If portraiture bores you, try doing it at night {portraiture | CCD}

Just wanted to quickly share two images i just took tonight.

If you feel that portraiture are beginning to bore you and you have been doing way too many portraits, try doing it at night.

Its a totally different level and playing field at night and the resulting images often brings a long lost smile to that photography kid hiding inside.

All images below are taken with Nikon CCD sensor camera at F1.4.  As to which camera it is, you will have to dig around my blogs to find out, i have been very vocal about how underrated this camera is, i bought three of them just so i have some assurance of its continuity.

 

malaysia top portrait photographer

malaysia top portrait photographer

 

The model is Amanda CME, also known as Mak3upQueen, you can find her on facebook and if you happened to be in Malaysia, do engage her makeup services for your model photoshooting.

cheers.

 

 

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 7

Read the earlier series :

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 6

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 5

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 4

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 3

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 2

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 1

 

I boarded the ferry with my family and off we go to Lokrum. The main attraction of that island is the dead sea, the amazing view and clear waters. There is a nude tourist section but since i am not ready to be seen on my beach bod, that was skipped.

The best part of this island is that the gov of Croatia does not permit anyone staying overnight there. That limits the kind of facility that can be built on the island, the usual unsightly footprint of human accommodations construction and hotels are nowhere to be seen. There are just a few restaurants there and that is good enough for everyone.

 

scenery at f2.0

towards lokrum

Sometimes film photography is “the only” way to go travel. If you look at the picture above, that korean tourist is on her phone busy uploading boring instagram images while the beautiful scene fades away. When i carry a digital camera i just can’t avoid looking and double checking on the LCD screen all the time and machine-gunning every scene repeatedly. The more time u spent with ur eyes in the camera, the less you travelled.

 

lokrum photography

shores

croatia travel photographs images best beautiful marcus low photographer

sofa of rocks

amazing foliages

The way natural lights dances in and out of Lokrum is just amazing. I shot everything on F2.0 wide open on the Zeiss biogon and i take the results with vignette happily. You don’t need any metering at f2.0, if its bright, set the shutter to 1/1000 on the Leica M7 and your done. If its shady, set it to 1/250 and you are good to go. Most of these images are taken on Fuji pro400.

Looking back at these images as i type these words, man, those colors and organic feel is just awesome.

the couple

lokrumar photography best photographer

dead sea

dubrovnik in film photography

dead sea crowd

croatia travel images best photographer

crystal clear

dead sea film leica travel photographer marcus low

party

leica photography croatia

lokrum opening

Lokrum is a must visit island if you are travelling to Croatia or Dubrovnik. Its one of those beautiful places that you just wished you could be remoting and living there for months. While the inland dead sea pool view are not as breathtaking as the plitvice lakes which i will be sharing on my next installment,  the shores and foliages in this island sets it apart as a tourist spot.

 

 

fujifilm GA645 review thru portraiture {review}

I was visiting a film lab in Publika KL last week and the owner offered to loan me a Fuji GA645 for my portrait works. I took the camera and did some googling. After reading a few reviews i was totally disappointed. Most reviews talk so much about the authors’ feeling on the camera but failed to show any interesting portraits or even images.

Here are some example of sites : filmshootercollective.com, dantestella.com , while they do contain some useful info about the camera and some nice photos of the camera itself, i came out feeling empty and hungry.  Maybe its because i am into portraiture and the lack of such examples just doesn’t show the camera any justice.

Without any materials to draw inspiration from, i took the camera, a roll of kodak Porta400 220 and went shooting with Irene near bangsar at Plant Cartridge.

