Saturday, June 24, 2017

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

To all my beautiful readers who are celebrating, Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir Dan Batin!

That is one super rare, non-selfie, properly taken self-portrait of myself, wearing a Baju Melayu. Full festivity mode on! 

Eid-ul-Fitr is a huge thing in Malaysia, and the whole nation is celebrating.

I was involved with a local music video production as the behind the scenes stills photographer and having the song "Balik Kampung" played repeatedly for several hours sort of got me deep into the Raya mood! I just could not get the song out of my head even days after that shoot, and while I was shopping away (sales, sales everywhere before Raya) I stumbled upon this Baju Melayu. I have never owed or worn one before. I thought, why not just try it on, and see how I look in it? You know what, I LOVED IT! So I bought myself a simple, traditional looking Baju Melayu.

One funny fact: when I got the Baju Melayu, I did not know that the set did not come with the buttons for the shirt (yes, I know I am that noob, please forgive me). After doing some online research, Uncle Google told me I had to purchase the buttons separately. I hunted down some plain, simple looking buttons at Kamdar, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman the next day. All was well again.

To those of you driving long distances home, be extra careful and mindful on the road. I cannot wait to eat all the ketupat, rendang, curry and satays! Thank goodness the waistband on Baju Melayu pants is highly stretchable! I think they made it that way for the purpose of food over-consumption (just my uneducated assumption).

Have an awesome, joy-filled and meaningful Raya 2017 everybody! Any one of my blog readers have open houses? PLEASE INVITE ME OVER TO EAT!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How To Create Hipster Looking Food Photograph

You know those super polished, beautifully lit, totally Instagrammable food photographs? I know I should not join those hipster crowd but being Asian myself sometimes I just could not help it. I too, take plenty of food photographs at cafes and restaurants. So, in this blog entry, I will show you how I do it, in step by step instructions.

Image was taken by Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens

Friday, June 16, 2017

Nature Thru The Lens - An Exhibition by Malaysian Nature Society

Important note:
Hey beautiful people! If you have not found out, I have joined Ming Thein's site as a contributor, and will actively write and share about photography there. However, I will still keep this old site of mine alive, with updates about happenings of photography community around Malaysia, a little bit of personal journal and also random stuff about life and things that go about around me. 

Last evening, I was invited by Mahesh, an awesome photographer friend to attend an exhibition launch that he was participating in. The photo exhibition was titled "Nature Thru The Lens", organized by Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), which was also a fundraising for the MNS group. The exhibition showcases immensely inspiring, 81 tightly curated nature and wildlife themed photographs from dozens of local Malaysian photographers. The exhibition is now taking place in The White Box, Publika, happening daily from 13 to 18 June 2017. The entrance to the exhibition is free, and the photographs on display are also on sale with profits going directly into nature conservation funds.



Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Big News! I Am Joining Ming Thein

I have been teasing about a new project I am working on post Olympus departure, and it is finally happening today! I am joining Ming Thein, a fellow photographer who is also based in Malaysia, actively writes about photography, sharing his inspiring photography work and also reviews imaging products. Congratulations to those few who have guessed this right, it is amazing how people can put pieces that were so far apart together!

It all started on the actual day I officially handed my resignation letter to Olympus Malaysia. Ming Thein was visiting on the very same day, and during our coffee session, I instinctively decided to tell him that I have left Olympus though only a very small handful of people knew about that at the time. Ming was shocked by the news of course, then something unexpected happened: he invited me to join him!



Ming Thein was the only one photographer from Malaysia (apart from myself) who genuinely has a strong online presence within the photography crowd. His meticulous approach and expertise when it comes to technical photography execution come almost second to none. In my life, I have not met anyone more knowledgeable, intelligent and passionate about photography than Ming. His imaging product reviews have been used as reference, even against larger photography sites such as DPReview.com. His photography articles resonate with his audience and often many have benefited and learned plenty from his generous sharing of knowledge and experience.

Therefore, when he asked me to join him, my response was an instantaneous, absolute yes.

Both of us love photography, we write articles pertaining to photography regularly, and we produce fresh photographs to share. We both have considerably strong audience base, though we probably speak to different groups and levels of photographers. My target audience has always been newcomers to photography and also entry level photographers who wish to improve themselves. Ming Thein's crowd is generally more advanced, ranging from mid-level photo-enthusiasts to advanced professional photographers, many who live and breathe photography and know what they are doing. It makes sense that we combine our resources, work together and build a platform on a singular page that can speak across to all spectrum of photographers. While Ming Thein elaborates on the real difference that a medium format can make in terms of pure resolution and tonality, I will remind you that it is important to pick up the camera, go out for a satisfying shutter therapy session. I strongly believe our differing perspectives and purpose of photography shall complement each other, wonderfully and further help to create a more interesting and complete photography based website.



