Sunday, April 17, 2011


I want to say thank you to Jill again for choosing me. Choosing 2 favourite pictures is a very difficult task. I had probably more than 5 or 6 candidates. Some pictures I really like because they are very nice but only I know there is some element of 'luck' in it. I choose these two because it of the back-story. Looking at them make me smile thinking about that day.
100 Strangers Beta #1 : Beautiful stranger by toon_ee
The first one was taken in Cairo. I went there for one of my closest friend wedding. We had quite a rough few days as we first went to very touristic places. The people around those area are not so nice, trying to trick you and all. One guy tried to lift me on his camel for example. Then we went to the Khan el-Khalili bazaar and met the real egyptian people, my experience in egypt took a big turnaround. The people there are very nice and I really enjoy the day. I saw this lady with a big bag of bread on her head and we exchanged smile. I took my courage to ask her for a picture and her happy expression was just simply amazing. Technically, this picture is not so good as my hand was a little shaky and it seems a bit out of focus. I wish I could print the picture out and send to her but I had no idea about this at the time. This picture make me want to improve myself to avoid making mistake in such a wonderful moment again.

Nanjing # 16 : Lunch on the move [Explore] by toon_ee
This one was taken in Nanjing, China. I went there for work + holiday. That day I explored the city of Nanjing with my friend Michael. We walked the whole day through big streets, small streets, rich area, poor area with very little rest. It was about 7 hours non-stop city hiking. We decided to buy some street food to get the feeling of being in china not something like McDonald (ahh I miss the taste of stinky tofu). We bought these spicy meat stick from the lady that made us knew each other a little bit. Then I walked away and thought I should take a picture of her. I raised my camera with the meat stick still in my hand. She noticed and gave a little smile. So many stories to tell from the trip and a lot of fun. Everytime we look at this picture (or the Nanjing set), we just can't help smilling and talked about memories.

1: How long have you been involved in photography?

Almost 2 years. I started around June 2009. Before that I only have a Canon compact camera and didn't use it so much. It was actually luck that brought me to photography. My family won a sony A300 in some kind of annual party. I tooked the camera and went really deep into photography. I did a football video editing as a hobby before. My friend just told me yesterday that he would never expect a person who did a very hyperactive football video like me to do still photography!

2: Equipment you use?

:-) prepare for a very long list! My main camera is Sony A850. I'm using it with several prime lenses and mostly from minolta. I use only prime lens now as I prefer their weight and quality (and when I use Zoom I tend to use wide-end and tele-end anyway). If I have to choose to live with only one lens it would be Minolta 135mm f2.8. I even left it at home sometime to give other lenses some chances to be on my camera :P.
Lately, I start to do medium format. I have Pentacon six & Rolleiflex TLR (2.8f & Tele). It was a fun new experience with a lot of new things to learn and I'm enjoying it. Last week, I got myself a GF1+20mmf1.7 and also enjoy snapping around with it. It's obvious that I have too many equipments but they are all nice. I try to give all of them time.
I know that equipment is not everything in photography and the person behind the camera is probably the most important. But I'm more like a 'middle way' person. I want to develop myself as a good photographer as well as knowing and experiencing many equipments.

3: Mac or PC?

PC. I've never seriously tried using MAC so the answer doesn't mean much for 'PC vs MAC'. I process pictures in photoshop and do the resizing in ACDSee. It's a strange workflow but it works and I already got used to it. I'm not a very well-organized person so PC probably suits me. I'm a kind of person who can have "New Folder (6)" in a "New Folder" in a "New Folder (2)" and have duplicate of files all over the place.

4: What inspires you?

Hmm. There are many things. People&things around me, I see them and I want to take pictures. People on flickr and nice pictures on flickr. I like to go through pictures on flickr for inspiration to get the feeling of the pictures, to get the feeling to go outside and shoot.
This may sound a bit strange but pictures taken by myself also give me inspiration. I look at the pictures I like and want to go out there and do it again. I look at bad pictures and I want to go out and improve myself.
There is one feeling I really like when I go out and take pictures. It's hard to describe but I think you could understand. It's like the day 'click'. walking around the same area/standing at the same spot for a few hours and enjoying the time taking pictures....something like that.

5: Preferred subject matter?

I did a lot of candid/street photography. I like to capture the moment, the emotion of people, the story. I try to give respect to my subject. I try not to do something that might interrupt the person or make him/her unhappy. If the person does not look nice in the picture (for example; putting food in the mouth, sleeping), I tend to delete the picture immediately and certainly not upload it to the internet. Lately, I also doing a lot of abstract/minimalism and also toys. I like to capture something that is different.

6: Name one thing you haven't caught with the camera that you REALLY want to capture.

Hmmm....a perfect 'stranger portrait' perhaps. One that really shows character of the person. I'm still not good at this and I really enjoy looking at this type of pictures and hope I can do it one day. I tried to do '100 stranger' project when I went for a trip to china and failed miserably. I got only one picture and not fully satisfied.

7: When in doubt about your art, who do you confide in?

Friends. I have several friends who are doing photography. I visit may colleague office almost everyday chatting about photography and gears (hope our boss do not read this). He is a guy who somehow brought me to flickr. I chat with , regularly. the list can go on and on.
Also people on flickr. Sometime I can't decide to upload my picture in color or BW as I like both. I just put both of then online and see the comments on flickr. It's very interesting to see the opinions and how people interpret my picture. Some of them look into my picture even deeper than me!

8: Qualifications/training in anything? ie: Photoshop

Not yet. I picked things up on my own from reading books,magazine,internet also from trial&error. It took me may be 2 months until I actually stop using 'ISO Auto' and I think I use 'P' mode for about half a year :P. It took me quite a while to learn about all the basic things&parameters but it come naturally now. Picking up a 50mm was the turning point for me, I always tell people who just start with photographing to pick it up fast.

9: Plans for the future?

The weather is getting better so I plan to go out on the street more for candid pictures or probably making a short trip and learn more about cityscape/landscape. I want to try doing different kind of photos to be more versatile. I will also learn more about self-developing BW film. I said 'not yet' in the last question because I might join a training for using flash&studio lighting but not in the near future.

10: In one word, describe your photography.

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