Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fujifilm X-Pro1 : Thaipusam Festival At Kota Kinabalu

Thaipusam is a key Hindu ceremony that is held each year during the full moon in the tenth month of the Hindu calendar – Thai – falling from mid-January to mid-February in the Gregorian calendar. It is mainly observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil community including Malaysia. . It mark as public holiday in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Kedah, Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak,  Penang & Selangor.

I’ve been living in Kota Kinabalu for so many years but never heard of this festival being held around here. All this years, I only know this iconic festival attracts over one million devotees and tens of thousands of tourists at Batu Caves. I was looking for some photographic opportunity during Deepavali last year, when I see the note about Thaipusam at Sri Subramaniam Temple (KM22, Penampang-Papar Road in Lok Kawi). My curiosity about it lead me to ask one of the visitor at the temple, I am lucky enough to know that the person I talked to is one of the temple management team. He said it was actually held every year. Yes, every year here in Kota Kinabalu and I have never seen a picture of this festival that was taken from here.

With the information given, I managed to find the location where it being held. It was at Meruntum waterfront near Sabindo Traffic Light. I can’t wait a friend of mine, Rade to arrive when I saw the ceremony is already started. During the ceremony, I’m still curious will be there any piercing like what we used to see at Batu Caves. I decided to stay when the group of devotees carrying a pot of milk walks to Sri Subramaniam Temple. Then I just realise that the piercing ceremony will be held.

Since this was my first time covering Thaipusam Festival, I have no idea how and what to expect. These are some images I took this morning with Fujifilm X-Pro1 + Fujinon XF 35mm F1.4.

Pot of Milk

I can’t stay until the end of ceremony (I wish I could), I have another priority for family & to perform Friday Prayer. I learn a lot about this festival, next year I’ll aim for the eve Thaipusam. It much more interesting in Batu Caves, but I prefer to highlight the festival at Kota Kinabalu.

Related Post:

Buy Less Geat, Get An eBook:

Multiple-screen-captures

Advertisements

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Shoots Landscape: Kota Belud – A Hidden Treasure For Landscape Photographer

I been sitting here like an hour just to figure out how I’m going to start this post. I wrote few lines, then I discarded it. Then I  start again but lead to another blank page in the end. I hardly describe the beauty of this place just by the use of words. But the scenery, sounds & smells are still fresh in my head. You don’t have to agree with me, but when we can remember every details of certain things happened in our past, that was the point we were experiencing a “clear” mind, live in present, not in our past nor the future. In our daily life, we been clutter our mind with thousand of thought, thinking about our future & our past, but not many live in present including me. Anyway, I’ll leave that introduction of this post just like this as I can’t find the best word to fit that beautiful scenery. Thank you Azman Jumat & Rade for inviting me for this wonderful trip at Kota Belud

Related Post:

Akeem – Portrait With Available Light

It’s been while I didn’t post about my son, Akeem. Well he is 5 month old now. Been practising to prone all by himself since 2 weeks ago. He did whenever he got his chance, even when he was asleep. So I decided to take photo of him in prone position. He cries before I got the chance to shoot him. So I asked assistant from my daughter to keep him busy, but it was my mistake. What can you expect from a 4 year old girl to entertain her younger brother? He cried even louder this time, so I need professional assistant, his mother.

Mother is the best, just few second he stopped crying. While my wife keep him entertained with very noisy toy bells, I kept giving direction to my wife where to position that toy.

There was no special equipment other than camera (Fujifilm X-Pro1 with Fujinon 35mm 1.4). I placed my son near to our bedroom window, do little adjustment on the window’s curtains so the lights only falls in front of my son while leaving the background dark. My aim of this shot is to make sure is face to properly lit, and to get the catchlight. His spontaneous action by putting his thumb in his mouth added the bonus.

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar. Any unauthorized copy, usage or reproduction of the image is strictly prohibited.This photo is copyrighted. If you want to license this photo please contact the photographer at email : shukurjahar@gmail.com or call at : +6 0168307892

Related Post:

Buy Less Gear, Get eBook:

Lighting_728x90px

click_728x90px

Difference Between Dog And Man

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”
― Mark Twain

Shooting Backlight – It can be at your own backyard

I took these photos during my trip to Labuan last year. I was really in love with backlighting during that moment. I took my family to search for a shooting location. We moved 1 place to another, but I couldn’t find the desired spot. So I decide to just forget about it and move on to do something else. On our way to the City, we passed by Jumidar Buyong, there was an empty lots for sale among the elite houses with the scenery that I was looking for. The challenge here is to deal with my background, the best is to have trees as background or at least any dark background. I have no choice but to raise my camera higher than my daughter’s eye level. Another challenge is to keep my daughter to stay in focus, she can’t stay still even for a few second. I managed to get few shot, the shooting time is less than 5 minutes, but 1 of these shot stays for months at my phone wallpaper. It was 1 of my favourite backlighting shot I ever made. Below is my shot sequence on my attempt to get the shot I intended.

