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Meet Mr Harald

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.

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Faces Of Nepal

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)

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Sarangkot – Pokhara | Fujifilm X-Pro1

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.

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Bhaktapur | Fujifilm X100

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.

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Bhaktapur | Fujifilm X-Pro1

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.

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Tibetan Refugee Camp – Pokhara | Fujifilm X-Pro1

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. 

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Nagarkot | Fujifilm X-Pro1

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.

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Swayambhunath – Kathmandu

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Swayambhunath – Kathmandu | Fujifim X-Pro1

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

Baby Portrait With Fujifilm X-Pro1

X-Pro1 With YungNuo RF603 Triggers & Nikon SB600

X-Pro1 With YungNuo RF603 Triggers & Nikon SB600

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 – 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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I Love Backlight

I’ve been fascinated by tons of backlight photos over flickr & 500px users. In my opinion, backlight images creates more impact on the subject mood.

The backlight can be a natural or artificial source of light. When artificial, the back light is usually placed directly behind the subject. Backlighting helps to provide separation between the subject and its background. Backlighting will cause the edges of his or her hair to glow if he or she has fuzzy hair. This gives an angelic halo type effect around the head.

For the image above, i wasn’t planned to shoot that day until we made a stop at local grocery. While waiting for my wife to buy some stuff at the grocery, i realised that there is good quality of light from the sun and i see there’s a good spot just in front of the car park. It takes just second for me to ask my daughter to just stand at the point i want it to compose. I took several shots and it came out this image which is the one i’m satisfied the most, although it there was distraction from the leave in front with the lens flare. The catchlight on the eyes added bonus as we actually in the shade area. We couldn’t stay longer as the mosquitos keep on dining at my feet. The pose of my daughter was not posed by me, it was her spontaneous pose while i’m keep on shooting.

Soda Girls | Child Portraiture | Home Studio

Check out my latest home studio set up with my daughter as talent. 🙂

Soda Girl | Child Portraiture | Home Studio

Soda Girls | Child Portraiture | Home Studio

Soda Girls | Child Portraiture | Home Studio

Final Post-Processed

Adobe Lightroom – Retro Look

CS5 – Play around with blending modes, Sharpening & Spot healing

Soda Girls | Child Portraiture | Home Studio

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw

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