Saturday, 31 May 2008

Photo Workshop in KL : End June

Update 2000 GMT 010608 : I have set up a separate website for all matters relating to the workshops here or see links list on right sidebar.

2200 GMT 310509 : To all that responded, thanks for your interest shown, I never thought I would get such response within 12 hours of posting workshop details. As to those people that responded to my posting at I don't know what happened but that post has been deleted, please contact me here.

I will notify all once the dates and venue are fixed in a couple of weeks time. It would most likely be Saturday afternoons, and location will be in KL or Taman Tun area. Because of the smallish group, if anyone really cannot make the dates pls do let me know early so I can offer it to another person, to be fair, as I am not taking any deposit or confirmation monies. We now have 6 persons, so I am needing say another 2 or 3 persons.

To all photo-enthusiasts,

I will be in KL at the end of June to mid July and was hoping to give an introductory workshop to a small group of 6 - 8 people over 2 full afternoons.

This is a tentative programme :

Who is it for?

Do you feel like a little guidance in developing your photography skills now that you have all the fancy new equipment?
Are you at lost as to what to photograph?
Do you want to build on your existing portfolio?
Do you chimp?
Are you confident in photographing people in public?
Do you want to create a visual style of your own instead of just 'reproducing'

postcards images?
Do you photograph from your heart or from your head?

1st Afternoon

We start out the tough way with the basics in photography. Here you will discover what photography means to you, what it really is about, and you will get a totally new viewpoint to work out from. We will look at how to deconstruct and analyse images.
- and you will get an assignment!

2nd Afternoon

Follow-up on 1st session and questions answered.
We will touch on composition, color temperature, light, working with available light, discovering your potential to see.

Valuable final product

- you will challenge yourself to make fine photographs.

- learn how to work on project-led images.

- you can control the light.

- develop your own signature style.

- you will obtain much better results in your pictures.

- you will find out which camera is suited for your style.


It costs absolutely nothing! This is an introductory workshop, it will help me gauge the level of interest, competency and dedication to learn for a future more comprehensive program. ie. you are my guinea pigs! There will be some preparation though from your side, as learning and teaching is a two-way process.

Post me a comment if you are interested. There will only be about 6 - 8 places.

About Me

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Real Life Series : Anatomy of a Wedding Shoot : Part 2

Last weekend's wedding shoot went as planned despite a wet weather forecast, the rain stayed away. Expect the unexpected, is my motto for situations like these. We did have Plan B, if it did pour, but luckily this wasn't called for and all the guests enjoyed the sombre ceremony and the fabulous reception venue to its full.

I have taken over 1,000 photographs during the day and I am spending a good part of yesterday (Monday - a Bank holiday!) editing and deleting the blurred, shut eyes, or reject images. I had with me a small digicam point and shoot, which helped in getting spontaneous off-takes like the photograph above. Being unobtrusive, I can get very close to the crowd, often mingling up with them, without pointing a huge monstrosity into their faces.

I always look out for children at weddings, as they always lend themselves to great casual images, as they are less self-conscious in front cameras. Attention spans however less than so, if they have to pose for photographs! My eyes have to be everywhere, noticing things and expressions on faces.

The interior of the St Sophia Cathedral was magnificently ornate with icons and colourful mosaic lined images. However, light levels were low, with only daylight coming into the cavernous dome ceiling hall at a very high level, due to the stained glass windows set high up. It was however, manageable without flash, just. I was using settings at ISO800-1000, f4 at 1/30th shutter speeds which is pretty low. The image stabilised lens I was using helped significantly, to obtain photographs without the aid of flashlight, so that I can keep the 'ambient' natural look in my images. In some ceremonies, the priest usually would not allow flash photography or photography at all, but luckily, it was ok here.

The lighting at The Orangery, the venue for the evening reception was also low. I had to use flash with a 'lightsphere' diffuser most of the time. I also shot with natural light using a f1.8 85mm lens which I absolutely love due to its creamy bokeh at low light levels. Colour values are all over the place however, as the interior was floor-lit with yellow spotlights, whilst the remaining daylight (which is captured 'blue') filters in from the huge south facing windows, there were candles on each table also.

