Thursday, December 23, 2010

Saloma Bistro

Saloma Bistro
Shot taken while on an assignment to shoot a dinner for a public department at Saloma Bistro. Had I use the tripod, it would not have been a glaring attempt on HDR. Bear with it, I'm really getting myself the best tweaking for my HDR photos so there'll be lots of trial photo uploaded here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One Fine Afternoon

The morning was a long wait for Lira's check-up when the doctor had to leave his clinic to deliver a baby upstairs in the maternity ward. We finished around 2, that meant we won't be able make it on time to attend a wedding of a friend in Port Dickson. Since suddenly we have time to spend, I decided to bring Dhea for a train ride to KLIA. The weather was really nice though despite occasional heavy rains for the past few weeks. We were happy!
Waiting for the Train

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Busy Times

After quite a long hiatus, I'd love to write as long as possible but time would prohibit me from doing so as evidently, for the first time since its re-establishment, there was no post for the month of November. Been busy with works at the new office hence the shelving of my beloved camera ever since. Whenever it's possible, I'd bring along my camera and shoot. Here are some updates.
Spending the Evening
Cool Park

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Country I Live In

I am living in Malaysia and though it is a beautiful country, I'm beginning to hate this country for some apparent reasons. To highlight one of it, how could someone owing millions of ringgit in taxes to the country is not barred (or failed to be barred as claimed by the IRB stated in the media) from leaving the country where here I am, failing to settle a study loan is strictly barred from doing so.

For human development? or Protecting the riches?

Can't they even make a sound judgment on that?

Fuck this country!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Second Attempt

My second attempt on HDR. Macam budak kecik, new thing hooks me.
Malay House

Friday, October 22, 2010

Post Processing

During the early days of my photography, I was always admiring good photos that I found while browsing for inspiration. I learnt that there are lots of factors implied in producing a good photo. While investing (or wasting) endlessly to new and more superior gadget is one of the factor, I knew (or rather hoping as definitely I couldn't afford in acquiring the new gadget most of the time) that it wasn't just the hardware, but a sort of alteration or modification or enhancement surely have been involved in producing such photos. A further research on the net (by using the words above) has led me to the world of post-processing (or PP in the shorter term).

Inspired by a certain photos I've seen, I have ever since been trying to get the similar result only to discover more ways of doing it. As it has been, the general appearance of photos that I took were inconsistent due to the experimental post-processing methods I've discovered.

I've known about HDR (high dynamic range) processing technique at about the same time but I was always turned down when I saw lots of overcooked samples done by other enthusiasts. Apart from it, as I attempted to produce an HDR-processed image by using the software that I always used when processing my photos, my old workhorse just couldn't process it. I'd always thought, it must be that because this is an old horse. I was wrong.

Though it's true that my ever trusted PC is old enough with lesser capabilities compared to every other PC that I touch nowadays, the failure to process an HDR image in CS2 is due to the EXIF data embedded in the 'single RAW' technique I adopted to create the HDR image. HDR processing requires same images of different values in order for the software to merge these images. As I was using the single RAW technique to produce a set of images with different values, the Adobe Camera RAW embedded the same EXIF data for all those images thus the incapability of the built-in HDR in CS2 to read the different values for each of the photo.

The other option, and actually is the best (according to the findings on the net) to produce HDR images is by using PhotoMatix. I hesitated for so long to install it for some reasons - the computer being old and almost full is a part of it but being a reason is always used in any way as a justification to delay a thing.

It has been years and finally tonight, to heck with all those reasons, I decided to install it. I did and there I was fascinated with it and at the same time regretted that if only I installed it years ago.

Anyway, it's still an immature attempt and I am yet to understand the parameters within it. This is my second try, a set of photos that show the original photo, the one that has been through tiring and difficult methods to get a balanced exposure by using merely the CS2 and lastly the HDR attempt. I am not fully satisfied yet with the result but definitely I can foresee a major leap in my image processing for the years to come.

But first, I have to get the watermark removed first. That is by getting the license guys, not by the harder way of image manipulating.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Broken Finger Scene

2010-10-17-jari patah-dyptch-800w
In my life, at 4 years old, I've ran straight head on to the edge of the wall and had a deep cut on my forehead that has its scars clearly visible until now.

In my life, I've been on several times bled because of fireworks.

In my life, I've fallen off from both the bicycle and bike and sustained deep cuts.

In my life, there was once upon a time, a girl came beside me and simply struck a pen knife to my arm causing a cut so deep it still exists today.

In my life, I've twisted most of the joints in my body with one still plaguing my right knee for the past 10 years.

But I've never break a bone until now.

In my life, now I've broken a bone.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dhea's Blurb!

Her Book
Finally, something that I have envisioned even before I actually start clicking the shutter is to have it printed out represented in the best medium I can afford. I found out this book making service and been wanted to make one ever since. It does require a stock of photos to be included or else it won't be a book, so I had to wait for a while before this could be realized. Initially, I wanted to include all of the photos that I have but I think it's better to dedicate Dhea a book of her own. After almost a month of waiting finally the book has arrived.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


My life. Could have been better. Should have been better.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Waking Up in Aidilfitri

Waking Up in Aidilfitri
Woke up to a beautiful sunrise this Hari Raya. Every sunrise is beautiful yet each is different. So is this one and so was the past. Let's hope and plan for a better and meaningful Aidilfitri in the future.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri & Maaf Zahir Batin

The other late night, I was having drinks with old friends chit-chatting over nothing prominent when suddenly, considering it is approaching near, we came to the topic of Aidilfitri's preparation. One of them, has a mother of a same origin as my mother thus what he told shared a similarity with what I used to experience whenever Aidilfitri is approaching. That experience too is strongly associated with a distinct smell, a smell that hit me recently when I was laying comfortably on our new set of sofa. A smell that brought me to my childhood experience in celebrating the festive day.

