Traveling through Asia with my Leica M and a 50mm Summicron. 17 Oct to 6 Nov 2016

Woman with a lime green umbrella in Hong Kong

After flying to Hong Kong, noticed that we arrived 3 days after "Tropical Storm Aere" (one step below a severe storm) had passed Hong Kong, so it was raining and windy. However, the weather would only get worse as "Typhoon Haima" (one step above a severe storm) was descending on the city off the east coast. The taxi ride did not help as the driver swerved and sped across Hong Kong as it dropped us off at our Hotel.

A taxi arrives at Hong Kong Airport

My taxi driver sped across Hong Kong at 110km/h in 80km/h zones in the rain and was so aggressive it puts Sydney City drivers to shame.

The Dorset Hotel, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

I took a trip to Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong and went down to the harbour. Below are a sample of the photos I took on the streets and around Hong Kong. 

"The Poissonier" at the Dorset Hotel

Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

The Peninsula Hotel

The Typhoon sets in at Victoria Harbour

The Typhoon eases at Victoria Harbour

The strong winds pick up and move the clouds enough for some light to peek through the clouds.

The view of Victoria Harbour and Kowloon Bay from Kai Tak Cruise Terminal

The view of Victoria Harbour and Kowloon Bay from Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, at night

At Victoria Harbour, I met a woman who had lost her phone. We talked and I offered to take some impromptu portraits of her to get her mind off her loss and to have some memories of her time in Hong Kong. Her name was Naidya and I immediately emailed the photos to her when I got back to my Hotel. Naidya was from Ukraine and was backpacking across Asia. Taking her portrait along the harbour was difficult with the rain, the wind and also because I gave her my umbrella to keep her out of the rain while I took shelter under a tree with my hand over my camera.

Meeting Naidya

The rain gets heavy so I give her my umbrella

Even though she lost her phone, it was nice to see her so happy

I boarded the cruise ship "Legend of the Seas" the next day and sailed away, heading towards the Philippines. Manila was the next stop 2 days later with a Cyclone/Typhoon not too far away. After visiting the historical city of Intramuros within Manila I was pretty happy with some of the images I took (one image was during a wedding I accidentally crashed as an ignorant tourist at one of the oldest churches in the Philippines,) but it was a very hot and carrying all my gear in 38C degree weather did not make me a happy traveller.

A storm forms in the South China Sea due to the effects of the nearby Typhoon Haima

Tug boats await our arrival at Manilla

The old world and the new world

The Rizal monument

A "vigilant" security guard

A mountain of vapour

San Agustin Church (the second oldest church in Philippines) - During a wedding

San Agustin Church (the second oldest church in Philippines) - rear courtyard

The next day, I spent a day at sea and then landed at Peurto Princessa, Palawan and went Island hopping across Honda Bay. There was a bit of a huge mismanagement by the Ship getting to Honda Bay but it worked out in the end. We visited Cowrie Island, Pandan Island and Luli Island before heading back to sea.

Palawan, Honda Bay, Pandan Island

Palawan, Honda Bay

Honda Bay

Honda Bay

Palawan, Honda Bay, Cowrie Island

Palawan, Honda Bay, Pandan Island

The water is so clear

Palawan, Honda Bay, Pandan Island

Palawan, Honda Bay, Luli Island

Palawan, Honda Bay, Luli Island

After 2 more days at sea, I got to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. I didn't join a tour but I did get to walk around the port city and the local market. It was a city that was pretty much a first world country in the edge of the developing world of Asia (much like Hong Kong) where the divide of rich and poor is harder to determine and the country itself is wealthier than its neighbours. This was made highly apparent when I got back on the ship and looked across the bay and saw an entire city of semi-shantytowns locked away on a seperate island, away from the hustle and bustle of the local Mall and Super Shopping centre.

I didn't photograph much of Malaysia. I tried to do some street shooting but as you can see, the shot that spoke to me the most was the concentration of their poorest shoved onto an island into a shanty town.

