Just a little heads up for the Malaysian urban and architectural photographers in the audience today: I’ve been asked by a friend of mine to judge a photography competition run by the World Class Sustainable Cities conference for 2015. The theme is ‘Urban Regeneration Through Smart Partnerships’. There are two categories for >18 years and here, and information on previous conferences here. Good luck! MT
Skeleton and ghosts. The monochromes in this set were processed to be as natural as possible using my ‘balanced’ workflow in The Monochrome Masterclass.
Today’s photoessay comes from a beach near Banting, on the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia and about an hour and a half’s drive out of Kuala Lumpur. I’ve been to this location in the past; those of you with exceptional memories might remember it from the Panasonic GM1 review and early large format landscapes. Truth is, I’d been meaning to come back to this location for a long time, earlier in the day, to have some more time to work with it before the fast-moving tide ended play*.
*It’s a mangrove beach, which means extremely shallow gradients and even quicker tides – I’ve seen it come in at about a foot every three to four seconds. Not somewhere you want to be stuck in the middle of a long exposure!
Today’s post is about a job I did at the start of January – the world’s premier maker of tunnel-boring machines, Herrenknecht (there are actually quite a surprising number) hired me to document the operation and breakthrough of their first variable-density boring machine*, which happened to be at work underneath Kuala Lumpur as part of the greater Klang Valley subway/ mass transit project. Up til this point, we have a pretty pathetic train system and monorail that doesn’t cover more than 3-4km; we don’t have a unified public transport system which combine with poor traffic management creates legendary jams**.
*Kuala Lumpur has a mix of rock and clay underneath it; you need a special machine to bore through both simultaneously – the machines for rock are too slow with clay and it also clogs the outlet ducting, and the machines for clay simply won’t cut rock.
**In the past, it has taken me up to 2 hours to travel the 1.5km from home to office at the wrong time. If you’re wondering why I didn’t just walk, try doing that in 35 C heat, 80+% humidity and the business suits that you’re expected to wear – not that clothes mean you’re any more or less competent at doing an office job…
Following on from the previous post on my recent acquisition of a medium format digital system, I thought it’d be appropriate to share some of the results from the first serious shoot I used it for a little while back. I found that the system was much more sensitive to camera shake than expected; mirror lockup was an absolute necessity, though the Gitzo GT1542 carbon traveller and Arca-Swiss P0 head both performed very well and offered more than sufficient rigidity. (In hindsight, I should probably have bought the cup feet for the tripod to prevent it sinking into the mud though.) Though you can’t see it at this size, the frames with mirror lockup are distinctly crisper at the pixel level than those without.
Sometimes, one is given some pretty sweet assignments. Quite near the top of that list is a commission to photograph beautiful buildings by one of the country’s – arguably the world’s, too – leading architects with the rare thing of a completely open creative brief. This is the position I found myself in a couple of months ago, camera bag in one hand, Mother Of All (somewhat portable) Tripods in the other, and sheaf of permission letters and permits from Hijjas Kasturi Associates tucked away safe inside the camera bag just in case.
The streets of Melaka: Saturday, 3 November 2012 (Melaka)
Intermediate street and travel photography techniques; from 10.30am to 7.30pm
All you need is a digital camera. Any camera; even a compact/ point and shoot is fine (bring it if you have one). I’ll show you how to see, how to translate that into an image, and how to make images where the equipment doesn’t matter – you’ll be liberated. The day concludes with an assessment of images and debrief.
Introduction to Photoshop Workflow for Photographers: Sunday, 4 November 2012 (Kuala Lumpur)
With digital photography, shooting is just half of the story: the other half is in both how you shoot to make the most of the output of your camera to maximize image quality, and how you optimize those images afterwards. Photoshop doesn’t have to be intimidating or slow – I spend less than a minute per image on average, but each one is individually optimized. Bring along your problem/ difficult images or images from the day before. I’ll cover the entire basic desk workflow from assessing/ editing and sorting to adjustments and output. You’ll need a laptop with Photoshop CS3 or higher plus an editing tablet – I like the Wacom Intuos series. Note that you can use the trial version of Photoshop for 30 days before deciding if you want to buy it or not. But, once you see what it can do, it’s not a lot of money to spend when you consider that you use it on every image.
Each session is RM1,000 per person, or book both for RM1,800. Please note that payment is due on confirmation to reserve your place.
Please email email@example.com for bookings or information. Places are strictly limited for both sessions (max. 6 for Melaka, and max. 10 for Intro to Photoshop) in order for me to help you get the most out of the session. MT
Shot in 2011, from the pits during the Super Japan GT500/GT300 race at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia. Had to make do with the 28-300 VR – which was extremely challenging for moving vehicles. Since I don’t regularly shoot wildlife or sport, I also don’t have any long fast glass. Still, an interesting experience. MT
Series shot with Nikon D700, D5100 and AFS 28-300/3.5-5.6 VR
This building is one of the more interesting in downtown Kuala Lumpur – mainly because of its highly reflective mirrored glass surface that causes its character to change with the light; it blends into its surrounding environment by reflecting it, yet stands out because it doesn’t look anything like the surrounding windowless concrete shopping plazas. Coincidentally, it also contains the offices of Leica Malaysia. MT
Series shot with a Leica M9-P and Olympus Pen Mini E-PM1.
Last night was the grand opening party for my exhibition of fine art watch photography at Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Pending any unforeseen changes, the images should be up for the next month on the first (Adorn) floor, and were co-sponsored by Jaeger Le-Coultre and Leica. Some images from the launch party follow.
For my KL readers, I’ll also be on radio – a short interview – on Friday, 4th May at 1.45pm on BFM 88.9. For everybody else, there’s a podcast on bfm.my. MT
Sorry, no POTD today – was trying to rush these out for today’s post.
Some images courtesy KH Yeo (D700, 24/1.4) and myself (M9-P, 35/1.4 ASPH FLE).