My friend was telling how he has just helped his mother in laying down some carpets all around the house. That was exactly what my mother would do to beautify the house for Aidilfitri apart from changing the new curtain, changing the cover for all the seating's cushions and polishing all the silver and brass wares. The thing about these carpets is that these carpets are only for special occasion and when not in use, we have to keep it preserved by having it wrapped in layers of old newspaper and to be tied strongly so that the size of each roll is as small as possible allowing us to tuck it all up in a very small space next to the wardrobe.

With Aidilfitri approaching, mother would tell me to have all of the 'special' carpets laid at its designated area. I used to live in a relatively very small house at a low-cost housing scheme and definitely the area that the carpet would cover overlapped with the furniture's arrangement. So, I had to lift every furniture to tuck the carpet underneath it. Imagine having lifted all the furnitures and finished laying down the carpet only to find it misaligned! In a way, luckily my house was small or else I couldn't imagine having to repeat the process for numerous of carpets - laying it down and later have it rolled and wrapped up for storage. And every time, I got used to the unique smell of these rarely used carpets hence the strong association with the event till today.

Usually, during the last two weeks of Ramadhan, we had already started to do some preparations. Putting up the colorful lights and have it switched on every night lit up the spirit of celebration. Our neighbor next door has a bigger and unfenced compound so they would set up gasoline lamp fixed to a stick stuck to the ground. I and my childhood friends would ride the bike around our housing scheme to see which house has the most decorative lighting fixtures.

Later on, we would end up at a field. On one end, there's a kid's playground and on the other end, it slopes down to a monsoon drain. It was a perfect setting for a 'war'. We would divide ourselves into two teams, both teams taking cover behind the existing 'fortress'. I remember once, I was in the team that held the line down in the sloping end. We were under heavy fire that we had to jump into the monsoon drain to evade the continuous attack. Apparently they had lots of fireworks supply than we were.

Also, during this period of the last two weeks that postman would stopped by every other day to deliver some white envelopes of various sizes. I remember the joy of looking at the stamped stamp where it states the origin of the mail (greeting card) and later on to open up the envelope to reveal the beautiful greeting card inside, amazingly never failed to make me smile. I used to see in other houses where they would hang all the cards received on strings tied over the ceiling. My mother however preferred to have it attached to our wall.

Being the youngest child, there's a big age gap with the rest of my siblings with most of them already settled down with their families in the capital. I would eagerly awaits for their return as it would make the whole house livelier. I remember a routine that we would all sit in front of the television on the eve of Aidilfitri laughing good time over 'Raya'-themed sitcoms, usually the one showed on our neighboring country's network. Meanwhile, also a routine for her, our mother was always busy in the kitchen preparing her signature dish for every Aidilfitri - the ever delicious beef 'rendang'.

Living in the small house made it became crowded when it was time to sleep. We would arrange by families and the best spot was to turn the living room into a dormitory. My spot would always be on the two-seater sofa at the front room. It was an additional room, built when I am yet to study architecture thus the way it was arranged is separated from the main house therefore whenever I wanted to go to the toilet I had to use keys to access the house before carefully choreographing my steps to avoid stepping on someone's feet or hand.

Those were the built-ups known to me in welcoming Aidilfitri. At this age, I truly miss it. Under current circumstance, it is near impossible for me to decorate the house I'm living the way I used to before. At this age too I don't think it's proper for me to wage a 'war' on other kids or else it would had me arrested by the police.

The shows for Aidilfitri on television were a total crap. Not to mention the local movies released during Aidilfitri at the cinema for the past few years were never themed to suit the festive season.

The advance cyber world definitely paved new ways of doing things but little we realized that it also kills it. People don't send greeting cards anymore. Ironically, the only card I received this year was sent by a Chinese friend and how I am grateful to her for that. As guilty as I am being a part of it and being too late to send any out now, I would like to take this opportunity to ask forgiveness from anyone reading this blog, from my relatives and friends, and lastly from my family. Me, my wife and our lovely daughter wish you all a happy festive celebration.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri & Maaf Zahir Batin.

However, what I missed most is to ask forgiveness from my parents - having them sitting side by side and returning to only one place I call home, instead of two as fate writes, it would never ever possible to happen again.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Lots of Dhea!

Lots of DearDhea!
I am preparing this image for a project. Really hoping to get it done before Aidilfitri as I'm going back to the slavery world after that. It's a matter of now or never. Another one to follow soon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dhea at Home at 1.4

She really wanted to play outside. I really wanted to test the new 1.4.

It's mutual.
Dhea at 1.4, Dhea at Home

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thank You & Goodbye

I'm parting with these two lenses that have served me well since I started doing photography. The 18-55 has been through a rough journey and had on few occasions tasted a splash of sea water. Surprisingly with its cheap status, it has produced a lot of my favorite images. Meanwhile, the 55-200 was my main target for further reach due to its Vibration Reduction (VR) technology. I had fun outings with it but it just hard to perform under indoor lighting when I'm doing weddings. Furthermore, lately I had fewer outings, if there is, mostly with my family and thus lesser needs for further reach since my daughter always kept running towards me whenever I'm taking her photograph.

Surely, they have replacements. Can't wait to see the results of these replacements!

Meanwhile, so long, thank you & goodbye my dear lenses.

The 18-55 and my favorite image it produced.
Such A Beautiful Day

The 55-200 and my favorite image it produced
DearDhea - Metropolitan Park

Friday, August 20, 2010

Re-Publish The Early Days

I guess there are some worthy shots during my early days in handling the DSLR that needed some justifications from my editing. It is going to be a series of republication of old materials.
Sleep Well

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Spirit of Celebrating

Getting Her Ready
This is her first time holding a fireworks. I'm getting her ready to join the other relatives when Aidilfitri arrives.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

About My Image Processing

There were few occasions when somebody would ask me about my venture in photography. I would happily tell them almost everything they needed to know, that is within my knowledge. But it has just been only two years since I started this passion, therefore I am nowhere near of being called a professional nor am I comfortable being called a photographer.

