A pen is…

People who knows me will know that I’m no stranger to “old technological” stuffs. For example, I still shoot occasionally with my film camera, I brew coffee the old fashioned way, and I still write a lot despite typing is much faster and easier.

I’ve shared a fair bit about film cameras through my previous blog posts, today I’ll talk a little about writing. I write frequently, both during work and during my own personal time. I jot down meeting minutes, notes from lecture, ideas that come to my mind, my diary and so on.

It has always been a little frustrating when writing with ballpoint pen, especially those cheaper ones. Hard start, line skipping, overflow of ink and so on. But to be honest, I had never questioned myself why am I still using one. It seems to be the only choice, like there’s no substitute to it. Until one day, my friend introduced me to fountain pen, letting me to try writing on one, and then I realized what I had been missing all along.

I’m not expert in fountain pen, I’m not into collecting fountain pens either. I just want an enjoyable writing experience. Fine writing instruments seem to be the answer for me. It’s much easier and smoother to write on a fountain pen than a ballpoint pen. The experience is very different and very enjoyable. As a starter I got myself a Platinum Preppy and Pilot Kakuno to try out, and soon I’m hooked.

At the moment, I’m writing with a Lamy Aion fountain pen, a birthday present for me actually. Though not the best fountain pen, it’s good enough for me to write at the moment. Will this be my one and only pen? Probably not. But I’m not into collecting pens, so I’ll probably still continue to search for one more pen that I really in love with and that’s about it. What pen will it be? I wonder. Let’s see how it goes. Till then.

It’s been a year…

Yup. It’s been a year since the last time I actually touch my Leica M camera. Did I lost my love to it? Well, not really. I bet I will still enjoy using one when I pick it up. Life has been busy and fast paced that I don’t really have time to “slow down” myself. I had been using mainly my Fujifilm X100F for the past one year. Is it a better camera? Well, certainly not. There are so many shortfalls on this camera that drove me nuts at times, but then again, as you worked around its limitations, you will still be able to live with it. Each camera has their pros and cons to begin with.

So why am I not using it more often? For the things I shot for the past one year, they are mainly activities and events surrounding my study, which either was fast paced or require the use of flash. Can a Leica M shoot fast pace subject? Of course it can. Can a Leica M shoot with flash? Of course it can. On the first point, I would probably put the blame on myself for not being able to use the camera fluently. On the second point, I’m still new to using flash, and I don’t think I can juggle between focusing, composing and setting up flash at the same time.

There are limitations on me, and certainly there are limitations as well on the camera. But when it comes to making a decision on which camera to use, I had decided to walk the easier path: go with automation. For my personal stuff I can afford to make mistakes and not getting the shot, but for things that I need to deliver, I will have to use something that I’m more comfortable with in delivering the required result, and in this case, I have chosen to use my X100F over my M.

And then I started to ponder again whether I should still keep my Leica M. For me, what I enjoyed the most is the experience of shooting with a rangefinder, not a Leica. Perhaps I should just use my Zeiss Ikon when I wanted to fiddle with rangefinder camera. But that brings up another question to ponder… should I still continue to shoot film? I sold off my Fujifilm GW690III Medium Format Film camera recently, I had enough fun with medium format, and the problem dealing with medium format film was a pain that overweights the joy of using one. I’ll talk about this more in a separate post.

I still has an affection to analogue photography. I’ll continue to shoot film for the time being, but as my favourite films are being axed from the production one after another, I may stop shooting film eventually. As for my Leica M? I’ll probably need to pick it up for a spin again someday and asked myself what to do next. Till then.

200 and beyond…

 “You’ve made 200 posts on funny bunny photography!”

That’s the notification I received few weeks ago when I published my post. Yup, 200 posts and still going. This will be post #208. This blog was initially started as a continuation from my older blog that documents my photography journey. Now I had merged my personal blog here as well, it had diluted the content a little, and the blog has officially became a place to document my life, not just my photography journey.

For the past 12 months I had been busy with my studies, and will continue to be busy until end of this year. Hence, there were less sharing on photography related post. Nevertheless, I’ll try to balance things up a little in my blog. I’ll still go out and shoot whenever I’m free, and I still enjoy capturing pictures. Of course as time goes by there might be changes in priorities, but nevertheless, I’ll still try my best to keep writing, documenting and sharing.

As for what’s coming… I do have some plans on what I want to do, but most of them will probably be materialized only by next year. Some short term plan will be getting the pictures from my Hanoi trip ready and print them into a photobook. Then, I’ll be off for another trip the week after, I’m heading back to Japan again, though to different cities and location. Hopefully can get some shots from that trip too, although the weather seems to be not in my favour. For now, I’ll keep the slow pace going and let’s be hopeful for the days to come. Till then.

