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.

 

 

Shooting film in 2016, 2017 {kodak ektachrome revival}

I take it that you are here is because either you are curious about shooting film or that you read about the revival of kodak ektachrome. I been shooting ALOT of film in 2016, fueled mainly by the desire to slow down (you will hear this reason from almost anyone who shoots film) or the cosmetics tones that film provides.

Film labs in malaysia are cheap. So cheap that the labs like ColorDotCom and Bang Bang Geng have films from all over the world posted to it for development and scanning. The results are uploaded via wetransfer or google drive the moment its completed and owners can enjoy the results while their negatives takes its time to return.

Total cost per roll? USD $3, that includes both development and scanning.

Don’t get me wrong, i am not giving up on digital. But digital, like a genie from the lamp gave me so much power that i forgot whats it feels like to enjoy the process and to stop being a gear head or reading up exciting new gears every quarter. Moore’s law guarantee that your current digital gears will be crappy in comparison to new releases faster than the new car models.

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film tones, fujifilm 400H, olympus 35 uc 42 1.7

Film cameras on the other hand had reached its golden age somewhere in the middle of 1970s. Since no “sensor” was involved, manufacturers had to think out of the box on how to make the next release. Premium and even mid level cameras were built so well, they have a heft to it when you carry them and they easily lasted over 20 years. Most of these manufacturers focused on quality and build and the vast amount of film cameras available today and still functional are a testimony to these decisions.

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mamiya rz67pro, 180mm f4.5. Kodak Porta 400

Truth is, digital cameras have reached a level whereby you don’t need to buy a new one anymore. The nikon d3000 that i purposely buy because of its large CCD sensor produces amazing results. Yup, d3000, the supposedly weakest camera released by nikon according to Ken rockwell ;-).

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nikon d3000, sigma 50 1.4 (non art)

Around 6 years ago, the camera that got me interested in photography in the first place is the quirky Sigma DP2. I was interested in why would a manufacturer go against all odds to pursue and release a camera using a different sensor than everyone else is. I soon gave up on that camera after realizing that i am addicted to pixel peeping  but produces nothing interesting in actual photos. Film on the other hand is at the far right side of the spectrum, where one no longer pursue sharpness, latest and greatest or burst speed, but rather the communication with the subject and the process to think more before pressing the shutter.

Shooting film enables me to appreciate the digital gear that i had, the awesome power of technology and how much it has progressed since early 2000.

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Canon 6D, 35 1.4L lens with VSCO film tones.

My only FF digital camera is the Canon 6D and i have only 1 lens to go with it, the 35 mm 1.4 L. This to me is more than sufficient to create albums that new models and existing models friends would want. When the album are not urgent, i would use film as well. In the world of film, a Leica M7 with a Noctilu f1.0 do not have much advantage over a cheap USD $100 camera like the Olympus 35 uc, they are both used depending on my mood for the type of results i want to get, instead of showing off  Leica as a brick around the neck.

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Leica M7. Noctilux f1.0. Kodak Color plus 200

As i went one full circle from 2011 till 2017, i began to appreciate and understood the reality and truth that “gears” are not really the important factor, but rather the photographer.

I bet if i had my hands on the tragic Sigma DP2 again, perhaps this time, things would be different.

 

 

 

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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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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Finding a purpose {portraiture}

angela,lilies. 50 1.4d nikon f100

Sometimes some of us must wonder. Does anything we do actually means anything. I believe we are each called to live this life in a significant way, significant and yet transcends time.

Two years ago, a friend of mine, lee lit min, died in his apartment in San Francisco. A geek at heart, he has no girl friend and never bothered him to socialize for that purpose. He worked for Juniper networks and later some car company on software for car dashboards.

Lit min inspired me in my teenage years to do programming, which ultimately became my career of choice. He was my best friend, period. The cause of his death..cardiac failure. All that is left are his photos and images in my mind. Nothing he did, in computing, meant anything. His existence and friendship did.

In 2011, a long lost friend who is an air stewardess suddenly appear and asked for my help to take photos of her. Kiko is a cheeful person and i was surprised that she willingly took every opportunity to get her photos done, despite her working schedule. I was very new back then and pretty much learning as i go. Did a collection of photos of her and her sister Corrine, a wonderful set in Broga hills near Semenyih and various other albums.

