Saturday, January 09, 2016

First Shutter Therapy of 2016, and It Was in Kuching

I have just had my first shutter therapy session of 2016 in Kuching, my beloved hometown. It was a much needed photography outing, as I have not used my gear since late last year, and my hands were itching badly for some shooting action. 

A little update on mum: she can now walk very steadily with the aid of walking frame, with minimal pain and discomfort. Doctors are very positive with her recovery and only retaining her due to the medication she took which lowered her immune system, making her more vulnerable to possible infection after her surgery, and her surgical wounds healing slower than usual. Other than that, everything was progressing well, mum was feeling positive at all times. I have fed her books and recorded movies and TV series to keep her occupied during her hospital hours. I accompanied her almost the entire time, only taking short breaks in the morning or afternoon, to catch up with friends, or get a cup of that overpriced coffee. 

Yesterday, I spent a whole morning shooting along the old streets of Kuching. Weather was not on our side, as it was raining when the gang met up. We had quick breakfast and by the time we finished, thankfully the rain has slowed down to light drizzle, and we started whipping out our cameras and lenses and walked around attacking random subjects along the way. Although the sky was not clear and everything appeared gloomy, the walk turned out to be quite a fun and enjoyable one, exploring the streets so familiar to me yet noticing a little changes there and here. 

I brought along the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and several lenses, but I only used the M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 most of the time, and the 9mm F8 fisheye body cap lens if I needed a wider coverage.

A little side note: if the photographs appear a little out of balance in terms of color, contrast and white balance, kindly take note I am processing the images away from my usual workhorse PC. I am currently blogging from a Microsoft Surface Pro (first edition, the dinosaur version). 

A friendly Crocodile by Sarawak River



Portrait of a Stranger

Boat Ride
Sampan, or a small, motorized boat is still the popular mode of transport for the locals to cross the river bridging the villages and Kuching city centre. 

Setting Up

The City of Sleeping Cats

I do hope they preserve the old, traditional looks of the older shops and streets in Kuching. 


School kid

Coffee in a Box

Portrait of a Stranger 2


Whatever she was cooking she obviously did not agree with it

Allen Ang, local wedding photographer attacking the streets as well!

Lance Vun, back for holidays from working in Melbourne. A street photography enthusiast himself!

Kuching is now plastered with a whole series of graffiti paintings everywhere. Found a set along the retaining wall near the Bishop Gate Street entrance. The sky was gloomy so I shall return to attack these paintings next time. 

Take a selfie, we must!!
Left to right: SK Jong, Allen Ang, Georgette Tan, yours truly, Alvin and Lance Vun

Being home, I get to enjoy the food I have been missing out all these times. 
Kolok Mee

Sarawak Laksa

If there are people in Kuching who are keen to do a shutter therapy together, or simply meet up over coffee, please leave a comment below, I should be able to do one more outing some time next week. 

I shall spend as much time as I can with mum, eat as much kolok mee and laksa as I can, and enjoy the beautiful Kuching sights while I am here. I like how the air feels so fresh, and sky is almost always blue (except the one day I decided to do shutter therapy!). 

Here is one for a great start to an awesome 2016!


  1. Best photos you've done for some time. It shows that your heart and "connect" bonds to Kuching and the subject matter. And the photo of Lance Vun "tabek" is way good.

    1. Thanks Ananda. The Lance's image was a spontaneous one. He just went up and there did what he did and I pointed the lens to his direction and took the shot LOL. Btw we were exploring an abandoned school building in a village across the river.

  2. Nice shots, Robin. Really shows off your location. What software did you use on the surface in PP?

    1. Thanks Martin!
      This time I processed JPEG directly, using snapseed for desktop (old discontinued version) and picasa.

    2. Nice one Robin - the colours still really punch with jpeg off the camera, ah! Am taking out the Pan 25mm f1.7 + EP5 for some shots today! See how that goes...

  3. Lovely pictures Robin. I woud have taken laundry and windows with a slightly shorter lens though, in order to show the buildings down to ground. They are that sort of images you would like to enter in and to see more!

    1. The ground was not adding up nicely to the frame so I decided to chop it off. But do come Kuching if you can! Beautiful place to explore.

    2. The ground was not adding up nicely to the frame so I decided to chop it off. But do come Kuching if you can! Beautiful place to explore.

  4. Again, I thank you for sharing images that stimulate my development of good photographic eyes. It seems that you have the ability to establish communication with your human subjects that result in photographs that reveal something interesting.

    1. Thanks for the kind words! There was minimal communication involved but I guess how they responded to the camera has a lot to do with how I showed and presented myself in the first place! Be friendly and people will respond kindly.

  5. Thanks for sharing, Robin. I just got back to Winter in the USA, after a week visiting my mom in Singapore. We didn't have time to get up to Ipoh (her home town) this visit, and I love seeing pictures of Malaysia -- it's so much more organic than Singapore, which seems to get more sterile every time I visit! Anyway, I know I'm supposed to find beauty in the stark Winter colors, but seriously, give me the tropics all year long.

    Do you have any entries about your post processing routine? This set feels more contrasty and saturated than your usual work, maybe because of the Surface?

    1. Hey Nick,
      It was my pleasure to share!
      It was the screen of the Surface that I am not used to. I rarely do any photo processing with the screen, hence the adjustment of contrast, exposure and color may be off.

  6. I'm so hungry for Laksa now. The only restaurant I know that serves it is usually out of it by the time I arrive.

    1. Which Laksa you were referring to? Sarawak has her own unique Laksa!

    2. I remember being shown Sarawak Laksa several years ago. There is a Singaporean-style restaurant about an hour from here that serves a version of Laksa simply named "Laksa".

      Either way, it's difficult to see food photos at time. :D :)

  7. Great pics; I miss South East Asia for the colourful and plentiful photo opportunities!