Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I Like Colorful Things

I see the world in full, vivid, explosive array of colors. I celebrate the beauty of vibrant and joyful mixture of different colors around us. My images have always been overly bright instead of dark and more often very colorful in nature. Therefore, when I found a wall painted in rainbow colors, I just could not help but to pose for a portrait shot of myself. Special thanks to Matti Sulanto who helped shoot this image, I love it so much!

All images and video by Matti Sulanto. Used with permission. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sushi Teriyaki Chicken Burger at Third Wave, Nexus Bangsar South

Sometimes, I am adventurous enough to try unusual food just for the kicks of it. Sushi burger is not exactly something new, the fusion between Asian and Western food is quite common these days. However, not many places can get the fusion right and the mutated food usually ends up disastrous and nothing like the original counterparts. Nonetheless, the best part of living is being able to eat, and daring to try different food is part of the fun that keeps the game interesting.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Guest Post by Matti Sulanto: PSPJ 30th Anniversary Exhibition Launch

Note from Robin: I was unable to attend the official launch of PSPJ's 30th Anniversary Exhibition Launch yesterday (10th March 2018). I sought out help from my friend, Matti Sulanto, to cover the event and have the article published here. This is my first time featuring a guest blogger! Special thanks to Matti for doing this and I owe you a huge one. 

All images in this blog entry by Matti Sulanto. Used with permission

Photographic Society of Petaling Jaya is having their 30th anniversary photo exhibition, titled ”Malaysia: My Home, My Country”, right now at Malaysia Tourism Centre (MATIC) in Kuala Lumpur. I was invited to the opening ceremony of the show and I must say I was quite enthusiastic to see how a Malaysian photo society works and the kind of images they exhibit. I know some local photographers and their work, but was still keen to see the work of 60 photographers featured.

The former Deputy Education Minister Dato´ Hon Choon Kim spoke at the opening ceremony.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

And Then There Was A Lego Robin Brickheadz

My friend Allen Ang got me a belated birthday gift, the Lego Brickheadz of Robin from the Lego Batman Movie. Thinking through the history of gifts that I have received, this was probably the only one time that I received something that is directly related to my name. And we all know that Robin (in any versions of Batman) kicks ass!

The image above was taken with the M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens, and that bokeh was truly delicious!

Monday, March 05, 2018

Reminiscing the Original Olympus OM-D E-M5

From time to time I love to pick up an older camera and just give it a quick spin, to see how far we have come in terms of imaging innovation, as well as to remind myself that good photography is not about the the gear that we use. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a special camera to me personally, it was the camera that propelled this blog to wide internet reception, and got me deeper and deeper into the Micro Four Thirds world. It was the camera that made everyone believe that mirrorless cameras are capable too.

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Chinese New Year 2018 That Was

This year, my family and I celebrated the festive season with a low key. No bombastic decorations, no extensive food preparations, no buying new cloths, and basically nothing much was done. What I did was to spend as much time as I could with mum, and whatever time left, I allocated for some close friends. It was interesting because as I grew older, the less excitement I felt for Chinese New Year. Perhaps that was because I was never a fan of explosive firecrackers, dramatic lion dance and unbearably loud Chinese New Year songs. Red is not even my favourite color.

Kieron Long, an up and coming street photographer from Kuching. My partner in crime in one of my recent shutter therapy sessions in Kuching. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Minimalist Camera Straps by The Bandit Co.

My photography friend, Jee Foong has been making minimalist-styled, hand-crafted, genuine leather camera straps. I have always struggled to find the suitable straps for my camera that balances both function and design. Considering the mirrorless cameras that I own actually look quite stylish, I want the straps on them to look equally elegant as well as being comfortable in use. There are many camera strap options but the premium ones that are both comfortable to use and look great are usually not budget-friendly at all. This leads me to another crucial point that makes these hand-crafted straps stand out from the crowd: they are unbelievably affordable.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Unpopular Opinion: Why I Don't Shoot Film

A lot of you have stayed with me over the years, and some of you must have wondered if Robin Wong has ever tried shooting film? Why is there no blog articles about film? The short answer is, I do not shoot film. I shall explain myself in this article why I never bothered about film and why I never will.

I am not against film photography in the digital age. If you love shooting film and it gives you that much pleasure and satisfaction, by all means, continue doing what you love doing. This is not going to be an article about film vs digital photography, that is a treacherous terrain that I would be suicidal to cross. I will explain myself as simple and as straightforward as I can: I just do not see the point of shooting film now.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Happy Chinese New Year 2018

If you are celebrating, I wish you a prosperous and happy Chinese New Year! May this year bring you happiness, love, good health and abundant opportunities.

I am finally back in my hometown Kuching (Borneo), preparing for the coming celebration of the new year. Of course I have had my over-dosage of Sarawakian food goodness over the past few days before the stalls closed down for the celebrations. My cravings were adequately vanquished but I do wish I have more. I will have to wait until the 3rd or 4th day of Chinese New Year for some of the stalls to re-open.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Lunch at CalleVerde Cafe, Petaling Street

So what happens when there is a newly opened cafe incidentally being smacked right in the middle of my usual hunting ground for street photography? We do some street shooting and we eat some good food there immediately after!

CalleVerde is a Fillipino and Western fusion themed cafe that serves a variety of commonly available Fillipino food and also some western dishes. This is not exactly a food review blog entry, and I have no intention of doing food reviews here either. However, I am a photographer and my hand gets itchy whenever I see something interesting to shoot. It is no secret that I am a food lover (judging by the size of my physical appearance) and putting the two things that I am passionate about together, I do enjoy shooting food tremendously. Though I must admit that my food photography still need plenty of work, but it is work in progress nonetheless. What better reward for food photography than to be able to taste the subject that you have just photographed on the spot?

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Revisiting Kuala Lumpur - A Photography Exhibition Comparing KL from 1976 vs 2017

One of the advantages of being a photographer living in Kuala Lumpur is the bountiful of events and activities that are available to get myself immersed with and be inspired. Photography exhibitions happen frequent enough that we never really run out of opportunities to absorb new idea, get motivated and push our photography boundaries further. The most recent photography exhibition I have attended was the "REVISITING KUALA LUMPUR" by three local Malaysian photographers, Eric Peris, Lee Hong Leng and KF Choy. This exhibition specifically compares urban landscapes from the early scenes in 1976 versus what they have changed into in 2017.

KF Choy, Eric Peris, Academician Professor Emerita Datuk Dr. Mazlan Othman, Chairman of Sutra Foundation Datuk Ramli Ibrahim and Lee Hong Leng

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Olympus PEN E-PL9 Review is Up!!

Thanks to Olympus Malaysia, I have had the Limited Edition Blue Olympus PEN E-PL9 for a week to shoot. My review is now published on Ming Thein's site here (click).

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Is The Grass Greener On The Fuji Side?

I know the camera brand that neither me nor Ming Thein touched is Fujifilm. Although Fuji has been making splashes with their X-T series and X-Pro series of mirrorless cameras, somehow none of them made it into my grasp, or available for me to review. Buying cameras just to review is out of the question, as that is not the way to sustain a long term solution for a blogger. However, I do have friends who own Fuji and have spoken highly on Fuji imaging products. I even have a friend who is willing to loan me his Fuji X-Pro 2 for review purposes. The question is, after about 2 years since the X-Pro 2's release in early 2016, will there be still enough interest from my readers to see me review it?

I have heard of the wondrous colors of Fuji JPEG files, but I must acknowledge that color preference is highly subjective, and may not be the same for everyone. From the general online photography discussion, I can summarize that the X-Trans sensor for Fuji has gained much attention, having respectable high ISO performance, better resolution resolving power, yet at the same time suffering from being able to be fully optimized when the RAW files are being processed with commercially available post-processing software. I have to be honest to say that I am not a fan of rangefinder style design for a body, and I am leaning toward a traditional DSLR look, mainly for better handling and also many other practical shooting considerations (viewfinder being on the same axis as the lens).

I do have my own curiosity, are Fuji lenses really as good as what everyone says? Has the AF improved since the days of X-Pro 1/X-T1 (which were lagging behind most cameras in terms of speed and reliability)? What is the fuss with all those film simulations? Do they make an impact on the image colors, or do I get better color processing the images myself?

My only brief flirtation with Fuji was with the first and original classic X100. It was a good camera, but it failed to deliver when I want something practical to work with. The lens was soft, the AF was terribly slow and the image quality was nothing to shout about, even during its time. I do admit the design was super sexy, the camera feels good on hand and I have had some beautiful images taken with X100 that made it into my Kuching exhibitions last year. Of course the X100 was many years apart and I am sure Fuji has come a long way since.

So Fuji people, if you have somehow stumbled upon this, do share your thoughts and your experience using the X-series. And is there anyone interested in reading my review of the X-Pro 2?

Monday, February 05, 2018

The Nokia 6 Snapshots

I have been using the Nokia 6 for more than half a year now. While I have had a few flings with "flasgship" smartphones before, having much more capable cameras, such as Oneplus One, Huawei Mate 9 Pro and P10, strangely I do not miss using the higher end smartphone cameras. Perhaps the main reason was because no matter how good the camera in a smartphone is, it is still a smartphone camera with small sized image sensor and there is just so much you can do with it.

Friday, February 02, 2018

The Image Stabilization Miracle

Who would have thought how much the image stabilization can improve in just a few years? When Olympus introduced their 5-Axis Image Stabilization in the OM-D E-M5 in 2012, it made huge waves across the photography-sphere. Fast forward a few years later, evolving to the IS in their E-M1 Mark II, now I am able to hand-hold confidently at 4 seconds shutter speed and get blur free images! Do bear in mind that this only works for wide angle shots, shooting subjects from quite a distance away from the camera.

4 seconds shutter speed, hand-held. E-M1 Mark II and 12-40mm PRO lens. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Revisiting The Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang Burger At myBurgerLab

It was about half a year ago during the month of Malaysian independence day celebration that the Nasi Lemak burger craze hit the town. One that particularly stood out from the rest was from myBurgerLab, with their Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang variation winning many hearts of their patrons. Their Nasi Lemak burger was doing so well that it made it into the permanent menu instead of being a limited time only item.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Ming Thein's Exhibition - The Idea Of Man II at Ilford Galerie MY

It was a fully occupied Saturday for me that Ilford launched their first Ilford Galerie in the world, situated at Oasis Square, Damansara. In conjunction with this opening, they featured Ming Thein's "Idea of Man II" as their first photography exhibition.

I had a Panasonic Lumix 4K Photo workshop in the afternoon, which coincided with the event. Otherwise I would have been able to do a full event coverage for that launching ceremony which was officiated by Ilford's president who came all the way from Japan. It would have been awesome shooting behind the scenes stuff, and of course listen to sharing by Ming Thein himself, and the person behind this Galerie, Wesley Wong.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Food, Coffee, Friends and Eargasm: My Kind of Sunday

After spending one heck of a week shooting and doing a review for the Panasonic G9, I thought I could spend one lazy Sunday with a couple of awesome people just to chill out. That was exactly what happened last Sunday, together with Robert and Sim, we attacked food, drank plenty of coffee, had good dosage of high quality audio and then even more food. I live to eat. I hope you do the same too.

Oh did you remember the tips on how to shoot great looking "Instagram-able" food images (click here)? If you have followed those tips you can achieve the following results.

Sticky Rice (Lor Mai Kai)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Panasonic Lumix G9 Review - Shooting In Progress

Thanks to Panasonic Malaysia and Digital Camera Magazine (DCM) Malaysia, I have the Panasonic G9 on loan for review. I have been shooting for a few days now and am gathering as many sample photos as I can. This will be my first full review for a Panasonic camera, and I am very excited being out there doing this. I am also fully equipped with all various Panasonic lenses to test out the G9 with. I will of course use one or two Olympus lenses for some specific purposes, but having native Panasonic lenses matter because I can fully test out the Dual IS and DFD for C-AF shooting. So far things are looking quite amazing and I cannot wait to share the results with you guys soon. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Trust Your Instinct

Photography opportunity has a lot to do with luck. You have to be out there waiting for something to happen, go to it, and shoot it. Being at the right time and at the right place matters. However, you can increase the chances of interesting moments happening by going out a lot more. Sometimes, you just have to trust your gut feeling, and do what you feel is right at that particular moment.

Last Snuday, I conducted a half day photography workshop for Olympus and had multiple appointments in the afternoon. After the last meeting, it was already late 3.30pm, and I just wanted to call it a day and go home. Strangely, there was this inkling feeling in me that urged me to spend the rest of the afternoon shooting insect macro. The kind of fired up enthusiasm that suddenly you just want to pick up the camera and go trigger happy, happened and I did just that. I continued on to a nearby park and did a solid 3 hours insect macro shooting session.

Image taken with Panasonic Lumix G9 and Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro lens. 
Yes, you read that right, the G9. A review is cooking. 

You see, I have been hunting Ant Mimic Spiders. They are extremely difficult to find (at least for me, living in the city, with mostly secondary forests) and when i did get to find one, the spider usually moved so fast it was challenging to get a decent shot. Every single time I went out shooting insect macro I would look for Ant Mimic Spider, with very low success. Finally, on a day that I initially wanted to just rest and have a normal Sunday like everyone else, my instinct kicked me to go out and shoot. I found my Ant Mimic Spider.

Why my fascination with Ant Mimic Spider? They live their whole lives pretending to be ants. To do so, they need to mimic ant specific characteristics. They walk on six legs, and raised their front two legs to look like antennas which they never had. Also, their eyes were shaped and rearranged differently from other spiders to look as if they only had two eyes, instead of many eyes spiders normally have. Their body shape has been altered to look like ants as well, and they changed their walking patterns to match the ants. Perhaps the scariest part is the ability of these ant mimic spiders to secrete chemical scents that the ants will be familiar with. These mimicry mechanisms worked for two purposes: protection against the ants, because ants move in a large group and numbers always win when it comes to fights, and for the spiders to always have source of food. When the ant mimic spider found an ant wandering off alone... then it is meal time.

People say animals do not lie. I disagree. At least ant mimic spiders lie about their identities.

You have no idea how happy I was at the end of last Sunday, coming home with some very decent shots of these ant mimic spiders (and some other insects as well along the way). I think it is very important to always believe in yourself, and listen to your heart. Trust your instinct, and your camera will make interesting shots happen!

Friday, January 12, 2018

That Mysterious Tiny Camera Bag - HAKUBA Shell City Messenger from Japan

A while ago I was blogging about the Lowepro Campus + bag which was designed to be a travel or everyday bag. I did a video showing how I pack for my short trip home to Kuching. In that video, I packed my Olympus PEN E-P5, Panasonic 14mm F2.5 lens and Olympus 25mm F1.8 into a separate, tiny little camera shoulder bag. Since then, that article has received more questions about that tiny little camera bag than the Lowepro bag I was blogging about instead. The same post was also on Instagram and due to popular interest, I thought why not I do one entry about this mysterious little bag that I have had with me for a while now.

The tiny little camera bag looked so good, with simplistic, clean and basic design. Perfect for smaller camera systems. 

Monday, January 08, 2018

About That Olympus Feathered Bokeh

Olympus' latest lenses, the F1.2 PRO primes, 17mm and 45mm both have this new feature named "feathered bokeh". Olympus claims that when shooting at F1.2 wide open, feathered bokeh can be achieved, rendering softer looking background for better defocusing effect, isolating the subject better and creating that 3-dimensional look. Alternatively, a more solid background can be acquired by stopping down the lens to F1.8, which is the ordinary look from any other lenses. During my course of reviewing lenses, both the 17mm and 45mm F1.2 PRO, I have come to appreciate the buttery smooth and pleasingly creamy bokeh that these lenses can do at F1.2. However, is there really that huge of a difference between the F1.2 and F1.8? I am not asking in terms of shallow depth of field (obviously the F1.2 can create a blurrer background, no doubt), but the bokeh quality. Is it really that much better?

17mm F1.2 PRO. Taken at F1.2 obviously and the bokeh is just so beautiful to look at. Transition is smooth and the blur is pleasingly creamy. If I were to pick one image to show the capability of the 17mm F1.2 lens being used wide open, this would be the one I pick. Stunning sharpness on the eye in focus, and the absolutely delicious bokeh rendering. 

Friday, January 05, 2018

The Unexpected Gift: Sony MDR-1A Headphones

I celebrated my birthday last week, and my wonderful friends have surprised me with a dinner and an unusual gift: the Sony MDR-1A high res audio capable headphones.

A few months ago, I came across this set of headphones and commented on how comfortable they felt when I was using them. The Sony MDR-1A were the most comfortable headphones I have ever put on my ears. I was also quite impressed with the sound quality, but I also thought they were unjustified if paid in full retail price. Then I found the demo unit on heavy discount in one of the Sony Stores, but decided not to get them due to the undesirable worn and torn condition.

Little did I know, my friends have come together and pitched in to get me the Sony MDR-1A for my birthday. I was obviously shocked to receive the Sony as a gift. Sometimes I don't think I deserve such good friends around me, and it was quite an expensive gift to begin with.

The Sony MDR-1A headphones were such a beauty to behold. Sony really knows how to make gorgeous looking design for their products. At the same time, I was also reviewing the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.2 PRO lens. Thus, it was only natural that I would utilize the PRO lens to shoot some product shots of the Sony headphones, when they are still in pristine condition, free from my abuse.

Special thanks to (in no particular order) Jason, Carmen, Jackie, Alex, Jaslyn, Jian, Chong and Tobias. You guys rock!!!!

You can purchase the Sony MDR-1A at B&H here. 

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Find Your Audience

So the 2018 arrived, and if you have missed my previous posting, then allow me to wish you Happy New Year 2018 here!

New year brings renewed inspiration and motivation. When I was at a countdown party the host randomly picked me out from the crowd and asked me what my new year resolution was. Honestly I never did any new year resolutions before, but it would have been such a buzz kill if I answered "I have no resolutions for 2018". So out of nowhere, in pure spontaneity, I spoke through the microphone to hundreds of people strong crowd: "to be a better person". 

This may sound like I stole that line from Jerry Ghionis (the world famous wedding photographer) with his famous line "if you want to be a better photographer, be a better person". I have just remembered that quote AFTER I answered the host, and it rang true to what I believed in completely. One of my on-going mission that I have started years ago, since the day I picked up a camera was to be a better photographer. In order to do that, I must strive to be a better person. That means, to treat myself and people around me better, to contribute in any way I can and to show kindness and love when needed. To give more than receive and to show support in whatever way I can. I acknowledge that human is a very complicated, but genuinely selfish species as well. For all kinds of photography that I am involved in, I can see how being a better person can truly benefit me and bring me that much closer to the great photographer that I aspire to be. I just have to improve myself, one step at a time.

All images and video were shot with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko lenses 12mm F2 and 45mm F1.8