Portrait – Girl In Kebaya

Girl In Kebaya

I was asked to take portraits at an event recently. 45 Portraits and I had to do it in 2 hours. Man. What a rush. I spent the whole day experimenting on lights to see which is th emost versatile and easy to set up. I literally had about 3 minutes for each portrait so I had to work fast. More significantly I also had to make the person relaxed and comfortable.

The lighting strategy was a 300w light fixed with a12 inch diameter honyecomb dish. For some of the portraits I used either a reflector or a shoot through umbrella as fill in. On others I forego the fill in to create shadows on the side which I felt really borught in the mood of the portrait.

Needless to say, they all loved it.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III
EF 85mm f/1.2 L
f/14 1/125th ISO 200 Manual Exposure

Featured Wedding Photography – Henna On The Wedding Day

Henna On The Wedding Day

Malay custom, though based on Islamic principles of marriage, are heavily influenced by the neighbouring areas like Jawa, Sumatra, the Indian sub-continent, China, the Middle East and the West. This is probably due to the strategic position for trade between the China and India and the heavy influx of immigrants from these countries in the early 15 century.

A malay wedding, for example, has many elements of Indian culture and one of the most viisible is the use of henna to decorate the bride. In the present day, the use of henna, though not as elaborate, remains a strong component of the malay wedding.

This picture was taken during a wedding affirmation ceremony (called the akad nikah). The lighting was not good but I didn’t want to use flash so that I can retain the softness of the image. I knew the Canon 5D handles noise at high ISO very well and I also knew that having some noise/grain may actually enhance the image.

Canon EOS 5D
EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS at 200mm
f/2.8 1/100th ISO 800 Aperture Priority

Potraits – Of Family

Portraits Of Family

I had a HUGE family gathering in the weekend with about 150 people. At last count I had about 100 first cousins. I normally get very introverted around family and mos tof the itme would be tucked away in the corner somewhere. Not this time though (though I was able to hide behind a camera with the bazooka lens most of the time.

I took this one of one of my first cousin (or second or third- I actually don’t know). It was taken in mid-afternoon with the sun in all its harshness and glory. He was standing under a shade and the light was bouncing of everything making the shadows very soft.

I rate this photo as one of the best I’ve ever taken. Expression, eyes, DOF, timing…. The only thing I would self criticise is the background though I think I would have lost the moment and the expression if I had hesitated…

Canon EOS 5D
70-200mm f/2.8 L IS
f/2.8 1/320th ISO 100 Aperture Priority

Portrait – Jana

Portrait - Jana

I took this portrait of Jana at the same time as Jaclyn’s. This one was actually a test shot while I was setting up the lights. But this is the one I like of Jana most. Again, I’m experimenting with Photoshop here.

Check out Jana’s Dad, Johnny, here…..

Canon 1D Mark III
EF 85mm f/1.2 L II
f/14 1/125th ISO 400 Manual Exposure

Featured Flower Photography – We Are Family

We Are Family.jpg

I bought my beloved EF 85mm f/1.2 L just under a year ago and its my favourite lens. Take away all my other lenses but leave me this one. Canon calls it the definitive portrait lens not only because of the very large aperture but because of the colour saturation, contrast. sharpness even when wide open and of course the bokeh. All this really makes the pain of slow focussing almost pleasurable.

This lens absolutely demands to be used wide open at f/1.2. Just to be different I am posting portraits of a family of flowers (hence the title). This was the first picture I took when I bought the 85 L which was mounted on a 5D. There wasn’t much tinkering done on this image in Photoshop as the large aperture managed to darkened all the background (this was shot late evening) and kept the flowers in good exposure.

Canon EOS 5D
EF 85mm f/1.2 L
f/1.2 1/800th ISO 100 Aperture Priority

Featured Portraits – Reza Ali by The Right Eye

Self Less

I think self portraits are incredibly difficult and easy at the same time. Difficult because you become self-conscious of how you look. Easy because you can take your time and of course both the photographer and the subject is the same person and therefore you’re in charge.

I took this as an experiment with lighting. I bought the ST-E2 speedlite transmitter which I used to trigger the 580 EX on camera right head high. The background was black velvet which I used to create a makeshift studio. If I were to to it again I would have placed a second flash (which I now have) behind me just to separate me from the background.

Canon EOS 5D
85mm f/1.2 L
f/1.2 1/200 ISO 100 Manual exposure

Featured Architecture – Twins of Kuala Lumpur

The Twin Skyscaper of Kuala Lumpur

The PETRONAS Twin Towers is fast becoming the most photographed building in Malaysia and who could blame the thousands of people (tourist and locals alike) who stand in awe of the building everyday. I once worked there on the 69th floor and I remember the feeling I had everytime I drove to the office in the morning There’s just that glow that the building gives that makes it unique (apart from its height).

The tough thing about taking pictures of the Twins (as I call them) is to find a unique angle. Something different. Something that no other photographer would (or could) take.

Canon EOS 5D
EF 35mm f/1.4 L
f/8 1/250 ISO 50 Aperture Priority

Featured Landscape – Sky Over KLCC

Kuala Lumpur Skyline

I waited for about 3 months to get my TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L. Apart from the tilt and shift function, the colours and saturation that this little lens gives is just plain amazing and I still can’t get over it. It is one of the sharpest lens I have and I feel when used properly it gives even my favourite 35mm L or 85mm L a run for the money. This one was taken at KLCC and the clouds that day were amazing. I used a circular polariser to darken the skies which when converted to black and white gives that near black look. This lens needs to be used on a tripod. You need to slow down when taking pictures with this lens especially when using the tilt and shift function. I’m still learning to master it.

Canon EOS 5D
TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L
f/8 1/800th ISO 100 Aperture Priority

Featured Photo – In The Field

In The Field

This was a very bad and dull image though I liked the scene. No matter what I tried I couldn’t push the colours or the contrast of this image without sacrificing something in return. So I decided to do a few things. First was to process the RAW to get as much detail in the background as possible (not much but it is there). Then I converted it to black and white with a red filter thrown in. The sky was completely white with no detail at all so I put in some colour in the form of vertical gradient tool. The last part of the process was to add grain to give the sky some texture.

Images like these are part of life in Malaysia for a few months of the year so I think its neccesary to push the post processing without sacrificing the ‘integrity’ of the image. I chose the square crop as I think the trio relationship of the telephone poles with the farmer makes for a very nice composition. The motorcycle is also a bonus. Everything just fits for me.

Canon EOS 5D
70-200mm f/2.8 L IS at 200mm
f/8 1/100 ISO 200 Aperture Priority

Featured Portrait – Johnny Moreno


This was taken at a time when I didnt know how to use the speedlite properly and didn’t know how to use the manual exposure mode (so I took at Aperture Priority). Johnny is a great friend of mine and he consented to have his pictures taken by me. I placed him underneath a shaded area and used the flash is fill in. The 5D is a great camera for this kind of stuff. I regret selling it off.

Check out my picture Johnny’s daughter, Jana, here….

Canon EOS 5D
85mm f/1.2 L
f/1.2 1/200 ISO 100 Aperture Priority
Speedlite 580 EX