Get The Best Out Of Your Tool

Hello Readers.

The Tool am talking is about digital camera – compact camera, mirrorless camera, DSLR camera etc. With the rapid advancement of technology over the last 5-10 years. Camera functions have improved dramatically since the day I picked up my first Sony compact camera back in 2003 from Cathay Photo. It was a 3.2mp point and shoot, costing me about S$600 during that time.

Fast forward to the current year. The photography industry continue to evolve. Currently in my arsenal, i am using a Canon 5D Mark III for my commercial work, a spare 5D Mark II. Especially the 5D Mark III have amazing features that i did not use at all. Paying the full bucks but only utilising half of the camera capabilities.

Basically, i am using the core function in the camera for the control of aperture, shutter speed and iso. The 5D Mk III camera obviously allows me to deliver high quality resolution image for industrial and corporate client who wanted to blow up the picture for office wall paper.

Nowadays, plenty of DSLR camera in the market offer a dual function capability. Not only does the camera can capture high quality images, but it produce HD video recording for filmmaker and videographer. I have to admit videography is not my interest at all. I did some recording but i did not want to do the editing because it require a bulk of time.

Then, i recently realised how oblivious i was in not consistently using some of the ‘delicious’ tools for my convenience. Such a waste right. Knowing my money was not well spent on the camera complexity.

Just to share, Canon 5D Mk III has this live view camera function for taking still image. For example, night photography. If the camera unable to focus on the spot i want. I can switch on the live view, set my lens to manual mode, through the live view to do a focus adjustment. I can also zoom in on the live view to have a better clarity on my focus. Gone are the good old days of doing manual focus through the viewfinder, which can be quite a struggle. Still, it doesn’t mean seeing through the viewfinder is a day of the past. No, peeping through the viewfinder still offer me a different perspective of the world.

In conclusion, explore and maximise your camera functions as many as possible. Camera manufacturer always gather user’s feedback in order to improve their next generation of product. So, have fun with your very expensive toy.

Making Changes For Yourself

Making changes for yourself is never a bad thing, in fact is a renewal experience of oneself. Too often we are stuck in this non perpetual habit that we may not be aware. Is good to get out of the comfort zone, try something that fear you. By overcoming your fear, you grow into a more confident character.

What if you don’t want to get out of the comfort zone. Why not do something you used to like but you haven’t did it for a very long time. This method works too. This will equally boost your confident and feel good about yourself.

I am honestly proud of myself to further develop my photography skill. Years ago i was commissioned by a German base company to shoot a series of clinic interior and some architecture photography around Singapore. Before that, i wasn’t using a tilt shift lens for perspective control, i was stitching all my buildings picture up manually, talk about the hard work and time.



I quickly committed my time to read books about interior and architecture photography, experimenting during my non working days to improve myself. While i continue to shoot for client. My subconscious mind was telling me is time to get this lens, and i did. I knew a good tool helps me to cut down my time sitting in front of the computer doing unnecessary editing. I took a leap of faith, invested in a tilt shift 17mm lens that cost me over $3000. I would say totally worth it. Not only that i make better pictures with my new tool, i saved time as well, most importantly my clients are happy with the work.

So, are you ready to change yourself?

 

P.S. I also make a new change to my blog theme, i just realised the previous one wasn’t mobile friendly to read. This makes me realise i was in my comfort zone for too long, not keeping track with the new change. At least i take action.

Travel Collection – 4 in Nepal

“Namaste”

When i was doing my travel photography at Kathmandu, Nepal. “Namaste” was the only nepalese language i spoke of in the entire trip. Is a respectful greeting to the local people.

According to Wikipedia.

Namaste means “I bow to the divine in you“. Namaste is usually spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. This gesture is called Añjali Mudrā or Pranamasana. *fascinating*

Capture this picture using a 24-70 lens. Wanted a out of focus background, aperture set to F/3.5, shutter speed running at 1/1600. The morning light was rather heart warming than alluring in the capital. Life in Nepal seems less unsophisticated to me, travelling in a city there feels rural yet, basic modern accessibility is in place.

