Fadzly's blog on his photography

Posts tagged “Malaysia

Venturing the Medium Format world: The feeling of expansiveness, closeness and detail.

Seagull 4A TLR | 75mm ƒ3.5 | Fuji Pro 160S
Tok Jembal Beach, Terengganu, Malaysia (2008)

I’ve been craving for a medium format system and had done quite some research over the web for the said objective. Thus, over the last year or so I’ve tried (i.e. tested and borrowed) a few medium format bodies, namely RB67, Hasselblad 500 C/M and a Seagull 4A (TLR).

One thing that marks the medium format experience is the feeling of expansiveness, closeness and detail that is visible through the finder and the elegance of the shape relative to the angular, distant and cramped (my view) 35mm view. I get these things with 6×6 and 67.

Personally I don’t get this feeling with a 645 system results that I see on the web which I guess is another way of saying that it all looks too similar to 35mm for me. I hope I could have my hands on a 645 system so that I can really get a proper feel for the system.

That said there is certainly enough film size to produce great large prints. At the moment I am more inclined towards getting a camera with the largest negative that I could afford (i.e. 6X6 or 6X7)… Maybe a system with reputable lenses like Mamiya or Hassleblad. They are quite easily acquired from some good stores like KEH, some camera strores in Singapore or Evil Bay if my budget gets too tight.

Quoting Mr. Philip Partridge, Jan 09, 2006; 02:15 a.m. (Photo.net Forum)
I sometimes ponder why some people cannot see the ‘sharp edge/ poor tonal separation’ syndrome one encounters all over the place with digicam images. Maybe there is a kind of visual literacy at play?

In a word, better images, so typical of larger pieces of film real estate, exude *authenticity*. It’s a combination of clarity, fine detail rendition, lack of obvious grain, and tonality (or tonal separation) and even the range of tonal values. It’s not apparent sharpness (MTF) as such – many top MF lenses rate with the finest from Canon/Nikon; check out photodo.com.

Notice that most of these qualities do not lend themselves to ready quantification or measurement. Which explains the plethora of ‘6mp vs (pick a film camera)’ comparos on the web, that narrow it all down to *resolution*, which is perhaps the least significant metric of photographic image merit. Witness the rich heritage of the accumulated photographic record from the olden times down to the present. Not too many ‘L’ lenses in that lot…

IMNSHO, the jump from small format to medium format is a good leap, whereas the step from there to 4×5 is well, a good step. It’s a threshold in image quality you cross when jumping to MF. LF cameras also suffer all manner of drawbacks technical and practical – you miss plenty of shots that are eminently takeable with MF, esp. the more auto ones. Most LF guys use dumbed-down flatbeds; no good desktop film scanners are available for them..

The tonality smoothness is the biggest benefit of MF over 35mm. If you look at the LPM figures for assorted lenses, there are actually 35mm lenses that can resolve detail nearly as well or better than some common MF and LF rigs, but film grain and the need for greater enlargement prevents that resolution from ever approaching the clarity of even a relatively low grade MF or LF lens.


Hope, a fading glow

Gears: Leica R6 and Leitz Wetzlar Elmarit-R 90/2.8, on Kodak Gold 400
Location: Gas Processing Plant, Kerteh, Terengganu, Malaysia

The hotter temperatures make plants become net emitters of carbon dioxide instead of net absorbers of it. It seems that as temperatures get hotter plants risk losing water through evaporation and respiration. In order to prevent water loss they reduce the size of their pores, and that in turn reduces the amount of carbon dioxide that the plants may take up.

LESSON LEARNED HERE: If you underexpose print films, you will not get the necessary shadow details. But given the wide latitude of print films, you can overexpose print films by 2 stops and yet get great results.

This ability for color neg films to be over-exposed and still reproduce decent images also accounts for the ability of print films to record much more brightness range than slides.

We often refer to this as “dynamic range”. In a slide, highlight information is stored as clear parts of the film that at a point contains nothing more than blank film base. Color negs continue to stack up increasing density (highlight) information until the film simply can’t record any more information.

Overexposing color negative film also makes it easier for most labs to get decent prints or scans, because more info is recorded. How much exposure compensation is needed? This probably varies with film but start with +.3 to+.5. Some film, maybe even one full stop.

This latitude doesn’t mean you’ll get an optimal result. It just means that within these ranges you can get a useable (depending on your purpose) result. Over- and under- exposure are mistakes. Film latitude should not be relied upon to cover mistakes in exposure.