There is this idea that have been in the air for sometime about what kind of imagery can we create that would hit the mass appeal for “the perfect girlfriend impression”, to the asians. Reading up on some articles and some sharing of ideas with makeup artists like Megan, the suggestion is that guys prefer girls that are just simple, wears basic clothing that are comfortable, long hair (what?), slim and with a pleasant personality. Sexy elements such as showing strong curves and cleavages didn’t make it to the list. #pfibyM

Enjoy the images and do leave me a comment or two. All the images are shot wide open at 60mm f4, Aperture priority mode.

fuij ga645 portratis

beauty and flowers

 

ga645 beautiful portraits

Skintones

fujiga645 medium format film

its summer

fuji GA645 full body portraiture

floral balcony

fujifilm ga645 outdoor solo portraiture review

hello

fujifilm 645 medium format GA645 portraiture

serendipity

fujifilm camera review medium format 645

joy

fujifilm medium format camera gear view ga645 portraits

yellow bokeh

World’s most beautiful Leica M6 Part II {does it takes pictures?}

best leica m6 available

M6 Dragon Y2000 Black Paint

Read Part 1 here

We have to ask ourselves whenever we try to justify our purchases. Especially one that comes from the red-dot company (cough*). The left brain begets us to explain, to sanitise our conscience through logic. The big question is “Why did you buy this camera, will you even use it?”. There is a thin line between a gear head, a collector and an actual enthusiast user that appreciates using the tool.

 

leica zeiss ultimate m6 camera

Leica M6 dragon with 35mm f2 Biogon

When i bought the Dragon M6 limited edition, i was clearly stunned by its built and quality. I even blogged about this earlier . It has been weeks since i had the camera. All the early shouting and self afflicted propaganda to keep buyer’s remorse have subsided. I couldn’t allow myself to keep the camera in the box to just appreciate its aesthetic values, my views of collectors are pretty low in respect and using that same measurement on myself would make me a complete hypocrite.

A beautiful tool such as the Dragon M6 have to prove its worth and a camera is useless if it isn’t used to create images. So i took it out for a whole day shoot when my model friend and internet idol Stephy Yi Wen told me that she would be going to Korea for studies. I got myself some rolls of Fuji Superia 200 and Fuji Venus 800. I knew that i would be using the 35mm Zeiss Biogon wide open but in a room with only dimly available natural light coming in, the ISO 800 film would be handy.

 

best film camera 2017

The Dragon 2000

If you happened to be travelling to South East Asia and passing by Malaysia, do get your films replenish and develop in Bang Bang Geng in Publika. With the pathetic level of Malaysian currency today, you could get a Superia 200 for USD 4 and scanning with development for USD 4.5.

Now back to shooting session. I noticed that there are indeed some improvement that M7 does have over even this Dragon M6. One of them being the iso dials you see behind the body, the M7’s iso dial is clearly easier to use and felt more robust. The other is the shutter dials. The Dragon’s shutter dial are more polished and looks great but turning the knob at each stop felt better on the M7. The M7 is after all a much newer camera.

 

most expensive leica m6 2017

Immaculate finishing

The rewind knob is used slightly differently than how i imagined it would be. The Dragon’s knob needs to be lifted up while the 2 dots remains submerged to do the rewinding. I found myself winding for 5 minutes and getting nowhere initially before i realized that the knob needs to be lifted.

There are several aspect of the camera that made it a very inspiration tool for use. First, the body is slightly lighter than the M7, i would say almost nobody would buy an M7 or M6 without using it on a holster or case. The Dragon just felt perfect while the M7 felt a bit on the heavier side. This is of course a purely personal evaluation. The other advantage is that the Dragon only uses 1 battery as opposed to 2 on the M7, the mechanism of replacing the battery on the M6 is definitely built better than the M7s.  The 0.85 finder, delicious.

Enough about the camera, how did it do, i will leave some images here for you own evaluation.

recommended leica m6 for today

beautiful stephy. M6 dragon. venus 800

 

desire leica m6 dragon edition

Enlightenment. M6 Dragon, venus 800.

 

most desirable leica

Alluring. M6 Dragon, venus 800.

 

best film camera leica dragon m6

Stephy @ Sekeping Jugra. M6 Dragon. Superia 200

 

limited edition 2000 dragon leica

“There”. M6 Dragon. Superia 200.

Could i have gotten better or similar results from the Leica M7? Of course i could, don’t be silly :-). The Dragon M6 might be the most beautiful Leica M6 that warrants it as a collector item but it should by all means be used. The 0.85 works really well with the 35mm frame lines. What was you weekend shoot, did you try film? Do share some of your thoughts here.

