Wednesday, 29 April 2009

People of The Philippines - 02

I love Asia. I love Asia for its openness to being photographed, especially among parents for their children. Had it been in the West, I wouldn't have been able to take photos like this as the parents would fear that I would be a pedophile trying to sell photos of their children on line.

I remember when in Australia, I pointed the lens at a fully clothed girl, her father gave me the angriest look. If he had a chance to see the photo I took of his daughter, he would probably beg me to send him a copy.

When it comes to portraits, I have to admit that children are my favourite subjects. They give me the pretties eyes and, while some find children very hard to work with, I find them very willing to talk to me and to my camera. Building a connection is key in taking portraits of children, but getting the trust from their parents is even more important. Therefore, I often show them my photos right after so that they'd see how beautiful their children are.

Monday, 27 April 2009

People of The Philippines - 01

A few years ago, I went to The Philippines (third time I think). That was also when I first got my second hand DSLR. After a few years of film photography, like most film photographers, I was a bit reluctant to change. When I was still using film, I had a very high-quality Nikon classic: Nikon FM. That was like the epiphany of cameras the decade it was produced.

Then I had the Nikon D100, which I still own and use a lot. I was very impressed, and I'm sure most people will find it hard to believe why I had that kind of reluctance for the transition. That trip to the Philippines in 2004 was the first trip I took my DSLR with me. Sometimes I can't help but wonder, would any 25-year-old or below still know how to load a film on a point-and-shoot, let alone on a Nikon FM?

Compared to today's DSLR, my D100 might seem a bit obsolete. But to me, it's more about the composition and the use of available lighting. In my next post, I will post one of my favourite portraits ever taken with my Nikon D100.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Egypt - Continued

Some believe that the pyramids were built by aliens and I didn't find it hard to believe. The precision of the alignment of the pyramids - how they resemble the belt of the Orion constellation. And looking how the sun sets directly behind them. I was in awe looking at the pyramids. In fact, I stayed inside the pyramid site the whole day just taking photos, waiting from day in to day out. I was quite lucky to get this cloud formation on that day to give this dramatic effect.

Going on a desert safari had always been one of the many dreams of mine. Now I did it, on a camel back. Pictured here is a desert just outside Hurgada, which is by the Red Sea. It is not the kind of desert you see in the Sahara or Gobi, as it is full of pebbles and boulders. In fact, it looks more like the deserts you see in Arizona or Australia's Outback. I was a little bit disappointed as I was expecting to see sand dunes and the ripples. Nonetheless, I was in the desert and when I showed this picture (below) to my friends, they thought that it looks a bit like the surface of the moon. The picture above shows two camel herders.

Here are two pictures taken on a highway at the end of my trip, with the land stretching as far as the eyes can see...

Tuesday, 21 April 2009


Girl selling bread with mother under a bridge.

Orthodox church priest sitting out in the sun, with their shades on.

Beautiful veranda by a lake south of Cairo.

A gang of people waiting to cross the road, under the bridge.

Children on a donkey in a field in an oasis in the desert.

A young boy waiting patiently outside a mosque, in Egypt.

Two Muslim sisters.

Old lady sipping tea in a cafe, smoking hookah.

Today, I finally received my external hard drive from the data recovery company. I popped it in the nearest PC and I breathed a sigh of relief. Just finished importing all the photos into iPhoto. Unfortunately, the data restored was saved in PC format and so all the previous iPhoto settings are missing. That means, even though the pictures are still categorized under different events, all the events name are gone and I have to key in every single event (358 all them) again. And some of the pictures have their modified and original versions filed under the same event and thus I need to go through every single photo (23,000 +) to delete the modified ones.

Thing is, my photo filing wasn't particularly organized and it wasn't until I got my Macbook Pro that I started to really file all the photos with a dedicated event name. Maybe this is time I organized my photos better, with a reborn photo database.

Attached here are some of my favorite B&W portraits from Egypt when I visited in 2004. These were all taken in B&W film, not digital.

Saturday, 18 April 2009


Looks like someone from Jak & Jil or The Sartorialist? Street fashion in Lama Temple, Beijing.

Lama Temple.

Worker clearing joss sticks.

So I finally downloaded Aperture 2, Apple's answer to Photoshop CS. I had always used Photoshop before and thought maybe I should give Aperture a try. My first impression is, for a program that is 1/4 smaller and costs much cheaper, it's doing not too bad. It has most of the features that CS offers but takes up much a smaller space. I have tried its black and white feature and let me know what you think of them.

Friday, 17 April 2009

People of Nepal 2007 (3)

What a way to sell...

She must be Nepal's next top model. She kept posing for me and was such a pro.

Hindu exorcism in action.

Boy looking over the burning ghats.

The babas actually asked me for money whenever I pointed my lens at them...

Thursday, 16 April 2009

People of Nepal 2007 (2)

After two weeks of waiting in anxiety, the data recovery lab where I sent my "dead" hard drive to called me today. They said that all the data had been recovered. I went to the lab in anticipation to see if that was true. I was shown a chair and a computer and was asked to check in a few folders to see if everything was there. The first folder, there were only hundreds of photos (I had some 20,000 of them originally). The second folder, I went straight to the iPhoto folder and found... everything; every year, every event, every face, every photo, every moment - all there again.

And I started to smile again. More pictures of people from Nepal in this entry.

People of Nepal 2007 (1)

I was just digging up old database of my photos and found these pictures... I really like photographing children.

As some of you may know, my old has disk had crashed and ALL PHOTOS are still being rescued by a data recovery company in Beijing. Still not sure if I'd get them back. Really no one else to blame but myself for not backing up properly. So if you do use a Mac, use Time Machine now... I'm talking about 60GB of photos that might go into thin air... Fingers crossed...

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Niu Jie (牛街)- the Muslim district in Beijing

Even Dong Lai Shun (东来顺), the largest hotpot chain in Beijing and possibly in China, takes on a Muslim architectural look.

Beggar lying off Niu Jie.

Jian Bing (煎饼), a local street delicacy. Now made on a big turntable.

Niu Jie Mosque, all built in Chinese architectural style, now with Arabic engraving.

Niu Jie Mosque is the largest mosque in Beijing. Pictured here is the Worship Hall.

Clocks indicating different sessions of worshipping.

Old Muslim with an inquisitive look.

After visiting the mosque, we went for Muslim food in a local restaurant. This chef, probably from Xinjiang, is making lamb skewers (羊肉串).