Category archives: Photography

An Evening with Petra Dancers

Tabi basa & greetings family & friends,

How was your day? Today I want to talk about dance in Sarawak. Throughout the history of Sarawak, dance is one of the important aspect of its cultural development, where most of the indigenous peoples has their own dance, derived from nature. For example, Rejang / Langgi for Bidayuh peoples are inspired by the movements of eagle in the sky. Ngajat, a warrior dance for Iban people and most of Orang Ulu’s dance is also derived from the graceful movement of hornbill, signifying the close relationship of these peoples with nature. Long time ago, the life of Sarawakian peoples was built in such way that it is in balance with nature, because it was based on preservation of life. For a start, for newcomers, it is good to see them in action at Sarawak Cultural Village at Santubong to know the brief summary of Sarawak’s rich culture.

Pak Bek (fourth from right) and his dancers

I myself had personally involved with dances when I was still in tertiary education, and had a good down-memory-lane whenever I see traditional dancers performing. Yesterday I had a chance to see Petra dancers in action, led by Mr Awang Harabi, or famously known Pak Bek.

Petra Dancers Story

Petra Dancers was founded in 1991, which makes them 28 years old this year. That gave them a lot of experiences especially in the dancing arena of Sarawakian culture. They can dance all kind of traditional dancers of Sarawak peoples, including Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Melanau, Malay, Chinese or even Indian people’s dances. They one they performed yesterday was Iban’s Ngajat, Orang Ulu’s Kanjet Ngeleput, Bidayuh’s Rejang Beuh, Malay’s Joget Melati, and finally a group dance.

In terms of dancing experiences, they have performed all around the nation, including Brunei and have been representing Sarawak in the international level. They have a different kind of dancers category as well, with the one that we had yesterday was the junior to give them more exposure. For more challenging events, the seniors will go and perform.

In total, they have around 40 active members, with 3 assistant leader, namely Suharto, Kartini and Roberto. For big events, they will collaborate with dance groups from all around Malaysia, or Sarawak to make it bigger due to limitation of manpower and trainers. E.g. during Sarawak Day celebration, where there is a lot of dancers required.

They have their own studio at Wisma Ung Hwa Geok, Lot 418, Tingkat 1, Jalan Kulas Utara Dua, 93400 Kuching, which is the studio that they build at their own initiative without government support as they also runs bridal company, under Petra Bridal.

The current challenge that they face include the other group of dancers because customer tends to find a cheap but with quality dancers. It is a perpetual challenge, but with their reputation, they have little difficulty in that.

Pak Bek also emphasises on the well-being of the dancers, where for every performance, they will be covered their logistics, food and payment. Every week there is a performance, but it will be paid lump sum the end of the month.

Training schedule per week is on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 8.30 – 10.30pm, 2 hours per day. That is the commitment required from every dancers in Petra dancers.

Pak Bek hopes to maintain cultural diversity through their works and wishes that every dancers has the discipline to remain focused so that they can achieve whatever they want, be it winning an international award or just to be a good dancer.  

Should anyone interested to join them, you may call 0168689226 to enlist yourself and dance.

Gear used: Leica M Monochrom and Noctilux 50.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Note: Claudius Weson is a tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Simbuk’s Ninety-first Birthday

Dear family and friends, 

How is your week? I hope you are doing well. The weather seems to be a bit crazy recently, with raining season coming, causing traffic jam here and there. By the way, I have a question for you. Have you ever imagine what you will do when you are older? Have you ever thought of who you want to be when you are older?

For me, it is simple. I want to be able to be able to do what I love most when I am older, which is to capture the moments with my loved ones, regardless of my age. I know some of my friend like Marvin who wants to be able to lift even when he is older, unlimited by age. People like Sifu Yong wants to rock his R1 all along the corner when he is older.

However, my simbuk (grandmother in Bidayuh Siburan) is happily enjoying her life with her grandchildren, which we celebrate last Monday. It was a simple celebration, with less than half of her descendants coming, but the joyful season can be felt.

Birthday girl and great grandchilren choirs are ready.

As usual, prayer is led by my uncle who is a catechist, followed by the usual cake-cutting and photo-session with her grandchildren. It is not easy to gather the kids around, but it is normal when you are managing them. You will get used to it.

Photo with some of the great grand children.
Runaway Baby Shark

Simbuk, just like any other normal Bidayuh woman, lives a simple life. She lives stress-free, and just focus on the essentials of life. She has done her hustle, and now her children is taking care of her. Compared to modern lifestyle, where we sacrifice a lot, especially times with our loved ones, to buy a lot of stuff to impress the people that doesn’t matter in our life. No wonder the pressure level sky-rockets in the recent years.

Just like any other community in Sarawak, for Bidayuh people, family institution is core of society. You can’t be an island, because there will be a time when you are falling down, and needs help.

Acquaintance, colleagues and  friends come and gone, but your family (and true friend) stays. Therefore, cherish them in your life. May your life is be blessed like Simbuk’s.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Gear used: Leica M Monochrom and Summilux 35 FLE.