The most beautiful Leica M6, 2000 Dragon {exhibit}

m6 limited edition most prized m6 best version leica leica best model m6
The year was 2000. The millennium, a year that promised great changes and greeted by chaotic predictions of a technology Y2k bug.

That year Leica at the suggestion of Schmidt HK decided to celebrate this amazing lunar year 2000 with a special edition of M6, the Dragon. The Chinese have long followed a 12 month calendar based on creatures. On that year 2000, it’s the year of the Dragon.

The Dragon have unique position in the hearts of Chinese and also in both biblical representation as well as western folklore. Bruce lee, for example is known as the little dragon and his epic movie that brought the pride of Chinese to the big screen was the movie “Enter the Dragon”.

Limited edition m6 ultimate

Leica’s Limited Edition

The limited edition would be released in a small run of 500 units of Leica M6. Each camera would bear a calligraphy character of the Chinese word for Dragon and Year 2000. I am not sure if Leica is aware of how rare is the combination of a millennium year that falls exactly on the Dragon.

The sales was just average with folks complaining about the origin of the idea being founded by Schmidt instead of Leica (though Leica has always been known to accept great ideas be it marketing or innovation and more importantly, it’s all produced by Leica).

One of the reason for the lacklustre sale was because the Limited Edition was seen to be made and targeted at China . It seems that the association of a luxury item and brand like Leica and China just isn’t glamorous. That was China in year 2000, which is also ironically known as “the sleeping dragon”.

China today is an awaken Dragon and it’s very hard to find these gems around . This Leica M6 became a milestone in the millennium year that saw the Dragon awakening and the China we know today .

When I first got this unit I was sceptical it would exceed my leica M7 in craftsmanship or the inspirational feel of holding one. I could not be more wrong . Leica chose to put the 0.85 finder in this Dragon, black paint and the M3 rewind knob.

M3 styled knob

The knob itself is a surprise to me when the body is placed into a beautiful leather holster, the fact that the knob isn’t protruding diagonally makes it so much easier to dress it up. I found that I could use a Leica M 240 holster or a M9 and it would just flush in beautifully.

Most beautiful leica

Black paint

The black paint is just so beautiful and the single stroke lever is so raw and like a piece of cut out metal.

This edition totally changed my mind on the craftsmanship of Leica films’ bodies limited editons. While the titanium version was cringe worthy and I sold that off quickly, this M6 dragon is an entirely new level of beauty as a tool.

If you could get find a used or new unit of this gem, use it . Forget about making it as a collector item unless you have two. It’s total injustice not to use this beautiful M6, or my opinion the most beautiful M6 so far.

Most expensive m6 leica

Back

Read Part II here, weeks after owning and using the Dragon M6.

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 6

Read the earlier series :

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 5

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 4

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 3

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 2

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 1

On this 6th series of travel with film, i am sharing amazing photos taken on the edge of dubrovnik with the Leica M7 with Zeiss 35mm f2.0 ZM. You reach this area by walking all the way into Dubrovnik and you will soon see an opening into harbour like scene.  Absolutely beautiful.

dubrovnik film only travelling

Dubrovnik harbour like scene

The view of the houses stacked on the stony hills of Dubrovnik can clearly be seen from this site. I wonder if there is a way to walk up those hills on foot, reminiscing scenes from the Lord of the Ring or games of thrones. Houses here are pretty standard on their roof top colors and built, almost if there is a template/theme given to the residents.

houses on hills

left view 

This is the perfect spot to take some portraits with dynamic elements. It’s windy and the background provides a good setting for some good subject separation and yet retains enough details for the mind to complete the picture. Shooting with film really made this whole trip enjoyable without the load and distractions. When i got back and got my photos developed, i am rewarded with both anticipation and enactment of the scene, it is almost like going back to Dubrovnik and living those moments again. I recalled one of my trips with digital, it was a chore going thru thousands of photos that i didn’t even bother to select to share them out. On film, each 36 shots carries with it the memories on why i took the shot and what happened.

portraits with dynamic elements

portraits with dynamic elements

I took a ferry across to Lokrum, it cost around 40 kroner. Lokrum is a very special island that host a few restaurants, a dead sea pool, nude beach XD and where bunnies roams freely. It is one of those itinerary that you must add in to your travel plans. The gov of Croatia made a rule that nobody is allowed to stay overnight in Lokrum, i find this rule strange but exceptionally good. The island is well kept and preserves its natural beauty.