An island shanty town in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Back on the ship, I attempted to navigate the hundreds of guests to get a so-so kind of photo, of the bar show. Unfortunately, a rope barrier was in the way in one of the shots. I really like how the light hits the smoke. In another shot, I got lucky with the focus trying to shoot between a myriad of people from the deck 6 of the ship.

Some of the entertainment on the ship

Arial performance 6 floors up

The next day, we crossed the Equator and the ships crew made a "sacrifice" to Neptune by covering some officers with eggs, flour, pasta and pasta sauce.

A toga styled equator crossing ceremony

Presenting the "slapping fish" to the audience

After some relaxing days at sea, the ship landed at Benoa Bali. I didn't travel on a tour this time, instead I just visited the local market. From the ship, Bali looks like a very wealthy resort island, with speed boats and tourist activities and a swathe of resorts. After landing at port, Bali immediately showed me a struggling community. The market I visited RELIES on tourists buying their trinkets and souvenirs and because their culture is also highly competitive, the store owners really know how to follow and hound you for your business. I bought some items and paid more than I would normally, knowing that I was still paying less if I bought anything in Australia and it was a better deal for them in this country. 

Parasailing, Benoa Bali

A very confronting market

One of the welcome statues in Bali - there was a huge line of people who wanted photos with this statue

A gate deoration

As I left Bali, I relaxed for several more days before landing in Darwin where I took a tour to Djukbini National Park, along the Adelaide river and photographed some "Salt Water Crocodiles" which are really semi Fresh Water Crocs. I also got extremely lucky with some Hawks taking a few swoops of the boat I was in.

Jumping crocs in the Northern Territory

Right before the croc snapped at some meat

Australian Hawks swooping at the boat

Australian Hawks swooping at the boat

Australian Hawks swooping at the boat

The beginning of the wet season in the desert.

The red earth gets replaced with so much green when it rains here

I spent another 3 days at sea while the ship headed towards Cairns. When the ship docked, I got on a Catamaran and headed to Green Island where I got to wander the island, see some fish and took a very rare self portrait as I was able to lose some weight during the cruise (and still continuing to lose more.) It is not everyday I take care of myself but being able to mix work, health and relaxation together resulted in a very rare photograph.

Unfortunately it was here my Leica failed - it shot 10 photos which registered a click, and an image in the screen but nothing was recorded. Luckily I always turn my camera off between locations so I only lost 10 shots. What was worse is that I only found out about this when I got back to the ship and saw the images missing because the camera gave enough feedback to suggest the images were taken and I don't always chimp my photos. Disappointed.

A rare self portrait - Catching Pokemon at Green Island

An adolescent Sea Turtle

Feeding the fish

Seagulls kept us company as I rode the glass bottom boat.

This Seagull came within arms reach

This functional sea pylon is also a nest - among others.

The next day I arrived at Airlie beach and boarded a Catamaran to reach Daydream Island. There I met some new animal friends, trekked the entirety of the island rainforest and just relaxed as it was the last stop before disembarking at Brisbane.

A simple panorama taken while walking around Daydream Island

A rainforest walk at Daydream Island

This Kangaroo is so used to humans, it let me sit next to him

It got bored and began to groom

Getting ready for a Tequila shot

A spot lit waterfall

What I learned about traveling with my Leica is that after a month of intensive work, the shutter mechanism throws a lot of dust and sports onto the sensor. I spent a lot of work editing the dust spots out of my images once I reached Palawan. I also learned that I LOVE using my Leica camera for its size and responsiveness, but it is definitely NOT a reliable system to use.

What I also realised is that while I love using my 50mm Summicron lens for everyday work and the street, traveling with a 50 for landscapes is really hard. I relied mostly on stitching panoramas and being far enough to get enough landscape into my field of view. I wish I had the funds to purchase a 21mm or a 24mm lens that I could just dedicate for landscapes. If I had to take only one lens for traveling, I would have invested in a 35mm as it is a more social angle for group photos, shooting a dinner table and taking environmental portraits along with a decent landscape angle.