Rest assured that I will still be Robin Wong, that will not change. What I have been doing on my blog so far, sharing about shutter therapy sessions and also doing product reviews, I will continue to do so over at Ming Thein's site. I will continue to shoot, explore photography, do more experimentation, share my thoughts and tonnes of new photographs.

So what is happening to the old blog, robinwong.blogspot.com? This site will remain open and available, all my past cameras and lenses reviews will still be online. While I am moving on and update most of my future photography related articles on Ming Thein's site, I will still come back to this old site from time to time. I may want to continue to explore smartphone photography, or write about recommended noodles places in my hometown, that awesome barber shop that is hidden at a corner, and maybe even talk about that new pair of audiophile grade wireless bluetooth earphones I have just bought. I will not update this blog as regularly as before, and after many, many years of photography heavy blogging, I am finally reverting this blog to its original form: a personal online journal.

I am both excited and anxious at the same time, about moving over to Ming's site. To Ming Thein, thank you so much for believing in me and having me on board! This is a challenge to myself to step up my game and continue to push myself to become a better photographer. I am thrilled to see where this collaboration will take us to.

To all my beloved readers from robinwong.blogspot.com, thank you for staying with me all this time, and please to continue to follow me over at blog.mingthein.com! We do have some interesting articles in the pipeline and cannot wait to share them soon.




Friday, May 26, 2017

Griffin Hammond - Film Making With Panasonic GH5 in Malaysia

Griffin Hammond, the Panasonic GH5 ambassador was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia speaking on documentary film making. One of the perks of leaving Olympus Malaysia, was the freedom to receive invitations to attend such cool events, and actually be there!

Griffin Hammond speaking for Panasonic Malaysia event. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Week In Kuching

I was back in my hometown, Kuching for the past few days. Those were full days of shooting, catching up with family and friends, shooting and even more shooting!

I was home to shoot for my cousin Andy's wedding, which was a beautiful ceremony and I cannot wait to share some photos here soon from that wedding shoot. It has been a while since I last shot any wedding assignment, so this was particularly challenging for me, but I had such a blast capturing overabundant joy and happiness of the newly weds together with their family, relatives and friends!

I also spent an evening volunteering myself to cover a local poetry/creative writing/spoken words event, Word Of Mouth 9 (WOM9): Hunger and it was quite an experience being immersed in a different artistic medium for a change. It was quite inspiring seeing local Kuching talents sharing their talent and creativity on stage.

I made sure that I spent as much time as I could with beloved mum, who is doing great by the way, and we celebrated a belated mother's day in Kuching. It was a miracle that I still managed to find time to catch up with a few other close friends.

I squeezed one morning just for shutter therapy. I did not get many usable shots, but it was amazing shooting alongside Jee and Madey, both street photographers whom I have exhibited together with earlier this year. I really did wish I had more time to shoot on the beautiful streets of Kuching, but I also believe that getting my priority right is more important. Time with beloved mum and friends was well spent.

All images were taken with an Olympus PEN E-P5, Panasonic 14mm F2.5 and M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lens.

Orange on Orange

Monday, May 15, 2017

How I Deal With Strong Backlight Situation

Lighting is the most important consideration when it comes to making a photograph, after all, a photograph consists of nothing but light and shadow. However, lighting is not ideal in most cases.

The worst that can happen, is a strong backlight, rendering the front subjects in dark shadows, and everything else in the background overexposed and burned out in highlights. This is especially true in street photography, you cannot relocate your subjects (I advice not to do so, but if you must, feel free to practice your own style), you cannot change the available light situations. Yet, some subjects are worth shooting despite the crappy light: interesting character in a portrait, which I have encountered so often.

Therefore, I would like to share how I deal with difficult lighting conditions when I am out doing my street shooting, especially when it comes to strong backlight. Kindly take note that these are my own shooting preferences that fit my personal photography style, they may not work for every one.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Challenging Myself: Revisiting 35mm Perspective

My old nemesis, the 35mm perspective that I never quite get when it comes to street photography, is something that is a work in progress. I have stated before, that 35mm is not something I prefer to use for my own photography, if I have the luxury of choice. Nevertheless, I am not giving up on 35mm just yet, and I intend to spend as much time I can with it, doing my shutter therapy session. Sometimes, to improve yourself, you have to face your weakness, put yourself in a difficult situation and deal with the issue head on.

I have kept the Olympus 17mm F2.8 pancake lens, one of the oldest Micro Four Thirds lenses out there, with possibly the slowest AF (perhaps the only other slower lens than this, is the Panasonic 20mm F1.7). I find myself difficult to let this lens go, since it is so small, and it does not cost much anyway. While the autofocus is not fast and the lens is not the sharpest of the bunch, I thought I would hang on to a 35mm equivalent focal length lens to help me with my personal battle.

