A Quick Street Walk With Kamlan 50mm F1.1 II Before The Semi-Lockdown

As I have mentioned recently, some parts of Malaysia is under partial lockdown to combat the spread of Covid-19, Kuala Lumpur, where I am based is included. Technically the government did not forbid us to move about, and photography is not banned unlike the previous lockdown imposed from March to June earlier this year, where all movement or activities which were non-essential were completely disallowed. Nevertheless, it still feels uneasy going out, moving around if I do not have something specific or important to do, and doing street photography seems really selfish. Considering the frontliners are fighting their lives and knowing well, the government is this close at shutting down the country, with attempts of the current prime minister to declare state of emergency. Things are quite messy at the moment, so I thought it is best I avoid myself moving about too much. That means, no more shutter therapy for the time being. 

I did however have quite a few fruitful street shooting sessions just before the lockdown, and I managed to shoot with the Kamlan 50mm F1.1 Mark II lens which I thought was quite a fun lens to use. I'd probably not use this lens for anything serious, but for personal shoots, why not? A little manual focusing slows down the whole shooting process, and with the aid of focus peaking and magnified preview nailing sharp manual focus shots is not as difficult as most people would imagine. And I do like that the lens comes with so many issues and imperfections, which reminds me boldly that photography is not about perfection all the time, and I have to focus on the subject I am shooting, and the story I am telling. 

Here are the shots taken with Kamlan 50mm F1.1 Mark II on my own Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. 

Looking at the images I do miss street shooting, though this was only shot some time 3 weeks ago. As predicted, the original timeline of the semi-lockdown which was supposed to end on 27 October, got extended for another 2 weeks, and I won't be surprised if this keeps getting extended for the rest of the year, perhaps even stretching to next year. And if the new infections/cases keep rising, a full lockdown may be imposed again, and I dread just thinking about that. Locking down the country, restricting movement to control a disease is one thing, but the economic death that awaits down the road may not necessarily be a better alternative. Well, what do I know? I am just a photographer, and an ex-engineer. I don't decide the fate of the country, or how people live their lives. 

It is coming to one year since the first outbreak of Covid-19 late last year, and we are not even close at winning this fight. I am starting to wonder if we ever will. I am also starting to think about the future - will photography be still a viable profession for me to continue pursuing, if this pandemic is not going to end any time soon? It is end of October and I don't have any more shoots coming in for the rest of the year, and honestly I am not the only one facing this troubling "empty calendar". Many of my peers have shared similar woes. 

It was a dream come true, having made it as a professional photographer, with association with Olympus being their Visionary (ambassador), and I do acknowledge the successes that I have accomplished through my hard work, some luck, and I have many of you beautiful people to thank for over the years. I am truly grateful to be where I am today. If I were to rewind time, I would have done exactly the same all over again and would not change a thing. This experience has been incredible so far and I won't trade anything else in the world for it. 

However, realistically I am not the kind of person who crosses the bridge when I come to it - that bridge may not even be there, or may have collapsed. I need to start looking a little bit ahead down the road. So the big question is - can I survive being a photographer if the Covid-19 pandemic drags on for another year, or two?

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  1. Good shots as always. Your images show few smiling faces reflecting the anxiety we all share. Manual lens? Yes I was looking at the 7artisan 55mm f1.4 but with covid-19 hit, income is affected thus all non essential purchases are put on hold 😑

    Take care & Stay safe.

  2. I hope so Robin. If you leave photography you will be sorely missed.