Category archives: Photography

Charlist & Lorita: Bidayuh-Iban Love Story

Tabi basa & greetings everyone! Today I’d like to share about the recent work that I have done at Serian – a wedding reception between Charlist & Lorita, a Bidayuh from Kpg Pichin and an Iban (Remun, to be exact) from Kpg Semukoi respectively.

There is a YouTube video version of the event, which you can watch here. Do consider to Subscribe to my YouTube channel.

They were in a relationship for 15 years before actually tying the knot. Their official wedding took place on 16th Aug 2022 and as per locals custom, the wedding reception can be done at a later date. This gives more flexibility in terms of their planning and also allows family members and friends to arrange their plan in order to attend their wedding.

BIDAYUH SERIAN

Charlist is a Pichin lad, where his mother is from Kpg Pichin and his late father from Kpg Tebakang Dayak. For us at Serian, it is easy to know whether you are from which village because each village has their own identical dialects. Piching has their own unique “tan neh” filler words. In Bidayuh Serian, the word “iban” refers to “isan” in Iban language, which refers to the relationship between parents of married couples. Meanwhile, “tuwa” is how the couple refers to their parents in law. This is not to be confused with “tuak” (rice wine).

The funny thing is in Bidayuh Biatah / SIburan, the same “tuwa” words refers to your uncle / aunty that is younger than your parents. This is just some of the examples of how complex Bidayuh language is.

IBAN REMUN

For those who didn’t know, Iban is the biggest ethnic group at Sarawak, followed by Bidayuh. Both are Dayaks, therefore both celebrates Gawai and there are various similarities. Mixed-marriage between Iban and Bidayuh is also common.

Being the biggest ethnic group in Sarawak, Iban is bound to have dialect variation due to geographical distance as Iban people progresses through time. Lorita is from Iban Remun’s tribe. Iban Remun language is different from standard Iban language. Their dialect is different from other Iban speakers from other parts of Sarawak, including Betong, Simanggang (Sri Aman), Sarikei, Rajang etc. Remun Ibans reside around Serian, Simunjan and Balai Ringin.

If you look up samples of Iban Remun in Google, the two most popular example are as follows:

“Entai ku ngilau” (Iban Remun) – “Nadai ku meda” (Standard Iban) – “I cannot see”
“Entauk ku badak” (Iban Remun) – “Enda ku nemu” (Standard Iban) – “I don’t know”

Other common example of Iban Remun words

These unique dialect is something that every Iban Remun needs to protect, lest it will be lost with time due to various reasons, which is something that Serian Iban Remun Association (SIRA) is fighting to prevent from happening.

CHARLIST & LORITA WEDDING RECEPTION

Back to Charlist, the wedding reception is always a moment that is being awaited for, especially when it comes to a friend that have known for so long yet haven’t settled down with his / her life’s partner. For Charlist & Lorita, it is a special night to celebrate their love along with their family and friends. 

The event started at 6.30pm at Roxy Hotel, Serian. Both bride & groom walked in with accompaniment from dancers in full costume representing their respective ethnics. After that, there was a bit of religious segment of the night, where Pastor Lawrance gave a sharing from the Word of God to both Charlist & Lorita. 

After blessing was done, cake-cutting ceremony follows. That’s where Charlist & Lorita cut the cake together, as a symbolic of undertaking the task in life together, and share the fruit of their labours with both family. As correctly mentioned by Mr Jantai, Lorita’s father, the union is not only between Lorita & Charlist but the union between both families. He himself has a new son, i.e. Charlist.

Once the cake-cutting ceremony is done, a new symbolic ceremony took place.

ADAT PERNIKAHAN BUNGAI PINANG

The custom called “Adat Pernikahan Bungai Pinang” is an Iban Remun’s traditional customs and I haven’t witnessed it being done elsewhere apart from Remun areas. It is a unique custom where representatives from each family goes to the front to the ceremony master. 