Sir Pepi

Posted on November 7, 2016 .

Kimberly & Robert's Wedding Day 19th February 2016

Here at Poet Productions we are always looking for new opportunities to photograph a wedding with interesting looks and most of all, creating natural and candid images. Kimberly and Robert's wedding was no exception. It was a fun and happy event despite the heat.

On the 19th of February, Kimberly & Robert were married before a picturesque backdrop in Yarralumla in the Australian Capital Territory. Before the day commenced, the boys dressed up for a few group photographs while the girls had their hair made. When the girls were ready to get dressed, we took a lot of preparation images and also their group photos, especially with the Bride's parents.

I was deeply impressed with the choice of jewelry and more impressed and jealous of the bride's choice of shoes which put comfort first and I knew I was in for a long day with my tight leather shoes. I learnt something important from a very clever bride that day.

The Ceremony was delayed slightly as we waited for 'Pop' to arrive and when he did, the weather was absolutely perfect. The light coming through the trees threw beautiful dappled light across the clearing.

The location was perfect for a sunset image but there was not enough time to climb the hill in the distance and golden hour was fast approaching. So I stole the bridal party, found a log and used a small wood as our backdrop to create an almost lost in the woods, fairy tale look.

We then took the event inside, into the wool shed which was both a relaxed and happy affair. There was so much beautiful atmosphere to the entire event and I loved being there for another lovely couple. Please enjoy some select images of the evening.

Posted on March 20, 2016 .

Afternoon Trek into Wattamolla National Park

Landscape Photography at Wattamolla. Wattamolla is the name of a cove, lagoon and beach on the New South Wales coast south of Sydney, within theRoyal National Park. Special thanks to David and Ashley for the trek and the opportunity to visit such a lovely place.

Posted on January 19, 2016 .

Starwars and the 501st

Recently I spent some time with Richard Wolfe who has spent quite a lot of time and care creating a functioning Stormtrooper uniform to join the 501st.

The 501st is a charity group of people who are big fans of Starwars and Cosplay as Empire related characters. They visit children in Hospitals and perform for the community.

To join, each person has to present photographs that address a strict criteria for their costume. Everything has to be as accurate as possible.

After shooting the essential photos, we decided to have some fun and take some pictures with Richard doing Stormtrooper-esque poses.

Let me know what you guys think.

"Look sir, Droids."

Posted on January 19, 2016 .

Product Review: Elinchrom ELC PRO HD 1000 'To Go' Set

The purpose of this post is a simple review of the latest Elinchrom studio flash heads I purchased for myself and my classroom. I felt it was important to have a real world look at these lights as all my purchases consider, reliability, durability and most of all, affordability and after using these lights in the classroom setting as well as in a working environment, I had a lot of things I liked about these lights, a lot I hated and a lot I absolutely loved.

Let’s look first at affordability.

The lights I purchased was a To Go Set of the 1000/1000 flash heads – This includes a carrying case, two 1000 watt second heads, cables, two wide reflectors and a skyport trigger. I was lucky to have purchased these lights when Elinchrom offered a free Square 44cm reflector with a grid valued at $240 Australian dollars. All together, the kit cost $3,450 plus $35 delivery. Now you are probably thinking, affordability, you must be insane, that is definitely not affordable. I will agree with you. My reasoning behind the purchase was getting a Flash head with a short flash duration, stroboscopic features and also, I needed a 1000 watt second head for my personal work. For me, this was the best Elinchrom has to offer currently and if it also meant my students had access to strobes that can potentially freeze water, dancers and more, then as an Educator, I am more than happy to let my students play with these lights.

Should you get these lights just to freeze action?

Well, yes and no… If you have dedicated Elinchrom modifiers and BRX or RX units from a few years ago then the ELC units are the only upgrades available. I did think about the Quadra units and the new ELB units but for me, I was also looking for more power. I own a set of Canon Speedlights, then I moved to a set of 500 watt second BRX lights. Now I have the 1000 watt second ELC lights and I bought them as my needs expanded. So again, if you already own Elinchrom products, to me these lights make a lot of sense.

