Iceland travel for asian, {single camera} Part 1

best iceland travel blog

Reykjavik at noon (35mm zeiss FE f2.0)

Yeah, i went to iceland. Let me just drag that timeline cursor to the beginning so i can share some of the tips and ideas you can do while travelling to iceland, especially so if you are not an expert backpacker or if you are coming from Asian countries like malaysia, singapore or thailand.

Before i took this journey, i had tons of tips coming from well meaning folks about what i should or should not do in iceland. “You will need to spend at least RM 5k (USD 1.3k) on gears and clothing!” says one uncle, who had never been there  himself.  “Why are you going on summer?, you will miss the aurora lights!”, says the other.

A short advice about these things that ppl dishes out to you….”ignore”, it’s absolutely ridiculous to take any of those advices given that different seasons in Iceland requires a firsthand experience, not from some imaginative minds.

Well here are the cost breakdown that i had spent on my own clothing and gears :

iceland from asian

water proof shoes (iphone 7+)

  • waterproof shoes – karrimor shoes, from sports direct RM 250 (usd 60).  i got mine from the sports direct outlet at Double Tree Hotel. Even though i went on summer, i faced unpredictable weather in Iceland and lots of walking and simple hiking. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish, get yourself a waterproof boot or shoes.
how to travel to iceland for malaysians

waterproof jackets from uniqlo / blocktech (35mm zeiss FE f2.0)

  • uniqlo blocktech jacketRM 120 uniqlo, you will need these water repellent and wind proof jackets so that you can get behind some of the beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. If you notice most instagrams have the picture of the person way in front of the waterfall, its because they didn’t bring these jackets along.  Get the ones  with the hood.
malaysia to iceland travel

Get near the waterfalls (iphone 7+)

  • Bring other basic clothing like pants, gloves and i totally recommend those light clothing from Uniqlo’s heattech.

Now that you have the basic gears covered, you will need to book the flight ticket.  There is no direct flight to Iceland from Malaysia, so we went there using Thai Airways, 1 day stop in Bangkok, landed in Denmark and went on a direct flight to Reykjavik using IcelandAir. The flight from Denmark to Iceland that we took is not a connecting flight, its a separate flight that we booked online and it was 3 hours departure from our ETA to Denmark, so we took a little risk there.

how to travel to iceland from asia

IcelandAir Direct Routes

Now, the CAMERA. For the last few travels i did, i always chose film over digital but for Iceland i decided to bring my trusty Sony A7s with three batteries and a Casio TR wide angle camera (otherwise also known as selfie girls cam hahaha, a little bit on that later).  So why? Why digital over film, fact is that i kinda chickened out, i could not google up much information on film labs and availability in Iceland and given that this is one trip that i needed wide angle lens, i have the 35mm Zeiss f2.8. I have partly regretted that i didn’t bring along a film camera for a surprise reason that will be shown later on!.

malaysia iceland camera travel

That one Camera one Lens

 

For the next chapter i will be sharing on some of the early photos i took using this setup and other things  i encountered with my family during our visit to Iceland.

 

 

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.

 

 

Amanda kills digital {portraiture | film}

amanda

Amanda | mamiya rz67pro | fuji400H pro

Perhaps this picture will cause you to consider doing medium format film photography. Although i did a lot of nice sexy beach shoot with Amanda, this photo taken in a cafe on the Mamiya RZ67Pro with 110 f2.8 lens just raised the level to 3D literally.

The colors and tones are just so beautiful. Its mind blowing to think that one need to spend USD 2000 on puny FF digital nowadays when USD 400 gets you this amazing gear with plenty of $$ for film development. Awesome.

 

■ amanda ■ Sands {portraiture | ccd sensor}

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This is Amanda CME (fb,insta: mak3upqueen). I met her 3 years ago and last sunday we decided to collaborate. I shot this album using both film and CCD digital. Unfortunately film is still processing and not out yet, so do enjoy my digital version. Shot on the “lousiest nikon camera – ken rockwell” D3000.

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As much as i am eager to see the output from the 6×7 film i shot, these CCD output from my Nikon camera are just awesome. Amanda have done so much makeup for her clients, doing model poses is like a walk in the park.
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Hope you enjoyed the photos. I am the best portrait photographer in Malaysia, not commercially, but in my thoughts, reach out and passion.  Do forgive me for the arrogance 😉

Film + Digital and why LCA120 should be avoided {glance review| sharing}

 

 

LCA120

LCA120 shot from 1 meter

I going to be real blunt here even if that includes shooting myself on my feet. Having been thru several sessions and shooting both films and digital, it gives me the pleasure of filtering out the gems from the garbage.

