Category archives: Photoshoot

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

Reigniting Love: Donny & Debra

13 years. 4748 days. 113,952 hours. 6,837,120 minutes. 410,227,200 seconds. It’s just beginning of more love stories between Donny and Debra. The love that was blessed in holy matrimony 13 years ago.

I, for one, always love to capture the love expression between couples because it reminds me that life is beautiful, no matter what malicious things being spread across the media nowadays, be it mainstream or social media. All of those sometimes sways of focus on more important stuff, which is to love the one who loves us.

Amidst the business of daily life, sometimes we forgot to tell our loved ones that we love them. Some opted to express it through actions, some opted for reverse or indirect word selections to express love. But most impontly, a strong married life is an accumulation of smaller love expression, just like looking after one another in joy and sorrow. It doesn’t have to be a bombastic one-time event, and thinking that it will be carried out throughout the years. That is not sustainable.

The best one is to express it daily, no how busy you are. And when the time comes, year-by-year journey should be immortalised, for memories in the form of images tells the best story, for a picture worths a thousand words, just like how Debra and Donny, and daughters in the pictures below. Enjoy!

P.s. May God bless Donny, Debra and family. 😀

Your Tukang Rantek, Claudius Weson.  

Claudius Weson is a Miri-based “tukang rantek” (photographer in Bidayuh).

Angelyna & M9-P

Greetings friends,

First and foremost, Happy International Women’s Day to all great ladies out there. May God bless all of you always! Today’s story is the continuation of my experiment with M9-P and my effort to combine flash into my outdoor photography. Ideally, this would be simple if I have a dedicated helper. But, due to limited resources, I just have to make do with whatever I have.

Introduction

On this beautiful Saturday morning, me and local talent from Miri, Angelyna had a photoshoot at Coco Cabana, because I love how that place is. It is usually crowded with people over the weekend. To avoid this, we did out photoshoot in the morning before everyone comes out.

On my way there, I can see a lot of health-conscious Mirians, young and old, and their family jog in the morning with their family and friends at Marina’s pavement. Some did it solo, with Airpods accompanying them. Others, with a band of cyclists. For me, I usually exercise in the evening to keep my for any upcoming photography jobs, especially weddings, because you have to be physically fit and active to catch all of the decisive moments.

Gears: M9-P & Noctilux

About the gears, I am using my M9-P and a Noctilux lens. My camera is a 9 year’s old rangefinder, serviced at Leica Store Malaysia and the CCD sensor that its own signature look out of the camera, something like the Kodak film. That’s no surprise, because the maker of the sensor is Kodak. On a side note, its first successor, M-240 has a different rendering that does not appeal to me, hence the reason why I skipped it until M10 came, where Leica finally got it right. M10’s image is much closer to M9’s rendering than M-240, although a bit too “clean”. However, if the job is not so demanding, like dimly-lit places or event, I will just stick to my M9. Another reason is because M9-P is my first Leica camera, so the emotional attachment is there, just like any other artists with their favourite paintbrush, microphone, plectrums etc.

I was frequently asked this question: what is the best Leica camera to start with? I would say, M9 – first, it is full-frame and secondly, it is relatively cheaper compared to the older bodies, although you can find its advertisement popping up in Mudah ever once in a while. Also, the next question is, the technology is already 10 years old, so is it still relevant? My answer is yes, and I have been photographing weddings using it. I love the colour that it produces. Also, if you do it right, it is not prone to be soaked by water. I did headhunter run and SMEP Fit For The Future Run coverage using it, under pouring rain. As long as you do not purposely expose it right under rain water but only receive splashes, you should be alright. Make sure to dry it right afterwards, and put it either inside dry box (best method) or container of uncooked rice (cheapest method).

King Of The Night

Also, I am using Noctilux for obvious reason – I love the bokeh that it produces. I tried f/1.4, but it is not pleasing enough for me. Also, Noctilux’s low-light performance is second to none in the world of rangefinders, considering the maximum effective ISO that I can use with M9-P is only 800, so I have to rely on high aperture to get the same light input. With f/0.95, it is a staggeringly high number, that my beginner-self “fought” to acquire 3 years ago. I did get few comments from other fellow photographers that what I am doing is not correct because the norm is you should not blur out the background too much. I did tried to follow their advice, but as time goes by, I realised I keep on reverting back to it, and after that, I just do it. Why should I stop doing what I love most? Also, that will be my signature style. Bokeh. After such a long time operating it, the relatively long focus throw no longer bothers you as your left fingers and your left eye, in a beautiful synchronisation, automatically adjust the rangefinder to find the right focus as the target moves on. Once the target it set and found, the trigger is pressed, producing the beautiful M9-shutter tune. It is like a Termignoni exhaust to a Ducati afficionado.

On the other hand, when I am doing day-time street photography, I prefer to use Summilux 50 or APO-50 because it is much lighter that 700g King of the Night. 50mm has always been my favourite focal length, and it has shaped how I created my images, be it wedding or events, or even photoshoot like this.

Photoshoot:

First thing when I do is to get the white balance right, which will minimise my time when I am doing post processing later. The good news about Leica is you will get the best skin tone rendering, natural looking if you get the white balance correct. I am using a simple white balance card and then set it manually. After that, we just proceed with the photoshoot. You can see the sample images below.

Closing:

Overall, I am quite happy with this photoshoot but I admit that there is so much to be learnt about this particular field. Being so used to event photography, where you just “react”, this one requires me to think and plan ahead for the shoot. To make an image is the easiest part compared to planning a successful photoshoot. This sort of challenges makes life became so much interesting and I am looking forward to work with more talents in the future. I hope you guys enjoy this post.

Inspirational note here – Make sure your dream is big and do not be afraid or shy to make it happen. A thousand miles is just an accummulation of 63,360,000 inches. So make your steps counts.

Have a good weekend! 🙂

All images © Claudius Weson Photography (2019).

Claudius Weson is a wedding/event “tukang rantek” (photographer in Bidayuh language) based in Miri.