Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Weekend That Ended with Soba Noodles Served on an Ice Block

The weekend was a rather busy one, with a whole Saturday spent on moving office (yes Olympus Malaysia has shifted our office out from Mon't Kiara to Ascent in Kelana Jaya), and today (Sunday)  we just had a morning Olympus Photowalk which was led by me, at KL Bird Park. Therefore, I had most of my time sucked out and left me with very little opportunity for shutter therapy. I decided to just take it slow with whatever free time I have left, had plenty of coffee, and checked out an interesting place that serves noodles on ice blocks!

This was shot with 40-150mm F2.8 PRO on Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, at 135mm focal length. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Malacca Weekend

From my previous blog entry you would know that I spent almost the whole Saturday shooting my friend's wedding. The day after, I told myself if I managed to wake up early and did not feel too exhausted I would pick up the camera and hit the streets in Malacca. I did wake up rather early and felt quite energetic despite the wedding shoot a day before, so I went to Jonker Walk and had a slow, relaxing walk and shot whatever subjects that caught my attention. 

To keep things easy and simple I only had the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and one lens with me, the M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8, and it was a short an hour and a half walk, before I headed back to meet up with my other friends for brunch. I did get some shots that I am quite happy with, and I am sharing them in this blog entry. I did however wish I would just walk a few more hours and explore some of the inner streets of beautiful, historical Malacca. One day, maybe I will just spend a weekend in Malacca and do nothing but shoot and eat!

Fly

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fred & Renee

Frederick is one of my closest friends in life, whom I have known since my college days in Kuching. He got married to the beautiful Renee Lim last weekend, and I was there throughout the ceremony and reception all the way. It was a blessing to be a part of the celebration and I wish Fred & Renee nothing but pure happiness, abundance of love & joy and a life-long prosperity and good health for their journey as a married couple!

I shall share some pre-wedding portrait shots that I have taken about half a year ago, in Malacca. Take note that I was NOT the main photographer, the official photographer was CJ Fen who did a splendid job. I was helping out and stole some opportunities to shoot for myself.

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko Lenses 25mm F1.8, 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8


Friday, May 20, 2016

My First Street Photography Workshop in Malacca with Craftify Studio!!

Last weekend has been quite an adventurous one for me, as I was conducting a basic street photography workshop in the beautiful, historical city of Malacca. The event was organized and hosted by Craftify Studio, headed by incredible photographer friends CJ Fen and Kenn Wai, both well established wedding photographers in Malacca. I was invited to speak about street photography and conducted a short photowalk for the participants.

The Craftify studio was quite a comfortable, homely environment, and I gave a one hour photo-sharing, with some tips and tricks on street shooting in general. Nothing too fancy, most of the things I have shared here in this blog, about decisive moment, lighting, paying attention to the background, using repetitive patterns, lines, shapes color play as well as slow shutter speed to create drama in the shots. I welcomed any questions at any time and I tried my best to answer the best I can. I also shared pointers on shooting strangers and how to approach the people on the street. After the sharing session, we headed to the nearby Jonker Street for a short photowalk where I demonstrated the points which I have highlighted earlier.

It is always fun to meet new people and bring them out to shoot! I was truly glad to see so many eager, and passionate photographers, tagging along and exploring street photography. Malacca is such a beautiful town, my only wish is to have more time to shoot. I hope everyone enjoyed the session as much as I did!

Here are some behind the scene photographs, mostly taken by Kenn Wai and Brandon Liew.

I brought along some Olympus gear for everyone to try! Guess what, all cameras were fully utilized during the street shooting session. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Of Coffee, Oatmeal Cookies and Saharil Hasrin Sanin

I miss the old days of blogging when I can just jumble up a few non-related subjects together to form a blog post title, and still make perfect sense. Those were the days before I even ventured so deeply into photography. 

Last weekend, there was the International Kuala Lumpur Book Festival happening at MAEPS, Serdang, and I braved the public transport (LRT --> KTM --> Shuttle Bus) to the event venue, just for two specific reasons: 1) to buy the new book "Cerpen-Cerpen Underground" authored by Saharil Hasrin Sanin, a renown local Malaysian author and visual artist, and 2) to meet Saharil in person during book signing session and of course, to have the newly purchased book signed by him. 



So who is Saharil? Those who are familiar with and following local Malaysian literature scene will surely know of Saharil and his work. Not too dissimilar to myself Saharil too was an engineering graduate, but was gravitated toward the world of art, in his case, writing and drawing. I first discovered him through his online blog many years ago showcasing comic style drawings, which he updated every day (the blog no longer exists). Then I read some of his short stories and immediately fell in love with his style of writing as well as his unusually unique perspective on life. I particularly admire the way he sees the world around him, and how his interpretation is always surrounded by layers and layers of deeper meaningful messages. Through his writing and visual arts, I have been inspired to train my eyes to look at everything around me differently, and in some ways Saharil has influenced my style of photography. 

