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 :

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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!.

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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.

 

 

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 8

Read the earlier series :

Dubrovnik, Croatia {travel with film} Part 7

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

After Dubrovnik and Lokrum, we went to Zagreb and took a personal tour with a local there to visit the Plitvice National park, on the way we stopped by this small town named Rastoke. Boris is a super personal guide that drove very safely and was patience in showing us the locations and updating us on the scenes that we visited. You can find Boris in trip advisor, be sure to tell him that about this blog and ask for  a discount 😉

This is a beautiful town that looks like it came out straight from the disney fairy tale.

 

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fairy tale residential scenery

Houses are built surrounded by beautiful mini waterfalls and streams. Its a sight to behold and there is a cafe at the entrance that you can sit and enjoy this beautiful view. Prices here are cheaper than Zagreb and if you want there are lodging that you can book and stay.

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slope for scenery view

If you walk up the road on the side you can see how the houses are built around the streams and in harmony with nature. There is no better landscaping than one that makes nature your neighbour. Totally awesome and the envy of any architect.

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surreal living

One of the main attraction here are the houses at near the entrance just a 5 minutes walk in the area and you will see crystal clear water in a shallow lake by the houses

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Mesmerizing scene

We spend around an hour at Rastoke, enjoying the view and sat a while at the cafe. We then proceed to the Plitvice National park.

Plitvice is our last travel destination and thus the end of this long series of travel with film for Croatia. We spent nearly 5 hours here. Yup, 5 hours. It involved a lot of walking, trekking and walking. I suggest you get a some water resistant shoes and clothing when you visit this place.

In fact, if this was a solo trip, i would probably spend the whole day here. While Rastoke is beautiful and surreal, its also a small town, Plitvice on the other hand is a huge garden of Eden.

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You will find yourself surrounded by emerald lakes and clear rivers that will make you wonder if such paradise is worthy of humans. These images that you see here are unedited and captured on film for its analogue and organic feel, something which i feel would be corrupted by digital capture.

Lets just enjoy these last set of images as i close this chapter on Travel with film for Dubrovik, Croatia and its attractions.

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Say grace to God, for allowing us to enjoy this beautiful scenery

This whole series has taken me one whole year to write and share. All the images in this travel blogging photography series is done using Leica M7 with 35 mm Zeiss ZM f2.0 lens. All the images are shot wide open and i used various films like kodak color plus 200 (bought in Dubrovnik), Superia 200 and Fuji Pro400H and developed in Publika Bang Bang Geng, Malaysia.

Thank you for visiting my blog, i hope you find inspiration to travel to Croatia.

(Next in 2017, ICELAND!)

kim {film | portraiture | LC-A 120 | Leica M7}

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lc-a 120

I had a fantastic weekend unwinding by doing a set of portraiture using the LC-A 120 medium format film camera and my trusty Leica M7.

One of the challenge that i faced is that LC-A and the bigger LC-A 120 have exposure control. This means that if you shoot backlighting photos, you will just end up with silhouette images. But as you can see in the images here, i managed to come up with a technique to fool the camera without using any filters or add ons.

Lomo cameras should be used with a lot of common sense and thoughts to get good images. If there is one thing you should forget, is to forget the 10 rules of lomography. There is no shortcut for good images and visualization.

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lc-a 120

All these photos are shot on a Fuji 400H pro for both the LC-A 120 and the Leica M7.  You can easily differentiates the pictures of the LC-A 120 by its square format and the Leica being rectangle. These are taken at the beach and hotel called “LonePine” in Penang, an island on the northern state of Malaysia.

 

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lc-a 120

Miss Kim here is a top 10 Miss Malaysia in 2013. Though it has been years since she got involved in any beauty contest, you can see that she doesn’t require much effort to be photogenic. On the LC-A 120 camera, i took these images by standing just 1 meter apart. In lomography sites, you often see that almost all the images shown are taken on a centre subject and with light facing it else its dark, my examples here are unique because for once you get to see images taken using the LC-A 120 backlighting and yet decently exposed on the subject. 

