Penang

This is BEST Tree

This is BEST Tree, Copyright 2011 Nawfal Johnson Nur

"This is BEST Tree"

10 Dec 2011
Copyright 2011 Nawfal Johnson Nur

MOTIVATION:
It was nighttime.  I had my camera.  There was my favorite Penang tree.  I needed no other motivation.  This is a long exposure, about 20 seconds worth of time.

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Penang in December

"Penang in December"

10 Dec 2011
Copyright 2011 Nawfal Johnson Nur

Motivations:
During a two hour wait, for which the reasons are not that important, I wanted to see what I might find to photograph.  This is a location very near Queensbay.  It was nearing mid-morning, so the ‘best light’ was fading and burning away.  I was going for a stereotypical postcard style scene…or something like that.  I actually waited for the two crows to fly into the scene.  The crows here in Penang are very aggressive.  If you wear sunglasses, be careful, as the crows are known to dive bomb your face attempting to steal your glasses.  In the background (way back there) is the Penang Bridge:  The bridge opened in 1985, and it spans over the water 8.4 miles (13.5km).

Currently, Penang Bridge handles 65,000 vehicles daily and has a capacity of handling 85,000 vehicles daily. It has been expanded from 4 lanes to 6 lanes to accommodate increasing traffic on the bridge.  (source:  wikipedia)

For anyone who has been stuck on the bridge during rush, I mean, crawl-hours, you would believe that 100,000 vehicles are going over the bridge daily.

Well, far away from the bustling traffic of the Penang Bridge is this mid-morning, tranquil, beach scene.

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My New Book, Smoke Art, Arthritis and Depression

What does Smoke Art Photography, Arthritis and Depression all have in common?  Well, these are the main topics inside my new book (just published earlier today)!

The description in the photo caption (above) gives a really good indication of my book’s content.

  • My book shows 34 of my smoke art photographs, the Ethereal Dreams & Hope Collection, which includes photos taken between 2007 and June 2011.

Because I have suffered with arthritis for many years, a little over 30 years now, and have coped with long bouts of depression, I wanted this book project to be more than just a book of photographs.  I wanted to mix in words of hope, and together the photos and the words of hope make up this project.

  • I discuss a little about my beginnings with photography.  I also discuss very general details about ankylosing spondylitis, and depression.  I talk about some of my own personal experiences finding out that I have these conditions, and some story about dealing with these medical issue.

Over all, I just want to offer my book as a way to help other people dealing with pain and despair, a way to see things in terms of ‘hope’, and to stress the importance of ‘action’ to make ‘hopes,’ ‘dreams,’ and ‘goals’ to come true.

  • If nothing else comes out of my book, I will be very happy if someone, somewhere, has gotten some reassurance from my words, that things can be better even when living with pain and sadness.  It does not always have to be this way, but much of the effort will be up to you.

Perhaps by reading my book, this can be a small step, at least to see things in terms of ‘hope.’  You may also like seeing my photographs of smoke art – and that would be a real added bonus.

Thank you and take care!

 

YELLOW ARROWS & RED CAR, Edit C, NJN

YELLOW ARROWS & RED CAR, Edit C, NJN

Looking down on the access road to Gurney Plaza, from the car park.

This is the first day of Fasting in the month of Ramadhan. Early morning, started fasting at around 5:45am, and will break fast at 7:34pm. And, being addicted to coffee adds an extra challenge, when you are use to filling up whenever. Well, I have to wait until after breaking fast.

Experiencing hunger and thirst, if only for a short time, opens up your eyes and heart to what it is like, to have that feeling. God Willing, I hope to gain more understanding, more kindness and more patience. Not just during this month, but each day.

Uploaded by Nawfal Nur on 11 Aug 10, 4.00PM MYT.

THE BEST CAMERA IS THE ONE THAT IS WITH YOU – AGAIN

Back on 21 May 2007, I had mentioned that the best camera is the one that is with you…and now I’m saying it again. 

Here’s the link to the Article where I mentioned "The Best Camera is the one with you!"  This post recalls the time I hopped out of my car and got the photo of the very tall, interesting bike, and I took the shot with my carry around camera (a Canon Powershot).

I may have mentioned this back in 2007, but I was reminded about carrying around a camera all the time, from a Brooks Jensen podcast.  And, I’m sure this bit of advice has gone around, many, many times prior, by Photographers through the ages. 

Before that, I’m pretty sure that cave people were saying:

“Ugh!  The best wall carving tool is the one I have with me!  So where the hell did I put it?  I just saw an awesome takedown by a Saber Tooth, and I need to record it before I forget the details!”