Man, I just love pancake lenses. We should have more! 

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Moving On, And MORE Shutter Therapy

A lot of people have been asking me, so how is life after Olympus? What is next?

Honestly, I have taken a short break from everything for a while, to refresh myself, and to reorganize my life. My priority was fixing my sleep patterns, eating habits, sorting out plans for income generation since I do not have a full time employment now, and of course, focus more on photography growth.

What better time to focus on repairing my health than now, since I have the flexibility to do it, by having at least 8 hours of sleep daily, going to bed and waking up at consistent hours, eating more healthily, avoiding quick meals and convenient lunches that I have had so often for the past several years.

Mum visited last weekend, for the first time, in Kuala Lumpur, since I have worked here many years ago, and I spent the whole weekend with her.

Do not worry, I have not forgotten about this blog. Far from it actually. Oh I have such huge plans! And as I mentioned, all will be revealed soon. Just give me a bit more time to work out some kinks and finalize the preparations, before the official launch.

I have been busy shooting as well, both for myself, as well as taking in some paid assignment, just to keep some money flowing in.

Life in Olympus Malaysia was fantastic, but that life has come to an end, and it is time to move on.



Saturday, April 29, 2017

With A Heavy Heart, I Have Left Olympus

Three and a half years ago, I braved myself to leave an engineering career behind to pursue an entirely different path by joining Olympus Malaysia as a product specialist, a job which is closely related to my passion in photography. Now, I am gathering sufficient courage to exit the company of a brand that I have loved so deeply, to move on and ironically because of a rather similar reason to draw myself closer to my photography passion.

It is time to take the leap. 

I joined Olympus Malaysia in 2013 because I knew that I can contribute positively to the company and the fact that I already know their products inside out, having been using them for many years helped me in my tasks of liaising with photographers, local dealers, members of the media as well as general consumers from all over Malaysia. Adding my genuine staunch belief in the brand and true desire to want to see more people use Micro Four Thirds system, I was confident that I can be a powerful weapon and make a real difference for Olympus. I could not have joined the company at a better time, as it was during the launch of the OM-D E-M1 (first version), which was the beginning of a revolution that propelled mirrorless cameras into the center playing stage, that they can compete head on with DSLR for most shooting scenarios.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

5 Compelling Reasons Why Huawei P10 Has The Awesomest Smartphone Camera

Huawei Malaysia has loaned me the newly launched Huawei P10 smartphone, which features their signature Leica dual camera module. Considering that I have reviewed the dual camera setup performance for the previous iterations, Huawei P9 and Huawei Mate 9 smartphones, and the fact that the new Huawei P10 uses similar setup (with some improvements of course), I shall not be doing a redundant full camera review here. Instead, I decided to spend a full day out shooting with the Huawei P10, exploring the features of the camera on the smartphone and came home with a collection of interesting images. After all, the purpose of a camera (any camera at all) is to shoot images, and from the images and my limited experience with the P10, I shall share with you why I think this P10 has an awesome camera.

Kindly take note that I do not have any further relationship with Huawei, other than being loaned the phone to do basically whatever I wanted to do with it. I am a photographer enthusiast and I shall be writing from a photographer's point of view, using a smartphone camera. I will not be discussing the technical aspects of the smartphone (the processor, RAM, battery life, screen, operating system, etc), and my focus is purely on the camera capabilities of the Huawei P10. I am sure you can find such information in many larger tech related sites and blogs out there.

I simply love the full black version of the Huawei P10. The design is beautifully modern yet subtly matching my other gadgets and items I am carrying around with me. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Short Adventure in Pudu

It was a lazy Sunday that I kicked myself out of bed because I knew I needed to satisfy the itch of my fingers for some shutter action. I loaded the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II into the bag along with some small prime lenses, the M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8, 45mm F1.8, and of course the newest addition the Panasonic 14mm F2.5 pancake lens. I did not exactly have anything planned out in mind, no specific objectives, but I knew if I went out even just for a short stroll I will come across some interesting moments and subjects on the street that will be worth shooting. The trick is just to get out and start observing, the photography opportunities will manifest. After all, it was a Sunday, so I was keeping things slow for the day.

I finally ended up at Pudu wet market, but explored the streets around the main market. It did not took long for interesting moments to appear. Lighting was glorious for the morning, intense directional sun light, and the sky was clear, creating bold and high in contrast image output. I think it was an hour and a half quick walk, I have gathered some images, and I thought I should call it a day. Solo photowalks are always faster and more efficient, as I got to go to the locations that I wanted and less waiting around.

