Category Archives: Photo Essay

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

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Sulap (Hut) At Kota Belud

Kota Belud located about 1.5 hour drive from Kota Kinabalu City towards Kudat. It is the home of the infamous Bajau Horsemen nicknamed “The Cowboy Of The East”. The main reason of the nickname given is they are the earliest Sabahan ethnic group ever recorded know how to ride a horse. Beside of that, Kota Belud is also well known for its “Tamu” (Sunday Market) and Mantanani Island. Along the way up to Kota Belud passing Tuaran, we can actually enjoy the breathtaking view of Paddy Field and The Majestic Mount Kinabalu.

Being tempted by Azman & Rade about their plan to shoot at Kota Belud, i can’t resist to not to join them. So last Sunday, we actually planned to start at 4am but delayed because of uncontrollable circumstances. I made excuses that my phone alarm was sabotaged by my wife. We missed the sunrise which is our main idea for the photo outing.

Anyway, this is some shot which I intended to highlight about a hut (local native called it as “Sulap”) at a paddy field somewhere in Tempasuk, Kota Belud. Sulap is multi-purpose space, it is the resting place, temporary hut for farming tools and a place to stay (when it near to harvesting season) where they will hold ropes which plastic bags were tied along the rope and produce noise to chase away the birds (Pipit).

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Tashi Palkhiel – Tibetan Refugee Camp at Pokhara (Portrait Series)

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.

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Kota Kinabalu Night Market

After having coffee session with friends on one night, i took a short visit at Kota Kinabalu Night Market which located just in front of Le Meridien Hotel. This Night Market normally operates from 5pm to midnight. It was about 1130pm when i reach here. Nothing much happening other on this time except the hawkers busy cleaning their stall which then “transformed” into a cubical cabinet.

With very minimal lighting available, I was looking for any photographic opportunity. Besides, this is the time where the high ISO capability to be tested. These set of images were taken with Fujifim X-Pro1 with Fujinon 14mm XF lens. I am quite impressed by its performance.

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Gaya Street Sunday Market

Gaya Street is one the tourist attraction in Kota Kinabalu. For many years, it held local market start from 0530hrs to 1300hrs every Sunday. You can find almost everything here, live plants, pets, tortoises, antiques, fruits, drinks, various local food and local cookies.

During the World War II, most of the building are bombed by the Allies. Only 2 building survived after the war. Upon reaching the end off Gaya Street Market, just about 1-2 minute walk from Jesselton Hotel toward Oldtown White Coffee is “Sabah Tourism Building”. It is one the survived building. Located just in front of the building, there is Plague of “Zero KM” marker.  Start from Jesselton Hotel towards “The Party Play is actually one of the earliest post-war building which appointed to a Hong Kong contractor by British.

This morning, I made a visit at Gaya Street SUnday Market looking for any photographic opportunity. I do not want to get distracted to have another lens in hands and keep on my focus on making a photograph, so i just have 1 lens with me. Furthermore, I can always come again and use another lens. I always bear in my mind that having so much gear sometimes distracts us to think about which gear to use rather than how to make the photograph.

Last night, i was thinking what kind of moment I want to photograph. Being common to this place made me really hard to think what was it to make this market  so interesting. There are plenty of photography opportunity like candids, portrait, etc. It also best presented in colours to show people how vibrant of this market could be.

While on my way to Gaya Street this morning, I decided to go back to basic and just play with light & shadow which to be presented in B&W. Here some images i took this morning. All images are taken using Fujifilm X-Pro1 with Fujinon XF 14mm 2.8.

Tailor At Handicraft Market Kota Kinabalu

While conducting City Tour with our guest from Peninsular Malaysia last week, we made a shopping stop at Handicraft Market. It was our last stop of the day before returning to hotel. After giving a brief guideline to my guest, i let them explore the Handicraft Market. There were tailors just in front of the Handicraft Market, it always runs by men. While approaching our meeting point, i noticed there was a lady tailor are busy working on her customer request. This is unusual to see woman provides tailoring services here at Handicraft Market.

The only lady tailor at the moment

Hotel Potala, Thangsyap Village, Nepal

Pengusaha penginapan berketurunan Tibet sedang memasak untuk hidangan sarapan pagi di rumah tumpangan milik mereka di “Thangsyap Village”, Nepal pada suatu pagi yang dingin berbekalkan stok makanan yang terhad. Selain kayu api, najis Yak yang telah dikeringkan juga turut digunakan sebagai sumber bahan api.

