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.

Guardian Of The Cemetery

A Hindu shrine guarding a Chinese cemetery in the outskirts of Slim River. What was even more interesting was that the burial grounds had both Taoist and Christian tombstones mixed together. Quite unusual.

I suspect there is also a Hindu or Indian burial ground nearby. I can see what looks like a funeral pyre.

Waited for a lighting strike but it didn’t happen at where I pointed the camera. I was the only living soul around and the atmosphere was getting a little creepy. Could hear howling dogs but I can’t see where they are.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f13, 1/320 sec.

Good Wishes

Wonderful that today is an alignment of Asian festivals. Happy Tamil New Year, Happy Thai New Year or Songkran and Happy Vaisakhi (or Baisakhi), the important holy day for Sikhs.

Saw these statues of a family at a Hindu temple in Rawang, a town on Federal Route 1. Will see if I can also drop by at a Sikh temple that is on-route later.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 400, f7.1, 1/400 sec.