So why shouldn’t you buy these lights?

Well, they are far and away the most expensive units, and there are cheaper and more effective options. If you can find a way to import them out of the USA, Paul C Buff sell Einstein units which are legendary for their price and flash duration. For the rest of us outside of the USA, we have Profoto and Elinchrom as the main brands. There are others like Priolight, Bowens, Indra and a range of Chinese brands which I regret purchasing years ago, but right now the best bang for buck are the Elinchrom ELC units.

If you want flash duration to freeze your subjects, you can use speedlights but if you need power you will end up spending more on these small things they are annoying to set up, and the battery doesn’t last very long. If you get the Elinchrom BRX units, they offer power but have disappointing flash duration. Quadras and the ELB units are great but again you only get them for a little more power and for portability. The ELC PRO HD units are perfect (for ME!)

Elinchrom claim a Flash duration of 1/5260 on the 1000 head and 1/5000 on the 500 head at t.05.

In reality, you are getting something around 1/1800 which is amazing but not enough for someone who relies on tack sharp movement for things like splash photography. The Stroboscopic and Delay features are fantastic to use as I occasionally shoot dance, but for the vast majority of photographers out there, we will only use these features sometimes. Try not to base your purchase decisions on features like these unless you are in dire need of such features.

When I think of reliability, I expect two things from a flash head.

Consistent output and most of all, longevity. I have been using Elinchrom for almost 3 years now with just two BRX lights and I have never had to replace the modelling lamps or the flash tubes and I use these lights regularly to do demonstrations and my students use them for practicals and experience. After 3 years the modelling lamps are getting some black stains on the glass and I have seen two or three misfires since buying them, but they have always maintained the same white balance across all the power settings. I should expect the same from my ELC units and after some tests and real world uses, they just feel like the same old lights I’m used to, just fancier and more expensive. I never had to worry about them during work.

The new OLED screen is crystal clear, and I think they should have made the screen larger but it works and I have no serious game breaking issues with them. I kind of wish the Skyport triggers would get an update soon. Now, I know that Skyport recently got updated with the new Skyport Plus HS trigger that addresses the main issues I have with Skyport in the past. I wanted a screen read out and something made of less flimsy material. Which we are able to get, but it does not detract from the fact that the new Skyport Plus HS is an additional cost of $400 Australian Dollars plus shipping. My biggest annoyance with the original Skyport is how unreliable the up and down buttons are when you want to change the power of the lights. After some simple testing, my lights would go up and down together, and then suddenly they started to go out of sync. One light was at 3.2 and another was at 3.6 after about 10 presses. It was quite disappointing and since using Skyport 3 years ago, I have ALWAYS changed power settings directly on the heads and the Skyport is just a simple trigger. So anyone wanting to get lights that have an integrated trigger system and purchase a bundle, at the time of this review, you will be sorely disappointed and will probably shell out the extra cash for the new Skyport Plus HS.

Here is where I get a little negative, but only because I love Elinchrom so much and I feel they need more users complaining about these things because it’s getting to the point where some things are going backwards or, they are not listening enough.

Firstly, durability. The Skyport triggers are old and I think the electronics are not reliable and they are not durable as I mentioned earlier about how having a screen readout will allow a better remote experience instead of pressing the button 10 times and hoping each head got the signal. I dislike how weak the antenna is and how it is made of cheap plastic. The switches wobble and one Skyport switch does not stay where I want it to any more. (To be fair, I have used it at least 3 times a week for 3 years.) But I want to control groups, I want to control channels better and, sometimes, my Chinese triggers from Apeuture feel better built for half the cost.

The build quality of the heads also makes me just want to throw my new purchase out the window in protest. I want to take a flight to Europe JUST to complain. When I bought my first Chinese strobes, they felt like plastic to hold, but it was coated in a soft rubber like material that gave me confidence in my grip and felt like quality plastic. Then my BRX heads arrived and the Handle was amazingly sure of itself but I was upset the gap didn’t allow my whole hand through so I always felt like I only had half a grip on the lights as they hung from my fingers as I couldn’t fit my knuckles through. The body was made of a smooth plastic and so I was also never confident holding the light with both hands, and I sometimes I get stressful jobs and I don’t want a little sweat on my hands to be the end of my lights. This was all minor complaints as these BRX lights were middle of the range. I was pretty sure the Pro line would be amazing.

So when the ELC PRO HD units arrived…

Sad to say I was quite disappointed, very disappointed, as my first impression. The gap allowed my whole hand to get in and the handle was made of rubber. Unfortunately the handle is thin which means that I still hold the light with just my fingers (I have medium sized hands) and the rubber spins around the handle, which almost made my drop the light when I pulled it out of the bag for the first time ever.

My thumb touched the back panel and it creaked… the OLED screen creaked and moved with a bit of pressure which scared me half to death as I thought I broke the screen. I checked the other light and felt the same – there is no support behind the back panel and I worry each time I lift out the lights because my thumb rests on the back panel for stability as I pull the light from the bag.

The ends of the handle has sharp corners so it is not comfortable and the entire body feels so slippery and the top of the unit creaks a little (I noticed when I put an umbrella in.) Also, it feels like the umbrella no longer has a friction fit… it grinds against something now – no more rubber, it is now a stiff bump that scrapes along the umbrella shaft now which feels like I’m damaging my umbrella/head and is difficult to remove smoothly.

I feel that the modelling lamp now is backwards and the glass dome, as the President of Elinchrom admits, is designed for protection lest the lamp explodes… Which is not comforting. The only saving grace is that the dome is made of thick glass with vents in them and you can get frosted domes and the clear dome has a nice quality to them as they don’t have a hotspot like my BRX units tend to have when unmodified.

That being said about Elinchrom’s build quality, I still love the brand.

The quality of light is consistently amazing, the features are exactly what I need and cheaper than most of the competition that offer less and the modifiers are, for the price, the best in the industry and to quote Zach Arias when he talks about beauty dishes, the modifiers they offer have something about them, they seem like they are made with “Unicorn Tears… Whatever it is, its beautiful.”

My students and clients love my lights, I love my lights, but I just wish for the money Elinchrom asks, I want a little more sturdiness in the body and better materials where it matters, like the OLED screen and the handle.

Would I recommend the ELC 1000 lights? Well… not really. Mostly no. But if you had a choice between what is on offer currently outside of America, You can get one nice B1 500 watt second light and TTL trigger from Profoto, or you can get a D1 500 watt second light with umbrellas and trigger from Profoto, or you can get TWO Elinchrom 1000 watt second ELC units, a free modifier, umbrellas, stands, trigger, reflectors, bag for two lights for the same price for the Profoto units I mentioned.

Compared to other expensive brands you get more bang for your buck, and Profoto and Broncolor modifiers are just far too expensive compared to Bowens and Elinchrom. However, like I said earlier, if you already are invested in Elinchrom, then you should get these new lights. They are great and you will save more money in the long run. But if you are still deciding on a new system to jump into there are so many choices out there… if you have the money, then Profoto might be a great choice – You can always get adapters for Elinchrom modifiers too… but you still spend almost double just to get a set of two nice heads than the Elinchrom.

I guess for me, Elinchrom works.

It is the old house I grew up in but needs a huge renovation and it needed it years ago. But I know just how to open that back door that sticks a little, and the window you have to jiggle the right way to get it to open. This is how I see Elinchrom. I love it, I get annoyed by how it was built, but I know it, it does its job and in the end, my clients love what I did with the place.

