Me, A Shutter Presser

Photography is an art. You either have it or you don’t. Then again, if you don’t, you can always learn and improve. Nowadays many people own a DSLR and some take beautiful photos. Anyone can take up photography, master a trick or two and be a professional photographer. The good ones get to travel the world and earn quite a lot.

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IF YOU’RE GOOD, KEEP MOVING FORWARD

I’m not a photographer. And I don’t have a natural eye for photography. But I’m shutter-happy. I like the idea of documenting something and capturing a memory that I can have forever. Even of the random things like oil lamp and a broken twig! It looks ridiculous, but I think we take that idea – of living in the present and capturing each moment – for granted. I mean a photo shows more than just how something looks. A photo has real depth, so why not eh? After all, the present is the history of the future. 10 years from now, we would want to look back and laugh at our lousy hairstyles.

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A SORT OF PATRIOTIC SHOT OF A GROUP OF FRIENDS AT THE BEACH

At work, I’d pick up the camera with the sense of duty. But I’m always more than happy to do it. Even when I need to take photos of boring stuff. I usually use the EOS 70D. As for my personal use or for people, I truly enjoy and lose myself in doing it. It makes me feel emotion. Raw emotions. Every single frame. And I’ve had some nice compliments about some of my photos, which is very encouraging.

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MY SISTER ON THE GRASS – HER FIRST VISIT TO THE BUDDHIST VILLAGE
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OUT OF FOCUS, BUT I LIKE IT

I have no ambitions to be a professional photographer. It’s a tough field to get into, pretty expensive to set up, and the competition is crazy. But the passion exists since I can’t remember. It’s one of my creative outlets and I’ve always wanted to make a compilation of some sort with the photos I took to share my perspectives with others. But when I was younger, I never really had the chance to take a lot of photos and be able to do so because I could not afford a good camera. There were films and some lame-ass digital cameras that I wasn’t very satisfied with.

I’m saving up for the FUJIFILM X-A3 at the moment but to date, my Sony Xperia Z1, Sony Cybershot DSC-W830, Sony NEX 5 and cheap action camera does a pretty good job. They are small and portable that I can shoot anytime, anywhere.

I still do appreciate films as I find it more personal but these digitals allow me to take a seemingly unlimited number of photos of anything I want. And phone photography is simply just fun. Once in a while, I would take my Instax for a shoot. And I used to have a multiple-lens camera that I used mainly outdoors. I’ve given that away to a dear friend who shares the same passion not too long ago.

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BEST FRIENDS CHILLING IN THE EVENING

I never really settled on a preferred style of photography. Most of the time, things are just interesting to photograph. I do find street photography very interesting and meaningful, though. And I’m as interested in capturing mundane routines as I am in capturing special events. Landscape is also my thing. I have never really been on any organised photo walks. But it is sort of my thing to somehow have a camera with me. And of course, there’s always my phone camera to abuse.

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RUDE CAT ON OUR ROOF AT KAMPUNG

In terms of production, I tend not to set things up too much or do excessive editings. I prefer my photos raw with no filter. And I’m just too lazy to explore the softwares used for editing. I don’t even know how to use Photoshop. Interesting enough, I have not felt the need to go about it yet. I’m kind of conservative in that sense. Or again, LAZY. But as of late, I’m very much into producing monochromatic images. I’ve been posting them on my Instagram and most of the photos were taken with my phone.

I recently took a photo of raindrops. And I’m quite proud of the shot.

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RAINDROPS TAKEN WITH MY CYBERSHOT

I also did an experiment. And here’s the result of that. A friend thought it was scary.

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DOUBLE EXPOSED

My photographic subjects are very random as I shoot whatever I see around me that I find interesting. Some may have that expressive photographic vision; some maybe don’t, but that’s the challenge. While I don’t feel the need to produce great shots all the time as I’m not a professional photographer, but one can never deny the feeling of getting ”the shot.” It’s all about perspective but slowly I have become more obsessive about getting “the shot”.

Especially now that more and more are taking a peek at my Instagram feed and leave positive comments on the photos. With that, the joy now does not only comes in capturing the photos. Sharing them with someone and through social media makes them much more meaningful and enjoyable.

Photo albums are hard to come by in any household nowadays. Gone are the days when one would so excitedly show the guests their photo albums. Somehow, having hard copies doesn’t matter much, which is sad and I’m guilty of it too.

Here’s a shot I won’t mind show to my guests if ever I decided to keep it in my photo album.

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GRUMPY CHICKEN

And here are my sisters. They’re basically my permanent models. The photos below are certainly meant for a family photo album.

