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.
Mode of Transport: bicycles.
Friendly, Chatty Locals
When a photography friend, Carlson created an event and invited me to join him for the weekend shoot at Pulau Ketam (roughly translated as Crab Island), I immediately jumped in and said yes, knowing I could make it in time for this outing. I have shot this place before, with a crazily large group of photographers, on a not so nice weather day, which rained half of my time there back then. However, this time things were very different. You have to recognize the fact that I have not been shooting for nearly two months (the one time in Kuching did not count, it was merely to satisfy the hand itch) and I have this build up tension that must be released somewhere. Also, not obtaining any good shots from my first visit there several years ago, I was back to the Pulau Ketam with revenge, to compensate for my loss of time there previously! I MUST get some shots.
Waking up at ungodly hours in the morning, we arrived at the Port Klang jetty at about 8am, and took the earliest ferry ride to the island. I chose Olympus for this outing, because, well, let's face it, my Olympus gear setup was more complete and filled in almost all my shooting needs. I have all High Grade lenses from super wide angle (11-22mm F2.8-3.5) to super telephoto lens (50-200mm F2.8-3.5). I did bring around the tele-photo lens, just in case you know, something interesting happens at a far distance I do need the extra long reach which my beloved 50mm f2 macro can't.
After not using the Olympus E-5 for sooooo long, suddenly the emotional feeling just overwhelmed me. I do not know how to explain this to you, but it was as if I have not seen a good friend in a long while, and the reunion was such a sweet experience. I love the familiarity the Olympus setup brings, I like how the shutter sound slaps and clacks with confidence and reassurance that I have nailed the shots even without reviewing (chimping, they say?) much, and I know the amazing quality the Zuiko Digital optics will produce. I was all out to shoot, and no time was wasted. We walked on and on and shot at anything that crossed our paths. Even cats, dogs and fish. Literally. You will see.
Up Against the Slope
Self Made Shade
Hello Friendly Rider!
At the edge
As you can probably tell by now there are MANY bicycles in that island, being the main mode of transport for the locals there. Being quite a small island with everywhere virtually interconnected to one another by small roads, bridges and paths, it was no surprise riding a bicycle can get you everywhere on that island. It was also fun observing all sorts of modifications being made on bicycles found there, from having addition of custom made seats to accommodate children, to installation of roof to provide shade from cruel Malaysian sun. There were also motorized version of bicycles (not to be confused with motorcycles, these were merely bicycles with motor) and people were zooming in and out everywhere with bicycles everywhere!! I had a fun time panning those bicycle riders, and they seemed to love having their photos taken by us too!
The local folks at Pulau Ketam were very friendly. Most of them did not mind having their photographs taken at all. I did not approach that many people to shoot (I may be deprived of shutter therapy but I have not become that desperate just yet) and with those few that I did encounter, they often respond very positively and had no problem with their photos taken. I guess the Pulau Ketam has become a hotspot for tourists and they are used to people visiting them and pointing the cameras everywhere.
Bed and Breakfast
The Cat Sees Something
Even the dogs were friendly
Hanging by the Moment
I think it was great that I have somehow taken a break from everything. I have not been working for almost two months now. On top of that, I have not been shooting at all, and I was completely away from the photography world. I actually never thought I would survive that long without shooting, you know, since shutter therapy has somehow become a drug to me. I guess we humans can adapt fast and well, when the necessity happens. It was indeed a scary thought that this blog which I have maintained for so many years (8 years now), I have almost abandoned it. I am glad I am back.
Having my mind clear from work and photography, two major elements which took out almost all my life for the past 5 years, was refreshing. Now I am back, somehow it felt like a new beginning. Things will not be easy, there are consequences which I must deal with, but I have returned with my mind recharged, and passion somewhat renewed. I know what I want now. Being forced to leave everything behind allowed me time to think and really reflect on my life. I can see what is important and how I have come to this point of my life. I am starting to appreciate my blog and photography experience more, and I have also come to realize that the readers who come to this blog are not just here to read my blog, but they have become something more than that, they have become apart of me through my journey in life! I cannot ignore that and I must also acknowledge my presence here was also brought thus far by the support and loyalty of you beautiful people. These surely have strengthened my heart to continue blogging and writing. For the first time, the reality hits me: I have an audience, a real, true audience, who have been with me and even reached out to help me in times of need.
I think we have all started at the very beginning of photography (as hobbyists of course) not knowing what purpose we want to achieve or which directions we will be heading. Over these years, and over the recent experiences I am going through, things are indeed getting clearer.
I shall continue to strive harder and improve in my photography skills. Time to push harder, and there are so much more to learn and explore. And you know what, I know you guys will be with me !
Houses on Swamp
Superhero on a Bike
How to Dry Salted Fish
I always, always make an effort to shoot my friends who are with me. It is always an honor shooting alongside people who share the same passion and love for photography. This was also my first time shooting with an Olympus gear with a majority of Sony supporters/fans.
Gear is secondary when it comes to photography, we have always been reminded of that so many times before. To me, I just wanted to focus on shooting. The question which I have answered earlier, is my current Olympus gear adequate to get the job required (my own expectations of course, yours might vary) done? It was a big yes, and no doubt, I have come home very satisfied with the output. The only problem I have was my own limited vision and sense of art. I felt somehow there were many opportunities which were missed, and many times composition could have been improved. There were brief moments of hesitations and yes, I did missed some important moments. Nevertheless, those were mistakes which I can live with, and I surely will learn from. How else can we learn and improve in photography?
Importance of having tiltable LCD screen and Live view shooting
Joseph Cheung with his awesome Sony A99.
Danny Lee and Olympus PEN E-P3. Still an awesome camera.
Carlson Yow and his beautiful wife, Eva Kok. Sony A99 and NEX-6
Oh you think this is the end? My shutter therapy adventure for the weekend has just begun!! Stay tuned for more photographs.
I assure you, I am back, and I am back for good!