But before that, a tajau is prepared along with the other traditional items, including a Pua Kumbu (Iban’s ceremonial textile) & sarong on top of brass tray (talam loyang) or sometimes silver or gold. Inside that tajau are a bunch of “ai bisa” (alcoholic beverages), where home-made tuak also can be used though in this case their opt for commercialised drinks as long as it meets the purpose / objective of the tradition.

One person from groom side will take first, followed by a rep from bride’s side.

Whichever bottles they have obtained, it will be shared among the representatives. Once done, the bottle from the bride’s side will be opened and shared. Since this is a mixed wedding, Bidayuh cheers “Tara Tara Tara” was used.

After the “Bungai Pinang” ceremony, Mr Jantai officiated the singing session with “Bekikis Bulu Betis”, a legendary song sung by Andrewson Ngalai, a renowned Sarawakian singer from Iban group. The group at the back dance enthusiastically to the song, with chanting of “Indi, Duweh, Taruh” breaking the ice between the guests.

Wonderful Tonight Slow Dance Session

After “Bekikis Bulu Betis”, it was the time for first dance, slow dance between Charlist & Lorita, though other couples are most welcomed to join. The song for this slow dance is “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, and sung by yours truly, Tukang Rantek.

After that, it was free & easy. There were a lot of dances happening around the hall, cheers Tara Tara Tara heard from the dancing guests. Charlist & Lorita finds it difficult to have a rest because there will be excited guests from family and friends group who will come to congratulate them, givings gifts to them and most importantly, group photo with the bride & groom.

Dancefloor that never rests.

The event ends officially at 11pm, but after-party at Kpg Semukoi picked up where the official dinner left off. DJ’ed by Charlists cousins, Benen & Atai & his uncle, Mr Sangkitang, the afterparty goes on until 4am in the morning.

EPILOGUE

One thing that I like about this kind of event is that I am able to catch up with long, lost friends such as Dolin, Po-et, etc, those whom I don’t get to see on day-to-day basis due to life’s path. It is good to see childhood friends such as Boyong & Achik, Buntek, Jantul, Teten etc have a good family of their own, a path which Charlist & Lorita soon will follow suit.

Looking at them reminds me to the good old days, where life’s biggest challenge was UPSR, an exam which our late headmaster, Guru Besar Patrick Dabot from Kpg Tebakang Dayak wants us to excel in.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson (Del)
WhatsApp: +60148677585 for more info / enquiries.
Follow me on Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn: claudiusweson.

Note:
1. Claudius is a freelance photographer based in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia.
2. “Tukang Rantek” means “photographer” in Bidayuh Serian language.

EVENT PHOTO GALLERY

Eva’s Final Journey

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Tabi basa & greetings everyone! Today I’d like to share the pictures captured during the funeral of Eva, who passed away on 13 Sep 2022. The whole procession took place at Kampung Pichin, a Dayak Bidayuh village located at Serian division of Sarawak, situated around 1.5 hours journey from Kuching.

The late Eva was only 16 years old when she passed away, leaving her parents and family devastated, especially her beloved mother.

The whole ceremony was done in accordance to Catholic faith and a mix of Bidayuh Piching tradition. Though she passed away on 13th, she was not buried immediately to give time for relatives from afar to come and gave their final respect.

On the morning of 15th, whilst preparation were being made and the villagers does the customary “gotong-royong” (working together), friends, family and relatives, including Eva’s classmate gave their last respect at the house.

Around 10am, the prayer leader signals to the crowd that the prayers are about to begin before transporting her casket to Holy Trinity Church of Kpg Pichin. There was a short procession from her house to the church, where those who are able joined the procession walk to church.

There, the Funeral Mass were done, and the celebrant was Brother Christian Levi, another Pichin young man too. He shared that death comes like a thief. It is certain, but no one knows how, when and where. All we can do is to prepare our best.

Once the mass is ended, there is another final sign of respect to the departed. It is a heartbreaking sight indeed, to see such a life departs from such a young person, but those who believe in Christ shall not perish, but live an everlasting life with Him.

After it is done, there were another convoy to the cemetary, Eva’s final resting place.

The group in charge was from Binyok Zone, where they act as the undertaker, dug her grave and buried her once the prayers are finished.