Chase Jarvis recently came out with a book about THE BEST CAMERA philosophy, and he does a lot of work with the iPhone.

My carry around all the time camera is my SAMSUNG Phone.  It may only be 2MP, but it is sure better to take inspiring scenes with my Camera Phone than just making the “CLICK” SOUND with my mouth and have nothing to show for it:  Am I right or what!

I just wanted to finally put some of the photos I’ve taken with my SAMSUNG Phone Camera:

“ABSTRACT” PHOTOGRAPHY:

ABSTRACT #11-2009nnp ABSTRACT #1-2009nnp ABSTRACT #2-2009nnp ABSTRACT #3-2009nnp ABSTRACT #4-2009nnp ABSTRACT #6-2009nnp ABSTRACT #7-2009nnp ABSTRACT #8-2009nnp ABSTRACT #9-2009nnp ABSTRACT #10-2009nnp

 

“GREEN” PHOTOGRAPHY

GREEN #3-2009BWnnp GREEN #1-2009nnp

 

“METAL” PHOTOGRAPHY

NO ENTRY - TREE, 2009nnp METAL #1-2009, B&WNNP Metal Railing #1-2009NNP

 

“SHIPS, SEA & SKY” PHOTOGRAPHY

Ship Chain, No2 , NNP AT THE DOCK, #1, NNP CLOUDS, #1, NNP P, UNDAN, #2, NNP P, UNDAN, #3, NNP P, UNDAN, NNP

 

“RAIN” PHOTOGRAPHY

RAIN #1-2009nnp

 

That’s all for now.  I see “photographs” (in my mind’s eye) all around me: It is a blessing when I have a camera with me, but it is a curse when I don’t.  However, now, I always have a camera with me, and it doesn’t matter that it is just my 2.1MP Phone Camera. 

ANT Apartment in the Sky!

This is a post that combines Photography and Entomology: The Entomology part of it I don’t know much about, but I’m curious about Ant behavior nonetheless.

Anyone besides me, and others of my generation, familiar with the TV sitcom, “The Jeffersons”? You know…”Movin’ on up, to the East Side, to that deluxe apartment in the sky…”

Well, George and Louise have nothing on the ants that have made a home out front, in my yard. Well, not in the yard, but high above the ground. OK, not so high, about two feet off the ground, but in Ant-size measurements, that is a big distance upward to construct a hanging ant apartment!

BLACK ANT HOME ABOVE GROUND AROUND CANS-Edited-March 05, 2009, btl

[Above Photo]: An engineering masterpiece. A colony of black ants (I don’t know the species) have outdone themselves with a hanging nest. From a framework of several aluminum cans hanging from wire (attached along the fence), the ants have carried up the fence various natural resources to construct their nest, including sand, dirt, leaves, grass, and yes, dead ants and other insects. They have plastered the materials all around and underneath the cans. This construction is how they have made their home in the sky.

This ant apartment is literally defying gravity. The mortar holding their home together is strong enough that the vast portion of the nest is hanging securely from underneath the cans. The ants have created numerous holes in the soil for entry and exit points. It appears most of the activity in the nest is from the holes in the nest’s soil, not the aluminum can holes. [See Below]:

BLACK ANT HOME ABOVE GROUND AROUND CANS, No2-Edited-March 05, 2009, btl

In my humble opinion, this species has done something quite ingenious:  Hanging above ground their home is completely safe from heavy rains (floods), and that is ‘naturally’ important because this is the tropics. A very big Neem tree provides much of everything these ants need, including shelter from heavy rain, and resources for building, and maybe as a food source.

I have observed the colony in the daytime and nighttime and they are always busy working. The next several photographs are from my nighttime observations.

Maybe ants build nests above ground all the time and I was never aware of this marvel. However, this is the first time I’m seeing something like this, where ants have used aluminum cans to secure an earthen fortress, strategically hanging above ground under a huge Neem tree.

There are several questions for which I have no answers…yet:

  1. What ant species is this?
  2. Is this behavior peculiar to this species?
  3. Is this a survival strategy…to keep the nest off the ground away from other competition (earth diggers), and also protected from natural elements (i.e., Rain)?
  4. Was this construction purposeful or just a workable accident?
  5. What does this ‘Ant Apartment in the sky’ look like on the inside?
  6. Do the aluminum cans provide more purpose than just as a  sturdy and hollow construction material?
  7. If the colony increases, will the size of the sky apartment increase?  Will the ants build further downward, or outward?  Or, will the ants abandon the nest?
  8. It looks like these ants have used their own dead as part of the mortar: Is the “recycling nature” of using dead ants as part of the nest mortar a common thing, or unusual?

