Imperfect Shots

You know those big shot photographers kept saying again and again that we should only show our good shots, "edit" our photographs by hiding all the unsuccessful shots. True, for some photographers, how good they are, is only as significant as how well they cut down their shots to show only the best. Nothing against that, but if you keep tucking away your mistakes instead of confronting them, if you keep hiding your weaknesses instead of studying and finding ways to improve, you won't really go anywhere at all. 

In the process of learning, it is crucial to look at failures! Do not be afraid to show imperfect photographs, and we know the Internet is full of "digital junks" instead of real photographs, but it is a process we NEED to go through, in order to get better. Just dig my blog 5 years ago (2 years ago, even), on a random blog post and you will see all my digital junks and failures. I am one of the many photographers who contributed to the photography garbage for YEARS, and it took me that long to move just that few inches further in this neverending journey of photography. Am I ashamed of the previous "failed" shots? It does not really matter, does it? The fact that I did not take them down was because those unsuccessful shots, as lousy and as little artistic value they have held, they were all little stepping stones, bit by bit that helped me to get better and better. They were there to remind me that it took a long time, a lot of effort and going through a hell lot of not so successful shots to LEARN!

Hand-held fireworks. Bad idea. Always bring a tripod for this kind of shooting, and yes lesson learned, the hard way. I was reviewing the Olympus PEN E-P5 and one full session of shooting was wasted because I left the tripod at home. 

Shooting against the light, and how destructive it can be to your photograph!

That is also the reason why instead of just showing my absolute best, I always, always show a series of photographs from each shutter therapy session. Showing a set of photographs can tell a lot more of what is going on than just say, one or two shots. I set myself a target, for a short session, maybe I will show 10-12 photographs, for longer sessions, 20-30 photographs, and yes, among those shown on this blog, many do not really qualify the edits/quality checks. I say, who cares? Those were my photographs, photographs taken by myself, with my own vision, and hands. Those were REAL photographs, and I am damned proud of them. No one can tell me otherwise. 

Photography is a form of expression, one of the more interesting forms actually. Photographs are meant to be shared. Let your photography work be seen, and do not be discouraged to share your passion and art. 

Things That Run Through My Mind During Street Shooting

1) Ok, found an interesting portrait subject, lets go closer... and closer.... and.... oh crap this old man looks familiar.... I think I have shot him before... twice. 

2) This wet market (Pudu Open Air Market) is really, really dirty and smelly. Oh the things I put up with to get some shots. 

3) I have walked kilometers and still not have good enough shots! Never mind, keep walking. Miracles come to those who wait. Believe, Robin, keep believing.

4) Argh not wide enough! Why did I not bring along that wide angle lens? (happens half of the time)

5) Photo-opportunity!! ATTACK!!!!! Move legs move! Now!

6) Shutter speed not fast enough! (caught unintended motion blur, happens from time to time)

7) Beautiful subject approaching. Have about 5 seconds to prepare for this. Ok, camera settings, check. Composition, check. Now... wait for it... wait for it... oh you got to be kidding me... why TURN AWAY FROM ME!!!

8) You do not see me you do not see me you do not see me I am invisible I am invisible I am a ninja. 

9) This street looks unsafe. Lets go in and explore. 

10) OMG that is one cute kitty!! (often, I would make time for the cat, and believe me cats love me)

Morning conversation

Why Photographs Did Not Turn Out As Expected

I have often encountered a situation where I have pre-visualized a scene or a photography outcome, did all the necessary steps to achieve the intended output, followed through all the right techniques and execution, but what I came home with was not the original photograph which I have had in my mind in the first place. Something was not right, something was different, and sometimes I could not quite put into words what went wrong, or how the shot could have been (in comparison to the original visualized shot). I strongly believe I am not alone in this, and I have also witnessed how many of my friends quickly placed blames at all the wrong places, conveniently on their gear (which should have worked better if they have that lens or that better camera body, or that sturdier tripod), or worse, all other overly general excuses, such as weather, not in the mood or generally just "not in the luck" to get good shots. Not many people actually sit down, think for a while, and willing to discuss what went wrong with the photograph which took so much effort to produce but did not happen as planned. I guess too many people just expected magic to happen right away when the point the lens and click the shutter button, but photography goes far beyond that. 

Therefore, in this blog entry I want to explore the reasons why some photographs have fallen short of expectations, and some of the common things to watch out for, as a reminder even to myself when shooting!

All images in this entry were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital lenses, 50mm F2 macro or 25mm F2.8 pancake. 

Burning Incense

Robin Wong Returns

Heeeeellllooooooo beautiful people! I miss you all dearly!

I could not believe myself I have not updated this blog in such a long time, and more than that, it was an incredible fact that I have not done any shutter therapy or being involved in photography related activities for almost two months! Life is indeed unpredictable and it has been quite a journey so far, with unexpected twists and turns. I was home in Kuching, being by my beloved mother's side throughout her stay in hospital, hip replacement surgery and her recuperating at home all this time I have been away from Kuala Lumpur, and of course this blog. The surgery was a success, everything went very smoothly (with exception to the two week plus wait for the surgery to happen) and thanks to you generous people, who have donated for the costs of my mum's surgery, I did not have to resort to selling my Sony gear! 

Initially I intended to publish the list of names of people who have donated to my mum's total hip replacement surgery costs, but I have been contacted by quite a number of people who requested their names not to be mentioned publicly. Therefore, I shall honor those requests, and by omitting so many names, it just felt the list will seem rather, incomplete. The cost for the total hip replacement's metal implant was RM6,500 and the hospital bill (including surgery, hospital stay, medication, X-rays, etc) was RM496. Therefore the total expenditure was about RM7,000 and we did spend a bit more than that, with the purchase of some very necessary items such as walking frame. I would say all in all, with the unseen costs, we have spent about RM8,000 for the past two months. Of course things were a lot more complicated than that, since I was away from work by unpaid leave, and not having paid any salary for two months time obviously caused my funds to be depleted faster than usual. 

I have received from Paypal donations amounting to almost RM10,000 (USD3,000) and that was no small figure. With further incoming donations from close friends, relatives and colleagues, I have collected all in total of RM12,000. After deducting the surgery costs, I have about RM4,000, which I have spent more than half during my time in Kuching (I do need to eat, travel and pay bills!). With the amount that was left, and topping up from my own available funds, I do have enough to survive until the end of next month when the soonest salary rolls out!! 

I would have NEVER expected this to happen from you guys, seriously!! I do not know what to say, but thank you. My mum and I truly appreciated the help and amazing generosity coming from you beautiful people. The RM10,000 was almost a godsent gift to ease this difficult time, and because of that we do not have to go in deep, ugly debts. Thank you all again. 

So what shall I do to repay the kindness and generosity given to me and my family?

To continue my shutter therapy, and keep this blog ALIVE!! It has been something that I love doing for a long time now, and my passion will not stop anytime soon. I have returned to Kuala Lumpur now that my mum has been recovering very well (she has started walking without the aid of walking frame!!!). And yes, the first thought that came to me was, LETS GO OUT AND SHOOT SOME PHOTOS!!

All images were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital lenses 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 or 50mm F2 macro lenses. 

Morning Sun