Once the casket was lowered down, Brother Christian made a sign of the cross using her cross to mark the completion of the prayer. His also shared words of assurance for the living to continue on with life, and to glorify God’s name.

This reminds me to a sharing by an accomplished doctor, where it is easier for people with religion to cope with death, because religion gave them strength, especially those surrounded by brothers and sisters of the same faith. He does not have any religion back then, but he shows a keen interest in learning more about Christianity. May God bless him wherever he is now.

As for the procession, once the burial is complete, flowers and candles are planted there, the last group photo with Eva was done, including with her family and classmates. May God bless Eva’s departed soul and grant strength to her family. Amen.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson (Del)
Follow me on Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn: claudiusweson.

Note:
1. Claudius is a freelance photographer based in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia.
2. “Tukang Rantek” means “photographer” in Bidayuh Serian language.

Let’s Talk About Black & White

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Leica M Monochrom, Summilux 35mm FLE

Tabi basa & greetings everyone! Today, I would like to share about black and white photography. It is a subset of monochrome photography, where it is a branch of photography that uses single hue of colour, in this case, shades of neutral gray of varying tones. From its various tones, it represents the form and structure of the images captured by the B&W photographer.

In the early days of photography, B&W is the main medium of expression. You can see in the early works of Magnum photography legend, Henri-Cartier Bresson, it is captured in B&W.

By eliminating colour in your images, you basically removes distraction from your image. This enables us to focus on the subject, the textures, shapes, patterns and overall composition. For me, I also can convey emotion & expression of my subject through black and white photography.

Unlike colour photography, when you are shooting in B&W, you focus more on contrast, shape & form because these elements enable your picture to tell story better. A low contrast image will not be as flattering as a high contrast image because you can’t separate it – it seems to be blending in with the background.

However, in my area, Sarawak, black and white photographs are often associated with death, sadness & sorrow. That’s why, there are not many B&W photographers are my area. Most of the peoples shoot in colour, and the preference is to make the colour vivid. In that way, it is more classy.

I deviated away from this school of thought and shot B&W during my early days. I even bought Leica M Monochrom (M9) and It is one fine camera. I used it wherever I go. I stopped shooting weddings for a while because I want to focus more on my B&W art. However, the dilemma came, where I want to focus more on colour or B&W because both equally is a good way. Except colour makes money in Sarawak. B&W is not. Then I concentrate on doing colour images for my clients.

Street photography was put into a stop for a while.

iPhone 6 Plus
Leica M Monochrom, Noctilux 50mm

However, as time goes by, 2022 might be the year I am actively doing B&W again. For me, it is not about gear. It is about the way I see the final image. There are some image that seems to be better in B&W than in colour and vice versa. To be balanced, I should shoot in colour, then convert it to B&W using Silver Efex. That way, I can still strike a balance between what I want to do and what actually makes money.

Leica M Monochrom, Summilux 35mm FLE

Hopefully this story gave a little bit of insight to all of you. As mentioned earlier, I will only post my stuff in my blog, not in social media anymore. Stay tuned for more. Thank you for the support and have a great week ahead!

Take care.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson
Follow me on Twitter & LinkedIn: claudiusweson.

Note:
1. Claudius is a freelance photographer based in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia.
2. “Tukang Rantek” means “photographer” in Bidayuh Serian language.

Tanen Tukang RantekMotion Blur In Photographyand a thing or two about it.

Tabi basa everyone! Today’s topic would be on the recent viral photographer that sparked a lot of discussion in local photographer community. However, it is impossible to not share bits of the information about the picture. To avoid triggering anyone, I won’t share the name of that particular photographer. What I want to emphasis here is the learnings.

What Happened?

On 19 June 2022, there was a photographer posted an artwork he called Motion Blur Photography in Malaysian Photographers Community (Official) Facebook Page. There was a lot of people commented on his artwork, among it includes people claiming his artwork induces vertigo, dizziness instead of breaking the rule.

The viral motion blur photography, inviting a lot of criticism.

