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 – 1 in Beijing

Travel Collection is a group of photos from various travel trip i did in Asia countries.  I decided to select my favourite pictures, open up another folder in my website and put my favourite all together. Photoshelter function allows me to seamlessly handle large number of images in a breeze. The purpose for this blog is to share why do i make this particular image and how do i approach towards the subject during travel in other countries.

Portrait of an old lady 

I was exhausted after squeezing and exploring around the Temple of Heaven, Beijing. I headed to the park within the premises. Taking my time to rest and enjoy the lush of lighted greenery that embraced me. This old lady sat beside me, one bench away. Somehow we started chatting a bit through my mandarin language and their own Chinese dialect, i always love to have a conversation with a kind and good stranger. She was all smiling and laughing, you know the sunshine personality. I thought she would make a good portrait picture for my travel documentation,

She was already unreserve and relax, i asked her permission whether can i take her photograph? She agreed, wooohoooo! I took out my trusty long lens and started shooting. While am still making minor conversation to make it even more natural. I only asked her to look at the camera, and she was smiling all the way.

There was a generous depth in the background behind her. Technically is easier to isolate the background in order for the subject to stand out in it best. When people look at the picture, the focus is immediately on her, the greenery background became an aid to the overall composition.

I thought surrounded by greenery is a natural luxury.

‘Snap, Snap, Snap’

Check my LCD and was content with the outcome.

I really love that smile reflected on her facial expression, being positive and cheerful at her age. Is like an indication that her life is much peaceful. I showed her the picture and asked whether she likes it? We continued chatting a bit more before i headed for my next destination.

Camera setting
Focal length: 94mm
ISO: 800
Aperture: F/5
Shutter Speed: 1/250

Let me know if this is helpful, as i intend to write more (to improve my writing) of my experience to share with like minded photographers so that your can gain something as well.

Tarot card reader from Bangkok reuse my picture for FREE!!!

Seven years ago, i visited Bangkok for a personal photo trip. I took many travel scenery and street portraits that caught my interest. As i am the type of photographer who would approach the person for permission rather than been sneaky behind or using a super long lens to snap a picture of someone without their acknowledgement. It just been me, i like interaction, i like people who have eye contact with my camera for street portrait.

I was in the famous Chatuchak market at Bangkok, roaming around there for the first time. I caught sight of a tarot card reader who looks very interesting with her table set up and dressing, i approached her for a picture, she was speaking in half broken English which i struggle to understand. She gave me her card and i promised to send her a file.

Here is the actual portrait picture i took of her.

Recently, i saw her on Facebook, and realised she was using the picture i took of her to advertise herself. Apparently she seems quite famous in the tarot industry.

Check out her tarot service if you are in Bangkok. ^^

Now, you may be thinking am i going to be mad about it? She’s taking advantage of a photographer who took her picture and ended up using it for her advertising materials; which she did not paid a single cent for it. I know many pros out there would be fuming if such things happen.

In another angle, i kinda of appreciate her cause of action, at least i know this picture i capture was worthy. Her action speaks the truth. Ya i would love to get pay, but these was no agreement for any remuneration. I would at least love to be credited by her, but is all right. As long she is happy, i am happy. But that doesn’t mean you can email me to take free pictures for you all right. ;]

P.S. Feel free to check out my street portraits as well.

In the past

This batch of pictures has been sitting in one of my folder for god know how many months. I have no awareness how these gorgeous talent ended up there. But these images kept appearing whenever i do a batch resize to this particular folder.

The reason i did not delete or remove it is because this set of model’s pictures review who i am now, and what i am in the past. Is a self study or reflection as a photographer. Sometimes i wonder what happen to this group of people i had photographed. How is their life, doing what they are passionate about? Am clueless despite my constant curiosity. Am not sure if i have the RAW files as well! *shrugs*

Back in 2007 i was approached by a model agency to do a test shoot for their new talents. First time working with an agency as a young photographer, i was keen to shoot portrait and try to make an impression. I didn’t know what to expect and journey my way to their office to do the shoot filled with excitement. Sometimes knowing nothing can be a good thing, i can concentrate on the process of making picture, and more good pictures.

I recall using a Tamron 90mm macro lens, a cheaper version from the Canon 85mm portrait lens. This macro lens produce quality tack sharp pictures that i used it in most of my portrait shoot in the early days. The only downside is the very slow focusing, with the barrel moving in and out to get the focus in backlighting or low light condition. But i was patient in those days, slow and easy was the way to shoot, no stress, no pressure from anyone. Purely to enjoy the process – communicate and review.

I still keep this Tamron 90mm lens in my dry box and take it out to do macro shoot if needed. Think of it i haven’t used it for the last 2-3 years.

In 2007, i was using a Canon 5D, the first digital full frame camera in the market released in 2005. I was very proud to own it, the camera was very expensive that time and still beyond reach of many people, film was drastically dipping that time. i saved a long time and invested in it for my work. Unlike today. Everyone can easily afford a camera of various types such as a iPhone, mirrorless, compact camera to produce an image, storing memory in millions of pixel into a tiny memory card. The respect of an old digital DSLR camera quickly overwhelmed by the newer models many years down the road..

My holy editing application was on a Adobe Photoshop CS2, Windows version on a laptop. Way before i shifted to Mac till today, i was a PC user. Dealing with colors correction on the screen, frustration with the anti virus software, the heavy weight of the computer. Those day I had learnt a lot of editing skill through my friends and reading to polish my skill. Tutorials online are more interactive these days. There is no reason not to know nothing.

The above gorgeous model, if i recall correctly, her name is Stella. nice personality to work with and clear communication between me and her. I like her persona during the process, she was blessed with an eurasian look as well. Through my viewfinder i can sense she is genuinely enjoying the shoot. Simply nature in-front of the camera at full ease.

Some talents were new, like this lady on top. Clearly stiff and unsure what to do. I don’t blame her, everyone got their first time, the start to becoming better. It was my job to give direction and encourage her to boost confident. Ego bruise, definitely. However, everyone deserve a chance, if one close door on you, look for the next one until someone said yes.