colour

BLADE BLUE HAND-667, No.1, Edit F

Blade Blue Hand, 667, No.1, Edit F, by Nawfal Nur

Blade Blue Hand, 667, No.1, Edit F, by Nawfal Nur

Title: “BLADE BLUE HAND, 667, No.1, Edit F”
Series: “BLUE HAND”
Number in Series: No. 1.
Genre: Abstract-Geometric-Expressionism
Mediums: Painting & Photography

Painter: Nawfal Nur
Photographer: Nawfal Nur
Art Direction: Nawfal Nur
Model: Nawfal Nur

Investment in Time:
* Prep Time for Equipment Set up: 1/2 Hour.
** Painting: 5 1/2 Hours.
*** Photography: 1/2 Hour.
**** Clean-up: 1 Hour.

Paint Supplies Used:
-1- Schmincke PRIMAcryl (Feinste Künstler-Acrylfarben).
-2- ZIG – KURECOLOR Permanent Alcohol based Ink.
-3- BUNCHO Water Colors.
-4- ALBRECHT DÜRER, Watercolour Pencils by FABER-CASTELL (8200 Series).
-5- Crayola “Brush Tips” Markers.
-6- Artline 70 High Performance Markers.
-7- MonAmi ACCU Liner Permanent Markers (Metallic Series).
-8- Pentel Permanent Markers (N850 Series).
-9- ESTĒE LAUDER Artist’s Eye Pencil – (01 SOFTSMUDGE BLACK).
-10- ESTĒE LAUDER Artist’s Lip Pencil-Crayon – (08 SPICE WRITER).

Camera:
CANON Powershot A620 with Modified Internal Flash Bounce Attachment. Aperture @ f/8.0 and Shutter Speed @ 1/80 sec. (I think…) ;^)

Lighting:
One 600-WATT SYSTEMS IMAGING Studio Flash with 2′ x 2′ BOWENS Softbox. MIRA Hydraulic Light Stands. Modeling on Cont., Power @ 1/16th Output. Distance to Subject, approx., 3-feet.

Additional Lighting or Lighting Aid Gear:
One 3′ x 3′ White Foam core bounce.

Support:
* bogen 3001 Professional Tripod.
** bogen 3025 head.
*** Manfrotto #352 Ball & Socket.
**** 3kg weight.

Computer Software:
* PhotoImpact X3.
————————-
As I mentioned in the text of the photo above, this will be my last photo addition to my Photostream at Flickr.

I have made a promise (to myself) to keep the “F-DEPRESSION” Series Images as close to the TOP of my Photostream as possible. Because with each new image addition, the older images get pushed deeper and deeper into the photostream. And that means, that these “F-DEPRESSION” photographs would eventually get lost in the masses of photos.

The ONLY way these images may help someone who is suffering from Depression, Anxiety or Chronic Pain is to see them, feel the shock value, read the text and GET HELP!!! And, that was the main reason I ventured into this very negative and self-expressing Photo & Text Series.

One of the key components of this type of work (body art), and one that I experienced firsthand, is that IT (the artwork) IS NOT LASTING!

Paint – Photograph – Wash – Rinse – Repeat the Wash & Rinse. Then, the painting is gone for ever! The final product, the actual artpiece is the Body Painted Photograph Portrait: The photograph – that is the lasting art work. The Painting is just part of the preparation! Get it!

This is NOT Airbrush, so the artwork is NOT smooth or finely detailed. I used Acrylic and Watercolours, along with Art Markers and applied them normally, and also with brush and artist’s knife. Some parts of the artwork are smooth and other textured. As the paints dry, the work cracks, so speed is important.

It was extremely painful for me to stand for that length of time – the arthritic A.S. types like myself usually can’t sit-stand-walk-or lie down for very long periods. However, I had to see if I could do it. After the completion of this work, it felt like someone had tortured me (kind of), like someone had been hitting the bottom of my feet with a metal ruler. If you have A.S., you may know that feeling: It’s No fun!!!

5 and 1/2 hours for one Right Arm! It’s the first work like this I’ve done. And, I can say that it was a really good experience and quite interesting to attempt painting oneself and working the camera. Strange feeling!

