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.