About Me

Charting the progresses and lessons learnt from each set of my "works" and self indulgence. Majoring in Photography and Digital Imaging Attempting to move away from the "photographer" to being an "Artist using photography and video"

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Running from the Runway

Once in awhile, I get new and "interesting" offers to photograph "New" things.
Once in awhile, I get this opportunity to see what on earth it takes to shoot such events.
This was my first ever runway shoot and gosh, I never felt so mess up shooting with all the professional runway photographers around me. 

Being a person who rarely shoots with the flash on,  I was really uncomfortable seeing all the flashes at the runway. Thankfully, a Professional Runway Photographer cared to explain. 
This is exactly why, even though "Photography" seems so simple and generic. Its not.

" Basically, due to the runway lights it might cast a harsh light on the models face. As a result, due to the contrast created from that, the flash is needed as a fill in on the other side of the model face to even out the lighting." 

These Runway Photographers aim is to capture the beauty in the clothes.
In other to do so, they need to make sure the clothes are well lit and visible each in each crooks and cranny.

Everyone thinks that the basics is all you need. 
But then again there are reasons why photographers can be paid either Thousands or mere dollars per hour.

Another learning step of how big this world of  "Photography" is . . .

Monday, July 30, 2012

I was at UBIN

“Photographs will offer indisputable evidence that the trip was made, that the program was carried out, that fun was had”
Susan Sontag

In many ways, photography was opened up a new vision and perspective to people.
However, it was gives an impression that something does exist and is “Present” in that time and space. Question is, how can we use this “Present” Objects / Scenes to create something NEW.
Holding on to my new film camera, my girlfriend and I decided to take a trip down to a Island around the isle of Singapore called Pulau Ubin. Armed with just a bicycle and the camera we went around the island taking in the view and serenity not seen in the busy Singapore island. While she was there practicing “framing” - She’s a Film Major Student,
I was there looking to practice my exposure on film as well and double exposure compositions.

The thing about film is how it never fails to surprise you. 
Unlike the DSLR, you an’y bend your head down after ever shot to check if you “GOT IT!”
And considering that it was my first time using this new form of manual focus, it was hard for me to “GET IT!” However, after developing I was surprised to get a couple of interesting and planned shots. THANK GOD!

All in all, it was definitely not easy to get the focus on a film.
However, one thing it definitely does is train us to view things from angles outside of a DSLR.
Instead, we hunt for angles that we know is different.
After all, with just 36 Frames we only want the best in it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cheap Camera Still A Camera...

Recesky $50
Cheap but still Good

To be frank, I got this "Cheap" Lomo / Pinhole camera during the mist of a lecture.
All because of Gian : The need to buy something out of the yearn for one.
I blame it on a photo enthusiast classmate of mine that was sitting beside me.
After traveling over the China Seas and Three weeks of waiting, I finally saw the light of the camera.

Using a Lomo Slide 50-200
I wanted to give this TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) a try.
My goodess, 5mins with this I had a sore thumb trying to move the focusing lens.

Bring this film for developing, I really hoped to get an image out that I would be satisfied with. 
Who would know, that it turns out to also be my first film double exposure shot!

I standing at the void deck of a High Rise watching the birds fly pass.
Wanting to attempt a double exposure, I took a simple shot a building at the corner of the building.
Then I positioned the corner of the building at the bottom and waited for the bird.
THANK GOD, after a long wait one finally came by and WA LA. 

Using a TLR for the first time, it was definately not an easy task. 
The idea of having to compose from the mirror heads down and the movement took a while to get used to. However, the softness and somewhat unexpected  "Feeling" it creates is something that kept the shot  "Alive". All in all, its definately something that I would continue to explore. 

Thanks for reading :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Collecting Singapore

"To Collect Photographs is to Collect the World"
Susan Sontag

Sunday, July 22, 2012

36 Frames

Moving Back to Move Forward.
After So many months of yearning and procrastinating, finally gotten my hand on a Manual SLR. And my I've to say I'm loving every part of it.

While what seems to be the whole world moving towards the Digital Era, I choose to move a little back into the 1970s.

I'm not an old middle age man and neither am I a Hipster. I can't fit in skinnies anyways for that matter of fact. But, a good man/photographer once said, 36 frames forces you to focus on the necessary and shoot only the best. Besides that, $7.50 per roll and $6 developing fee also does the job of making sure I have only the best shots possible in that 36 frames.

Previously shooting on a Canon N series I had the ease of Auto Focus to ensure my shots are sharp. With this Manual SLR, its a WHOLE other story. 

Working on a film makes you respect all those photographers pre-DSLR. All the amazing street photographers that truly had to frame, compose and make changes within seconds to get the shot they wanted. 

With reference to one of my favorite Vietnam War photojournalist Nick Ut who shot one of the most famous photos that is iconic to the War. "The Napalm Girl " It really makes you shiver at the thought of "what if he didn't frame it well." The whole world wouldn't have seem the painful innocence of a civilian casualty. 

Then again, with the whole idea of film comes the problems.
Nothing hurts more then have a roll of film accidentally exposed or damaged.....
Its hurts just as much as realising that your CF card is corrupted after an amazing photo shoot.

Time to return to my Susan Sontag.
My goodness, they should give her articles as "A" Level examination scripts. 
Surely, there will be a uprising of disgruntled students. Then "Ways of Seeing" the next year. That would scare the living day lights of students....

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The First Block

1 Corinthians 13:12 
Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely

Every journey has it's short comings.
Every short comings has it's lessons.

The First Block:
When I first started using my shooting back then, it was simply with a Canon Ixis.

As time progress, I got my first DSLR 450D which started my full on commitment to this hobby. 
As I started, I found myself buying more of those “Photo Magazines” with loads of “How to Shoot Fantastic Photos” or “How Photoshop can help you make Fantastic Photos”. Without a doubt, Photoshop made my initial stages of photography “Simple”.
How to make photos look good:
  1. Increase Contrast ( Details coming out now! )
  2. Add a artsy vignette ( Woah suddenly everything seems so well composed )
  3. Mask out the colours leaving one item in colour ( AWESOME PHOTO! )

In many ways, these was where I had a "self discovery". Even then, I felt that my photos were telling a story in one way or another. At least that was what I thought. Even looking at a local Photo Forum was inspiring to me. However, somehow I felt something was just lacking in my photos that did not click.

As time passed, I began looking more towards 
"HOW PHOTOSHOP makes my Photo looks good"

I explored everything from verto-rama, panorama, HDR and digitial double exposure.
During which it felt good cause all my photos were of... "STANDARD".
At least by that standards of local forums...

Furthermore, Facebook helped boasted my ego. Making me assume more of what I was.
At this point, I sincerely felt like a true blue photographer with skills despite the reality that showed I was merely a novice. All those likes and comments drove me to assume I was going somewhere with my photography. 

In reality, I felt really blocked. Nothing was moving.
My photos were stagnant.

The Critque-tical Point
December 2009 was most probably the changing point of my photo journey.
In summary, it humbled me.

During which, I was given the chance to serve in my Church Media Ministry as a photographer. December of 2009 was the first time I served as one. 
Furthermore, it was at a church camp with the band leading Praise and Worship.
It was a whole new experience for me photographing such subject matter.

So back then, my photography head was still serving the nation as a photographer.
Even back then, he proved to be a force to be meddled with.
His improvements were exponential.
Leading our team, he offered to sit down with us and critique us on the shots we took during these events.

To my surprise only ONE was selected out of the hundreds I took.
Sitting down, I really had a shock to hear how Bad my shots were.
The Compositions were bad
The Exposure was off
The Timing was a Disaster

Out of the thousands that I ended up shooting, only two made the cut.

Now to the important point of matter.
How this cleared my First Block.
Over a period of time, I was shooting unguided.
I learnt everything from scratch, from books and from magazines.
But there was no former knowledge on what works and what doesn't.

It took people who really cared and dared to humble you and make you realize where you are.

This December of 2009 taught be many things.
1. Photo Magazines can only teach you techniques but it will never push you further and better
2. It takes someone to tell you you SUCK before you realise it.
3. When someone says you SUCK. You LISTEN and change
4. Novice will remain a Novice until you are guided by someone better.
5. Good enough is never good enough
6. Moments are vital 

Photography is more then just taking photos of nice sceneries and items around us.
Its also the extension of the eye. As John Berger writes, its also a re-creation; a copy of the reality frozen in time and space.

My First Block ended with me realizing I was fooling myself into thinking I was good. 
In reality I was so far from where I can be....