was at Olympus Malaysia today, participating in a gathering for the PEN Lovers Malaysia. Upon touring the new office, I was shocked to find one of my photographs which was taken during the Olympus E-5 review sagas on the wall. It was huge, like really huge !! The printed image was TALLER than me, and I am standing at 1.84cm tall. That image would have been at least 2.5m high (estimating from the floor to ceiling height).

Remember this photograph from the opening of my Part 2 Olympus E-5 review about half a year ago?

Here I was standing in front of my large size printed work. It was extra large !!

Interesting notes from the above photograph:

1) It was taken with my Olympus Zuiko 8mm F3.5 Fisheye lens. This lens have been MIA for quite some time, I lent it to a friend in Malacca a month and a half ago, and he returned it to me last night.

2) It was this same photograph (butterfly boy) that earned me this Fisheye Lens.

3) Although the image of me standing next to the image was taken with the fisheye, I applied fisheye correction in Olympus Viewer to turn the image into an ordinary wide angle perspective view.

4) The lighting in this situation was tricky. There was flourescent light from the left, tungsten light in the middle (directly above my head, two spot tungsten lights) and a strong daylight coming from the open door on the right of the frame. I'd say Olympus white balance engine handled the mixture of colours very well.

It was a flabbergasting feeling seeing my own work being displayed in Olympus Malaysia. Also, the quality of print from the E-5, straight from JPEG (I did not shoot RAW for my review works) was nothing short of impressive. The sharpness, the colour and everything were just fantastic. Is 12MP enough for large prints such as this? The answer is absolutely definitely a huge YES !!

Never Skip the Basics

I have been crossing this bridge every single working day for over the past two years, and every single time I did I always had the same thought in mind: "Where on earth did so many cars come from?"

Taken by resting the PEN on the hand railing at the edge of the bridge.
Olympus PEN E-PL1, IS Off, Anti-Shock 2 seconds, 15 sec long exposure, F/16, ISO 200.

There are many "new generation" photographers these days over-emphasizing solely on the artistic side of photography. It is crucial to acknowledge and understand the fact that photography is not one hundred percent art. I agree to create a great photograph is to create art. Nonetheless, without technology, there is no camera and lenses, and subsequently no photography to begin with.

Thian Jin and E-5

I have made friends with many interesting people lately. One of them is Thian Jin, who has just recently purchased the Olympus E-5, and if you were there to see him in person, you can  unmistakenly feel overwhelming amount of joy bursting out from his facial expression. Such intense happiness can only be reflected by following shutter therapy session, which he asked me to join him at the Zoo Negara.

Thian Jin shooting with Olympus E-5 and 70-300mm F4-5.6.
Taken with E-5 and 40-150mm F3.5-4.5.

I saw the glorious morning light shining down on him, creating an ethereal aura surrounding him, highlighting his hair and of course, the E-5 and 70-300mm. The harsh glow at the top of the 70-300mm F4-5.6's lens hood was the perfect icing on the cake. Thian Jin did not even realize I snapped this shot. It was as if the Olympus gear received some sort of blessings from the heavens !! Alright, I am on imagination overdrive mode, but do forgive me, for the weekend is almost over.

Sometimes, simple lighting works best. Observing, understanding the quality and direction of light really helped to improve photography. I am still very, very new to this genre, and boy, do I wish to venture deeper into people/portraiture photography !!

Long Saturday Adventures

I have had a very, very long day out today, traveling to quite a few places. It started with a glorious morning with beautiful clear sky hence I immediately made my way to my usual street hunting spots and fired away merrily. Missing the Olympus E-5 much, I decided to bring my E-5 with 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 and 50mm F2 macro, and just attacked whatever I found worthy attacking along the way. After using the PEN for quite a while now, I suddenly felt right at home with the E-5, the substantial hand grip wrapped around my hand comfortably, and the E-5 felt as if it was an integrated extension from my body. Shutter therapy begins !!!

I was walking along Chow Kit and little did I know I was actually cutting into the territories of Kampung Baru. Not wanting to make a huge turn back to the same path I took I decided to venture into the realm of Kampung Baru, and walked from there all the way to Dang Wangi, where I decided I have had too much baking under the not so friendly harsh sun. It was nearing afternoon when I stopped shooting, and Malaysian sun is your enemy at this time around.

All following images were taken with Olympus E-5 with 11-22mm and 50mm F2.

All good things come in pairs.
This is probably the shot of the day, I love it so much.

Uniqlo Media Opening @ KLCC with Local Celebrities !!!

Side Note: All photographes were taken with Olympus PEN E-PL1 with 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens. External flash Olympus Fl-36R was used for all the celebrities shots.

I got off work rather late this evening, making my way to the KLCC (Twin Towers) to kill time and to meet a dear friend Allen later in the evening. Little did I know there was a huge event going on at the center court, the Media Opening for Uniqlo Malaysia's second store at KLCC shopping center. For the opening night itself, Uniqlo managed to pool in an incredible line-up of local celebrities, including: Ella, Stacy, Yasmin Hani, Alex Yoong, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar and Josiah Ng. To be honest, I do not exactly know/recognize all of them (faces), heh, me not being a total follower of local entertainment scenes.

In case some of you do not know what Uniqlo is, well, it is a leading fashion retail store all the way from Japan. The first store was opened at Farenheit 88 in November 2010.

KLCC by night.

Hanging Out

Had a great night out with a friend Allen Ang who flew all the way in from Kuching to KL, and met up with some people whom I have not seen for a long time.

 Back: Eugene, Robin and Allen  Front: Cindy, Eri and Ruby
Olympus E-PL1 with 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 and FL-36R external flash (bounced off ceiling)

Great food, happy thoughts, good dosage of laughters, and yeah, these simple times are the small things that keep us going in life.

Hidden Scars of of Chow Kit

Everyone knows what Chow Kit is famous for. Some of the most wide-spread knowledge amongst the local folks would be the flocking prostitutes and sex-workers that include trans-gender/transvestites at Chow Kit.  

Hot Afternoon Sun.

Opening to a New World

Does the Government choose whom to govern, or do the people choose who their Government is?

Does a singer decide who listens to his/her songs, or do the fans decide who their favorite singer is, and what songs they love?

Can a Chef claim his own food to be delicious, if the people tasting his food have dissimilar opinions?

Now, tell me which one is more valid: do photographers get to choose who to view their photographs, or do the viewers get to choose what photographs they want to view?

Fishing village at Pangkor Island, near the Main Jetty.
Taken with Olympus PEN E-PL1 with 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens.

Art is an OPEN form, and it should not be held down by restrictions. The restrictions include who you choose to shoot with, who you choose to exchange opinions with, and who you choose to hang out with. May it be gearheads, may it be measurebators, may it be people chasing commercial success, or just a plain simple hobbyist who just want some good old shutter therapy sessions. Everyone picked up the camera for all sorts of reasons. Even if it is not the same reason for you, does it really matter?

I read this somewhere over the internet, and I cannot agree more with the statement.

"If you separate the photo from the artist, and the average 'uneducated' reaction is that the photo sucks... Well, they're right.

It'd be nice to get away from the cult of fame in art, and judge works on their own merits, rather than the artists."

It is a strong reminder to myself, that I must not close myself off from the society, live in my own little world, and be selfish about art.