FROM NOW ON, PLEASE VISIT ME AT:

“BEHIND THE LENS!” (My Photography Journal where I’ve been writing, and where I’ve been exhibiting my Photography, since 2005).

smokephotographist.wordpress.com/

Nawfal Nur
“Behind the Lens!”
smokephotographist.wordpress.com/
27 Nov 2008

PS: “667” refers to what I ‘have seen’ termed as, “Neighbor of the Beast!” HOWEVER, my interpretation is different than probably the person who thought up this novel saying. Here’s how I see it:

“This world is Where the Wicked NEVER Rest, and the Righteous Struggle to just Stand their Ground!” Therefore, I am a ‘neighbor of the beast’ – evil that surrounds us all, daily – it is there, you don’t have to go far to find it.

Of course, perhaps it is much better to pretend that the world is a perfect place, so that you can sleep well at night, but this is just what people who don’t do anything to change it, want you to believe! Or, perhaps, it is what people who have it “made” want others to believe because they have all the resources available to them to ‘escape’ most of the evil that perpetuates itself daily, and around the world.

All you have to do is pick up a newspaper: There must be a lot of “evil” out there, or, the newspapers would NOT be so thick! News of Disasters, Crimes, Chaos, wars, famine, cruelty, and Injustice…this shit sells the News! I STOPPED reading the news a couple of years ago because it just perpetuates in a bad way, whatever stuff you got going on, that isn’t so good.

It is time to go…

Good night Moon!

Good night People!

pss: BTW: The “667” tattoo, I designed by computer software, but I may just have to ink myself with it one of these days!

Aurora Borealis over Ice, v1, Edit C – Small Colored Light Source Streaks Photography!

Aurora Borealis over Ice, v1, Edit C, originally uploaded by Nawfal Nur.

A small-scale, tabletop version of the Aurora Borealis. Green streaks of light shine and flare over a large cup of ice.

INGREDIENTS FOR THIS PHOTOGRAPH:  a.)  a tabletop, b.) dark room, c.) some sort of BLACK material for the background – I used a black plastic material, d.) sturdy tripod, e.) camera, f.) small light source(s) – I used penlights, g.) some sort of transparent colored material – gels, colored plastic, etc., h.) a large metal cup – I like the Zebra brand metal cups made in Thailand (very nice), i.) ice cubes filled to the top of the cup, j.) patience! 

This is an example of what you can do with long-exposures, small light sources, and some experimentation, in order to get colored light streaks in your photographs.

This is an “available” light photograph, meaning, that I used what small light sources were available to me, to create the streaks of green light during a long (1-second) shutter speed.

Don’t expect amazing results at first:  It may take a few (or 20) tries until you get good patterns that are pleasing, and enough streaks to fill the frame.

A flashlight (torchlight) with a colored bulb, or covered with colored transparent plastic material (gels), even powerful, colored LED lights may work well to create the special light necesary for this work.

Of course, “tripod” your camera and get it ready to go:  On this shot, I used a 1-Second shutter with an f/8.0 aperture.  

You may need to punch up the contrast and saturation of the streaks to make your final touches on the photograph:  I used Paint Shop Pro to saturate the colors, and this is a personal preference.

You don’t need to use green…use any color, use several colors, combine final images, GO CRAZY!

 

MY 150TH JOURNAL ENTRY AT "BEHIND the LENS!"

This is my third restart in writing “MY 150TH JOURNAL ENTRY AT ‘BEHIND the LENS!'”  With each rewrite, the topic has changed drastically.  In this third foray of writing this entry, I have decided to discuss subjects that are not very much interrelated.  Instead, to mark the illustriousness and portentousness of this event, I am hell bent on availing myself to the thesaurus in a Pecksniffian and pretentious mien that would be tantamount to a big’ol cumulus of paddling treddle. 

Now…enough of that nonsense.

