Friday, October 30, 2009

Kopi Tenom Secawan

Thanx to Syed Din who just came back from Sabah.

The mug in this photo has been with me since I started working, more than 13 years of service to me lah! It costs no more than Rm4!

Unlike some superiors & leaders who never seem to appreciate what their subordinates may have contributed during years of loyal service, I will still appreciate & continue using this mug, instead of replacing it with other contemporary and classy design glasses or the likes.

...perhaps, if I ever made my first million RM, I look forward to celebrate it with a round of kopi using this same old faithful mug of mine.


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Thursday, October 29, 2009

instax + instant office

Testing the Fujifilm Instax 100 for this weekend's job. The background wud be the office of PassionCreative Photography (*winks). Next up, setting the studio for the other company....(*winks, again).
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Gagah the gajah

Souvenir from my new team member - Hazrin.
Gajah mahal Jim Thompson tuuuu!!
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Belum-Temengor Photography Expedition sponsored by EMKAY & IDR.

The fat guy there is no other than me lah, shot by Setiawan, a talented photographer who were amongst the 30 selected photographers for the Belum-Temengor Photography Expedition sponsored by EMKAY & IDR.

It was an interesting trip, considering the last time I really get myself in the mud & dirt was more than 12 years ago!! :)

The trip started with a long journey to Grik from Menara MK and I almost did not make it thanx to the traffic situation in Kuala Lumpur and the taxi driver who is not quite familiar going about from KLCC to Damansara...and the decision to gas up the taxi since the NGV is almost empty.....hahahah....not good for the heart if this is a daily event.
After a short briefing by the EMKAY staff we were given our photographers vests and other stuff, embarked on the coach and off we go!
The photographers have already known each other - majority at least - so, the 6-7hours trip was not too boring. Some played cards, some had conversations, some watched stuffs on their laptops, some listened to music or played games on their iPods/ PSP etc.....and some just simply slept most of the mile away.
The arrival was quite a surprise because everybody was quite energetic after stopping for meal & freshening up in Tapah.


The next morning came an early surprise for me & my roomies - A.G. & Nassir.
Being the early riser type, we woke up and prepared for Subuh. I went out of the room and shouted to the neighboring photographers' room telling them to wake up for prayers.
The wake-up call received an immediate response - from a being who's not a participant of the expedition (well. at least not in the official list!!!). A screeching scream, one came from the jungle side and a couple of moments after, the similar scream but from the lake side of the Banding Island.
My roommates were stunned. We taught it was a bird of some sort but deep inside we know that it was not a bird nor any kind of animals at all. It was a pontianak.
(After the trip, we asked the rest of the participants if anybody else heard it buy nobody seems to heard the screaming, only the 3 of us.)
Anyway, after a good breakfast, we had a detailed briefing on the expedition before finally embarking on the assigned boat to the destinations, at about 8:00am.

First stop was actually the army check-point, where we were advised by the sponsors not to hold our equipments - no photos allowed. It was a brief stop because it is already a routine for our sponsor - EMKAY - we did not even have to present our ID to the army officers! :)

Our boat - Team C & D - continued the journey to a Jahai Tribe settlement.
Being held responsible to lead and orchestrate the team, I did not have the luxury of time & opportunity to run my routine of doing a proper documentation of the event. In other words - gambar2 aku tangkap muat tourist shots jer la!!

Responsibility is amanah so I have to play the role as best as I possibly could. Now, being a naturalist, photojourno, documentary, precise moment kinda photographer, it is a massive challenge for me to coordinate a shooting of flora & fauna, plus the natives and environment, using a model! The best way to move was riding on the expertise and skills of others in the group that has done quite a number of model/ commercial photography and provide the input on the elements needed to add in terms of capturing the nature & natives elements and some minor technical aspects of the shooting arrangements.

It worked nicely for the team - at least when the result was out for the posters and all other categories, quite a number of team D & C won prizes. KUDOS to their hard work & discipline, they are really talented photographers!

