Tags archives: motivation

Immortalising Memories

Memories – each and every one of us has it. It is something to be remembered from the past. Inside our 2.5 penta-bytes brain, there is a lot of faculties which our mind stores and remembers information. Some of these faculties store memories that we wish to forget, while some contains those that we wish to remember, always. Accessing these memory faculties clears its neuron path, while less accessed one will have an undergrowth in its path, much like a less travelled road. Soon, it will become secondary jungle in our brain, where the faculty will eventually be forgotten over time, which results in us not remembering anything about that particular incident. Unless somebody came with the map to that faculty of memory, which is a picture of the past.

Imagine that you have a wonderful childhood. Realising the importance and value of photograph in the future, your beloved parents or family members (in my case, my aunty) set aside an amount of money to buy film camera despite life difficulties. 3 decades gone by, no one remembers what happened at your 5th birthday party. But when you saw the pictures of the happier times, suddenly all of these memories came back rushing in, as if the dam that holds it back collapsed and you memories overflown. At the back of your head, you remembered your family and friends happily singing “Happy Birthday” / “Selamat Hari Jadi” to you, with your little niece mistakenly singing “Selamat Pagi KP” (same tune by the way). But it does not matter, because it was memory of a happy times.

Same goes for the memories of our departed beloved ones, which is captured using photographs. We tend to forget them, because they reminded us of the pain the left us, but let’s not forget the wonderful memories they gave us throughout their lifetime on Earth. They are the one that supports us, they are family. Their pictures are family treasure, so that the younger generations know how their ancestors looked like.

Time flows forward, one second at a time. Our perception might change, but time flows steadily. In our good times, time seems to gone by so quick like lightning, but when we are in pain, times travels slowly like a tortoise. We can gain back our lost money, but we can’t gain back our lost time. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. If we don’t seize the day, we’ll lose out.

Me and the rest of the photographer community are aware of this fact, and that’s why we love to create photographs. Our intention might be different from one another, but fundamentally, we helps people to remember the memories of the good time we had. Be it wedding, engagement, funeral or just simply to remember that you once had this particular look (6-packs, flawless skin, hourglass-shaped body, you name it). For me, I call it “immortalising memories” – to ensure that our memories are eternal, at least in a digital format that we can see and enjoy. Just like our fingerprints, each and every one of us is unique. We have our own ways of looking at things. A single picture might evoke a different memory to different person. That’s why people say, a picture is worth a thousand words. For some, prefer it to be hung at their wall so that every day they can admire it.

Similar to our existence in this world, with a unique path and way of life, every photographer has a different things they want to achieve. Some has an immense passion to achieve glory by winning international awards, while some just want to make a living. A lot of photographers that I admire has the passion for photography itself, and by being genuine to their passion, they are able to achieve greater heights. For me, my passion is to immortalise memories, with a focus to make people look beautiful/handsome in the photographs that I have created. When people came back to me and tells me that they love the pictures that I have created, I am happy “tukang rantek”.

“Immortalising Memories” 📷

Tukang Rantek,
Claudius

Instagram: tukangrantekclaudius

Note: Claudius is a portrait “tukang rantek” (photographer in Bidayuh Pichin) based in Miri.

Depression and Self-Liberation in Photography

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends,

In the recent times, often we heard, seen and read about depression. Before that, it is quite common for us to hear people talk about it and dis it as if it is a laughing matter. I am pretty sure you also have your experiences dealing with such negative emotions. I have not dealt with depression yet, and I am lying if I said I understand how it exactly feels.  

Crying Junior

Definition of Depression

From American Psychiatric Association’s website, depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affect how you feel, they way you feel and how you act. It can cause sadness and / or loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It also can lead into various emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

The symptom includes:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite – weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Increased fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling worthless
  • Increase in purposeless activitiy
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

As you can see from the lists, it is quite severe, especially the thoughts of suicide. As you can see in the movie Joker, various mishappening in his life turns him into society-hating person, that stays in the shadows and unknown, and that is his greatest weapon against Batman in the future.

Don’t confuse depression and sadness or grief because the latter are a normal emotional cycle in human, but depression is not. Even if that person is living the ideal situation may even succumb to this, as they are facing a threat and hazard unseen to us – the price to be paid for fame. The more famous you are, the more important is the your emotional strength.

Talking about this, there are time where I feel so unmotivated for no particular reason, where I just feel like lying in my bed, listening to Fur Elise all day. I believe this is quite common, except it came in a different form or activities. I would imagine a singer would want to scream their lungs out at studio when they feel frustrated or depressed. Or runner, just ran until they are tired across the field.

Could there be a solution for this?  

Disclaimer: whatever that is written here is by no means absolute cure or prevention for depression. The words written following this are only the opinion of Claudius Weson, and should be taken as a layman's point of view, not a professional in field psychology.

Photography, Sense of Purpose & Self-Liberation

For me, this one is dealt with in a way that I treat photography as my main outlet to express myself, to tell the stories that I am unable to tell in words, and once I have done that, I express it in words. I like blogging, mainly because I can write things that I don’t get to talk in my everyday conversation. Not everyone that I know wants to talk to the level that I expect them to be. So, for me, I just keep it to myself, type it out here and post it. Who knows it might help someone out there.

I also have a passion in expressing myself, which is why I loved to join activities such as public speaking, debate, battle of the band and latest is photography and blogging.  Back then, adrenaline was running wild, unchecked, and therefore I have to channel it somewhere. Being heartbroken, rejected few times, I use that frustration to create songs, such as Dayung Salau, Buran, I Don’t Care and our Taruh Dari’s (3D) main song, Headhunters of Hornbill Land. Duirng that time, I thought that we can go on as a team. However, that honeymoon period did not last and we have to separate after we finished our schooling (I probably will write about that in a next post).