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MY SISTERS – VICTORIA AND IXORA

 

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MY SISTERS – ALLYZERA AND ALEZXANDRIA

 

 

 

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Sunset Boulevard

Genesis 6:
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, [2]the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

[NOTE] – The daughters of humans were beautiful.

Beautiful to me is sunset. And sunsets are my favourite part of the day. I’m always drawn to it. There is no better end of the day than watching a great sunset. I’d love it better sometimes when it rained just before that. The sight of the cotton candy clouds, along with the double rainbow in the somewhat copper-coloured sky, that fresh, earthy smell of rain and the calmness, the placidity and how it makes me feel like I’m in another realm. A rather spiritual one, filled with mystery, away from the forces of darkness.

I used to sit in a tree to watch the sunset. I was between 3 to 6 years of age where I was always doing and experiencing things by myself. I was the only child at that time and often left alone as both my parents had to go to work. My dad would come check on me whenever he can in the afternoon as his office was nearer and he had a motorcycle. He’d get me juice or buy me snacks. I would only see my mom at sunset. She and my dad would arrive with style on his motorcycle. I always imagine them in slow motion, entering the vicinity like superheroes on their superbikes – ready to shoot the enemies of the world and punch them silly.

I would wave at my mom sometimes from the tree. She would scold me for climbing up high. The funny thing is, a couple of years later, I developed this fear of heights.

We stayed in a community flat, or rather a hostel actually, where the kitchen and bathrooms are shared. In our room, I remember we had a medium sized radio and a small TV – both with a sticker of my name on them. My dad would label all his belongings with my name. My favourite would be that yellow Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD he had at that time. A big-ass sticker of my name slapped on it. He does that still, even today. But instead of stickers, my name is fossilised in agreements, grants, and whatnot. And this is more of a lifetime responsibility – not wealth.

[REWIND] – At that time, it was only the three of us. I don’t quite remember what we usually do at night [dad would write songs or play his guitar] but after sunset, we’d all go to the kitchen and everyone would somehow cook dinner around the same time.

Moms cooking, dads chatting about and smoking [my dad doesn’t] while the kids would play. I would just watch them. Or have a chat with my mom. Perhaps I was always that kind of person – an observer, a listener and would talk to only certain people. I don’t share my toys as I didn’t have much and I don’t really play them or bring them out from our room anyways. But I had a stuffed dog. It was brown and I used to ride on it like it’s my very own limited edition Suzuki. I do have a best friend at that time though, after we moved out to another place. Our moms were colleagues. They’re Pakistani and I’d eat at their house almost every day.

There’s something very calming about the setting sun. Where we lived at that time, there’s a huge football field, tennis court, and there were big trees surrounding us, a rather spacious carpark because there were probably less than 10 people had a car and the best part is, there was also a ‘barok‘ there. I would sit in there, observe my surrounding, watch people come home from work, watch the kids running around and running away from their moms, I’d see dads washing their cars and motorcycles, I’d see younger adults playing football, smoking and joking around, when I see a few people having intense conversation, I would walk pass them or sit not so far away from them.

And that’s what beautiful about sunset for me at that time. Not so much of the beautiful sky… But life and routine. My relationship with my dad and my bond with my mom. My fresh experience of people before they call it a night – listening to and understanding how they go about their day, how work was, how they look at world issues and how things are changing around them.

Sunset is obviously one of the biggest cliches in photography. On weekends, we’d spend our sunset at a park not so far away. I remember my dad took a photo of me and my mom sitting on a bench overlooking the lake. The sky was beautiful. He also took a photo of me jumping and running with his basic, cheap Kodak camera. I don’t remember if we had a photo of the three of us. It was not a ‘selfie’ and ‘wefie’ era yet so, we didn’t know how to take that kind of photo.

The best and most beautiful sunset I saw and experienced was with my parents between the year 1989 and 1993. Then life happens. But sunsets are always special to me. Today, I’d drive watching the sunset on my way home, listening to Michael’s voice notes if not talking on the phone with my mom.

Sunset is romantic and it slows down time. I used to kiss my first boyfriend under the tree at sunset. It was always emotional and made me wonder if we were going to be together forever. Nope – that ship sank.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.”

People always say that God’s greatest masterpiece of creation that He has ever made is you. For me, sunset comes right after that.

To whom it may concern,

One day, I want to watch that last sliver disappear below the skyline with you. I want to experience this gorgeous life’s gift with you. Even if we were to meet just once, I want to share that calming, beautiful moment with you. There’s never one sunset the same. Ours will always be special.