At this point, I would like to, somewhat haphazardly, list of few things of interest (of interest to me, that is) that are in no way related in any way (pretty much non-related).  However, if they happen to be so, I hereby release myself from any fault; nevertheless by reading this blog entry you fully understand and take full responsibility for your actions, and hold me, Nawfal Nur, harmless of any ill effects, mind altering experiences, Alien abductions, or thinking that you saw Elvis at 7/11.

Where should I start…

MUSIC:

While you are enjoying this journal entry, please have a listen to the soothing sounds of my favorite Seattle String Philharmonic musician, Jeff Loomis, and conducted by the world renowned, and highly respected, Warrel Dane.  Oh I’m just mess’en with ya!  Here are some AWESOME solos from Jeff Loomis, guitarist extraordinaire of NEVERMORE!     http://www.nevermore.tv/

 

Solos by Jeff Loomis (NEVERMORE)

 

PHOTOGRAPHY QUOTATIONS – SOME OF MY FAVORITES:

 

“The idea that any photography can’t be personal is madness! … I see something; it goes through my eye, brain, heart, guts; I choose the subject. What could be more personal than that?” – Cornell Capa

 

“Pictures, regardless of how they are created and recreated, are intended to be looked at. This brings to the forefront not the technology of imaging, which of course is important, but rather what we might call the eyenology (seeing).” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” –Yousuf Karsh, Master Photographers – The World’s Great Photographers on their Art and Technique , Page: 125.

“A positive attitude can really make dreams come true – it did for me.” – David Bailey

 

 

MY FAVORITE CONTEMPORARY ACTRESS FROM NEBRASKA:

Marg Helgenberger, was born in Fremont, Nebraska [b. 16 Nov 1958].  Fremont is not too far from Lincoln, my hometown – 44 miles as the crow flies!  Marg is a beautiful and talented actress who plays Catherine Willows on CSI Las Vegas, and has been in scores of TV shows and several movies.  She is FABULOUS at 50! 

 

 

THE EERIEST THING I EVER LEARNED ABOUT MY PARENTS’ SCHOOL-YEARS:

My Mom attended school in Lincoln, NE, and my Dad attended school in Pocahontas, IA.  They both attended the typical Midwestern style schools of the 50’s, although my Mom’s school was considerably larger than my Dad’s school in rural Iowa.  Their classmates too, were basically the stereotypically students we think about from the 50’s, or have seen portrayed in movies and TV programs.  HOWEVER, among their classmates, both my Mom and Dad attended schools with individuals who were anything but stereotypical, and for that fact, unnaturally abnormal.  

They both went to school with notorious Serial Killers!  Bizarre right?  Yeah, I thought so too when I learned this little bit of trivia:  I immediately thought, “Wow, I’m glad that I exist!”

My Mom went to Junior and Senior High School with Charles Starkweather:

Charles Raymond Starkweather (November 25, 1938 – June 25, 1959) was a spree killer who murdered 11 victims in Nebraska and Wyoming during a road trip with his underage girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate. He became a national fascination in the USA, eventually inspiring the films The Sadist,Badlands, Starkweather, Murder in the Heartland , The Frighteners and Natural Born Killers. He also inspired the Bruce Springsteen song “Nebraska”, which Springsteen originally considered calling “Starkweather”.  [Source:  Wikipedia]

My Dad went to Senior High School with Robert Hansen (“From Baker to Butcher” – Robert C. Hansen, the Serial Killer, not the basketball player!)  

Hansen was born in Estherville, Iowa, and went to school in Pocahontas, IA.  He was in trouble with the law from early on including charges of arson and other illegal activities.  He eventually found himself in Alaska.  And of course, if you asked any of his neighbors, they would have said, “Oh, he was such a nice, quiet man.”  Yeah, Right!  Aren’t all Serial Killers like that.  His killing spree started in 1980, where he would hire prostitutes for services; and then, Hansen would fly them (he was a skilled small plane pilot) to his remote cabin in the freezing Alaskan wilderness, where he would do all kinds of unmentionable things to them.  If that wasn’t enough, he would set his victims free, only to hunt them down like animals.  We are talking about ONE SICK PUPPY HERE FOLKS!!!  He is infamously credited with 15-KNOWN murders, but there could be more.