 

toward lokrumar

towards Lokrum

lokrumar!

Lokrum’s stunning shore

I will end this post with one photo of the shores of Lokrumar and will be sharing more on the next post on exclusively on film photography done in Lokrum.

Read the chapter 7

Beautiful Portraiture at 35mm {portraiture}

Recently I have been shooting on both the sigma dp2x and the canon 6d digital. It’s Chinese New Year and the film labs are not open so i invited Stephy chang over for a session.

malaysia portraiture best photographer

Sigma dp2x

Sigma have amazing colors but highlights often blown easily. Despite what some die hard sigma fans will defensively tell you, it’s pretty much Sigma’s silly decision to put the AFE conponent into an otherwise usable camera.

Well regardless of brands and advantages, let’s just enjoy some of these images.

best outdoor portraits 35mm photography

Sigma dp2x

best malaysia portraiture outdoor photographer

dp2x on vertical portraits, 3 meters away

I have a lot of beautiful images taken by the canon 6D, it’s amazing how easy the common cameras are in delivering results vs sigma. There is this beautiful airbnb site “sekeping jugra” that allows various interesting scene with the play of light. If you happened to be in KL, do drop by this place or make it your accommodation.

35mm outdoor portraits canon 6D photographer

Canon 6d. Added grains

best outdoor portraits canon malaysia

Canon. Moving candids are easy on canon, impossible on sigma

 

stephy yiwen photography best photographer

Canon 6d

The sigma images are shot on 41mm and the canon images on 35mm. I am a fan of using non standard portraiture lenses focal length because I needed the outdoor scene for context . I find it often hilarious how some would travel far and shoot models on 85mm losing any relevant context to the images.

What is your favourite outdoor portrait lens ? I have once tried using 18mm for portraits.

 

What camera is a hybrid between film and digital? {gallery}

There was a story about this guy who went to Nepal in search for peace and simplicity. The guy have half his lifetime focusing on his career and building a corporate life that he soon got tired of it all, gave away bulk of his money, sold his house and took a one way ticket to Nepal.

As the story goes, after 7 years in Nepal, he came to a conclusion. Peace and simplicity isn’t found in Nepal or anywhere else,  he could pursue the same objective of living a simple life back in an apartment in Amsterdam. Nepal and its basic lifestyles and people gave him a chance to know himself better.

sigma camera best portraits photographer portraiture

the search, processed from raw file

I started off photography on a peculiar camera, the sigma dp2. From there i went all the way to nikon D4, Leica M9, A7R, Canon 6D and a lot more gears that i am more shameful to bring up than to boast about. Did i improve? Nope. My improvement came from lots of practice, 2 workshops that i attended on portraiture and film photography.

Yup, like the story of that man, film gave me time to discover myself. Now after one full year on film, i decided to find two cameras that have the same inconveniences of film but a digital unlike any other. I call them the “twins”. The very thought of owning these two cameras and carrying them around with me tickles me somewhat, it is like cowboys in the older days where the top gunner would carry two guns on each side of his belt.

sigma low iso shooting night quattro sdh dp1x

single exposure, processed from raw file

These two twins are the Sigma DP1x and Sigma DP2x, fix lens, APSC cameras with a strange, weird sensor.

Let me just provide a note of warning here. Do not follow me on this path, haha, no kidding, i would go so far as to say that shooting film is much easier than using these two cameras.

But i have come to a point whereby limited gears don’t really trouble me much. These two cameras main selling point is its Foveon sensor, it’s what i would call, an anomaly sensor that produces results between a film and a digital.