Beauty in the banal

Often when we face photography burned out, we will be giving reasons such as “There’s nothing exciting to shoot about from my daily life”. The very same can be said to those vloggers who crunch out videos from their daily life on regular basis. One must be thinking that the vloggers need to have fantastic daily life of soaring the sky or diving into the deepest abyss in order to have interesting content.

I beg to differ. A lot of times, what’s interest me of a photograph is not about the location or the content, but more so on the moments or emotions it carries, and also the technical aspects of it such as composition, colours and etc. Same goes to video, it’s more on the story rather than the location that will attract my attention. And a lot of times these photos and videos were created in a very mundane setting, or “banal” as stated in my title.

I learned about this phrase during a photography sharing session a few years back. The photographer mentioned that it’s certainly much easier for one to go to epic location and take a picture and get a lot of buzz out of it. But you can’t be heading out to epic location constantly (unless you are really rich or being paid to do so I guess), so if you want to create good works constantly, you will need the ability to “see” the beauty in the banal.

To see what others don’t, from the daily ordinary things.

This is actually quite true when you think about street photography. It’s all about looking for that “ah-ha” moment within the routines. As with what some vloggers did, they try to look for and create a story out from their daily routines. Is this moments and stories that will captivate viewers, as they joint the dots and connect the photographer/vloggers to their viewers.

I’m certainly not a good moment seeker and storyteller for now. To me, what’s important now is to slowly learn to “see”, to plan, to think and to act accordingly. Hopefully all of us will be able to see beauty in every mundane in our life, and the world will be a better place to live in by then. Till then.

To Malaysia

I’m a Malaysian, currently working in Singapore. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I didn’t chose Singapore but it was Singapore who chosen me when I decided to leave my home country and work overseas. I don’t bother about the difference in currency exchange rate, I don’t bother about staying in Johor while traveling daily to work in Singapore. I work and live here in Singapore, just like every Singaporean do. Do I aspire to convert myself to Singaporean? At this point of time, I would say no, I do not have that intention.

I left Malaysia and work overseas 5 years ago after casting my first ever vote during the General Election #13. It was such a bad experience, terrible, horrible, I can’t think of a better word to describe just how crap it turned out. Everyone knows what happened in front the scene and behind the scene, there’s no need to elaborate further on that. And sadly, that was part of the reason why I decided to leave my beloved country and work oversea.

Then came General Election #14, but I’ve chose to give up my vote for this year’s election. I did not return to Malaysia to vote. Why? Because I can’t cast my vote to any of the political parties, be it the opposition party or the ruling party. I just can’t. I love my country, but I can’t comprehend in sending my beloved country into the hands of either of the political parties. I don’t trust any of them. I know it’s my ethical responsibility to vote, but I would like to stress that it’s not mandatory either. I know there are those who believed in opposition party and voted for them. I know there are those who just want to dethrone the ruling party, hence they will vote for anyone other than the ruling party. And of course there are those who still believe in the ruling party and voted for them. But for me, I just can’t do any of these.

I’m not trying to justify that I’m right for not casting my vote, just like I’m not interest to question your choice of voting on either side. I don’t view people who voted ruling party any differently than those who voted the opposition party. I don’t see voting opposition is equivalent to saving the country, or voting the ruling party is equivalent to bringing the country down. There were things that done right or wrong by both sides. This is my view, and I’m not asking you to follow my view or accept my view. You can continue to believe in what you are believing, you can continue to hate people like me, it’s your freedom to do so. I just hope that you don’t bring your personal preference and generalized it as a fact that everyone else must follow.

In any case, I felt sad throughout the whole election process. Fake news floating everywhere, people start to label those who support the ruling party as the bad guys, people sharing “news” and “information” without even bother to verify their authenticity, so much hatred, so much anger. At the end of the day, everyone can choose to vote for anyone they wished for. It’s their freedom, it’s their choice, please respect that. Accept the diversity in terms of views and opinions.

In the end, the opposition won the election. Honestly, I was surprised by the result. I thought it would be much closer for both sides, so it’s probably a good sign that people do realize a change is needed. But is the opposition the answer to it? Honestly, I still have my doubt on their capabilities. The problem with Malaysia is not something that’s easy to fix in a year or two. It’s cultural and behavioural, it will take a long time to infuse change on these areas.

As of now, I’m glad that the nation has moved to a new milestone, able to unite together for once, able to be brave and voice out their opinion. But I still can’t celebrate. We are still far away from the end goal, to have a country that’s corruption free and operating efficiently, and I’m still uncertain whether my beloved country is now in good hand. For some, this milestone is already huge enough for a celebration. But for me, if 5 years down the road and things did improved and become promising, that is probably when the celebration starts. That is probably when I can confidently walk out and cast my vote on someone who I can really rely on. I really do hope that day will come, I really do. But will I celebrate at that point of time? Probably not. I chose to be a viewer during this change, and I will not complaint nor asking for more. But when that day comes, I will surely feel happy for my beloved country.