Street Performers – Motionless in Bukit Bintang

Street Performers

I love walking around in Bukit Bintang area in Kuala Lumpur. There’s always something interesting to see and to photograph. I went there last week armed with my camera and came across this street performer. He was covered in silver paint and sat there motionless for more than an hour at a time. People would stand (or sit) next to him, put their hands on his shoulder in all manners of poses but he just sits there.

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Thaipusam 2009 at Batu Caves

Thaipusam 2009
A devotee suspended on hooks attached to the skin of his back

I went to watch the Thaipusam celebrations at Batu Caves yesterday. What an experience. Batu Caves is the location of the world’s largest shrine to the Hindu God, Lord Muruga. The place is normally a quite place but for 3 days of the year, it is a scene where 1.2 million Hindu devotees would congregate.

Many devotees would have spent the previous 40 days adhering to a strict vegetarian diet and engaged in meditation and prayer in preparation to take part in the Thaipusam procession while chanting ‘vel-vel’ as they walk the procession route. Other followers view Thaipusam simply as a day for thanksgiving, or for the atonement of the sins of the past year.

Batu Caves
Batu caves on a normal day

Thaipusam 2009
Batu Caves during the Thaipusam celebrations

Cleansed of all worldly comforts and pleasures by 40 days of abstinence, they carry a kavadi (the simplest way to explain kavadi is that it’s a sort of mini temple to the gods) up the 272 steps at the entrance to the Batu Caves and place him inside the temple within, which is dedicated to the Lord Muruga.

The devotees often have needles piercing all over their body. In some of these pictures, you can clearly see the skin being pulled taut.

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Save Palestine Graffiti

The mood of the day- Graffiti on Palestinian Situation

Its interesting to monitor this wall. I have not got a clue when they do the painting and am tempted to keep watch so I can take pictures of the artists. Its a good indication of what the people’s current sentiment and focus are. You can catch this wall at the temporary open air car park in Bukit Bintang…

Graffiti at Bukit Bintang....

Bukit Bintang Graffiti

Canon EOS 3
Ilford Delta 100 EI 400
D76 1+3 20 mins @ 24 deg c
Scanned in Canoscan 8800F

On the streets with an artist….

Taking a break

Leica M6 TTL
50mm f/2.0 Summicron
Fujicolour Pro 400H

Leica M6
50mm Summicron f/2.0 at f/2.0
Fujicolour Pro 400H

I went on walkabout today and went to Central Market hoping to see some unique characters. You can see a lot of artists here who make a living doing streetside portraits. This is one of them.

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Featured Photojournalism – Malaysia’s Olympic Torch Ceremony 2008

Men On Guard
Men On Guard at KLCC

Horses On Guard
Horses On Guard at KLCC

Olympic Flag
The Olympic Flag

Watching The Flame
Spectators watching the event

The China Flag in KLCC
China’s flag in KLCC

In The Rain
Rain can’t stop me

Malaysia was given the honour of receiving the Olympic Torch in conjunction of the coming Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing. It poured and poured and poured with rain and I was lucky to have gotten away with some shots. Both the Canon 1D series and the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens is weather sealed but its tough to take pictures with raindrops on the lens.

Still. Lots of fun. I was soaked right through to the everything.

As a result of the protests and demonstrations so far, you can feel the security presence there. 1000 police officers were stationed along the route all the way between the main venues. These images were taken in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park.

Photographers note: The images have been digitally enhanced.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III
EF 24/70mm f/2.8 L

Featured Photojournalism – Jama Masjid, New Delhi 2008

Jama Masjid 2008

I took this image during my 2008 Tour of India’s ‘Triangle’ of New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. This one was taken at Jama Masjid in New Delhi. It was mid-afternoon and the sunlight was very nicely diffused making it perfect for these kind of images. The challenge in getting these kind of images is to establish a rapport as soon as possible. I looked this man right in the eye, pointed at my camera (asking for permission to take the photo), he nodded and I clicked. Be polite, be quick and be thankful….

Canon EOS 1D Mark III
EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L

f/2.8 1/160th 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 Photojournalism – The Buskers of Bukit Bintang

Moneybag2.JPGBukit Bintang is one of the commercial districts of Kuala Lumpur. Being one of the oldest shopping centres, it is smack in the middle of Kuala Lumpur and is one of the must go area for tourists. Every weekend, a group of people will congregate in one of the corners and play the didgeridoo. I’ve been there twice to take pictures, trying to find a story. How did they start? Why is the man in a wheelchair? Where did they pick this up? Why did they pick this up? The story still eludes me. Perhaps the pictures are worth more than these questions….

Click The Buskers of Bukit Bintang to see the photostory