An example of work that my students can put together, once they learned how to set up this splash shoot. Clarity and contrast was punched up, the exposure of the fruit was pushed and shadows brought down. Light was high up, back lighting the glass. A simple set up and the kids had a blast trying to get that one shot. They now want more lessons doing this with dye, balloons and more fruit!

Posted on October 31, 2015 .

A Silver Spur

Rolls Royce

For the uninitiated, the Rolls Royce Silver Spur and the Silver Spur II is one of a long historic line of luxury and exquisite cars, and one of so very few that still work, and one of even fewer in Australia.

I recently had the opportunity to photograph this beautiful car for a local family in Canberra/NSW region. It is such a beautiful car with such a beautiful ride, and after a short ride in the car as thanks for the photographs, I sat in my own car and it felt like my car was driving in mud – the ride in the Silver Spur II was so different and lovely that I felt spoiled with quality.

Here are some of the images taken of the car. I especially thank the Lowe family for the opportunity to experience a rare moment in a very rare car and understand why there is such love and awe for the flying lady.

The Flying Lady

Posted on May 14, 2015 .

Kathryn & Peter's Wedding day 25th October 2014

At Poet Productions, we are always happy to do weddings, especially when they are for people who understand and appreciate the poetry of pictures. On the 25th of October 2014, Kathryn and Peter got married. Although I was there as the Photographer, I was also treated as a guest of the family. It is a rare occasion when that happens and it has been a delight and honour.

The family on both sides were extremely helpful and relaxed as they helped organise all my shots. Kathryn was exceptionally organised and if it wasn’t for her detailed itinerary, not only would I have been late, I would have been easily lost. I can happily say that the new Suine family are good friends of mine that I am happy to have a unique association with. It is rare, as a photographer and videographer for weddings that the family as a whole (not just one or 2 people) band together to ensure a smooth day, even if the day is packed full of events. It wasn’t until I was politely coerced to stop taking pictures and eat my meal that I realised how much consideration they all had for me to feel like a guest.

The day began at 9am, with my arrival at the Bride’s home, taking images of the girls getting ready. It was then off to the Groom’s home where it became very clear that putting on a suit was far easier than putting on an intricate wedding dress and doing up a design in your hair. After the Groom’s bother dressed the nephews, the men were ready and I made my way back to the Bride’s home for family and dress shots.

I was extremely impressed at the intricacy of the dress, as it needed some kind of knitting needle to be buttoned up. It really tested my skills and I was shooting at the limits of my skills; as the room was taken up by four people, a big wide dress, a bed, and study table which meant that to get some of the images to look good, I had to press myself into the wall and pretend to be as thin as paint. I was yearning for my studio lights, a studio hall and an entire week to do some of these images. But again, the family was so accommodating and I was able to get the shots that we needed.

The ceremony was amazing, with vintage Italian and French cars sitting outside the Church, a full mass and a very upset mother and father as one of the little boys started to charge the Altar and the Groom’s brother had to haul the young boy back to his seat. After the ceremony, because the sun was extremely high, as it was close to noon, there were so few places to take group images of friends and family, that we settled for the drive way. Armed with my favourite light source ever (a 60” Silver Parabolic Umbrella) and with the help of the Father of the Groom and the roof, I was able to get everyone in the picture, even if the driveway wasn’t ideal. We still got some amazing family photos though, and that’s what matters

After following two vintage Fiat’s, and a Ferrari Dino (yes, that’s right, a Red Ferrari Dino) to the lawns of Parliament house, we took some pictures of the bridal party and tried to capture the beauty of this amazing event and the lawns of our old Parliament House.

We then followed the Bride and Groom to where Peter proposed to Kathryn, at the National Carillon on Aspen Island in the middle of Lake Burley Griffin. It was a little windy, so I changed the umbrella from the 60” Parabolic to a 46” White Elinchrom Umbrella. After a few minutes shooting, a big gust came by and toppled my light stand and my flash, the radio, the stand and umbrella flew over the bridge and I was lucky to have caught it in time after frantic pointing and shouting from Peter and Kathryn. Thanks for saving my gear!