From the settlement, we continued the expedition to a waterfall, which required us to jump off the boat to a dry but very very soft shore and do a bit of trekking up to reach the waterfall. Good for me i was equipped with my Teva (first time to really trash it for an expedition and it holds!) so there was no issue of getting wet & muddy. The only concern of all the participants would be our equipments - whatever happen, save the equipment first! (Bwaaaahahaah!!! Typical photographer attitude!)
The trip to the waterfall was really worth it. I let Jidin & the rest to set-up the shooting arrangement and coordiante with Ais - the assigned model to the team - as they do their part I shot a few and then jumped into the cool water with the other blokes who has very minor "preference" in shooting models - hehehe...kaki photojourno/ documentary mmg in general very sengal kalau kena shoot model nih!

The walk back to the boat was much faster than the walk into the jungle to reach the waterfall, maybe because we were already familiar with the path, maybe because we were just too hungry already! :)
We had lunch in the boat and continue to the next destination, the saltwater source of the animals. Quite a pleasant landing shore. We were welcomed by a group of anglers and their guides. After doing our jama' prayer, we had a quick discussion we decided not to go to the saltwater source because the walk will take about 30 minutes and we are running out of sunlight and the next destination is more important - rafflesia - and chances for us to get some animals at the saltwater location is too small anyway.
We end up doing a quick shoot of Ais on the suspension bridge, just so we have something documented on that landing we did for the expedition. The leading line of the lang suspension bridge & green ambiance of the place was quite interesting to be left undocumented.

The rafflesia landing was quite a challenge, lotsa submerged trees and very steep hill as the landing point but everybody made it safely the only "near death" moment would be when Mior's lens decided to try and have a run from the backpack for a cool dip into the deep lake...luckily, Mior's reflex was admirable, the lens did not managed to have that cool plunge (and Mior did not have to worry about find a couple of thousand Rm to replace the lens!)
A pleasant surprise awaits us on the hill. Apparently the famous Dr Ali was there with another team - macro-shooters - so it was like a small gathering of photographers for a couple of minutes. Then we set the shooting prop (sempoi jer CLS setting & positioning the model with proper minimal props). Jiding did most of the shooting since the space is quite small, only one rafflesia was blooming and the hill was so steep that we had to assist the model in order for her not to slip down into the nice lake couple of meters below (deep plunge and waaayy deep into the water beb! Scary!).
After getting what we wanted, we moved on the the final location.

The final location was where we were supposed to be able to frame the sun setting and find some more interesting flora & fauna to frame. Unfortunately, the sunlight was so scarce and the group that just came down from the location advised us that it is already too dark when they were framing. So the team end up using the available bamboo rafts as their main prop to shoot Ais.
....and I end up trying the 5D MkII (Impressive work of art actually, this Canon...heheheh!!)

The final challenge of the day was maneuvering the boat between small gaps of submerged trees....2-3 bumps and one of our engined had a small problem. With the experience of our guides Kamarul & Suhada, the problem was addressed fast and we found ourselves speeding to the jetty of the resort.
The end of a tiring day? Not really....we had to continue throughout the night - editing & designing for submission.....
Not easy but it was fun nevertheless....especially when you have a cool bunch of friends in a room doing the same thing. Does not feel like competition at all....more like working an assignment together!

The next day was just for editing, submission & price giving.
The best of the best won, the rest, are still the best and what matters most would be the experience & camaraderie we built during the expedition...including the journey back to KL & "Teh-tarik masa kecederaan" - dah nak siang baru masing-masing sampai rumah!

Thank you all, see you in the next expedition insyaAllah!
(Best betul bila taiko terue menerus mau sponsor expedition nih!!!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Light at the end of the path?

.....maybe, insyaAllah.
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Sign here please

....last of such event...
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Last of such event

...counting down...counting down...
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