Critical Appreciation – 004

Critical Appreciation – 004

The final pic in the series of which are pics I already commented on Maria Bernadette’s Fb, is |this image of a “fire fighter”. She captioned it as “Fire as weapon” #martialarts #kerala

It reminds me of the fire dance in Hawaiii and other Polynesian or Caribbean countries and cultures. I think you did the right thing by not firing a flash. Many photographers attempt to capture the streaking and light trails of spinning arcs and sparks. It may take more than one viewing to make test shots and to figure which shutter speed works best or to predict the movement. Spinning fire is always dramatic when captured right. Maria’s original pic (lower pic) didn’t capture the motion or dynamism of the “fire fighter”
Remember to always respect or abide by the boundaries set by the performers for safety reasons

My original comment:
“Moving fire is an excellent chance to show dramatic streaking of light. Try a different shutter speed the next time”

I used Photoshop’s motion blur filter to add some trailing to suggest motion (top pic). I didn’t like seeing the static moment of a martial art fighter standing still. The opportunity is rare and I feel it was a missed opportunity. A new subject is always a learning process so better luck next time.

See series 2 and 3 on my Fb or IG.


Critical Appreciation – 001

Maria Bernadette ( sent me this message;

“Hi Terrence, I hope this is not too much to ask for. I’ve uploaded some of my photos from Kochi and Munnar. Your comments will be much appreciated and please feel free to criticise as your comments would make me do better the next time”.

I am always hesitant to critic somebody’s work. When I was starting out I used to buy American and British photography magazines in which they had a column in where an expert or panel reviewed pics sent in by willing readers. The expert or panel will explain what he or she liked or didn’t and why. Also suggestions for improvements.

I felt I learned and benefited from it. With that in mind, I asked Maria if I can share the pics and my comments for the benefit of more people. She graciously agreed.

Send me a link or the pic if you wish to participate. It must be yours and not someone else’s. Don’t send a perfect pic just to show off. It is not a contest and done in fun.

Update: Found out the comment don’t show via Fb sharing,

So here it is: “I like that it isn’t overexposed adding to the air of mystery. Also the selective framing and cropping is clever in not revealing all. The trick with this scene is getting the exposure correct. Helps that the speed is slow enough to see the flames blown in the wind.”


10 Tips For Photographing The Thaipusam Festival

10 Tips For Photographing The Thaipusam Festival.

Every year, thousands of shutterbugs congregate at #BatuCaves during #Thaipusam.

Due to the increased popularity of the hobby, there are now more people carrying camera equipment than devotees bearing the kavadi.

I’ve been shooting the event since the days of Ektachrome. 16mm Bolex and Betacam, so here are a few tips:

1. Don’t over-carry. Use a small messenger bag instead of a bulky backpack. Don’t even need to carry a big bottle of mineral water. You can obtain water for free or buy easily.

2. I always see noobs carrying tripods and long lenses. Unless you are shooting time lapse, a tripod isn’t necessary most of the time for stills.

Remember: Thaipusam is NOT a safari where you hide from far with a long tele lens. Get up close and capture the intimacy and devotion.

3. For video shooters, try to not use a big stabilizing rig or a cage in a very crowded space. For documentary-style, a little shake adds to the realism.

The reason to travel light is not only to avoid inconveniencing others. You’ll be glad by the end of the day, after walking or standing for at least 4 or 5 hours.

4. Get out of the way, once you get your shot. Be considerate to others behind you.

5. Do not join or create a ‘media scrum’. Most of you are not paid nor are you taking part in a contest. If you miss a shot, so what? There will be other opportunities.

6. Wear comfortable, decent shoes that are also easy to remove. Some places will require you to remove footwear.

7. Don’t wade into the river because you think everyone will regard you as a hero. You’ll an idiot, actually. The washing area around the river is for a sacred ceremony..

8. Most important gear is the battery. Bring enough spares or a power bank (for USB charging cameras such as phones and Sony 7 series cameras).

9. This is 2016; get a mirrorless or stop ‘chimping’. It is really awful to capture shots of camera persons checking their LCD screen after every shot. Have confidence in yourself. Either you got the shot or not.

10. Don’t look at everything through the LCD or viewfinder. Learn to take in the view with your naked eyes AND try to enjoy the event too.

Volunteers Needed

In the short few hours, we covered the Ernest Zacharevic art installation, the Stylo barber shop, Guandi Temple and much more. We were lucky the sun was intense and the sky was a deep blue from early morning.

Curiously, Paul is not as interested in photography or heritage stuff as much as me. He is extremely patient, tolerant and is willing to go the extra mile without much complaints.

If you feel you are similarly blessed but is not a reclusive hermit, is reasonably dependble and reliable… You stay in the Klang Valley, own and drive your own car, like trying out new food and exploring new places, you may want to volunteer as my assistant and adventure companion and driver partner. Can be a female or male and be of any race or religion.

You will learn some extra things about photography for sure, gain valuable travel insights and discover life. Contact me via PM or e-mail me at and we will take it from there. No promises. It depends on the chemistry and your attitude, usually.

Picture of new kite arch at Central Market’s walkway. Some old or hertage buildings are conserved Singapore style where only the shell or facade is retained.

Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the blue sky.

#chinatown #kualalumpur #chinesenewyear #kualalumpur #centralmarket #pasarseni #streetphotography #urbanscape #sky

A Eulogy

It used to be a empty space or open air car park rented out for promotional activities during the F1 season. A distracting white tent would rise from the spot.

I was worried when I saw some construction taking place. After all, the strategic traffic light junction was the last unfettered view of KL’s most iconic landmark. A multi storey car park rose from the spot. It was short-lived as a guard told me recently that the covered car park was going to be demolished to make way for an MRT station. It is now closed.

The rooftop on the fifth floor was perfect as one can get a nice panoramic view of the skyline that included the KL Tower. Only problem with an isolated place in Malaysia was that it attracted many horny couples who came to park and make out in cars. That made the guards nervous and they would close off the floor to subjugate any acts of immorality.

Photographers can still get up by walking the staircase. I went on a lonely, rainy evening by intent. Reflective wet floors were perfect. It was lonely, unnerving and was easy to forget how a silent drizzle can become heavy. Me and camera were soon totally drenched.

On fireworks nights such as NVE or Merdeka, one can almost not find a spot to park the tripod. Every inch on the edge, on every floor, was taken up by one of thousands of photography enthusiasts congregating there. It was madness as it was an ideal location as it was elevated, there was shelter should it rain and the car can be safely parked nearby.

This picture serves an ode to a valued and unheralded vantage point. The venue faced another Malaysian problem while it lasted. Many photographers were selfish, protective or secretive and they hid the location from others.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f5.6, 2 sec.

‪#skyline #‎landscape #cityscape #nightscape #skycrapers #klcc #petronastwintowers #kualalumpur #landmark ‪#rain #‎sonyalpha‬ ‪#‎a7r‬ #zeiss‬ #tbt