Smoking pot?

 

This week I took the morning away from my usual office environment to join my ceramics artist friend, Sutopo at Jalan Bahar Clay Studios. It was a treat (for the mosquitoes). Where’s my Mopiko?

As I work on images from my laptop, Sutopo gets busy turning the wheel and crafting his pieces. After the second one, both of us took a break, and he asked me to take a photo of him.

Earlier that morning, I had worked on my thoughts about Black and White photography by tweaking the settings on the camera as well as revising post processing techniques on the macbook, so I showed him what my alchemy can create.

So what do you think of Sutopo “smoking pot”?

Photography Andy Post-Process Andy Words Andy

The islands of Andaman Sea, Krabi, Thailand.

It is difficult to describe how I felt during my one day tour in the islands. I can only say that it is pure sensory pleasure; all five of them, and if you believe in a sixth.

I can only show you at this moment through what I do best; my imagery – Andessen imagery.

This was captured during the longtail boat ride en route from the pier at Nopparat Thara Beach to the numerous islands. Only a handful of these islands have beaches. They are secluded, small, and private (it depends actually, because you are sharing the beautiful beach with fellow island goers. My experience was a good one. According to my guide, it was considered quiet. I make out a figure of just about more than twenty of us enjoying the morning sun).

My guide pointed out and named many islands along the way. I couldn’t help but be amazed, however my memory does not allow me to remember all of them, and not to mention pin pointing their exact geographical locations. I do recall one, and it is Chicken Island. It is easy because it has a large rock formation that resembles a chicken head. No image here though as we were not headed its way. He told me about Chicken Island as I queried him of a sand bar path that connects one island to the other when it is low tide. I had seen it on television. Now I shall make a big note to go there on another occasion. It will be interesting.

There are still plenty to explore at this beautiful place, which I will now term ‘my paradise’. It is not only the beauty of the islands. There are also places along and inshore of Krabi to visit which I believe is rich in culture. This provides much variety to the small town. I also love the hospitality of its people, having already made a few friends there.

Coming back, I constantly think about the place I never wanted to leave. It feels home to me for many reasons. And I have now plans to make it my home. More details to follow in the coming days and months. I want to share this love of mine with you through photography.

Come and join me on this journey. Let me show you in real and imagery. Make it a part of your plan in 2011.

Photography Andy Post-Process Andy Words Andy

Happy Birthday Travis!

I was taking pictures at Travis’s birthday celebration yesterday.

Do you mean A.i offer photography services for events like birthday now? Yes, and No. You see, Andessen Imagery have been offering complimentary portrait sessions for many months now but the response have been only luke warm. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it sounded too good to be true.

All that was required was to post on our Facebook wall about the things you love and you could win a complimentary photography session about the things you love. It is that simple. No gimmick. No trick. No scam. I know we are all afraid of these.

Elvin posted on the wall saying that he loves family so we met up and discussed about the idea of a family shoot. I made it clear that it would be no studio shoot as A.i’s direction is natural and authentic. It is to keep things real.

I love Elvin’s story. He told me his family include his dad, mum and two older brothers with him being the youngest. It is often difficult to have everyone in the family get together now that his brothers have all grown up and busy with their own lives. One link, however, that joins the family is his eldest brother’s son, Travis. Everyone adores him, and as such it brings the family closer. This closeness is evident at an occasion like Travis’s birthday.

And so, we set the date and I got my gears down to “Capture the things we love.” Happy Birthday Travis! He is such a good boy.

Photography Andy Post-Process Andy Words Andy

Ao Nang, Krabi, Thailand.

The open sea and the vast blue sky is what I love most about the Andaman Sea.

I’m on a Longtail Boat, departed from the pier at Nopparat Thara Beach. There are only four people on the boat. It’s just our guide, the boatman, my buddy, and me.

We’re headed to the islands outside of Ao Nang for a day. There, we would sun bathe on the small secluded beaches and kayak about Hong Island exploring the limestone formations and wild life. Some light snorkeling follows after a picnic lunch. It feels good to swim among the fishes and I would like to apologize to one of them as I was curious and had stalk it around for awhile.

I must have been born in the wrong place I thought as I do not feel like a tourist here. It feels like home.

I feel free. This is me. And I am one with nature.

Photography Andy Post-Process Andy Words Andy

Running to catch his bride?