Hotel Potala merupakan salah sebuah tempat penginapan yang disediakan di Thangsyap Village. Ia merupakan salah sebuah tempat penginapan buat pengunjung sebelum meneruskan perjalanan ke Langtang Village dan Kyanji Gompa selepas seharian merentas hutan di banjaran Himalaya, Daerah Resuwa, Nepal.

Hotel ini penyediakan kemudahan asas seperti tempat tidur dan tandas. Bekalan elektrik yang terhad pada masa-masa tertentu menyebabkan pengunjung berada dalam kegelapan pada waktu malam. Setiap bilik hanya dibekalkan dengan sebatang lilin. Perkhidmatan sewaan selimut tebal juga disediakan bagi pengunjung yang tidak selesa dengan suasana suhu sejuk yang boleh mencecah sehingga -11°c pada waktu malam. Pengunjung boleh makan di ruangan yang disediakan seolah-olah sebuah restoran dengan pilihan makanan berdasarkan menu yang disediakan. Di ruang inilah biasanya pengunjung akan berkesempatan untuk berinteraksi dengan pengunjung lain, pemandu pelancong (malim gunung), dan “porter” selepas makan malam kerana hanya ruangan ini disediakan pendiang (Fireplace) kayu api untuk memanaskan badan.  Rungan ini akan bertukar menjadi bilik tidur bagi keluarga ini selepas semua pengunjung masing-masing berada di bilik mereka.

Selain penginapan, mereka juga memiliki 2 ekor kuda yang boleh disewa oleh pengunjung yang mengalami kecederaan otot atau ingin merasai pengalaman menaiki kuda di sana.

Photo Essay Writing Workshop with Agoes SK

I always fascinated by documentary photography especially environment portrait, travel & human interest. It amaze me not only the picture, but the stories itself.  It begins with amazing images to draw viewer attention, and detailed narration later in their writing. It shows that they really study their stories. In order to produce good stories, therefore the importance of good writing skill are essentials.

I’ve just attended a workshop earlier today (6th July 2013) organised by Affendy Soeto & friends (Sharif Putra & Yusnizam Yusof) which took place at Lintas Jaya Uptown, Kota Kinabalu. The workshop started at 0830am with 10 participant including 3 organiser. Presented by Agoesk SK sharing his precious knowledge and experience on Photo Essay. He is one of the editorial contributor for Dunia Kamera, a local photography magazine. Received tonnes of experience in editorial while he is working with Berita Harian. As for me, I’ve been knowing him for his amazing close up & macro photography.

It begins with how to read a picture. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand word. So this is where we need to really study the picture really well to be able to gain the information, describe it & elaborate it. The next section is about types of writing (Narrative & Descriptive). Descriptive is a caption of image explaining technical detail strictly based in information given in the picture. On the other side,  Narrative contains more elaboration beyond the information given in the picture. The workshop concluded with news writing where all participant are required to write a news with provided information based on what has been shared to us. This is where the knowledge gained from the workshop tested. Praised to Allah S.W.T all participant succeeded very well.

I would like to congrats to organiser of this workshop for their excellent effort to keep it running smoothly. A big thank you to Agoesk SK for his inspiring words. For all participants, congratulations.  I will post my writing assignment on my following post. Meanwhile, for those interested to know more about Agoesk SK, here’s some useful link for you to start with:

Group PhotoImage courtesy of Sharif Putra Photography

Me and Abg Agoesk SK

Tadau Kaamatan – Portrait Series

“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.

Dusun Tindal

Dusun Tindal

Dusun Tindal

“Dingkuh” from Tamparuli

Rungu Native with Sigal (Headdress)

Rungus Native performing Sumandai Mongigol

Rungus Native leading Sumandai Mongigol dance/ritual performance

Rungus Beads (Pinakol) & Sopilang


Native from Pitas

Feel free to view more images in my flickr set

“A still photograph is something which you can always go back to. You can put it on your wall and look at it again and again. Because it is that frozen moment. I think it tends to burn into your psyche. It becomes ingrained in your mind. A powerful picture becomes iconic of a place or a time or a situation.” – Steve McCurry

Soft Silence Morning In Nepal

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” 

Marcus Aurelius

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