 

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lc-a 120

The technique is very simple. PM me if you want to find out 😛

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leica m7, 35mm biogon

Now i did a complete album using the M7 and fuji 400h pro film. It’s an emotional theme that portrays the relationship between a girl, a vintage camera at a lonely room. Do enjoy the images here, the complete set could be found at my facebook, fb:marcuslowphoto.

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leica m7, 35mm biogon

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leica m7, 35mm biogon

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leica m7, 35mm biogon

Next, i be sharing some of the  candid photos i took on the LC-A 120 as well as street photos. Till then, adios.

 

Getting close {Street photography | 18mm f4 Zeiss}

supermodel?

supermodel?

18mm f4 zeiss is one of those lens that keeps coming back to your side, sweet talking you into taking it out for some good time. Today i decided to shoot really close, 1.2-2 meters. This has to be done from the hips and its not something new to me as i prefer shooting silently as an observer rather than taking the VF up to my eyes. Granted, Leica ME/M9 uses mechanical shutters and its nowhere as silent as today’s electronic shutter that you can find in many mirrorless cameras. However once you are on the street, its barely audibe and could be used in almost any street photography except a quiet subway.

look left

look left

If there is one thing that i love about the 18mm more than any lens is the drama it brings to the image. 18 is not your average street photographer’s nor portrait lens, but that is exactly why its a compelling lens to used. While shooting at F4, base iso 160 and 1/250 on a cloudy midday, i notice i could easy frame and get the image almost exactly as i imagined it would be.

crossing

crossing

Street photography is very different from my model portraiture shoot. You don’t have all the time to focus and shoot and you would want as much elements in the picture as possible that shows the subject being in the street or environment. This particular shot i was very close to the subject and they came out from my left suddenly from the mall’s entrance. I set my camera to be in focus for 1.2 meter. Its really beautiful how manual focus lens have these distance markings easily readable when you are shooting from the hip. The masters of the old film days didn’t have any option but to shoot using distance zone focusing when they don’t want to miss the moment, hence the popular one liner of “F8 be there”. I use f4, i want the background to be visible enough buy not as sharp as the subjects.

where's mum

where’s mum

This photo is unedited. The beautiful subject isolation is caused by direction that these people are moving towards the bright outdoor. I notice the cute baby expression of being anxious and quickly move towards them.

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leading lines

This is probably a photo that i don’t feel like publishing because it actually resembles an upskirt kinda shoot but i am actually pretty far off and took this picture only because of the rare empty distance between me and the subject. When i imported my images to LR, i noticed how perfectly straight the lines are even though i took it from the hip and did not double check on it after the shot. Was tempted to put the caption as “stalked” after i converted it to B&W, but no.

cafe infestation

cafe infestation


Malaysia is undergoing some Cafe booming market right now. This is a standard Starbucks and look how full it is. There are so much activities and interesting people in a cafe.

Chelsea Chang & Sasha Gold, Portraiture

Most of the images here are done using the Zeiss 18 f4. However some are done using a very ancient lens, the Cyclops 85 1.5.
I take it that you will have no problem knowing which is which.
You may contact Chelsea via facebook from my page : www.facebook.com/marcuslowphoto for modelling jobs and casting.
I must say she is a very dedicated model and able to do her own makeup. Sasha is not working towards being a model, so its just a fun collaboration.

I hope you enjoy the images as much as i did creating them. And as for the Cyclops, there is 1 very big con that i should mention, its only sharp at centre. Hence even for some of these photos where i composed using rules of 3rd, the face is a bit blur. That is the limitation you will have to live with, but the legendary bokeh, its not something u can create by photoshop easily.

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Vanessa, Post Era (Portraiture)

Vanessa will be leaving Malaysia soon. This is her album, portraiture using my emoref (emotional reflective) style.

