Sunday, December 29, 2013

Project Burger: Awesome Gourmet Burgers with a Healthy Twist in Kuching

I know I know, I said my previous Japan trip blog entry would be the last one for 2013, but during my trip home to Kuching, I stumbled upon Calvin Kho's Project Burger, and I just have to blog about this!

I have known Calvin (the founder of Project Burger) for many years now, and we do have a lot of common friends. He came from Graphics Design background, having explored to education, being a school teacher for several years. Being adventurous, Calvin had always wanted to try out F&B and finally decided to take the plunge and started this interesting venture. Last Friday evening, together with my Kuching friends we sampled the best burgers in Kuching, my beloved hometown. 

Starting small, the venue was a humble car porch area of Calvin's Kuching home at Heights Avenue. It was a one man show, meaning Calvin is doing everything from taking the orders, preparing the burgers and serving the customers, all by himself. Kuching does have a homely, small town atmosphere hence the venue and dining style worked perfectly well. Considering Project Burger just started about half a year ago, this was a wiser option, and as the crowd expanded over time, Calvin does intend to open a restaurant/eatery. 

Pork Burger with Extra Toppings, Bacon and Poached Egg




Sunday, December 22, 2013

Land of the Rising Sun, Japan

Side Note: This blog has surpassed 7 Million page views!

I have just returned from my Japan short visit (for business trip actually), which I managed to squeeze out one and a half day for personal walkabout and shutter therapy. Yeap, you heard that right, I was doing Shutter Therapy on the streets of Japan, a perfect conclusion for my 2013. In case you do not know, this was also my first ever visit to the land of rising sun. 

As usual, bloggers at this time of the year would start to summarize and conclude their major events of the year and perhaps compose a closing blog entry for the year. I decided not to do that this year, after all I can always pause and do a quick reflection, re-capping the happenings in my life from time to time, and that does not necessarily have to be at the end of the year. As an alternative, I decided to make this Japan trip blog coverage as my final blog entry of this year. Therefore, this blog will be extra long, with a lot more photographs than usual (apologies to slow internet users) and I shall also randomly throw in more thoughts and sharing my experience in a more lengthy writing than usual. Considering all that I have gone through this year, with my mum's surgery, change of career path and me joining Olympus Malaysia in an official capacity, I do think that being out of the country for almost a week in Japan was the perfect finale I could have asked for. 

Before flying to Japan, I have consulted a few friends for advice, tips and recommendations on places to visit and shoot, especially for a photography-enthusiast with extra itchy fingers, with extremely limited time. Huey Yoong (click) has been extremely helpful in providing me very useful info, in fact I planned my entire layout for my schedule almost solely based on her detailed, well thought-out recommendation. I have shown the initial plan to my colleagues in Japan and asked for further improvements or tweaks if necessary, but everyone agreed that the plan worked, and was very good already. Also special thanks to a Japanese blog reader Norikazu Maki who emailed me and added a location for my shoot. The following list describes my locations which I have visited, in chronological order:

1) Hachioji
2) Shinjuku
3) Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
3) Senso-Ji Temple, Asakusa
4) Akihabara
5) Yebisu Garden Place
6) Shibuya

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko lenses: 9-18mm F4-5.6, 17mm F1.8 and 45mm F1.8


Friendly Japanese Folks. Hachioji

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Introducing Zuikoholics

Side Note: I will be travelling to Japan for work, and will be gone for about a week. I am not sure what kind of Internet connection I will be having there, hence if I have been more silent than usual, do not panic, it simply means I will be terribly busy with work, or have no access to Internet (or more piratical reason, too busy out there shooting, if I do find some time). Well, this will be my first visit to the Land of the Rising Sun, so YAY!

Earlier this morning, I had the privillege to join a group of local photographers whom I admire a lot, and they call themselves the Zuikoholics. Formed by fans of Olympus and Zuiko products, this group of photographers are some of the most passionate Olympus users I have known in Malaysia, and many of them have stayed with Olympus for many years, some even longer than me, and these days with the camera wars going on, loyalty has become a rare and extremely admirable trait to have for a photographer. I have often respected and awed at the photography work they produced, and they are maintaining a photography blog here (click to go to Zuikoholics). It was quite an interesting pool of talents, because they basically cover many grounds, from street photography, macro photography, abstract art to landscape and events. Considering how much they love Olympus and have stayed with Olympus all these years, they are amongst the most knowledgeable Olympus users I have known and I would gladly recommend any newcomers to Olympus to seek Zuikoholics members out for advice. 

I met up with three of their active members, Suzailan Jai, Ahmad Jaa and Capin Zaini at Pudu Wet Market and we had some shutter clicking action. I felt so inspired and motivated just by walking alongside them! I should really make time to shoot with them more, and perhaps next time, doing an insect macro outing. So much I can learn from.