Note: Claudius Weson is a tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Nothing Is Permanent

Tabi basa and greetings dear family and friends, 

Today is Monday, yet another working day for most of us, but it is school holiday for students and teachers, and off-day for me. So enjoy the time with your family and friends. Having the time for myself once again, it triggered something in me – “nothing is permanent”

Awah Gawai Bi-Pichin. Lenge Kiburan is hiding behind the low-lying clouds

What is Permanent?  

Permanent is lasting, continuing, and endures the test of time. In Malay, it is “kekal”. When we say something is permanent, it is there probably until the end of time. When is the end of time? Time is moving forward, one second at a time. Permanent stuff is not going to go any time soon, therefore it is permanent.

Nothing Is Permanent

This is the fact of life. As glorious as the mountains or the continents itself, or even the ancient great structures like pyramids or temples, it is still subject to impermanence. Why? It can’t run away from weathers and act of God. An earth quake can shake a structure and bring it down to some meaningless ruin. A typhoon can blow houses and turn it into smithereens.

In times of trouble and great distress, many would seek solace and comfort from the Almighty God.

So is our life. If you read the ancient texts, or even Bible, the peoples in the past lives a ridiculously long life, few hundreds years old, with the oldest one in the Bible is 969 years old, Methuselah. However, modern humans only live in average 79 years old. If you want to live longer, live like the older Japanese peoples, they live in simplicity. The Japanese salarymen lifestyle not what I recommend though. They put a lot of emphasis to their career, such that their body has to pay the price, where I am referring to death from work, “karoshi”. However, I am pretty sure not many want to live that kind of lifestyle.

Pre-wedding Photoshoot Spotted

In the end of the day, we work to live, to put money on the table.

Walk Down Memory Lane

The Little Ones Won’t Stay Little

This is another realisation that I get. Long time ago, I am not sure why people spend so much money on buy film camera, because I can’t afford it. I was thinking, that money better be spent on  something useful, such as revision books, stationeries and food. Having limited resources forces you to stick with the essentials only, and invest where it is really required. As the result, I grew up with little or no pictures of my school days, except when our teacher collect some money to rent film camera for school project. 

High on “milk”

Back then, if I miss my school crush from another village, during school holiday I have to visit my friend that has her picture to have a look at her face. I kind of like it, because it gives less distraction for me to focus on my study.

As I grow older, I have the access to VGA phone camera. It is like a blind man having the ability to see for the first time in forever. I took a lot of pictures. My cousin is the model of that time. He’s still a baby, so he can’t say no. Take pictures of all time, all the moments. Most of the pictures are embarrassing, so I will not show it. 

What I am showing here is the new generation of Wesons. This is the time when I have access into the best camera in the world, Leica. Being best is subjective, one can’t be a winner in everyone’s heart. But for me, Leica is still the best because it optics is unparalleled. The user experience is priceless. You can’t put a price tag in that feeling. The happiest time is when I see through the viewfinder to aim at my subject. It is bliss.

Anyway, these little ones won’t stay little forever. They will grow up eventually. Before you know it, they will be going to school, graduate and fell in love with someone who will be part of your new family.

Create Memories

One of the best way to live our life to the fullest is to acknowledge our mortality, and make the best out of it. Create more memories together. Capture the images and cherish it while you still can. If you want to be immortal, create something so good that people will talk about it even after you are no longer around on the surface of this Earth. Images will stay on, even if the people inside it is gone. Don’t listen to others on what kind of image that you should take. What’s important for you may not be what’s important for them.

When Empire Strikes Back
The lovely super duper Sajek

That is how you can stay permanent, and granting immortality to those inside the images.

60s Picture

Keep on shooting!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Note: Claudius Weson is a tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Hip Hop Night

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends,

Weekend has come, and it is a time to rest once again after a long week of working. Friday night is a night where many would spend their time with their family, and friends. It is a night where people gather together and reconnect. Some would take this opportunity to hustle, to work out, or to work hard to build a brand out of their name.

For Sarawak Asset staff, 1st Nov night is the time for them to enjoy and have fun after a year of toiling and giving their best to the organisation. It is also the opportunity for the top managements to mix around with the working level and check how they are doing so far as well to get to know their family, which is a rare opportunity for them to meet the top managements.

Nevertheless, for many, it is also a golden chance to mix around as such dinner can only come by once every year. Last year’s theme was Rock & Roll. This year’s theme was Hip Hop, a theme voted by many of the staff. I believe it is relatively easy to find and to prepare. Just find a cap, a hoodie, a suitable sweat pants, and a comfortable shoe, and voila, you meet the theme.

For this purpose, I just use a simple t-shirt and a jeans since I intend to be behind the lens anyway. Therefore, for me, comfort is my main priority. I do enjoy capturing the moments that you can see here in this blog post. As explained earlier, my blog post is my main form of communication as it is the one that I have the most control at. There is no point for me to upload a hard work of mine in a social media platform that may not be guaranteed its longevity in the future. In this case, my blog will be sustained as long as I desired it to be.

The crowd was entertained by Tony Ngu, a Beatboxer, who is also a beatbox trainer himself; including DJ Matt Abdullah from Sabah, who entertained the crowd with his selection of music.

DJ Matt Abdullah from Sabah
Tony Ngu controls the crowd very well.