High-School Rocker

That is also why I come with my own brand, Tukang Rantek. Why? It makes me joyful inside when people call me Tukang Rantek, which makes me excited to go on day to day life. Back in my village also people started to call me Tukang Rantek, like yesterday when I go to church of Pichin, Holy Trinity Church.

The sense of purpose comes in the form of competing with myself. I have quit competing with everyone else because I don’t like where it is heading. Some people don’t mind sacrificing relationship just so that they can win extra job, extra medal, extra recognition and even extra acknowledgement. If that “extra” means I go home unsatisfied with my art, but expressing in the way I become a crowd-pleaser or even social media victim, I rather go without anything but being happy in whatever art that I create. If I am comparing myself to other person’s current state, I am insulting my own potential. Why? I can achieve so much more if I become my own ally, creating the art that pleases both myself and my inner self.

I also do acknowledge that my elders are getting older, therefore I decided to create as much image when I am back at my hometown because no amount of money or regret can give me back that opportunity once I have lost it. How many times have you thought about this in your own family?

Seize the day.

I am Award-less Photographer

Again, this is another source frustration, left unchecked, it can become another source of depression. For me, being a Leica user for few years already, it is not uncommon for me to dream about winning Leica Oskar Barnack Award (LOBA), the most prestigious award for Leica society. Only one photographer can win this award every year. What happens to the rest of the photographer if they don’t win any of it? Did they just lost their puspose in life? Of course not; different photographer has a different purpose. For me, I want to create the best image. I strive for this goal in whatever situation that I am in. In that sense, I have a purpose. I further define it to create the best image in whatever situation I am in, given the poor lighting condition, given the gear I am using. For me, using Noctilux would be too easy because I can just blow the background away thanks to its atomic bokeh and leaving the subject intact. That is why I use Summicron recently, be it the first or the latest one. I like to make it difficult for me to capture the image, so that I can learn to control my M better.

In my off day, I like to call myself family photojournalist, capturing the day-to-day actitvities of my family. Sounds trivial, but few years down the road, we will miss these times, the time when the little one is no longer little.

Whether you realise it or not, each photographer reflects their own personality and emotion in the images that they created. If you are sad, you tend to create an image of sad people, and if you are happy, you tend to create an image of happy people. Therefore, before any event, it is better for you to find a good reason to be happy. Due to the emotional load (dealing with peoples) and time constraint, not many wants to be a wedding photographer. But for those who loves all of those, they really thrive in it. That brings us to the next topic.  

How about Money?

This one is tricky because for some people, photography is the way for them to make money. If they can’t make money, they cannot provide necessities for their family. When that comes, whether they like it or not, they have to find another sources of income, trading hours for money, which is unsustainable.

Dio & Anis’s wedding reception.

From my conversation with some of the established photographers, they don’t rely solely on photography as their main source of income. They take commissions from every camera gears that they sold, they organise courses. Not surprisingly, Youtube is also part of their income, especially if you are creating a good, niche content. You also can always be part of the bigger community of  photography, where you can become the second photographer for their job, provided they want your assistance and they trust in your ability to assist them. 

Liberate Yourself From Bondage Called Expectation

Cat woman feeding cats

A self-explanatory topic, your true liberation comes when you are really, and genuinely do photography for yourself, when you are really doing it because you like it, because you love it and you don’t care about those superficial stuff that we are being fed constantly with. The amount of likes or shares won’t pay the bills. Don’t worry about your post that doesn’t even go viral. Don’t worry if you don’t have or won any award. Don’t worry if you are not making any money yet. Do what you like, create the images that make you happy, make memories and make images your life as much as possible and share it with the others. In the end of the day, all you want to achieve is that little joy when you look back at your harvest (images created) and can go to sleep soundly. For non-photographers, just focus on your art, be it writing, singing or playing in a band.

I hope this sharing is useful to you, and able to empower you. No matter how high you have reached, don’t forget your roots. Have a great week ahead!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Note: Claudius Weson is a Pichin-born 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.

The Story Behind Dayung Laut Contestants (2019)

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends,

How was your week so far? I hope it is great for you in this final week of October. Soon it will be November, and December will follow. 2019 is at its final quarter, and I do hope that you are making a lot of memories this year, because there will no longer the same year. Back in the 90s, I thought I would see cars flying around once we have reached 2020. It sounds so futuristic, with high hopes of our country will achieve accelerated modernisation. However, in 2019, all I wish for is road users to be able to use their turn signal light properly. There is no point for me to complain on something I can’t control, but I should do something within my control.

For this edition, I want to show to you the challenges, hopes and dreams of these wonderful ladies that joined the Dayung Laut Competition. SInce these ladies are working offshore, I was unable to reach some of them for the full interview.

Regardsless, the intention of this post is to show how these ladies started their offshore career, what do they love about it, challenges faced and future plans/dreams.

First Contest: Felicitie George

Full name: Felicitie George
Profession : Piping Engineer
Company : Petra Resources Sdn. Bhd.
Location : F12

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sky, outdoor and water
Another day at work.

How did you join offshore / oil and gas industry? 

  • I was pushing my lucks applying offshore jobs after I graduated from Uni.

What do you love about offshore?

