March 5, 2014
The worst camera classified ad EVER!

It’s as if the guy who posted the ad didn’t want anybody to buy the camera. But I’m sure the ad attracted a lot of views… anybody up for a challenge to own the Fuji?

December 24, 2013
Found this vintage roll of Tri-X Pan box in my local camera store. How old? Check out the expiry date!

Found this vintage roll of Tri-X Pan box in my local camera store. How old? Check out the expiry date!

December 22, 2013
2013 Best Photos by Reuters Staffers

Reuters has compiled the best photos of 2013 captured by their staffers. Some really excellent photojournalism photos in a concise slideshow… check it out!

November 3, 2013
Nikon fans, here’s a wallpaper of the venerable Nikon F2 for your screen from me…

Nikon fans, here’s a wallpaper of the venerable Nikon F2 for your screen from me…

July 22, 2013

Here are some of my images for my review of the Leica Monochrom. Select Full HD option for highest quality.

July 22, 2013
Review: Leica X Vario slays the nay-sayers

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How should I describe the Leica X Vario? It was as if Leica engineers met at the cafeteria and decided Fuji wasn’t kicking their ass hard enough with the X100/X100s. “Hey, let’s challenge the Fuji XE-1 with a new camera. We will up the ante this time… let’s be double the price of Fuji, AND we will not have interchangeable lens!” Guffaws exploded across the cafeteria as the engineers outlined more specifications to make life living hell for the Leica sales team.

 

And then the engineers invited the Leica marketing folks to join in the fun. The head of marketing exclaimed, “Let’s do a teaser for the camera and call it a ‘Mini M’. Imagine the look on the consumers face when they try to change the lens on the new camera!” The laughter was so loud that the Fuji folks heard it halfway across the globe and wondered what Leica was up to.

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July 3, 2013
Review: Canon 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM Ext 1.4

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If camera manufacturers were high-school boys, building super telephoto zooms would be their equivalent of a pissing contest to see who can shoot the farthest or most accurately. Sports photographers would arrive at the stadium packing the biggest lens to win bragging rights, acting like Arnold Schwarzeneggerslinging his Gatling gun in Terminator. But Canon’s super telephoto zoom – the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM is getting so long in the tooth, it’s time to say, “hasta la vista, baby”.

 

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June 13, 2013
Portraits of the Animal Kingdom

For the “Portraits of the Animal Kingdom” series, I wanted to capture photographs of animals with the same techniques that we normally use for people portraiture, such as shallow depth of field, high contrast lighting, foreground blur, side profile poses and painterly background. I hope to capture the essence of the animal kingdom just like we photograph the human soul in a portrait.

Here are some of the animal portraits I captured for this project…

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To view the images in higher resolution, please visit my gallery at “Eye & Mind”. For the “Portraits of the Animal Kingdom” series, you can click on the direct link below:

"Portraits of the Animal Kingdom"

June 5, 2013
Street photography: crop or crap?

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Lust. Gluttony. Greed. Sloth. Wrath. Envy. Pride.

The last time I checked, cropping is not included in the list of the seven deadly sins. So why do photographers have this compulsive aversion to cropping their photos? Some say that shooting loosely and cropping in post-processing are signs of sloppy technique and a lack of discipline. And that cropping wastes precious real estate of film or digital pixels, degrading the quality of the final image.

I agree fully with the rationale to compose carefully prior to the exposure for certain types of photography, where the photographer has the luxury of time to compose before taking the shot. Landscape or portrait photography, or even commercial or still life photography all fall under such a category. There is little excuse for radically cropping the final image to achieve a new composition, other than to fit the print media size that may be different from the sensor aspect ratio. Or perhaps you really had a square or panoramic image in mind when shooting.

However, it seems to be mostly street photographers or journalists who oppose strongly to cropping their images. I suppose the fact that Henri Cartier Bresson – the most prominent figure in street photography – was a strong advocate of “no cropping” really helped to reinforce such a viewpoint.

Photojournalists have resisted cropping for another reason – their editors and layout artists. Photojournalists compose the scene for a reason, and their composition might have included certain elements to tell the story. Editors and layout artists may crop the photo to suit the layout of the page, which frustrates the photographers greatly, and hence haphazard cropping of photo journalistic images may lead to misinterpretation of the original intent of the image, which is why cropping is taboo to some photojournalists. But why do other photographers object so strongly?
 

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June 3, 2013
8 reasons why photographers still love film

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When I started photography, digital was nowhere in sight. Around the turn of the century, digital cameras  appeared and film was left for dead in less than a decade, shocking considering that film was dominant for eighty years.

Today, the dwindling demand for film has killed off many emulsions, leaving the selection of film stock limited and ever shrinking. However, there is a small renaissance of film by photography enthusiasts who appreciate the experience of shooting with film.

Digital offers a lot of advantages for the photographer, and like most I do shoot digital on many occasions and assignments. However in my spare time and capacity, I enjoy shooting film for my own pleasure, and here are some reasons why film continue to appeal to me…

1) Feelings of permanence

In that fraction of a second when an image is exposed on film, I know that the moment is captured eternally on emulsion, forever etched in silver. When the image is immutable and unchangeable, encased in a strip of celluloid, it gives me the feeling of permanence and importance accorded to a single unchanging moment.

2) Feeling of being there

I came across an article that resonated with my experience with film. The author came across some old film taken by his dad during the Vietnam War. The awareness that the piece of film in his hand actually came from the battlefield and passed through his dad’s hand as he loaded it into his camera connected him to his dad and the war. Likewise, holding the film I shot when I was much younger brings back much nostalgia.

 

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