The last time when I was working in Kuala Lumpur for four years, I must have attended more than 20 "workshops" and "seminars" that were "Photography related". But sad to say, like a lot of the participants I spoke to; we came out of such workshop none the wiser!
I found almost all the workshops and seminars are sponsored by big name camera manufacturers and understandably the seminar presenter is more keen on promoting their products than teaching you how to shoot better pictures, after all; most of these "talks" are free and usually with a good lunch "thrown in" :-)
So when the Sarawak Newspaper Association asked me to give a one day workshop to their members, I was in a bit of dilemma. Their "members" are all working media professionals, what can I teach them? At the end of the seminar they better learn something, my reputation is at stake and to fly me from K.L. to Kuching, Sarawak; the two nights stay in a 5 stars hotel beside the colourful Kuching River, all the makan and a "token ang pow" cost a good sum too!
These were my plan:
Day one: After checking in I will stroll along the Kuching River bank for two hours and shoot my pictures, my view; my way. A digital camera was used so I can show the results to my "students" tomorrow.
Day two: Our seminar started after breakfast and a talk on the art of seeing pictures, on composition were given. I also showed a Power Point presentations on " Ten Rules To Better Pictures ".
My participants, all 15 of them were told to take a walk along the same river bank outside the hotel and shoot a roll of 36 exposures film each. They should used the techniques and "rules" that they just learn and put them in practice.
Most important of all, they should try and "SEE" the picture in, to them; a "too familiar" surrounding. Two hours is the maximum they will spend at the river bank and after which they will processed and print their shots in 3R size.
The afternoon session of the seminar were spend discussing the "best" shots each students selected from their shoot. After that, my shots were shown and more discussion and critiques were thrown around.
End of the day the students find the workshop stimulating because they actually learn from each other and also the mistakes they made. At the same time I gave them my view and ideas and why I took the shots...
At the certificates presentation and dinner that night I received some very encouraging feedback... thanks forks, it has been a real pleasure and honour guiding you!
Please take a look at my shots and see what you think....
If you are in Kuching and walking along the River Kuching bank, you will notice these colourful "Lipton boats" that ferry people to and fro the banks. A Canon D2000 digital SLR and a 14mm super-wide was used to capture this composition. Can you notice the subject that strengthened the composition?
The strong afternoon sun create a stunning reflection of the colourful boat. My students were surprised that such arty shots can be found at the river. Case in point, look and see!
Clockwise...I call this "River AH BENGS", "Ah Beng"; by the way is a Malaysian slang for boy racer :-) Shot with the 80-200 plus a 1.4X extender.
Row, row, row your boat!
The old and the new, the fast and the slow. Long lens again.
Kid are kid... who can resists playing with water?
Row, row, row your boat!
Hotel Hilton framed by the metallic sculptures.
A school girl, a fleeting smile...Colourful school girl going home. And a rushing office worker during lunch time, love the back lit sunlight!
Friends, picture tell the story.
Clockwise from left.... Shot through my hotel room window with a fish eye lens.Sunset at the river and sunset through my hotel window again.
Below are some shots I took around Kuching...
Another "old and new" contrasting shot.
The crossing, or after a day of shopping, Kuching style :-)
Yellow river, through the very wide 14mm lens.
Friendly woman at a "long house".
Cutting up sheet metal outside a 'long house", no; picture was NOT taken in Thailand ;-)
My favourite shot of the whole trip! A CANDID shot of these two shy kids at the village where I was photographing.
City Lizard! Caught outside the Kentucky Fried Chicken store near my hotel!
Some of the happy participants after receiving their certificate of attendance.
Yours truly learning the fine art of blow pipe shooting from a native, Rapaee Kawi of The Star in Kuching took this shot for me. Thanks for the help and guided tour Rapaee!
It has been an memorable trip!
* Sad to say, Rapaee; 51, passed away 21, May. R.I.P., Rapaee.