  • I love the environment. The sounds of wave crashing, the cold breeze and the skies full of stars at night. It give you sense of peace and serenity regardless chaotic day you have to endure when you at offshore. 

Challenges faced offshore and how do you stay resilient offshore?

  • There are time when I cant deliver my work to meet my client’s expectations. Things didn’t turn out as planned. I always find a simplest and efficient way to solve it rather than making it worse. I will just ignore the negativity and focus on the goals. 

Advice to ladies planning to work offshore

  • Be safe wherever you are. 

Future career plan for yourself

  • To become a specialist in my field and working with big players in oil and gas

Second Contestant: Sandra Sim

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting

Full name : Sandra Sim Vi Ting
Profession : Site Planner / Associate Engineer
Company : Petra Resources Sdn. Bhd.
Location : West Lutong Oil Field

How did you join offshore / oil and gas industry?

  • Kick-started with internship in Sarawak Shell Berhad as Trainee Process Engineer.

What do you love about offshore?

  • It’s an amazing creation, a cool job place. 

Challenges faced offshore and how do you stay resilient offshore?

  • Adverse weather, that causes the boat to roll. As the result, I vomit, and have to sleep before I can recover. Also, you will meet all kinds of men out there. So, be open minded, dedicated and firmed.

Advice to ladies planning to work offshore

  • No hesitate, no fear, no regret.

Future career plan for yourself

  • Build solid knowledge foundation by hands on experience which able to contribute in planning. Ultimate goal is to move into project management.

Third Contestant: Esther Michael

Full name : Esther Michael
Proffession : Wellsite/Operations Geologist
Company : Repsol Malaysia
Location : PM3

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, sky and outdoor

How did you join offshore / oil and gas industry

  • My name is Esther Michael a mix Sebob/ Lun Bawang from Miri.  Started career in oil and gas as a Sample Catcher/Mudlogger with International Logging in year 2005.  Joines Petronas Carigali after that as a Wellsite/Operations Geologist / Geoscientist for 8 years and finally to Repsol Oil & Gas Limited (previously known as Talisman) for about 6 years till present.

What do you love about offshore?

  • What I love about offshore is the fact that the workplace is just steps away from bedroom and only wearing coveralls! Concentration on work is more in offshore as there are less meetings compared to being in office so less interuption.  People treat you with respect (despite being a woman!) and listens to your input and takes them into consideration.  But of course, being on the rig/platform is like its own small little world, therefore people are usually really nice.

What is the challenge faced offshore?

  • Challenges faced is to manage your time because the critical job can go for few days non stop. People rely on your intepretation and input to plan for next way forward of the well. Scary part is at times, you are worried whether your inputs are inaccurate that it may lead to another issue.  So far touch wood..all okay!  And of course being away from my 3 boys!  Those early days, harrasments were encountered but nowadays you don’t hear that anymore.  Regulations are rather strict when it comes to harrasments.

Advice to ladies:

  • Be professional and treat everyone from all colour coveralls with respect. Not using gender as an excuse to not perform or demand special treatment. Own the well and always aim to perform your best.

Future plan

  • To be an entrepreneur!

Note: She won Mrs Chipao Malaysia 2018. Chipao is cheongsam.

Fourth Contestant: Stephie Kayus

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sky and outdoor

Full name: Stephanie Kayus
Profession : Field Engineer
Company : FugroTSM
Location : Jasmine Field, Thailand

How did you join offshore / oil and gas industry

  • I joined O&G upstream since 2009 as a graduate engineer with Subsea 7 in subsea construction. My main task as project/field engineer is to ensure sufficient preparation for subsea construction. I develop installation procedure for offshore campaign and join in the execution on construction boats. I worked mostly in Sabah’s water.  Currently, I’m an operation engineer with Cortez Subsea oversee their operation in Malaysia.

What do you love about offshore?

  • The smell of the sea and the adrenaline of executing the subsea construction whether with divers or ROV. Sometimes, we got surprises when encountered sea creatures during construction. When we went to the very deep of the sea, everything would be just quiet and serene. At night, I love looking at the bright stars. And my favourite when going offshore is counting the day of going home 🙂

Challenges faced offshore and how do you stay resilient offshore?

  • Always being the only lady on the construction boat could be very challenging for me. As a lady engineer, giving instruction to some guys could be very challenging as my scope involve a lot of preparation at the back deck.I have to be smart  to ensure work is done safely and according to procedure. But I always have the peak of being in the only lady. Most of the time, i get my own cabin, washroom and locker room. When things get tough, I just tell myself, what doesnt kill me, make me stronger and most of the time, it’s true.

Advice to ladies planning to work offshore

  • Offshore is not for everyone. But once you are in, you are hooked. Ladies, you can be yourself, you don’t need to prove you are equal to your male colleagues but you can be as good or better than them. Work safely and enjoy the moment.

Future career plan for yourself

  • My future career plan is to be the boss..Lol..joking..I would like to be a project manager in near future and to lead a team for more subsea construction work offshore.

Fifth Contestant: Grace Tolebin

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing

Full name : Gracy Tolebin
Proffession : Project Engineer
Company : Boilermaster 
Location : Puteri Zamrud

How did you join offshore / oil and gas industry? 

  • After completing my study in mechanical engineering, I joined Boilermaster company in 2016 until now. My boss gave me an opportunity to study again and I believe I can go further. Some people has a different mindset, i.e. they think that ladies are weak, “ladies no need to go offshore. They don’t know what to do, so it is better for them to sit at the office only”. I have travelled to follow projects, Turnarounds and for training. Also, I have the opportunity to go offshore. My boss gave me hope and believe that I can do it even though I am a lady. Various experiences I have gone through. From this company and myself, I managed to go places.