All of photographers in MPC collectively agree that he was actually trying to imitate Olga Karlovac’s artwork as shown below. But her artwork is totally a different league. You can see Olga’s work in this snapshot below from her Instagram. It is something that we call Impressionist, with motion blur as its main creative method.

Olga Karlovac’s Impressionist Artwork

What’s The Issue Then?

The issue was with his attitude when he responds to the people who comments. He is not open to feedbacks. Not all feedbacks are being accepted openly by him, especially by those who said that his artwork needs more practice and compositioning in framing.

Some senior even commented that there were not rules broken because the one who posted it didn’t even know the rule though he claim that he is breaking the rules.

A lot of people can tell that he is struggling, but he fails to recognise that he needs a lot of work. Instead, he told others that photography is subjective. It is as wide as the ocean. But one senior has a good comeback to that. Because it is as wide as the ocean, a lot of people are drifting away.

How Does He Should Respond?

For me, when someone give honest feedbacks about my artwork, I will thank them, especially when they are my seniors or someone that I admire in photography. I admit that I have a long way to improve in photography. It is also one way for us to be

Let’s Talk About Motion Blur In Photography

In photography, motion blur is considered purposeful blurring of an object in motion in a photo to convey a story. It is widely accepted as a great way to capture movement in a photography.

It can be seen in street photography (a person running in the street), sports photography (player running across the field) or nature photography (bird in motion).

Here are the samples that I have taken:

Aseania Langkawi Dancers In Action. It actually an impressive fire show. But for this post, I only show the motion blur part. Look at the trails of flaming particles.

Offshore Running Man

How To Create Motion Blur?

For this, you will need to fully understand your gears. I don’t care what you are using because fundamentally, it is the same.

Let’s talk about the three main ways to create motion blur, i.e. via:

  1. Aperture Control – Amount of light entering the sensor (from 100% to 2%) – the smaller the aperture size, the less light will hit the sensor, then you can create motion. I usually will play with aperture smaller than f/5.6.
  2. Shutter Speed Control – Sensor’s duration of exposure to light. Use slower shutter speed. Less than 1/120.
  3. ISO Control – Sensitivity to light (e.g. from 100% (base ISO) to 40,000%). Use lower ISO numbers. Less sensitive = better motion blur.

There will be some school of thought that will tell you about intentional camera movement as well, such as spinning the camera, use zoom lens, use tele lens etc. Well, to each their own.

You can also create motion blur in photoshop if you wish to do so. It is possible.

THE GOLDEN RULE of motion blur

Firstly, master the rule of motion blur: anything that moves while the shutter is open will blur.

That’s all that you need to know. But there is a catch.

DANGERS IN MOTION BLUR

If you notice what I have written above, the motion blur should be purposeful. It is not really easy to create a purposeful motion blur, although in theory, it is very easy to create a motion blur. One has to be careful with what they are doing, and when they are doing motion blur. For me, the rule of thumb is to ensure the face of the subject is in focus. Other part of the body can be made blurry. Do refer to the offshore running man picture above.

FINAL WORD

However, whatever I have written here is not the absolute rule. There are literally tonnes of ways to create motion blur, with countless variation that you can pick from the sky. You can also create from the  It basically means that you and I appreciate different things in photography. Feel free to create your own version of motion blur. You can do it. Most importantly, have fun.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson
Follow me on Twitter & LinkedIn: claudiusweson.

Note:
1. Claudius is a freelance photographer based in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia.
2. “Tukang Rantek” means “photographer” in Bidayuh Serian language.

Tukang Rantek writesEternal Question: Social Media VS Personal WebsiteWhere you should invest your time?

Tabi basa and greetings everyone. Today is Father’s Day (19 June 2022) and I would like to wish father’s around the world Happy Father’s Day. Your sacrifice is like an unsung hero, providing the best to the family despite you’re not being recognised. For me, it is important to have both father and mother in a healthy family because by having both, you will have different outlook in life to the growth of the children. I don’t agree when you say that father or mother is better than the other, when in fact, they are complementing each other. There shouldn’t be any fight over this. Just look at how human civilisation, it started from the basic form of family consisting of father & mother, whom begets their own children. If we want to create peace in this world, it should start from home. By having a good, stable & working family, we can create a stable country.

