Month: May 2007

Double Decker Bike Rider in Penang

 

Double Decker Bike Rider in Penang, by Nawfal Nur

Today proved that the “best camera” you have is the one that you remembered to bring with you!

I had just picked up my kids from school and was on my way back to Tg. Tokong, looking for Nasi Kandar – not the best thing to do around 3pm (the food is not as hot or fresh at that time – IMHO), but we looked around anyway. Then, out of nowhere came two people riding these double decker bikes with all sorts of odds-and-ends strapped in the front, the rear and the sides.

They passed me by once and I thought, “Man, I got my camera…I need to get a shot of one of them,” but traffic was bad and they were headed in the opposite direction.

We didn’t find any nasi kandar open near Hillside at that time of day, but we did see a Malay food stall in operation near the reclamation project. So, we turned the car around and headed back.

Low and behold, there were the two bikers and they were headed in the same direction I was going. I sped up a little observing all traffic safety rules and regulations, of course, and overtook the two bikers, and pulled off to the side of the road about 50 meters ahead of them.

As I was getting my camera out of my Crumpler, one of the bikers blew right by me, but the girl biker was a little behind, so I had one chance, at least, to get a photo.

I quickly set my camera on Aperture Priority (I wanted good depth-of-field) and checked the shutter speed. It was a nice bright, yet overcast afternoon; nevertheless, I was able to manage a 1/250 second shutter speed – enough for this situation.

BLAMO!” Well, my camera doesn’t actually speak, but I pushed the shutter button and got one shot.

I think she was totally oblivious to me taking her picture as she rode by: She was listening to music as she peddled head & shoulders above everyone on that very high bike.

What this pair appeared to have done was to weld another bike frame to one with wheels. They peddle using the peddle from the top bike so the chain goes vertical down to the bottom frame. The steering mechanism is attached from the top frame to the bottom frame.

I’m just wondering how they started out their ride. I would suspect, they have to use a chair or ladder to get on and then never stop until they get to where they want to go and make sure they time the traffic lights; or that is, blaze on right through the red lights like so many of the Penang motorbike riders do, ignoring most traffic laws…but that’s another issue.

Yes, indeed, the best camera in your stable of cameras is the one that you have with you!

Lanterns, Flowers and Fountain – Nighttime Botanical Gardens Image

Lanterns, Flowers and Fountain photograph by Nawfal Nur

 

The image above was taken at the Penang Botanical Gardens during the Annual Flower Festival (2006), and I felt this was maybe a better image for the Dreamscapes category. Please have a look and vote for my image if you like it – thank you!

 

MENARA MAXIS – Kuala Lumpur’s Built Environment

Menara MAXIS, by Nawfal Nur, 2003, All Rights Reserved

 

MENARA1
MAXIS, v.2
© 2003 Nawfal Nur
All Rights Reserved
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Photo Taken from Nikko Hotel

Chances are that if you travel to Kuala Lumpur, one of the first things that stands out are the Petronas Towers. You start seeing the towers from many miles away from the city (with clear skies). These towers are difficult to miss: They stand 452 meters (1,483 feet), with 88 floors, and a skybridge holds the two towers together at the 41st and 42nd floors.

When you stand outdoors in downtown Kuala Lumpur, many people, especially tourists will automatically be drawn to the Petronas Towers, ignoring, possibly, every other piece of architecture in the surrounding built environs.

If looking for a landmark to keep your bearings in Kuala Lumpur, the Towers make for a good indicator of where you are, and if you want to go to Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), just head in the direction of the tallest towers in the city.

Now with that all said, you may be thinking that this is yet another photograph of the “Towers”, and some other building just stepped in the way as I triggered the shutter button…Wrong! This is actually a photograph of the Menara Maxis (the cool looking building in the foreground).

I purposely took the photograph to position the Towers in the background. This perspective is unusual as the Petronas Towers are typically the center of attention in Kuala Lumpur architecture photography. This composition may seem blasphemous to some; but
sometimes, rules of composition are meant to be broken, or at least, experimented with.

In this photograph, the Towers are put to work as a backdrop for the building in front, the Menara Maxis. The over all architectural designs, the lighting styles, the size differentials, and the flow of lines are different enough between the two structures (the Petronas Towers being two structures, but spoke of as one whole building here), and these design characteristics keep them visually separated without needing to blur (by camera or software) the Towers in the background.

The composition is made whole with foreground and background. The cropping is kept close and vertically panoramic, thus forcing the viewer’s attention on these structures only. This compo-cropping strategy may also create an illusion, making the buildings appear impressively tall – even though they are impressive and tall anyway.

Though dwarfed by the Petronas Towers, the Menara Maxis is quite an imposing building on its own, standing at 212 meters (696 feet) tall, and with 49 floors. The architect of the building was Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates, and construction finished in 1998. The Menara Maxis is a stunning building in daylight, but even more interesting flooded by a sea of illumination at nighttime.

