What Caught My Attention?

Now that I am finished with my review episodes of the Olympus Stylus XZ-2, finally, I can get back to my own Sony A350, which I have missed dearly !!

I often mentioned that it is very important to pay attention to the things and subjects that catch your attention as you shoot on the street. If the subject is good enough to make me look at it twice, it surely will appeal in the final photograph. Choice of subject content is always very important, and should not be overlooked. My subjects are usually very straight-forward and simple, most of the times the things that I can connect to very easily. This morning I went to a shutter therapy session with some beautiful friends, and with the photographs I have taken, I shall describe what drew me to the subjects.

All images were taken with Sony Alpha A-350 and DT lenses 18-70mm or 50mm F1.8 

Unusual Residence
I have always have strong fascination for strange architecture, or buildings/structures with out of the usual designs. After all, I am in the building and development industry for my main career. It is only natural when I came across such an outstanding building like this, I would point my lens toward it. 

City Kid
When I shoot people on the street, I choose my subjects selectively, I do not just point my lens to anyone randomly. For this particular young man, it was the way he dress, looking like a "hip" city kid, that blended very well with the modern concrete surroundings. 

In a huge city like Kuala Lumpur, you get quite an alarming rate of beggars and homeless people, dwelling at corners and backalleys of older shops, scattered just about everywhere. It is painful to see them as they are. 

Time Off
Three Kitchen staff chilling at the corridor, such a relaxing mood on a weekend morning. 

Lines, shapes, patterns, perspective, all the usual things that make photographs interesting, are worth photographing. Don't think too much, just snap them !!

Friendly stranger
Malaysia is generally a very friendly place to live in, people are generous with smiles and they are willing to have their photos taken. Though I do not know this man, his friendly gesture was warm and inviting. 

Dead Phone
Kids, another one of my favorite subjects. Their innocence and sweetness just screamed to be photographed !

Hiding in the shade. 
If you did not know I love cats, you must be extremely new to this blog. Cat is probably the most photogenic subject to shoot on the street. 

Action will make photographs interesting. Capturing people doing something is something I always keep in mind. When someone is doing something they are putting their mind, coordinating their bodies into making something happen. In that moment, a lot of interesting things can happen !!

I deal with surveyors almost everyday in work, and I acknowledge the importance of their work. A lot of people never give them enough credit (in comparison to developers or architects). 

Mobile Trance
It is amazing how many people would just stop and stare at their phone for minutes or even longer in the city. It was as if mobile phone has put them in some sort of trance.  

Aren't we all attracted to $$$?

Halloween is not over
With kids all dressed up in striking costumes like these, how can you ignore them when you walked pass them?

Skin Deep
In the city, there are promotional activities happening all the time, sometimes for cosmetic and beauty products or services, hence they will hire girls to be at the front line to "grab" more customers. This has been an age old proven trick, never to fail. And part of their job description is to pose for photographers. No, not kidding here. 

My shooting buddies for the day. 

I think photography can be a very personal thing. When you focus on things that you can connect with, and you work with shooting those things that you really like, it becomes a very rewarding and fulfilling thing to do. Shooting should always be fun and stress-free. Why care too much about megapixels, high ISO noise, dynamic range or distortion? All those technical perfection won't make good images, if the subject content is not strong enough, or "interesting" enough to look at. I always urge my friends, and reminded myself to find interesting subjects to photograph, and pay attention to the choice of subjects that we work with, and how we approach them. Photography is a lot more than just "how to shoot". One of the more important factor of producing great images, is "WHAT to shoot". Knowing how to shoot is not enough. Using great tools, having the best shooting techniques and adopting great post-processing skills can only get you that far, and wont bring you further if your subject content was poor in the first place !!

Shoot something that compels you to shoot. Shoot something that you find out of the ordinary. Shoot something that makes you smile or laugh. Shoot something that pulls your emotion. Shoot something that speaks to you. Then you will see, your photograph is a lot more than just capturing light. 


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  2. I couldn't agree with you more, Robin. Another fine set of photographs. And I do recognize the Robinesque sparkle and keen eye for unusual or interesting subjects. I think I have that figured out, by the way - it's the way you meter (subject priority, which I love) and mostly open aperture; resulting in lovely bokeh. The superb shot of the kid with the non-working phone is a good example: the subject is perfectly exposed, the background bright with nice bokeh. I love it, not this "preserve the highlights" baloney. It makes for better shots, IMHO.

    The "exposed" man is also a very good shot, quick action there! And the man with the theodolite is great - somewhat funny, even, if you imagine that the caption would be something like "can't see a darn thing" since it seems that his floppy hat is blocking his view. Also, I am sure it's no coincidence, but the cosmetics girl with the giant poster in the background is a very powerful image as well. She looks far more natural by the way than the super-polished model on the billboard.

    Anyway, enough of my ramblings. Great work as always, Robin!

    1. Thanks Andre !! Don't overanalyze those photos, haha, I think they are a lot simpler than they look. Perhaps I just did a quick composition, keeping things very, very simple.
      About the way I meter, you were right, I pay attention to the main subject, not the background, often resulting in overblown background. Things are worse because I added plenty of contrast to my photographs.

  3. Excellent advice, Robin. I agree completely, too. There have been many times when I've left the house with somewhat of a specific idea in mind of what photograph that I intended to come home with, but while I was out, something caught my attention and for that reason alone I snapped the shutter. Often when I get home and start reviewing my photos on the computer, it's those unplanned shots that turn out to be the best of the ones I took that day.

    I'm always fascinated to see your photos of "friendly strangers" and of the city dwelling cats. Neither seem to be inhibited or threatened by you in the least bit. I firmly believe that cats have an excellent built in radar to detect frienly people, but I have no idea how you pull it off with the strangers in your city. Maybe it's the Malaysian culture, maybe it's how you approach them, but I suspect it's really a little bit of both.

    I really like that first photo of the Unusual Residence!

    1. Hello Gregg,
      I think it is Malaysian culture to be friendly, and I agree, when we approach the strangers we should not appear intimidating or threatening. Just be nice, smile generously, I find that working most of the time. Of course not everyone will want to be photographed.
      I believe the street cats are used to begging for people for food, hence their lack of shyness when people come near to them. Or they were just too lazy to care !

  4. love this album !!!
    how you present the pics & how you tell your passion...its a mind set of photo enthusiast, not a photonerd