Is Elwyn running to catch his bride?

Haha! No, he doesn’t need to. His bride is already waiting for him. I just caught him running back from the hotel room to the ballroom after he forgot to put on the flowers to his suit as the couple prepares for their second march-in.

It was a long day but Elwyn was still so energetic. Thumbs up to the man!

Photography Andy Post-Process Andy Words Andy

November 4 2010 8:45pm

Did I mention magic in the last post? I did right? So here you are, a vision brought to life, at 8:45.

Before the banquet began, I was roaming about the ballroom looking for perspectives and angles to frame shots with. And when the time came for the first march-in, Michel and I discussed the areas we would be covering. With him shooting from the front as Elwyn and Serene marched in, I was free to be creative.

Michel would first get the shots he needed from the front while I waited out of sight at the rear. As the couple approached the stage, Michel and Samuel (videographer) from Simplemotion would have cleared to the side and I took the chance to snap this shot. I’m happy that it worked out although it still took a bit of saving in post-processing as I had forgotten to compensate for exposure. With the two glaring spotlights shining in my direction, the initial result was an underexposed image. Thank goodness for the technology of the digital darkroom.

6 years in the army as a specialist/instructor isn’t for nothing. Scouting, planning, tasking and communication are important when there are more than one person on the job. Here it felt like we had just executed a tactical ambush with a flanking maneuver, only that we were shooting with Canons and not M16s. Trip flares and smoke grenades were present too but just not in the military sense. Could you identify them in the picture?

Do pardon me for reminiscing about my army days. I do sometimes miss my days in green and especially the pals who endured the training and hardship beside me. Elwyn and Serene are not my enemies. They are my dear friends. I had long swapped war raging rifles for the romanticism of the camera. While this isn’t the most romantic image, I do think it is in a way quite captivating.

Photography Andy Post-Process Andy Words Andy

November 4 2010 9:40pm

I started the day of November 4, 2010, very early. After making a stop at McDonald’s to pick up some breakfast, I was over at Michel’s place to pick him up before making our way to Serene’s place. We reached at 6.00am. Sending a sms to Elwyn to greet him a good morning, his reply to me was, “Morning! It’s going to be a long day. Hahaha!” And indeed it was.

The day was very eventful and there were many auspicious timings to meet. It all started with Elwyn’s wedding gate-crash, followed by a tea ceremony and a stopover at the couple’s new residence before another tea ceremony back at Serene’s place in the morning. There was a buffet lunch before everyone gathered at Goodwood Park Hotel for the couple’s matrimony solemnization. Thereafter was a break in the mid-afternoon before the dinner banquet later in the evening.

Michel and I took the opportunity before the dinner to head home for a breather. When it was time to pick him up again to head back to the hotel, I realized something and said this to him, “You know what’s funny? 12 hours ago I was here at exactly 5:30 to pick you up and here we are again at 5:30.” He looked at me and said, “Yes, I know. It’s scary. The day hasn’t end.” It was irony and we both laughed.

Michel and I took quite a lot of pictures throughout the day. Whenever possible, I’ll remind him and myself not to take too many and look out only for those that count. In this digital age it’s quite easy to get carried away. “Less is more,” I’ll say.

Of course there will be some moments that you’ll need to squeeze a few more frames to ensure you get the shot. A photojournalist in the film age would term such an occasion as “letting it rip!” Sometimes there just isn’t time to frame and wait. A roll of good old 36 would fire away just like a magazine from a machine gun in seconds and it’s time to reload. Isn’t it a blessing that an 8GB CF card can store more than 200 RAW on a Canon 5D Mark II without much of a worry these days? I’m grateful to digital photography.

To be honest, it took a few frames to get this shot of Elwyn and Serene. I anticipated the laughter but there were still elements out of my control. It usually do not look too flattering when we laugh too heartily and I have some shots of those. They are the ones I’ll never show! Elwyn’s sister and brother-in-law were the ones in the background. In some shots they were expressionless. This one here though is just right. I’m glad that I persisted and waited for the magic to happen. In the words of a National Geographic photographer, “You cannot force the magic.”

It was a long day but magic happened. Here is one on November 4, 2010 at 9:40pm. Keep those happy smiles, Elwyn and Serene, let magic happen again and again. Your life together has only just begun. Bless the two of you.

Photography Andy Post-Process Andy Words Andy