Miss Philippines Megan Young Crowned Miss World 2013


Bet you never expected to see a title like this appear here — beauty pageant contests are not my thing — yet here I am posting not one but two photos of Megan Young, someone to whom I was introduced at ZoukOut 2009 as a Channel V Philippines VJ. Fast forward a few years and very recently, she went on to become Miss World 2013 — and thanks to social media there’s no way I would be denied this piece of breaking news especially on Facebook. Congratulations to Megan and the Filipino community for being the first Filipino woman to win this 63-year-old beauty pageant.


I met Megan Young at the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort hotel right after selected media personnel were introduced world renowned trance DJ Armin van Buuren for an interview.


Megan Young writing down her contact details for esteemed Filipino food and travel blogger Melo Villareal. The glittery band seen on her hand is a tamper proof band issued by ZoukOut for security checks like the one you see below.


Home Is Where The Art Is

I began taking pictures for a living in the middle of 2004 shortly after I bid farewell to my 13 year career in I.T. A lot has changed in the nine years I’ve been in the creative field — camera technology has improved by leaps and bounds, a far cry from the very first DSLR I owned, a Canon EOS 300D, and personal computers are now incredibly powerful and a lot more affordable than they ever were before. Yup, a lot has changed in 9 years but the one thing that has remained constant is that I work from home — I am my “own boss” as Butra Home Concept magazine put it.

Welcome to #shimworld, the home of Jan Shim Photography. Everything to do with the final image — online and offline — happens here. This studio only handles archiving and editing work, no walk-in portrait or baby session like some of you might imagine. As my work mostly involves shooting at the client’s location, not much actual commercial photography goes on here. I do occasionally bring small items home to photograph when it’s a more practical option to do so.


The heart of studio is an ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus V GENE, unlocked Intel Core i7-3770K 4.6GHz liquid cooled by Corsair H80 cooler, Corsair Vengeance™ DDR3 OC Edition 1866MHz 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 2GB, Crucial M4 128GB + 256GB SSDs housed in a SilverStone Fortress FT03 chassis. See comments on Facebook.


It’s a cozy office just big enough to accommodate everything I need to run my photography business. Own boss also means doing everything from replying emails, marketing, quotation, invoicing, payment collection (when electronic transfer isn’t an option) by myself.



Read also: Adobe Lightroom ‘Parallel Processing’ Speeds Up JPEG Export by 50%

Two stacked USB 3.0 SanDisk ImateMate card readers to handle simultaneous Compact Flash cards downloads.

Two stacked SanDisk ImateMate USB 3.0 card readers to handle simultaneous Compact Flash cards downloads.


Colour accuracy is a critical component of photography and owning a good quality IPS panel LCD monitor is only half equation. The other half lies in colour calibration to ensure colour reproduction, brightness levels are accurate and consistent.


Although prints are not a core business I demand nothing less than high quality prints when I do need them. For that I trust my Canon PIXMA MG6370 printer to deliver vibrant and consistent quality every time. (click on image for more info)


No mention of photo editing rig is complete without giving credit to the mouse that we hold and click countless times per day. My favourite are these — Razer Abyssus — one for the desktop and another attached to my Dell Studio 17 laptop.

Food Photography Using Samsung Galaxy Smartphones

I think I’m genetically predisposed to high cholesterol. No matter how much much effort I put into working out and eating right (friends and family know my dedication to eating right) and I have a very active lifestyle — when I’m not smashing my opponents at badminton, I’m out hiking at Bukit Shahbandar or running in the Sungai Liang forest. As a result of this ‘curse’, seafood indulgence is far and few in between. So last night, after umm I can’t even recall how long ago that I last had seafood, my cousin and I rekindled our seafood night at New Tanjung Seafood across the border.


Our collective leftovers restyled on a white plate for this art shot, wiping the plate clean to minimize post processing effort. Photographic rules don’t change just because you’re using a smartphone — light is the single most important ingredient to image quality.

On trips like this, photography is usually the very last thing on my mind but last night was an exception. We ordered 2 kilos of salted egg crab and the original idea was that we would ‘tapao’ what we couldn’t finish, have it chilled to eat the next day. One bite after another, this is all that remained. And instead of leaving a mess like we usually do, i decided to turn our collective crab rubble into an art piece. Long story short, we had 4 Samsung galaxy smartphones, 3 S3 and 1 S4 to be exact except only 3 were used — two to provide even lighting and one to capture the picture as you see above, an example adequately illustrated below back in 2011 when cousin Daniel and his wife were still iPhone users.


This 2011 photo was how we lit 2 kilos of crab except we used lights from two Samsung Galaxy smartphones to make sure lighting was even all round.

Golden Coffee’s Delectable Dishes Before My Bukit Shahbandar Hike

I had made plans with Eric and Thanis to have a quick lunch at Thien Thien before my Funshabu-Shi menu shoot in the afternoon. Last minute change of plans had us eating at Thanis’ regular haunt, Golden Coffee, so Eric and I agreed to meet there instead, breaking away from our rendezvous point for the first time in my history of lunching at Thien Thien in recent memory.


Golden Coffee’s extremely popular homemade spring roll. You’ll see this on many patron’s table until they run out.

