Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Istanbul | Istiklal Caddesi

December 5, 2009

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

This is among my favorite picture of Istiklal Caddesi in Istanbul, there are a lot of peoples here, you really can get lost in time here, watching people doing their business along the street or simply watching people just enjoy walking here. Definitely this is a must visit place for any traveler or tourist who come and visit Istanbul apart from most common tourist attraction like Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya at Sultanahmet. People here really doesn’t bother so much of you taking picture of them, maybe most people here are so accustomed with photographers taking their picture, after all, this is among the most popular tourist attraction in Taksim Turkey.

About the editing, I use a light texture to et a vintage kind of feel here. If you like to know a bit about my processing, here it goes, first I do my editing as usual, adjusting colors and contrast, then I choose “Blue Channel”, Red, Green and Blue Channel give different kind of monochromatic image, so in this case I like to use Blue Channel, copy that Channel and paste it on top of the layer, and start working from it. Turn it into sepia image before adding texture. The original texture are a bit hard, I just want a lightly texture, so I play around with the opacity, I mean reduce a bit the opacity of the texture until satisfied. Here I use soft light blending mode, which is always my favorite blending option. So if you have the time, play around, give your picture some artistic touch into it. If you don’t like doing heavy editing, that was fine but for me I like to try new thing, I like my picture to have “feel” when people watch it.

I don’t called this editing as a “manipulation” but an “enhancement”, the story is still there, the people are real, I did not add or remove what’s being there or what’s not being there, well, maybe I add a “texture”, that’s it. Those thing does not in anyway change the content of the picture, the people, the activity and the surrounding, it’s just that with this kind of an “enhancement” you can “feel it”…

Istanbul | Turkey

November 16, 2009

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

When mention about Istanbul, image of Aya Soyfa, Blue Mosque will come into mind and also all those fairy tail and love stories about Constantinople will become alive. Istanbul is a great place to be and among world favorite travel destination. You can see Europe and Asia in one place living in harmony here. Actually it is not so easy for me to reach here. There were so many procedure to follow and in fact I get the approval the very last minute before the day I depart for istanbul from Kuala Lumpur.

To cut the story short, it was a long flight from Kuala Lumpur to Istanbul on 7th November 2009 at 1 am in the early morning our flight Boeng 777 MH30 take off to Istanbul, it is a direct flight, non stop from Kuala Lumpur to Istanbul which take us approximately 11 hours to get there. Alhamdulillah the journey was very smooth and the hospitality of MAS crew members on board make the long haul journey seem shorter. By 7:45am local time we reach Hilton Istanbul not far away from Taksim Square. I’ve a great experience while our vehicle passing through Galata Bridge and watching magnificent mosque along the journey really get me excited.

There were few minor problem when registering for our room at the hotel and thanks to Malaysian Embassy in Turkey, the problem solve quickly and before 9:00 am I’ve already got my room key no 092. We have a brief Media briefing by Ministry of Foreign Affair regarding of coverage of our Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for the COMCEC Economic Meeting at Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus Istanbul. After that we, a group of eleven local media are eager to tour some part of Istanbul because the very next day when our Deputy Prime Minister arrive, we don’t have so much free time on our hand.

By 2:05pm local Istanbul time we are in the compound of Aya Sofya, it was really big and with my kit lens on my camera won’t fit the grandeur structure of the Aya Sofya. Some of media members wanted to visit Grand Bazaar and for me I’m not interested to shopping but more interested for photo shooting. So we split and will meet at this area of Aya Sofya in two hours time. I was walking alone without any media members with me, from one place to another place, this area called Sultanahmet where a lot of major historical site are within a walking distance, Aya Sofya, Topkapi Museum and Blue Mosque. A lot of people here and from what I can say it is really a photographers haven. Among the place that I really want to visit is Aya Sofya, I’ve to pay 20 Lira to get here or about MYR50 but it really worth the visit since I don’t know when I will be coming here again so the amount is nothing much compare with the experience.