Going back to hip hop business, as usual, it is not complete for us to do a costume dinner without any best dress winner. For the first category, the solo category for men and women, there are three  peoples were chosen by the committees. For men, Terry the Man, Tanna the Boroi and Baldave (from Bronx). They go up to the stage and tried their best. Tanna really went all out to the point I don’t know him anymore, with that moves of him on stage. Terry also gets better with styling as he gets older. But Baldave the Bronx Baddie won the crowd. 

For women category, there are three candidates; Fariza the Freezer, Mei Peng and Cindy. Cindy also dressed so smartly, and I think it is impressive. Cindy might have won the crowd, but Fariza won the hearts of the little ones with her excellent showmanship.

For family category, we have Thong’s family, Werry’s family  (geng Rantai) and Adli’s family (the Hip Hop Hurray team). The Geng Rantai won an undisputed victory as many voted for them. Thong’s makeover is awesome, and this time he is the Black guy. Last year he was the God of Rock. 

After the fancy dress performances, it is time for the lady boss to go up to the stage and present the winner their prizes. Congratulations to the winners! As soon as the final grand prize was given away, the crowd quickly disappears.

From my conversation with the peoples on the floor, I do know that this would be the last Sarawak Asset dinner for peoples like Colin Lester Koh as he moves into a different location, as well as Fariza, who will be leaving the organisation for a better opportunities outside, joining the red team. Therefore, this Hip Hop dinner acts like her farewell party.

As usual, farewell is not really a farewell, but just an opportunity for us to say hello once again. With this, I end my post for now and I hope you enjoy the images here.

Note: All of the images here were captured using Leica M10-P and Summilux 35 FLE lens. I think this combo is awesome for all purpose photography, particularly for reportage. No wonder Craig Semetko loves it.

Have a great weekend ahead with family and friends. For those working, work safe and stay safe!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice
All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Note: Claudius Weson is a freelance tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography. 

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice
All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Note: Claudius Weson is a freelance tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography. 

Playing With Colours

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends,

Today is Saturday, and as usual, it is a time for us to spend our free time with family and friends. Do spend the most time with the elder ones, for their time is running out and the younger ones, for they would really need the guidance from us to kickstart their life in a good shape and in the best knowledge.

Dayung Laut

The First “Dayung Laut” – Emilia Shander

I would like to take this opportunity to inform you about Dayung Laut competition, which was inspired by Emilia Shander’s viral post. The current leader of the pack is Sandra, overtaking Sabahan beauty thanks to the strong support from her family and friends. However, it is too soon for me to say who is the winner to you because there are still one more week to go. Anything can change since the competition is public, and if someone acquires the hordes to vote for them, then it would be good.

The faces of the candidates are as follows:

The Next “Dayung Laut” 2019 Contestants

I will make a separate announcement for the winner next week. Stay tuned!

Playing with Colours

Today’s session is special because it is my first time doing my own studio photoshoot at my own accord, at my own playing ground. The last session was when I attended the Studio Flash Photography Masterclass by Sifu Edwin Lay at Great Wall Camera. Edwin is a good sifu and he patiently teaches us the basics of playing with studio strobes. That is the time I met my fellow photographers based in Kuching area, such as Anathasia Lipina, Alvine, Fidelis George, Ben Foo and Pauline, all with one passion for photography. I wrote about this back in March this year. You can read it here.

Me and fellow participants of Sifu Edwin Lay’s Flash Photography Masterclass, Mar 2019.
Back: Alvine, Michael Ting, Fidelis George, Sifu Edwin Lay, Ben Foo
Front: Anathasia Lipina, Adeline (Kuching-based Model), Pauline
Location: Great Wall Camera, Jalan Padungan, Kuching

This time, I am alone, and I have to direct the lighting myself. It is challenging, because when I am out there, I only have to control the light from my strobe. When I am with Thorsten, it is even different ball-game. Thorsten taught me to find the “magic of light”. When you found it, you will know that your photograph will be awesome.

As for today’s session, I do play around with red and blue gel, as it is the most common, and it is my personal favourite for this kind of photoshoot. It reminds me to the clip video of In Venere Veritas by HIM, which for me is a cool love metal song. There was a lot of experimentations going around the room, where I being an experimenter has to tweak and tinker before I hit the sweet spot. Once I am in the “zen”, it is also easy to find the right balance.

Gears:

As for the gears I am using today, I am using my trusty M10-P and APO-Summicron 50mm for this job. I love to use Leica gears since it gave me the flexibility to work with the “Leica” look as well as it is light and easy to move around with. I always move around back and forth to adjust the strobes that I am using. 50mm has always been my favourite focal length for all occasions.

Talents:

I am joined by Divabiz Ambassadorz founder, Priscilla Nissie and some of her talents, including Dranadillos and Sylvia, as well as Averia Vella, whom we call “Amoi”.

First session was a simple white t-shirt at a black background.

The next session is using the dress of their choice and this time, I included blue and red gel. Why? I like it. No rocket science behind it.

After enough time having fun using black background, I changed the black background to white background.