I spotted this man during my morning walk, the temperature was still chilling. I stopped, observed him. He was selling some products on the street to make a living. I approached him. Said:”Namaste”, hand gesture for picture. He agreed.

“click click”

Share with him the picture, smile.

I capture this picture because of the difficult situation he is in. Been alone in the street trying to make a living can be challenging due to the weather condition, no shelter for him unlike retail shop. His wrinkled face showed how difficult life can be, rather than aging. Or a rather true story of life in Kathmandu.

Yet, he never forcefully try to sell me his product.

Feel free to check out other of my travel collection articles
1 in Beijing
2 in Bangkok
3 in Sri Racha

Shooting personality on the ground without any prep

Adhoc challenge, client ask:”Ricky we need a portrait picture of her, can you help?”

Such last minute usually picks my brain, experience starts to kick in. However my gears were prep for covering the client’s event. At that moment i would love to have a 50mm with me because of the wide aperture to shoot indoor. I usually open it up to F/2 for portrait shoot.

So, this lady am requested to photograph. By the name of Nani Marquina, Founder of Avant-Garde spanish rug designer. Her company name, NaniMarquina . The rug product was awesomely appealing, lay the right designer’s rug across the floor and your entire house can sell for extra few thousands dollar. *self-thought*

Nani was friendly, yet at the time speaking to her. I knew her mind was busy with something else. She was polite at her reply, soft spoken, understand a bit of English. Is my first time shooting a Spanish, nationality don’t bother me. My job is to get a good photo. My time was limited, as usual.

Took many frames, directed her in different positions, observing where the light coming from, should i used a flash to bounce light off elsewhere. Too many technical adjustment but so little time. Still, i managed to pull it off.

As you see in the picture below, my final shot was to get her to sit on the rug she had designed. Her dressing was stylish as well, i love the shoes she’s wore. Her constant wide smile was loving my lens. Her personality already make half of my job done.

Enjoy this picture of Nani Marquina.

Drop me email if you like me to solve your picture problem.

Travel Collection – 3 in Sri Racha

How i learnt about Sri Racha was back in 2007, i was still learning the rope of the photography industry, more interested in the commercial aspect. I was asked to assist a photographer who is going to have an assignment in Thailand. It was my first time going to Thailand, was very excited about it at that point of time. Later i learnt we were going to Sri Racha to work for a few days. Where the hell is that??? That was then my first intro to the subdistrict town in the eastern part of the country.

Many years later, back in 2011 (has it been so long already). I travelled back to the less crowded town to pay a visit to my local friend. I took the opportunity to wander around as a tourist, more chill not too focus on making pictures. I did later transformed into a photographer mode and start my ‘hunt’.

Portrait of a local kid

Portrait of a local boy

Portrait of a young girl

Even thought my three subjects are children, i still treat them with respectful manner, more funky approach as well. Bear in mind good manner will influence others to be courteous and polite as well.

I approached each of them with a friendly smile, and with my fascinating broken Thai language, hand gesture was more universal at that point of time. Trying to engage with the kid for a while before i try to take pictures. I usually visualise how i want the picture to turn out, rather than pondering about how to compose the picture. Because i am not in a controlled environment, i never know what is going to happen next, the kid can suddenly dash off , or the parent calling for them. Is better for me to do it asap than been draggy, if the child still hang around, i can continue to take more pictures.

One tips to get their smile, is  to show the children their pictures on the LCD screen, they love it, their smile will appear if they did not smile initially. This method never goes wrong for me so far. Once that smile break open, quickly capture more pictures while they are smiling from the heart. You got yourself some great pictures.

Feel free to check out other of my travel collection articles.

1 in Beijing

2 in Bangkok

Purging in progress on Facebook

What am i purging?

I am currently removing most of my pictures albums from my personal Facebook account. Why am i doing this, am i crazy or depress?

Why am i purging? 

You see the thing is, i don’t enjoy that eager feeling of waiting for someone to click that magical “Like” button for my photographs. I just realised i hate instant gratification. Honestly, a tremendous waste of time (i hate wasting time). If there are no “Likes” – what happen is self doubt creeps in, the feeling can be degrading and losing a bit of confident at time. Everyone loses confident at some point of time because of doubt or fear. Perfectly human being to say.

Posting so many pictures on social media may not truly reflect your life. That depends the type of pictures you are sharing. I used to see how people only portray the glamorous side of their lifestyle. Luckily, i barely can envied about that type of life, we all know how reality work.

Next, purging doesn’t mean i don’t like the pictures, but is less meaningful for me as i matured more. The perspective thinking between age 25 and 35, and so on, can be a lot of different.

Should i purge?

Is like cleansing; practicing a long meditation makes one more focus. Similarly, going to the spa to ease muscle tension accumulate on the weary body. Purging pictures off social media is a very personally decision for me. If you don’t want to purge doesn’t mean you are wrong because the pictures must be holding much memory for you. If you dare to purge, it means two things. First you got the guts, yes i got guts because i don’t really care if the old picture are there or not. Secondly and most importantly i see, is that there will still be much room for me as a person to grow.

Conclusion

As a photographer, the picture i took can reflect my style and personality. I want to start this journey of sharing pictures that are more meaningful to me, it would also be great if the pictures i share is able to resonate with someone else. Hope you feel release after doing it.

Eric Kim said:”Don’t care about the likes, care about the photos you like.”

Travel Collection – 2 in Bangkok

Not sure had you read my Travel Collection – 1 in BeijingTravel Collection – 1 in Beijing

Now here goes another one of my picture story telling of why do i make this particular image and how do i approach towards the subject during travel in other countries.

As many of the pictures were taken years back. I may not remember all the small details anymore, but the scene still linger in my mind.

Portrait of a Monk

I was like a street hunter, with an eagle’s eye looking for picture opportunities in Bangkok. I can’t remember which temple i was at, there are so many temples everywhere in busy Bangkok. A Buddhism’s country that much devoted to the belief.

I wandered into this temple where i can see a row of golden Buddhas in line. I took the opportunity to rest myself from the heat of wave. While i was cooling down under the shelter, my eyes was scanning for my ‘prey’, not many visitors at that moment, kids were running around, a few monks making their way to the exit.  I capture some still life street photograph and that was about it. Something was lacking. But i don’t know what is that hollow point at that moment.

Often when i search hard for picture opportunity, that situation never appear. The moment i stopped seeking, the chance is presented and is up to you to grab it. Why do i say this? Is because much patience had already dry up while waiting or expecting for something to happen. If nothing occur as you visualise,  you may end up being frustrated, disappointed and even a waste of time.

What is the disparity between Waiting and Expecting?

Waiting – Not knowing what is going to happen next, unable to control the situation. (negative)

Expecting –  A desire to see a situation that is going to unfold. (positive)

Back to the temple. As i as was about to leave, i noticed a monk by himself standing in-front of the Buddha statue. Somehow that particular moment caught my attention. I  boosted up my confident, approached the religion man. Is a do or die moment, i don’t want to moan later why i did not even asked about it and regret for the rest of my life.

I can’t speak Thai, except for the basic “Sawadee kap”, palm together. I spoke in the most simplistic English and hand gesture to ask for a picture. Hoping he will understand. I was not nervous, but neither will i be disappointed if he rejects me.

The monk smiled, nob his head *throw fist on air*

I recalled having some difficulty in the composition, whether should he be standing at the side or the centre. I quickly made a few frames and concluded that standing in the centre would be better. Everything is all centralised from the background to the key subject. Is the the student being humble in-front of the Buddha’s teaching.

He did not smiled throughout, neither i want to control his expression. For street/environmental portrait. I decided to let the monk to be himself, and be respectful to him is important.

Personally i like this picture so much that i printed out 12 x 8 inch and hang it up on the wall.

Hope you enjoy this article, drop me a comment if you like it or how to further improve it.