What do you love about offshore?

  • I love new experiences because it is seldom for woman to go offshore. We know different culture that they have over there. With the five star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 😂 foods, another thing is the mind therapy, where we can think a lot about future as we gaze upon the blue sea, fishes, wide open sky. I am amazed by the wondrous creation of God.

Challenges faced offshore and how do you stay resilient offshore?

  • I have to be tough, mentally strong, fit physically, be safe everywhere, alert all the time. This is because I saw Deepwater Horizon which is based on true story (highly recommended to watch 😿). I need to look after my ethiques because I am the only lady. Team work also has to be strong.

Advice to ladies planning to work offshore:

  • For ladies out there , don’t be afraid to try something new. Like what they said, “belum cuba, belum tahu” (you wouln’t know until you try). Before we do something, we need to ask our parents so that they can bless our career. You also must be active and strong (power). 💪🏻💪🏻 

Future career plan for yourself:

  • My career is still long, and there is a lot that I want to accomplish. My dream is when I am 30 plus years old, i want to have my own business. Probably hardware shop, material supplies that relates to oil and gas. 😅

Sixth Contestant: Amelda Rowellna

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sky and outdoor
The first lady who participate in this competition. Bravo! Diak dik stidi.

Full name : Amelda Rowellna Anak Awang
Proffession : Cook
Company : Maersk Drilling, Brunei Darussalam
Location : SWA 108 Ampa Oil Field

In July 2012 to July 2014🎩, im taking course DIPLOMA IN HOTEL&CATERING MANAGEMENT at MTSSR (maktab teknik sultan saiful rijal) ,😊 after graduating, there is BMA (Brunei Marine Academy) programme , 🙌 which 1 year seatimes as a Trainee Cook 🍽️under vessel of Pacific Radiance Ltd.

Working rotation 3 months on board, difficult times when rough sea🌊😭 season, the sea sickness but its okay, good experience to be remembered 😊👍. After completing the seatimes in July 2016 to July 2017, i ve got another job opportunity worked in drilling rig, Maersk Convincer😍.

What i love the most about working offshore is there is no trafficking xp, 😂😂despite the fact that working offshore will be far from families & love one, plus, we must have tough heart&mind, surround ur self with good peoples & vibes, love ur job! cause everyday is like Monday to us 😂🙌.

For those ladies, wanted to challenge their self, just go for it! dont hesitate, 😎believe that you can do it👏!

Seventh Contestant: Jennet Blasius

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, ocean, sky and outdoor

Full name : Jennet Blasius
Proffession : Offshore/Site Planner
Company : Petra Resources Sdn Bhd
Location : Sumandak, Petra Endeavour

How did you join offshore / oil and gas industry? 

  • I’ve started my career in oil & gas industry on March 2015. Started working on offshore based on May 2019.

What do you love about offshore?

  • Plan to put my career on higher level through exposing myself more on technical part & field experience. Also felt want to experience offshore life myself.

Challenges faced offshore:

  • Task as offshore planner, the most challenging part is handling and dealing with construction crews.. the highest volume of crews that i had handled is 230pax. Apart from that is doing daily reporting & in charge of admin works at offshore at the same time. Boat & gangway transfer has always been challenging my courage. But, all challenges can be adapted..we just need a little time & a lot of patience & confidence.

Advices to ladies planning to work offshore:

  • Don’t afraid to work at offshore. You need to grab it once given opportunity..the expereince is priceless.

Future plan for yourself

  • become construction engineer..

The one from Jennet makes the end of interview.

These are the participants that I was unable to reach due to connection issue. But nevertheless, I just put the basic info here based on the info that they have placed for the competitions.

Eigth Contestant: Nuraisha Abd Halim

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing and night

Full name: Nuraisha Abd Halim@ Robert Henry Eli
Profession : Material coordinator 
Company: Brooke Dockyard
Location/field: Bokor

Ninth Contestant: Nor Afzan

Image may contain: 1 person, ocean, sky, outdoor and water

Full name : Nor Afzan Binti Wahid
Profession : Safety Health Officer(SHO)
Company : Sapura Energy
Location : NC3

Tenth Contestant: Jill Uring

Image may contain: 1 person, selfie and closeup

Full name: Jill Uring Paul
Profession : Inspection Engineer
Company: Oceancare corporation sdn bhd.
Location : Bayan

End Note:

From the words from these ladies, I know there is a lot of challenges. However with the right spirit, mindset and mental fortitude, you can work offshore and become respectable part of the bigger oil and gas community. I sincerely hope that these stories inspires you to work offshore.

To say offshore industry if only for men and men alone is not entirely true as there are a lot of women out there working offshore, helping to grow our national economic growth from oil and gas. This is a tough business, especially if you are a mother and have to leave behind your little ones onshore. Another misconception that I always hear is that if you are a lady working offshore, you will become more man-like, which is not true. You still can be a lady and work offshore, no problem at all. Besides, there are rules about any form of harassment, be it physical or verbal, to deter any kind of such offense, all to provide a better working environment to everyone. Therefore, for the young girls out there, don’t be afraid to make offshore jobs your career path of choice. Emilia has done it, these ladies also has done it, and so can you. You can do it. Have faith in yourself. God bless!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Your Tukang Rantek

Tabi basa and greetings,

Dear family and friends,

Today I would like to write about fragility of our dreams. When I was still in primary school, my class teacher would distribute a form where it will display our performances so far. Let’s call it our KPI card. The best part about that card is the section behind it, where it I can write my ambitions, what I want to be when I grow up. For me, it varies. I remember that I want to be scientist, then a WWE wrestler (no kidding, I wrote it). I think it was highly influences by The Rock’s popularity back then. As I became more mature, it became more realistic. When I was in Primary 6, I even wrote I want to be teacher because I was highly inflluenced by Great Teacher Onizuka. I want to be a badass teacher, just like him.