Dresses and Accessories

Pua Kumbu Blouse & Black Glitter Evening Dress is designed by Samdoh Beads Boutique. Cocktail Dress is designed by Priscilla Nissie. The

The lady behind Divabiz, Priscilla.
One for the road.

Working Experiences?

For us today, and just like the previous sessions before, we talk about work only. Priscilla and her talents are professional and main topic of conversation is on how to make full use of the session this afternoon. This is well-understood because we only have 24hours per day, and if we start to talk about something other than self-improvement, then it is a waste of our time. That is another reason why I advise my mentees (I do mentoring also) to be very careful in calling someone else your best friend. As we grow older, we realised that we only have so little true friends. The rest are just colleagues or acquaintances, which is fully understood since we only spend the time with those that really matters. The least of all, if you know someone is toxic, just keep it professional and don’t add more salt to the wound.

Theme for Young Lovers

There were one phase in my life where I cared so much about what others think about me, who I mingle with, what I wear, what camera did I use, etc. It is part of a normal teenage to adult transition. It includes all of those negative self-talks. As it names says, it did not make me happy though. It is toxic. As I move along with life, I always strive to make my life simpler. I wear black. I shot manually using Leica all the way. I created my own moniker, Tukang Rantek in honour of my own mother tongue. I charge people for my services as much as I value my time. I still have my own positive circle, I call it tonic friends – those who are crazy and passionate about their side hustle.

The real FREEDOM is to give no care about what others talk about you (unless it is life-threatening or it relates to life of others). If you still care about what others talk about you, you are a slave to their thoughts. Think about that for a moment. In Morpheus’ (The Matrix Trilogy) famous word, free your mind. You have to remember, you need to invest your time in the things that truly matters.

Certain bunch may not like your guts, tenacity, dedication and grit, but who cares? Did they pay your bills month in, month out?

Ada ku kesah?

I had this conversation with one of my colleague whom I admire his analytical skills and planning skill. But for himself, like many others, other than work, nothing else come to his mind. He admit it openly, and he also told me that he admires those who are passionate with their own craft; such as Marvin Gau with his MarvinInspire and journey to be Fitness Personal Coach, who is also Certified Personal Trainer under American Council on Exercise, which the journey to attain is equally challenging; and David Liaw, a Powerlifter and Nutritionist.

I am honoured to be able to capture this moment during Marvin and Patrissa’s wedding.
David Liaw – Beast Mode!
Leica Monochrom & Summilux35 FLE

That colleague of mine reminds me of Shikamaru Nara from Naruto series. He is smart, but has no plan for his life apart from working in our company. I know a lot of people outside there whom academic is not their forte, but they are resilient and willing to learn something new and step out of their comfort zone.

They are not like everyone else. They set goals for themselves. They learn new things day in, day out. They may not living the life they want, but they strive to get where they want. I want to be more like those peoples.

Hope For Tomorrow?

I will keep on updating my latest stuff in my website because it is the only media that I really have full control in. My Instagram and Facebook will still be kept alive because most of my friends and family are still using it. Also, it is one of the easiest way for people to reach out to me, apart from contacting my Whatsapp Business.

Lastly, I do hope you enjoy the final images from our session today. Stay safe and have a great Sunday ahead!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice
All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Dayung Bidayuh Miri

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends, 

Once again, Sunday come, and hopefully you are spending your time with your beloved family and friends. Today is a great day and it is hot sunny at Miri. No rain fell from the sky, probably due to heavy rain yesterday.

Note: Dayung means, girl/woman/lady, in Bidayuh language.

Wake Up Call:

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I had a wake-up call, where I realised that when I am posting my stuff at an established social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, I am actually at their “mercy”. For example, if somebody does not like your posting due to whatever reason under the sun, they can report your account and makes your account suspended; or, suddenly there is a new “Facebook”, making the old Facebook redundant. Therefore, your efforts will go down the drain. So, it is better if you can spend your time and resources on something that you really have complete control on, for example, your paid website, so that you can modify it as you wish. I am still learning and in progress of making my website as interactive as possible to give you that one pleasant experience browsing through it. You can leave a comment below at my comment section or you can even message me directly using FB, or even WhatsApp.

Group? What group?

This is my group – Taruh Dari (3D)

Before I proceed, there are few peoples asked me, which group of photographer do I belong in Miri. To be honest, I don’t belong to any group. I do know and acknowledge that Miri, and Kuching has a lot of talented photographers, belonging to their own respective group. There are fun and joy in having a place to belong to. It is like having a race buddy, or even passion-buddy kind of thing. I like it, I appreciate the camaraderie of being in a group.

Pichin Ladies: Ladies in Red

However, for me, I am in a constant race with myself. Everyday is a chance for me to learn from myself yesterday. Also, because of the fluidity of my schedule, particularly because I am also working professionally with oil and gas company, I really have to make do of the time that I have available. Also, there are times I want to be like Henri-Cartier Bresson, though I am wearing coverall, but at the same time I want to be like Jason Lanier or Anthony Barlan, doing photoshoot of beautiful ladies at various locations. These constant mental tug-of-war is what makes me who I am now. I love the independence, which also being appreciated by certain personnel that I met along the way. I love to work with tonic peoples, the ones that gave-off positive aura and energy, making me more excited to create beautiful images, be it my favourite Monochromatic or Chromatic like how my clients like it.

