Tags archives: Noctilux

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.

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.

PETROS: Transforming Sarawak Oil & Gas

Dear friends,

How was your week? I hope it is good. The blog post this time is dedicated to the future of Sarawak’s oil and gas, since I believe every Sarawakian deserves to know about it. On Sunday, during the second day of inaugural Sarawak Oil and Gas Seminar and Exhibition 2019, I managed to find my way in to hear PETROS (Petroleum Sarawak) Berhad’s senior managers sit down for a forum entitled “Transforming Sarawak Oil and Gas”. As expected, the session was one of the highlight during the seminar and attracted the attention of many of oil and gas-related personnel, be it the working level or the managerial level despite the session was done in early Sunday morning. This high interest is partly because PETROS was given the mandate by Sarawak government to manage oil and gas resources originating from Sarawak, both onshore and offshore.

Disclaimer: All the information written here were based on the presentation done to public during Sarawak Oil & Gas Seminar and Exhibition on 14 April 2019, Sunday, 8am – 9.30am. Claudius Weson Photography will not be responsible nor liable to any damages should there is any information taken out of context, decision in whatever field of expertise made based on or any changes in information regarding the subject thereafter. The intention of this blog post is merely for information sharing, such that Sarawakians that were unable to attend or hear the session will be able to know the latest news on PETROS.

CEO PETROS – Sauu Kakok

Back to the presentation, speakers for the session are as follows:

  1. Sauu Kakok, CEO of PETROS
  2. Momas Modon, Vice President (VP) Upstream
  3. Peter Wong, Head of Supply Chain
  4. Kiddney Enau, GM of Regulatory & Compliance

Starting the session was PETROS’ CEO, Sauu Kakok. As explained by him, structure of PETROS is driven by Sarawak’s government aspiration to achieve:

  1. greater Sarawak share of revenue from oil and gas
  2. greater participation of Sarawakians in Sarawak oil and gas industry

How they will achieve it?

  1. Regulatory unit in Upstream and Domestic Gas. – to ensure that state law is complied with (namely Domestic Gas Ordinance 2016 (DGO) and Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 (OMO)).
  2. Business & Investment Units: PETROS EP (Upstream), PETROS Gas (Domestic Gas) and PETROS Niaga (Downstream retail businesses). Currently Upstream is the biggest part of the value chain. 

As mentioned above, the two governing ordinances are Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) and Distribution of Gas Ordinance (DGO). Right under OMO is Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri, which under it is State Minerals Management Authority. As for DGO, under it is Majlis Mesyarat Kerajaan Negeri, to which the Director of Gas from Ministry of Utilities reports to.  

In terms of the hierarchy, PETROS currently sits under Ministry of Utilities and State Minerals Management Authority. OMO governs all of the activity Upstream, while DGO governs the Domestic Gas-related activities.

State Minerals Management Authority will decide what the state wants to do with the resources. In this case, PETROS will be the delegated authority, and there will be continuous engagement between PETROS and State Minerals Management Authority as well as Director of Gas to decide what to do next.  The challenge now is for PETROS to align with OMO, DGO as well as MA63 timeline as the outcome of MA63 discussion will also impacts the role that PETROS will play for the benefit of Sarawak. From the forum, it was revealed that October 2019 is the time where the Cabinet will sit for MA63 once again.  

After Sauu’s presentation, it was Momas Modon’s turn to talk about PETROS Upstream business. As the Vice President (VP) Upstream of PETROS, he presented on how PETROS Upstream would look like. He divides his presentation in three key thoughts, namely:

  1. Key features of Sarawak oil and gas industry today.
  2. Landscape of Oil and Gas at Sarawak today and how PETROS is going to contribute to State’s aspiration.
  3. Key characteristics of PETROS EP would be. 

Momas begins with a bit of history. Malaysian oil and gas industry was pioneered onshore by Sarawak in 1910, where the first oil well was called Grand Old Lady, located on top of the majestic Canada Hill, Miri. Now, there is no more onshore oil production at Malaysia except for Asampaya field, bordering Brunei. Exploration works onshore was done but has not led to significant onshore prospects. The industry moves to offshore around mid-1970s. For info, Baram delta platforms are visible from the coast of Miri. At Sarawak, offshore oil platforms are very mature, some are more than 40 years old and some has been decommissioned. Report by Woodmack on 2017, 2500 million barrels was produced from Sarawak. 80% of discovered reserve was produced, and what remains are high water cut oil wells, which requires secondary and tertiary recovery methods should we want to produce from it. As for Baram delta, EOR is the next step. In essence, offshore oil of Sarawak is very matured, combined with aging facilities and is not cheap to produce. Furthermore, the remaining reserves are not that big and continue production will require not small investment.

As for gas, he continued that gas began since mid-1980s. We are proud that not long ago, we are the largest LNG producer in the world. In terms of volumes, more than 30TCF (trillion standard cubic feet) has been produced. Remaining from it is around 20~35% of reserves that has not been produced, which is not easy to reach, small pockets of gas, has high contaminant and more costly to produce.  He mentioned that if PETROS was started 10 years ago, they would have captured more value, but Sarawak has to start somewhere. Heart of Sarawak gas is at Bintulu, where the famous MLNG, SMDS and petrochemical is there. Everyday, 4.5 BCF (billion standard cubic feet) of gas is channelled to Bintulu. However, this would pose a sustainability challenge because supply offshore cannot cope with the ever-growing demand of Bintulu. More downstream hubs are being created. Therefore, the key challenge is for PETROS and Sarawak oil and gas players to find new reserves to keep the demand being filled up.

In terms of the key part that PETROS play to meet the challenges, there are three strategic theme for the business.

  1. Integrated gas. Gas business is the largest revenue generator. 
  2. Oil businesss – smaller portion.
  3. Onshore EP 

It is known that oil business has a smaller portion compared to gas in terms of revenue capture. He explained that with EOR and high water cut, they have to be mindful of the investment that they want to put in place with state’s fund. Therefore, the strategy is to target profitable oil business prospect as well as good revenue-generating asset.

Since onshore was left in the 1960s, utilising the latest know-hows and tools available globally today, they will look into oil space once again, probably the last chance to have a real look at it as they do not intend to leave money on the table, if it means greater benefit to Sarawak. However, with this three themes – Integrated Gas, Oil Business, Onshore EP, their participation is constrained by the organisation. Therefore, it is their utmost priority to build the capacity of their organisation since they are a startup company. Self-sustaining company is also has to be ensured whilst driving technical and operational excellence, hence the need to find the right people for the organisation.

Momas also explained how PETROS EP would look like. One question that he throws to the crowd on oil price is – “Is it lower forever or lower for ever?”. It is quite known that oil price issue has created a level of resilience of the oil and gas players that has survived through the 2015 oil price drop. Secondly, the effect of new technology and digitisation. It is common to see that company’s embrace those to drive down cost. PETROS has the opportunity to embrace this in the very beggining because they are a new company, thus positioning it to compete straightaway.

The third part of Momas’ presentation is the societal expectation, where good governance and culture of care towards the workers and protection of the environment. Many company has committed to the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement, but in this day and age, it requires more than that. The next generation is quite vocal and demands that companies, especially oil and gas, energy industru demonstrate transparency in good governance and top notch safety performance and minimise impact to the environment. With that in mind, Momas explains that PETROS has been busy for the last few months to build PETROS’ organisation, putting in place key government processes, to put their systems and procedures and pulling in the right talent to help building the company and to be fit for the future (sounds familiar).

Peter Wong, Head of Supply Chain

The third speaker of the forum is Peter Wong, Head of Supply Chain. His starts his talk by mentioning that the 25 booths during Sarawak Oil and Gas Seminar and Exhibition was fully booked, despite some of the companies in Sarawak are not aware of it. He briefly mentioned about many of the vendors at Sarawak does not know each other, thus the importance of get-together like this. For Sarawak, there is only abour 400 plus vendors, out of 4000 of registered vendors under PETRONAS register. That only accounts for 10% from the total of vendor at Malaysia. He encouraged vendors from Sarawak to be more proactive and to find more opportunities outside Sarawak, and even Malaysia. Also, he encourages greater participations from Sarawak vendors, especially Sarawak-based participations to create more job opportunities to Sarawakians. The most important thing is to continue to be better in what you are doing, which PETROS and vendors will work together to unlock more remaining hydrocarbon in Sarawak. He ends with “Sarawak Boleh!”.

