Tags archives: October

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

Ponsikou kio Musti

Tabi basa & greetings friend and family,

Hopefully this week’s beginning has been an effective one for you. As time goes by, I began to embrace solace in silence. It gave me time to quietened down the external noise, and enables me to listen to my inner voice in the stillness. I encourage everyone to embrace the silence, especially the content-creators community, be it photographer, videographer or even musicians. Also, it is important to take time-off as and when required to help with the physical and mental health management. Otherwise, you would face burnout. That is bad. Don’t be part of the statistics.

As for this current post, I want to write about my latest assignment. This time I was tasked to capture the farewell of one of our leaders, Musti Juin, a Sabahan guy. He is an Operations Installation Manager (OIM), and is in charge of a platform. He is like the boss of the platform, offshore. For those who watched the movie Deepwater Horizon, I am sure you have an idea of what an OIM is. Personally, I always likened an OIM to a Hokage, if you watched Naruto series, simply because he is the most knowledgeable and competent person on-board. Technically, he has to because he need to manage a lot of stuff. Basically, he is the most important person onboard, and has to take care of every aspect of the platform, from HSSE, production, maintenance and even welfare.

The event was a straightforward one. However, the most important thing is not the food, but the gathering of person that worked together to achieve common goal. In this case, his team gathered once more to celebrate his contributions all this while before he move to the next assignment. During

For every hello, there is good bye. But behind every goodbye, is a chance to say hello once again. Talking about workplace, no matter who we are, we have one single goal, which is to bring bread back to the family.

In the modern context, is to feed the family. If we have a good person to work with, the journey itself is more enjoyable. To have a good leader on board, it is indeed a blessing, especially if the leader has years of experiences under his belt, and able to lead the team effectively without relying on his authority to get the job done.

To be able to observe such leader working is a good experience, especially for the younger generations, and the future leaders. You can actually learn a lot from what is unsaid versus what is said. In Ronan Keatings word, you said it best when you say nothing at all. This is one of the skills that is hard to come by, cannot be found in books because soft skills are the things that we are not able to learn through courses, but through deliberate exposure and of course, mentoring by the more senior leader.

For me, and to most of the peoples here, this is definitely not a goodbye, but a “see you again” kind of event. To see the camaraderie demonstrated by the boys tells a lot about how close this team are.

Hence, hasta la vista, and ponsikou (thank you in Kadazan-Dusun), Musti!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

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

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

In The Beginning

Farewell Speeches

Photo Session

Mejeng Time

Trainee Bartenders

Sayonara

© 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.

Playing With Colours

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends,

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

Dayung Laut

The First “Dayung Laut” – Emilia Shander

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

The faces of the candidates are as follows:

The Next “Dayung Laut” 2019 Contestants

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

Playing with Colours

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

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

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

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

Gears:

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

Talents:

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

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

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

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

Dresses and Accessories

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

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

Working Experiences?

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

Theme for Young Lovers

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

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

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

Ada ku kesah?

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

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

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

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

Hope For Tomorrow?

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

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

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

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

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

Dayung Bidayuh Miri

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends, 

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

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

Wake Up Call:

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

Group? What group?

This is my group – Taruh Dari (3D)

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

Pichin Ladies: Ladies in Red

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

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

Camera? You Mean, Rantek?

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

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

Gear Used:

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

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

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

Photoshoot Time! / Ngirantek Time

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

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

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

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

Your Tukang Rantek,

Claudius Weson

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

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

Monochrome Photoshoot at Pulau Melayu

Dear friends,

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

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

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

Gear: Collapsible Summicron

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

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

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

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

Camera: M9 Monochrom

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

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

Photoshoot Time!

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

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

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

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

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

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!

 

No, This Is Not Farewell.See You Again, George!We are definitely going to see him again.

3 years ago, this guy by the name of George Warbrick started his journey at E11. The life-changing journey for him was walked through with his fellow team mates with courage and hope to ensure production is always up,mechanically-speaking. But this is not the story about his career – it is about his farewell buffet dinner that was organised by the E11 team.

“Skema” Group Shot.

Read More

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).

Read More