I think the Menara Maxis is a really super design and great addition to the Kuala Lumpur skyline.


1Menara means Tower.

 

Aluminum Queen at Nighttime

Aluminum Queen at Nighttime, by Nawfal Nur, submitted for 11th Issue of JPG

This image is titled, “Aluminum Queen at Nighttime,” and I have submitted it to the 11th Issue of JPG Magazine for their consideration.  Part of the choosing process is by votes – so, chances are if a photo gets a good number of votes, it has a better chance of publication.  That being the case, if you get the opportunity to go see the bigger view of my image, and you like it, please vote for it as well, (click on the image above to see the larger view).

I submitted this image to the “Dreamscapes” theme as I thought it was appropriate.

This sculpture, made of recyclable aluminum cans and bubble wrap sheets, looks sort
of eerie against the very deep blue, nighttime sky.  This look was created with a long
exposure (30 secs approx).

It looks like the “Queen” is reaching out to grab someone, and I guess this scene could,
mind you, be conjured up in some nightmare.

Thanks for having a look and voting!

Seeing Differently

Grass in the Rain, by Nawfal Nur, 2007, All Rights Reserved.

  “Grass in a Rainstorm”
© 2007 Nawfal Nur
All Rights Reserved

Much about being a creative photographer is the ability to see things differently.


 

Maybe you are seeing the same thing, the same object, or the same landscape that thousands of other photographers have seen and photographed before; but are you seeing it differently through your viewfinder? Or, is it just another re-creation of what has been done a hundred, or a thousand times before?

 

With digital photography technology so viral and widespread, almost everyone has access to photography through one type of device or another. That doesn’t mean, however, that everyone knows how to take a photograph worth its electrons!

 

Reality offers us such wealth that we must cut some of it out on the spot, simplify. The question is, do we always cut out what we should? While we’re working, we must be conscious of what we’re doing. Sometimes we have the feeling that we’ve taken a great photo, and yet we continue to unfold. We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” -Henri Cartier-Bresson, on photojournalism, American Photo, September/October 1997 , page: 76

 

Three cheers for H. Cartier-Bresson! Avoid being a “snapper” if you want to become a great photographer.

 

Like any other professional pursuit, great photographs are created by Photographers who think carefully before pulling the trigger, so to speak. Forget that digital is cheap and that you are not spending cold hard cash on film and development any more. Forget that your newfangled digital camera can set everything for you so that maybe you’ll get lucky with an interesting photo once in a while.  Photographic-Economizing and Luck just don’t quite cut it!

In my humble opinion, great photographs come from photographers with great eyes for a scene, purposeful compositions, good timing, fantastic sense-of-place, and superb technical know-how of their craft.

Seeing Differently is what can set you apart from the thousands of other photographers who take photographs of similar subject matter. It’s easy to blend in: It’s challenging and rewarding to set yourself apart and be different.

Bunny Dynamics

Bunny and Cat Portraiture by Nawfal Nur, All Rights Reserved 2007

Yesterday, I learned something about my bunny; something that proves she is more intelligent than I believed. Although, that is, I never imagined her as being all that “bright” in the first place.

The above photograph shows my motley crew, an uncooperative bunch, really!  That “bunch” would be my three cats and my bunny – from left to right: Salimah Bee, Bunny Bee, Aminah Bee and Jamilah Bee. They actually do get along very well; however, when it comes time for the family pet portrait, they can’t exit the scene fast enough. Jamilah wouldn’t sit next to Bunny, so we had to separate them. Salimah couldn’t sit still.  Aminah and Salimah didn’t want to sit next to each other. Out of the entire gang, Bunny was behaving the best.

Our big, fat bunny always appeared never to have a clue about much of anything, except eating. She eats the normal bunny food, plus when she is unmonitored, she sneaks in the occasional paint chips, metal, wood, cardboard, rubber and who knows what else…believe it or not, she is healthy as an Ox! Perhaps this is all considered bunny fiber; but we do not approve of her unsupervised eating habits – but bunnies are bunnies!

During the daytime, Bunny Bee has the run of the yard. Yesterday, she was going about her “bunny-business” when I saw her stand up on her back legs, then she crouched down and started thumping her back feet loudly on the driveway: I knew this was a sign of danger. She did this thumping action a couple more times:  It was enough to get my attention.

Bunny Bee weighs nearly 3.5kg, and I’m pretty sure she could hold her own in a brawl, but something had her worked up. She, like my cats, is family and I protect my family:  I went out to investigate the source of the ruckus.

Much to my surprise, a stray boy-cat was hanging out in the yard, and that is what had Bunny Bee in an uproar.

This is behavior I had not seen before: This proves that Bunny Bee is smart enough to distinguish her own sister house-cats from this stranger cat that had wandered into the yard.

I thought this was quite brilliant of the bunny, and it was also a little surprising for me to learn that Bunny Bee was more intelligent than I imagined.