I only found out the reason to her determination later on. She had cancer. Late stage breast cancer and wanted the best of her images taken. By the time she allowed me to know this, it was thru her sister cause she has left back to Singapore. I took a plane down to visit her the very next day..saw her last smiling expression, and she left earth the following day.

Three years ago, in 2012, i met Janice, an aspiring model. The Kiko incident reminded me that i should do my best if help is needed. In 2013, we were like the best friend/photog/model combo you can think of. I had her interest in my mind all the time and found it highly motivating to help her, to the best of my limited influence in that community. Few months down the road, our friendship faltered, i didn’t know why, communication was harder and it just went on drips.
I wish her all the best, pretty much have the best interest that she succeed.

Now its 2015. I am shooting film and occasionally digital. I have joined a startup while taking leaves from my own company, leaving it in very capable hands of my other partners.

The world didn’t become better because we embraced iphones and facebooks. Economies of many European countries are still failing. China still churns out the worst humanity news and terrorists like ISIS are still killing innocents in the name of religion.

We flood our attention with movies and feel good marvel stories. Deep down we hope that some avengers or Superman will come and put everything in order, that all these issues will be gone and the good prevails.

* Click. I took some photos of Angela last week using a digital. Spent some emjoyable time editing it and trying to make it filmic. Applied VSCO’s Provia 400. The last lab that could do real color slides processing just announced they no longer offer such service a month ago.

* Click.
A small part of me wished that my images can comfort some soul out there in this world, make someone’s day and life brighter.

There is no bokeh like the F1 {portraiture|noct f1}

bokehlicious

bokehlicious

Took these two casual photos outside Starbucks. At f1.0. There is nothing like the noctilux f1, in terms of a balance between artsy, vintage and clinical perfection.

vintage character and yet sufficiently modern

vintage character and yet sufficiently modern

Model is Joyce Low. https://www.facebook.com/joycelowlsh?fref=ts

That noc-thing again {portraiture|thoughts}

pastel

pastel

There is just something about the noct on the leica CCD that keeps you addicted to it. These images are taken casually without much editing, in fact, when i saw the colors and bokeh, i just loved them. This particular shot exhibits candylike pastel colors and it didn’t require much effort on my side. If i were to be downright frank, in reality the rendered image beats the actual image.

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vape

It takes a little bit of practice and once you developed what i would call the “bokeh eyes”, you can envision certain aspect of the images and bet that it would turn out amazing. An example would be the distance and lights behind the subject, the noctilux f1 is at f 1.0, it renders it very differently than say a 1.8.

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B

These images are taken during the non flattering hours of the day. They are all taken in shaded location without any form of reflector nor flash. In Malaysia, the equatorial position guarantees that the sun will be directly above the country most of the time and you have very short side lighting than other non equatorial countries.
Using the noct, you need to get around 3 meters away to allow a certain margin of movable recomposition. This is because on the rangefinder like the M9, you can compose only in the center and you recompose by moving the camera horizontally, but because you are using f1.0, you only have a very small margin of depth in the subject you are shooting.

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A


I should be shooting a lot more and sharing them. The GR now lies in my other bag as the noct’s alluring call for action is just hard to resist haha. I have been offered to goto Korea to do a portrait shoot for a girl whom i think has just undergone plastic surgery and wanted to have an album to share her newfound beauty, but we’ll see.

Bokeh vs Bokehless, the lost art {Portraiture}

angela {bokehless}

angela {bokehless}

I been struggling to master the bokehless portraiture. This struggle has motivated me to force myself to use cameras with deep depth of field and hence inability to produce bokeh photos. One such ridiculous camera is the Casio TR. If you read my previous blog, i took this camera and went walking around Singapore as well as shot my model friends in Kuala Lumpur. Things took a change when i decided to ask Angela Lieche to do a shoot with me. Angela (x.x.angela instagram) have been creating beautiful bokehless images and her fame instagram is rising fast, thanks to her images.
Bokehless portraits, takes a very different set of eyes and mind to capture them. When i had the Casio TR, i tried my best and eventually i admit i could not take any satisfactory portraits with it. You can read about how the model herself could take a better picture here.