Being a freelance photographer, one of the common question I received is that, how many jobs you have this month? I always answer them in this manner: I started CWPhotography not to earn money, but because I want to leave a legacy, or even a book. If I can create one image, and that image is remembered by generations to come, I am a happy man. Genuine passion is what keeps me going, otherwise, I would stop creating images on the first year I am starting CWPhotography due to very few clients. I believe each photographer has their own ways to see images. So, do hire a photographer because you like how they see things, how they tell stories using their camera; not due to their cheap price tag. You will regret your decision later. Happens a lot to me, where I became their listening post for every poor decision making in choosing photographers for their event, or even wedding. I once became a guest to my friend, and I casually capture the moments using my then-M9-P, but my photos ended up becoming her main images of her wedding dinner because she don’t like the final image that she received from her main photographer. This happens, and my please to you, as a photographer, please do your own research before you hire someone.  

Camera? You Mean, Rantek?

In case you are wondering, I am using Leica camera, particularly Leica M. I don’t look down on other camera system, there are many camera that is even more modern than the manual M that I am using, with blazing fast autofocus, awesome ISO numbers, with adjustable focal length at an amazing aperture sizes. I don’t use autofocus, mine is all manual: fixed focal length (usually 50mm 99% of the time) manual focusing, manual shutter speed adjustment, manual ISO adjustment, manual aperture adjustment – it’s all manual. I like to take my time in creating beautiful images using my M.

Just like my camera choice, I just want to do things that I like, using the tool that I love. It’s like dating the same girl for the past 8 years even though there are many pretty girls that come and gone, but none gave you the spark that she gave you. You just date her throughout the years simply because you love her, for no reason. Well, you can’t fix your love to a reason, because once the reason is gone, so does your love.

Gear Used:

As usual, I am using my M10 camera, but the difference today is, instead of using my comfort zone lens, Noctilux, I am using collapsible Summicron once again. This time, I want to test how does the collapsible Summicron perform using M10. You can see the result in the images below.

Collapsible Summicron. Still usable although much older than my father’s age.

In terms of handling, it is easy to use the lens. I find it gets easier, and the focusing is getting smoother the more I use it. Previously, when I first obtained it, it felt stiff, probably after few years of being idle inside dry box of the previous owner. I don’t see any fault with the lens. It seems the perfect. No wonder Henri likes to use this lens with his M3.

Photoshoot Time! / Ngirantek Time

Anyway, today’s photoshoot is with two beautiful Bidayuh ladies, Tania and Trisha, residing in Miri. They are also DBNA (Dayak Bidayuh National Association) dancers at Miri, and is active in performing Bidayuh dances around Miri. Trisha has been involved with this business for quite some time already, and I can call her well-experienced, or in Tania’s word, pro. Tania is new to this, but that doesn’t stop her from having fun under the sun, and strobe. The photoshoot is done at my favourite place, Tanjung Lobang because I like beaches. Sunset at tanjung today is not so flattering, but show must go on. I realised that we continue until it’s dark. But that is ok because we have our honorable “bouncer” on duty, Mcgrable or “Mc” from Capture Media. You should check out their Facebook page, they create beautiful videos. Do look for them if you want to hire photographer for your events as well (NOT SPONSORED).  

As for the attire, Trisha is wearing Bidayuh Salako’s costume, while Tania is wearing Bidayuh Bau’s costume. The difference can be seen in the colour of their dress and their headgear. For Salako ladies, they have no headgear, while the other groups have headgear, with Padawan/Siburan and Serian has “toko” (highly decorated hats). Both are wearing “pangiah” (necklace), that you can buy from Trisha since she is also selling it (NOT SPONSORED).

NOTE: Salako ladies do not use “Pangiah” (Bead Necklace) and “bobot” (fang accessories). This mistake was unintentional as we are using the accessories that we have at that time.

If you like what do you see in this blog post, do leave a comment below. I also welcomed any feedback in case you do have some comments, particularly about my photography. Just like any other people, our lives are a series of decisions. If there are poor decisions that I have made today in terms of photography, do let me know. Thank you for reading until this line. May God bless you and have a pleasant week ahead!

Your Tukang Rantek,

Claudius Weson

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved. 

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All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Monochrome Photoshoot at Pulau Melayu

Dear friends,

Tabi basa and greetings! It has been a while since I last write my last blog post. The last one was about Garnette and Ayrton’s wedding. Another reason why I restarted this after 5 months shying away from blogging is since something happened to my Instagram account.

For no particular reason, and even after writing to Instagram, I was not able to write at my Instagram, and cannot even like my friend’s post. In a way, it is a wake up call for me. For example, my Facebook account. I have been investing a lot of time and energy to expand the audience of my Claudius Weson Photography Facebook page. The question, is what if suddenly Facebook also no longer the in-thing? Audiences will go away, to the new “Facebook”. I will have to restart again from zero. Worst case scenario, what if suddenly Facebook went haywire like how Instagram did to me? It will be another pointless waste of resources. So, I better stick with form of digital media that I have full control over it with best customer support.