Kiddney Enau, GM of Regulatory & Compliance

The last speaker of the session is Kiddney Enau, General Manager of Regulatory and Compliance, the “youngest” one out of the four, because he just joined on 7th Jan 2019. Prior to that, he was the first Director of Gas under Ministry of Utility. He explaines that OMO applies to Upstream, offshore and gas processing plant, and DGO applies to downstream. It is divided into two part; firstly Economic Regulations that includes LNG Import to RGT Terminal, Power Sector, Export Large Industries, and secondly, Economic, Technical & Safety Regulations, which covers Small and Medium Industry, Commercial as well as Residential.

Now, PETROS is in the transition period and undergoing regulatory adjustment. The main focus now is to embed both OMO and DGO to applicable provision and into the relevant petroleum activities in Sarawak. That transition period, however, will end on 31st Dec 2019

OMO – on the upstream bit, is similar into other ordinance, general in nature. Therefore, when they have the engagement with the lawmaker, all of them is engineer by technical background, so the interpretation is different and they have very interesting discussion when they were discussing it. DGO only applies to the gas distrubution. Fuel is not part of DGO 2016. When they talk about DGO – they put up public notice in July 2018, when the ordinance was effective. Gas distribution part is quite small and not many people know about DGO 2016 is anyway.

His successor started on 1st April 2019, new Director of Gas Distribution. He will work closely of the new director of Gas and how they can collaborate to smoothen the process.

What follows after the presentations is the Q&A session, which many participants were waiting for, as can be seen from the peoples queueing up behind the microphones. It is quite evident that the interest on PETROS is rather high, to Sarawakians and non-Sarawakians.

First Question: Data is lifeblood of any organisation, but it was not mentioned. We have amassed 109 years of data in Sarawak oil and gas industry. We don’t seem to talk about it. So could you comment?

Momas answers it by saying data is very important, sometimes it is more important than the physical asset itself. Since PETROS is a new company, he did alluded to it when he mentioned that PETROS is going to embrace digitisation.

Previously, creating the project in digital platform is a means to and end. However, the trend the last few decade is the original digital twin with the power of digitalisation creates its own significant value. So, the question  now is how PETROS/State have or acquire the decades of centuries of worth of data from Sarawak, under purview of Petronas at the moment. PETROS want to have the direct access to those data so that PETROS can have better long term planning.

Sauu Kakok adds that it is part and parcel of the ongoing discussion, where data drives everything else. PETROS is still discussing it at the moment. What they want to do is to have access of those data and the discussion is how and to what extent will be underpin by the data. Sarawak government has the right to it, and it is part of the the big umbrella discussion where the outcome will be known within the next couple of months.

Second question touches on the PETROS’ plan with the existing license requirements in Sarawak, and does PETROS plans to add additional requirement, or plan to replace the existing PETRONAS license?

The answer from Sauu is no plan to replace the existing PETRONAS license. Two guiding law that PETROS need to adhere to, i.e. OMO and DGO. PDA (Petroleum Development Act 1974) is still there as well. Therefore the aim is for PETROS to not to overcomplicate the processes, but to make it simpler while putting compliance to state and federal law in mind.

Added by Peter is also that this also applies to vendor as well. A lot have asked them whether to register with PETROS or not. To ensure business continuity, vendors will continue to use the existing process, but to make it much more simpler as they do not want to add further cost point to the vendors.

Third question is asking what does PETROS wants to be? Do they want to be like PETRONAS or being PETRONAS Operating Arms? Second part to the question is inquiring on the compliance of the State and Federal Law, where does PETROS divide the line?

Answer from Sauu Kakok is that since all of them engineers by background, they takes advise from the state government on the interpretation and implementation of OMO and DGO. Discussion that is ongoing, and they have the top two Legal mind in the team, as well as the state legal advisor. Thus, they advise is taken from them. PETROS is really there to implement the Sarawak’s mandate to them to implement. Again, he emphasised that state aspiration is greater revenue and greater participation of Sarawakians in Oil and Gas business.

Fourth question, first part, from putting on a date of 31st Dec 2019, what will happen next? Investors would really like to know  what is next. Second part of the question is, with the current situation, word “disruptor” is the best word to describe the key management and PETROS as they are disrupting the current oil and gas industry (though not really specified where by the speaker). For the past one year also, there has been so much secret by PETROS. As for the investors and vendors, it is good to have this kind of session from time to time.

