Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What's in a good photo?

I found this picture which I took with my HP iPAQ few years back - 

Lonely night

This photo was taken not with the usual feel of joy and anticipation as I pressed the shutter (the 'Enter' key, in this case with the iPAQ), but with anxiety and even fear as I made this shot from the wheelchair. I was waiting outside the Echocardiography Room in the hospital one late night, while the radiographers were making the preparations.  

What followed the days after were more radiography sessions, needles, medications, surgery, ICU, physiotherapy sessions, etc.  

This photo reminds me of how much this has changed my life - my job, my family, my lifestyle, even my weight (I lost 10kg ever since!) and my philosophy towards life and almost everything else (except my love for photography).   

This picture may be just another badly composed photo to everyone else, what's more it was shot with a low-res, low-tech phone camera; but it has such great emotional impact on me, and I could really 'feel it' every time I look at it.  

So, I think this is one bloody good take :)

(I hope you like it too!)

Friday, November 9, 2012

2 Sides

Two sides

Who has divided the patio, the lines of trees or the sunlight?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Edit or not?

I get asked very often, "you edit your photos!?"

Abuden?  You believe your favorite CDs were recorded straight to disk, no masters, no mixing and editing? Your bowl of noodles were just boiled with water and flour? And you think your favorite politicians must be talking straight from their mouths without going through their brains!  Oh... that last one may be true ;-/

Trees in the sky

Yes I edit my photos, almost everyone of them, from minor cropping and contrast, white balance adjustments to 'major makeover', e.g. adding filters, touching up the images, etc.


There's no such thing as "presenting the photos as they are"; I choose to retain control of processing my photos, rather than turn processing over to someone else - a lab (for films) or the camera's built-in software.  

Balloon Fiesta 2012 

The films' characteristics, the chemicals used and even the printer's capabilities produce different print qualities.  Same goes to the software, lenses and mechanical differences in digital cameras.  The 'untouched' pictures will only reflect the camera's characters, rather than the photographer's creativity to tell the story he wants to tell.  


Options to make the photos in the darkroom (develop the films, scan the films, print the photos on the enlarger) or on the computer (edit the photos with software) make photos look better, and you are
definitely missing 50% of fun in photography if you are a 'straight shooter'!


With editing, the limitations of a camera can be pushed even further; the creativity of the photographer is not capped by the technologies, no matter how advanced or simple the equipment used, but rather benefited from them. 

shooting spree 

For this reason, I love seeing someone enjoying a simple plastic camera as much as a Leica :)

p/s.  How do the pros make awesome photos with simple cameras, with some editing thrown in? Check this out - 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Shooting Strangers

It's like people watching, just with a camera to record the moment.  Walking around with a camera, even a phone camera, can bring surprises!

Like father like son

Some people are very good at this, like some street photographers, who are able to shoot at a decisive, witty or poignant moment to capture that 'precise shot' to tell a story.


I, for one, am camera-shy - behind the lens when shooting strangers.  I guess it takes that 'hunter instinct' to become a street photographer, that you are not shy (or feeling uneasy) of simply just jump infront of the intended subject, shoot and walk-away cooly YET (praying hard that) the subject would not be offended and got angry and started bashing me with an umbrella or something...

Donkey in the street

I kept my distance, and chose to 'shoot safe' at a distance or at a subject I was quite sure would not attack me!

Bike Show

But I'm getting a little bored lately and started thinking I may want to get a little more adventurous and try out real street photography ;)

Any street photographers out there to give me some pointers? 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fun with Downgrading

It doesn’t make sense to still have fun after downgrading your gear, especially in photography?  On the contrary, while I dream of Hasselblad and Leica and Nikon D4 everyday, I actually found some good fun downgrading my lenses to some cheapo plastics!  And I’m talking about a budget starting from RM70 (US$22) vs. RM20,000 (US$6,200)!

Maha Vihara(
Nikon D100 mounted with Holga 60mm


I’ve decided to proceed with this more achievable project first, while figuring of ways to fund my other  (Hasselblad and Leica and Nikon D4) projects…  I ditched the Sigma zoom from my ever-faithful Nikon D100, and mounted a Holga lens I bought online ( for about US$20, and I instantly start shooting highly saturated colors and heavily vignetted pictures, and there’s no need of any filters!


 Nikon D100 mounted with Holga Fisheye

You may call this a ‘hybrid’ camera – digital camera with a analog lens – or anything you want, but the pictures are just amazing.   Soft-focused, low-res look, uneven light distribution, and all the no-no of a modern DSLR qualities are exactly what you are getting out of this lens J


But for some strange reasons, it simply looks nice and cool. 

View from the top

 Nikon D100 mounted with Holga Fisheye

While the Leica-Hasselblad-D4 Project is still very much up there, I’ve no regret downgrading.  I’ve even started to take a bigger interest in analog/film photography.  More on this later ;-)

Sky view
Nikon D100 mounted with Holga 60mm

Nikon D100 with my new Holga lens
My Nikon mounted with the Holga 60mm (Shot using an iPad!)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Size Matters

I must have missed out some great news of some massive discounts on cameras lately (or some give-away campaigns by Nikon/Canon/etc); and I’m not talking about some smallish point-and-shoots, I’m talking about BIG and MEAN DSLR with the longest lens attached to it!  

Ego Shooter

Just when I realized how good an iPhone is in shooting pictures, I found almost everybody's neck on the street, at the parks or in the malls is hanging a camera with a protruding long lens, proudly screaming its brand name (and sometimes complete with the model) all over the neck strap and camera bag.  