The best thing about blogging is that you don’t have to be perfect to start, but you have to start to be perfect.

Gear: Collapsible Summicron

For this particular photoshoot with Viviana and her girls, in conjunction with her Catwalk Class & Photoshoot Session, I am armed with the first Summicron, which is the collapsible version. I think this beast is a good one.

I acquired this beast of a lens from a fellow Leica shooter, where he plans to upgrade. Initially, I was skeptical of the lens performance, but after using it for a while, a week to be exact, I started to get used to the focusing tab, which is metal type. For many modern Leica M users, the current plastic tab has an ergonomic shape that it feels right whenever you want to focus with it. For this particular Summicron, you will feel weird at first. I think I am being pampered by the latest generation Summicron, APO-50 (my mainstay when I am going offshore because of its reliability and its small size).

For Leica enthusiast, collapsible Summicron can be had for about RM2500 at eBay, and there is actually a lot. The challenge is to find a good copy. You have to find from a trusted seller, with rating of 99.6% and above from eBay. Otherwise, it would be difficult. I would suggest MK Kamera & All Good Friends Camera (Not Sponsored Here) since my experience with them are pleasant and they are very responsive to your query.

As for lens rendering, for me, Collapsible Summicron is a soft lens, but not as crazy as Thambar. It is at another crazier level, appreciated only by Leica enthusiast. Compared to modern Summicron, Collapsible is a good choice for photoshoot, because you will see the faces of the model is much smoother without you do a lot of editing at post-processing. That will actually leave a good impression to the model as well.

Camera: M9 Monochrom

I am using Monochrom this time because I want to experiment with my Collapsible Summicron. Back in 2017, I bought my first Monochrom because I was without Leica M. My M9-P that time was sent for service due to CCD sensor corrosion issue. I sold my Monochrom last year because I want to upgrade to get my M10-P. When I first receive my M10-P, I did not remember about my Monochrom. After a while though, I started to miss it. Then I shoot using monochrom at my M10-P, but it is not the same. The image that it created, the shutter sound, the slow shooting speed – that are the things that I missed in my Monochrom. After a bit of searching at the web, I managed to find a silver version of Monochrom, partly to reminds me of the missing Monochrom as well as the missing M9-P that I have traded for personal usage.

Experience using Monochrom has always been pleasant. After too used to M10’s blazing speed, Monochrom taught me to slow down and anticipate for the right moment. Of course I won’t use Monochrom for paid job because I don’t want to miss the moments during wedding and events. However, for photoshoot like this, Monochrom is a good choice if one would like to use its excellence in monochrome end pictures.

Photoshoot Time!

During this photoshoot, we are joined by Abang Zak and Abu, but we are kept with out own business. So, not wanting to interrupt their flow of creativity, I shoot models at my own time and pace, and my place of choosing.

It has been a pleasure working with these ladies, with one of them as young as 7 year’s old, Supang. Initially I thought I was working with matured ladies, but it seems like most of them are still studying at secondary school. How time flies!

The final images can be seen below, which I used Silver Efex Pro, a software that is popular among Leica Monochrom shooters. Enjoy! Thank you to you Vivianna and Priscilla for inviting me to this session! I appreciate it.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Claudius Weson, is a Bi-Pichin, Serian-born freelance “tukang rantek” (photographer) based in Miri.

Engagement of Dennis & Valerie

Dear friends,

Happy Mothers Day to all of you and all of the wonderful mothers all around the world. Without the sacrifices, the unforgettable 9 months and many more years that follows, through joy and sorrow, your selfless contribution is a big reason why we managed to gain our current altitude in life.

Congratulations Dennis & Valerie!

Back to the story, the story now is about Dennis and Valarie, where their love blooms around 7 years ago. They met through the Catholic Student Society (CSS) GIFT (Growing In Faith Together) of UTM Skudai. God done their magic, and thus the two has fallen in love with one another, and the rest is history. Dennis, hailing from Kpg Bayur, Padawan, or should I call, Braang Boy, is around 800km from Valerie, whose hometown is Miri. However, God’s miracle can work in many ways, and the distance does not stop the two from forming a serious relationship that leads to 11 May, their happy day.

The celebration of engagement begins with the arrival of guests, as far as Kuching, particularly Dennis’ side, with some from Limbang. Since both families are both Catholics, the ceremony is done in accordance to the Catholic’s way of engagement, which was lead by Cathecist Janet from St Dominic Taman Tunku. The intro song is one of the most recognisable of all, which is commonly known as “Hari Ini” (Today) by Sarawak Christian community, or originally titled as “Kasih Yang Mempersatukan” (The Uniting Love), written by Kretarto Hendro Wibow & Niken Woro Wulandari from Indonesia. The lyrics with its literal translation are as follows:

Hari ini ku rasa bahagia (Today I am feeling happy)
Berkumpul bersama saudara seiman

(gathering with brothers & sisters of the same faith)
Tuhan Yesus mempersatukan kita (Jesus’s Love has united us)
Tanpa memandang di antara kita (without looking into us)

Bergandingan tangan dalam kasih (holding hands in love)
Dalam satu hati (in one heart)
Berjalan dalam terang kasih Tuhan (walking in the light of His Love)
Kau sahabatku, kau saudara ku (You’re my friend, you’re my brother)
Tiada yang dapat memisahkan kita (nothing will separate us)

After the words of advise from Catechist Janet, it was followed by the ring-blessing and the passing of the ring into one another before the event take its pause to give opportunity for everyone to have their dinner and a bit of entertainment by yours truly before proceeding into the next session – which is the advise session by the elders from both sides. Then there was a cake cutting ceremony as well as the non-stop music, intermixed with Poco-Poco and ngajat performances.