I wish I’ve a wide angle lens, wider than my kit lens 18-70mm, if you guys planning to visit Aya Sofya, please make sure you get a super wide lens, something like 10-20mm or 11-16mm for DX Nikon camera but if you have FX camera like D3 or D700, 24-70 mm will do just fine. It is really big, the dome is massive with great decoration, islamic and also with christian motif. Fast lens really help here since it was dimly lit and this place is pack with tourist. Since I’m alone here I don’t have my personal picture here, pity me. I did not spend much time here simply because I’m running out of time and have few other place to visit.

My next stop is Blue Mosque just a minute of walking distance from Aya Sofya, this is a mosque so you don’t need to pay anything to get inside but you need to take your shoes off and put it in the plastic bag that was made available in the entrance of the Blue Mosque. Once again super wide angle lens really help here and I just have to satisfied with my kit lens. I really enjoy shooting here inside and outside of Blue Mosque and if I’ve more time I’ll definitely looking for much higher place to shoot Blue Mosque from the distance and get the Bosphorus in the frame as well together with the Blue Mosque. By 6:00pm, we finish our tour and get back to our hotel.

About the tram picture and people walking on the street, that was taken in Taksim and the street is famously known as Istiklal Caddesi and according to wikipedia, the street is approximately 3 km long but I did not walk the whole street just part of it because the time constrain. People here are very camera friendly, they really doesn’t bother much about people taking their picture, this street is full of tourist, you might not feel like you were walking on the Turkey street but more like walking in the European country. There were shops on the left and right side of the street, only tram allowed to pass through this street, it is for pedestrian but cars only allowed to pass through to get to the other side of the road. If you guys have plan to visit Istanbul, please make sure you spend a day here in the Istiklal Avenue and have fun watching people going through their lives here, this is really busy street with people from all walk of life and from all over the world.

Photographic Expedition | Belum – Temengggor

October 28, 2009

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

Photo above taken during Belum – Temenggor Photographic Exspedition on 23rd to 25th October 2009 organize by Emkay and Institute Perak Darul Ridzuan. Thanks a lot to Azrul Affandi from Beritah Harian through Photoskool for inviting me to this event, I really have so much fun there.

In The Name of Love

October 11, 2009
© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

HaiQal | Backlighting

September 28, 2009
© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

When I start as a PRESS photographers among few things that bother photographers is “Backlighting”, whether it came from artificial light source or from natural light, sometimes PRESS photographers will shout or ask politely to their subject to move here and there to block the “backlighting”. Backlighting can cause “flare” that make our subject unclear especially on their face. Sometimes photographers will use flash and most of the times they do use flash to put back light onto their subject face so it does not appear to be dark and it is true that metering is tricky for backlighting.

To cut the story short, I love backlighting but that depend on my subject, as for example on my son pictures above, backlighting really add interest to my son hair, make it glow with rim light, in fact I did position my wife and my son so both of them catch the sunlight. Some of my friends ask me whether I use flash or reflector to fill in the light on my subject face. No I don’t, I don’t use flash and I don’t use reflector, I’m not a fashion photographer and I don’t want my shooting look like a commercial shot.

I took the metering on my subject face, if you are using PROGRAM Mode on your camera without any customization, your subject may appear dark because your camera will try to get some balance between the bright area and dark area of your subject, your camera exposure meter doesn’t know which one is important and which one is not. I rarely use PROGRAM Mode, most of my shooting are on MANUAL, so I took a reading on my subject face and forget the rest. Yes the background will be blown out, sometimes there is no details but in this case, like the picture above, the background is not my focus, so I don’t bother about getting the right exposure for that. There you go very simple and my editing is simple also and you can see I like to get my pictures especially portraiture have warm feeling or tone, during editing I bump up the temperature until my eyes satisfied.

