Last weekend, I was out and about with some friends, on my last street photography outing before I take a long break for the Chinese New Year holidays. I am flying home to Kuching, Borneo for about two weeks, and I won't be doing much photography there, it will be prioritized for family and friends, especially for dear mum. In this final outing, I brought out a cheap old compact camera I got from the local buy-sell marketplace, and there is always that risk of the camera dying, and it just did! The camera can turn on and all, but every image it took was over-exposed. It could be due to faulty shutter mechanism, or aperture blades being stuck, I had no idea what happened, but the bottom-line was - the camera was no use. I put the camera back in its bag and whipped out my smartphone instead. And I continued snapping away. 

The main YouTube Channel has just surpassed 75,000 subscribers count, and this is a good reason for celebration! When I started the channel 4 years ago, it seemed like reaching big numbers like 100k was almost impossible. Now that we are three quarters along the way, suddenly 100k seems like an attainable number! It is amazing to look back, as I started writing about my adventures in photography here in this blog more than 10 years ago, which transitioned to me making YouTube videos in 2019, and now the channel is growing steadily, with consistent influx of audience coming in watching every single week, I would never have imagined myself having such a platform to engage with an audience. 

So thank you so much, whoever you are, reading this blog, watching my videos on YouTube, you have just made my day! 

Nothing much will change moving forward. I am still a full time photographer first, and content creator second. I earn a living by shooting paid jobs for my clients, and with my spare time I make videos to share about my passion on all things photography, and also I write here whenever I can. As long as I am passionate about shooting, and doing my shutter therapy, I will continue to speak and share as much as I can!

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I recently swapped 50mm lenses with my friend Jackie - he took my Nikon 50mm F1.8 D, and I took his Nikon 50mm F1.4 D. When I saw the 50mm F1.4, I was actually surprised at how small it was, the size was about the same as the F1.8 version. If they can make such small lenses back then, why are the newer 50mm lenses on modern mirrorless cameras, such as Panasonic S 50mm F1.8 and Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 so monstrous in size? I thought they could have been at least half in size and weight! Some may argue that we need better, sharper optics for modern image sensor higher demands, but that is just crazy, 50mm is supposed to be a small and fun lens to carry around! Anyways, I went to Pudu, KL with the 50mm F1.4 on my Nikon D600 and did some POV street shooting. This was the last POV video I recorded on my DJI Action 2, before I sold it off. Any future POV videos will be shot on my new DJI Pocket 3. You can check out the POV video here (click). In this blog, I am just sharing some fun street images from the Nikon 50mm F1.4, which I think is the right size for a 50mm lens!

Nikon 50mm F1.4D on D600 with a camo-pattern silicone jacket
My birthday was on 26 December, but everyone was crazy busy so the celebration with friends got delayed by almost a month. To me, I am so thankful that my friends so still remember, care and to take some of their time to celebrate with me. The older I get, the more I realize that the most valuable thing you can give someone is your time. We went to a BBQ Korean restaurant and had a feast, which consisted of what Jason called it "meat, meat and MORE meat". I have turned 39, it s the end of one decade for me, and honestly I am not sure how to feel when I turn 40 in less than a year! Whatever that has happened, I am truly thankful to be alive, and I am excited to continue on this journey of discovering myself, and growing to be a better person. I have so much more to do, and I felt like my life has just begun. Special thanks to Spencer, Jason and Gan for the awesome, sinful dinner. I have probably gained 10kg from that one seating alone. Time to hit the gym harder, maybe next week. I have also vlogged about this partcular celebration outing, you can check out the video here (click). 

Korean BBQ usually comes with unlimited refillable side dishes
I recently acquired the Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm F4-5.6 lens for a specific job that required me to shoot from quite a distance. The lens performed well and I got some satisfactory shots which I have delivered to my client. I thought I'd take this opportunity to do a little more with the lens and share some thoughts I had about the budget super telephoto zoom lens from Panasonic. Obviously I cannot share the shots from my job, it would be unethical for me to do so, this is a situation where the client does appreciate some privacy. So I went to the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, as usual with any long lenses and grabbed some cute bird shots with the lens. I also did a video to share some quick thoughts, you can find the video here (click). 

All images were taken with OM System OM-1 camera
About half a year ago I decided to try something new (at least to me) on my YouTube channel - Live Streaming. This was not a new concept, many people have been live streaming on different social media platforms, more popularly on gaming channels, but I thought it would be a fun way to engage my existing audience, allowing them to interact with me in real time. I have talked about my initial challenges of doing live streams here (click). It has been more than half a year, and I have done dozens of weekly sessions now, and I want to pen down some thoughts on the experience I have encountered so far. 

I am privileged to be invited to join the Annual General Meeting/New Year Party/Get-together this coming 28 January 2024. The Live Stream will be hosted by the ever-awesome Rob Trek, and with incredible Micro Four Thirds content creator as guests - including Matti Sulanto, Peter Forsgard, Benjamin Chappell and Brian James. I honestly don't know what will happen or what to expect from this stream, but I am super excited to be a part of it, and I look forward to seeing everyone together and to start the year with a bang! So, mark your calendar folks, the exact time for Live Stream is in the link (click). Do come in and say hi! 

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Recently I got super curious about using older compact cameras for street photography, so I scoured the used market place and found this Fujifilm XF1 at such a good condition with a price tag that I just cannot say no to. I brought the XF1 to Ipoh for some shutter therapy actions with my friends. The camera worked well and I got some beautiful shots but it stopped working on day 2. There was the "lens control error" which was a common issue that happened to all XF1 cameras after some time of use, some as soon as a few months after newly purchased. I thought the camera looked beautiful, I love the minimalist design yet having functional buttons and control dials layout, truly slim and pocketable size and the camera is capable of delivering good results. However, the deal breaker for me was the effort required to turn on the camera - you have to twist the lens, push it out, then rotate it again to fully turn the camera on. I think that was too many steps and I risk losing shots if I need to react reflexively on the streets, which usually is the case. If the XF1 has the traditional on-off button or switch and no lens twisting is required, I think it is one of the best compacts available for street shooting! I made a video about the XF1 too, you can find it here (click). 

The year started with a flurry of shoots, and this particular session was my friend Bihzhu performing at a rather interesting setup - a restaurant lit only by table lamps. I have been following Bihzhu for many of her live shows and performance, and I have to say this was by far the most challenging one I have ever faced. It was dim, and the available light was not easy to work with. I brought along my usual workhorse, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and a plethora of bright, prime lenses for this particular shoot. I found myself shooting at ISO6400 on average, and at times needing to go higher. They say you can't shoot low light with Micro Four Thirds. I say, screw you, here are some shots! Special thanks to Bihzhu for allowing me to share these images. 

Do follow Bihzhu in Instagram, YouTube or Spotify
Perks of having cool friends, they have cool cameras! Special thanks to Raja Indra Putra, a long time friend who has also taught me and inspired me to be a better photographer, he owned the Sigma DP2 Quattro, quite an unusual camera which was released about 10 years ago. The camera features Foveon X3 image sensor that has 3 different layers of pixels to capture more information, all combined into ultra-high resolution, more optimized image output, according to Sigma. The unusual sensor design, which was different from the normal Bayer pattern also meant that the processing took much longer than needed, with frustrating black out times, and the APS-C sized sensor has less dynamic range and high ISO noise control in comparison to even smaller sensors from Micro Four Thirds format. Nonetheless, used in the right scenario, in very limited range, the Foveon X3 sensor in Sigma DP2 Quattro shines, producing mind-blowingly sharp images with resolution only medium format cameras can match. It is indeed, a class of its own. I personally believe Sigma should revisit this Foveon concept, and with modern processing power (10 years later now) and advancement of sensor tech, I think they can make the whole operation time faster and more efficient, improve dynamic range/high ISO and at the same time, maintaining what made them so good in the first place - a medium format quality in a pocket sized camera! I talked about this and more in my latest video here (click)

Following the recent portrait shoot in my previous blog post, I also took the Panasonic Lumix LX100 out for some usual shutter therapy sessions in my hometown, Kuching in Borneo! I needed more shots for my video talking about the LX100, that has been published as the first video of the year 2024. I wish the LX100 had a tilt screen for low angle compositions, and also touch screen for quicker navigations, but I guess I managed fine. Something I tell myself to do more for the new year 2024 - go out and shoot more! I keep telling people to do that, and I should be doing that myself too. Practice what I preach. 

Happy New Year 2024 to all you awesome people out there. I hope you have a joyful and fruitful year ahead. I recently found a used Panasonic Lumix LX100 in the used market in such good condition, and at a price I just could not refuse, so I thought it would be fun revisiting this old camera. I have blogged about the LX100 multiple times before, so I won't repeat my thoughts here, but it was fun using the compact camera again, after all it features large Micro Four Thirds image sensor, bright and versatile zoom lens in such a small form factor. My friend Kieron arranged an outdoor model portrait photoshoot in Kuching, and the LX100 performed really well, getting me some shots that I am actually quite happy about! I share plenty of thoughts about the LX100 in my latest video here (click), and in this blog entry I shall just share some fresh photographs of the beautiful Eka.