p pol The Adventures of Carboman: May 2009

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Tamron Photography Workshop Group Photo

The big participation in the recent KL edition of the Tamron photography Workshop held at The Gallery Central Market. Photo taken with a wide angle lens of course. Spot me!


Monday, May 04, 2009

I'm On SmugMug

I’ve been a user of Flickr, Yahoo Photos, Photobucket and Facebook photo albums for awhile. Yahoo Photos have since been absorbed into Flickr, while I found Photobucket rather slow and I wasn’t taken by it. Facebook while excellent for mass “display”, auto-compress the images down to smaller size. That’s understandable since Facebook is probably the largest social networking site out there and storage and speed are going to be an issue if no compression are performed. Then there was Picasa but somehow I never checked it out. All the above are viable options for the casual photographer but when I went down the “dark side” of photography, there was really no going back – I needed more. Disk space was being gobbled up quicker than you munching on your favourite keropok, what with each image averaging 3MB.

I wanted a reliable photo hosting site that offers their customers great flexibility, scalability, ease of use and fast. Having a nice interface would be great too as it enhances the viewers experience. I considered going with the subscription-based Flickr account for awhile, because of its huge community. But one of the podcasts out there highly recommended SmugMug. To cut to the chase, I was hooked. It certainly has to be the best looking site out there and they’ve plug-ins to many of the popular photo editing software in the market which allows you to upload directly (or Export) from say Photoshop or Aperture. No such software? Then use their Drag and Drop Uploader. Best of all, even the basic account doesn’t limit you to storage space. They accept and display your photos as you want them to in various sizes, allow your “fans” to download their favourite shots, provide a Control Panel to monitor your traffic and other stats, ability to control your albums’ privacy and more. Once you decide to take the next step and upgrade your site to a Pro account, a humongous level of customization is made available such as eCommerce, inserting your own banner among other neat features.

Lest you think the basic account is expensive, let me say that I paid less than RM140 per year, after using a discount voucher. If you’re a shooter like me and are also looking to having a great presentation that does justice to your photos, I highly recommend SmugMug with no hesitation to you.

You can also enjoy the savings I did by entering my email (runcarbomanrun@gmail.com) and coupon code (ReWTeg2ry0Zak) in the “Referred by” field on the signup page. Just entering these 2 details will get you USD5 off your subscription.

Oh yeah, please visit my Galleries at http://jamiepang.smugmug.com and leave your comments and votes there. If you’re a shooter, you’ll be interested to know the EXIF data of each shot – you can do that by moving your cursor over the image and select “Photo Info”. Then you’ll be able to tell me where I went wrong.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Tamron’s Lifestyle and Snap Shot Photography Workshop

And so I attended my first ever photography workshop. When most, if not all, the ones out there charge hundreds of Ringgit, Tamron’s Lifestyle and Snap Shot (sic) Photography Workshop held last Sunday the 26th at the Central Market’s Galleria set me back just RM20, with breakfast and lunch provided. And if I’m a user of Tamron’s lenses, it would have been free!

For such a great deal, I ventured into the part of the city that I don’t usually go – not only parking is very expensive, the area in general reminds one of a flea market and very chaotic. All of which makes the area a great shooting scene. I’m not generalizing here but with 80% of the people hanging out in this part of town one has to exercise some caution and be alert. I spotted a patrol car parked by the roadside and with a hundred shooters clad in black Tamron tees descending down on block, we had safety in numbers. I hope I didn’t come across as depicting that area as being crime infested!

The talk started with an introduction to Tamron’s range of APS and full-frame lenses before the mike was passed on to Mr Foo Kok Kin. I can’t admit that I’m familiar with the name but his face was familiar to me. Over 60 but with an amazing eye – obviously since he mentioned he’d been shooting when he was 12! – for story telling through the lens, he came across immediately as a humble person. Calling us “friends”, this sifu from Ipoh said that he hopes to learn as much from us as we from him. From the sharing of his shots, I can safely say that his strongest and most impactful shots are streets followed by landscape and portraits. After being exposed to such inspiring personality and bagful of advice to always make a photo generate a “mood” and tell a story, we couldn’t wait to head out and start shooting. To incentivize the participants, the top 3 shots selected will win the shooters prizes. There were no particular theme. Mr Foo said to just go out and shoot. ‘Think and open your eyes,’ he said. I was glad I carried the lenses that do best for street – the zoom and wide angle.

The sun was bearing down and I was glad to have brought my cap out. I brought back 125 shots in 90 minutes and the one I submitted was the one below. I waited for 10 minutes before getting it done. Obviously I didn’t have a telepathic link with the bird. Back at the Gallery, all shots were projected for critique and Mr Foo commented that my compo was good but since he had to exercise stricter judging, my shot didn’t have the impact compared to many which were really good. I agree. I also wasn't too impressed with the IQ of the shot.

I came away with a greater sense of understanding in the criteria for “making the shot”. I’m glad to plucked up courage to approach street vendors for permission to shoot. The reception I got ranged from enthusiasm to nonchalance.

Here’s my submission. I wanted to capture the beautiful clouds and yet get the buildings in. So using the UWA, I took about 10 shots while waiting for the bird or birds to fly by. I wanted the buildings to frame their flight. Dang birds – I waited under the hot sun sharing up just waiting, waiting… Some flew too high to make an impact on the shot. But then photography also teaches patience doesn’t it? The winning shot was achieved after 30 minutes of waiting, so my 10 paled in comparison.

For more of the street shots, visit my online gallery.

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