Mostly nature and photojournalism of amateur standard.

By: Amir Ridhwan

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Sunday, 15-Jul-2007 16:23 Email | Share | | Bookmark

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In another attempt to explore other areas of photography, I am exploring the opportunity in human faces. To the best of my limited knowledge, I understand that this is an area where a lot of top professionals roam. It requires exceptionally high skills to master the art of taking portraits. All these time I have been avoiding taking this kind of photo due the fact that my lousy skills at this area might piss off someone when he sees how the image turned out. By focusing in macro, this problem can easily be eliminated- spiders don't complain.

Moving forward, I understand now how the skills in photography are linked to all the different discipline. At this moment, I just feel like exploring what makes so many photographers love to shoot human. I might never understand that but at least, I am giving it a shot.

Images here were taken at various time, places and occassions. The theme is People.

#1 A young boy being prepared as a devotee during 2007 Thaipusam in Batu Caves. Young kids go to bring milk offerings with bald head. They were shave just outside of the temple ground.

#2 Wedding in Kuala Tahan. I believe the groom is my second cousin. It might be best to crop out part of the groom's head to land focus on the bride but... nahhh. That'll ruin the layout for this page.

#3 Cak Lempung musician during UEM graduation day where my nephew Momad completed his studies there. There were like 6-7 musicians in the group and this looks like the otai.

#4 My niece Humairah drinking from a plastic cup.

#5 Father and daughter. My niece Hasya with her daddy.

#6 Mas receiving a phone call from her dad.

#7 A model during Mid Valley fashion week.

#8 A peddler in Jalan Masjid India. He was selling notes on arithmatic techniques.

I kinda miss shooting macro. Frankly, I am not sure when my next macro entry will be. For the time being I want to venture the depths of portrait, landscape and photojournalism just to taste it. Do tell me what you think on these shots. Portrait is not my forte so I can take quite a bashing with no hard feelings.

Sunday, 8-Jul-2007 16:29 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The reinforcement has arrived

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Within a week I have 3 new additions to my arsenal:

1. Tamrac Adventure 7 backpack from Tarita.
2. A lightweight 2-step ladder from
3. Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f3.5-4.5 lens from Tarita.

After over a year carrying my gears in a school bag, I think it is about time that my precious photography equipment get some protection while in action. The Adventure 7 from Tamrac is so far the most suitable bag for my needs. I have been considering several models from Lowepro such as the Slingshot 200AW, Rover II AW and Mini Trekker AW. Finally I decided that the Adventure 7 is the most suitable though I would prefer if the camera compartment is just 20% larger.

The ladder is something that I have always wanted and Fototeacher came out with it just timely. It can used as a bench but will be invaluable when I need some reach. Spiders do build their webs up high, you know.

Finally the ZD 40-150mm. This is one of the best of the low end Zuiko lenses and I got it at a very good price. It is a very versatile medium telephoto lens with decent speed and fantastic optical quality. For a sub RM500 zoom, I think the output is just nice. Here are sample photo without cropping or sharpening. Saved into camera as jpeg 1/8 compression, auto white balance. These are test photos and most were shot at 630pm after rain so the light is not that good (at pasar malam). Perhaps I should wait for better lighting but you know the temptation.

Parked car. 150mm 1/160s f4.5 ISO250

Sate girl. 118mm 1/160s f4.2 ISO250

Air tebu kid. 53mm 1/160s f3.7 ISO250

Young kid. 150mm 1/160s f4.5 ISO250

The toy peddler. 104mm 1/160s f4.1 ISO250

Arabian shack. 100mm 1/125s f5.6 ISO400

Reminder: No post processing except resizing and saved in medium quality jpeg (fotopages downgrade this further). All purchase were courtesy of Jabatan Hasil Dalam Negeri.

Focus Five is gathering Olympus users for a walkabout at Shah Alam Sentral this Saturday 14th July. We will have breakfast (go dutch) at Syed Restaurant there and then go shooting. We expect some show of equipment such as the 50-200, 135-400, 11-22, EC14 teleconverter and some OM lenses on 4/3 adaptor. Olympians are highly encouraged to join in as this is the avenue to try cool lenses and get poisoned. Details here:

I will show off item 1 and 3 above. Don't think anyone will be impressed though.

Sunday, 1-Jul-2007 17:07 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Kuantan: From macro to landscape

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Macro photography has always been the area I enjoy most. It gets me closer to nature and gives me the chance to study miniscule organism with astrounding details. After some time, I began to focus more on photographing spiders which I still enjoy today. One of my resolutions is to document enough spider in Malaysia to write a monograph on this subject.

This is macro of a jumping spider in Taman Gelora.