What I am doing now though has nothing to do with what I write there. It seems like my ambition evolves over time. If you ask me five years ago, I would answer a different thing. I want to be like a big bike racer. That is why I bought my first big bike, a Kawasaki Z800, sold it, then get my Ducati 916. It costs me a lot of money though, so I sell it because it serves me no purpose, partly after I discovered that I have more important things to do; namely contribute as part of the bigger community in Malaysia oil and gas industry, and a bigger thing in mind – I want to be Tukang Rantek.

Origin of “Tukang Rantek” Terminology

The name of Tukang Rantek came from the sound that old film camera used to make. It makes that funny sound, that goes like this – krek, krek, krek. My villagers has no pronoun for it for they were farmers/hunters, so they created a new name for it, which is “rantek”. “Tukang” is a name for the person who is specialised/in charge of something. In this case, Tukang Rantek means, photographer.

However, I think only Kampung Pichin uses this term in Serian area. Therefore, due to its rarity, I adopted that name to be my moniker.

Tukang Rantek’s Dream

I always believe that everyone has their own wildest dream. Probably, one of you want to be a famous person beyond everything else. Or rich beyond measure? For me, I used to have a wild dream of buying and owning every single Leica lens in the world. After collecting and tried the best 50mm ever produced by Leica, my dream was stopped for a while. It seems like it does not fit to be a dream. I also realised, if I were to dream, it better be something that push my limit, beyond my current potential, the one that forces me to stay awake to make it a reality. I also cannot attach it to something that will be made obsolete in few years’ time as our technology improves. It has to be something wild.

Then I realised, I have a simple dream. I want to create the best image. Therefore, it not bounded by time. The definition of “best” may change from time to time. As our technology improves, it helps me to create the best image. However, I still stick to the essentials, which is ISO control, aperture control, and shutter speed controls. Also, focus controls. All manual.

One Camera, One Lens

That is my philosophy, as much as I can. I love to use 50mm lens for my photography purposes. It forces me to be creative, and many would smile when I always take few steps back to fit in more items in my composition. But it’s alright, and I don’t think I owe anyone an explanation. Fellow photographers would understand that.

M-Shooter’s Bliss

I am always happy when I am behind my own M camera. To use other’s camera feels awkward, as if I have the sense of loyalty to my own camera. Familiarity makes thing automated to you, as my muscle memories moves my finger to focus automatically without even thinking. I only have to wait for the right moment, and voila, I have the shot. The sound of the shutter is like a music to my ears. The sound of M9 is the best, and that is why I still keep the M Monochrom, though I still use M10 for other purposes.

Heading For Tomorrow

Initially, it is normal to feel want to belong somewhere; to a group, band, society, community. However, for the wild ones, they will realise that they have least control when they are in group. Like Tetris, once they fit in, they disappear.

I don’t want to disappear. I want to make my presence known, in the right way. I may not have my own CW Clan now, and it makes me like a lone wolf with all of the community. However, none of that matters. All that matters is in the end of the day, I still can go back to my family and capture the photos of my growing niece and nephew. I will groom them to be a useful person. With my core family behind me, I am willing to move forward alone. It is difficult, but it is the one that makes you stronger.

In The Beginning

When I started my CWPhotography, I faced quite a number of condescenders that told me it is a pointless path to be made. I still remember it vividly 2 year’s ago. However, I forced myself to be stubborn and I move along, and focus only to the weak signals of those who supports me. They are like the tonic ones that I need, especially my other half, with genuine connection that exists outside social media; unseen, unheard, but it is real. Fast forward, 2 years, I have achieved a level that I can only dream back then.

I still do, and I do acknowledge that I have a lot to learn. I am grateful to me a lot of people that has a positive impact to me, in photography space: Sifu Edwin Lay; from Leica community, Ng Chi Loon, Thorsten Overgaard, Craig Semetko, Fulvio Bugani, Anthony Barlan, Mathias Heng. Not to forget also Joyce, Daniel and Erica, and more recent batch, “Team Lead” Hanif and Harry. Outside photography community, Marvin Gau – the guy who challenges me to do something about photography. I will be forever grateful to him to him for the “push”.

Don’t Want To be a “Jaguh Kampung”

I remembered the TEDEx talk by Zung, Ninja Photographer. He said, don’t be a “jaguh kampung”. What he meant was, don’t be someone who is famous only in a certain place. This is a term coined by the Malay communities at Malaysia, which means, you are the champion of the village (Jaguh = Champion, Kampung = Village). My understanding from Zung’s word is don’t make “Jaguh Kampung” or even “Bandar” (City) as your final aim. It is like confining a shark in a tank. The shark baby will only grow as large as the tank. The smaller the tank, the smaller it will be. Wasted potential. In the open ocean, a shark can grow as big as they can be. This becomes the basis of Spielberg’s famous film, Jaws. Freddie Mercury would say, Jaws was never my scene and he don’t like Star Wars (but that is actually a lie. He likes both).