The blend of the audiences is a mix of mainly Bidayuh, Kayan and Melanau (from Valerie’s side), but that doesn’t stop Sarawakians from being Sarawakian, where there is a free flow of beer, open-mic session and open dance floor, where you are most welcomed to dance. Even the sudden haze from Kuala Baram road also can’t stop us from having fun in the evening.

Once again, congratulations to Dennis and Valerie for the engagement. Always remember this: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” – (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

8
Dennis with his nervous face.
Catechist Janet
Starting them young (drinking tuak)
That’s a lot of cake.
Payback time.

One for the road.
How low you can go?
I walk alone, I walk alone.

Your Tukang Rantek,

Claudius Weson

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved. 

Bonus: 3D Taruh Dari

Started as an ordinary bidayuh boys who love music, these ‘taruh dari’ (three boys in Bidayuh language) then formed a band, known as ‘3D’ (short form of ‘taruh dari’, also taken from their nicknames initial, Del, Dennis & Dio). Initially they cover Muse songs. But then, inspired by the Bidayuh headhunter spirit, they came out with their first song, Headhunters of Hornbill Land. This was followed by ‘Dayung Salau’ (beloved girl in Bidayuh, ), ‘Buran’ (Moon in bidayuh, reference to a lost lover), I Don’t Care (hate version) (a song about frustration) and a song to our Creator, In Lord I Trust. After a break for about four months, 3D is ready to rock and unleashing their fury as what they always did during any gig or battle that they have participated in. Currently, they have recorded a new version of their beloved songs, including Dayung Salau, Buran, I Don’t Care and In Lord I Trust. Yakinlah Oh Sayangku is their latest song ever recorded and it was planned to make it’s debut during MJCC Film Festival (MJFF). YOS is a song about a promise of a boy to his girlfriend. During the MJFF Award Night, some technical problems occur, where the bass drum lacks of grip, thus kept on moving on its own. The last performance was during Hornbill Night 2012, where there were no performances after that.

3D – Taruh Dari – Dio, Del, Dennis
Suria Showdown Feb 2011
Rock Performance at SCC – 2012
Best Bassist, Best Rhythm Guitar & Second Runner Up
BOTB UTM International Johor Horse Show 2011
Finale – Hornbill Night 2012
GIFT Christmas Celebration 2011
Fenomena Art Festival 2011
“Joget” with Rayner and Alvin
Malacca-Johor Coordinating Council (MJCC) BOTB and Choir Festival 2012

One thing that I learned from running a band is that first and foremost, you have to love the music, you have to really love what you are doing. The music has to come from the heart. Most of the time in our performances, we improvise. There are no similar performances. We fall in love in performing to entertain ourselves, as part of our self-expression. Then, regardless of the crowd’s reception to our music, it doesn’t matter because we love what we are doing. That is the fuel that we need.

Even if now we are no longer active, but who knows, in the future, 3D will be revived, or make our next performance. In the meantime, I’ll express myself using my Leica. 😉

Ivanna’s Family Moments

Dear friends,

How was your week? I hope you had a good one, and now enjoy your weekend with your family and friends after a long week of toil and hard works. Just a week ago, the theme was fashion and runway. Fast foward, this weekend was all about family – another favourite topic of mine.

Chilling in the weekend.

Why family? Basically it is the first unit from which you receive your first love, be it from your parents or your siblings. Home is usually where your heart resides, and that is family.

Time is the true resources that we have, and all of the other things that we have in life is a result of our transaction that we have done, be it in the form of material or relationship. I believe that one of the best was to spend time is with family.

Sometimes, we often spend get caught with our work life that we are unable to switch off, fearing that we will lose our momentum. Thus, we keep on running this rat race. However, we often forgot that we are not getting younger. So is our parents, they are not getting younger as well.

If you are away, please make a conscious effort to pay a visit to your family as frequent as possible if it is not too difficult. I know some of my fellow friends, working far away from their home, only go back during Gawai (Harvest Festival). Some might say that is a long gap. However, taking into consideration his/her difficulties, it is better than none. At least the effort is there.

In our day to day life, we often interact so much, and we are normalised that we forgot that we also should immortalise the family moments, in the form of pictures – a job that can be accomplished using various image-creating tools nowadays, from VGA phones to the latest Huawei P30 Pro. As for me, I would entrust this kind of job with my favourite gears – my very own Leica M10 and Noctilux as it creates the image that I would call my own expression of photography.

Regardless, the most important thing is that we are immortalising the memories of our loved ones.

Enjoy the pictures below and have a blessed weekend!

Your Tukang Rantek,

Claudius

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved. 

