How to take good picture?

Another common question that people like to ask is “how to take good picture”. In fact, I’m guilty myself as I did asked the same question over and over again before this. Is there any problem with this question? Isn’t it a good thing if people would like to ask and learn to take better picture?

There are a few sides on how to take a better picture, one is the technicalities on composition, use of light, use of colours and so on. One is how to take a picture that carries weight or tells a story. And one is how to post process the picture to bring out the most of it.

Perhaps one should be more specific on the question that they want to ask. For example, discussion on whether one composition works better than the other, or what editing can be done to enhance the picture and so on. Asking a generic question like this is similar to asking “how to be a better man”, it’s hard for people to give you a useful answer, and it’s even harder for you to grasp the essence of it.

If you look from another angle, I would question what’s the motive behind someone who asks about “how to take a good picture”. If it’s purely in search of more likes and hype, the approach will simply be different, honestly you don’t need a good picture to get likes and followers on social media, you just need to shoot the right subject that feeds your audience.

If one genuinely want to improve in photography, try to develop questions that are more specific, step by step, improve your skills and understanding along the way and put things into practice. There really isn’t any shortcut to better picture, not even if you replicate what others have already created. Those are my thoughts, feel free to comment or share your point of view. Till then.

It Will Rain

The sky turns dark, clouds gathered, drizzles turned to downpours. Here comes the rain. I think most of the time we will choose to stay home instead of going out to shoot in rainy days.

“I don’t want to get myself wet!”
“I don’t want to get my camera wet!”

One may argue why people want to buy a weather resistant camera when they don’t even expose their camera in such environment to begin with.

I don’t purposely shoot in the rain, yet I don’t try to avoid it when I’m in the rain if I wanted to grab the shot. I’ll shoot even if my camera is not weather sealed. Of course I’ll try my best to protect it in the process of shooting, and I’ll wipe it dry as soon as I’m done with it.

The annoying part for me is when droplets of rain hit in front of my lens when I don’t want it to be, so I ended up need to wipe it dry and get it shielded when I want to take a shot in the rain. It’s fairly easy to be done with auto focusing camera, but try that with a manual focusing camera, you will be all over the place juggling to get a shot.

Anyway, for people like me who lives in tropical country where rain is abundant, perhaps we should make use of this opportunity and take more pictures in the rain? Probably I’ll explore about it and see.

Am I still shooting?

DSCF0132-24I got my day job and my part time classes had started. Do I still have time to shoot? Well, yes and no. I must admit it does feel very tired dealing with all of these stuffs, sometimes even though I have the spare time to go out but I would rather stay home and rest. And sometimes when I wanted to shoot but I’ll just have to give it a pass and finish up my assignments.

DSCF0438-22However, I am still shooting, though a bit differently. Too lazy to go out? Well, I ended up doing some small photography projects at home instead, stress free and relaxing. I don’t have luxury of time to roam around the streets, but I do have time to shoot for some class activities and events, subject and genre has changed, but I still get a taste of photography.

DSCF0422-15At the end of the day, I believe it’s all about your will. If you want to do something, you will make time for it, you will plan for it, and you will make it happen. There’s no short cut, no magic, no nonsense. Hope this motivates you a little to grab your camera and start shooting. Till then.

The Story Behind The Picture: Sunset at Tokyo Skytree

I took this shot earlier this year in April 2017. It was during my trip to Japan, chasing over full bloom of cherry blossoms. For most part of my trip, the weather was cloudy and overcast throughout the day. The sky finally cleared on my last day in Japan, and I was happened to be in Tokyo. After checking through some recommendations on where to shoot for sunset, I decided to take a shot of the Tokyo Skytree during sunset blue hour.

I took a walk to the Jukken Bashi Bridge, it has a nice stream of river (Kitajukken gawa river) leading towards the Tokyo Skytree Tower. I picked my spot, setup the tripod and camera and waited for the nice light to come. I’m shooting with my Leica M-P Typ 240 with the Leica Super-Elmar-M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH lens. For the scene, I decided to add ND filters (6 stops if I remembered correctly) and shoot bracketed shots instead. Sadly, 21mm lens simply not wide enough to capture the tower together with it’s reflection in whole. Anyway, I’ll just make do with what I have for now.

While waiting for the sun to set, an elder Japanese man stopped by besides me with his camera, I believe it’s an Olympus E-M5 or E-M1. While we both wait for the sun to set, he started to initiate conversation with me in Japanese. I can speak a little, so I just tried my best to understand him and respond accordingly. Sensing that I’m not local, he asked where I came from, when I told him Malaysia, he smiled and said that his grandfather was in Malaysia during the war, but he had never been there before.

Perhaps he felt a bit awkward for bringing up a rather sensitive part of the history. There was a moment of silence until I break the ice again by asking him whether he shoot often. We chatted a bit on photography and then he showed me some of the images he took. Then came another young man who stood beside us shooting the same scene. The elder man chatted with him as well while waiting for the sun to set.

We took our shots when the light was finally right. Later on, I decided to stay a little longer while the elder man started packing his stuff and prepared to leave. “Here, this is for you.” To my surprise, the elder man actually gave me a few prints he took of Mount Fuji. Lovely indeed. I thanked him for the nice souvenir and greeted him farewell.

Some say “music brings people of different languages and backgrounds together”, I believe “art” does. Music, drawings, sculptures, dance, photography and so on. Its very nice and heart warming to meet up with like minded people, especially locals, while travelling overseas. Hopefully I will get this kind of encounter in the future too.