Snapping Dreams

Archive for November 2009

Loving Autumn

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One thing I know I will miss for sure when I return to Malaysia is autumn. I just simply love it so very much. Even though it could be chilly, autumn brings so much warmth with its colours. There are of course the passionate red maple leaves and the bright yellow gingko leaves (which will be up on this stream soon) but even little things like the berries here just make my day.

More autumn pics coming up soon, so stay tuned! :)



Written by SE

November 19, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Posted in Misc

Joe McNally’s Hot Shoes Diaries

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Joe McNally

If you are into photography, it is hardly possible for you not to know who Joe McNally is. But just in case, here is a bit about him.

Joe McNally is an American photographer who has been shooting for the National Geographic Society since 1987.

His most well known series is the “Faces of Ground Zero — Portraits of the Heroes of September 11th“, a collection of 246 giant Polaroid portraits shot in the Moby C Studio near Ground Zero in a three-week period shortly after 9/11.

Joe McNally is known internationally for his ability to produce technically and logistically complex assignments with expert use of color and light.

You can also check out his work at his website (I recommend the dancers series!) or take a look at his blog. If you’ve done those before, you can also check out this promotional video he did for his book ‘The Moment it clicks‘, or look at some works of his that come with the story behind it.


So, why am I introducing Joe McNally?

That is because he will be holding several workshops and a one day seminar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 1st till 6th Febraury 2010. The workshop is named after his book ‘The Hot Shoe Diaries‘. (The publisher, Peachpit Press, made a part of the book available in pdf form for your sampling pleasure. You can find that here.)

Of course I have signed myself up for it. Have you?


More info on the workshop can be found at


Written by SE

November 17, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Posted in Workshops

Book: Wedding Photography Unveiled – Part I

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Wedding Now


I got this book when I was back in Malaysia recently. In it, you would find twenty top wedding photographers across the United States sharing their art, philosophies, strategies, business practices, and techniques in wedding photography. Of course, it also showcases their favourite images.

I’m going to share with you tips and quotes from the book that resonates with me as I go through each chapter. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I. Wedding Photography Today

  • What separates good photographers from mediocre ones is being able to know and foresee our ever-changing surroundings and being able to control the lighting, focus, and composition in a split second. ~Ben Quillinan
  • Wedding photography is all about being in the moment. A good wedding photographer knows how to capture the moment and the essence of the person in those moments. ~Joe Buissink
  • I see with my heart, and it’s with my heart that I photograph weddings. I impact every photograph I shoot. ~Joe Buissink
  • Each photographer deems it a privilege to share the day with the couples they are hired by, and each one is extremely passionate about his or her work.
  • Wedding photography is not just about getting that great in-the-moment shot. It involves long, hard work, with many different components involved: artistic talent in several genres, good people skills, extensive knowledge of current photographic techniques and ever-changing technology, and business savvy.
  • Today’s wedding photographer is, and needs to be, more personally and visually involved. ~Kathi Littwin

Written by SE

November 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Manual focus + still life

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The last 6 months had been just so crazily busy for me, I never had the chance to go out for a photowalk. Today, I thought I’d shoot something for a friend who was undergoing an operation today and so out I went, bringing my camera.

It was drizzling then, but for me,  it didn’t matter. Of course it would mean less natural lights and the camera getting wet, but I love shooting rainy days for many reasons. One of them is that you get to shoot water drops left on leaves and flowers which brings about a very different feeling for pictures. Here’s one that I shot a few months ago from my archives. And here’s one that I shot today:



Manual focus always come in quite handy in composing still life shots, so I used manual focus in this. Through the viewfinder, I got to determine which part I want blurred out and which part I want to be in focus by adjusting the focus ring. During editing, I pumped up the clarity a bit. As you can see, it helps the water stand out a bit more.



(Flowers for my friend. Wishing you a speedy recovery!)

This was also done with manual focus. Another thing with doing manual focus is not only can you choose what is in focus and what is not, but you can also make everything not too much in focus. As for editing, I made the tones warmer her cos pictures with warmer tones always cheer me up. Hope it does the same for my friend!

Written by SE

November 11, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Tips & Tutorials

Conceptual Diptych, Triptych and Polyptych

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Today, I went for a movie with an Indonesian friend. It was near dinner time when the movie ended so we decided that we might as well have dinner too before heading home. We found a nice restaurant but had to wait to wait almost 30 mins before we got to enter the restaurant. So while waiting, I decided to shoot some pics with my handphone’s camera (which later on turned into a series of photo snapping even during and after dinner).

Because of how bad the quality of the handphone camera is, I decided to do more conceptual shots to make the photos more interesting. Also, as you can see from below, I made diptych, triptych and polyptych using the photos today. Hope you like them!

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First one consists of photos taken while waiting for our turn to get in. I liked how the floor design was and thought it’d make a good background. So I took photos of feet! The photo on the left and the right, I ignored the rule of thirds and had my objects on the far left or right. As for editing, I decided to make the photos B&W this time with high contrast to really help my objects stand out.


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Second one is just a family I found cute. On the left, you can see the dad and his son while the other is of the mom and the other son. And both photos had them seating diagonally. I lowered the saturation and made this a bit pinky to created the family feeling.


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Third one here is pictures I took at the train station. It’s of the same people waiting for the train but from a different angle and also placing them on different sides of the pictures. I kept the colours cos I like how train stations look like originally, especially the yellow lines.


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Last one here, I made it a mix of portrait photography and interior designs at the restaurant. As you can see, I didn’t take straight up mug shots. Instead, I only took part of her face for both photos. I feel sometimes photos like this speak more for the person rather than normal portraits.

My friend here wasn’t in such a chirpy mood today which is why I took the facing down pic. But she had a new pair of earrings on hoping it would put her into a better mood which explains the side pic with her earrings. As for the interiors, one somewhat has lights held in by a container while the other has lights bursting out from the holes. I pumped up both the colours and contrasts for all pics.

*If you want to know how to make diptych or triptych or poliptych, here’s a quite detailed step by step diptych tutorial from Flickr. Have fun!

Written by SE

November 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Tips & Tutorials

Photos: A trip to Moku-Moku Farm

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Just a few days ago, I went on a university sponsored trip to Moku-Moku Farm in Mie, Japan. I didn’t expect much from it cos the last time I went on a similar trip, it was just plain boring. But I went anyway, hoping to catch some people pictures since many foreign students were going. Though in the end, I must say the farm really offered me more than I expected, and I had some good fun capturing pictures!

Here are some photos from the trip. More photos can be found here. Enjoy!


First up is my favourite ‘Moo’ picture. I especially like the nose and mouth part of the cow cos I feel it just shouts out ‘I’m a cow’ to me. So I decided to take a close up shot of the nose and mouth in focus and the rest blurred out. When editing, I added more contrast to the pic and made it monotone so that it could make the nose and mouth part really stand out without any color distraction from the rest of the pic.


Second is my sheep pic! I took a pic that showed the whole head and part of the body cos I felt that was the part of them that stood out. Black in front and white at the back. Not forgetting the very cute ears that just went straight out from the side. (I love those ears!) I kept the colours but I lowered the saturation with this one when I edited it cos I didn’t want the blue up there to take away the focus from the sheep.  But I liked it enough to keep it there. So, I lowered the saturation and added vignetting to add focus to the sheep.


Third are the goats. I just happened to catch these two head-butting (Just in case you are curious, the black one won). I shot this from a low angle, so that we can see both the horns and the face. I particularly liked the expression on the white goat. Edited this the way I did with the sheep pic cos I didn’t want the wooden fence to be in too much colour and then taking away focus from the goats. So, I lowered the saturation and added vignetting to it.


Next is the pig! This was taken at a pig performance show. Captured this moment cos it felt so much like the girl was asking the pig to go somewhere together with her fingers pointing out. This pic brought me back to my childhood times at animal shows so I decided to bring out some nostalgic feeling to the pic through editing.  I added a hint of brown and pink and lowered the saturation to make it feel like a picture from the past


Then of course we also had horses at the farm. Saw the black horse kissing the brown one away while the brown one just seem not to be bothered by it one bit so I captured this with the kissing in action but giving focus to the ‘can’t be bothered’ look of the brown horse. I liked the brown horse’s colour, so I kept this in full colour. I even pumped up the colours a bit for it to stand out even more and added a tint of orange to the picture to create the late afternoon sunlight feel.


Last is the ever active white horse at the farm. He seemed to really want attention cos from time to time he would just start galloping and perform circus like acts. So during one of his rounds, I tried to capture him in action and I caught him in the air. There was too many distractions in the background so I decided to made this monotone. I also added quite a lot of contrast to this photo cos by doing so the white would really stand out which is what I would want. Added some bronze like colour to it too cos I felt it made the picture more cowboyish.

Written by SE

November 3, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Posted in Photos