Congratulations to Robin Wong – ‘Olympus Visionary’

I am proud and happy to announce that I have recently joined the Olympus Visionary program. In this short article, I’ll explain my decision of becoming a brand ambassador for Olympus Malaysia as well as how this changes my writing as a photography blogger moving forward.

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Exploring Pulau Lang Tengah

At a recent Olympus event for bloggers and social media influencers, I was requested to conduct a night photography workshop at Pulau Lang Tengah – an island off the eastern coast of Malaysia. Since it was the start of the monsoon season, we anticipated rain and cloudy weather which is counter-productive to night sky and landscape shooting. I had most of the day before sunset to myself – a good opportunity to explore the island. I’m a land creature, allergic to the presence of water. So scuba diving or snorkeling was a non-starter, but given the great location and my purpose for being there, landscape photography was the natural answer!

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Wide angle urban exploration

During one of my recent short walks from a train station to a nearby cafe, I chanced upon a stretch of abandoned residential flats. It had been a while since I last did urban decay photography and the thought of exploring these flats got me and my friends excited. Therefore, after some planning and gathering an adequate number of people we made our way into these abandoned buildings and started shooting. This was the perfect opportunity for me to exercise my wide angle compositional skills, something that I do not do frequently enough. I brought along the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko 7-14mm PRO lens for this particular shoot.

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Shooting Muay Thai: Round two!

When a friend invited me to shoot a Muay Thai fight from the ringside, I immediately said yes. The organizers of Asian Fighting Championship (AFC) were kind enough to extend opportunities to photography enthusiasts to shoot the event. After my previous experience shooting Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) half a year ago, I thought this would be a great time to revisit fast-paced indoor sports and at the same time subject the best camera Olympus has to offer, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, to some torture.

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Robin’s tips for photographing theatre

I have shared some tips on Concert Photography quite recently (which can be found here) but I have also recently dipped my toes into theater photography. Live plays and theaters share many similarities with musicals and concerts and they are often presented in a mixed genre for increased dramatic and production quality. However, I have also been to a few theater shows that are almost entirely different and require a different set of shooting rules and photography considerations in comparison to traditional concert photography. In this article I explore the importance of playing by the house rules and at the same time finding ways to optimize camera settings to get the best out of a given situation. Special thanks to Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Center (KLPAC) for the opportunity to shoot the dress rehearsal for their recent theater play titled “The Ring of Nibelung”.

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Historical challenge: Night Street Compact

Following up on the Low ISO Street by Night article (where I shot hand-held at ISO200 for the entire evening), I wanted to continue with the theme but switch things up – with a 10 year old point and shoot compact camera. In the previous article, the OM-D’s superior image stabilization was almost like cheating so let’s take that advantage away and replace it with a traditional tripod in this session. In 2008 I purchased, for RM299 (about USD70), a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ8 for use at a construction site supervision (during my years as a geotechnical engineer). It has a tiny 1/2.5″ image sensor, no ability to shoot RAW, usable ISO with no higher than 200, just 8MP and a short, obsolete spec sheet. So what can we expect to get out of the Panasonic LZ8?

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Low-ISO street photography by night

High ISO is usually a necessity for shooting on the streets at night without using a tripod but I thought why not have a session, for fun, where I stick to ISO200 throughout? I was near Petaling Street with some friends and we all chose to employ different shooting methods. One friend went the usual high ISO hand-held route, while another friend had a sturdy tripod setup. I was the only one crazy enough to run around without a tripod and irrationally stick to ISO200…

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Around the wet markets

If you have been following my articles for a while now you may have noticed that I shoot a lot in local Malaysian wet markets. Even my mum finds it hard to believe that I spend so much time in actual markets though I go not with the intention to buy fresh meat and vegetables but to hunt for photography opportunities. Almost every new camera or lens review has featured a few sample photographs taken at various wet market locations in Kuala Lumpur. I want to explain my fascination with the wet market and why I keep returning to the similar spots early in the mornings.

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Robin’s stylistic experiments: monochrome squares

It is no secret that I prefer to shoot in color for my street photography but I do have a special adoration for black and white for very specific situations. With the right lighting condition and sufficient contrast in the frame I tend to favor black and white. I then decided to do a specific outing just to shoot everything in black and white. Initially I did not plan to do square crops for all images in this series, but a few images called for square composition which worked well. For consistency, I cropped everything to square.

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Snapshots from Malaysia’ independence day celebrations

To all Malaysians, Merdeka!

The National Day celebration for Malaysia takes a different tone this year following a recent and significant shift in the political landscape (as documented by MT here). I braved the insane traffic and impenetrable crowds to experience Malaysia’s 61st Independence Day celebration. Following two full days of back to back intensive wedding shoots, I was physically and mentally exhausted, but that did not deter my spirit to get up at an ungodly hour in the morning and be at Putrajaya (the celebration venue) in time to get close enough to the action. I did not have any particular story to tell or a pre-determined outcome for this series of photographs. When the celebration started I knew I was too mentally drained to command anything out of the ordinary so I decided to just go with the flow, enjoy the immense positive vibes alongside fellow Malaysians, shout the word “Merdeka” repeatedly at the top of my lungs and maybe, maybe be lucky enough to get some interesting snapshots.

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