Having both my parents going to school with psychopathic serial killers is one very weird coincidence, and it is pretty freaky too!

 

MY LATEST SPLASH PHOTOGRAPH: 

 

SPLASH-Purples, v1, Edit B-NP2

"SPLASH - PURPLES, v.1, Edit B"
© 2008 NAWFAL NUR
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

NEW “OLD” ANT SPECIES DISCOVERED IN AMAZON:

Martialis_heureka 

“This new species of blind, subterranean, predatory ant, Martialis heureka, was discovered in the Amazon by Christian Rabeling at the University of Texas at Austin. It belongs to the first new subfamily of living ants discovered since 1923, and is a descendant of one of the first ant lineages to evolve over 120 million years ago. – Photo Credit: Christian Rabeling, the University of Texas at Austin.”  [Source:  WildBiology.Com]

This ant is very tiny actually:  About 3mm long.  I don’t know, but I always wanted to believe that prehistoric ants were the size of Volkswagens…silly me…I guess I was wrong!

THE MOST FEROCIOUS CREATURE TO HAVE EVER LIVED ON EARTH (I mean, the Oceans!)

Megalodon

Artist’s Rendition of C. Megalodon. [artist’s name not listed, otherwise, credit would be given]

Megalodon means “Big Tooth” – We are talking teeth that were in the neighborhood of 18 cm long (or more), with serrated edges, and an endless supply of these death gripping prehistoric teeth.  The oldest remains of a C. Megalodon [Carcharodon megalodon] dates to 18 Million Years ago.  This predator ruled the seas from 18 Million to 1.5 Million years ago, and became extinct during the Pleistocene epoch.  This shark could grow more than 50 feet long.  It would hunt even the largest whales of its time, and according to some experts, it would disable the whales by severing the flippers first, leaving the whales virtually crippled in the water, and then C. Megalodon would go in for the kill.  To put C. Megalodon’s size (at around 50 to 60-tonnes) in perspective compared to say, the Great White Shark of today (at around 2,500 pounds), it would be like comparing a Rottweiler to a Chihuahua (roughly speaking).

Well, perhaps that is enough to round out this, my 150th Journal Entry.  I hope you enjoyed these topics.

Bane in the Face of Finding Happiness

Metaltocracy by Nawfal Nur

Metaltocracy
by Nawfal Nur
All Rights Reserved

“Conformity and obedience,
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
Makes slaves of men and of the human frame,
A mechanized automaton.”
{Percy Bysshe Shelley – Source: Queen Mab, 1813}

“Truth is the bane of the Truthful.”
{Anon}

Paint the World….with Truth?

Pigeon on Ledge-IMG 2418, Edit B-np

Yes, wouldn’t the “truth” be nice…

I’m a firm believer in the standard “X-Files” tagline: “The Truth is Out There!” But believe me, fellow brothers and sisters in Art, it is up to you to find it!

Well, as you may already have guessed, this is turning out to be absolutely different from what you thought it would be, at least, according to the “title” of the journal entry.

First, however, let me tell you about this image: It is a pigeon, of course, standing on the ledge of a very old, British Colonial, row house in Penang, more specifically, Georgetown.

These colorful shots of old houses is a new series I’m working on: I’m thinking of calling the series, “Distinctive Georgetown,” or something like that. My file of images is building in this filing cabinet of a photo-series – I better name the Series soon.

This is a macro detail of an old house on the corner of Jalan Irving and Jalan Krian.

As surreal as it sounds to me now, I was interviewed tonight on a local Radio show, and I think what I responded with to this questions, “What is it about a scene that makes you want to take a photograph?” – was pretty spot-on (my ‘approximate’ answer is below).

“For me,” I said, “I think very macroscopically, even when working on this Historic Preservation self-assignment. I look at the details and compose the details, the composition, the context of the image in my heart and mind first. If it seems like a worthwhile scene to work on, then I get my camera out, and I work on the shot I had developed in my mind.”