Sometimes I ponder on the possible excitement of other areas of photography. I tried to understand more on what makes portrait or landscape to be interesting. As with macro, the thing I enjoy most is to hunt the subject down and wrap up the discovery by documenting it. But what about landscape? What can be the challenge in shooting something that is always there all the time? In this balik kampung trip to Kuantan, I embarked on the journey of discovering the joys of landscape photography. I am lucky to be accompanied by either Ikelah or Maman in most throughout the weekend outing.

Bridge at Taman Gelora.

Morning exercise at Taman Gelora.

Taman Gelora at about 9am.

The bridge on River Kempadang. Bombed during the WW2.

Maman after inspecting the bridge above. I heard some cracking sound while taking this photo.

Baking kuih bakar and baulu the old way. It was so delicious, the moment I took the first bite my saliva ducts felt like bursting. Kuala Penor.

Ikan baung at Pekan Sehari in Sungai Isap. RM15/kg for a ticket to gourmet's heaven.

One thing I discovered- just like macro needs a suitable lens, so does landscape. In my languange it translates to Zuiko 11-22mm f2.8-3.5.

On the way back to KL. Somewhere after Karak.

Moral of the story: It requires experimenting for months or years to figure out how to take good photos. One needs to understand both the science and arts of photography in order to identify what turns a photo from simply good to majestic. An expensive gear set and an undying passion are not enough to create a masterpiece if one does not know what are the prime ingredients. I strongly suggest aspiring photographers to undertake lessons given by experienced and well reputed professionals so the talent can be cultivated in the right direction. I just found an intensive seminar which will be organized on the 1st and 2nd of August by which will be fascillitated by none other than Mr Hasnuddin Abu Samah whose credentials include being the official photographer for Siti Nurhaliza. To all my valued visitors, this is probably the most important piece of equipment you ever purchased- knowledge. Reserve your seats at today.

Saturday, 23-Jun-2007 15:52 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Super GT Roadshow at Times Square

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This happened last week on Sunday. For lack of other activity, we decided to drop by the Times Square where I can shoot the GT Queens and Mas can do anything else. Two local promoters were there at noon- Esther and Phoenie who posed for the photographers and handed out freebies to the crowd. Since the GT Queens on tour has yet to arrive, all with cameras take the time to photograph the promoters who were very sporting.

Esther and Phoenie posing for the photographers.

Phoenie and the Nissan GT.

When Momoyo and Aki arrived, everyone was excited and it seemed the foyer was under siege. All the photographers crowded the Queens and I was left with not much angle to have a clean shot. By the way, I was using my 35mm lens which was not the usedful to shoot in close range and totally useless to shoot from afar. Very few shot of Momoyo and Aki turned out well.

Aki ready for TV shoot.

At the venue I met Alex King who was also using E-500. He is a very avid portrait photographer and was kind enough to lend me the Zuiko 40-150mm lens. Wow that was an awesome lens and he got it from the kit set. Hmmm.. should have gotten that when I bought the camera.

Phoenie in a nice pose.

For me, it was a good change of air. After being so fanatic in the crusade of photographing various spiders in Malaysia, it is good to point the camera in another direction once a while. Taking images of human is not that bad afterall.

Phoenie catching some breath.

Sunday, 17-Jun-2007 16:12 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Bukit Fraser family trip

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The last week trip to Bukit Fraser was quite ad hoc. It was planned some 2 weeks in advance and 2 days before we took off, the lodging reservation was shifted to another apartment. Yet it was a wonderful 3D 2N trip that I belive left everyone happy.

A huge tortoise we saw trying to cross the road near the telecom tower. Seems like ancient.

We stayed at Pines apartments which is not far from the hill-up road. Note that now the are 2 roads connecting Bukit Fraser and the Gap- both are one-way. The apartment is 2-storey with 3 bedrooms. It was clean and situated at a nice location with the balcony facing another rows of apartments.

A caterpillar near the Kelantan Palace.

A jewel spider found not far from the entrance to Bishop Trail.

While some might go there for entertainment, relaxing, birdwatching or just to get some time together with family, I have a mission which was to hunt down the tarantula. It was pretty much successful and I am very happy with it. But since my last visit in February, there was a substantial decrease in the abundance of creatures, both arthropods and birds. The local folks even said that June is suppose to be the peak of birdwatching when the annual bird race is conducted. I suppose the climate is not as gentle as it used to be.

Minah posing- Humairah.

The had a barbeque with lamb, chicken wings, marshmallows, salad and some other good stuffs. The balcony was spacy enought to have that activity without hassle.

The entire family, just before we move back home.

For nature lovers, Bukit Fraser is one of the best getaway destination in West Malaysia. The cool and quiet ambience brings tranquility to those who seek solace in this highland forest reserve.

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