There are times that I may have over-think before I shoot. In contradiction to that I have also always emphasized simplicity, which I do practise when it comes to composition and subject content, but not so much on the photoshoot execution part. When it comes to the technicalities of the camera, I usually set the ISO manually, watched the shutter speed all the time (when I shoot in Aperture Priority), fiddle with the exposure compensation all the time, taking multiple shots of one scene, you know, just to be sure that one shot out of many is the perfect one, and always left wondering what I have missed out or might have done wrongly. There is that hesitation of "what if I stand over there" and "if I have moved closer" or "hey this works with wide angle too". Too many possibilities to go through, to many variables to play with and certainly not enough time to consider everything. Being hard-wired into engineering background I struggle to control everything. 

We know photography is never all about control.

Acquiring the Panasonic Lumix GM1 changes things for me. It is my way of simplifying my shutter therapy sessions. The following are my steps of simplification:

1) I ditched manual ISO control. I have ISO Auto with maximum ISO of 6400

2) I have shot everything in JPEG instead of RAW. What if I screw up my shot? Well, let the shot be screwed up. It is not a matter of life and death. If the shooting session was that important, I would have used my Olympus OM-D and PEN cameras instead. 

3) Limited battery life to play with. I have always brought along spare batteries for my OM-D, in case one runs out, and sometimes after a long exhaustive day, it usually does. GM1 is known to have poor battery life. It does not matter, I won't go trigger happy. Make every shot count. 

4) Chimp less. I have often admitted to chimping, and I do encourage that, reviewing your images after every shot to check the focus accuracy and make sure nothing went wrong. With the GM1, due to the limited battery life, I skipped chimping more and more. 

5) I normally would change lenses if necessary, and if I do not, I would use two camera bodies with different lenses mounted on them. I stayed with primarily one lens, the Olympus 25mm F1.8 on the GM1 thoughout the whole session, and (yes I caved in) only switched to Olympus 45mm F1.8 twice. 

6) I care less about the technicalities of my images, I have less worry about controlling everything, and just enjoyed the shooting process. Modern cameras are good enough to handle many photography situations.

7) No, I still do not trust the Face Detection AF. I switched that off. I manually select the focusing point, which was no biggie since I can use the touch screen to do so on the GM1.

Iron Men

I have always been shooting strangers on the street for my weekend activities. You know what, I decided to do things differently this time. I was with friends, spending time, having fun and catching up. Instead of shooting people that I do not know, I chose to shoot the people that I do know!

Last weekend has been quite interesting. There was a local photography exhibition organized by Exposure Plus group, and the exhibition opening happened at Feeka in Bukit Bintang. Such local event would surely pull together the photographers from many walks of life, and guess what, even our very own Ming Thein attended! Unfortunately I was too engrossed in conversation with him I did not manage to take a photograph of him before he disappeared. The exhibition featured the works of local photographers who underwent a 3 month mentoring program with respectable photographers from various industries. There was quite a wide variety of photographs being displayed. 

It was indeed a night of meeting photographers, catching up with friends, and making new connections as well. Here is a collection of random portraits of people who have been featured on my blog before (if you have been with me this long you would recognize some of them surely). 

Nick Wade, he spent months in Tokyo, Japan just to shoot on the streets! I want your life Nick. 

I have a confession to make. I, like every other human photographers out there, am the same, and susceptible to a disease called Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS). Here comes the surprise: I have bought myself a new camera: the Panasonic Lumix GM1. 


Yes, I got a non Olympus camera. Mind you, this is not the first non-Olympus camera that I bought, I have used Sony Alpha DSLT system quite extensively for almost a year, blogging frequently with the Sony setup. In my journey of learning photography I have come across and made friends with so many beautiful people, photographers who have used all kinds of cameras and system, and I have also been given many opportunities to try many other brands (yes, including Canon and Nikon too, both are great camera makers). I may look like I am completely biased to Olympus but if you do know me in person, and if you have sat down and spent some time talking to me you will realize that when I speak about photography I generally do not talk much on camera brands. Photography is a lot more than just what camera and what lens you use!