I am always enthusiastic whenever I shared my knowledge with someone new to photography. Not that I am any wiser but explaining the possibilities to explore in photography really excites me. Having explained about the technicalities of handling the camera, I would tell them about the essential of knowing to process the photo in image processing software, in this case, what I'm using is Adobe Photoshop.

Normally, I always got this one look - a look that is trying to tell me, I'm a faker in producing the images. There are different approaches when it comes to the concept of purity in taking a photo. To me, having it processed in Photoshop is a way to give the image a touch of individuality. It is a personal touch.

Anyone, with a couple of thousand ringgit can buy a camera with the same lense as what I am using. With it, being at the same place and same time and after adjusting the dials and buttons with the same settings as I am, we both are going to snap an almost identical images. How am I going to differentiate mine? It draws a question though, is the differentiation a necessary at the first place?

Under a certain circumstance, in my case, my images are of a personal touch to express what I've seen and recorded visually. I might see some potentials in these images that best represent it. It could be some color enhancements or creating a visual directive that makes the photo more interesting.

I read a book about post processing and there's a caption in it that quotes the author as saying that digital processing is similar to having the negatives processed in the darkroom for film camera except that Photoshop is really a powerful digital tool that is not only capable of producing basic image processing, it is also as if we are painting on a canvas - to better express one's visual expression.

I remember a teacher once told me, a block of wood already holds a certain shape in it waiting to be carved out. It is up to the carver to find it and make it appears.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How I Met Your Mom, Dhea.

When I dedicated the previous posting for Lira's birthday, she was hoping to read something about the memories we've been having ever since. I know it was a bit disappointing for her to read the craps I was writing. Well, I'm a man of distraction (not destruction lol) whenever I'm writing. In a way too, I was trying to avoid being drawn to type anything mushy.

Anyway, let me write a new posting.

If asked, it all started when I bought my first personal computer (the one that I mentioned in previous posting - with only 4 gigabyte of hard disk) somewhere in the second half of 1999. I remember when my brother first connected the PC for global connectivity, I became hooked to the wired world, in particular the IRC.

I reconnected with my school friends and we used to occupy a chat room (called channel in chatting term). One day in August 2000, she joined the channel and was looking for a guy she used to know. Apparently, she used to hang out at a channel of the same name as our channel but under different server.

Me, at that time being a moderator for the channel (called 'op' or operator) always tried to be friendly and helpful to any guest dropping by in the channel. We started to chat and getting to know each other more. It got to a point where we would always be in the chat room at the same time together every day.

The chemistry was obvious to our chat friends (who were also the real world friends) who would always tease us. It was flattering for me as I had not been in any mutual relationship prior to knowing her.

I guess gadgets did help us a lot. For a start it was the PC that threw me into the wired world. Then, from the chat room, we started to converse verbally when I bought my first handphone in late 2000. Recalling, it cost a lot back then to own a prepaid number, a whopping RM360+ with just RM60 worth of talk time. An SMS would cost about 50 cents or a ringgit. If today, by replying 'OK' in an SMS is normal, back then it was considered a huge waste! I would always try to lengthen my message to justify the hefty charge.

Back to the verbal conversation, it all started when on one fine night as I was discussing in a studio at the top floor, I heard a loud ringtone echoing in between the two blocks of architecture school in UTM. As a new user, the etiquettes of having and using handphone were of little knowledge to me, hence the very loud ringtone. I guess it was the first time the phone ever rang. And it was the most rushing run I ever ran a level down to my studio to pick up that call.

When I picked up, there was a voice of a girl on the other end. Hearing it for the first time, the voice was beautiful. It struck me. In the opposite end, however, I replied with a rushing breath (I wasn't athletic for that kind of run). She introduced herself and I was quite surprised that she would call me that quick considering I've only given her my number somewhere earlier in the afternoon.

From that night on, she would call me every night - sharp at 1 am in the morning as she probably figured out by then I'm already or almost done with my architecture work in the studio. Little she knew at that time, it was never a wrap up for the day until it reaches 3 or 4 am in the morning. Somehow, having received calls at 1 am every night, I have made it a habit to place a watch on my drafting table and always trying to speed up my work and wrap it up earlier just before the watch shows 1 am. Amazingly (read: amazingly!), she was always punctual.

If anyone in the architecture school somewhere in the period of between late 2000 and beyond would remember of hearing voices in the wee hours around the faculty, I am confessing my guilt that it was me roaming around the block trying to get the best signal reception for my handphone. The signal was very poor back then in the faculty. I remember having to lean against the metal frame of the window or standing reaching out at the end of the corridor just to get the best signal where in the dark silhoutte of the night, I would be mistaken as Rose standing at the bow of the Titanic.

After going through those phases, we both decided that it's time to meet. Probably the timing was just right because there was a bunch of her friends that were planning for a trip to Johor Bahru, my hometown. She joined them. They were expected to arrive around midnight. Gosh, how it was one of the nerve wrecking moments in my life having to wait for her arrival. The anticipations, expectations, impressions were all clung in my head. I had to drag a dear friend of mine (who happened to be one of the 'op' in the channel and the three of us know each other virtually) to accompany me when meeting her.

The moment of arrival holds its own special memory for her as what she retold it to me. While I was eager to see her in person, she got confused in identifying me from the two of us the moment she alighted the car. We did not have a proper introduction thus after when everybody sat down and few lines have been exchanged that only she realized which one was I am.

We were young and being at the same age, we were 21 at that time. Her friends went their own way and surely there was going to be a problem for a young girl to stay alone in the hotel. Luckily, there were few of my female friends who were also eager to know the girl who had somehow made me a cheerful and happy guy for the past few months. They offered her to stay at their place when she was there. From what I heard from her, those friends were a wonderful hosts. They treated her very well. Thanks a lot ladies! You know who you are :)

In fact, they didn't just being a good hosts. Apparently, they were also playing intermediaries. As what she told me, they were telling good things about me, trying to convince her to accept me if I was ever to propose. And they were asking for updates whenever she reached home after going out with me.

