Archive for December, 2009

As previously promised, I am flooding my blog with posts. This is for all you “Jiaren, you never update your blog” people. However, I’ll probably write some draft posts and leave this one headlining for a while just because this is what I should be doing more and I really like the results.

So anyway, this story began a long time ago…but that not important. Whats important is that it ended just a little while ago. Last Monday to be exact. Thats the day Jun left to go back to Malaysia. The day before that, Jun asked if I would be able to photograph our group at our university’s own Japanese Garden.

Of course I could!

We arranged to meet at the gardens at 4.30pm so obviously I made it a point to be  there by 5.30pm…

which I did…

…barely.

Good news is we all got there eventually and almost everyone obeyed the “all black” dress code.

We started off at the far side of the garden where there was a couple nice sheltered benches which would be suitable for a large group portrait. We tried a couple of shots but the sun was way too glaring so we swapped around and shot into the Sun. I set up two lights on both sides of the camera to makes sure everyone was evenly lit while I pull down the background exposure. Here are the results:

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9536

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9541I took over a hundred shots but I’ve weeded them to these few to keep from boring you, my dearest readers. After 20 minutes of positioning the lights, posing everybody, and getting the shot right without people blinking, we got some really good shots before moving onto the big red door. I like this door.By the way, have you guessed which one is Jun yet?

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9559See the smartie pants that didn’t conform to the dress code? *Ahem* *ahem* Will and Jun (Not the Jun thats leaving, we have two Juns in our group). Let me introduce you to the group.

From Left to Right: Will, Ted, Sabrina, Wilson, Stephanie, Neo, Jun, Ben, Edna, Shin Yong, Jun.

Next up is our group of lovely ladies in black.

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9567I like the above shot except for the cross shadows which make the girls look flashed straight on and defeats the purpose of strobing. (Phototip: The lights are meant to “look” natural and inconspicuous).

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9573Now with two flashguns shooting camera left at full zoom we can bring the background down to exposure without loosing the foreground. Remember shadows are our friends and almost this entire series was shot with the flash on full power or close to it.

Next we did some creative shots and laughed the whole way through.

This next shot is the “Eww, Yuck, its Jun” shot:

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9577This next one is the “PHeeewWWWIIiTTtTTT, Hubba hubba, it’s gorgeous Jun!!!”:

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9581This next one is just…well…I like the composition.JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9583So have you guessed which one is Jun yet? Now we come to our hero, “Neo, the ladies man”:

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9588…or would you prefer, “Neo, you disgust me!” look?:

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9593Okay, enough of that…lets move on to more group shots ya?! Moving not more than 30 meters away is the Zen garden. The little pebbles on the ground were beautifully carved when we got there. It looked like crap when we were done, haha!

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9608In retrospect these pics remind me of the Friends series opening sequence…

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9610Don’t you love how it looks in black and white…when everybody conforms to the dress code? Will and Jun had already left by this time because they had other stuff to do.

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9611Every good Japanese garden has a red bridge so it wouldn’t feel complete if we didn’t take a shot there:

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9622Theres actually four bridges at our Japanese garden. This is one of the smaller ones. In the middle of the garden is a small island which I’ve found to be a great spot for photographs! By now we were quickly loosing light and were about to wrap up so we quickly had to get it over with. Once the lights were set up I was ready to go. Check out the reflections!

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9633Sort of has a “The Bold and the Beautiful” theme going on, hey? Heres another:

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9636You can see the flash in the picture which I felt would pass as a lamp post or something. I tried to clone it out but preferred it like this. At this point we were exhausted and ready to pack up. Jun had other plans. She wanted one last shot with Ben, Edna, and Neo so with plenty of people around I used them as assistants to finally get some use out of the umbrellas which I’d been lugging around all day without using for fear of them being blown by the wind. Its happened once and broke the flash that way. I had just got it too!

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9640Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom! If you enjoyed what you saw please leave me a comment! Send me feedback, what I should or should not be doing! critic! We all learn from our mistakes. Let me leave by saying I appreciate criticism a lot more than flattery so don’t hesitate if there was something bothering you that you thought would look better only if…(I’ll leave the rest to you)

Take care and God bless,

Jiaren

Lets have a bit of animal portraits for a change. Here are some of the friendly faces you may encounter at the Australia Zoo. Its located at Steve Irwin Way, Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

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Its a beautiful place that started as family owned wildlife reserve that led to the birth of arguably the greatest Australian that ever lived – the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. Today, his legacy lives on in his wife and daughter, Terry and Bindi Irwin respectively. If you do get a chance, visit the place! Today I’ll be posting some animal portraits I took at the zoo. I promised I’d blog this otherwise I’m pretty psyched about another strobist photoshoot I did last Sunday. Actually, I did two shoots but the first one was for church and I wasn’t given much creative control. The latter I’m psyched about because I absolutely love shooting this style and am getting very comfortable with it. Also, I rarely get to shoot like this because I don’t have any models willing to pose for me :( …but that all changed last Sunday when we had Jun’s farewell photoshoot. There were about +-8 people so I really had fun shooting some group photos which I rarely get to do. I’ve finished editing and the results are amazing! You have to see it! Stay tuned and let me get this out of the way first!

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If you’ve been to my flickr page at any time recently these images will be nothing new. I already put them up quite a while ago I just haven’t gotten around to blogging about it…until now.

First, we ventured into the reptile pit where you can see and read about various types of Australian snakes, lizards, etc. This guy was in such a beautiful pose I couldn’t have posed it any better myself!

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6722Ooh, ooh! This next guy is my favourite! WOMBATS! I absolutely love love love wombats!!! They’re soooooooo cute! …and they look so funny when they do stuff…one of them was rubbings its butt against a tree trunk to scratch it I guess…another was trying to climb a tree and failed miserably. Anyway, Wombats are awesome!

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6902As most of these places do, they have performances and shows where they showcase the animals abilities. The difference is that this zoo doesn’t force their animals to do anything. Everything is done “hands-on” style which means the animal doesn’t do anything it doesn’t want to do. While the performances are rather boring compared to a lot of other places it really does show how much they care for the well-being and treatment of the animals at the zoo. For example, even this elephant which used to be a circus elephant has grown quite “manja” (malay word for suck up). In the end I went for a tight portrait of the behemoth.

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6783Of course theres the regular array of other widelife, some you can touch and others you can’t. Heres one you can:

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6886

Heres one you can’t:

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6746One cool thing you’ll notice is how the animals themselves love the place. They get daily walks and runs outside their cages in huge habitats so they stay fit and healthy and capable of surviving in the wild should they be released. Some of the birds aren’t even caged and are allowed to wonder around. Why? Because they ALWAYS come back.

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6851One more thing is you’ll find is these little lizard things crawling all over the place. They’re harmless but look a little intimidating nonetheless.

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6810You’ll notice I forgot the most important element of the Australia Zoo, home of the Crocodile Hunter – the crocodiles. The reason being is that during the show I was too far away and couldn’t crop tight enough. Okay I just went into my hard disk and pulled out a picture with a croc in it. Now we can end the post…happy?

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6857PS. I realize the pic is slightly out of focus but it the best action shot I could find!

If you enjoyed the post please please please leave a comment! I thrive on them! …and it really makes my day when you do! Cheers and God bless!