Panasonic Lumix GM1. 

I was so busy lately that I have not even had the time to do a proper recap of the year 2014. I have been busy with shooting weddings for the last weekends, and I could barely find time to catch my own breath! 

Ending of 2014 marked that this blog has been in existence for 10 years! Yes, is a DECADE old! I can barely believe it myself, and little did I know I would come this far and stay this long when I started this humble blog all these years ago. Also, I have accumulated more than 10 Million page views (90% coming in the last 2 years). Goodness, where did everyone come from? 

I am glad that I have had the opportunity to speak to so many people and contribute in whatever small ways I can in the online photography community. I realize my blog updates frequency has slowed down dramatically for the past few months, but I also ensure that I have longer blog posts, with more photographs (not just simple snapshots, but photographs made with a lot of thought and effort behind them). I shall continue to do so!

Photo Credit: Matti Sulanto

Here is a list of highlights over my 10 blogging years:

My first blog entry was about a surprise birthday party I helped made happen for a friend, which involved everyone being thrown into the river in Perth, Australia.

Documentation of my university life, my struggles, my journey, the beautiful memories, the delicious food and awesome people that I have met. My blog was the usual random, online diary format, a place where I can rant and pen down anything I wanted, freely. 

I have taken down my blog posts from my early years for privacy reasons. My blog here now only started showing from the year 2008 onward

I left Perth behind. That was a painful phase of my life, and I started a new life in Kuala Lumpur. I have also picked up my first DSLR (Olympus DSLR E-410), and getting more serious in photography. After a few months the E-410 was snatched from me at a public train, and I replaced that with a newly launched Olympus E-520. 

My father passed away in this year. Again a very difficult and dark time for me. Many people do not know, but the phrase Shutter Therapy was born during this time. I was feeling depressed and I thought to myself, photography could be doing me good, and it did, hence it became a form of therapy for me. I started using the phrase Shutter Therapy ever since and become something that become widely accepted, within the photography community. 

Olympus Malaysia approached me with the Olympus E-5, which I was loaned with to do a blog review. And I did, but with little expectations on what would follow. This blog suddenly become known and page views surged to tens of thousands per day, from just mere hundreds. This was possibly the turning point of my blog, a defining moment that paved my path and led me to where I am today. By this time, has somehow transformed into a full photography centric blog. 

Another important year for me, as my blog grew larger in audience. Initially my blog only had spike of visitors during blog review seasons, but I have noticed that the retention of readers got better after each review I did. This blog also started to get recognition from more prominent photography bloggers, such as Mike Johnston (the Online Photographer), Steve Huff and Kirk Tuck. It was an honor being mentioned on their blogs!

The peak of my blog has got to be during the OM-D E-M5 review. Come on, everyone has got to agree that E-M5 could possibly be the most successful, and most highly regarded mirrorless camera up to date. It was the mirrorless interchangeable camera that changed the perception of what a mirrorless interchangeable camera was, and totally raised the bar of camera performance, surpassing and matching even DSLR counterparts. 

Two huge events happened in 2013. First, my mum was hospitalized, I spent two months with her in the hospital including her recovery at home, and got huge support from my blog readers. Suddenly I was reminded that the people here are very real, and I can never thank everyone enough for helping me through this extremely difficult time. Secondly, I quitted my old job (Geotechnical Engineer) which I have been doing for the past five years in Kuala Lumpur, and joined Olympus Malaysia Marketing team. 

What an exciting year, a change of career, and I have just turned 30 years old. I have met so many people from all over the world, dived deeper into photography, and loved what I do even more here. 

I know it is a little late, but hey, Happy New Year to all of you beautiful people out there! I appreciate your support, visits, comments and contributions in any way that you have made to me. Many of you have helped me through difficult times and I am grateful for that. Here is to more shutter therapy sessions to come for everyone.