I am probably not qualified to do a review for his new book, "Cerpen-Cerpen Underground" (translated as Underground Short Stories), and the book is fully writen  in Malay Language. My mastery of Malay Language has been deteriorating over the years as I rarely use this language any more, but gosh, reading his new book made me fall in love with Malay Language all over again. I am only about 30% through the book currently (believe me I would love to finish the book in one seating but who has the time to do that these days? I did not even have sufficient time for shutter therapy) and I am loving it so far. 

If you are a Malaysian, and you appreciate the beauty and grace of the Malay Language, this book "Cerpen-Cerpen Underground" by Saharil Hasrin Sanin is highly recommended for you. You can buy the book online here, and it is priced at RM25 only! 

A super quick portrait of Saharil. 
Oh what horrendous lighting in a huge hall I had to deal with. Should have stopped down the aperture so that book was not so out of focus. Should have asked him to stay away from the distracting red car. I suck at shooting portraits. Why is it that the photos that matter always turn out so bad???? Ok I shall stop ranting haha

To Saharil, thank you so much for what you do, you have brought much laughter and even tears (yes, some of his writings/art pieces are indeed that moving) to some of us, and I appreciate your generosity in sharing your craft with us. Stay awesome always. 

I know most of my readers here may not be able to understand Malay, but for those of you who do, you can follow Saharil at his official Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/saharilism/


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro Weekend

I was itching to shoot some spiders and bugs over the weekend, hence I brought home the M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro lens from the office. However my insect macro session was cut short as I had some last minute urgent matters to attend to. Not having enough insect macro shots, I decided to just bring along the M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro lens with me throughout the rest of my weekend and I shot anything that I thought would look good through the 60mm lens perspective!

The thing about a macro lens is that it is not just specifically used for macro purposes only, it can be used to shoot ordinary, every day photography subjects, if you find the focal length to be suitable for the intended composition. I do find the 60mm (which is 120mm in 35mm format) perspective very tight for casual shooting, but it also provides very unique perspective, something that our eyes are not used to seeing, as we see with our wide (almost equivalent to 35mm) perspective naturally. Having such a long lens, with the bright F2.8 aperture can create rather dramatic photography effect, even for the most ordinary of subjects. 

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro lens

To have better handling, the ECG-2 external grip for E-M10 Mark II was highly recommended. 

Friday, May 06, 2016

Join me in Backing Up La Noir Image Kickstarter Project

Hey beautiful people!

Listen up. A fellow awesome photographer/blogger, Chris Gampat from ThePhoblographer had recently started quite a unique and interesting project called La Noir Image, which is an exclusive documentation of the monochrome lifetyle. Chris has been gathering awe-inspiring black and white images from photographers all around the world, and consolidated the collection of images in the La Noir Image website here. I was fortunate and privileged to be featured as well, you can check out my slot here. 


Now, the La Noir Image project is taking a major step up in the game, and a Kickstarter project was created to fund this. Besides just having a cool website, La Noir Image aims to be made more accessible to mobile devices and have regular updates! The goal is to create digital high quality magazine compatible with both Android and iOS platforms, with addition of tonnes of interactive features (not just basic interviews, but also tutorials, discussion on black and white topics, and even video segments).

I genuinely do want to see this project happen. So please do join me in backing up this awesome project, you can start the pledge from USD10!

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Maximizing The Use of Kit Lens: Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ

I have written lengthily about Olympus underrated Kit Lens, the M.Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ Pancake Zoom lens, and you may read them here and here, if you have not done so.

I have heard many times newcomers to photography whine about how useless and crappy the kit lens that comes with their DSLR or Mirrorless System camera, and they immediately dismiss that kit lens, upgrading to better and more expensive pro grade lenses or prime lenses. While I do not deny that kit lens is not as good optically as the more expensive upgrade options, I would not call kit lenses useless, or crappy. For learning photographers, I would recommend rigorous and extensive use of the basic kit lens set up for at least one long year, before considering any upgrades. 

It is my belief that, if you are not yet capable of effectively using the basic kit lens to shoot good images, you are just not ready to upgrade your lens. Even if you choose to get a better lens, you could do so much better if you have just spent some time and effort in developing your skills in optimizing your kit lens use. 

Yes, upgrading to better lenses guarantees sharper images, better contrast (global and micro contrast), more specific capabilities (ultra wide angle, macro, long tele photo, etc) as well as shallower depth of field (wider aperture). I strongly and confidently believe that the kit lens is sufficiently sharp, versatile zoom range  enough for most practical uses and adequate in performance, lacking only by the limitations of the user. 

In this blog entry, I am sharing a few tips and tricks to maximize the potential of your kit lens use in every day photography. It is my hope that more newcomers to photography would not obsess about gear too soon, and explore photography with their new camera and kit lens.