Don't get me wrong... I'm really happy to see more people is into photography.  This can only bring good things to happen - newer cameras with more advanced features and perhaps cheaper prices to come!  My only 'grieve' is some of them who lack of some basic etiquette (or manners) when their weapons are drawn.

Like this cheerleader who brings his camera along while performing...

See the cheerleader with a camera?

And he thinks he's the reason why all of us were there for.

A cheerleader can be ugly if he carries a camera along!

Nevertheless, being not tall enough is one of the disadvantages :-/   I'd end up with only shadows in front of me!

Vantange Point

Even worse when someone starts taking video using his DSLR, parking himself in front of you with his arms stretched high in the air and stay put forever (and pretend he's Invisible Man).

CBN Sports Day 2012

I was amused when I was at the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta held at Putrajaya in March, to find that access to the balloon launch site during the photo shoot session was granted merely based on the size of the camera one carried!!  

My daughter was denied entry simply because she was holding a point-and-shoot, while they didn't even blink as long as one's holding a 'big camera'  :( But some of my favorite shots were taken using my pocket Lomo LC-W film camera!

Balloon Fiesta 2012

Balloon fiesta 2012

There will be no end to this, and it only gets worst judging from the growing numbers of this "Big (cameras) and Mean (people)" phenomenon... No, this does not hinder my fun in photography, I'm still very much enjoying my hobby and trying my best to co-exist with the rest of the (shutter) bugs :)

Meseu de Macau. 澳门博物馆

Friday, June 29, 2012

iPhone & Photography

Sunrise by horsoon
Sunrise, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

Photography has come a long way since my first encounter with a Kodak Instamatic my father was using when I was a kid.  Later I grew up to my first SLR and then my trusted DSLR 10 years ago.  The 10-year old Nikon D100 is an excellent camera (except the smaller LCD screen's a little strain to my eyes lately as I need reading glasses now) even up to date.  I have even managed to buy a brand new original battery grip from eBay not too long ago.  

I was always tempted by the megapixels, super-duper sensor, and not to mention the glorious giant LCD screen with the newer models, but as age progresses, so does the financial responsibilities... thus this remains a 'plan', and it will probably stay at this status for a little while ;)

Lakeside, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

I can't say I'm complaining because I'm actually quite happy to find an alternative with my iPhone! Check out all these pictures in this post which were all shot with an iPhone 4.

Explorion, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

There's even a new term coined for it: iPhoneography.  With the numerous powerful (and relatively cheap) editing apps available, these photos were edited on-the-fly either on the iPhone or iPad.

Solitaire, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

I have a blogger friend, YTSL, who is an avid trekker based in Hong Kong.  She has been a regular trekker to almost every 'trekkable' trails in HK, and that made me decided to try out a trekking trail to a reservoir not too far from my home recently.  I brought only the iPhone and it did not disappoint me at all :)

Woke up to a good morning!
Woke up to a good morning, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

No regret waking up early on a weekend and taking the iPhone along!

Trekking trail
Trekking trail, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

Of cause there are stuff the iPhone cannot do as good as the D100, but with the light weight, convenience, powerful editing apps, and fairly good picture quality (and BIG screen!), I'm into iPhoneography ;)

SkyWatch Friday

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Lomo Explore

Morning glory by horsoon
Morning glory, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.
This was shot with my Nikon FE, mounted with a Holga 60mm DSLR adaptor. This plastic lens works fine on my D100 DSLR in manual mode, but the fixed aperture somehow made it impossible on the FE; it's total darkness even under this very sunny bright morning.

I used it like a pinhole camera instead and it turns out magically :)

T in the pool
'T in the pool', a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

Every shot is a surprise...

Benches in the park

This is fun! And it's beyond any digital filters :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Guardian Lion

Guardian Lion by horsoon
Guardian Lion, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.
There's a baby lion on her foot... do u see that?

SkyWatch Friday

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The moon, sun and street light.

Moon & light by horsoon
Moon & light, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

Switch on the streetlight, the moon and the evening sun together, and you get this beautiful cloud!

Trapped in the evening traffic can be an enjoyable moment too, sometimes :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Speed of light

Lighted bike by horsoon
Lighted bike, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

Beautiful streak of lights in an otherwise boring dark street.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Silent Stage

Hainan by horsoon
Hainan, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

A story being told in silence.

Do you remember the school wall in the Peanuts comics?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

In the village

In the village by horsoon
In the village, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

Simple life... Looks tempting to me :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Trip to SG by horsoon
Trip to SG, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.
Square Roofs found in a temple.

*My first roll of film using the Lomo LC-W.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


KLCC by horsoon
KLCC, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

Looking up at the (over exposed, pun intended) icon of KL :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sun Rise

Qing Ming 2012 by horsoon
Qing Ming
2012, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

Visit to the graves of our ancestors during Qing Ming.

Pic taken with iPhone.

SkyWatch Friday

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Too close for comfort

Balloon Fiesta 2012 by horsoon
Balloon Fiesta 2012, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

The pilot kept his cool and turned this into a good shot for me :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rise to the balloons!

Balloon Fiesta 2012 by horsoon
Balloon Fiesta 2012, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

Launching of the balloons at the break of the day.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Rain by horsoon
Rain, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

The rain made it into a mystical journey.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Enter the dragon

Enter the dragon by horsoon
Enter the dragon, a photo by horsoon on Flickr.

There were no dragon slayers but many shooters (with their cameras)!