Friday, October 03, 2014

Let The Spirit Guide Me

by Daniel Chiam 

It's been a little more than a year since I decided to come back to Keningau, trying my very best to stay here for good and hopefully be able to make a difference to the community here. At this point of time, I'm still torn between staying and leaving for better opportunities and as far as making a difference, I really think a lot more effort should be put into motions. Then it come to sense that if I leave again now, I probably had to start from scratches again and it'll be another tiring process all over again, and the last time it happened, gosh did I just felt that weight of the world on my shoulders. It was tiring and exhausting at the same time. I managed to pulled through. Got back on my feet and walk straight forward for a better life. Until I decided to give it all up again.

I guess its just a bad habit of mine for wanting to constantly give up and restart again. I was young and blindly ambitious, so I got all the energy to spare and keep going for the wild chase of dreams. What I never did back then was to stay on ONE track and go all the way till the end of that ONE track and become what I wanted to become. I kept jumping tracks, and now I don't have that energy to keep jumping anymore. It's a good thing though, cause now I realized that I should really be giving myself more time and even more energy to make whatever it is that's in my head to come to pass in where I am today. I'm gonna make whatever it is I have now to really be working, no matter what!

God has always been good to me. I can't imagine my life without Him, and I'm trying to keep my very best to do what I can to glorify His name. My God, is a creative God. A colorful and beautiful God. Just like all his creations, I too wanted to portrait that in my work. So here goes to another level for my journey on earth. Hopefully I'll come out on top again this time, haha. Let the Holy Spirit guide my path and I'll learn to trust in the Lord with all my heart. Here's to my new start up! Cheers!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Solitude | Patty Bell Patrick

Photographed by Daniel Chiam
Make Up & Wardrobe: Patty Bell Patrick
Talent: Patty Bell Patrick

I first met Bell when I was helping a friend with his levitation photoshoot, and Bell was one of the talent then. She's a really great sport and I really wanted to work with her again. Lo and behold, that day came sooner than I thought when Farah wanted to take photos of her sister somewhere near Bell's place. So I asked Bell out, and there goes our afternoon at an abandoned quarry.

Working with her is such a pleasure. I get to have her all for myself that day. I don't have to share her with any other photographer so that's definitely got the dynamic going, and she's really open for new ideas too. I was really satisfied with the results that day, and I'm definitely going to work with her again. Real soon.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

KMZ Helios 44-2 58mm F2 Lens

by Daniel Chiam

Okay this is a bit bias caused I never wrote anything about the Nikon Series E lens that I first got before this Helios lens. So, I'll probably have to come up with one soon. So the KMZ's Helios 44-2 58mm f2 lens was mass produced by the Russian back in the late 60's, and for many that has used or own the lens, it is unanimously agreed that the lens were built like a tank! Solid and it feel a bit heavy for its size.

The thing that got me interested with the lens at first was the swirly bokeh that it produces. Some said it was caused by the lens' defect and some people don't quite like the effect of a swirly bokeh, but for most people (like me) love it cause it gives a unique set of style for the lens and also to the arts of photography. 

After using it for almost a month now, I find that the sharpness of the lens is remarkable and the focusing ring is really smooth and easy to adjust. The only downside of the lens for me because the lens is an M42 mount, is that I couldn't get it to infinity for a full body shot (for example) or simply explained, I couldn't get a focused shot when my subject is further than 10 feet away from me. A common problem for all Nikon user I guess. Unless you get an adapter with a cheap glass on it that could affect the quality of the lens. That's why I opted for the adapter without the glass cause I wanted to see the quality of the lens itself.

The Helios lens also have a unique way of setting its aperture. Apparently you can set what is the smallest opening that you wanted to use and then only you can adjust in between the aperture. So the smallest will be f16 for this lens and f2 is the biggest opening. I can set the smallest I want is f8 and only then I can set my aperture between f2 to f8 according to my likeness. Unlike other lenses where you can just simply adjust the aperture without first have to set what's the smallest opening you want. Then again, you can always set it to f16 and just move the aperture ring around like the common lenses. It's no biggie, I just find it unique.

So overall, the Helios 44-2 58mm f2 lens is a keeper if you're looking for a good and cheap portrait lens. Not sure if I can say the same for people who struggle to use manual mode but once you get the hang of it, the Helios lens lineage (which many has claimed it to be the king of bokeh) can sure do wonders for your photos. The Helios lens is so far my main headshot gear right now.

All images are taken with the Helios 44-2 58mm lens

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Abandoned Classrooms

by Daniel Chiam

It's been one heck of a few busy days for me lately. Wake up early for setting up and taking care of districts level competition for primary and secondary schools. Its harder when you're a night owl whose always up late for God knows what reason. Anyway, I saw some old abandoned classrooms near the Banjar Primary School's hall where we were setting up our sound systems and lighting for the competition. So I took my camera and explore a bit.

Abandoned buildings are always great for photography. It always has that melodramatic, melancholic and nostalgic kind of feel when you put the photos in black and white. All photos were taken using the Nikon 50mm f1.8 Series E lens. Just to let you all know, I have another new vintage lens in my collection already! This new one was built sturdy like a tank! Will write about it once I have enough time for some test shots :D

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Walk in the Woods with Lady D

by Daniel Chiam 

Today I brought Lady D for a walk in the woods to help me with my manual focus practice. I seldom use a manual lens before this and most of the time everything was on autofocus. Recently, I just got my Nikon 50mm f1.8 Series E lens and now I rarely switch it with an autofocus lens anymore. I fell madly in love with the vintage lens and I am determine to stick with vintage lens for as long as I possibly could. The downside for beginners like me, often we find it hard to get the right focus when using a manual lens. Especially the one with big aperture, which often made us desire for that bokeh shots. Go wide open all the way they say...

The truth is, the wider the opening the harder it is to get your subject in focus manually. Before this I always open my lens the widest possible, so that more lights can come in, faster shutter speed and less shaky hands effect. I even took most of my landscape photos that way, which was totally a major disaster. I later realized that with wider aperture, the less details you'll have in your photos and that is not something you want for a landscape photo, and I repented since.  Nowadays I'm very confident with my camera setting and the reason why I always chimping is because I'm worried with my focus. I find it very difficult to get the right focus with the manual lens but I'm too stubborn to give up perfecting it. 

Anyway, today's practice I learnt that you don't necessarily have to go wide open all the time to get that bokeh shots (depends on how much you want your subject to be in focus). I dialed down my aperture a bit and was really happy with all my shots. I need an average of 3 shots to get the right focus. Plus, it will be easier once you have fine tune you diopmeter, so that your eyes could correctly see how much of your subject are in focus and how much will it actually be in focus in the photo, once you have taken that shot. I'm quite happy with my practice results today and the fact that all of it only required effortless post-processing, I can't wait to see if the same can be achieve with live model. 

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