Actually there is a lot of things going on about that picture above, I plan my shots even before I get out of the house, I’m very particular about my subject cloth,  when I see my wife or my son wearing something that I didn’t like, I’ll ask them to change the cloth or there is no photo shooting. For me a great shooting comes from great planning, most peoples doesn’t know what’s get on behind the scene, some people doesn’t bother to look deeply inside a picture and ask themselves why this particular picture work, why this picture grab our attention, why this picture stop us to look at it a little bit longer. that’s is how I view my favorite pictures on the Web, I stop and look and ask my self, why this pictures work and why some others not. That’s how I learn, I learn by looking at a picture, not just looking, but look deeper, thinking and then absorb the knowledge that can be found on each of a great pictures if we care to look at it more intensely rather than just browsing.

SPB Agong | Daulat Tuanku

June 7, 2009
© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

I like to cover this assignment, “Hari Keputeraan Agong” or King Birthday only held once a year here at Dataran Merdeka Kuala Lumpur usually on the very first Saturday in the month of June. Another special occasion that took place here is Royal Flag Bearing Procession in conjunction with His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah (The King) Birthday Celebration. Very colorful event and what I like most about covering this historical event is that “The Man In Uniform” very nice to look at and will be a great photography subject. Malaysia is a very unique country, our King keep on changing every five years. You can get that information somewhere, it’s our constitution.

As usual this event took place on the early morning. Our King arrive at 8:00 am sharp, so we photographers must be here one hour earlier to secure our position. It is very crucial to get a very good vantage point. Even though we are official photographers or  press photographers, we are not provided with a special place. Usually they, the organizer will have a steps for us to position ourselves. This year there were none, we just like everybody else, the public, this is open place, we can choose our angle wherever we want but this is not good for us because we have to compete with the public, we are here to do our job, we are not here for a holiday so we should be provided with a better angle from the rest of the public because our picture will be  seen across the world so we need to show the best from our country and for our country.

Nevertheless, I still get a  good angle, next to me is Ahmad Yusni from EPA and next to him is Zainal ABD Halim from Reuters, so I’m in a very good company, three of us are using 300mm lens as our primary lens because the ceremony took place  a bit far across the field. This special event only last for one hour, by 9:00 am our King will leave this place and proceed to National Palace where another event will took place, it was very busy day for our King during his Birthday as a King. I took a lot of photos and feel free to visit my flickr for more pictures.

Uruguay | Montevideo

May 28, 2009
© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

Santiago | Chile | My Story

May 20, 2009
© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

I guess if I keep on abandoning my blog, nobody would ever visit my blog again, I’m really sorry about my long absence here, since got back from Uruguay I’ve a lot of job to do, my journey for oversea trip is an official assignment for the government of Malaysia, I was required to document Malaysia King State visit there with my camera, when we came back home in Malaysia, we have to compile all the pictures that were taken during the official visit and later on make an album for our King, so that’s why I was a little bit busy since got back from my trip, there were thousand of pictures need to be selected, edited nad printed before we hand over the album to the palace.

My journey from Madrid took us more than thirteen hours of flight times, we have to endure long journey with Iberia Airline, it is not a business class for me but just economy class, very long and boring journey, seated next to me is an older man, I try to have a chat with him but it seem that he is not good at english, most of South American people don’t speak english, they speak Spanish, from the shirt that he wore I see “Columbia”, I guess this man must be from Columbia, from his face I guess he is more than sixty years old.

Guys, I’m really sorry about my bad english and about my bad grammar, this is the only way I can share my experience with most of you guys. So what do I do  to kill my time, sleeping, what else but it was not comfortable to sleep and about the food, I can only eat vegetable and fruits, I’m a Muslim so we can’t eat meat there which is not processed according to our religious, I’m not saying that the food is not good to be eaten but as Muslim there is certain way to prepare our meal especially those with meat, for an example we can eat KFC in our country Malaysia but we can’t eat KFC in non islamic country, have you heard about HALAL food, I think you can check or goggle about HALAL food somewhere.