Well, so much for Ant Sociology & Ant Engineering:  That’s all I have for the moment.

I find this hanging nest quite interesting.  I knew that ants were great diggers, but now I also know they are skilled engineers as well.

BLACK ANT, no1-Edited-March 05, 2009, btl

This ant (above) stopped and tried to look menacing at the camera when I accidentally touched the can it was sitting on. It is all important to guard the nest.

BLACK WORKER ANT AT NIGHT 7418-Edited-March 08, 2009, v2,BTL

[Above]: An ant carrying…ah, something…not sure what that is, maybe food. Anyway, he’s heading back to the sky apartment with this “thing”. This is a nighttime shot.

Black Worker Ant at Nighttime 7419-Edited-March 08, 2009

Here’s another ant with another one of those ‘things’ (hummm…could it be a weird egg sack, but I always thought ant eggs were more smooth and whitish…). This is also a nighttime photograph.

Black Ants at Nighttime, IMG 7426-Edited-March 08, 2009, v3, btl

[Above]: Nighttime activity all over the aluminum-earthen ant apartment.  The best I can guess, this nest is about 4 weeks old.  At least, I first noticed it about 4 weeks ago.

Remember your Tripod!

Photographed by Nawfal Nur

Remember your Tripod!

You never know when the nighttime photography opportunity will arise. Keep your tripod in your car trunk.

Nighttime is my favorite time to see things for photos, but a tripod is essential…a good tripod.

Something that is more important for sharp images at nighttime, more important than high-priced glass (lenses) or a fancy camera, is a solid, heavy tripod.  A tripod that will keep your camera focusing on the same spot over long exposures.

For this shot, I used my SLIK ABLE – 300DX Tripod. It’s heavy, sturdy and easy to setup and adjust.  The center post on this tripod will also reverse for really low angle opportunities.

I also use a Bogan 3001 with a Manfrotto #352 Ball & Socket Head, but this one I usually use in my table-top studio.

So, next time you are out photographing in lowlight, throw in the tripod just in case you need it.

Good Luck!

Old Wood House at Night, v.2c, & Original

The bottom image is the original shot. The top image is the edited version. The top version is also the one the B&W image came from.

Photographed by Nawfal Nur

It is like Day & Night. Sometimes, you just have to work with the original to get something that you can be happy with.

You go out at nighttime, let’s say, and you see a scene, and it may not be ideal, or the circumstances may not be ideal, but you see potential. You grab your camera, you set it on your tripod, and you take the photograph. With limited time and working with the existing lighting, you take the shot: The “original photograph” is like the clay a potter works with to create a piece of art that is previsualized in the artist’s mind.

As a photographer and artist, you start working with the original image making the artwork come to life; it starts becoming the image you saw in your minds eye.

For me, I like this process, working with the original and then molding and shaping it until it becomes the image I saw in my minds eye, as I said, a work that I can be really happy with.

If I have a choice, I prefer to get the photograph as close to my vision as possible, with the original. However, this is not possible all the time.

This scene was photographed at around 11PM, and the only lighting was a single HPS (high pressure sodium lamp) street light, which for photographic purposes, is a very weak illumination source. Various other urban light pollution was around, but definitely not helping the photographic situation. What drew my attention to this scene was the texture of the materials in the house, the spookiness of the environment, and the possibilities I saw in my minds eye. That was enough for me to take the effort, and make the exposure.

Opportunities & Preparedness…

Yellow Line, by Nawfal Nur, All Rights Reserved

“Yellow Line”
From the “Distinctive Georgetown” Portfolio
Bishop Street, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
© 2008 Nawfal Nur
All Rights Reserved

Opportunities & Preparedness…

Always being prepared, having your camera with you, actively seeking out photographs with your eyes wide open, and seeing things differently are some of the major keys to taking better, and more interesting photographs.

Earl Nightingale said many things that I always want to strive for, and here are a few snippets of those things:  ‘Study and Prepare Yourself…Your mind is your richest resource…Look at your work with NEW Eyes…Serve the customer better than anyone else serves the customer…

Earl also said:  “We become what we think about.”

J.B. Matthews wrote:  “Unless a person has trained himself for his chance, the chance will only make him rediculous, a great occasion is worth to a man exactly what his preparation enables him to make of it.”  I’m sure that Mr. Matthews meant all people in his statement (as Earl N., mentioned), and Matthews’ statement is indeed, very profound, and very humbling.     

