I think I have recycled my shooting locations around Kuala Lumpur with nothing new for the past 2 years, shooting on the same streets: Chow Kit, Pudu, Jalan Masjid India, Petaling Street and Bukit Bintang area. I always find each street to be unique and different and I always come home with interesting subjects no matter how many times I have gone through the same streets. Perhaps, it was knowing the streets well enough that I have felt comfortable with the streets, I was able to move closer to my subjects and shoot without the fear of the unfamiliarity toward the shooting location.
Yesterday I was eager to shoot at this new temple that I have discovered on last week, while shooting the Chinese Opera. It was the Nine Emperor Gods Temple in Ampang. I had to take a train that stops about a kilometers away from the temple, and as I was walking toward the temple from the train station, I found that the streets there (in Ampang) was not too bad for street shooting !! It turned out that I spent about 45 minutes shooting along the 1 kilometers stretch of old shops and buildings leading to the temple, and I stopped for breakfast. I have found quite a few good opportunities here !!
All images were taken with Sony DSLR A350 and DT Lenses 50mm F1.8 and 18-70mm F3.5-5.6
Bare and Exposed
A Bright Sunday
A Free Cigarette.
I was shooting with Sony Alpha A350 and was just getting comfortable with the system. It is not exactly a perfect system, with so many flaws I can start to make a long list, but ironically I found myself enjoying myself shooting with this 4 years old dinosaur. Did I find the camera lacking or restricting what I intended to achieve on the streets? Did I ever wish I had a better camera (or my Olympus gear) with me instead? No and No. The camera performed adequately under brightly lit conditions, and the Olympus could probably perform better due to sharper optics. To be honest, unlike macro photography or serious portraiture shooting, street shooting has less emphasis on critical sharpness and technical perfection. It is ok if the images are not super sharp, or has soft corners. It does not matter if there is plenty of chromatic abberation, of even the presence of ugly high ISO noise. What makes street photography work is a lot more than all that, and the photographer should be concentrating on finding interesting subjects, and work with the subjects, instead of worrying about whether the camera can perform or not.
I was alone in this shooting session, and I find myself more in-tuned with my surroundings and spotting more interesting subjects easier. Perhaps it was also partly due to the charm of being in a new place for the first time, and everything is new and fresh, hence I was more open to new opportunities. However, shooting alone means there was no conversation at all to disrupt the shooting, and you have no excuse but to truly focus on shooting, and shooting only. If you have something specific in mind to accomplish, you will surely do it much better being alone, without disruptions. When you shoot in your group, your attention is divided into many things, and you will never be fully focused on your own shooting.
I have nothing against shooting in a small group (I have everything against shooting in a large group, say 6-8 people or even more), I almost all the time would shoot with a gang of 3-4 other similarly minded (street shooting) friends. Being in a group of people, it has automatically turned out to be a socializing event, and you have to talk, and that was not a bad thing, talking and sharing opinion, encouraging each other and providing live feedback/advice can be constructive in many cases. I guess for myself, I need both, shooting in a group, as well as shooting on my own. Shutter therapy works both ways.
Slow Shutter speed of 0.8sec used, with camera being held above head level, using the tilting LCD screen for composition, thanks to the very fast live view implementation on this A350.
Also, that super stead shot (built in body IS) works !!
They come in all sizes
Burning Joss Sticks
The destination of interest for the day was the Nine Emperor Gods Temple in Ampang, but as I arrived inside the temple, I found myself surrounded by so many people, it was quite uncomfortable to shoot. Everyone was constantly moving, and every single place that you stand, stopped and shoot, you will be obstructing someone behind or in front of you, moving around the place like busy ants. Furthermore, since it was the Nine Emperor Gods festival, the amount smoke produced from the incense and jossticks being burned in the temple was sufficient to choke an elephant. It was suffocating and the ashes and burned residue can be seen floating, no, filling the air, flying everywhere, landing on hair and body. You can tell if someone has been there for a while, their cloths and hair have more amount of ash/burned residue traces. Oh, and they hurt the eyes too !!
I had a wedding dinner reception to shoot on the same day, so I decided not to over-exhaust myself in the morning, and cut the temple shooting short, so that I can have enough rest in the afternoon.
Surely, the discovery of the new shooting ground at Ampang was quite a joy. And that temple, shall be revisited when it was a lot less filled with people.