Recalling the first time we went out together, we first had lunch around the campus. That lunch would be considered a big waste because the amount of uneaten food had a resale value of almost 100%. Later, I brought her on top of a hill in the campus, well known for its view of the surroundings. It was in the middle of the afternoon under the direct sun. I wouldn't do it again but that day, the sun didn't seem to have any effect on me despite the almost wet shirt I was wearing.

Later we went for a movie. We both tried not to impose any perception yet towards the relationship so we avoided watching any romantic movies that were on show. We ended up watching 'Dude, Where's My Car?'. What a selection for the first date.

Tomorrow, she was going back to Kuala Lumpur. So, later that night as I was sending her home after the movie, I made the move. I proposed. I was hoping that after the sunny hilly outing and a good selection of movie at the cinema I would get an immediate answer. I guess that hilly outing is best visited later in the evening and the movie should be about a man and a lady instead of two stoned guys searching for their car and eventually saved the planet from the aliens - because she said she needed to think about it and would only be able to give the answer tomorrow.

So it became one of the torturing sleepless nights I ever had apart from the normal that I experienced whenever the semester reaches the end. So much that I can't sleep that night and when I finally dozed off, I overslept until the next morning, almost making her missed the bus. There were a lot of frantic missed calls (surely it had to be frantic) by her and the girls on my phone as I had put the phone on silent (having to already know the etiquettes). Luckily, they managed to call one of my housemates who later woke me up. Again, I was on the most rush of rushing I ever had in my life since her bus would depart in less than an hour.

Having picked her up, I was on the road driving like a pro (so it seemed to me, to impress her) switching lanes, honking, shifting gears (apart of making it accelerates, it also creates a roaring sound - again, trying to look like a pro) in a borrowed car from a friend. I still remember the plate number - WBP 5649, a brown Proton Saga.

As we were reaching the bus terminal, definitely I wouldn't be forgetting the proposal I made last night. As I narrated above, with the help of the intermediaries after I sent her home and probably with the impression she had with my driving skill at that time, she finally gave the answer,

"Ok, it is now 9.30 in the morning and the date is 25th of March".

With that, there was the happiest guy alive seen at that time, sending a girl boarding a bus, waving tirelessly till the bus left and probably still waving for the next 10 minutes after.

To add to the catch line that she said, I can't help to notice that it was the most beautiful rainy day I ever saw.

That was how it started, if you want to know.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Happy Birthday With A Retrospective

Yesterday was the 30th birthday of my dear wife. A habit, I would always try to have a memory retrospective of what has happened for the past 10 years, in this case, for her. She tried but not very hard.

Strangely, I was. And it made me realized how time flies.

Ten years ago, we were strangers. At 20, I was still flirting. By chance, technology allowed me to know a girl. I used to communicate with her through internet. IRC (Internet Relay Chat) was the most commonly used at that time. The journey with IRC allowed me to have a virtual me, another persona detaching from reality.

At that time, I was still an architectural student. Just now as I was browsing through the page of a senior back then in architecture school who is now a lecturer there, I saw several photos of his students that bring back old memories. But it also marks some distinct difference with what we had those years. The apparent is the tools used for learning.

What I saw in the new photo is still the same studio that I used to do my course work but somehow, the atmosphere felt and look different. It was hard for me to figure it out at first but then I noticed the first disparity. The studio wasn't fully furnished - the personal touch we used to make when we first occupied the studio. The personal carpet, posters and pin-ups, personal desktop, some storages, extra lightings for personal ambiance, probably words of wisdom (as if making us any wiser) pasted somewhere on the wall with decorations etc. and the most importantly the drafting table, which tells we spent more time in the studio, crafting our work manually, mostly.

I figured it has to do with the wide usage of laptop, probably an essential tool for present undergraduates therefore reducing the needs of such space we used to have. As one photo clearly shows, a girl sitting with an empty table except for a laptop. Perhaps, the existing layout might be considered a redundant if based on the current needs. Putting aside the argument of effectiveness for both learning methods, personally I feel they are missing something.

Last two days, as what I posted in my Facebook, there was an incident in the house where Dhea got hold of an old cassette and she mistook it as a toy gun and used it for a shooting spree around the house. Despite still wondering (until now) how on earth that she could figure it as a shooting tool, I showed her a skill of rewinding the tape using a stick of pen - a technique I frequently used to save power of the batteries for my walkman during my life in the boarding school. Later on, as I was still holding the cassette, she brought to me my iPod and by holding both items in my hands, it drew an immediate comparison between the two.

About the same size and both function to contain sounds, the similarities end there. While the cassette needs a player to produce the sound, an iPod holds a lot of other functions - surfing the net and play movies to name the few. What I need to enjoy my favorite sounds back then is greatly simplified, enhanced and packed with other capabilities.

My first personal computer only has 4 gigabyte of hard disk storage available. Yet I was able to accomplish tasks given. Now, a device smaller than its given name, a thumb drive can store more data than what I could ten years ago. Imagine having everything running in that little thumb drive of 4 gb for a personal computer, from the operating system to softwares and datas, most kids nowadays would not even able to think about it.

Having said all of those, however not everything changes. The familiar faces of the very same teachers who have taught us to be what we are today were still there in that photo. The sounds that were playing from the cassette are now still playing, through my iPod. That girl I met in IRC is still communicating with me in another currently popular platform - the Facebook but is now limited because we both spent more time in real world as a married couple blessed with a daughter and another one coming soon.