This location was beautiful to shoot at. It was really hard to get the lighting right, until the sun just BARELY dropped behind the Carillon creating this beautiful and contrasty halo around the top of the bell tower. The sky was pretty much perfect, and with a beautiful and naturally photogenic couple, the shoot was easy.

The Reception was beautiful, the tables were beautifully arranged, with gorgeous fairy lights behind white mesh curtains along the walls. They made for perfect backgrounds. The cake was in itself a work of art and took my interest immediately as I walked in. What did worry me was how dark the hall got, especially when the band, Special K, began to play. The main lights were turned off, the ceiling was too high to bounce light off it, and now I was stuck with a massive dilemma – Do I stick my flash on my camera or do I keep using it off my camera… I bit the bullet and put my light on my camera, set the flash to ETTL (auto) and with as much diffusion paper I could stick on the end, I started photographing the dance floor and eventually shot the first dance, garter and bouquet toss as well as the farewell.

The images weren’t as good as one would get in a well-lit hall, but what I did get was a very dreamy set of photos. Dark, with blurry yellow lights everywhere; the party went on from 5pm to 1am (some stayed till 5am) and I think I was able to capture the blur and fast paced energy the party had for the evening. Everyone had so much fun!

When the night ended, I contemplated on how the energy of both families pushed me to keep going for 16 hours straight. It was amazing how much energy and happiness they have being together and celebrating something as amazing as Kathryn and Peter’s wedding day.


Posted on November 22, 2014 and filed under Photography, Wedding.

An Epic Team

A few weeks ago, during the same week I had the opportunity to photograph my lovely friend Tess Sanderson, I also had an old mate who I hadn't seen in years, Raman Chen, visit and agree to a shoot for himself and his friends/team. Together they are Team Epic and the evening was truly Epic.

These photos were mostly for fun and for mutual benefit. However I got a change to meet an amazing team. Here they are:

Raman Chen

Raman Chen

Andrew Chau

Andrew Chau

Quoc Trinh

Quoc Trinh

Immi Anh-Mai

Immi Anh-Mai

Nico Vu

Nico Vu

A bit of fun

Posted on October 19, 2014 .

Tess Sanderson

Just last weekend, I had the pleasure and the opportunity to create a set of photographs for a client and a friend, Tess Sanderson. We spent an entire Saturday and Sunday playing around with different looks, styles and lights.

We eventually settled on a select number of photographs for her use and she has graciously allowed me to share her images with you all. She's a great sport; a gorgeous, natural talent and it was lovely spending a weekend taking photographs with her.

Posted on October 3, 2014 .

Food Photography with Newly Weds Foods.

It has and still is a pleasure to work with the Newly Weds Foods Corporation, more specifically "New Food Coatings". Last year they tested my abilities when they wanted promotional material for their products. Their products being Food Coatings for meat, vegetables and sauces.

This was my High Key set up. The aim was to have a slightly reflective surface, and a choice of a white background or the oven as a dark background. This set up was mainly for the cooked meals.

This year, they did not want product photographs, but photographs for their serving suggestions. I personally was completely happy to work with them again and had enormous pleasure assisting them with what they needed.

My initial set up for the Low Key shots. This eventually ended up with one soft box to the right, and one high umbrella to the left as fill. This allowed me to create a dramatic look with images for their crumbs and spices.

After taking the required shots, It was amazing for me to be offered a taste of their products for lunch. It was absolutely delicious, and was lucky to have taken home some samples for my own cooking.

Without further ado, here are some of my favourite images that stood out for me in terms of final product or technical difficulty.

Steak with Gravy. ISO 100, Shutter 1/160, Aperture f/11

Roast with Gravy. ISO 100, Shutter 1/160, Aperture f/11

Pork with Gravy. ISO 100, Shutter 1/160, Aperture f/14

Crumbed Prawns. ISO 100, Shutter 1/160, Aperture f/11

Crumbed Pork. ISO 100, Shutter 1/160, Aperture f/13

Crumbed Prawn. ISO 100, Shutter 1/160, Aperture f/11

Chicken Salt. ISO 100, Shutter 1/160, Aperture f/8

Posted on August 31, 2014 .