Portrait of a Stranger 
Saw this dude waiting outside the staircase entrance and thought the bold red shirt he was wearing matched the blue painted walls on the back nicely. He was friendly too and we had a little chat. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Lazy Weekend

It has been a terribly long week, so when the weekend came, I decided to take it slow this time. There were a few errands to run and important events to go to, but I basically let the weekend drift and made sure I had plenty of rest. Went to several locations to get some shots that I have had in mind, and I treated myself to some good coffee and comfort food. We deserve to pamper ourselves once in a while.

The thought of making a photobook has always been at the back of my mind. This was an experimental print I did for a compilation of of my street photography shots. I still want to produce the photobooks and make it available for sale but I think the biggest challenge is to make it affordable or at the price point that everyone agrees with. By keeping the price down, I do need to restrict the number of photos in the book and also compromising print quality. This photobook idea will be shelved for this moment. 

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Revisiting Panasonic Lumix 14mm F2.5 Pancake lens

Recently I have re-acquired the often underrated Panasonic 14mm F2.5 pancake lens, and naturally it became the most frequently used lens for my latest shutter therapy session. I brought along the Panasonic 14mm F2.5 pancake lens alongside Olympus M.Zuiko  45mm F1.8 to Chow Kit, which was my favourite street hunting ground for a much needed street photography session last Saturday. I had Van, Robert and Sim joining me for this session.

I genuinely love pancake lenses, and I think Olympus and Panasonic should produce more pancake lenses. We already have compact and superbly sharp F1.8 lenses, why not create pancake lenses of respective focal lengths, but instead of F1.8, make them F2.8? I can totally imagine having 25mm F2.8 and 45mm F2.8, and perhaps a 12mm F3.5 (since it is more difficult to do a pancake design for wide angle lenses) but keeping everything in slim, pancake design. Yes, F2.8 means we are losing some light or having more depth of field but imaging the lens being so slim and compact! I can live with the aperture brightness compromise, as long as the image quality is still decently sharp and technically well controlled. Give us more pancake lenses, make them ultra portable, and most importantly, reasonably priced (oh make them cheap that we do not even have to think twice to buy).

I am falling in love again with the Panasonic 14mm F2.5 lens. I simply love the 28mm focal length (equivalent) perspective, which is rather wide and produces different coverage than what I normally do with 25mm F1.8 and 45mm F1.8 lens.

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II with mostly Panasonic 14mm F2.8 and a few shots with M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8

Oh yes, I test printed a photo-book, just to see how the print quality is. Was also toying with the idea of making a photobook for sale to my blog readers. This idea will have to remain an idea for the time being. 

Sunday, April 02, 2017

KL Tower Series: Doing Similar Shots Differently

I have often been asked, why do I walk along the similar shooting routes on the street since I have been there so many times everything would look the same and I will obtain similar photography output?

My answer to the above question:

1) I have not shot the "best" photograph yet. In fact, every single time I walk on the same location, shooting the same subjects and scenes, I am getting better, even if the incremental improvement is so marginally small. Over time, I can see my growth.

2) Different time, different moments. It is nearly impossible for the same moment to repeat itself again, but we can always hope and anticipate new and perhaps more interesting moments to happen, if we put ourselves out there enough to be ready to capture them.

3) Different vision, and different way of seeing things. Every time I go out I try to put on a fresh perspective, I always asked myself - if I have done this before, how can I do this differently this time, and certainly, how can I make this shot better? Perhaps, a use of different focal length, shifting shooting position, or more dramatic composition choices? The possibilities of producing different outcomes of the similar subject or scene are endless.

For example, the prominent Kuala Lumpur Tower (as well as the even more popular KLCC Twin Towers) has been shot like a billion times over by locals and tourists, why would anyone bother to add to the internet junk collection? Surely there would be no way anyone can outdo anyone else, and should not we consider doing something more original, less popularly photographed, to stay ahead in the game?

Then my sincere advice, is that there is no game. Because there is no finishing line when it comes to photography, and it is ok to shoot what everyone else is shooting. You just have to tell yourself that you can create your own photographs based on your own vision.

So here, I present to you, the collection of KL Tower shots that I have accumulated, with different point of view, composition, and ideas behind the shots.


Since the KL Tower is a prominent landmark, it is a great backdrop for street subjects. Here I was emphasizing on the pigeons in flight, but utilized the KL tower to establish the sense of location of this image. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bihzhu Live At Bobo KL

I have been quite active lately with a selective group of local singer-songwriters in Kuala Lumpur, following their gigs and live performance whenever I can. I brought along my faithful Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II to shoot some stills as well as record footage of the stage performance. What better way to end a stressful day (or week) by immersing myself in good quality, locally made music while having my camera itch scratched away at the same time.

I was at Bihzhu's live performance at Bobo KL last Saturday, and it was a full house! Such intimate performance spanning about 2 hours long of great music and soulful, powerful and melodramatic vocals was exactly the best way to cap off my Saturday. I had a half day Olympus Street Photowalk which I led in the morning, and an afternoon appointment with friends that drained me off, so in the evening it was nice to just sit back and relax to some really awesome music!