Many people will intentionally reduce exposure of slide film by between a 1/2 stop and a full stop to increase colour saturation, retain detail in highlight areas and reduce grain. Some will also intentionally increase exposure on negative film by 1 to 1 1/2 stops to increase colour saturation and preserve details in shadow areas as well as reduce grain (grain can become very noticeable in underexposed areas of print film).


The swampy lagoon in Kuala Marang

The swampy lagoon in Kuala Marang is probably at it’s most beautiful in the late evening just as the sun is setting and the creatures of the night begin to stir their shift.

Gears: Leica R6 and Leica Summicron 35mm F/2.0, on Fuji PRO 160S Location: Marang Fishing Village, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Gears: Leica R6 | Summicron 35mm F/2.0 | Fuji PRO 160S Location: Marang Fishing Village, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

In this post I’ll tell you how I discovered a beautiful swamp in Kuala Marang, about the crystal clear water that was full of real beauty, but the kind of beauty that you look at but don’t see unless you open your eyes and your heart.

Gears: Leica R6 | Summicron-R 35/2.0 | Fuji Superia 100
Location: Marang swamp land, Terengganu, Malaysia

Much of the area is a mosaic of wetlands and mesic flatlands subject to seasonal flooding. Flood and small bushfires largely govern the composition and distribution of vegetation, creating a distinctive mosaic of natural communities. Flooding also limits intensive agriculture and large-scale development, resulting in one of Terengganu’s most significant natural areas.

This is what the camera sees, so it has to be there, and it is! But often we don’t see the beauty because we are “beauty blind”. People are always in a rush, always rushing about, I guess that comes naturally when you live in big cities. I am just as guilty sometimes but not very often now my eyes are open.

Do you remember when they say, “see it through the eyes of a child”. Full of excitement and desire to explore. I truly feel that is how we should view the world around us.

Unfortunately often the case is the greed for land and money from the people of the past has endangered beautiful places like this. I often say “beauty is everywhere”, so try to see it and it will enhance your life like you would not believe. Just try it right now, look at something and try to see the details, the colors, the textures, the shapes see it differently than you did before.

Gears: Leica R6 | Summicron-R 2,0/35 | Kodak Gold 100
Location: Kuala Marang Fishing Village, Marang, Terengganu, Malaysia

The fools spent millions of dollars trying to built what they call progress and the damage they did may even now be irreversible. Thus beautiful swamps like this one we have here in Kuala Marang may be dying a slow death many and many species of plants, animals and birds are are on the endangered list they are disappearing at an alarming rate.

Gears: Leica R6 and Leica Summicron 35mm F/2.0, on Fuji Velvia 100 (RVP100F) Location: Marang Fishing Village, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Gears: Leica R6 and Leica Summicron 35mm F/2.0, on Fuji Velvia 100 (RVP100F) Location: Marang Fishing Village, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Interestingly, of course there are alligators in these swamps. I did not see any in the water but I was told by the old folks in Marang about the legend of the massive alligators. The alligators would certainly camouflaged very well and its hard to be see. The natural beauty of the area is beyond words.

If you get a chance to pass through Marang while you’re on your way to Kota Bharu to the North or going south to Kuala Lumpur, please take your time! Please go slow, please stop at overlooks, please take the time to hit a trail or two, it would be a real shame to drive by everything this awesome roadway has to offer.

Gears: Nikon D50 and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO Location: Oyster farm, Marang Fishing Village, Terengganu, Malaysia

Gears: Nikon D50 and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO Location: Oyster farm, Marang Fishing Village, Terengganu, Malaysia


Life’s steep and thorny path (499570008)

Leica R6, Summicron-R 35/2.0, Kodak 200
Location: Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia

As we have weathered many storms, trying to maintain our inner flame as we walked the steep and thorny path of high-truth with integrity and honor, we now hope to establish ourselves as true spiritual humans. No longer is this a concept of the future, but a realization of our now.

The Photo: This place is situated in Brinchang. It is quite easy to spot with its mock giant cactus replica at its entrance. It is located on a hill slope overlooking the night market area facing the Star Regency Apartment Hotel. As it is located on a hill slope, the center is terraced and the covering is built with skylight roof.

The Cactus Valley boasts of having the most variety of cactus plants. Some cactus is as old as 60 years old! Apart from cactus, several varieties of crops are cultivated here using hydroponics method. Tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers among others are grown here.

The hydroponics method of growing is not without is problem though at one time it was hailed as an efficient alternative way of growing crops.

However, the chemicals used though, give rise to other environmental problems when it has exhausted its nutrients and require disposing. Rows of potted giant cactus plants, want one for display in your house? Crops and cactus apart, other plants and flowers are grown here too. Roses, Calla Lily, Fuchsia, Camellia, Hibiscus, Rhododendron, Bird of Paradise to name a few, all can be found here.