Silamat Andu Amang - Happy Father's Day! From Piching.

Silamat Andu Amang – Happy Father’s Day! From Piching. Shot on Leica SL, Vario-Elmar-SL 24-90mm

Moving to today’s topic, I’d like to share about the why is it important for you to have your own website and why you shouldn’t depend on social media.

But first, let’s start with the recent move that I have done.

My post on my LinkedIn. Shot on Leica M10-P, APO-Summicron-M f/2 50mm lens.

I have deleted my Facebook, Instagram & Tik Tok account. You might be wondering, why on earth would Tukang Rantek delete his own social media accounts? Especially Facebook, where I have 22,000 followers. That’s a lot, and it took me around 5 years to grow it to that size.

For me, it is simple. I want to create something that would last, something that would be associated with my brand. I’ve made a mistake, where I only rely on  my soc-media, particularly Facebook, to boost my own brand. Until now, my Facebook page is becoming more famous than my actual reputation of being able to create pictures. I am not ashamed to admit that I’ve spend too much time developing my Facebook page than to actually spend my time for growth as an aspiring photographer.

Even in my office, people have been telling my that my reputation as a photographer exceeds my reputation as an engineer. In a way, I am flattered, but I am actually worried. My concern is that it is like a bubble only, without having real substance. I do aware that there are some photographers who is not even active on social media, but they are having a steady income from their photography. That’s what I desire.

But in this case, I need to step back and re-strategise. But instead, I just stop my social media cold turkey, deleted FB, IG & TT and just concentrate on my Twitter only.

1. Why Twitter?

It is the social media that gave me the least distraction.

2. Aren’t you worried that there is less followers there?

At this point in time, I am not bothered about followers number. If people wants to follow me, they are most welcomed to follow me. If they are not, I’m good too. My work quality is not defined from my follower counts.

3. No FB, no IG, no TT. What’s your next plan then?

I will just keep on writing blogs about my journey and photography. I don’t intent to grow my social media follower counts.

91 followers only. This is more like it. Previously I have 22K followers on Facebook, but I always have a feeling that it is not genuine.

Reflection On Social Media

1. It Is Not Meant To Last

Social media is not forever. Anyone remembered their first soc-med? For me, my first one was Friendster. What happened was, it closed its website on 2015 and 2018, it ceased as a company. If you have developed your profile there, then it won’t be forever. You might argue that it is free, but it will not serve you in the long run.

Then came Facebook to replace Friendster. Facebook so far has been going on strong, but no one know how long it will last.

Vine was ahead of its time. 6 second fame, but now it was left in the dust. Tik Tok followed its success formula, and now even Instagram, Facebook and YouTube is following its formula.

But if you want to create something that last forever, build it in your own platform. Not at the platform made by others, especially if it is free. If it is free, you are the product.

2. Comparison Upon Comparison

Soc-med relies on people to compare with one another. As much as I want to believe it is good for healthy competition, if you can’t stop comparing yourself to others’ highlight reel, then it might be a good time to stop. Just like you, other person also have their own time to shine. It is not normal to always have something to highlight in your life. Birthday, yes. Wedding? Yes. Achievements? Yes. But how often would you have all of these things? Not often, right? If you want reclaim back your privacy in life, just get away from soc-med for good. Even in my Twitter, I don’t post anything personal.

3. Feel Good Sensation / Dopamine Effect

You know that feeling, when you post something, and it is liked. That works like a drug. It is all thanks to dopamine hormone. I still remember, I’ve posted a picture about a female Bidayuh engineer and that post gains a crazy amount of attention. To-date, it garnered close to 3800 likes and 2800 shares at my Facebook page. I can’t find a snapshot though. But here’s a snapshot from LinkedIn on the same lady. Yes, 2784 likes. Still, it doesn’t give me anything though.

People like a certain picture on social media because they like what they see, not really about the person who posted it. That’s the rule of the matter.