1. I like the sun ray above my dauther’s head, this kind of ray I what I looking of in backlight, but the houses is distracting this shot.

2. I managed to get clean version of the shot. I raised my camera above my daughter’s eye level. I quite happy with the shot but I think I need to be closer as there are so much negative space in this shot. It actually works if we planned to put some writing on it.

3. I move closer, shot with lower angle than the previous image. I knew this was the shot I was looking for but I kept shooting few more angle. Back at home when editing, this image is the shot I like the most.

This image was shot using Nikon D90 with Nikkor 35mm 1.8 @ F2.8. What I learned is:

  • it is better to visualise the desired shot, this could be your starting point to plan your shoot
  • when you visualise, to find location is much more easier
  • if the location is not working, forget about it and find another location.
  • to pay attention on distraction at the background and its surrounding
  • if it doesn’t work at this angle, try another and keep trying
  • go out there and shoot!

“The most important lessons in life can never be expressed in black and white, but must be experienced” – Benny Lewis

Related Post:

Buy Less Gear, Get eBook:

click_728x90px

natlight_728x90px

Mount Kinabalu Climbing For The First Time – Part Two

This post is related to the previous post.

After having good rest for the night, at 1.30am we get up & ready for the next climbt to the Summit. From Gunting Lagadan, The Low’s Peak is JUST another 2.6km. I was thinking, the distance is no as bad as we had on our first day climb (6km from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata). Because it was my first time at Laban Rata, i have no idea hows the second day climb looks like. We started at 2.30am after having supper, our mountain guide giving his last advise (that whoever not really fit to go are better not to, and he was looking at me?… Ohh… Come on…I can see clearly his eyes are looking at me! ) before proceeding scaling the mountain.

When we first stepped out from Gunting Lagadan, I can felt the sudden change on the temperature. It was really cold. There was no light along the summit trail this is where your headlamp become your best friend. Just few minutes after passing the gate at Gunting Lagadan, my pace begin to get slower. I stopped more often, I found out that the second day climb is tougher than the first. Not because if the trail, but maybe I’m not fully recovered. I tried to keep my pace with other climber passing me, but only ended with my heart beats really fast. I stopped whenever it get really fast. I need to keep alive here. Our mountain guide was just behind me, he advise me that I can always go back, we must reach Sayat-Sayat (Check point) at 0430hrs. I do thinking of going back, but I keep move forward. When I nearly give up, I take a deep breath, look at the stars &  the mountain. No, I’m not turning back. This will be my first and the last time to climb Mt. Kinabalu.

Then I reach at a point where we have to use provided rope to lift up our body. The angle is around 75-80 degree, it is impossible to go up without a rope. I’m not ready for this, I was thinking my body is too weak to do this. At this point, again I was thinking to go back to Laban Rata. I decided to give a try. Surprisingly, climbing with the help of the ropes actually much more pleasing because now not only your legs, but our arms too took part to lift our body.

The trail before reaching Sayat-Sayat Station (until Lows Peak) is totally on granite rock. When I felt tired, I stop and look behind me. It was cold & silent, and I can see clearly the peaks of Mount Kinabalu in front of me (about 180 degree), and further down there behind me, I can see street light probably from Kundasang & Ranau. That view is one of unforgettable sights, I can still clearly remember every details of that very moment. The sound of the wind, the starts, light trails of th climbers, The Korean Group (I don’t really get the point that they need speak almost shouting even the people the talked to is just few feet away).

I reached Sayat-Sayat at 0430am. Refill my drinks and continue, the first 5 minute from Sayat-Sayat is what I call honeymoon because trail is almost flat. But you that wasn’t the end of the story, there are about 1KM left but when we get tired, now this last 1KM is the most toughest among all the trail of The Summit Trail. If you use a helicopter and landed here, I’m sure we can walk easily here, but now is different story. This last 1KM is where I climb with not only my last energy I have, but full of conflict in my mind. I think about AMS, heart attack, stroke, anything related to sudden death. The guide tried to persuade me to stop, but every time he asked me to stop and go down, I get stronger to move forward.

Finally, I made to the body of The Low’s Peak. Only few people left when I reached 8.5KM, the last 150m to the Summit. But because it was too late, I was advised not to go further beyond that point. I was disappointed, however I proud to made it to that point. For people that has climbed to the peak, they know how tough is the last 150m.

The Lows Peak

8.5KM

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” – Ed Viesturs, America’s leading high altitude mountaineer

That morning, I’m among the last person decent from Sayat-Sayat to Laban Rata. It took about 1 and a half hour to reach Laban Rata. I almost missed the breakfast. 11am me and Rade made our way down from Laban Rata to Timpohon Gate. Going down is not tiring, but it puts a lot of pain to my knee. At 1620hrs, we arrive at Timpohon Gate and there was a transport waiting for us to bring us back to Kinabalu National Park HQ & get our climbing certificate.

%d bloggers like this: