18 November 2011

Swedish Apples

Swedish Apples

Swedish Apples

Trying my hand at black and white portraits again.  Been a while since I've been more involved in colours as the explosion of colours do attract the eye better.  Black and whites are the true test to the artistic eye, by which, I do not have...but I do know what I like and I'd like to share it.  Artistic eye?  What is that?

This here was taken on the highest point in Stockholm, Sweden.  If I am not mistaken, it is called FjÀllgatan.  Honestly, it's not that high, but visitors and tourists have been warned, Sweden is mostly flat lands while Norway is mostly riddled with fjords.  Either way, the vantage point wasn't to my liking with the strong noon sun and the uncanny blue sky and I've only got 10 minutes.

As luck were to have it, two cute and sweet kids walked by the group to sell their apples.  They obliged me as I took a quick shot and thanked them.  People in Sweden are really friendly and sporting towards strangers especially with me.  I can vouch for them.

18-300 kit lense, baby!  First time with me on my trips.  The range and sharpness of this baby is truly amazing.  Not so hot about the lense vignetting, but that's easy to control.

Stout out!

03 October 2011

Visit Carlsberg, Original Carlsberg Brewery, Copenhagen, Denmark

Visit Carlsberg
Visit Carlsberg

Original Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Original...but seems rather simple and plain on the inside.  I'd suggest visiting for a quick walk through and a beer with some BBQ on a Sunday in the summer.  Was a bit disappointed as this wasn't what I'd expect seeing as how much I really looked forward to this.  I did manage to get a few shots on the inside so we will see how that turns out.

HDR attempt #12, me thinks.  As I have not touched photoshop in about 2 months, this proved rather interesting.  I do not feel jaded and yet I am blessed with some sort of mental clarity and stability on the methods and techniques needed to produce this.  I am perfectly well aware of how odd it is to read the "Visit Carlsberg" sign a little upside down and how skewed and distorted this frame looks, but I think that this is best to show off the #1 wide angle interior and landscape lense that I have.  My baby, Nikon's 14-24...which is definitely a girl, and daddy needs to take good care of it.  *sweat*  If only you could see the size of her bubble, and that is the single definite factor preventing others to purchase this little devil.  Despite the "Less than perfect" composition, the fantastic coincidence is that this is composed and framed perfectly according to where my icons are laid out.  *WIN*!

HDR setup is pretty simple.  The general rule is, bracket at 7 exposures when shooting into the sun.  When I did this, I ended up with the -3 and -2 extremely dark and was not needed.  I probably need to experiment with this more when I am grounded here in Malaysia before I accumulate a gagillion overly underexposed shots of the sun on my travels.  Yes, there is a technique to reduce ghosting  in moving humans.  It works best if they are all exposed evenly with the surrounding background.  Pick the highlight or over-exposed shot and then brush it over in photoshop.  Simple and clean.

For those stalkers who manage to read until the fourth paragraph, I salute your loyalty.  I am now on my second month of my 4 month break.  It will be the usual.  Travel, photography, gyming, lunch/dinner with familiar faces, shopping and getting reved up for the next half of my course.  I am currently waiting on the arrival of my new system and setup.  Decided to go with Dell's flagship and upgrading from the 24" to the 30", as they have proved that their customer service can be pushed around  ;) Bye bye, bottleneck in my workflow. No news about Nikon's highly anticipated flagship yet and their newly releases of P&S and mirriorless just wasn't worth my attention.  I have put in an order for the Really Right Stuff TVC34L...The last system support that I will ever purchase, unless someone out there comes out with some nano machine incorporated android/walking pod that will even take the shots for me while I am sleeping.

One final note: I am on the lookout for web and art designers to put a little something together for me.  Go forth and spread...the word.

Stout out.

03 August 2011

The Sampan and The Cloudy Hong Kong Night Line

The Sampan and The Cloudy Hong Kong Night Line
 The Sampan.

HDR attempt #11-ish?

Single exposure HDR attempt #3-ish probably?  Not too sure...but it's generally when you have to shoot for moving objects in the darkness.

This was shot after a brisk walk after a huge dinner...And a huge dinner in Hong Kong means that you will have to walk every slowly and be careful as to not exert at any amount because you might just have to retake your dinner.  =)

Clearly it is a lot different from what I had perceived and the light show wasn't on.  Such a shame, really.  I'm always fascinated by bright and colourful lights like I'm a goldfish, probably.  Anyway, I walked up and down the Starwalk for a good half hour to get a better view and composition...and to find a freed up pillar to lean against.  I took this just when I heard that a motor sound getting louder.  Talk about noise polution over the many tourists and Hong Kong islanders' hustle and bustle.  Let's not forget the loud speakers from the performers and vendor stalls.  I turned and saw something that is perfectly suited to be in the frame.  I must not miss this chance.  Who knows when I'll get the next tourist sampan coming by.  I had to act fast.

I was in the usual tripod HDR settings, ie, bracket exposure, low ISO, high Had to switch my settings in a quick go and if anyone have been using a Nikon, the switch can be very time consuming.  Luckily, I play plants and zombies, so my fingers and queue of settings to change in my head lined up perfectly.

Handheld, ISO1600, speed of 1/30 against the fast moving huge sampan...and that's why I roll with a f/2.8.  *high nose* 

Hands steady without exerting too much strength...Hold your breath...burst it...  Done.

02 August 2011

Food Street in Tian Jin

Food Street in Tian Jin
Always take the vantage point for sceneries.

Always take the vantage point for sceneries that encompass the scene.  Beyond that, you are free to go about getting down and dirty exploring up close and perhaps get some shots of street photography, documentaion and candid shots.  Feel free to wonder around and enjoy the samples and admire how the alligator and a pigeon are in the same coo and are peacefully awaiting slaughter.

These days, when it comes travel and photography, simply living the experience isn't enough for people like me, or in my case, just me imposing on those around me.  I feel the need to shoot from morning until morning for days on end.  I make it a point to point my camera at every single distraction which can be caught on National Geographic and the Travel and Adventure channel.  It isn't practical and a tremendeous pain and burden on the workflow, especially HDR in my case.  Hence, instead of getting 300 rubbish repetitive shots of an area within 25 minutes...

Get to the highest point.  In this case inside an enclosed mall, the center court.

Blast your camera (bracket) before security notices and bring the beat down on ya.

Take your time to allign and do another round of blasts.

Check the allignment, reallign, and do another 2-3 sets of blasts in that "money shot position/framing" just in case some dumb person just so happens to walk into an open area.

Leave to hunt for souvenirs and food producs because I'm an Asian Asian.  =P

Go home happy.

In this case, I left the camera on a pillar to fire away hence not completely alligned.  I did not attempt at any post processing cropping because I really like how the 2 red and blue sign boards gives a frame to the composition.  Ghosting of pedestrians was intentional to show movement, though I could have done a better job at it.  Taken around late afternoon after lunch with lots of clouds moving in and out.

Thanks to BB for giving me her time, instead of exploring, to put up with my "afternoon" attitude and babysitting me.

Stout out.

04 May 2011

Stoutlager's Stock Photos

Hey guys!  In case you're wondering, my back up hard drives are fried and I'm trying to scavenge what remains of my stock collection from around the world that have been published and unpublished.  After speaking to many photographers with lots of experience, they do say that it gets ridiculous because as time goes on, you have to back up the back ups and store them seperately in different sites.  HAH!  The next thing to really kill my life is the death of my 6 year old ipod...which is then, when I do have to reload all my cds onto a platform before storing it in a new ipod.  *prays*

"Don't!  That's 60GB of my life in there!"

Damn Apple.  The number of ipods, original, shuffles and nanos, iphones and ipads available in this house is impressive, working and non working.

Anyway, get to the point!

I am rather surprised that for only the past 3 days since May 1st, my flickr account has accumulated 4,300 individual photo views, bring it up the total of individual views to touch 40K!  Wow, and all I did was just upload photos and don't interact with anyone on that site!  I primarily started the account so that I am able to share and post photos directly to this blog, since I'm a 'photo-resizing' noob!  Well, since I shoot and upload more than I write, I suppose that that is common.  Speaking of which, at most times, this blog is dead, yet I manage to scrounge up almost 7.5K page views.  It's uncanny, really.  Oh well, I'm not really promoting nor am I marketing any of this, yet I can't find out why would anyone come visit and how do established inviduals and global bodies have found me and contacted me to share my articles.  Really, it's just a handful, you know.

Yet, I am thankful, as I have something to focus on and to look forward to.

I've been scouting around and many of the pros who are into photography and blogging requests that I create my own website to blog and well and move from Flickr to Smugmug for a higher view count.  Bah, switching platforms once I got the hang of one really isn't my forte, but it is inevitable.  Time to have a looksee.


Hennessy Artistry @ Opera, Sunway 2011

 Hennessy Artistry @ Opera, Sunway
Hennessy @ The Opera

I was there...only thanks to a generous invite from Grace Hong.  Thank you!  At first, I wasn't feeling up to it, but then once the show starts pumpin', I suddenly was pumped up and going into trigger-happy mode.

Grace Hong @ the media wall holding a bottle of...

We're Called "Limited Ed"
Limited Ed Hennessy Gold...Or So I've Been Told!

You Ready?
Best to continue reading with a theme song, aye

Let Me Hear It One More Time!
Let Me Hear It One More Time

There were quite a few acts throughout the night, but none as note worthy as a performance by Luciano De Jesus, MC Ivory and Arina.  Here are some shots from their really hot and sizzling show!

Luciano De Jesus, Arina and MC Ivory 
Rocking the house!

Let Me Hear You Say...

Luciano showing you some Samba moves...
As he is from Rio De Janeiro, Brasil!  =)

Ok, give me two years of intensive training
and abolish McD from my diet!
10 packs FTW!

MC Ivory

Did I mentioned a sizzling performance?
MC Ivory, burning it up!!

All the way from from Las Vegas!

"Thank you and party on!"

And the party goes on!

Chronicles of the night.

You got to have some of this!

Gents from the VIP corner.

*Smile Smile*

I don't know.  I don't blog.

Party Rock Is In The House Tonight!
Party Rock Is In The House Tonight!

Chantelle Chuah, Wong Yu Jin, Rachael Tan.

The lower floor is amazing and the setting is one of my favourite places to shoot.   Everything is white with colourful ambient lighting and you know what?  It's mostly empty since it is away from the view of the crowd.  A lot quieter and private for conversation, a working fan and it isn't so HOT! Serves food!  Perfect!

What's Happening in the Floor Below?

MC Ivory with Evonne and Sophia.

Evonne, Luciano De Jesus, MC Ivory and Sophia.

Peace out!

Full Flickr album can be found here!

Stout Out!  \m/

06 April 2011

A Silent Moment Before Prayers

A Moment Before Praying
A Silent Moment Before Prayers

Taken in the Ummayad Mosque in Damascus.  A lone worshipper taking a moment for herself while waiting out the rain.

The Ummayad Mosque is the largest and oldest mosque in the world at the moment.  Its religious significance is placed 4th in the Islamic world.

02 April 2011

Manuel Librodo: March 2011 Kuala Lumpur

March 2011, I was given the honor to be the VA (Volunteer Assistant) for one of the many Manuel Librodo's workshops organised by Dr. Teh Ban Hup.  Before I start off, thank you, guys!  Really!

Technical wise, these images were neither cropped nor alligned, yet.  And from here on out, I thank the models, designers and MUAs by showcasing their art and talent.

The Slightest Crystal Tear
The Slightest Crystal Tear

The costume and design, makeup and modelling were all done by this single mysterious creature, Kharunisia Jazmin...who also happens to be a photographer herself, but she uses a Canon (pfft)  *smirks*

I really like looking at how the light just manage to hit only the face and parts of the hands.  Although technical wise, as a critic I'd whinge that the rest of her skin tone (her body itself) is dark and in a weird skin tone.

Post processing was done with the inspiration by a song called Innocente, by Delerium ft. Leigh Nash.

"You can't see my eyes, and they don't see your's, Hear me when I say, "I don't mind at all.""

Shot with an 85 1.4 at full burst bracketting.

PS:  I'm no longer scared of clowns.  I mean, look at her.  "Nakakainis ka" *Huff a snicker*

Sunrise in the Morning
Sunrise in the Morning

This is Kharunisia Jazmin again.  She's really quick when it comes to changing and reapplying make up on location.  If it were me, I'd need to take a bath or something along those lines.  Props for gunning it, Spartan Stylin'!

Here, I wanted to have a little bit of contrast with the cool and warm colours with a little bit of inspiration after reading books by Joe McNally. To paraphrase, "Skin tone will always look better in warmer tones.)  And on a more scientific aspect, the human skin lacks the colour blue, so if you were to dress in blue, or be put in a blue surrounding, the colour contrast itself will bring out the magnitude of that fine skintone.

Was listening to this CD which I just bought and the image of what I'd like to portray just hit me.  It happened along the lines of a song called Satellite Of Love (Fabio XB Rework Dub), by Bartlett Bros Vs. Mazza, taken from the album In Search Of Sunrise 8: South Africa [Disc 2], compiled by Richard Durand.  Dub voice is the in thing for me ever since I heard Ferry Corsten's opening track from Mixed Live: Spundae, Nothing (93 Returning mix) by Holden and Thompson.

Just by lowering the exposure and changing the colour temperature, you can produce results such as the background looking as though Mr. Sun hasn't awoken yet...but further analysis of the light and shadows hitting Kharu's face suggests that it is indeed an afternoon sun.

I'm Not Abandoned
I'm Not Abandoned

This is Dian Sharlin.  Her name is pronounced as how Diane Arbus wants her 'Diane' to be pronounced.  Cute coincidence, really.  I think she's a TV hostess.  =P

MUA, costume and design are all done by the very talented and meticulous Nigel NJ.

It was rather difficult to light up her shadows as I had to catch sufficient light, that wasn't blocked by others, through a very small and tight opening by the window...without getting in the way of the photographers. Somehow, the lack of full fill light does produce some exceptional modelling shadows...and that's what it's about.

No real inspiration for this one, although other fellow photographers were inspired on how Dian looked like a princess in an abandoned castle.  If that was the case, I'm glad to be able to show off this princess' pride in the title...as the only reason I picked this shot was because I had eye contact and good exposure on the white lace.

Added a little bit of diffused glow to show off an imaged of her possibly being a beautiful ghostly spirit who decided to materialise in front of unsuspecting intrepid adventurers.  Hey, princess in an abandoned castle.  There had better be lots of GLOW!

The Black Widow
The Black Widow

Looking at how Kharunisia is in black and white like the Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus) crawling across the web to deliver that red 'kiss of death'.

I've come to my own understanding that when someone goes through the trouble of creating a fantastic design, it will always look best by being showcased as it is...and to actually make it seem real and as vivd as though you're present in front of the scene or person.  I was amazed in the detailed  and meticulous transformation of Kharunisia that I figured that I'd better "document" it properly.  Don't blow out the whites, keep the details in the shadows in check and show off that red lipstick.  I am showing you what I saw...if I weren't squinting from the harsh afternoon sun.

More to come, stay tuned.

Stout out...or rather back to homework and studying.

20 March 2011


One of the most beautiful countries in the world to me.  I am deeply interested in the culture, nature, language, people, music, fashion, food, technological, industrial and commercial products, and history of of all things Japanese.  The 8.9 earthquake hit off the coast of Japan on Friday, March 11th, 2011, at 2:46:23 pm local time.

Japan is one of the highest media connected and culturally integrated societies in the world.  Much of the devastation, victims and first person's encounters are being flooded onto the internet and covering the majority of the media channels across the world.  I, for one, am currently deeply engrossed by what has happened and cannot bear to stay away from the news.

Here is NHK's livestream in english.  The encounters that were related by the ground zero victims are truly heartwrenching.  I am completely amazed with respect by the victims' stoic and dignified manner  despite the complete wipe out of everything that they hold dear.  There have been no reports of looting so far.  The patience and understanding of the Japanese during this troubled time has far surpassed the global standard of what it means to be civil, and I am sincerely amazed.

News reports that the slew of aftershocks are still going on.  However, the current count on the countires and charity organisations flooding relief aids into Japan doubles that that was recieved during the the Great Hanshin earthquake (Kobe earthquake) in 1995.

On a more personal note, I am truly glad that my friends and family, and their friends and families are safe.  Just being able to know this fact is a gift for the rest of us who feel powerless.  The only way that I want to help right now would be to actually fly to Japan and photograph...everything.  It may sound selfish for my own personal gain, but I do sincerely feel that being able to convey what I see to the outside world will be important to what I want to do with my life. 

If someone out there really cares, I'd suggest donating directly to the Japanese Red Cross.  Currently, the victims and survivors are in dire need of food, clean water and warm blankets.  As Japan and the rest of the world struggles with the relief effort, recovery is going to take a while.  As always, my family and I have been supporting the Japanese economy from our side of the world.

To all my friends and peers around the world who are reading this, do keep in touch.
I will be visitng your country soon.  I'll bring my camera.  =)

Ganbatte, Nihon!

17 February 2011

Sun & Moon

Day and Knight
Sun & Moon

In Peru, there are many animals that have been worshipped and depicted in every turn of a page as traditions since ancient times.  The three key animals that come to mind would be the llama, condor and the jaguar.  Depictions of these are usual symbolic and the idols, whether majestic or comical, are seen at every corner of the slightest human civilisation here.

Wooden carvings are the more solid local Peruvian crafts that, I would honestly say, is justified in terms of quality and the best bang-per-buck to take home.  After a disappointing first wash of the tourist destination souvenir t-shirts,  I'd suggest never buy cloths from South America unless it is from a well-known designer ie, Hard Rock Cafe!  *hint nudge hint* or extremely delicious quality leather from the leather factories in Argentina.

I took this shot inside of a very tiny arts and crafts shop as I am purchasing these two items.  I had been hunting for the best price for this specific design since the night before and I was in glee as a souvenir store right smack in the center of town gave the best 'on-tag' price.

I was browsing through my favourite artists and I read that this song at the moment is one of the most anticipated tracks early this year.  It is because that I am drawn by the description, it'd be unwise if I didn't just post the official youtube  video and quote the entire text  As I was listening to this, I figured that this is the perfect inspiration for this shot.

Yes, I will buy Above & Beyond's "Group Therapy", as per usual.  Richard Bedford's songwriting and vocals for Above & Beyond is stuff of legends and what immortality is made of.

Sun & Moon

It's raining, it's pouring,
A black sky is falling,
It's cold tonight.
You gave me your answer,
Goodbye, now I'm all on my own tonight.

And when the big wheel starts to spin,
You can never know who we are,
If you don't play you'll never win.

We were in heaven, you and I,
When I lay with you and close my eyes,
Our fingers touch the sky.

I'm sorry, baby,
You were the sun & moon to me,
I'll never get over you, you'll never get over me.

""Sun & Moon" is the first single taken from Above & Beyond's forthcoming artist album "Group Therapy" for full details see http://anjunabeats.com/above-and-beyo...

Inspired by a song that combines bittersweet lyrics with uplifting electronic melodies, the video for Above & Beyond's 'Sun & Moon' focuses on the pain and release of a couple's break-up; showing that relationships live on forever in the memory.

With the video drawing its aesthetic cues from the legendary Northern Soul era, the lead male is seen re-living the relationship and the final breakdown through a series of emotive flash back scenes and some lonesome, drink and music fuelled longing.

Just as 'Sun & Moon' finds its release through its emphatic, riff-based breakdown, the lead recognises the song and finds his own peace of mind the only way he knows - by dancing. Through a set of skilfully twisted and visually arresting dance moves straight out of the Northern soul era - where sad love songs like 'Sun & Moon' fuelled a generation of late night dancers lost in lyrics.  In doing so, he finds his freedom... in the moment.

Receiving BBC Radio 1 support from Pete Tong, Scott Mills and Cosmic Gate (Essential Mix), Above & Beyond's 'Sun & Moon' (feat. Richard Bedford) is out on 21st March."


Cap Goh Meh is over, so back to work!
Stout Out!

15 February 2011

Tunupa Love Birds

Love Birds
Tunupa Love Birds

A quaint yet well maintained and exquisite restaurant, the Tunupa Restaurante, in Cusco, Peru.  Here, you may find the andean delicacies, alpaca (cross between a lamb, a deer and a camel) shashimi and BBQ cuy (guinea pig)...Buffet stylin'!  Nyam nyam!

Upon arrival and after sieving through the very punctual touristy souvenir pushers, you will be greeted by a pair of love birds that, for me, were busy munching on some local purple corn.  In this shot, it was after dinner time and dusk was fast approaching.  As the evening breeze picks up speed and gets more chilly, I had the advantage of shooting this lovely pair huddling together without a tourist crowd around them.

The front side of the building is laced with arcs of red roses creeping just above the very posh souvenir shops, where the sales people are a little bit more cultivated.  And, as per usual, here is today's inspiration.  A lovely song from back in 2008!  =)

Burning from the inside, by Tenishia, featuring Tiff Lacey.

"Crushing down like water,
It's when you say my name,
Then I realise,
I'm in love again,

Passion like no other,
And life won't feel the same,
You can see in my eyes,
I'm in love again."

Happy Valentine's day!
Stout Out!

13 February 2011

Mount Nebo, Jordan

Har Nevo, Hebrew for Mount Nebo, Jordan.

Har Nevo
The Brazen Serpent

This pinacle is known to be a very sacred place for the Christians and the Jewish, for this is where the Hebrew prophet, Moses, stood and showed his people the promise land, Jerusalem.

The Brazen Serpent was created by an Italian artist, Giovanni Fantoni, and is a symbolic representation of Moses turning his staff into a bronze serpent in the wilderness( 21:4-9).  The serpentine figure is dicpicted to be coiling around Jesus crucified on a cross (John 3:14).

27KM in the direction in front of the Brazen Serpent is Jericho.  The Mountain of Olives in Jerusalem would be west of Jericho, at 46KM from the Brazen Serpent.  On a clear day much better than this, it is said that a clear view of the promise land could be seen from this vantage point.