But the opposite would happen. Let’s say you are used to earn 100+ likes for each picture. Suddenly, when you post something that matters to you, but the reaction that you receive is not like what you expect, then you might feel miserable about yourself. You might think that you are not as good as you were before.

That’s what happen to many people. When their usually viral post is not viral anymore, they might question their worth, their credibility, when in fact, the audience that he/she has is not really the right audience that he/she wants. So, it is important for you to know your audience

4. Addicted with Likes

One chronic addition that I have seen was this person, who can’t help but to post anything that she is doing on her soc-med, everything will end up at her timeline or at least, story. I pity her, but I don’t want to be giving too much attention to her. I am not close enough too to give her advice, though that is is a good wake-up call for me to not be like her.

INVEST TIME WISELY – BYE-BYE SOCIAL MEDIA

Based on what I wrote above, it is time to reconsider where you will invest your time in. Social media fasting is one good option. But I think it is even better if you concentrate on creating something more sustainable. Something that you can call yours.

That’s bring us to the next point.

Create Your Own Website

I can’t emphasise more that as a creative person, you need to have your own website that you can use to create your own legacy and not affected by the rules of others.

Of course, if you use my method, you might feel lonely in the first place because everyone else are on the other social media. But the good news, if they are genuinely interested in your art or approach, they will contact you.

I like that I can create whatever I like in my own website. I like to write long articles. In Metaverse soc-med, where pictures are the main media being consumed, these articles will end-up useless.

I also like to write stories. I am learning how to type properly using touch typing method, but it will take a while before I can truly master it. Nevertheless, that is one journey that I would like to take. It will be fun.

That’s all I’d like to share for today. I am also finding the joy in doing blog using classic editor, vs using block editor as what I have done before.

Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson
Follow me on Twitter & LinkedIn: claudiusweson.

Note:
1. Claudius is a freelance photographer based in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia.
2. “Tukang Rantek” means “photographer” in Bidayuh Serian language.

Happy Retirement Cikgu Jekop & Cikgu Ageok

Tabi basa & greetings! Finally, after an eventful Gawai celebration, then followed by the passing of my uncle, I managed to settle down and edit the picture captured during the recent farewell of my teachers – Cikgu Jekop Simo & Cikgu Ageok Dikun. They were my Maths & Bahasa Malaysia teachers respectively, teaching my batch back in 1996 until 2001 when we’re still in Primary School at SK St Dominic Pichin. Back then, it was still “SRB” (sekolah rendah bantuan). It was only 2 decades later, the school seems to be way more advanced that what it was back in my time.

For the retirement event, which took place on 28 May 2022, I went there a bit late because I was still resting since I just came from Miri after 15 hours drive. When I arrived there, it was already speech time by Cikgu Ayot, popular name for Cikgu Ageok at Piching.

These two teachers were the one that I respect because of their no nonsense style of teaching, especially Cikgu Jekop a.k.a. Jakop in Piching.

I can’t forget his fondness in using red ink, Parker 51 (I think) because he likes to use “pen kasing” (peeing pen, a nickname for fountain pen). It was a such a pain for the person who doesn’t perform in his class because he likes to punish them, but that is for their own good. He doesn’t punish out of hate, but because he wants his student to put extra effort, which for their own good anyway.

Those where the days. Teachers are focused on teaching. Now, I understand that there is a lot of restrictions imposes, plenty of don’ts and tons of administrative works. Only those with noble intention will last becoming a teacher.

Back to the event, the event itself was rather straightforward. As I walk around taking photos, there will be some group of kids asking me to take their photos. Some even called me “Tukang Rantek”. I am truly honoured. Good kids.

The pictures for the events can be seen at the bottom part of this post. Feel free to share it around.

p.s. I am aware that different people has a different approach, so it is totally up to the individual. If you happy with what you see here and wish to hire me, feel free to contact me via WhatsApp +60148677585.

You can also follow me at Twitter, claudiusweson.

That’s all for now. Until next time!

Regards,
“Tukang Rantek” Claudius
Follow me on Twitter: claudiusweson