Shooting condition was not ideal, typical low light stage situation but the E-M10 Mark II handled this session gracefully. I had to shoot between ISO1600 to 3200 to maintain fast enough shutter speed (at F1.8) but surely this was nothing that the OM-D can't handle. Original stage lighting had too much warmth with a strong hint of greenish color cast. The auto white balance did a splendid job to automatically balance the stray colors to produce realistic and pleasing skin color. I believe Bihzhu's lovely dress being dominantly white helped in producing natural looking white balance.

The biggest challenge for me, if I were to really put some effort in getting my shots, would be being stuck in one stationary position, since the venue of show was not large, and the audience filled it to the brim. No matter where I moved myself, I would have accidentally blocked someone's view, and that would have been rude. I decided not to be an annoyance and just stayed seated at one spot, moving to a second location only after the intermission.Where you are standing and shooting from is probably one of the most important factor to determine the outcome of composition and coverage, and this was something I lacked from this particular session. Furthermore, being stuck in one spot prevented me from shooting every member of the band, something which I always tried to do.

I think the life-saver of the night, being stuck in a full house event, seated not too near to the main stage, was having both the 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8 lenses. To those of you shooting a lot of stage events, these two lenses can make a world of difference. Tighter perspective can draw the facial expression and emotion conveyed by the performer much closer and this produces a more impactful outcome. Also, the F1.8 wide open aperture aids in gathering as much light as possible, especially in less than ideal lighting conditions. The fact that Olympus M.Zuiko lenses are already so sharp even at wide open F1.8 means I can shoot everything wide open without the need to stop the aperture down. All images in this post were taken at F1.8, and I have not wished they were any better in any way.

I was focusing on getting the right moment (critical expressions, etc) but the more I listened to Bihzhu's enchanting voice the more I realized shooting was not really that important after all. I was enjoying myself and that was all that mattered. Sometimes we get too engrossed with photography that we live our entire lives through the viewfinder, it is good to just put down the camera and take in the moment. This is so true when it comes to music and live shows.

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and M.Zuiko lenses 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8

I have also recorded some video, and this was a cover of Dirty Projectors, "Stillness Is The Move".


Check out Bihzhu at:
Official Website: http://www.bihzhu.com/

Every time I recorded a video I am always stunned by how good the 5-Axis  image stabilization is, and the convenience of not having to use a tripod. Imagine, I was attending an event and every one was seated comfortably in a tightly crowded space, a set up of a tripod would have stuck out like a sore thumb! Some may argue that the video on OM-D (older then E-M1 Mark II) has nothing to write home about, I beg to disagree. If you are a cinematographer, a professional videographer, then you can decide what you want. All I wanted was a high quality recording of my favourite singer-songwriter in action and I believe the E-M10 Mark II did a splendid job, despite my lack of skills in video recording. 


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Birds That Fly

I have been looking back at my own collection of photographs lately and discovered a consistent subject which I have been actively hunting. No, it was not the cats on the streets, I have talked about my love for street cats and how they always become the center of my street shooting attention in my previous blog article here (click). Unexpectedly, I have been shooting birds, almost as much as I was shooting cats on the streets.

A while ago, a good friend of mine questioned the "zoo animal" photographs being unrealistically fake and uninspiring, not only because the animals were caged, but the close up shots of the animals do not portray what they instinctively do in the free, wild world. A free bird will not just perch on a branch for the whole day, the bird will spread the wings and fly, and a shot of the bird doing that is a lot more dramatic and real. Another friend of mine, who is a visual artist and a prominent local comic blogger has shared that he drew birds in his sketches and comics as a symbolism of freedom. Perhaps, these important people have influenced my thoughts and inspired me to take a closer look whenever there were birds flying by near my street hunting grounds.

I fully understand that not all the images taken at my street photography sessions are actually street photography, but lets bring that to a different discussion on another blog entry. Including a flying bird in a shot of a local landmark adds a different mood to that framing altogether. I think there is always a human fascination of a flying subject, and men always wish they can fly (I wonder why we were not given wings). Also, if you look at some of the amazing street photography by other established photographers, birds can be quite popular too in their work.

All the images shown here are compiled from my shutter therapy session for the past one year or more. I thought placing all of them together can form an interesting montage, creating a consistent visual story.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Kuching Street Photography Again!

So I was traveling home again last weekend, this time for the official launch of my first ever photo exhibition, the Street of Kuching, a collective of Kuching street photographers. I chose to stay on for a few days after the launch, just to have some time to catch up with beloved mum, relatives, and some beautiful friends. Surely, I slotted a bit of time for street shooting! Nothing beats shutter therapy in my lovely, awesome hometown, and I had two mornings all to myself to roam the streets of Kuching freely, shooting whatever I wanted. The first session I went alone, and the second one I was joined by Jee Foong, a talented photographer friend.