At 4.7 megapixel, its even smaller than my regular film lab’s output. I wouldn’t have come to this mindset of accepting such low-res results if it wasn’t for my one year film pilgrimage, it reinforces what i already knew about megapixels and what we really need in our image sharing and even printing.

sigma dp1x dp2x dp2m quattro portraits

unedited, jpg from dp1x

The image above is unedited jpg straight from the camera’s raw file. Man, it already feel so film like even without going thru VSCO.

Here is another sample.

sigma dp1x sdh portraiture

dp1x jpg out of the camera

The uncertainty that these “twins” presents, the dog slow auto-focus and the availability of a crappy manual focus are just so similar with the film cameras that i use. Instead of labs, i have to wrestle with Sigma Photo Pro, an obscure software that can process the raw files or extract the jpg as shown above. It’s a bit like waiting for the lab results.

I am not giving up on film, don’t get me wrong here. It’s amazing that the DP2x 41mm focal length is so much like my favourite Olympus 35UC’s 42mm focal length. The DP1x’s 28mm would cater for wide angle shot.

Note : I wouldn’t recommend Sigma cameras to anyone, personally I felt Sigma is a company that continuously betrays its camera users with experimental, unproven and stupid decisions. If you google up the reviews of their new cameras e.g. One such review, those are plainly evident.
I have lost this camera. This camera has been stolen on 27th January 2016 near VCR cafe, Kuala lumpur malaysia, together with a hood and AML-1 lens and 2 wasabi backup batteries.
– Update : 24th jan 2017.

What do you think of these images? Drop me a line or two in the comments below.

Penang beach {portraiture}

penang best portrait photographer

Serenity

One of the unexpected nice location for photoshoot in Penang is this small opening at Babylon restaurant .

I have always strived for taking portraits that are natural with an element of candid feel to it. With the wind on my side and a close and happy model at the scene, the right recipe for a beautiful album that presents itself.

penang outdoor best portraits 35mm

True smiles, a rarity among portraits

Eilein Pang have collaborated with me for over a year now for her albums and her popularity and freelance jobs have grown too. Often we would chat about some local issues that are faced by the freelancers and the individuals that we could draw inspirations from.

She has never doubted my  constant preference to try new ideas on different mediums and gears. When I pursued film for the skin tones and organic feel she was pretty patient with the waiting period that her generation have never experienced before.

35mm penang best outdoor photography

Horizon

penang best 35mm portraits marcus

Calmness

I will be visiting this place again if I visit Penang. Curious as to how the light would be at sunrise.  I hope you enjoyed these short series of images.

Vintage streets of Penang {portraiture}

On the last week of 2016, I visited penang, a northern state and island in Malaysia. Penang have a heritage site recognised by UNESCO for maintaining its vintage streets and architectural aesthetics.

My first stop was Lebuh melayu where I rented a room via airbnb. Two of my model friends visited me and I took the opportunity to do some albums.

Eilein @ Sekeping Pinang – fuji400pro, olympus 35uc

The street outside here looks like it’s stuck in the 1940s. Some shops have been converted to lodging and  cafes while the corner shops are hosting hawkers like stalls. These hawker like stalls are infamous for its local dishes.

Old stool – canon 35 1.4 L

Canon 35 1.4 L


If you travel to Malaysia, you have to visit Penang.  Rooms here cost a mere usd $50 per night , complete with breakfast. I wouldn’t mind the breakfast though, the food at the streets and cafe are so much better.

Elaine – canon 35 1.4 L


Just another 12 km away from the city you will reach Batu feringgi, a stretch of beaches for those beach lovers . I visited that part for some shots but in this piece I will just share images done at the street .

I took both a film camera and my canon digital with me . My pretty friends actually prefers digital since the results would be fast but nowadays film development in Malaysia won’t take more than 2 days.

Vintage streets – canon 35 1.4 L

Poses as a tourist – canon 35 1.4 L


There are plenty of specialise cafes as well, from ice cream centric ones to those offering own cakes. 

So walking in the humid and hot tropical streets here I have to occasionally stop by a cafe or two just to escape the heat and chat with my friends . 

Eilein – fuji400pro olympus 35uc

Eilein – fuji400pro olympus 35uc


I hope you enjoyed these images and visit Penang one of these days. 

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