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Vanessa

Vanessa

This was taken using Minolta Rokkor 55mm 1.7. Manual focusing oh yeah!
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The minolta lens continues to surprise me. There are many of these lens lying around in japan and ebay, get yours while you can. I am not selling mine on ebay, but my advice would be, you usually gets what you pay for, look properly at the lens images and description before bidding. Some of the images in this series completely astound me when the “flare” hits the Rokkor at 1.7, more on this later.

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Images taken in this post is taken using Zeiss 18mm F4 and Minolta Rokkor 1.7.
Zeiss 18mm M mount at Bhphoto

Athena, the 7th, Portraiture

I been shooting at this place for the 4th time. Like the “Edge of tomorrow”, you keep getting better as you go thru the same scenario.

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More coming up later today. I just love using wide angle for potraiture. The “selfie” like photo is taken using 18mm f4 Zeiss.

A side project, 100 most beautiful Selfie

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_DSC4119-EditThis post will always be updated with the collection my project, entitled “100 most beautiful selfie”.
These selfie are done using an angle similar to selfie, except i will be using a monster 36mp A7R with 18mm F4 Zeiss.
The update will ceased the moment it reaches 100 selfies. Whether its a chanced encounter, a friend, a family or just strangers, if a suitable person happens to cross my path, i would offer to take a shot of the selfie for this project.
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The beautiful 18mm f4 Zeiss for portraits

This is a tricky lens to use for portrait. The challenge lies in the peak focusing recognition because at this width almost everything seems to be in focus with a slight twist. However it is a beautiful lens indeed. AT 18mm, Zeiss gives very interesting colors and mood to the images. I haven’t have a proper session to do a full model shoot yet, so most images here are just casual images. (updated, check out how its used on portraiture here)
Wide angles such as 21, 18 and even 15, gives the subject a very slim profile, something which almost any ladies would appreciate. Like one of my master says “any lens can be used for portraiture”, its just a matter of recognizing its advantages and using it. One thing though, do not use the hood on the FF Nex. The hood causes an unwanted vignette.

Here are some images taken with it, at 18mm F4. Those “selfie” images are taken from my project of 100 beautiful selfies.

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In fact using wide angle for 2-3 meter of portrait photography is something that should be explored more especially for outdoor photography.

Here are 2 more examples, unedited straight from camera. Using wide angle gives a flattering view of the subject, if used at the right angle and distance, even the skin looks better!

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You can get this lens here: 18mm f4 Zeiss M mount B&H photo

I personally use Fotodiox M to Nex. Its a very solid piece of adapter and the release tab is so much better than those typical china made that i’ve seen. You can get that here from B&H too

* check out more services and my photos at cocoa-dream

Amazing combo : see for urself, 35 mm f2.0 ZM on a EP5

Few days ago i combined the m43 EP5 with a manual lens 35mm f2.0 ZM Zeiss. I was totally blown by the results.
Here are the OOC Jpeg of the combo result. All the images below are unedited.

First off, the lens is easy to focus, even without the peak focusing, but i was doing it on the VF4. The VF4 puts the Xvario’s VF2 to the cavemen days.

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The lens has beautiful character.

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And it comes with free “glow”. I notice the skin has free glow without editing, these naturally occurring glow didn’t exist when i used the same lens on the M9.

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It has ZERO flare even when shooting straight at the sun, with or without a B+W filter.

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Sure, its 70 mm and F4 equivalent on the FF. i been shooting over 300 images and the batteries are still full? All the time i just used the VF4 with the manual focusing. Perhaps electronic lens uses up bulk of the power.

wow. just wow. Totally happy with this combo.

Here are 3 more reasons :
1. the olympus 5 axis stability works on any manual lens, be it legacy or not. I been shooting ISO 200 (base) the whole time. Its crazy.

2. The setup is very small, even with the adapter, M mount lens are small and beautiful.

3. WYSIWYG. You don’t need to be be chimping all the time, what u saw on the VF and what u get, is the same. Set your dials to “M”anual, and just roll the shutter dial speed until u see an image that u like.

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