Special thanks to Jee, who took time and effort to show me around, and revealed some secret locations which I never would have known! It is interesting finding out new locations to shoot, even when I was talking through the same streets. Although I was back in Kuching some time late last year (to shoot for images for the photo exhibition), strangely even in such short amount of time, there were noticeable changes around town. There were a few more street arts decorating the walls of old shops and that observation tower of the Open Air Market was painted white! The last time I was back I remembered it was yellow.

I armed myself with my own Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II with Panasonic 14mm F2.5 (yes the pancake lens is making a return), M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 and 45mm F`1.8. I used mostly the M.Zuiko 25mm f1.8 this time.

The observatory tower standing from the Open Air Market is now white! I think I prefer it looking white now, compared to the previous yellow, which was a little out of place. Though I cannot say how long it will remain white, considering the constant rain and humid weather in Kuching. Anything white spells disaster when it comes to maintenance. Lets hope we do not have to wait too long before this is being repainted again. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Cheap Alternative For Macro Photography, Raynox DCR-250

Not too long ago, I have purchased a Raynox DCR-250 macro adapter to be used on the Panasonic Lumix LX-100, which gave satisfactory macro shooting results. I have since then been curious to try the Raynox adapter on an Olympus lens, and only recently found some time to do this experimentation. The fun part about macro photography is the infinite possible options of using alternatives to achieve sufficient magnification as well as creative lighting techniques. This time, I fitted the Raynox DCR-250 macro adapter onto the M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 lens, and did my usual insect macro shooting with that combination.

The macro adapter itself, Raynox DCR-250

My humble, simple insect macro photography setup, Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, 75mm F1.8 lens with the Raynox DCR-250 macro adapter, FL-50R external flash used wirelessly with Gamilight mini softbox diffuser. 

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

My First Photo Exhibition!

I think it is every photographer's goal to have their photographs displayed in a public exhibition, and doing one has been at the back of my mind for a while. I know that my blog here is an actual public space where anyone from anywhere in the world can come freely and view my photography work, but an actual photography exhibition in print is an entirely different thing altogether. I finally had a chance to join a collective of street photographers and helped to create the first ever street photography exhibition in my own lovely hometown, Kuching (in Borneo).

My beloved hometown, Kuching, Sarawak, which was located at the Northern part of Borneo Island. 



Monday, February 27, 2017

Shooting ALYA WTA Malaysian Open 2017 With Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO Lens

It was a working Saturday for me, with a basic photography workshop conducted by me (if there is any chance the attendee of that workshop is visiting this page, thanks, and welcome!) and I was attending a friend's wedding in the evening, and that effectively left me only Sunday for shutter therapy. I wanted to do something differently, and Van suggested that we shoot an on-going ALYA WTA Malaysian Open at TPC, Kuala Lumpur, which was an official WTA tennis tournament. Being a tennis fan myself, and having the possibilities to try out my own Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II for sports shooting, I thought why not?

The gear on the table

Surely, it was a Sunday, so the gang met up and took it slow, starting with overpriced coffee and filling our stomachs with good food, before we went under the gruesome grilling Malaysia sun for the rest of the afternoon. We went to a nice cafe, The Good Batch suggested by Robert and we had our brunch there, which was not too far from where the tennis tournament was. I had poached eggs and slices of salmon with some fancy dressing and like all ordinary Asians we spent way too much time photographing our food before we ate them.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Brief Encounter With Panasonic Leica 15mm F1.7

Shaun was visiting Kuala Lumpur again last weekend, and he brought with him the Panasonic Leica 15mm F1.7 which he claimed to be his favourite lens at this moment for Micro Four Thirds. Another photography friend, Bjorn has also spoken very highly of this lens. I thought, why not give this lens a go and see what I can shoot with it?

I am not sure why Panasonic likes to create lenses with really unusual focal lengths. 15mm, which in 35mm equivalent format is 30mm, is quite an irregular number, and it would have made much more sense if they just have a standard 14mm (classic 28mm equivalent) lens! Since the closest, "popular" focal length is 28mm equivalent, I shall use the lens as if I was composing with a wide angle, 28mm equivalent perspective. Oh dear, wide angle has never been my first choice when it comes to street photography, and I almost always use longer focal lengths, unless absolutely necessary.

This is not a review of the lens, I will need a lot more time to use the lens before I can write a full review. Using the lens for a few hours was not sufficient for me to form a meaningful conclusion. Also, there are already several reliable reviews available for this Panasonic 15mm F1.7 lens. I will also avoid doing any comparisons with any existing lenses from any brand, the last time I did this I suffered through unnecessary bashing, though I was being completely honest. I have figured out that sometimes people just want to hear what they want to hear, so I am shying away from comparison tests and just focus on creating photographs.