There, a simple retrospective 10 years back dug out some of the best memories we had. Back to the current day, once again, Happy 30th Birthday dear Lira.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Masjid Sultan Mizan, Putrajaya

Portal of Faith
Went for a short walkabout around Masjid Sultan Mizan in Putrajaya to accompany a friend who is new to photography. It's been a while since I went out for a photography outing. Anyway, it's a beautiful mosque indeed. As I didn't know we're going to roam around the mosque, I should have wear a decent clothing then, therefore I could explore more angle from within the mosque.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Majlis Tilawah Al-Quran Antarabangsa 2010

Tilawah Al-Quran Antarabangsa 2010
The previous entry was to display the work of the loser - the rejected option. I think it may have confuses visitors to this blog (if there's any!) thinking I'm displaying the actual Tilawah Al-Quran.

These are the actual photos of the event that is currently ongoing for a week starting 27th of July. However, I'm not going to display any close up photo of the main stage as it'll reveal the poor workmanship of the builder.

The main stage was designed by my colleague, Pn. Noraiyu Buang. The main idea is to use the agenda of the Palestinian in Gaza under the oppression of the Israel as the core concept of unifying Muslims all around the world. She is using metaphorically, the bow of a ship to symbolize the flotilla to Gaza that was ambushed by the Israelis and supported by images of Al-Aqsa mosque, Nabawi mosque & a mosque in Malaysia, which is the Putra mosque of Putrajaya. Initially it is best to use our National Mosque for the image but we couldn't find any decent image that best portrays the mosque from the best angle.

The event went smoothly and I was busy going everywhere to capture the event. Me and my colleagues ended up in the same room with one of a renown singer, Nora who later performed a song on stage. Though I've been to several productions before, but seeing one on a scale like this furthermore with the attendance of national top key figures, the King and our prime minister made the event an interesting one for me.

Later on, I got the chance to mingle with the contestants from Middle East during post event cocktail. Language proved to be a barrier but nevertheless it was filled with exchange of friendly gestures between us.

It's the only occasion in my life where I had the chance to get close to His Royal Highness, the King of Malaysia. However, the turn down is, never get too close to the King if your eyes stucked in the viewfinder busy snapping photos of him, or else HRH guards will simply push aside anybody, with disregard of anything.

Next time, when I have the chance to meet the King, I'll put down my camera and stick my hand out for a handshake with him instead.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tilawah Al-Quran Antarabangsa

2010-07-13-rekabentuk pentas tilawah al-quran 2010-09
2010-07-13-rekabentuk pentas tilawah al-quran 2010-07
2010-07-13-rekabentuk pentas tilawah al-quran 2010-04
2010-07-13-rekabentuk pentas tilawah al-quran 2010-03
Probably the last post of my work from JKR. Most likely (99%) I'll be leaving JKR by Aidilfitri and this was one of the works in JKR that required a little imagination from me that I think worth sharing.

It was for the tomorrow's International Qur'an Recital Competition (27th of July) and annually since the past few years, my office is given the responsibility in producing the design of the main stage for the event. There are 4 of us, architects, who were instructed to come out with a design each.

I never thought that I would get involved in this as I used to watch the event occasionally every year whenever I accidentally flipped over to the channel that broadcasts the event live on national television. I never bothered to look at the design, whether out of ignorance or that the design never really caught my attention.

I browsed through previous years' designs for a start. Definitely, they were majestic. I've seen lots of curves, domes, arches, minarets or replicas of it, flowers etc. in those designs that are usually associated with Islamic art or architecture. They have progressed to be the most intricate and as majestic as it could be and if I am to follow suit, my challenge would be to come out with super intricate Islamic ornament with gigantic dome - the biggest in Malaysia perhaps, for at least I can have it registered in the Malaysia Book of Records and earns myself a Datukship maybe?

Key point is, I am not good in producing such works. Or simply lazy. But I want it to be outstanding the least (not necessarily outstandingly beautiful). Hence the design idea.

A simple box that emits light from within through the use of perforated Islamic pattern where the reciter would sit and recites the Holy Qur'an. The surrounding will be in darkness as the light is focused on to the box. A box where Qur'an is recited, and the play of light to symbolize how Qur'an leads us out from darkness. Just as simple as that.

The other elements are merely just supporting elements that enhance the main concept such as the use of bed of flowers to make the box appears to float and a background that tries to interpret the theme set by the organizer.

If there is any interpretation beyond that, I'd call it bullshitting to desperately sell my idea to the selection juries. That's why mine was not selected :D

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I didn't realize that this blog has been idle for few weeks without any updates. Probably due to some uncertainties and volatilities. With latest development, it seems that this space might face another future uncertainties until I'm capable of sorting things out and put it in order again.

I believe in life everything is earned. I've earned a certain amount of respect during the early years of my career when a certain amount of sacrifices were made that brought me forward in life. However, it stopped and decreased. Career wise too as I've chosen to constantly compare the good life of others with the effort I've done and figured out that I've should have led an easy life. I forgot to hold on to the words that kept me going at that time - to work it all out when I still can.

I too believe in life, when I really want a thing or aim of achieving something, eventually I would achieve it. I wanted to have a family before I reach 30 even though financially I am always unsound enough to even support myself but now I have Lira & Dhea. When I was little, I wanted to become an architect, it is what I am now. When I started working, it was hectic and along the way and in a way, it killed the enthusiasm I had for this profession. Though at times I've professed how I wanted to be other than an architect, it is a big lie if I were to say there is no spark of interest in practicing architecture - the least is for my personal satisfaction.

When I opted for an easy life, it led me to where I am now. Though it's not like an easy life as being lazy, actually what I do really want is to spend more time with my family. As I say, eventually I'll achieve it but at a certain price. I forgot that I need to earn that easy life, therefore I'm paying for it now - with little paychecks compare to what I'm deserving. In a long run, it affects us. Limited resources making both of us have to work and putting Dhea in not the most favorable environment to grow up. I opted a life that's in favor to me, but not the best for everybody especially my family.

I am currently reading a book about the life of the late Datuk Ibrahim Hussein. It fascinates me. There was a time in his life that he thought how life is so unpredictable at every major turning point in his life. According to what I understand, he lived through it and with the unpredictability (or maybe chaotic?) of the life might be, it somehow fell well into its places as if actually the universe has perfectly planned for his life.

