Portrait Of The Chief

I don’t know who this man is but he seemed to be the chief among the mediums at the Jinjang Temple. He can speak Thai and Hokkien. He reminded the RELA and temple security personnel that photographers must be given close access.

For that, I reward him with an intimate portrait which I hope to present him later as a print. He is probably a former ‘taikor’ (chieftain of the gangs).

I know some of you feel squeamish about the violent but voluntary rituals. Conversion to black and white hides the blood.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 2500, f4, 1/80 sec.

Buka Puasa At Capital

Also from last night, a sketch of the old-school coffee shop in Batu Road. The long-time kopitiam serves halal food.

Real-time sketching from the middle of a busy road can be dangerous. I used a sketch filter on the pic instead.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 3200, f7.1, 1/200 sec.

The Last of the Mohicans

As such, I wasn’t expecting cooperation when I asked to take a picture of him standing next to the barbecue fire.

I had to. The scene behind him had such wonderful ambience and I needed him to complete the picture. What an opportunity for a mood shot at a ramadan bazaar, I thought to myself. He shouted back “No”

Before I could respond, he asked: “Why me?”

Instead of explaining how beautiful the smoke will look seeping through the rays of the directional sunlight or that the picture is meaningless without the seller, I said: “Cos I like your hair” (which was also an honest reply).

With that, he walked towards the grill and cooperated like a sweet baby.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f5, 1/200 sec.

Tough Fruit On A Tough Vehicle

Something piqued my interest when I was walking down the street in Slim River town. I saw a Land Rover with a Tooley Electro Mechanical batch on its tailgate.

The now defunct English company from Church Street, Earl Shilton, Leicester used to do conversions for Land Rover vehicles.

Vehicle owner and durian seller Halim at first thought I was examining the durians he was selling from the back of his vehicle.

He was naturally happy when he found out I was a former Defender 110 owner. I wrote and directed a couple of television commercials for the Defender and Discovery some years ago. As such, I know a bit more about the series than the average guy.

I also attend and photograph the Rainforest Challenge International Offroad Competition almost every year. Even though it was a chance encounter, me and Halim ended up talking shop for a long while and became friends.

Halim promised to take me to some secret off-road tracks in the jungles off Slim River and Sungkai in his other 4WD.

Further north in Kampar and Ipoh, there are several workshops and dealers specialising in refurbished Land Rovers.

Of course, there is also the world’s largest fleet (estimated at over 7000 at one time) of mostly ramshackle and heavily-modified Land Rovers at the vegetable farms up in Cameron Highlands.

Jaguar Land Rover decided to stop producing the iconic Defender model come December 2015. It marks the end of an illustrious era for the famous utility and military vehicle launched in 1948.

The successor to be launched in 2018, was shown earlier as the Land Rover DC100 (Defender Concept 100) and I must say the planned replacement looks really awesome.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f7.1, 1/320 sec.

Anguish Of Attachment

Mummy has more errands to run and the boy is not allowed to follow.

I must commend the mother for not letting the kids run to the shop on their own, even though it is just a short distance. She waited until the busy father came out to get them.

Too many times, we see a driver letting kids wander to the doorsteps on their own because it is near. A curious child can run towards the middle of the busy street instead. Or in this case, run after the bike.

Photography Tip: When composing (or cropping) for a news, documentary or candid type of shot, select the visual elements carefully even when the moment is fleeting. If you can’t think fast, shoot a wider shot and crop later.

Emotional cues can move the viewer on a subconscious level. Firstly, get down and shoot at the child’s eye level.

It is easy to be drawn to the teary face and go for a close-up. I decided to include the face of the sister behind, as she shows empathy.

See how the boy’s hands (as part of body language) are flung out indicating helplessness and resignation?

The father’s hands are both restraining and comforting; conflicting in a way.

Taken as a whole, it is all such elements that make an image more powerful.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/320 sec.