The Panasonic Leica 15mm F1.7 fits the E-M10 Mark II perfectly. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Adventures in Hokkaido With Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Edit: I have included more food photographs, just for you, Jason. 

I recently have visited Hokkaido, Japan in an officially organized trip by Olympus. There were rounds of sight-seeing and doing touristy activities, and I had the opportunity to bring with me an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with several PRO lenses to use throughout the trip. We did not have a lot of time, and most of the trip was already planned out, so I was merely tagging along. As a result, most of my images taken were nothing more than snapshots that any ordinary visiting tourists would have taken, in the eyes of a foreigner visiting an alien land.

The experience was quite surreal, it was my first time seeing so much snow, and being in a place with almost -10 degrees Celcius was both fun and painful in some ways. I have always loved the cold but the trouble to go through, putting on layers and layers of cloths, wearing proper walking boots as well as using gloves, seriously no joy in those. And operating a camera, shooting through the gloves was so difficult!

I did have one final day in Shinjuku, which I had some brief time to myself to explore on my own. I have decided to merge the images from Shinjuku together with Hokkaido series, since I did not have enough images to create a Shinjuku series on its own.

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko lenses 7-14mm F2.8 PRO, 25mm F1.2 PRO, 45mm F1.8 and 40-150mm F2.8 PRO

The Sapporo TV Tower, with an observation deck at the top. Of course, like any other tourists I went up and had a high viewpoint of Sapporo's beautiful city from up there.  

Japanese cities are so beautiful, many of them are surrounded by high mountains. 

Naked tree branches, in winter. I know some of you are bored of this sight, but to me, this is something quite unusual and never seen in Malaysia. 

Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Panasonic LX100 Is Not A Bad Street Shooting Machine

So I have had the Panasonic LX100 for a while now, despite some shortcomings and my complains of a few key missing features, it is starting to grow on me and I am getting more and more shots that I really like shooting with LX100. It is surely not the love at first sight, this camera takes time to learn and understand, surely takes much longer time to love.

Yesterday, I did a quick catch up session with dear friend and fellow Micro Four Thirds shooter from Melbourne, Australia, Ananda who was home for Chinese New Year holidays. We decided to go to Pudu Wet Market, and it has been a while since my last visit there. Initially I wanted to shoot Pudu with just the new Huawei Mate 9 Pro that I have loaned from Huawei Malaysia (you know, do as much as you can with it before return) but I realized one of the favourite things I want to do in Pudu is portraits of strangers. Therefore, having a versatile zoom lens is crucial to deal with the messy background of a wet market.

I guess I still do have to complain about a few things. While I can now live with the poor JPEG rendering of LX100, and perfectly comfortable post-processing the RAW files, I still cannot let go the issues of the poor image stabilization and not having tilt-screen on the camera. There were a few moments I was shooting at dangerously slow shutter speed, without realizing, because you know, shooting at wide angle with any Olympus cameras at about 1/5 to 1/10 second shutter speed is almost 100% guaranteed to be free of hand/camera shake. That is not the case with the LX100, even at 1/15 seconds, shooting at wide angle, there is about 50% of a chance of camera shake! It is not a huge shake, it is bad enough for the image to look soft, annoyingly soft. The only solution is to increase the ISO sensitivity, which is not an issue since LX100 can handle up to ISO1600 with no serious issues.

I miss the tilt screen so much, I find myself having difficulty doing compositions at low and high angles, and these are IMPORTANT compositions to get the perspective that I want. I seriously also wonder why Fuji did not add tilt screen for their latest X100F camera. I believe tilt screen, or swivel screen is a MUST have feature in all modern cameras.

Morning Karaoke

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

I Recorded Myself Doing Shutter Therapy In Video! Check It out!

Following up my recent camera review of the Huawei Mate 9 Pro smartphone I did few days ago, I have made a video of myself doing shutter therapy in KL streets. The video screenshot feature was particularly useful, so I could capture in video what the camera was seeing!




Monday, January 30, 2017

Huawei Mate 9 Pro Review From A Photographer's Perspective

UPDATE: I have recorded myself using the Huawei Mate 9 Pro for street shooting in a video! You may check out the video here (click). 

Huawei has launched their new flagship smartphone series, Huawei Mate 9 and Mate 9 Pro just last month. I was approached by Huawei Malaysia with a loaned unit of Huawei Mate 9 Pro for review purposes. The reason I am excited to try this phone out is the Leica involvement with the development of the camera module of the Huawei Mate 9, which is the second collaboration effort since the Huawei P9 (I have reviewed here and here).