That bold question was answered by Sauu, saying that they fully recognised the silence, which is deliberate since they have a lot of moving parts, which includes engagement with the right authorities to move forward. The intent of the 31st Dec 2019 grace period is to accelerate the process and to allow the implementation of what is being done by state and federal in timely manner. He said that PETROS will communicate ahead of time to which the time and changes. Thy will not flip over to new processes once the 31st Dec 2019 is met and their commitment is to ensure smooth transition moving to 2020.

The fifth question from the crowd is on the licensing method, where it is not really clearly stated whether to embrace the PETROS license or PETRONAS license? Also, who actually owns Sarawak oil and gas resources.

Answer from Sauu is PETROS is not to decide who owns Sarawak oil and gas resources. However, as mentioned earlier, they do take guidances and advises (from State legal advisor) and implement it to achieve state’s aspiration within the framework, which is greater revenue to the state and more involvement of Sarawakians in the Sarawak oil and gas industry. With the current setup, the one strong differences is that state has a role in approving the decisions moving forward. Peter Wong added that in terms of vendor registration, the main thing is to ensure business continuity. Process will remain the same to not to burden the vendors, and this is to ensure that more Sarawak contractors involved in the higher value contract.

One final question from the crowd inquires about effort to put in place organisations’ move to sustainability? Employee creativity is important, and should be put in place to positively impact oil and gas sector.

This question was taken up by Momas, which explains that roughnecks and “cowboy approach” might have worked in the past, but those talents today will not survive. It is a challenge in the oil and gas industry, where the most of the players are the tail end of their careers, and the new generation graduates are less inclined to join oil and gas industry. Therefore, PETROS need to create a diversed team that is dynamic for the future. Since they are just beginning, it is a golden opportunity to start it right. Sarawak has no lack of talents to run a company, and we have talents all over the world, working in oil and gas industry. The trick is to bring them back and entice them to contribute back to Sarawak. Also, it is one of PETROS’ agenda to reach out to the local space in terms of the local university and institute to groom innovative talents for sustainability for the future of Sarawak oil and gas.

Adding to the point, Sauu also jokingly explained that they are “dinosaurs”, because their approach is different in the past, as the future will employ artificial intelligence (AI) that requires different mindset to work. Also, PETROS would need more time to ensure that local universities’ in Sarawak expectation aligns with them and the industry’s evolving needs in the longer term, the skillset required and thus ensuring it is fully align in how we will run the business safely in the future.

With those words from Sauu, that marks the end of the session with PETROS for the seminar. With the arrival of PETROS, it marks a more exciting part of the Sarawak oil and gas industry. Who knows what might come next for Sarawak?

The general impression after the session is that many were quite happy with the session with PETROS top management because this gave them more understanding on what PETROS is going to do next, even though there are still many works required, particularly building up a solid team to really benefit Sarawakians.

As a parting words for now, it is crucial for the younger generations to learn and equip themselves for the growing needs of the future. One thing that I always see as a shortcoming is the ability to communicate fluently in English. This is not just for the sake of showing off, but to ensure marketability. Combined with solid technical skills in engineering, legal, marketing, one can easily become deehto for the future. Most importantly, one needs to have the desire to learn more and improve to be more competent.

Being there, I also took the opportunity to capture few images of the interesting peoples there. Until next time, take care!

Your tukang rantek,

Claudius

Brooke Dockyard ladies.
Dayang Enterprise ladies.
Serba Dinamik ladies.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved. No content of this blog should be used without prior approval.

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. 

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.

Claudius Weson's JourneyFinding The Magic of LightA career-defining session with Thorsten Overgaard

Have you ever wonder what does it take to create a great picture? Was it because of the gear? Was it because of the people inside the picture, their expression or their emotion? Or was it because of an x-factor? X-factor is a common term used in algebra (one of many branch of mathematics, from Arabic “al-jabr”, meaning “reunion of broken parts”), where “x’ usually refers to the unknown. All this while, I thought that this x-factor was something else, something beyond our current science or level of comprehension. Some photographer might call it the technical perfection. However, no matter how good your equipment is, regardless it is the recently released equipment or lenses or camera, without that x-factor, that picture will not become a great picture. So what was it?

 

That question kept on bugging me because like any other aspiring photographer, I always want to improve my photograpy skills. I want to become a good photographer. Various combination was tried, but it was always hit-or-miss, where sometimes I nail it in my shots, and sometimes I don’t. It was when I heard about Thorsten, reading his stories and reviews, and watching his video on Youtube that I started to get an idea of a good picture. In his word, the x-factor is “the Magic of Light”.

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