Featured Portrait – Man of Jama Masjid, New Delhi

Man of Jama Masjid

I am learning some new processing techniques and have been experimenting quite a lot. This one went through some new processes, the most significant of which is the blending of several layers of the image. Basically, you have the primary (background) image. Duplicate it twice. Desaturate the first duplicate and put the blending mode for the top most layer as soft light. You’ll see the colours change. I love the blue socks here.

Canon iD Mark III
EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS

f/4 1/125 ISO 200 Aperture Priority

Cambodia Portraits

Cambodia Portraits

After over a month of coming back from Cambodia, I have had a chance to reflect on the photography and the images I took. Well over 5000 pictures were taken and I believe I have a few real keepers that stands out. This is one of them.

Taken with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS on a 30D (why 30D? I’ll write about it when I recover) this one was a classic case of everything just falling into place. The light and the shadow was just perfect and the look was just sublime. I had to be quick to capture this one as everyone just seems to smile whenever they see a camera pointed at them.

The post processing was tricky as I wanted to make sure I got the details of the wall. A lot of heavy dodging and burning.

Canon EOS 30D
EF 70-200mm f.2.8 L IS at 70mm
f/2.8 1/640th ISO 400 Aperture Priority

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

Featured Sports – Nadal V Gasquet

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f/5 1/320th ISO 2500 170mm

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f/5 1/250 ISO 1600 160mm

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f/5 1/320th ISO 2500 200mm

I watched the ‘Clash Of The Titans’ exhibition match between Rafal Nadal and Richard Gasquet last night at Stadium Melawati, Shah Alam, Malaysia. Armed with my EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS, I was hoping to get lots of keeper shots as the ticket I got was very good. Lighting was a problem and I couldn’t use flash. I had to bump up the ISO way up there between ISO 1600-3200 so that I can get the shutter speed above 1/1000th and even that was a problem. I didn’t want to go down to f/2.8 as I wanted to make sure features are sharp. One thing though, noise reduction would beautifully on the Mark III.

All images taken with Canon EOS 1D Mark III and EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS. No flash was used.

Click here for more my images from the match…

Featured Portrait – Jaclyn


This is another in Jaclyn’s series. Lighting is based on a honeycombed beauty dish on camera right place above head height. 1 softbox on camera left to soften shadows. The white balance was done through colour temperature (7350k) on Canon DPP and I wanted the image to be very warm. This is a heavily cropped image resulting in the eyes to be not as sharp as I want it to be but there is no other way to get this compression effect on face portraits without using a supertele.

See here for other portraits of Jaclyn….

Canon EOS 1D Mark III
EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS at 195mm
f/14 1/125th ISO 400 Manual Exposure

Portrait – Jaclyn Bain

Portrait - Jaclyn

I’m trying out styles and presentation for portraits. This one was in the same set of shots I took of Jaclyn that I took earlier. Main light with beauty dish was on camera right way above head height. Fill light was on camera left. Though you can’t see it in this image, there was a light for the background.

I permitted myself to be more liberal with my post processing. Quite easy actually. Just make the selection, inverse, feather and fill with black. The black and white conversion was done though the gradient map feature. The trick here is to make the selection right.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III
EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS at 190mm
f/14 1/125th ISO 400 Manual Exposure

Other portraits of Jaclyn canbe found here and here.

Featured Wedding Photography – Father and Daughter in Prayer

Father and Daughter in Prayer

I captured this wonderful moment during the akad nikah (affirmation of vows) ceremony held at the Masjid Wilayah Kuala Lumpur. It is usual during this ceremony for people to put their palms together in prayer for the newly weds. This one just jumped at me and I only had time for 1 shot. My speedlite flash was mounted on my 5D which had on the EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II which was too wide for the shot I wanted so I had to use my MIII with the 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS which had no speedlite. I pushed the ISO all the way to ISO 2000 (MIII high ISO control is fantastic and the IS on the lens is a lifesaver) and snapped.

Thankfully, everything just ‘clicked’ and that one shot was the winner.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III
EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS at 200mm
f/2.8 1/100th ISO 2000 Aperture Priority

Featured Sports – Rugby Cobra 10s

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This is the first time that I took sports pictures and I spent 6 hours out in the sun. I made so many errors its criminal. The focusing of these pictures let me down and I am not sure whether its a technique issue or a camera body issue. The pictures were taken with the 1DIII and 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS. The camera was set at AI-Servo mode and the focussing point at the center. ISO setting at ISO 200 giving the shutter speed anything between 1/3000th to 1/8000th. I was not happy!!!!

Some tips are as follows:

1. make sure the shutter speed never drops below 1/2000th (even if it means a high ISO)
2. Pick a spot where not only will there be good action but where you can get a nice clean background
3. look out for drama and high emotions
4. look for reaction shots from spectators and other players

The biggest challenge was predicting where the ball (and hence the action) will be and where to focus at. After careful contemplation between sentences I think its a technique issue.

The final between Canterbury Rugby Union fro New Zealand and Malaysia’s COBRA started at 6 and I already had issues from the lack of light. Wonder how the sports photographers handle taking pics at more than 1/3000th with lighting provided only by the stadium’s floodlights?

Canterbury ultimately defeated COBRA 29 to 12 to lift the Champion’s Cup (see The Star for report).

Canon EOS 1D Mark III
EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS at 200mm
f/2.8 1/4000th ISO 250 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

Featured Photo – Tall One

Tall One

I found this interesting tea pot and I was fascinated by the shape. An image formed in my mind and I set out to bring that image to life. I knew that there could be an interesting play of shadows and light. It was mid afternoon and the sunlight was still harsh so I had to take this one well inside. Once I did there was nto much ambient light to play with so I had to bump up the ISO to 800. The light was coming in through a large window and I made sure the handle pointed towards the light. Then it was a matter of careful exposure. I made one mistake though, I should have also taken a picture with the snout facing towards the light.

During post processing I decided to push the contrast to the extreme which resulted in loss of details particularly in the darker areas. I think it works….

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