I am not a tech junkie, and I am sure at this time of writing, there are dozens of tech-oriented reviews focusing on the smartphone aspects of Mate 9 Pro published on the net, everywhere in the world, offering in depth look and informative opinions. Therefore, there is no reason for me to add another review of a smartphone, which I believe that most of these sites have done a wonderful job reporting. On the other hand, as I have done a quick online research specifically for the camera review of Huawei Mate 9, not much information came up. The most extensive review I have come across was a video review done by Pocketnow focusing on just the camera on the phone, which I thought was exceptionally well done. As a photo-enthusiast who is obsessed with image quality, camera performance and creating beautiful looking images as a hobby, I shall take a good look particularly at the Huawei Mate 9 Pro's camera imaging capabilities in this blog review. 

The Huawei Mate 9 Pro loaned to me from Huawei Malaysia was a Champagne Gold edition. The shiny exterior was a breath of fresh air, since most of my gadgets and photography gear are in monotonous black color theme. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

5 Reasons Why You Need Image Stabilization

Oh dear, so much for a fresh start of a New Year, I have not been updating this blog as frequently as I initially have planned. I did however get plenty of chance to shoot, so I do have fresh images to share, and plenty of ideas to talk about here. Nonetheless, lately there are many things I do need to take care of in real life which negated much of my free time to just sit down and compose a proper blog entry. Even now, a Sunday (at the time of writing), I am currently at a cafe an hour earlier, hoping to squeeze in some time to write before a local favourite band performance starts here.

Right, lets get into the topic, image stabilization.

When it comes to purchasing a new camera, some of the prioritized considerations include the image sensor performance, image quality output (resolution, high ISO, dynamic range, etc), autofocus performance, but not many people will tell you to take a good look at the image stabilization. Some photographers would boldly claim that image stabilization is not a crucial necessity, and for serious photography that requires absolutely steady camera setup, tripods are used instead. However, it has been a long while since image stablization was introduced to consumer photography market, and Olympus has come a long way since the introduction of 5-Axis Image Stabilization in the OM-D E-M5 in 2012. Much improvements have been made, some photographers who have experienced what the image stabibilization offers, never looked back.

Therefore, in this particular blog entry, I want to explore the necessity of a powerful image stabilization system, how relevant is it for non-professional, casual photographers (because, well, I am not a pro photographer myself, just a hobbyst like 95% of other photographers out there) and what you can do maximizing the potential of the image stabilization.

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with M.Zuiko 12-100mm F4 IS PRO lens. All images were taken hand-held. 


This image was taken hand-held, at 1.3 seconds to achieve the smooth water effect. 

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Panasonic LX100 + Raynox DCR-250 Macro Converter: An Experiment

I have always heard of the existence of the Raynox DCR-250, an inexpensive, yet superbly high in quality macro converter (basically, a close up lens), but never actually tried one, or found a reason to get one. I have had friends who have shown incredible results using the Raynox, and the macro photographers have highly recommended this converter, even if you are doing serious macro photography.

When I found out that the native screw on thread of the Raynox DCR-250 is 43mm which can be fitted directly into the Panasonic LX100's lens, I went and bought one immediately.


My humble, simple setup for insect macro photography last weekend. Panasonic Lumix LX100 with the supplied add on flash, Raynox DCR-250 Macro Adapter, and a white sheet of paper as a diffuser for the flash. 

Sunday, January 01, 2017

How To Create Drama In Street Photography

Happy New Year 2017 to all of you beautiful blog readers! I wish everything awesome flowing into your lives throughout 2017.

I have had quite a great head start to 2017, and on today's local paper, The Borneo Post, I was featured in an article about creative artists' resolutions for the 2017 year. Special thanks to the amazing Georgette Tan for the interview and featuring me.

It was a long weekend, and when I have some spare time to myself, you know the only thing I would do is to get out and shoot some photographs! My experimentation with the Panasonic Lumix LX100 continues, and this time I had a friend tagging along. Nick Wade (oops, forgot to take a portrait shot of Nick in action this time) was with me shooting on the morning of the New Year's Eve and I could not think of a better way to spend my time.

From what happened to be my last shutter therapy session of 2016, I came home with a few images that looked a little more dramatic than usual, and I thought why not compile the images and write a blog article about that?

If you look at the pool of street photographs (which has become a growingly common genre practiced widely everywhere now), the images that stood out usually have some drama in them. The drama can usually be the split second action of something happening, the creative play of merging visually stunning lines and perspectives or something completely unpredictable and random yet beautifully conceived in a photograph. To have that drama in a street photograph immediately elevated the status of that photograph from the otherwise, ordinary, uninteresting and cliche snapshots which have been done to death. There is no clear defining characteristics of these "dramatic traits" but each photographer can inject his or her own input.

In this blog entry I am sharing what I normally do, what I look for, and how I add drama to my street photography.

1) WHAT GOES IN MUST COME OUT. WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN


Jump 1