That’s a pretty close word-for-word, at least as far as I remember. My wife would probably say, “NONSENSE!” Oh…Not “nonsense” to my interview answer, but to my skills of listening and remembering. I think I have remarkable listening skills. She’s perhaps blinded by her own bias: She says I choose not to listen to her sometimes, and I tell her that it is a skill I’ve developed over the years, called “Selective Listening!” She’s not amused! I think it’s a hell’of’a skill and I’m considering offering it as a Short-Course for husbands of all time zones!

My Photography is not necessarily the “truth” – it is more closely linked to my Painted Version of the Truth! After all, there is only one reality, but for Photographic Artists, we provide the context for which that “truth“, that “reality“, is presented in the frame of a single shot at a particular time.

In my “Distinctive Georgetown” photographs, it is a close representation of “reality” but with my twist on each scene. That is what artists do, right, reveal their own personal vision to the canvas, the rock, the film, the print, or whatever.

In my next journal entry, I may discuss another type of “truth” that ALL Artists need to be on the lookout for and protect themselves against, and that “truth” is the sugar-coated kind, where the people you come across could be your savior, or the devil that stabs you in the back! And sometimes, if you’re not careful, they appear as your savior, then reveal themselves to you as the devil, their real identity.

Like I said, MAYBE, I’ll cover that topic next time. If I can perhaps, save one (or more) artists/photographers, from making mistakes that I’ve made, by telling a simple, if not, hard-learned tale of misery and the agony of deceit and treachery, then, it may be a tale worth telling…or at least I may highlight the finer points of the lesson….Mysterious? Yes… That’s OK…

More later.

NWD

NWD, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

Layers of Abstraction to make a single image: It is not really layers at all. A riddle or reality?

A Few Series I’m Working On!

A Few Fine Art Series in the Works!

Ethereal“, “ONE Glass” and “Penang Trees” are fine art photography series, which I have been paying particular attention to over the past several weeks.

Click on the photograph (above), and the link will take you to the Artist Statements for these three series. I thought I would provide a little more information behind the works. If you are interested, please have a look.

Thank You!

 

ONE Glass – Sarong Material-Blues, Edit C

ONE Glass – Sarong Material-Blues, Edit C, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

Series: “ONE Glass”.
Title: “ONE Glass – Sarong Material-Blues”.

This is the third work in my “ONE Glass” Series. This is another ‘high-key’ sample from the collection.

Again, the glass blends into the bright, seamless background; but in this case, the sarong material kind of looks like it has transformed into a solid, thus, making up the rest of the container (as if there is no glass). Only when you see the rim of the wine glass, do you really notice the glass again.

Lots of Details to Consider – Product Shot: ESTEE – Deluxe Pure Color EyeShadow, Frame 77, Edit C-NP

ESTEE – Deluxe Pure Color EyeShadow, Frame 77, Edit C-NP, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

ESTEE – Deluxe Pure Color EyeShadow.
In my humble opinion:  Makeup containers made of lots of different materials are probably some of the toughest subjects to photograph well – and by no means am I saying mine is perfect.

Here’s what makes this type of shot so tough:

1) Lots of Color. EyeShadow colors: The photo MUST match the real thing.
2) A mirrored subject.
3) A subject with Gold (or Silver) Reflective Surface.
4) A subject with translucent glass or plastic.
5) A subject where texture may be important.
6) To retain and “edge” to the glass or plastic when shooting against white seamless.
7) No dust, hair, scratches, deformed makeup or “oddities”.

The Photographer must look out for all of these characteristics & requirements.

Lighting:
1) One Systems Imaging, 600 Watt-Seconds Compact Flash with NO Attachments.
2) One 20 Watt Twister Light.
3) One 30 Watt Twister Light.

I kept part of the shadow to retain a little of the 3-D Feel, and made the background seamless.

It ended up with more of a “artsy / painterly” feel to it; and that’s OK, but I was actually intending to do a straight Product shot.

The 50th Merdeka, Vespa Scooter Convoy from Terengganu: A Photo-Essay of their Stop in Penang.

“The 50th Merdeka, Vespa Scooter Convoy from Terengganu: A Photo-Essay of their Stop in Penang.”

 

Story & Photos by Nawfal Nur

Copyright 2007

All Rights Reserved

 

———————————–

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 94-BTL

Photo One: Yellow Scooter – Close-up of “vespa”, chrome trim and red light. The yellow paint was fairly dirty, so I took a tissue and wiped it down, and no one seemed to mind.  After all, the group had already traveled several hundred kilometers and a little dirt on the scooters would be natural.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 79-BTL

Photo Two: Orange Vespa with stormy sky in the background, Malaysian flag hanging down into the frame of this shot.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 83-BTL

Photo Three: KSK Member sitting on his Vespa and an array of other scooters around him.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 87-BTL

Photo Four: An elaborate eagle decoration on the front bumper of a Vespa scooter.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 112-BTL

Photo Five: A decorative hand-stamped chrome visor: The design is of a Vespa scooter.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 97-BTL

Photo Six: An Abstract shot of a pink Vespa’s front bumper and chrome horn covering.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 109-BTL

Photo Seven: An intimidating fixture of a Viking Warrior – Maybe it’s Thor!

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 96-BTL

Photo Eight: This is the oldest Vespa in the group: It is a circa., 1964 Vespa scooter, in almost perfect condition.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 101-BTL

Photo Nine: Just me adding a little “bling” to the shot, by using a ‘lens’ effect to highlight the Malaysian flag. The light falloff was expected; and this shot I took from standing in the first lane of traffic between short pauses in the zooming by of vehicles.

————————————

© 2007 Nawfal Nur, All Rights Reserved

————————————

Little did I know that my wife would be coming home with an interesting photography challenge for me. However, proved to be a much needed break from the monotony of the day, and an educational-cultural experience that I had not expected.

KSK (Kelab Skuter Klasik), from Kuala Terengganu, is a branch of the Classic Vespa Scooter Club, here in Malaysia. This group was on a Vespa Scooter Convoy, in honor of the 50th year of Malaysian Independence (Merdeka).

Their ride started on the 22nd of August and would finish up on the 31st of August. They traveled from Kuala Terengganu to various stops, and ended up in Penang on the 27th of August, I had the opportunity to take some photographs of their classic, Italian Vespas. Their next destination was somewhere in Kedah.

Now, take into consideration that my Penang dialect of the Malay language is kind of atrocious, so I was trying to communicate badly with my Penang dialect, with dudes who were speaking perfectly great Terengganu-Malay dialect – what a fantastic interaction we had!

Here’s how this whole photo-shoot came about: My wife was coming home from work and noticed a group of about 20 guys, milling around a colorful array of vintage Vespa motor scooters. She naturally knew that I would want to photograph their bikes, and get a story out of it – that’s just the way I am!

The group of riders were resting near our home, about a 10-minute walk away. They had all gathered in an empty parking lot, out front of an unscrupulous night club: It gets shut down about every year for violations of various laws – that scummy place is a true ‘Menace To Society!’ However, where there’s scum, there is filth, and the two seem to exist in a symbiosis that benefits both sides, and leaves the neighborhood in disgust, but that’s another story.

My wife arrived home and told me the story of the scooter riders from Terengganu. After hearing her ‘CLIFFS NOTES’ version, I knew I needed to drop what I was doing, grab a camera and race over to the gathering.

It was 7:00PM when I left the house and the light outside was transforming into a light tobacco color. I knew I had little time to take some shots with available light, which is naturally my preference for this type of work. Artificial light coming from the camera, when shooting objects that range in distance from near to far, it tends to wash out the nearby objects and leaves the distant subjects in a fog of darkness. With limited time and no way to gather additional lighting equipment, I had to make due with my camera with a built in flash.

When I approached the riders, they seemed a bit perplexed: I can imagine some were thinking, “Why is this Mat Salleh (White Guy), coming up to us and checking out our rides?

I noticed that there were more scooters than riders, so some people were missing from their group of some 20 bikes. Maybe some had already gone for a bite to eat. Nevertheless, about 12 members had stayed behind with their rides.

I started by giving the group, the traditional Muslim “Salaam”, and no matter where you go, no matter what your ethnicity, or color of skin, a Muslim can break the ice with another Muslim by giving a heart-felt “Assalaam’mualaikum!” (Meaning: “Peace Be Upon You!”)

After that, I began the conversation with “Apa Khabar?” (How are you?), and then things went from there. I ran into some bumps and hills along the conversational journey, but I was generally making “heads & tails” of what was being said.

I asked them if I could take some photographs, and they were obliging. It didn’t appear that they had made any announcements to the Press, or had any Public Relations Plan for their trip. I assumed their long trip from Kuala Terengganu to Penang, and then Kedah, was simply out of patriotism for Malaysia’s special 50th birthday celebration, and for comradery with other Vespa club members.

The club members comprised of a mixture of seasoned, older riders, and very enthusiastic younger men; I would estimate their ages from 25 to 60 years old. Not that “fine lines” or “deep crevices” in the facial skin is a major concern of most men, you can still get a general estimate of a man’s age by their degree of “face linage.”

The younger club members were riding their father’s motor scooters. And, I imagine, the fathers had made similar trips for previous Merdeka Day celebrations. The scooters they were riding, were from the years 1964 to 1979. I’m sure that some of the club members were considerably younger than the older Vespas in their convoy.

Each bike had some elaborate decoration on it, along with one or more Malaysian flags (Jalur Gemilang), and were fastened somewhere on the handlebars or the back ends of the scooters. Each scooter, I noticed, was equipped with a spare tire, a few tools, bottles of water and odds & ends that may be necessary for a long trip.

By the time the chit-chat was over, and I had received their permission to take the shots, the sun was dropping behind the hills and it was already 7:10PM. I knew I was dangerously close to running out of usable ambient light, and I had to quickly pick a theme for this photo-essay, and then shoot as many shots as possible to cover the theme. If that wasn’t enough, to do it all in less than 30-minutes was a chore, but a pleasant one.

I chose to concentrate on the details of the antique Vespa scooters. And, coming from a Fine Art background and preferring that style, I decided to shoot this story in that way. Daylight was burning away fast and I didn’t want to depend too much on the flash in my camera, a very trusty and dependable Canon A620, that works fantastically in the studio for my Fine Art work, but not ideal for photojournalism. Nevertheless, it was the camera I had in my hands, and I was adjusting and adapting as I lost light.

The bikes were parked haphazardly in the parking lot, so I weaved in and out of the bikes looking for outstanding examples of Vespa craftsmanship, and handmade scooter accessories. There was a decorative eagle gracing the front bumper of one bike. A metal viking decoration on the front plate of another, and a hand stamped chrome visor with an outline of a scooter gracing the headlamp of another bike. It was a treasure trove of photographic goodies.

It wasn’t the most organized photo shoot I’ve been involved in, I have to admit that. All that I knew was that I had about 20 minutes to photograph. Plus, these guys weren’t paid models, so I didn’t want to take too much of their time; they were tired after a long, hot day’s ride and were still looking for a hotel where they could rest for the night.

Before it was time to “call the game due to darkness,” (See Note 1, below), I thought it may be nice to get a group shot of a few of the members with their scooters. The only suitable spot to line them up was on the sidewalk. That also meant that the only suitable spot to take photographs was from the middle of a very busy metropolitan roadway! It wasn’t the safest spot to plant myself for taking photographs, but I’m a bit crazy, and thought…”Why Not!

By this time, my wife had come back to observe the shoot: So, I put her to work!

She became the translator for me, to explain what I wanted from the members, and where to place the bikes. She also helped with the art direction: She’s multi-talented!

Yeah, OK! Technically, at this point, I should have been setting up some extra lighting: I’m a disgrace to “Strobists” everywhere! (See Note 2, below).

I knew that I should have a couple remote speedlights to get a decent group shot. But Hey! I was just trying to time traffic properly, to “safely” jump into the middle of the speedway for a few seconds; grab a shot, and then leap out of the way before getting run over by lunatic drivers. Attempting to set up strobes in the middle of the road seemed like lunacy to me, so I ditched that idea and just took a few shots with the tiny internal flash, and hoping for the best.

By 7:40PM, the sun had dropped out of sight behind the hills and the shooting was over.

We said our goodbyes to the members and wished them luck and safe journey for the rest of their convoy around North Malaysia. At that point, my wife and I were about to head home. It was sort of funny, as we were about to leave, one of the guys asked my wife, who I am in relationship to her. She explained that I was her husband. I guess, I just assumed they knew she was married to the crazy white-dude!

I spent the remainder of the evening getting the shots reviewed, edited, and then re-edited. I drafted a letter to a local newspaper, believing that this story would be a good Merdeka, local interest item. Links to the images were provided in the email to the Editor, so it would be easy for them to view the shots online, and at their leisure. I made it clear that if they did not reply to my correspondence, then I would be publishing the story and photographs to my Photography Journals (“Behind the Lens“). Sad to say….I didn’t hear anything from the Newspaper.

Well, their loss, I guess. I suppose if another newspaper or magazine wants to pick up this story, then that would be great – just contact me with details.

Otherwise, I’m just happy to know that I fulfilled what I felt was a “mission” to get this dedicated group of Vespa Club Members, some exposure about their historic, 50th Merdeka celebration, scooter convoy.

Note 1: An old Baseball ruling [started around 1930’s], where during doubleheaders, a daylight game could be stopped by the Umpire due to darkness, because the stadium lights weren’t allowed to be turned on during the daylight game. In the 1950’s, this ruling was relaxed.

Note 2: “Strobist” is a photography blog on professional lighting with Speedlites and other small flash units.

Photography Details:
Camera
: Canon A620
Place: Penang
Time: I only had about an half hour with them, from 7:10PM to 7:40PM. It started getting quite dark, so shooting conditions were NOT ideal. I had to use higher ISO settings and weak flash caused some problems (ARGH! ) However, under the circumstances, I did my best!
Software: Some retouching (reduce digital noise ) with Noiseware, and Lighting/Contrast adjustments with PhotoImpact 10.

“BLUE” Photographic Series

The “BLUE” Photographic Series - Images for Sale by Nawfal Nur

 

Hi All! I just wanted to mention that I now have my “BLUE” Photography Series on-line, and the photographs in this collection are for sale as prints and posters. Also, Royalty Free Licenses for these images can be purchased as hi-res digital files.

Please have a look: If you want to purchase a print or poster of a different size, one that is not listed, then please let me know and I’ll make it available for you. Click on the photo above, or here, to go to the “BLUE” Series Gallery to see the entire group of photographs. Thank You!

New High-Key Floral

Honolulu Creeper, v9July07-wp

“Honolulu Creeper, 9 July 07”

Actually, I don’t have much to say today; however, I thought I should put up a new work so that you know that I have not fallen off the face of the planet – still here!

Live long and prosper!”

 

The Heavy Machines Portfolio

My best work is often almost unconscious and occurs ahead of my ability to understand it.” -Sam Abell, “Stay This Moment : The Photographs of Sam Abell” by Sam Abell (Photographer), Robert E. Gilka

Heavy Crane with Rainbow, v1-HDR, Edit B, Photography by Nawfal Nur

“Heavy Crane with Rainbow, v.1”
© 2007 Nawfal Nur
All Rights Reserved

These are images from my “Heavy Machines” Portfolio: I guess, in a short Artist’s Statement, I would say ‘The Heavy Machines images comprise thoughtful, visual statements about typically ugly, cold steel machines, and transformed into beautiful, warm-toned, soft compositions.’ Often, I will take the images first, and then the transformation occurs, step-by-step, without really knowing what the final image will look like: I just work on it until I believe it is complete, and thus, transformed.

Heavy Crane & Rainbow, v55, Edit B, Photography by Nawfal Nur

“Heavy Crane with Rainbow, v.5”
© 2007 Nawfal Nur
All Rights Reserved

 

Heavy Crane with Rainbow, v3, Edit D, Photography by Nawfal Nur

“Heavy Crane with Rainbow, v.3”
© 2007 Nawfal Nur
All Rights Reserved