This is why knowing as much about your field, whether it is photography, or computer science, or WHATEVER, that you are a first-class professional in your chosen field.  Also, that you are constantly educating yourself about your profession, keeping up with the times and surpassing your competition.

Special Note:  See…I wasn’t prepared just now, I lost all my tags and categories for some strange reason…I should have saved all first.  Even when you think you are ready, you may not be ready.

The following video link is of one of my favorite guitarists, and perhaps, one of the best guitarists in the world (at this point in time).  The video was not recorded in a studio, but rather, at the NAMM show/exhibition, so the audio quality is a bit off, but if you listen to the playing and observe the technique, you will soon see why I believe Jeff Loomis, of the band NEVERMORE, is one of the best players around.  I have mainly put this video up here, to demonstrate someone in the field of music, who I believe is a first-class, prepared, professional.  You can substitute anyone of your choice in this type of exercise.  Pick someone you know is skilled in their field, it can be your field or another one.  Just watching someone who is at the top of their game, pushes you a little (or a lot) more, to improve yourself.

 

 

Happy New Year – 2008!

Well, it’s 2008! How was it…ah, I mean 2007? Time for a postmortem, or shall we just let 2007 be? I am so, so positive that 2008 is already great – and it rhymes too! So it’s got to be great!

Just wanting to wish all my readers and visitors to my Photo-Journals, a VERY Happy and Prosperous New Years – Make it Great because no one else will for you! Right!

OK then…Now the photo below (if it shows up…LOLOL). Just as in the previous entry, I said, “give shooting in the rain a try”…so, “give shooting at nighttime a try too.” What’s the worst that can happen? Well, OK, let’s back up the truck…lots could happen, so bring someone you trust to “Watch Yer 6!” That will allow you to concentrate on photographing.

Door & Window at Nighttime, v.1, Jalan Kajang

Be Safe! Have Fun! Enjoy 2008! Door & Window, Exterior Photograph taken at nighttime, along Jalan Kajang, Penang, by Nawfal Nur

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A Few Images Added to My “35mm Photo” Set.

“Walking into the Light” by Nawfal Nur

Well, it’s been awhile since I first made my “35mm Photography” Page.

I think, and I must admit, I’ve been busy and a little absentminded…I forgot to add images to the page. My apologies for anyone who has gone to my 35mm Photo Page and found not much there.

I have improved it a little, and now you can see a few images that I took using my 1960’s, Nikon F camera. The photographs were taken in March, for the “This Planet” Project. 146 photographs (from about the same number of Photographers I would guess) covering subjects from around the world, were taken at approximately the same time. For me, in Penang, I think it was around 10:05pm when I shot most of the images for this project.

I still love shooting with film, no doubt about it. I must also admit, it is difficult to not love digital too. And, in this part of the world, getting specialty films, like the ones I used to love shooting with, B&W Ilford, KODAK HC, Kodachrome, IR, etc., is just not so possible. Many of these films may not be made anymore, and some are just plain not available in some areas.

Basic film…yes…can get.

Specialty film, not that I know of…very tough to get.

Well, as I locate older 35mm shots, or shoot new ones (which may not be too often), I’ll send them to my 35mm Photography Page. Thanks for looking!

Trishaw Peddler Resting along Lorong Madras

Trishaw Peddler Resting along Lorong Madras, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

A trishaw peddler rests inside his trishaw along Lorong Madras, Penang, Malaysia.

The key to showing the image like this is diligent cropping until I had only the subject showing in the frame. Everything else was distracting to me.

A tight crop works well to isolate your main subject. That is one benefit to a larger pixel count camera – the more cropping can be done and still have a good sized final image.

Be Happy! Crop until you Drop! Isolate your Subject!

Penang Trees

Penang Trees, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

The “Penang Trees” Photography Series, 2007, is a Black & White, Infrared Images collection, featuring, of course, Penang Trees.

These images show many amazing details that I’ve discovered just by looking upward into the trees of Penang.

Details is what this Series is about.  I’m attempting to illustrate with these images, what I see when looking up into the trees of Penang.

Typically we spend most of the time looking out in front of us; and, I suppose forward looking is a wise thing to do, otherwise, we would be tripping and falling a lot of the time.

By the way:  This reminds me of one of a favorite quotes that Brooks Jensen says quite often:  “Even those people who fall flat on their faces, are still moving forward!”  Very wise advice!

Nevertheless, one day, I stopped and decided to take a more serious look at the lines, the angles, the contrast and patterns the trees made, and this took my focus away from what was in front of me, and moved my focus up into the great heights of the tropical trees of Penang.

I hope you enjoy this collage. This is an on-going project, so, I will be high-lighting more tree photographs…soon.