Setting the camera to 'Auto White Balance' may not do the trick. I found that the Canon tends to over-saturate the skin tones a touch, and using 'Tungsten' worked out better.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Heads Up, Photographers : SIPF 2008

To All Photographers,

The inaugural Singapore International Photography Festival will take place from
8 to 31 October 2008. SIPF is the first event of its kind in Southeast Asia. This biennial festival hopes to provide a platform for Southeast Asian and international artists to showcase their works alongside their international peers in various venues such as National Museum of Singapore, The Arts House, 2902 Photo Gallery and more.

For more information on participation please visit the dedicated website at SIPF08.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Real Life Series : Anatomy of a Wedding Shoot : Part 1

Maria & Andy : Sunday 25th May

This Sunday, I have the fortunate opportunity to photograph the wedding ceremony and reception of a close friend, Andy (an fellow accomplished photographer) and his charming fiancee, Maria. The religious ceremony will be held at St Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral followed by the reception, a short walk away at the equally spectacular The Orangery at Kensington Palace. Both locations will offer a host of viewpoints and vantages for a truly memorable wedding for the couple.

I hope to post about the ins and outs on that day, from the viewpoint of a wedding photographer, the pitfalls to avoid and the preparatory steps that I will take to cover the event. Beginning, last weekend, I met with Charlotte the Events Manager at the Palace who very kindly showed me around the grounds and rooms that we could photograph in case of wet weather, which, having looked at the forecast today, is increasingly likely. Which is a shame as The Orangery has a fantastic ornamental lawn and sunken garden, and at this time of year, is truly an awesome venue outdoors.

I will be using a Canon 5D with just two lenses, a 24mm-105mm F4 and an 85mm F1.8 for head and shoulder portraits, plus a flashgun. Additionally, I will be carrying a small Ricoh GRD2 digicam for the really close group snaps.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Nasi Lemak and red wine

Once in a while we have to relax. On my flight home to the UK earlier this week from KL, I managed to persuade my mother who was dropping me off at KL Sentral to swing by the local Indian coffeeshop to buy myself a nasi lemak bungkus. I picked a packet up for a measly RM1.00 (18 pence).

For the uninitiated, this is a cheap lunch packet consisting coconut rice, sambal ikan bilis (a sort of anchovy curry paste), a slice of hard boiled egg, roasted peanuts and cucumber slices. The more 'upmarket' kind would include perhaps a slice of fried fish or chicken and prawns. The whole thing may be wrapped in a banana leaf or in my case that morning, brown grease proof paper cone.

On board MH004 to London and flying over the Bangkok, it was lunch time. The stewardess came round and offered me a choice of plastic beef, chicken or pasta. They all taste and smell the same. I opted for the pasta, opened it up and closed it again. Don't get me wrong, I am not for wasting good food, but this wasn't, so I did.

I patriotically opened up my nasi lemak bungkus and a whiff of that sambal wafted out filled the stale cabin air around me. That was magical! The steward then came round offering wine, and I beckoned red. That was the best inflight meal I had for a long time. My RM1 nasi and red wine. Now THAT is class.

To the passengers in First class, pah! eat your heart out!

I vow to continue this 'tradition' for future return flights from KL!

Now let me tell you about one Pak Idrus, a retired ex-civil servant turned blogger at I came across his blog 'In Passing' several months back and found his writings rather readable, his demeanour amenable, and his topics homely and filled with humanity. I made an appointment to meet up at the trendy Pavilion shopping mall in Bukit Bintang on Labour day, a public holiday.

He came across as a very knowledgeable man, a social scientist he calls himself, and a gadget freak. (Pak, if you are reading this, I meant it in a good way!) He has one of those smart phones PDAs wifi thingy and carries a sophisticated digicam with him all the time to record his surroundings. He blogs, and is tech-friendly. He uses technology to fulfill his needs rather the opposite, like many do.

We chatted about life in the 'new' Malaysia post election, and he assures me of a change coming, a change for the good of the nation. A 'spell' has been lifted, (in his own words) after 50 years. He is optimistic. He speaks of changing people's mindset to embrace globalisation and technology. He speaks proudly of his professional offsprings embroiled in scientific research and his dear wife's culinary skills. He led me to his humble but cosy abode in Ampang and showed me his 'Sayang' a classic dark blue Volvo automobile proudly parked outside. Pak Idrus loves plants and nicknacks. He surrounded his terrace with ferns and all manner of greenery, water features, giant flower pots, it feels just like a kampung scene.

Thank you for your time to meet me in KL, and thank you for not being a stranger anymore.

PS. Incidentally, KLIA will take RM24 off you for a plate of nasi lemak.