Bokeh Schmokeh Fish Cart (36810028)

Leica R6 | Summicron-R 35/2.0
Teluk Ketapang Beach, Kuala Terengganu (2006)

IMO, the fewer the lens elements, the more you have to stop down to get adequate sharpness in the plane of focus. This results in less blitzed out backgrounds in actual use. This applies to 3 element lenses vs. Tessars vs. Planars.

These are the findings of Mr Rick Denney which I find very useful and which you can also read at length on his site

1. Bokeh has several components, including edge effects around out-of-focus highlights and false edges in the rendering of out-of-focus details.
2. Bokeh rendering is not the same in all situations, and some lenses will be better than others in some situations and worse in other situations. The Vega in this test has produced some really ugly bokeh, not consistent with these results. Lens bokeh is not a single value, and each lens requires considerable experience to understand where it is good and where it is not.
3. Wider apertures do not necessarily improve bokeh.
4. Specular highlights and other out-of-focus bright spots don’t tell the whole bokeh story.
5. Longer focal lengths improve bokeh. If smooth rendering is important, get a longer lens and back up.
6. Double-gauss designs aren’t necessarily bad, but the bad ones are really bad.
7. Sonnar designs don’t necessarily have better bokeh, but they have the potential.
8. Reputation for good bokeh (e.g., the Jupiter) don’t always show in actual results.
9. Lens complexity seems to have little bearing on bokeh. Lens design, however, is paramount.
10. Apertures shapes are not really an issue with bokeh, especially near wide open. In none of these tests was aperture shape the main determinant in apparent bokeh quality. So, we should stop counting aperture blades. The lens with the most aperture blades was the B&L Tessar, but it had uniformly the worst bokeh.
11. Bokeh is subjective, but it is not an illusion.
12. Canon knows how to design a zoom lens. Nikon didn’t do too badly, either.
13. The Biometar is NOT better than the Vega, at least in these tests.
14. The inexpensive Zeiss Jena Sonnars provide a lot of bokeh quality for the buck.

Copyright © 1999, 2009 R. W. Denney, Jr.


My favourite spot under the bridge has never let me down (36850021)

Gears: Nikon FM2 with Nikon AFS Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 on Kodakcolor GOLD 400
Location: Under the bridge in Kuala Hiliran, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia


Gears: Nikon FM2 with Nikon AFS Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 on Kodakcolor GOLD 400
Location: Under the bridge, Losong


Are you afraid of the dark? (DSC_3887)

Gears: Nikon D50 and Sigma 70-200/2.8
Location: Oyster farm, Kuala Marang, Marang, Terengganu, Malaysia

Gears: Nikon D50 and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO
Location: Oyster breeding spot, Marang Fishing Village, Terengganu, Malaysia
Processing: White Balance, Contrast


Invasion of The Shopping Cart (36790011)

Gears: Leica R6 and Summicron-R 35/2.0
Location: Mydin Mall, Padang Hiliran, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia


The shopping cart or trolley, a very useful item in its place but otherwise a pretty uninteresting harmless wire basket on wheels, right? Right, but how come they seem to be taking over the world? No matter where I go I seem to come across one lurking in some darken corner of the street or poking out from an unexpected place.

The human fascination with dumping trolleys goes on and has made the innocuous shopping cart a common sight and an integral part of urban life.

So it’s not surprising that they have crept into our photography in one way or another and I am always continually amazed at the ingenuity of the photographers ability to use them so creatively in their work.

On Flickr a group also gives an ode to shopping trolleys and the endless torment they endure…being left by the side of the road, on freeways, in parks, in fact in all manner of weird and wonderful situations – usually far from their rightful home.

There at The Original Abandoned Shopping Trolley Project they pay homage to the trolleys and their tireless servitude..


Not much of a shed (36850012)

Gears: Leica R6 with Summicron-R 35/2.0
Location: The beach in Ladang, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Though not much of a shed if you consider the scale of the monsoons we get annually, however it serves more as a half-done-garage for fishermen to hang their fish nets. Despite the humbleness of things that you can find by the beach, let us not forget that it is the sea which gives the fishermen life. Likewise, the sea gives new life to some of our depressed spirits.


You’re talking to me? (36910039)

You're talking to me? (36910039)

Yeah it’s that De Niro’s tone of voice again. Who wouldn’t be amazed by such a character. Well such characters are quite a common scene when you’re at the fishing dock. It was a very fine morning by the jetty and these men has just finished uploading their catch for the week.

Gears: Leica R6 with Summicron-R 35mm F/2.0 on Fuji Superia 100
Location: Chendering Fisheries Complex, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia