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.
When we compare the workflow of a photo let say 5 years ago, things has been changed a lot. When we shoot with camera, we do have an options for our jpeg output like Black and White or Sephia etc. But the latest camera (talking about Fujifilm) nowadays have another option called Film Simulation. My first 4 months of using Fujifilm X-Pro 1, I shoot with “Astia”. I like the effect how it deepen the shadow area and pops out the colour but not too much which suits my taste. This Film Simulation effects will do nothing to your RAW file. With X100T, I think I’m in love with the Classic Chrome, it appear to be a default film simulation in my camera which I use almost all the time except when I shoot in black and white. After the shooting, you need to transfer your images to your computer, do some editing to enhance the photo and share your work in Facebook or other social media.
Then the WIFI feature introduced in most of the camera nowadays. We can now install apps to our phones or tabs and connect to our camera. When connected, we can geotag, browse and fully control a “live” remote shooting with it. The images can be shared straight away after the shooting without transferring images to a computer. It actually cut down the workflow that we used before. The are dozens of photo apps can be downloaded providing amazing photo enhancement. For me, by the time I write this post, I’m using Snapseed, Afterlight and VSCO cam, there are some limitation with these apps, but not a big issue if those images intended just to be share on social media.
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.
I met these gentlemen on our road trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara. It was just near the roadside where people stop for toilet, tea or just to have some fresh air near the Trisuli River. By the time I got out from the car, I knew that I want to photograph them. But I took my time building up some confidence for both of us. He thought I was attracted with the lady who was nearby making local delicacy, the Sel Roti. Made of rice flour, deep fried to make crispy outer but puffy inside.
After spending few minutes photographing the lady and the food, I made my move to communicate with him. Mr. Dhurba, 36, is a lorry driver coming all the way from Kathmandu like us, heading further beyond Pokhara. I took a look at the lorry and quite surprise to find the interior look like you were sitting in our living room. It was well decorated. Accompanying with him is his assistance, Mr Raj, 51, who came to and join our conversation. After gained enough trust between us, I ask permission if I could take their portrait. Without hesitant they agreed to my request.
I was using Fujifilm X100S belong to a friend of mine during this trip. The classic appearance of the body makes other feel this was old camera and nothing serious about it, people feel more comfortable compared to the big black DSLR with its bulky lenses. Nowadays, people thinks that you make big money when you took photo with DSLR. I have been using Fujifim system more than 1 year and never thinking of turning back to other DSLR, this is there camera system that suits me well especially for travel.
The gondola lift transportation has always steal the eyes of its viewer who pass-by Cheres, Chitwan after about 104km journey from Kathmandu – Pokhara route. The Austria imported cable car system connecting between the Base Station (Cheres, Chitwant) to the Top Station (Manakamana, Gorkha). Here is the fees for the cable car.
At the top station, about 1302 above sea level lies the Mañanakamana Temple, a Hindu temple which pilgrimage bring goat to be sacrificed in a pavilion behind the temple. The name Manakamana originates from two words, “mana” meaning heart and “kamana” meaning wish.
As we walk around the village near the temple, we came across an elementary school slightly below the hill. There we found the Manakamana Hill Side Academy
All image are taken with Fujifilm X100S (Silver).
Bhaktapur is one of our destination during our recent trip to Nepal with my fellow friends. In 2012, I have spent much time with wide angle lens. Since established shot was not my aim for this trip, I decided to use only 1 lens looking for any chances for portrait.
On our way from Sarangkot down to Bhaktapur, a friend of me, Leanna Chong asking me if I dare exchange our camera. So she will be using my Fujifilm X-Pro1, and I will use Fujifilm X100. I have no hesitate to take that as a challenge.
I struggled for half an hour to understand how X100 works. A lot of guessing within the menus and finally I get the some basic understanding how does it working.Basic means to know simple setting like aperture, exposure, shooting modes, shutter speeds and ISO. I believe X100 provides a lot of features, but I don’t want to spent so much time and perhaps missed any potential shots along the way.
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
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.