Enough about food, we reach Santiago International Airport in time, local Santiago time 07:50am in the morning, twelve hours different from our home country Malaysia, I was  surprise that when we get to the luggage carousel to get our belonging we were “welcome” by a dogs, if I were not mistaken there were three of them, this is the first time I see a dog at the luggage carousel. They are busy sniffing our bag maybe looking for something “illegal” that we brought in to their country, luckily there was none, we are clear but not so clear, we still have to go through another scan machine to check whether we have brought in any meat product, a plant or anything that was prohibited to enter this country, I see some of our friends there have to open their bag, and take out something that are not allowed to be taken out from this security check. To cut the story short, my bag was clear, I only bring some fast food, like noodle in the packet and that was ok…

We were stranded in the airport close to an hour just to clear our belonging, there are plenty of bag, you would be surprise if I tell you here, most of the things are a gift in a box from our King, it was to be given here in Chile and Uruguay later on and there are also few boxes that contain food from our country, it is hard to get HALAL food here, so this is our ration while we are here in Chile.

After everything was clear, we head to our hotel in Santiago, we stay at Marriott hotel approximately thirty minutes from the airport. Will continue later, just bear with me… 🙂

Kuala Lumpur | London

April 18, 2009
© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

Syukur Alhamdulillah, akhirnya setelah 12 jam dan 20 minit dalam penerbangan saya telah selamat sampai ke Heathrow Airport London tepat jam 5:30am waktu London, masih blur-blur lagi waktu sampai di sini, maklumlah first time sampai kat sini, orang kampung sampai di Kota Raya London, semua benda nampak menarik dipandang, memang sibuk di Heathrow ni, pelbagai jenis manusia yang boleh kita jumpa di sini. Saya bukannya keseorangan di sini tapi dengan sekumpulan Media yang bertugas atas urusan rasmi untuk negara tercinta. Beban yang dipikul memang berat, tapi insyaAllah akan dilaksanakan sebaik mungkin.

Lama sebenarnya kami transit di Heathrow ni, lebih kurang 12 jam, bukan takde flight line tapi kami terpaksa menunggu ketibaan sebahagian lagi delegasi dari Malaysia di sini, sebelum meneruskan perjalanan ke Kota Santiago di Chile. Oleh kerana masa menunggu yang amat panjang, kami mengambil keputusan untuk keluar mengambil angin sebentar di Kota London, pilihan terbaik kami ialah dengan menggunakan train ataupun lebih dikenali dengan “tube” di sini. Kami mengunakan “Heathrow Connect” dari airport untuk ke Central London, perjalanan mengambil masa lebih kurang 25 min untuk sampai ke Paddington Station di Central London dengan tambang £6.90 untuk one way ataupun £13.80 untuk return ticket balik ke Airport, kami membeli return ticket kerana kami hanya akan keluar sebentar sahaja sebelum kembali ke airport dan meneruskan perjalanan ke Madrid dan seterusnya ke Santiago Chile.

Kami difahamkan perjalanan akan mengambil masa lebih kurang 2 jam ke Madrid Spain dan 13 jam 30 min dari Madrid ke Santiago Chile, perjalanan yang amat panjang dan cukup memenatkan, tambahan pula dengan Time Zone yang berbeza-beza, sedikit sebanyak memeningkan kepala. Perbezaan waktu di Chile dan Malaysia adalah 12 jam, senang nak kira, kalau di Malaysia 8 pagi di Santiago Chile 8 malam. InsyaAllah ada masa saya sambung lagi.

Farewell | Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

April 4, 2009
© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

© 2009 Wazari Wazir

” I became a photographer because it involved me in the entire world around me. “I became a photographer because it provided me with food for my soul and bread for my table. “I became a photographer because it enable me to observe the human condition and to record the parade of human events…”