Leica M

The new Leica M (type 240) is probably the most rewarding camera I have ever used and have had the opportunity to have a considerable amount of time with. It is, to date, my favourite and most desirable camera available on the market.

Leica is a strange brand. Unlike Ferrari, Bently and the like, Leica is a luxury brand that is ridiculed by those in the profession, heralded as the bastion of photographic elitism, or brushed aside; but at the same time, it is used successfully, perhaps even better than other brands in the field. That being said, Leica is a difficult camera brand to learn, as it is almost completely Manual in function and for its price, you pay the same price of a flagship camera from Canon and Nikon but for a fraction of the features available.

To continue the Luxury Car analogy, Leica is a Ferrari, with just tyres, seats, an engine and the frame. Not only is a Leica stripped back, it takes it to the point where it can become frustrating and I begin to long for some kind of Automation. Unfortunately, the Leica can be seen as a Bently, extremely luxurious, dearly expensive and losing its mystique - because people who love cars don't give Bently the same kind of awe as it did Fifty years ago... Could this be the same for Leica too? I guess their current sales of the M Rangefinder is reassuring the brand will not be going anywhere, but I question if Leica really actually cares about its heritage, or just the 'shiny' heritage. There is definitely no shortage of disgruntled Leica owners and ridicule in the industry.

Either way, I have followed the famous red dot, and I appreciate the legacy, but as a new user, I demand a little more than just legacy, I also want value. Time will tell when Leica will also trade legacy for value... The M represents a step to the later, they traded a little bit of legacy for a truly Digital camera. Unlike the M8 and M9, the M represents Leica understanding the need to survive. Sales, for now, have proved them correct.

Australia Day 2014 Queanbeyan - Scruffy Puppy

What upsets me the most about Leica is that it doesn't forgive bad composition, does not forgive poorly selected settings and most of all, having a Leica in your hands as a new user, adds to the pressure to produce excellent images. This is the teaching I needed 10 years ago when I took up Photography seriously.

Australia Day 2014 Queanbeyan - Man recognises the Leica Red Dot

I had always believed I was a good photographer until I had to shoot an event with a Leica, and it was difficult. Out of the hundreds of shots taken, only a handful were useable and I knew at that moment, I relied too much on technology, just as almost 99% of photographers out there do as well. It's hard to admit, but when you are forced to not only compose, expose and shoot with nearly no assistance at all, that is when all those years in school, the years of experience, all the accolades given to you as a photographer for your quality work, reminds you that its not the camera, its you... You took a bad photo. It's an exhilarating experience and one I will expose myself to often in the future as I plan to master the craft of manual photography. I have relied on automation for far too long.

Australia Day 2014 Queanbeyan - Bored

It is in that one moment, that moment I realised I nailed that shot, took that one image that I desperately worked for that made me realise that I had scored one extra mark in the test. When that image is earned and earned well, that is where, I believe, the Leica brand shows its true colours and qualities that has made it unique and the only living brand that has stayed true to its roots. The image is not only sharp, its probably some of the sharpest images I have seen; quality I thought only capable by Photographers hired by magazines, but its there, with noise replicating grain-like structure and colours I have only seen in Kodak Portra 400 or Fuji Velvia. Unlike an SLR, I can still see the image taken, I can easily envisage by sight only if I know I captured the shot, especially when I know it will not arrive again. The scene through the viewfinder is fluid, and I finally understand why Henri Cartier-Bresson meant when he said that his Leica was like an extension of his eye. Putting a Leica to my eye was almost placing a filter with 35mm frame lines to see the world in. It is truly a beautiful experience, and one I wish I can share with more people through this site and through my work.

Sir Pepi

A Ring

Posted on February 23, 2014 and filed under Photography.