angela {bokeh}

angela {bokeh}

I am lucky to be the owner of a Noctilux f1. An ancient lens granted by Leica to possess magical qualities. I maybe exaggerating but the fact that you use a rare aperture, it can only create different bokeh and imagery. So in this shoot with Angela, i use the new skills of utilizing both bokeh and bokehless cameras. The bokehless camera is the Ricoh GR 28 mm f2.8 and the bokeh camera is my trusty Leica ME Noctilux F1 v3.

angela {bokeh}

angela {bokeh}

If i were to be downright honest here, i am one of the best outdoor portrait photographer anyone can find in Malaysia. Not the best, but definitely one of the best.
Well, let me correct that statement earlier, “best outdoor female portrait photographer”. LOL.
I pay my dues with constant learning, practicing and restrain in learning and enhancing my skills, do visit my other articles and photos to see the various themes that i have done and collaborated with. I learn from the best, be it Dragon Chow from HK, Ming Thein of Malaysia or a freelance model like Angela who is gifted, i take my lessons with no prejudice.
Is it profitable? No by a far margin, photography to me is like an art and a gift to me and people that i meet.

Please do enjoy the images below and drop me a comment if you enjoyed my images and lame jokes.

angela {bokeh}

angela {bokeh}

angela {bokeh}

angela {bokeh}

angela {bokehless}

angela {bokehless}

siew may  {bokehless}

siew may {bokehless}

siew may, {bokehless}

siew may, {bokehless}

When “bokeh” can’t save you {portraiture}

 

deep depth of field requires strong elements


I have always depended on “bokeh” from my 1.4 and recently the 1.1 Noct to produce beautiful images. But after looking at a lot of beautiful photos (e.g instagram “pimtha”) i knew these type of photos is something that have eluded me for a long time.

Its pretty obvious these photos uses some kind of app filters, but isn’t thats exactly what i am doing in Photoshop when i edit the images and tones of the portraits. Last two weeks, with the Casio TR camera with me, i could not produce any satisfactory portraits depsite having access to Elaine in town. TR is a puny sized compact sensor 1/1.7 that Casio don’t even sell to their own japanese market, maybe its not an honortable thing to do, selling compact cameras at 8x the price of ordinary compacts. 

So i tried hard to use it to do portraits, force myself to carry only the TR. 

You see, there is a big difference how you shoot images that leverages on “bokeh” and those that don’t. I have been doing portraits for years and always paid heavy attention to the bokeh and blurring of background characteristics so much so that my eye for portraits are accustomed towards such setup.

Yesterday, while studying further images, it suddenly dawns on me the simple truths that when you can’t count on bokeh, you have to count the background in as strong elements. When i see those multiple repeated fences or columns or lights behind, i would have an idea how they would turned out with the 1.4 lens or the noct. That doesn’t work at all in the bokehless camera, in fact, almost all the poses that would work on beautifully with these fast lens and big sensors, would fail terribly on compacts or mobile phones. 

The image above is my first decent image using this new line of thinking. I am happy and excited to continue this journey. I will be sharing more of these images and my works #nobokeh

Where no cameras matter {Portraiture|Mystery camera}

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Amanda cme, a full time makeup artist in malaysia, KL.

Last few weeks its all about using that “premium” level noctilux F1. This week, i decided to use a mystery camera to educate friends and public. The point is..

 

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all smiles

You don’t need the most expensive lens or gears to make art. You can’t be using an iphone if you want quality images of the same scene. But here is the good news…

 

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chelsea, beautiful

Today’s camera, if you were to buy one that is even 1″ sensor. Its more than enough to keep you busy. After all, lens or cameras are servants of light.

 

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the eyes

These images taken here are of very high quality, i have no reservations printing it out and matching even the best 35mm have to offer…with billboards as exceptions.

 

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its all about the expression

What is even more important is to have quality of light and focusing on what you love to do. I love candids and i love portraiture. This is where leica will have a big problem matching, fast focusing. I had good success using 18mm F4 on the Leica ME with zone focusing. But if you gonna do some composition and you want speed…

 

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emotion

you will be spoilt by choice by other brands. Autofocus has reached a godlike speed. All the images in this series are taken with 1 camera that cost less than USD 1000 and 1 set of cheap triggers costing usd 30.

 

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love

When i have that bokeh lust, its the Leica with the Noctilux that does it. When i want those beautiful candids and i need autofocus, almost any camera will do.
 

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straight pose

This mystery camera is just the Panasonic FZ1000. A zoom lens of 25-400 and 1″ sensor.
Enjoy your day.

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