Likewise, your potential is only as much as you think it is. Your tank is your belief that you have framed in your mind. Therefore, your potential is much more than that. If you have achieved certain level of achievement, for example, you have done a talk or have your own private exhibition, aim for something higher, or bigger. Aim to have your personal TEDEx. I have always been invited to Curtin to give talk, but mostly on career. Echoing Simon Sinek, I always ask them, what is your “WHY”. Not knowing your why,  you will not be able to push forward. It is the sole reason you are doing the things you are doing. For example, your WHY is your family. You may not like the job, but it pays good money. Therefore, because of your WHY, it overrides your discomfort and you stays on. It is also another unique trait of human to ensure longevity, we persevere when we required, or when we have to.

I don’t believe in competing with other people, because that does not make me happy. I am aware of certain unofficial rivalry or competition between groups, which is a strong reason why I don’t brand myself with such groups as it creates unnecessary friction because I always believe in creating positive connection with other peoples. The worst is when the other side is not compatible with the energy that I emits. Instead of tonic, it became a toxic connection. The best thing to do in that situation is to minimise contact and keep it professional. There is no point to take it personal because they might have their own reasons, or their life’s journey has framed their mind and behaviour to act in such a way. Regardless, it is not my worry. I should worry more about things within my control. I should be more worried about what is plan for tomorrow, and what I can improve next. I already branded myself as “Your Tukang Rantek”, with “Dayung Laut” as part of my brand.

Further to the topic, I believe in competition with myself, where I always strive to be better, faster and more efficient that who I was yesterday. For example, now it took me few seconds to focus using my M manual camera. My target is to be able to focus as fast possible, probably split second using M-lenses. Not possible yet, but I believe I can go as fast as I can. Now I am started to learn how to use lights in a better way. I learned the fundamental in a proper way from Sifu Edwin Lay. I am looking forward to Rarindra’s class next year.

I personally would not know my own true potential if I stuck at my village. Only when I step outside, get to know other peoples, that I know how large of a shark I can be. I rather be a lone, hungry shark in the open ocean than a well-fed shark that’s stuck in a zoo. Who knows I can get to meet Aquaman on my way to Atlantis?

Next?

I am looking forward to the winner of “Dayung Laut”, a competition that I created and was inspired by Emilia, a fellow oil and gas senior.

Closing Words

I hope my story will inspire you to do something about your dreams, whatever it might be. Remember, when you have a dream, just go for it. Many will not believe in you at first, but just be resilient, persevere and keep on pushing and improving. Something good will come out from it sooner or later. Have faith in yourself. You can do it.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson
Dari Bi-Pichin

Be Fearless

Greetings friends,

How’s your life been doing? I hope you enjoy your week as much as I do. It is just another day to be great. No time should be wasted on living in fear. I have been following Eric Kim’s blog, and his recent post in being fearless made me awakened. You can read it here. For your info, he’s a great street photographer and he is on a mission to enlighten as much people as he can in the field of street photography. 

Terran’s Pylon.

In his post, he mentioned about a life where we took the safest option to live. What would that life be? It would be a boring life and you will not make a difference. To make a difference, you need to be fearless. You have to swim against the flow. Only dead fish go with the flow. 

Why do you want to be fearless? You want to be able to achieve whatever you want in life. The thing that is stopping you is your fear, and for many people it is of being rejected. You don’t want to express your feeling to that beautiful lady because you don’t want to be rejected. So what happens if you she rejects you? GG? No – You lose nothing. In fact, you learn something in expense of your time and energy spent. You learned that she is not interested in you and you are free to move on. It is one thing someone I know failed to do and ended up a virgin though been living for more than half a decade. Do you want to be like that to? No? Good. Speak your mind. You become more fearless the more you practice your fearlessness. Another case is you have stage fright. Good. Now speak in front of the public. Do you feel good after that? That is the feeling that your dopamine gave you. Your reward circuitry is triggered. You earned a new skill. Congrats. GGWP. 

Translated into photography, when everyone shoots colourful bokeh, be different, shoot a small aperture in black and white. When some  people shoot beautiful lady from afar using zoom lenses like peeping Tom, go and approach them and ask for permission. If they rejects you, move on. I for one will be reverting to black and white once again as my niche and be different. Why? Because I can. So what if I want to shoot in black and white? No harm at all. I still can shoot in colour because my camera sensor enables me to do so, but the final images is always in black and white. The worstcase is my business is not going to breakeven. But it was never intended to be a business in the first place. It is just a hobby that I took seriously to the point I meet Thorsten at Nürnberg.

Thorsten and I.

Again, the common fear that we all have is fear of being different, fear of being heard, fear of being uncomfortable, fear of being ridiculed, fear of being criticised and many other ridiculous fears that seems to be weird and has no value to your life. It only controls you and inhibit you from achieving your true potential. You can achieve so much more, if only you did not limit yourself and make yourself more unavailable for success calls. 

I am not sure what his name is, but he is one of the friendliest guard I have met at KL.
Learn how to jump from your fear, and fly afterwards.

Whenever I see successful peoples in their career of choice, be it inside or outside of their profession, I see peoples that has made sacrifices. Most of these peoples has an admirable set of success-magnet traits, e.g. not wasting time on talking about someone else or dropping toxic comments. Those toxics should be identified as such and you should keep a distance from them if you don’t want to be poisoned by them, and eventually normalised by being one with them. So avoid that trait.

To be fearless, you have to have a strong mental strength. The world seems to be trying to take you down at all cost. How to survive all of these waves after waves of attack? You need to refer back to your “why”. Why you want to be fearless in the first place? For me, my answer would be, to achieve my dream. Fearless is not being rude, speaking in a loud manner or bullying others. It’s just a state of mind – where you have no fear. Now, live on and be fearless.

Face thy fear!
Don’t let your life be controlled by fear, whatever it might be.

I hope this composition gives value to your life. Have a great week ahead!

Be Fearless!

Regards, 
Claudius

This used to be the scariest thing to do for me, once upon a time.
Combat your fear. Learn a Ninjutsu. Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu

Story of the DayIf You Are Good At Something, Never Do It For FreeIye, mene ceh. Aba ngundah kayuh pari.

Sounds selfish? In business, it is not. I stumbled upon this while I was browsing through the Youtube videos. This  quote comes from the movie The Dark Knight. It is about The Joker and his underlings . If learnings from business school can be summarised, it is this immortal word from the Joker. Even though this statement might sounds selfish, but there are few good reasons behind it.

Hero Melano. M10-P & APO-50

1. Our Time Is Our True Resource

Nobody in this world can live forever, and every second that passes by is our resources gone by. That time was better spent doing something else, for example spending it to catch up with your family members back in the village, or to BBQ some of the unique delicacies of Sarawak, or even fixing your Grab speedboat to be used to pick your hot Iban girlfriend somewhere at Song. Unless you have taken the vow of charity, every second that you spent outside of these usages should be charged. The charge that you have imposed at least can be used to improve your life and your family, so that you can build a big longhouse mansion for your sulu ati/dayung sangon. Otherwise, you better wish you have a infinite life like Deadpool, and be left “makan hati berulam jantung” because your time was gone to waste and nobody is going to pay for your lost time.

Imagine if these trained professional does it for free, with what they are going to pay their house and car loans? It’s not going to work man. M10-P & APO-50

2. It keeps the business running

Once you receive the payment from whatever art that you have charged, it can be used to pay the dues. For example, in the side business I am running, I need to fix my lenses, camera body and even pay for the transportation/accommodation where it is due. I am using Leica, which is regarded as the Ferrari of cameras, or Rolls-Royce (whatever you call it), so expect the price and the charges I am giving is same par at it as well. When I think about my first amateur commission job, the amount of money that I receive is enough to make me cry red blood because it is sooooooooooo looowwwwwwwwwwwwww that it is not even enough to pay the most basic Leica service charges that Daniel gave to me. Lesson learned – charge accordingly, and consider the economics well before proceed with anything.

You need to have the courage to ask for the price for any technical expert and product that you offer. Otherwise, be prepared to fork out some money from your own and run a losing business. M10-P & APO-50.

If you manage the economics well, and it is compensated with the quality of the final product, then your business will grow. However, being a hardcore Leica M user, please do not look for me if you want to have a shot that uses flash. I do not use flash and only use 50mm lens for my job (35mm for wide angles) because that is my niche, and that is my personal vision. Others might employ a variety of tools for their job, but that is their preferences. That is why we have a lot of photographers, each with their own strength and unique approach. So, pick the one that suits your taste and fits the bill.

3. It Will Motivate You

This one is definitely the one. I am a dedicated guy, a Leica-wielding photographer and has been running around with my M since 2017. So far, my inner flame is enough to ignite everything around me with my M, and my colleagues know how crazy I am with Leica camera. But still, if I get an additional money, it will a good morale booster because it is one way I get appreciated. With this money, I can keep the business running well as well. Otherwise, it will remain as a hobby and not side-hustle. Edwin Lay managed to make his break after years of trying, and he is even kind enough to offer advice to me. What a great soul he is. Happy is the man who can make a living out of his hobby. That is my ultimate dream. However, that does not stop me to always ask around the masters on how to improve my photography to the next level. Every Leica M shooter are always aspire to be as good as Henri-Cartier Bresson, a legendary M photographer. I also felt very lucky to be able to meet people like Mathias Heng, Fulvio Bugani and Thorsten Overgaard – all of them are great Leica photographers. Slowly but surely, I want to improve and be good like them as well.

What you see is just the tip of the iceberg. Behind every successful band/musician, there are thousands of hours spent to perfect the art. M Monochrom & Noctilux50.

 

4. BONUS: Always Remember, You Are Paid Based On Your Experiences As Well.

I have to write this because just now I saw my friend, Mark Julex “MJ” posted –

Selalu jak dengar org persoalkan, “why do I need to pay musicians/band super expensive?” Ingat org isi kereta guna pasir pergi your venue? Ingat org bayar bil elektrik guna oksigen utk practice your songs?

(translation: I always heard that people question why payment for band/musician is super expensive. Do they thought that people fill in the car using sand to go to your venue? Do they think that electricity bill can be paid using oxygen to practice for your song?)

In photography, trainings for that any photographer is not cheap. So is their experiences. If fact, every time you are hiring a photographer, you are not only hiring them for the final images, but for their soul, for their trainings, years of experiences and everything else in between, including their down-times. That is what it takes to make a good photographs. What we see is just barely the tip of the iceberg, so do try to understand their plight as well.

Be Brave Like AF. APO-50 & M10-P.

As a summary, whatever you do, be it singing, painting, emceeing, or even cooking for others, you should not do it for free if you aspire to make a living out of it. Otherwise, that practice is not sustainable and you will not be able to run a successful business. You can always be blunt but remember to be respectful and be professional all the time. Best of luck to you!

 

Another Story of The DayBut I Don’t Have A Camera. So How? Part 1How To Start Your Photography Journey Without Camera

Luconia Sunset. Sunsets tend to be more beautiful when you go offshore. (iPhone only)

 

Sounds familiar, right? This is a common question that I believe many of photographers out there hear every now and then.

Sabahan Mother missing her family and her son. (iPhone)

Not to mention that there is a lot also did not pursue their passion for photography because they believe that they do not have the gear. To answer this once and for all, the best camera is the camera that is with you, a quote by Chase Jarvis. He actually wrote a book about this, and you may refer to the link.

In this post, it would be about me, doing photography using my iPhone alone. I am only using iPhone because that is the phone that I have been using for the past 4 years. I don’t plan to upgrade because it is still good and it is stil can be used until this day. For some serious photography, I only need to use my Leica cameras.

Why Mobile Phone Photography?

 

It is convenient. You cannot deny that fact. Just find the camera apps and off you go.

Perdana Protector (iPhone 6 Plus)

You have it with you all the time. Even though the quality differs from one model to another, but most of the model is getting better and better. Samsung recently released a new phone, A9 with 4 cameras. The competition is getting stiffer, and I am interested to see where the race is heading.

Regardless, despite the fancy accessories that these modern smartphone cameras have, the good news, it would be sooner than you expected that we are going to get an affordable technology for a smartphone. So that is a good place for you to start.

For me, since I am still using the old smartphone, the quality is good in good light. However, problem comes when there not enough light. I will be haunted by noises. Noise, noise and more noise. Sensor noise is the thing that you don’t want to have at your camera. It is the grainy items at you get to see at your camera.

Mister USA (iPhone 6 Plus)

Also, the quality that you will get when you zoom into your camera is not the best. It is not the one that you will have when you use a dedicated zoom lenses. It is kind of frustrating, but when that is the only one that you have, you have to live with it.

Anyway, my advise on smart phone photography is to find a good light and find a good composition.

For basic phones, you have no choice but to rely on COMPOSITION. In simple word, composition is the arrangement of the stuff that is inside your final image. In drawing, you can draw it. But in photography, you can move it around before you snap it. In street photography, it is much more complicated, you have to find the right moment, and be at the right place at the right time.

In a nutshell, a composition is the story that you want to tell using your image. If you want to make a portrait of someone using an older generation smartphone, try to distance up a bit. Otherwise, close-up using a smartphone’s wide angle will make someone’s face look distorted and it is not flattering.

FCB JJ – Once Upon a Time in the 60s. I can time travel. Trust me, I am an engineer. lol (iPhone)

Otherwise, you can always try to experiment around your smartphone. Once you have taken the photos, try to do a bit of touch-up using it. For my phone, I use Lightroom Mobile, although when I want a quick result, I just use iPhone’s image editing apps. I cannot comment for other smartphone because I have no experience handling it. However, you are most welcomed to try.

As a summary, for general consumption, smartphone photography is good enough, especially if you are a mobile person, or love Instagram to run your business. Even Baldkizz Sulaiman uses smartphone to run her 5-figure business. Just get a photo with good composition, and you are good to go.

Happy experimenting!

One of the old shots I took. I love the mood here. So serene. Things tend to be more beautiful after 12 hours working. (iPhone)

Another Sunset. I love this shot! (iPhone)

F28 from FCB (iPhone)

Another day at workplace, not for the seasick peoples. (iPhone)

Wang Anak Dari Nak Nulis CiritaThe Price of FreedomWould you pay yours?

Today is not really a good day because I have fever, and it caused my nose to run freely. Then, as I lay resting on my bed, trying to recover from my fever, this thought runs through my head freely like Usain Bolt running across the track – the Price of Freedom. Sounds like a good topic for a Hollywood blockbuster. I think it is just me trying to recover from my fever.

Wakandan Salute. Leica M10-P & APO-Summicron 50.

Freedom seems to be the word that is being spoken so much that many seems to lost its true meaning. In anime Attack on Titan/Shingeki no Kyojin, its definition varies whether you are a Marleyan or an Eldian. For Eren, an Eldian, his initial meaning of freedom is to be free from the giant walls that confines them and make them feel like a prey instead of a hunter. During colonialist time, the definition of freedom means to be free from the colonist, regardless of where you are from, and where you reside. As for Marleyan, their freedom is only when Eldian’s Paradis island is crushed, or so they think.

Definition of freedom varies from one person to another, but the fundamental idea persists – the state of being free, perhaps free from anything that is plaguing you. Nobody likes to be colonised or invaded, and everyone likes the idea to be free. Right now, I want to be free from my fever. Probably, somewhere out there someone is dreaming to be free from poverty, and someone else are dreaming of being free from their debt, and attain their financial freedom. Read More

Another Talk at CurtinCurrency of LifeWhy It Matters?

Today I was given the honour by Curtin University as I was invited by Mr Terence Tan Peng Lian, to give a talk to the first year engineering students. The talk was supposed to be only about oil and gas industry to ignite their passion in oil and gas industry. However, since it is a generic topic, I decided to make it more interesting by adding bits of motivational topic on it, which is my favourite bit.

It has been a while since I met Mary. Where did the time go? (Leica M10-P & APO-Summicron 50).

Mr Terence Tan is giving the opening speech. (Leica M10-P & APO-Summicron 50).

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2 Minute ReadAfter-Work HabitsAnd A Bit of Leica S2-P Photography

As I drive back from home, I saw a guy running down the lake where I live. I don’t know who he is, but he is one of the familiar faces that I saw in my neighbourhood. I noticed that he ran daily, at the same time.

That instance hits me, and it came in a form of action. What is my after-work habits?

This is what I call – Happy Hour (Leica S2-P & Summarit 70).

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