Category Archives: Headshot
Portrait of Amit Guntawoi, 80. A Kadazan Bobolian from Kimanis.
When he was 48, he was informed by a doctor that his illness will never make him to 50.
“One fine morning at 5am in my office while i’m getting ready my paperwork, I have a sudden shocking moment and the first thing to come out of my mind is god. What have I did in my life? the sins that I made….Everybody is terrified of dying”
Since then, he became a Bible Missionary. He originated from Europe, stayed at Australia for a few years before deciding to travel to keep his promise to god. In Malaysia, he travel to Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kelantan & Sabah. I met him at Gaya Street after being in Kota Kinabalu for about 1 week and might be travelling to Sandakan by next week. He was Philiphine before coming over to Sabah.
While talking to him, he quoted numbers of verse from The Bible and I ask him how he memorize each verse.
“Young man, I know you like photography. I know you can explain me about the aperture and the shutter speed, the light and everything about it. Same to me, I have been Bible Missionary for more than 20 years and I’m reading it until todaay. Can you see the similiar concept here?
His life and travel mainly depends on public donations.
I was on my way to the office this morning and decided to drive though Gaya Street when I see this guy with superb beard sitting on a bench reading “Knowledge Magazine”. I drove twice pass his sitting place and finally I make up my mind that I must go to him and take his portrait. The fear of getting rejected is always the issue here, but in case on being rejected, take the pill, swallow it and digest it. Then I got the confidence to approach him, spend a little time to know him, and lastly get the portrait. To my readers, meet Mr Jeremiah Harald. Phew…
Jeremiah Harald, 71.
While I was talking to her, she stopped the conversation for a while. She was enjoying the Ultra Light Flight circling the Sarangkot Hill. Even though she have seen it hundred times before this, but it never makes her bored. Getting ready to get to school, this 10 year old girl is among the kids living at Sarangkot Hill with her parents running guest house business. Meet Suraksha, speaks fluent in English, I can’t speak well in english when I was at her age. She walks about 30 minutes to reach her school, and it took about 1 hour going back to the hill.
“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”
― John Lennon
It’s been almost 3 weeks after returning from our travel photography trip at Kathmandu. Back at home, I’d spent most of my time with my beloved family rather than looking or examining all photos taken during the trip. Just taking my time for a quick editing & upload to my flickr account so they will be ready when I’m about to write something in my blog. I’m using lightroom through my entire workflow until the selected photos uploaded in my flickr account with its provided publish service. Maybe I will share some tips about publishing photos to flickr via lightroom in another post.
In November 2012, when I first travel to Nepal, I have already taken what I call “established” photo. With those “established” photo already in hand, I’m now put more effort to get portraits. A portrait with permission, not just a candid. This is where our communication skill get tested, it really pumped up my adrenaline most of the time simply because of just asking a stranger whether it’s okay to take photo of them. For most of you, maybe this is just an easy task but you got to believe me that it really hard on me. Maybe it really hurts me when I get rejected, feeling of upset and stressful moment when you really found someone with the characteristic features you wanted but refused to be photographed. I’m using Fujifilm X-Pro1 with 35mm lens, it means I will shoot just about 3-4 feet away from them just to get their portrait, I know they will feel awkward but this is where “trust” plays its role. When we get trusted, there is a good possibility that they will accept your request.
Below are portrait series of Nepal (Kathmandu – Nagarkot – Bhaktapur – Pokhara)
Portrait of lady above was taken when we about to leave from Sarangkot after spending 3-4 hours for the sunrise viewing. We were the last group leaving Sarangkot that morning. While waiting for our friends at our meeting point, I see this lady inside her shop. So i made some contact with her, investing few rupee for a bottle of Coke. I can’t deny the lighting that moment, and I said to myself, the worst thing I could get is just a rejection. Suddenly I speak before my mind even made decision yet, can I photograph you? She nodded.
The Smoking man is Mr. Bhubanashur, 60 years old and a Newari Hindu. We met at Bhaktapur while I’m waiting for my phone sim to get activated, I don’t expect the activation of new number will cost such amount of time. This guy, his is selling CDs of Nepal Traditional Music. He looks approachable to me, so I made my move to start a conversation. We talked about 5 minutes and he started to light up his cigarette and you know whats next.
