I brought the Canon 5D Original out for a shutter therapy session recently and realized how older DSLR is perfect for newcomers to photography. Modern digital latest cameras have too many advanced tech and features that took away the need for the photographer's input in photo taking. The older DSLR does not have what you see is what you get live exposure simulation, as you adjust your exposure you need to know what you are doing without clutches. Also, the older cameras do not have advanced human face/eye detect tracking AI Autofocus, and you need ot use older center focus and recompose technique that require a lot more effort before pressing the shutter button. There is also no image stabilization or super high burst speed for spray and pray, you need to make every shot count. Shooting discipline becomes more important, and when you are learning the craft. these limitations will help you to grow. My latest video here (click). 

The first camera that I ever owned was the Kodak CX7430 which I bought in Perth, Australia in 2005. It was a 4MP basic compact point and shoot digital camera with minimal control and made to be easy to operate for beginners. The Kodak CX7430 introduced me to the world of photography and got me falling extremely hard into it. My earlier days of this blog were filled with images taken with the Kodak compact, but I have achieved those blog entries for privacy reasons. After 3 years of extensive use, or abuse, depending on how you look at it, the CX7430 died. Recently, I found similar camera in the used marketplace here, a Kodak CX7525, which was not exactly the same, but it was 99% similar. They have similar body design, controls layout, lens, LCD screen, everything, the only difference was the CCD image sensor in CX7525 being 5MP vs 4MP in the CX7430. I thought it would be fun to relive the nostalgia and bring this old Kodak out for a spin! I made a video to share my thoughts about the camera here (click). 

I don't do a lot of night shooting, mainly because by the end of long shoot days, or video making for YouTube, I am usually exhausted, and just want to lounge at home watching some comedy on TV. Or read a book, or listen to loud music blasting through headphones. Most of the times, it also rains heavily in Kuala Lumpur in the evenings, my gear may be weather-sealed, but I am certainly not, and I don't want to catch anything that can compromise my health, I need to be fit to shoot for paid jobs, or else, how can I feed myself? Whenever I do get the chance to go out and shoot at night, when it does not rain too heavily, it is always super fun. There is just something magical about shooting the urban streets at night, and this session I brought out the tiny and mighty Lumix GM1, paired with the venerable 12-32mm kit lens. I used Program mode because I was lazy, and I set the ISO to auto. Yes, the high ISO images were full of horrible noise, but seriously, who cares? I don't. Good images are good images regardless of high ISO noise. You can check out my POV video from this shoot here (click). 

I self invited myself to a studio portrait shooting session organized by photographer and friend, Jojo. He was collaborating with Canon Malaysia, with the R5 and 70-200mm F4 on loan, and he arranged a model photoshoot with make-up artists and all, and I just shamelessly tagged along and planned to have a little fun. I brought along the old, budget Olympus PEN E-PL7, which is more than 10 years old now, together with the cheapest AF Micro Four Thirds kit lenses you can find, the Lumix 12-32mm and Olympus 40-150mm R. While these are super budget setup, I thought they performed incredibly well in this studio shoot and delivered amazingly sharp and detailed results. This is a reminder to myself that I don't need the latest and greatest gear to produce excellent results, there are many other factors that can determine the outcome of the photography results - lighting, talent, make-up, the photographer's vision, just to name a few. And of course, in my latest video showcasing the E-PL7 in action, I also shared some tips on optimizing E-PL7 for this shooting situation. You can find the video here (click). 

As for this blog entry, I shall share the selected images taken from that shooting session. 

Organizer & Lead Photographer: Julius Elisan (IG @jojoelisan)
Model: Ivani Leang (IG @ivani_leang)
Make Up Artist: Jojie (IG @iamjojiemakeupartist)

I was dining out with my friend Spencer at this Pork Steak specialist place called Ante, and we wanted to try their Pork Burger. Of course we ordered the usual stuff, the Pork Shoulder Steak and some pasta to go along all the crazy amount of meat we were consuming. With so much food for two people, I thought it would be a nice idea to share the burger, since we won't be able to finish one all by one person. I asked the waiter to have the burger cut in half. It was too bad the lighting in the restaurant was so dim and flat, else this would have been quite an awesome photograph of a burger cross section, something I have never shot before in my life!

So my main photography YouTube Channel has hit 75,000 subscribers in early January 2024, and almost at the same time my secondary vlog channel just surpassed 2,000 subscribers. I had hoped that both these milestones would be accomplished by end of 2023, so I can have a nice wrap up for the year, but no, they needed to be extended to one month later. Not that there was any conseqeunce, these were self-decided deadlines, and I missed them by just a hair's width. 75,000 subscribers is no small feat, never had I thought I would achieve this in several years, and now 100k subs count seems very attainable and not too far away. I treated myself with a pair of new in-ear monitor headphones. I went to Starspicker Audio with Andrew Chow, a fellow photographer and friend and we spent hours auditioning various IEMs from different brands. I finally settled with EPZ Q5, mainly because the sound profile was completely different from my usual preference (I have used the Sennheiser IE 800 regularly for years, so that is my reference). It is nowhere near as good as the IE 800 in terms of soundstage imaging, and detail retrieval but I do like that it sounds completely different from my usual listening experience, a bit more warmth and the vocals in the EPZ Q5 is a lot more forward. Nevertheless, it was not too much damage to the wallet, and a good little celebration of a small milestone. Gotta celebrate the small wins, right?

Andrew, a fellow audio-enthusiast, enjoying coffee and some eargasm