Long story short, I’ve been back there twice, second time for a dish that Thanis ordered just a week earlier which I really wanted — beef kolomee with one half-boiled egg (I’ll have two eggs the next time I stop by for a meal). The general parking problem that plagues Bandar Seri Begawan can largely be avoided if I eat earlier than most people especially places with free but limited parking spaces.


Delicious beef noodles mixed with optional order ofone soft boiled egg. I ordered an hour before heading off to Bukit Shahbandar for a 9 Hills hike. More about the hike here

Both images captured using Samsung Galaxy S3

The Distance and Altitude of the Bukit Shahbandar Hiking Trails

It wasn’t until I signed up to climb Mount Kinabalu end of the year (December 17 to be exact)  that I began going to one of Brunei’s most popular hiking hotspot — the Bukit Shahbandar trails — to train. There’s simply no better platform to prepare than the natural outdoors faced with rocky, sometimes muddy terrains, including a number of challenging slopes to overcome, not forgetting the scorching heat and occasionally the surprising rain.

I Googled and noticed there are plenty of images of the Shahbandar trails shared by people who have hiked here previously but not technical data of the hikes such as distance and altitude which some may be also interested in. Using MapMyRun Android app at first I gathered data when I brought Thanis and Eric there on September 4, 2013 for the initial ‘4 Hills‘ hike (2.06 Kms) followed by the ‘9 Hills‘ (3.58 Kms) hike a week later (second image below). Click on the images to find an interactive map with distance and altitude details.

More pics from our recent 9 hills hike on Sept 22, 2013

Intense cardio session with Eric and Thanis at Bukit Shahbandar. Click on image to see distance and altitude details.

More pictures from our Sept 13 hike and my earlier check-in on Sept 6

Click on image to see distance and altitude details. On our more recent hike on Sept 22, 2013 App logged a longer distance of 3.8 Km that took 1:57 to complete. See MapMyHike and Facebook check-in for details  

The reward for completing our hikes … cold, refreshing coconut water


Pure coconut water is rich in vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids and cytokine, making it the best natural energy drink. [See Facebook]

The Smartphone Camera Is King

Recently a group of friends got together to hike the scenic Shahbandar hills as part of our training to ready ourselves for the big climb — Mount Kinabalu. After an exhausting 1 hour 46 minutes hike not to mention also a rather intense one, we stopped by a nearby drinks hut for chilled coconut water like we always do so deservingly. Some of us began taking pictures on their smartphones — we’re creatures of often useful but annoying habits. In the pictures below, my good friend Cyril took a shot of me taking a shot of my subjects Wendy and Thanis taking a shot of themselves on her Samsung Galaxy S2

The kicker: The main scene was captured using my Samsung Galaxy S3 while Cyril got us all us all using his Canon EOS 5D Mark III and an ultra-wide lens. There’s no denying that smartphone cameras are indeed king considering its convenience and camera technology that’s getting progressively better, rivaling that of digital compact’s image quality.

More pictures from our Sept 13 hike and my earlier check-in on September 6


I am a professional photographer and I’m happy to leave my Canon EOS bodies at home when I’m not on commercial assignments. I’m big on small cameras — PowerShot G11, Galaxy S3. 

A Gift from SunriseClick: An Awesome Yonex Voltric Z-Force Badminton Racquet

I’m the happiest guy alive, so I should be being the proud recipient of a very powerful Yonex Voltric Z-Force badminton racquet. Following this earlier post I received  the highly anticipated package from SunriseClick on August 31, 2013. For a very long time the Yonex Ti 7 has been my primary and faithful racquet  at my weekly singles and doubles game — with plenty of battle scars to show for it too. Having spent the last two weeks acclimatizing to the Z-Force, and getting fantastic results from it enough to relegate the Ti 7 to backup duties. When I am not taking pictures for a living, I’m working out my camera arm with one of the most potent badminton racquets on the planet. #DominateTheGame

The perks of dominating the game. We’re glad you’re loving the Voltric Z-Force, Jan! ” ~ SunriseClick


The Sunrise holographic sticker indicates a product is genuine.


The Voltric Z-Force unboxed. Racket arrived pre-strung with BG65 strings. I had it replaced with high repulsion 0.65mm BG66 Ultimax strung to 22/23 lbs.


“Combining incredible power and fast racquet handling for the first time, VOLTRIC is the perfect racquet for players seeking exceptional ‘all-round’ performance. VOLTRIC’s exclusive TRI-VOLTAGE SYSTEM achieves the combination of heavy smashes and speedy racquet handling.”


“Stiffer frame with head-heavy balance for an exceptionally powerful swing.”


“NANOPREME™ is a new level in ‘Nano-technology’, operating on a scale of less than one billionth of a metre by using an epoxy resin to bind graphite fibres together. NANOPREME™ overcomes the limited qualities of carbon technology to provide stiffness, high resilience and high repulsion from a single racquet material for the very first time.”


I was offered a choice of racquet weights and grip sizes to choose from and I chose the lightest one (4U) with the smallest grip (G5) — perfect combination for my style of play.


Racquet getting strung with high repulsion 0.65mm Yonex BG66 Ultimax strings

All images captured using Canon Powershot G11 © Jan Shim Photography