First off let’s talk about LOMO LCA120. This is a medium format film camera that i bought after using the LCA+ for few weeks. My opinion was that if i had so much fun with LCA+, LCA120 would be worth the purchase. My opinion now is that it is a camera that should be avoided. Like many others i read phoblographer’s raving review on LCA120 but here are some reasons why i am find it off my recommendation list.

  • 4.5 is a slow for the LCA120, the problem is the shutter button, unlike the LCA+, the button on LCA120 is challenging to press. Makes me wonders what got into Phoblographer for even recommending this camera. While the LCA+ have an aperture of f2.8, its usability was decent. On a light plastic camera like the LCA120, its horrible. Don’t expect to use it anywhere except bright outdoor or tripod.

 

LCA120 auto exposure

LCA120 auto exposure (note the distortion pillar)

  • At f4.5 the autoexposure is crap when used on a medium format LCA120. Vignetting on a medium format is just silly when you have to pay over USD 400. When phoblograher says this is best for street shoot, i think what he means is this is only usable for bright, outdoor street. period.
  • Distortion everywhere. See the picture above, notice how distorted the pillar is. Unless you are shooting infinite all the time, expect all kinds of distortion on this Minigon 38 f4.5 lens.

 

LCA with f2.8

LCA+ with f2.8

So get yourself the LCA+ from the same LOMO company and ditch any idea to buy the LCA120. I have a LCA120 totally like new now with all the original box and packaging if you want to give it a go, make me an offer. But my conclusion is that LCA120 is best used as a prop not as a photographic tool, its defnitely nowhere as fun or as useful as the LCA+ .

 

digital on FZ1000 at f2.8 25mm

digital on FZ1000 at f2.8 25mm

When you own and major in shooting film, sometimes the digital itch rears its head and i digged out whatever digital camera that is left with me to bring to a shoot along with my film gears. The picture above is taken with FZ1000, took me like 2 seconds to take it and 10 minutes to post process it with a barrage of mix presets from VSCO.  You know that saying “Once you go film you can’t go back” …it’s true (though i made up this quote).  I find digital output a bit too clean and not a single picture i took ever since was released without post processing them with grain. If you like film grains, use the Color EfexPro, its not just adding grain blindly, its adding them like how a film would have them.

 

film

F100 50mm 1.4 Sigma, Fuji400HPro

Film gears comes in two flavours. The Autofocus and the manual ones. The F100 that i use for this picture is autofocus and it works with any lens created for Nikon F mount as well as older autofocus lenses such as the “d” lenses. While i do enjoy shooting film manually, sometimes its a joy using autofocus when you want to lean your thoughts more towards results and yet enjoy the beautiful tones from professional grade films like Porta or Fuji Pro.

 

nikon D610, sigma 50 1.4

nikon D610, Nikon 50 1.4 D.

I have sold off my Nikon D610 too to a good friend, at a huge discount. During my ownership of the camera, i often spend way too much time processing the output into film hence i rather use F100 for my projects. Example above is a result of processing with VSCO AGFA preset .

 

noctilux f1, kodak superia 200 film

noctilux f1, kodak superia 200 film

 

Noctilux f1, Kodak Porta 160

Noctilux f1, Kodak Porta 160

 

XA2, FujiChrome, 16 f1.4

XA2, FujiChrome, 16 f1.4

These last 2 pictures are taken on the Fuji XA2 and 16 f1.4 fujinon lenses using in camera film simulation of FujiChrome. The still look digital to me, but the film simulation provides a closer gap between film and digital.

XA2 Fujichrome 16 f1.4

XA2 Fujichrome 16 f1.4

 

I will be going on a trip to Croatia soon and after much pondering, i will bring the fuji with f1.4 over. It is a family trip and travelling light is the priority. I do find myself mulling over this decision and thinking of ways to fit in one of my film gears with me, perhaps the Leica M7 with 35mm zeiss.

Charlotte {portraiture}

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There is this aspiring makeup artist, Megan khor that wanted to do a sexy swimwear album for a model chosen by her.
Ironically i was chosen for the task despite having the reputation as “the guy that avoids doing lingerie and overly sexy themes”.
After discussing about the shoot, i decided to do it. Personally i have always felt and still believe that doing lingerie shoot/nudes are just low skilled themes and often the subjects are portrayed in inferior porn like poses. i am pretty sure the world don’t need more of those.

This swimwear idea is different and since its outdoor i get to use my skills. Objective would be an album that shows class, highlight sexiness and elegant poses of the model and effective use of outdoor photography. The strongest reason that i accepted this however, is because I have known Megan for sometime and when she proposed to sponsor the swimwear and makeover, i knew she has her heart in it and i would put in mine to match. After all, when is the last time u met a make up artist that would sponsor the clothes.

Hidden in this whole album however is as truth, a message. I purposely used a 10 year old APSC nikon camera with 10 megapixel (yeah less than most phones nowadays) to create this album. Lets just say its my way of saying “No” to the new Nikon D5 announcement and the lure of constant upgrades.

So jump in to my facebook link below to see the rest and follow my page to see the next 2 albums done on the same genre.
Drop me some comments and feedback.

Gallery.

Red + White models in Malaysia {portraiture | Leica}

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Models instagram : x.x.angela, eil3in

The 40mm 1.4 voigthlander is one of those lens that i sold and bought over again. Its not too normal as what 35 would render and its not as boring as 50 mm which everyone have in their arsenal. I allows just that extra bit of space to make the difference.

Here are some images of Pang yi ling (facebook) and Angela Lieche (facebook), both friends and freelance models in Malaysia that i recently collaborated with for a series of “Cheongsam”. Cheongsam is the chinese pronounciation for the traditional costume that chinese wore for festive seasons like Chinese New Year.

One of the mistakes that new photogs often make is placing a red costume on red background, usually the temples are chosen as the background for such shoot. In my series, i put Red (eilein) on an outdoor background with blue rails and some random spots, for White (angela) since she is wearing red, the temple at Petaling Street was chosen.

Do enjoy the images below and drop me some comments of your thoughts. Cheers.
* All images shot on Leica ME, Voigthlander 40mm 1.4, edited in LR, PS, VSCO filters.

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Ur christmas eye candy {portraiture, feat : Eil3in}

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So its christmas here already. For reading my blog, here are three(3) images from my recent-yet-to-be-uploaded albums for your viewing pleasure.
Have a wonderful weekend and do remember Christmas is about giving and not taking just as God freely gave His Son to us undeserving mortals.

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Rachel with gladiators {portraiture}

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caravan

I spent sometime reflecting upgrading my mental faculty to add poses to my workflow. Yup, poses. I think its working, i can now easily pose any outdoor model in decent poses regardless of the props available. Its not that hard once you have spent 30 minutes a day studying poses after your long day of work in a completely different field (app developement in startup). In this set of portraiture, i used a Voigthlander 40 1.4 that costs less than USD 500 with the Leica ME (ccd sensor).

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sexy

Sexy. I find myself often struggling with this theme. The asian traditional values of grace, beautiful poses and my inherent preference of not doing anything on nude/lingerie which downgrade any beautiful model into soft porn is often at odds against each other when i study western art. Truth be told, i find recent works of China’s chinese photographers posing nude ladies outdoor tasteless, gimmicky and downright a hit at women’s honor.
On the other hand, as a women, sexy and curves are advantages of her body design, it should be highlighted in poses if its done correctly, with decent clothing that invokes that primitive visual response of viewers at a basic level.

passenger

passenger

A prop is essentially any item, object that the model can use to add interest to the visual image. In this picture, highlighting Rachel’s gladiator using the rear passenger seat and door adds interest to an otherwise weak image.

dusk

dusk

Simple poses with good natural lighting can never go wrong.
Thanks for viewing my latest portrait session, i have a lot more beautiful photographs from this session and will be sharing them on my next blog.
I know i been churning out a lot of crap reasons and morality lectures that nobody wants to hear, but hey…its how i feel in all honesty.

distance

distance

* featured image, taken using F2.0 at 1/3000, 40mm 1.4 voigthlander, Leica ME.

Eilein of Penang {portraiture}

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i took out the leica ME and my favourite voigthlander 28mm ultron. Left the noctilux in the dry box. Took a trip to penang.
Took these photos of Eilein.

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