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 and M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lens

Take My Fruits

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Heavy Breakfast

A heavy breakfast to start a weekend full of adventures.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 and M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lens. Shot at F8



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Night Photowalk with Johan Sopiee

A prominent Malaysian wedding photographer, Johan Sopiee organized a photowalk at KLCC area earlier this evening, and I was privileged to join the gang for a short shooting session. There was a heavy downpour in late afternoon and the sky did threaten to rain, but that did not stop many of us to turn up and have our shutter clicking happen. The gang met up at Dome, KLCC, had drinks and proceeded to shooting around the KLCC area. I did bring a tripod along, just in case I wanted to do long exposure shooting, but I decided not to do so for most of my shots, probably because I came from a long day of work and I was physically very tired. Nevertheless the shoot went on!

I have taken quite a few shots of the KLCC scene but they all turned out too ordinary, and honestly the twin towers have been shot too many times before in all imaginable ways possible. It was not easy creating shots that can stand out from the rest. Considering it was a rainy day, there were low clouds hanging and fortunate enough for us some puffs decided to crashed on the peak of the twin towers! That was when the magic happened, and we only had very short windows of opportunity. I know I know, out there, at other many times many people might have shot similar towers with clouds shot before but hey, it was my first time and boy was I excited!

All and all it was a great session, and I had fun catching up with Johan, and making a few new friends. More importantly, I got shutter clicking going on and I could not have asked for a better evening spent!

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 with M.Zuiko lenses 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 and 45mm F1.8 



Sunday, December 08, 2013

Twestival KL 2013

In the midst of crazy busy week that has been, I managed to squeezed some time out to attend a charity event yesterday, which was the Twestival KL 2013. It was basically a Twitter's Festival, some sort of a gathering of local tweeters in support for charity purposes. Plenty of fund raising activities were happening, including item auctions and merchandise sales with all profits going to Persatuan Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Hulu Langat.

You must be wondering what the heck was I doing there, since I do not really use Twitter. Well, I do have a twitter account but it has somehow been inactive for a while, and I do not really have any friends I have made in Twitter so, I was afraid I would be a stranger there. Nonetheless, before Twitter ruled the world, blog was the dominant social media and thankfully I did make some friends from my blog! I was pleased to see a few familiar faces: Jian (akiraceo.com), Ivy /hungryc.com/) and Anna (annna.net). I was surprised to find Anna using Olympus OM-D E-M5 already! Also present was Carmen Hong. 

There were also entertainment on stage with live performance so there I was with the OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens and I started randomly clicking at things. The lighting on stage was horrendous (with bluish, purplish and pinkish strong color casts) so I decided to present everything in monotone. 

Iphonegraphy

Elaine Daly 

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Shoot What You Want to Shoot

I am often asked "what do you always look for when you shoot on the street, and what should we watch out for?". Honestly, there is no straight and easy answer to that. My consistent answer has always been go and shoot what caught your attention, what spoke to you, and what attracted you. If you found something interesting enough to grab your attention, then that should be an interesting subject to photograph. 

The mistake that most people do when they shoot on the street? They read too many street photography books, read too many tips and tricks on street photography blogs or forums or listening to every rules from some street photographer gurus, and tried to emulate and produce what they thought what street photography model was. The way I see it, there should not be any model. There were great street photography work done in the past, but let's move on. Let's make even greater images. Stop referencing the past. The people, the place, the culture, the history, the time, everything is different and we should move forward. We, the new generation of street photographers should define our street photography. I am not discrediting or putting aside where street photography came from, I have deep respect for that, but are we really making our own photographs, or are we merely trying to be what they were?

So yes, I see things very differently, because I am different. I shoot differently, because I am different. I am not a great photographer, but I am happy shooting what I see, and I am glad I can share these images here. There are no secret recipe, special techniques, or tricks to get the kind of shots I am showing here. They are honest, straight to the point, no drama photographs. 

Kuala Lumpur

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Olympus Malaysia Walkabout at Pudu

Olympus Malaysia had a walkabout session at Pudu, Kuala Lumpur this morning, and guess what, I was the one leading the session! 

The purpose of this Walkabout was to encourage our Olympus OM-D, PEN and E-System (Four Thirds DSLR) users to go out and shoot more with Olympus gear. After all, the purpose of having a camera is to shoot photographs and we do want our users to use our cameras and lenses more. At the same time, it was a group outing so it was a platform to connect the Olympus users together. I was an Olympus users for many years and believe me it is a lonely camp when you do not know where to go and how to find other similar brand users. The registration to this event was open on last Tuesday and within just one day, the slots were already filled up! I limited the slots to only 15, mainly because it is easier to manage a small group, and in case there were questions or issues I can try to make sure that I am available to tend to as many people as possible. I have joined outings with 30-50 people and while they were fun, it was almost difficult to have any chance to talk to the leader at all. 

The turn-up was great and we had 16 people with us this morning, which comprised of many OM-D E-M1 users, E-M5 and also PEN users. Of course managing a lot of people means I have less time shooting (hence less photos here) but it was a joy to be able to bring a group of people to my usual street hunting ground, Pudu and introduce street photography to many people for the first time. People there were friendly and very approachable and there were so many activities and things happening around the place. My only wish was to be able to connect and communicate better but that was difficult to do when the group was difficult to move together once we have hit the wet market (we had to move in smaller groups). 

Full Attendance - Olympus OM-D, PEN  and E-System users for Pudu Walkabout!