A guy with nice blue fleece. The are about 3 mens were talking when we passed by, then one of the member asking where we come from, knowing that we all come from Malaysia, he spoke Malay with us and sharing some of his work experiences in Malaysia not long ago. My eyes actually fixed to his friend with blue fleece. I told him how good looking he was with that fleece and made a request for taking his portrait.
61 years old Tibetan Lady at Tashi Palkhiel. She is one of the villager selling tibetan handicraft near the Tibetan Refugee Camp. I bought few pieces of “friendship bracelet” and ask for a quick portrait shoot before leaving.
This beautiful girl above is Ms. Barsha, a 17 years old Tamang living at Nagarkot. She study in a boarding school somewhere in Kathmandu. That day, is a special day for Tamang which Lhosar Festival was celebrated. Actually, this shooting location is not in our list of destination that day, but as we passed by the village, I asked our driver to stop after seeing so many village gathering like having some kind of celebration. I have never regret of stopping by this village.
I took these two ladies photo at Swayambhunath Stupa or also known as The Monkey Temple. There were about 5-6 ladies in the same spot, when I was following my friend Wazari Wazir. I’m grateful he made his move communicating with them, a short warming up session and I took this opportunity to photograph some of them.
As he wrote in his blog:
“I simply could not resist photographing them, the light was so wonderful. I’m sure, I will be haunted by this moment if I didn’t get the shot, well, at least I should try to ask them. Photographing strangers, isn’t easy, nobody ever said it was” – Wazari Wazir (read more here)
He did mention too about his experience being rejected after asking permission to take someone’s portrait, getting “NO” is not the real big thing but thats what keeping us to explore more and take it as challenge to make a portrait of a stranger. Follow your heart, your instinct are telling you something. You need to trust yourself first to be trusted.
“A photograph is both a pseudo-presence and a token of absence. Like a wood fire in a room, photographs – especially those of people, of distant landscapes and faraway cities, of the vanished past – are incitements to reverie.” – Susan Sontag
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.
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
Buy Less Gear, Get eBook:
Image above taken with Fujifilm X-Pro1 with YungNuo RF603 triggering Nikon SB600. I didn’t plan to do any shooting that night, but I found a Lastolite Ezybox Hot Shoe Plate belong to a friend in my car boot. It was very light & had a hole just in case you want to use umbrella instead of soft box (someone please confirm me about this). So I decided to give it a try with my 24×24 soft box. My triggers flash sync is 1/125, set aperture to F2.8 and adjust my flash manual until it gets the effect I wanted. I was shooting myself at the beginning, and this baby boy just awaken from his sleep. It ended up me shooting him while my wife holding him to make him stay calm for a while.
Tashi Palkhiel, is a Tibetan refugee settlement which established year 1965. Located about 25 minutes driver from Riverside Pokhara, Nepal. Jangchub Choeling monastery is one of the main landmark near it. The Settlement of about 800 Tibetan at this camp is now running Traditional Tibetan Carpet, which was 1 of the 4 original Tibetan carpet production centre that was established in 1964 in Nepal. Below is the portrait series of women that i met at the Tibetan Carpet weaving industry.
- Hotel Potala, Thangsyap Village, Nepal
- Soft Silence Morning In Nepal
- Monkey Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal
- Faces Of Mabul
“The Kaamatan festival is an annual event in the cultural life of the Kadazandusuns of Sabah since time immemorial. In its deepest sense, Kaamatan festival is a manifestation of Creator and Creation relationship, as well as Inter-Creations relationship. It embodies the principal acts of invocation of divinities, appeasing, purification and restoration, re-union of benevolent spirits, and thanksgiving to the Source of All. It is part of a complex wholesome Momolian religious system centered on the paddy rites of passage and the life cycle of Bambarayon – the in-dwelling spirit of paddy”-wiki
The peak of Tadau Kaamatan is on 30th & 31st May, most of the time, the event took place at KDCA, Penampang. This is the only day where the traditional houses arround the KDCA are fully occupied by its own native with their traditional costume, products, and some even performing traditional dance. I live near to KDCA which is just 3-4 kilometer away but this is my first time to visit KDCA during Tadau Kaamatan after about 4 years live in this area. I just had about 2 hour to walk arround it before i need to leave to do other things. Tadau Kaamatan gives a lot of portrait opportunity which i have set my date to be here next year for 2 days. In the mean time, this is some of the portrait that i managed to shoot during my 2 hour visit.
Feel free to view more images in my flickr set