My life has been chaotic and unpredictable far from what I've dreamt as a little boy with big ambitions and though I've been disheartened and discouraged to what life can offer me, getting to know the story of the late IB and his journey in life makes me picking up the sword again. Well at least, I'm holding it. Again. World, let it come to me.

Hopefully the universe has a plan revolving around this one tiny human.

-update on 23rd of July, after Friday prayer

Today's Friday prayer sermon delivered a topic on 'Suratan Hidup' or Life's Fate. Indeed everyone's life has been planned by Allah. What hits me is why the topic after what I've written yesterday. Falling into places?

Life is great.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wedding - Fad & Ain

I had the opportunity to cover the reception of a friend at Keramat AU5 and later for the outdoor session at Metropolitan Park in Kepong. He's a fellow photographer as well thus made the whole assignment an enjoyable experience. Congratulations to both of you!

I'll upload additional photos later as I wish.
lervewerk of Fad & Ain

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Preparing The Portfolio

Again, to avoid another search, I pasted this article by the person credited below for my current pursue in creating a proper personal portfolio of mine. Still it's an ambition as I predicted it will take a lot of time for me to complete the portfolio (more of a re-do of what I currently have).

I'd been to several interviews recently and I discovered a revelation that my portfolio does not represent myself at all. All this while, I took this matter for granted now that it will cost me a sudden pressure if I were to return to the private sector.

Somehow, it sparks a new interest that I wasn't be able to explore before. Despite of my low self-esteem lately due to the current predicaments, however, I still do believe strongly in myself to explore it as I've done it before when I want to learn photography all by myself.

It's this kind of stuff that keeps me going and I ain't that useless anyway. Best of wishes to me!

Harold Linton is a professor of art and visual technology as well as chairman of the department of art and design at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va. He is the former assistant dean of architecture at Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Mich. Linton is the author of Portfolio Design, a best-selling book in the field, and he is currently at work on its fourth edition. He is a popular speaker and workshop leader on portfolio design topics.

Great portfolios assist in our understanding of not only individual designers and their work but also their larger design vision and contributions in allowing us to see the familiar in an unexpected way. One recalls the story of the arrival of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wasmuth portfolio in Peter Behrens’ office and work stopping for the rest of the day as the office staff of Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, et al. leafed through the pages and saw their modern world anew. A quality portfolio is like a garden, constantly being watered for future nourishment and beauty.

What might be the most appropriate format for your portfolio? Is your work best presented in a clean, well-organized wire-bound pamphlet design with an accompanying CD or DVD or as a personal Web site that is continually current and updated frequently? Do you prefer the drama of opening a beautiful boxed set of individual plates or do you envision an elegant hardbound book made with the artistry of a person knowledgeable about the craft of handmade paper and the book art form. No matter which format you adopt, Robert A. M. Stern, dean of the school of architecture at Yale University, has carefully chosen words of advice: “Among the many ingredients that help define an excellent portfolio, coherence and modesty are paramount. Plain is better than fancy; simple much better than complicated. The portfolio is a tool for conveying a sense of the work; it should not be an advertisement for itself.”

A finely tailored portfolio is the most important tool you can bring to an application for admission to a graduate school or for a design grant, competition, job interview, or to a potential client. Like a well-tailored suit, the portfolio is critical in establishing that great and lasting first impression. Recent graduates from pre-professional degree programs (B.A. and B.S.) and professional degree programs (B. Arch and M. Arch) enter the field through the interview process, demonstrating their talent and abilities with portfolios in hand. As one progresses in the profession, an up-to-date portfolio demonstrates accomplishments from position to position.

Your vision of the world has something of value to offer. Invest in a design presentation that clearly communicates and supports your vision. Through careful planning and rehearsal, decisions regarding the character, content, visual weight, material sense, size/scale, and format are all selected to meet your vision. The portfolio itself may be executed in one format such as a print booklet or may incorporate many forms, including CD, DVD, Web site, or PDF files. Going digital means designing a Web site not only to promote personal and professional work globally but also to act as a resumé, giving an introductory statement of background and professional expertise in anticipation of presenting a full portfolio during the interview process.

Regardless of its format, the portfolio design should set in motion a well-conceived visual discourse, one that will capture, arrest, and hold the attention of the intended audience. An increasing number of students and young professionals are linking a PDF of a well-designed print portfolio to their Web site, thereby establishing a coordinated design format as both an online presence and a leave-behind print piece. The need for portfolio media to being cross-platform (PC and Mac) is a necessity. Recently, the trend is toward all-digital initial contact, such as an introductory e-mail containing a PDF file of a resumé and PDF teaser/mini-portfolio sent to potential employers. Advantages are that they can reach a larger audience quickly, and they will likely connect with the more technologically savvy design employers.

Architecture students are inventing teaser portfolios or mini-versions of full portfolios. These 4- to 5-page preview portfolios, together with a letter of introduction and resumé, are useful to introduce oneself in request of a formal interview. Students are also attending large career day events, at which a career day sheet of their work is the status quo. A career day sheet is basically a single page with a well-organized grid of sample images of one’s work on the front, and background resumé and contact info on the reverse. These brief snapshots of one’s work seem at first blush far too brief to explain the accomplishments of the designer, but conversely, they speak reams to the employers who sit in review behind tables in the hall. These employers see numerous students and samples of work; the career day page is portable and easy for them to take back to the office. There, they can use the page to aid discussion with colleagues, which may lead to an invitation to the new graduate to present a full portfolio and interview for a position.

Since buildings, landscape designs, and interiors are impossible to transport, and even models and renderings can be large and impractical to carry, the print portfolio is the enormously practical instrument and still the standard in the industry. In the course of a career, a designer will likely prepare several portfolios, each one adapted to a different purpose. In each case, your portfolio needs immediate and dramatic impact to distinguish you from others with whom you are competing, and it has to clearly answer the questions in the minds of those reviewing your work for whatever purpose. The portfolio is a graphic history of skills and accomplishments, and it must be seen not only as a problem in design but also as a tool to promote you to prospective employers and clients. Each year, architecture and allied design students (landscape, interiors, planning, and the like) enter the job market, and the competition grows increasingly intense.

Cesar Pelli, writing in the book Portfolio Design states, “The portfolio tells me about the abilities of its designer to communicate ideas and images in graphic form. Much like in a building, there is a great deal of freedom within the physical limits set by the medium and the cultural limits set by convention, and I can tell about the judgment of the designers by how constrained they have been by these limits or by how much freedom they have taken with them. I can even judge how well they have managed their time in either overdoing the portfolio design or in having established an efficient process for preparing it.”

The challenge of proper self-promotion through portfolio design is assessing one’s own strengths and accomplishments objectively. Preparing a portfolio requires you to take a step back from your own design work and make an evaluation as unemotionally as possible. Learning to be observant about the strengths and weaknesses of your work encourages the development of a critical and unbiased eye useful to the portfolio design process and to your professional career generally. Inviting the opinions of trusted advisors and colleagues also helps eliminate the initial fears many people have about putting together a portfolio.

Planning a portfolio presentation also requires a keen sense of organization and an ability to arrange various written and visual materials into a unified graphic package as well as the ability to maintain a focused vision throughout the development of the presentation. It is important to consider the audience and the skills and elements they may be attracted to or looking for. In general, all of those people who review portfolios will be looking for a businesslike attitude and a pragmatic soundness in the work as well as creativity and pure grace and beauty. Creativity is important, but employers want designers who are able to solve problems economically and quickly. Architects and designers are proposing to spend other people’s money, a lot of it, and a solid portfolio presentation will go a long way toward persuading others that you can be trusted with that responsibility.

Student designers with a creative future will have a natural curiosity about life and the world. Assembling a portfolio is an exercise that prepares them for future accomplishment in the real world by teaching how to evaluate one’s own work and to understand how that work will appear to other professionals. A good portfolio illustrates one’s strengths and demonstrates an understanding of format, graphic design, typography, concept development, problem solving, and business communication. A portfolio not only represents a body of work acquired throughout academic and professional life, but it displays this work in such a way that a design philosophy is made manifest. Of course, most undergraduate students have not chosen a specific area of design philosophy and tend to be generalists. This is not a drawback because many good designers are generalists; they can solve any problem. Having a focus too early in your career can limit possibilities for growth and development. One’s portfolio represents an evolution, not an end in itself. The educational experience involves growth, and growth, as in the cultivation of a garden, often requires us to set aside prior knowledge to consider new concepts and directions. As noted architect and educator Max Underwood says:

“There is not a single formula for assembling a good portfolio. Not only will the thinking of architects and designers change in the course of their career, but also portfolio objectives change. In applying for advanced study or a professional position, the goal may be to demonstrate a variety of interests, or a process of growth and learning over time. In applying for a specific grant or competition, the goal may be to demonstrate knowledge and expertise in a specialized area known to be of interest to the grant or competition administrators. Some professional portfolios are prepared only after considerable consultation with a client and present the designer’s ideas about how a single project might be carried out, complete with a specific cost analysis. How focused the portfolio presentation is often depends upon what the recipient is looking for. Remember, you are selling yourself or your ability to execute a particular project or work in a particular environment. You will want to demonstrate ingenuity and uniqueness to make a strong impression, but you must also demonstrate sound judgment.”

If you are enthusiastic about your work, you will find portfolio assembly an intriguing and creative activity. But it also involves hard judgments. You must act like an editor as well as a creator. Consider your audience. Get your point across with a limited number of images, demonstrating an ability to be selective, critical, and concise. Extracting the essence, every page or plate must build on the previous page by adding new ideas without redundancy, by expanding concepts, by taking a fresh approach to how the material is presented. You will then have a portfolio that sets you apart from others.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kemasik Beach, Terengganu

It's a long overdue post. I've been taking my sweet time selecting and editing these images and will only publish when I'm done with the whole set. Though there are still more to choose, I'm taking these as my pick.
Viewing Deck at Kemasik
Panorama - Kemasik

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup Fever Is Back

Yesterday my wife frowned upon knowing I had found out that the extra channels for World Cup are fully on air - in HD! I told her I was elated because the World Cup starts today and I have games to look forward to when I'm at home instead of having to wait weekly for Glee (yes, somehow I like it very much though I hate singing shows, and no, it's not that because it features sexy & hot girls in its casts) and Trauma. She frowned because knowing that somehow I would become unresponsive towards her but hey, research shows that a guy's hormones increase if a team he supports wins a game. I don't have to translate what it ends up to.

However, she's understanding enough to let me enjoy this one month of football fiesta by allowing me to flick through the channels that are currently previewing the previous World Cup matches. But then, what about the rest who refused to accept that World Cup isn't just another tournament.

"What is it with guys and football?", a woman may asks. "It's just a ball being chased by 22 guys", she may further adds.

Indeed, it is.

Later, I tuned in to Discovery Channel watching a documentary on the physical preparations of the host nation, South Africa. Major construction works being done through out the host city with new airport being built, new highway to link it, new or probably an extension to the existing subway lines, and most importantly are the new stadiums built just to accommodate the needs to host this major tournament.

I remember we used to have this development boost when we hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1998. Back then, the only two biggest developments that I saw as an ignorant teenager were the sports complex at Bukit Jalil and the LRT line that connects it. It made me proud back then to have a grand stadium in a quite fairly state-of-the-art sports complex with a brand new transit system to link it with the city. Today, as a fairly educated adult trying to make sense living in Malaysia, I am still wondering why is it so hard for the government to at least extend that transit line by one station each year ever since? We could be having 12 new stations now if that happens.

Yet, our Bendahara was quoted as saying in a prime news, "Malaysians are refusing to use public transportation because it is always associated with people of low status. We must change this mindset." So it be. I am a low status citizen as dictated by Bendahara because I commute using public transportation everyday to the office. I use it because it is within my distance (my office is at the doorstep of the LRT when it stops at Chan Sow Lin station) and it avoids the traffic jam. If only he realizes that people don't commute by public transportation because ours is not efficient and out of reach. I've read about a citizen in Selayang needs to change 3 public buses just to get to her workplace in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Please take into account that there's no designated bus lane from Selayang to the city center, so the buses have to share the congestion of Jalan Kuching with private cars.

Sir, if I may ask, the city is expanding. Why aren't the system that supports it?

Back to World Cup fever, businesses are doing good. The Star reports today that sales of World Cup teams jersey has been doing very well. Astro surely had a boost in subscription as they chose the right period and theme to launch its HD channels. So does the HD TV market. And the mamak outlets who bought it. And the glasses of teh tarik consumed. And the manufacturer who produced the evaporated milk. And Philip Morris.

Referring to the earlier research finding on male's testosterone level, two days ago I read about a Brazil player who promoted good sex during the 1994 tournament (with your legal spouse that is, not like Ashley Cole & John Terry, or even Tiger Woods) that kept him fit and focus on the pitch. He even admitted of conceiving his son during the tournament. For the record, Brazil won the World Cup that year.

Though it may be a period of mating and having new lives born to this world (let's check the birth rate in nine months time from today), it also sees an ugly side when there was a case of a Columbian player who was gunned down because he scored an own goal during a World Cup tournament.

As for the team that gets my cheer, I was an Italian fan before but now that they has won the cup, I'm trying to avoid being part of the popular culture as for this tournament (but I am always a Kop no matter they win or not). Spain or Argentina to lift the cup perhaps?

To conclude, World Cup is not just about a ball with 22 pairs of leg trying to kick it. It is about a ball, 22 guys with balls trying to kick it, million other guys with balls whose life changed because of it.

Ok, also for the women who owned those balls.

It's the cup of life.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What Is Your 3, 5 & 10?

I remember back then when I was repeating the Housing Studio in the school of architecture, a lecturer once asked all of us what is our 3, 5 & 10? Pretty obvious, we all responded instantly by looking among ourselves, "what the heck is he talking about?". Only a couple of indirect explanations later (yeah, he's like that - nothing is direct) that we all understood what he meant by his reference of "3, 5 & 10". He was referring to the future plans - of short, mid and long term by translating it into the number of years set to achieve our dream.

Now, many years forward and almost reaching that 10 years landmark from the moment I was asked that question, I am no where near any of my teenage super dreams. Though I've sailed far beyond from where I came from and the perceptions it expects of me, I've been in the path of achieving that teenage dreams only to see it held a dark side unknown before to me. I'm currently wandering having tried to look for greener fields for the past 5 years and it provokes me with this one question, am I dreamless?

It seems like the options are running out for me. I've been wanting to practice good design only to see it drained me out completely when I worked for a design firm. I tried to be on top in the chain of food by joining a developer but wasn't prepared for the back-stabbing fiesta it held. Now that I want to be a public servant, somehow the employment terms are a complete joke! It is sad to know that on one side the government urges to have more professionals to serve for the country where in reality I am employed under very much insecure and unfavorable terms.

I had few meaningful 'teh tarik' sessions with few friends who apparently speak the same language (surprise! aren't we all Malaysians?) pouring out thoughts of what we had and hope in life. Exceptional for its food (it matches natively with our tongue), there's not much in favor of being in Malaysia and even to an extend of being a Malaysian. Issues pertaining to being patriotic arose but after a deliberate conversation, the value is of little worth. Why?

Excessive illegal timber felling by the greedy is backed up and sanctioned by the so-called guardian. Datukship is cheaply given to the unworthy and the opportunity to make fortune is to kiss the ass of these people with title. I am sad when there were contrasting statements regarding the Malay land at Kampung Baru by a minister of the very same race who is suppose to protect the Malay if we are to champion the idea of being patriotic. He suggested to have the Malay ownerships of Kampung Baru to be "liberalized" to the others in a 60:40 ratio. A recent visit by the Bendahara of Malaysia to Singapore saw another piece of Malaysian land being "liberalized" to be developed by a joint-venture company of both countries. How about the land used to build the official home for the nation's ruler being surrendered to the neighboring riches who built their mansion beyond their boundaries? The chief (of I-don't-want-to-tell-what-because-I-want-to-stay-indirect) rationalized, "Rakyat Diutamakan". The country is run by a bunch of jokers who can't tell what kind of 'rakyat' that they should champion for. Come on 'lah' Datuk² Seri, Datuk² and "Yang BerGelaran", you can do better. It's not for some towkays who sleeps on bed of monies.

Anyway, the arguments won't end. What is said is my view of what I think of my country's system and how it is being run today.

Well, are the options running out for me?

How about leaving Malaysia?

Back to 3, 5 & 10. Now, I have a dream.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wedding - Oja & Ju

Million thanks to the personalities behind hitamputihstudio for the opportunity to shoot a wedding at Klang this recent weekend. I just love the outdoor session as it was terrific and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the couple on their lovely day.

Looking forward for future collaboration Avam!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


My wife and her sister wearing the color of the beach during our recent visit to Cherating. Coincidently or pre-planned?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

An Evening In Cherating

Last weekend we went "balik kampung" to Kemaman. As usual, we passed by Cherating with its few stretches of beautiful beach just before we reached Kemaman. We arrived at around 5.30pm and the timing was just perfect. The evening was beautiful. And the beach too. We had a lot of fun wading through the shallow water.

However, as we were leaving the beach, we had a scare when our car's front set of tyres got stucked quite deep in the very fine sand of the beach. Luckily due to my expertise in WRC (cewaah!!), I managed to get it out safely but to a shocking face of a lady who was walking towards the direction of our car.

Surely, we are going to drop by again.