Photoessay: cityscape Istanbul

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At the macro level, the structure of a city has always seemed much cleaner and more organised than when you get in it – there’s a sort of fractal perfection of the wimmelbild kind where the overall visual density is quite homogenous within all of the areas that can be build upon. It’s as though we seek to fill and exploit every possible space available to us – and in doing so, make something that’s always reminded me of a carpet or a lawn: from a distance, regular, but close up, completely random. I’m sure if we were to take the site of any of the world’s major cities and start again, the result would be extremely different from what we have now (and in some cases, perhaps wouldn’t exist at all – building below sea level, for instance, is probably not a such a good idea in the long run). At a more pragmatic level, we never quite made it to the far side of the strait – next time…MT

This series was shot with a Hasselblad H6D-100c, various lenses and post processed with Photoshop Workflow III.

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Tips to improve your photography using what you’ve got

We constantly find excuses to justify the purchase of new, more expensive camera gear. However, it is important to remind ourselves from time to time that simply upgrading  gear does not improve our photography. The greatest weapon a photographer possesses is their vision – how they see the world around them, with their unique artistic sense and perspective.

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Photoessay: Eastern melancholy, part II

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Continued from part I

Much further east, but still considered ‘eastern’ relative to other parts of the world – I shot these in Tokyo a month ago (at the time of writing) and very much remembered how I felt: the usual excitement of being in Tokyo, the anticipation of a reset in culture and scenery, and some slight dread for my wallet thanks to the camera havens of Shinjuku. Aside from that, certainly not what I seem to have captured: a sort of ‘quiet resignation to the task at hand no matter how bad or what it is’ – rather than the same sort of slightly uncertain edginess in Istanbul. Cultural? Perhaps. Or perhaps somebody in the audience is going to tell me there are things I have deeply repressed…MT

This series was shot in Tokyo with a Panasonic GX85, various M4/3 lenses, and post processed with The Monochrome Masterclass Workflow. Get more out of your voyages with T1: Travel Photography.

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Photoessay: Eastern melancholy, part I

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Every image is a reflection of the photographer’s state of mind at the time of capture; we see and interpret the world through a lens of personal bias. We either notice things that are extremely in sync with us – or extremely opposite. It is difficult to say whether the collective feeling exists or we are simply applying tunnel vision to only notice what we want to see. Going back to curate through one’s archives tends to yield very telling glimpses into your psyche at the time, and something much easier to see objectively in hindsight. These images were shot more than six months ago, but reviewing the entire set yields an almost manic split between the bright, cheerful and happy, and the downright depressing. I honestly don’t remember what I was feeling at the time – probably not strongly positive or negative – but mainly that the environment was so different that it was rather difficult to ‘be a mirror’ and let the images come rather than looking for them. What’ll be interesting is the counterpoint part II post… MT

This series was shot in Istanbul with a Hasselblad H6D-100c, 50, 100 and 150mm lenses, and post processed with The Monochrome Masterclass Workflow. Get more out of your voyages with T1: Travel Photography.

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Drone diaries/ Photoessay: Over Iceland

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I’m going to start this post with a confession: I lost/crashed a drone during the making of these, which is why there’s no video of me flying through the sea arch at Hellnar, or of that double sided beach where the waves pound a narrow strip of rocks. (I do have the stills from the Hasselblad though, which I’ll post in the near future.) Feeling confident after the flight low over the surf and through the arch, I went a bit further out to sea to do a flyby of the coastal cliffs, and an orbit of a sea stack. Mistake number one: I wasn’t high enough, and the signal was looking a bit ropey. That should probably have been enough of a clue that something was going to go wrong. Mistake number two: I underestimated the winds between the cliffs and the rocks – and there’s not really any way to judge wind speed remotely, other than sponginess of controls and lack of manoeuvring overhead as the bird uses more and more of its available reserve power to fight the wind. Mistake number three: I was flying sideways so the gimbal and camera would be pointed in the correct position to film, which meant that I didn’t really have much idea of what was behind me (the Mavic doesn’t have rearward or sideways sensors). What I surmise happened is that I got too close to the cliffs behind me, and a gust of wind did the rest. Game over.

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Personal truths about photography

Photography is an ongoing journey, there is so much to learn and explore and so much to experience. Some lessons come easy, some difficult. It is crucial to acknowledge that there is no one right way in photography, given that it is so open and subjective. I  believe that we all want to improve and get better at what we do. After all, something is more enjoyable only when you continue to get better at it.  What is the point of photography, if it’s not fun?

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Photoessay: Evening in Manchester

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For reasons I can’t explain, the weather on this particular evening kept making me expect Sherlock Holmes (or his modern equivalent) to pop out from behind a corner, especially as the sun set. Not a bit of fog in sight, and I wasn’t in London, but perhaps it was the combination of the architecture and a slight drizzle. Unfortunately, the only afternoon/evening I had free to shoot wasn’t exactly the best for light, but we learn to make do (and curate ruthlessly, knowing that the locals will always be playing with a light advantage). This was the first time in some time I was travelling light – just one X1D and a couple of lenses. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t have my photography brain switched on since that wasn’t the point of this trip, but this is the specific reason I’m posting this set: almost everything you see here in photoessay form is the curated result of a conscious effort at taking pictures; very rarely do I not do this. However, I recognise that this is probably closer to the way most readers’ photographic opportunities arise – a spare hour here and there – and I thought it might be useful to see what can be done even with limited time. MT

These images were shot in Manchester with a Hasselblad X1D-50c and 90mm, and post processed with PS Workflow III and the Weekly Workflow. See more on your journeys with T1: Travel Photography and the How to See series.

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‘Exploration’: Robin’s Photo Exhibition in Kuching

One of my resolutions this year was to have my photography work published and exhibited.  In September, together with 7 other talented photographers from Kuching (my hometown in Borneo), a photography exhibition, with the theme “Exploration”, was held at Saradise Gallery. The work on display was not limited to street photography, and we had entries spanning architecture, conceptual photography, portraits, documentary work and even landscapes – all was fair game provided it fit the exploration theme. I also had to opportunity to serve as one of the curators for the exhibition. In this article, I shall share my experience curating a large set of photographs for a gallery exhibition.

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Roaming Kuching’s streets with the Canon EOS M6

Since my review of the Canon EOS-M6, I’ve had few more days with the camera before having to return it to Canon Malaysia. I brought the camera home to Kuching (in Borneo) for a short weekend trip. I was going back for a collective exhibition featuring local photographers. I managed to find time for some shutter therapy in the midst of my busy schedule – most of this time was spent with my beloved mum or catching up with friends. For these short shutter therapy sessions, I decided to give the Canon M6 another spin.

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Photoessay: travels in hard light II

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Trying the sun on for size

Monochrome, today. The variation of weather in Istanbul can be spectacular; one moment you have brilliant sunshine, and barely 30min later: hail. I suppose such are the joys of a maritime climate. Regardless of weather, Istanbul seems to be one of those places that has realities of so many different eras that it’s almost timeless; the modern overlaps with the ancient in the sort of organic way that can only happen over centuries – millennia, even – of continuity. I was there at the time of the constitutional referendum; there were fears that it might get ugly, but the reality is life would continue as normal – daily ups and downs being relatively minor blips in the grand scheme of things – short period transience and a sort of lack of definition for individuals, and a much slower erosion for the surrounding environment. What holds it together? The framework is left in the shadows, and only when you look closer (at these images, too) is it clear that things are not always as they seem.

This series was shot with a Hasselblad H6D-100c and 100mm. Post processing was completed using the techniques in the weekly workflow and Monochrome Masterclass.

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