Miss Mermaidopia Ambassador 2019

Dear friends,

How’s your 2019 so far? Are you getting closer to your dream than yesterday? For me, being a “tukang rantek” (photographer in Bidayuh Pichin) took me into a different path in life as part of my self-discovery photography career. Thanks to Trisha, I met Aldrin, a gentleman who runs  Aldrin’s Flair & Events Decor and managed to get my hand into his next event which they organise, Miss Mermaidopia Ambassador 2019, an event sponsored by Boulevard Shopping Mall, Miri Events and Décor Specialist, Wan Soon Florist and Love Mermaidopia as well as the kind Miss Eva Mae (Miss Asia International 2008). 

Love Mermaidopia is a brand with mystical mermaid theme that aiming to enlighten beauties that beautifying can be affordable and easy with natural yet safe range of products. They are proud Malaysia brand, based in Selangor and currently have super agents around the country. They are also still making waves to share the love with their Serum Hair Mist, Coral Curl Duo Mascara, Aqua Glow Cushion and more to come.

As for the competition, the winner will receive RM700 of cash, crown, sash and will be the ambassador of Mermaidopia. First and second runner ups will win RM500 and RM300 respectively along with crown and sash.

Coronation ceremony.

Personally I have never been involved in this kind of event before, therefore this is a new learning for me and I am thrilled to be able to cover such event. Armed with my Leica gears, this time only with M10 and Noctilux 50.

The event itself is a combination of both Singing Competition and Beauty Pageant. As for singing, it was participated by Vivian Garvin, Harith bin Habib, Hezron Joseph, Patrick Unchu, Awang Mohd Faiz Ashraf, Chia Chai Ying, Elia Mitchell and Mohd Faizul bin Mohd Maidin.

As with any other competitions, it is not complete without a line-up of wise and experiences judges. For Miss Mermaidopia Ambassador judges, they are Angelia Vanessa (Winner GCM Miss Cultural 2018), Emily Elizabeth (Winner Miss Youth Festival 2018) & Emily Chieng (Winner Miss Vibrant 2019).  For your info, Emily Elizabeth herself is an accomplished chef. She is such an inspiration to those who wants to make their dream a reality. 

Emily Chieng, Eva Mae, Spanski, Angelia Vanessa & Emily Elizabeth.

For the singing competition, which is organized by Miri Events & Décor Specialist, the judges are Jeremiah Udan and Dayang Bismi. I have a feeling that she is related to Dayang Nurfaezah. Anyone can confirm? Please write in the comment below.

Event Flow:

The event will not be lively without a good emcee, and that is where one of Miri’s most sought after emcee, Spanski Steven come into play. With his deep bass voice, he ensures that the event runs smoothly as a hot knife cuts through a butter. Behind the scene, running around here and there with Aldrin are Hayes Collin, Trisha Joe & McGrable Diwan to make sure that the event runs smoothly. 

Mr Spanski Steven

The singing competition is quite straightforward where every participants only need to sing a song. But that can be a tricky part as you need to pick the song that can represent the best of your vocal abilities as well as your mastery in fully utilising the stage, which can be a daunting task for the new ones. Anyway, that doesn’t stop Harith to bag the championship and win, followed by Hezron and Elia.

As for the beauty pageant, after few rounds of cat-walks and two sets of Q&As, Miss Mermaidopia Ambassador 2019 winner goes to the talented Nicole Goldy, with runner-ups won by Abigiel Lawai, Noria Anah, Veronica Michalle and Cindy Balang. There is also a subsidiary title of Best Opening Dress, won by Helena Telun, followed by Njzallina Supand and Amelia Kassim.

Congratulations to all of the winners, and to those who participated in the event because it takes a lot of courage to be part of this exciting competition as well as to answer question on the spot, in front of the public. Not to mention singing.

From left: Jeremiah, Elia, Harith, Hezron & Dayang Bismi.
The winners and the Aldrin’s crew. Alvin said they never had any event photos, so this is to break that tradition.

Below is the gallery of the event photo. Enjoy!

Bonus: The Power of Family

As I was shooting around to get the photos, I noticed that there is a lot of family members and friends who came to show their support to the contestants. Coming from a family that emphasises a lot in family values (subtle expression of love), I like this situation. It is from a strong and loving family that we can generate enough willpower to move forward, especially to achieve a seemingly impossible goal. Be it to pursue your dream of becoming an accomplished fitness coach like MarvInspire Fitness, or a chef and beauty queen like Emily, family is a powerful unit that can brings that extra power, and make you realise your full potential. They are also your fallback plan, should things doesn’t go as per your plan. I love to enjoy my uninterrupted off-day by my family side, especially now that I have two new family members, thanks to my sister (yeah, keep it coming) and snap my family photo.

Nicole and her family.
Inik pan datai mega. Amat stidi, support ucu. 😀

For me, I love photography because I want to immortalise my family moments. With my skills also, I can immortalise the beautiful moments in your family, be it wedding, birthday party as well as festivities.

Until next time, have a great week ahead!

Your Tukang Rantek,

Claudius

All photographs are © Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved. No content should be used without prior approval from Claudius Weson.