BREEZE MAGAZINE WANTS YOU!

Following my recent copywriting work for BREEZE magazine’s E COMPASS segment, I delivered another piece this afternoon for the magazine’s editorial vacancies. Managing a magazine publication is anything but a breeze so when Chief Editor said he needed my help to produce a no-nonsense yet catchy ad, I came up with the following words. So, if you are a highly talented and self-motivating individual and are looking for work, write to the email address given. Breeze is looking for serious people for a serious job—SERIOUSLY! One more thing to add, do not send your CV to me. I’m not hiring, the folks at Breeze are :)

breeze-wants-you-ad
BREEZE Magazine: Words by Jan Shim

INCREDIBLE DRIVING SKILL! KEN BLOCK GYMKHANA PRACTICE

As much as I hate to admit it, I think my not-so-distant-past has caught up with me. The inevitable has happened sooner or later but it might as well be now than never! It’s been six years now since I sorta gave up  my love for motorsports having organised just one race in Brunei before the sports was deemed unsafe to continue. Motorsports is no more unsafe compared to accidents (and deaths) on the golf course, even in badminton courts (players collapsing of cardiac arrest). As an entrepreneur, I think the ban on organised races has single handedly been unsafe on the economy and I suspect authorities who aren’t policing the sports fail to see the amount of money, staggering numbers, spent on aftermarket parts whether legally or otherwise. Oh well, enough with the rants, let’s see the good stuff …. (oh and credit to magazine pro Mark Pakula for the jump-start).

Pronounced jim-kah-nuh, GYMKHANA is an automotive sport that takes place on an open field or parking lot and requires drivers to skillfully maneuver their cars around a series of cones, slaloms, 180 degree turns, 360 degree turns, figure eight turns or other obstacles using extreme acceleration, braking and drifting. Similar to “autocross”, Gymkhana courses are often very complex and memorizing the course is a significant part of achieving a fast time.

Ken wanted to take this concept further and on a larger scale for his practice and testing, and this is the result …

Well, I’ve left my footprints on the USA’s largest Subaru Club, NASIOC, back when I was wholesaling turbochargers to the Subaru community across the States and some parts of Asia. 1080 turbos sold between 2002 and 2006 and I received a limited edition ZeroSports Subaru STi poster from my business partner to commemorate the good times though I passed on two all-paid-for incentive trips to visit the Mercedes and Garrett factory!

This is probably the best time to include pictures of my Tommi Makinen edition Subaru WRC miniature. Maybe someday I’ll have a chance get up close and personal in one of these WRC races.

subaru-modelcar-1subaru-modelcar-2© Jan Shim Photography

UPDATE: Some of you who’s seen the video has instead taken an interest in the Segway! Surprisingly or unsurprisingly, not many countries have them. Whatever the reasons, a couple of units were actually brought in by the Asia Pacific distributor for a public demo and being involved in the logistics at the time (July 2004) I took one for a spin at the Empire Hotel. No tyre burning business and no slouch either going uphill towards the main lobby. In the absence of a motorsports track, I’m imagining a theme park where Segways rule! What do you think? I sure have some expensive imagination which is also completely impractical for use here when all I really want is someone to carry my Lowepro bags!

segway-janshim© Jan Shim Photography

NBT LEXUS GOLF CLASSIC 2008

When I first shot the Lexus Golf Classic tournament in 2006, it was at the Empire Hotel & Country Club. In 2007, the venue was at the Royal Brunei Golf & Country Club (RBGCC) in Jerudong. This year it’s back at the Empire, a venue that I’m much more familiar with having previously photographed HSBC’s golf tournament there and at the same Hole-In-One location.


© Jan Shim Photography

Familiarity, however, does not make the job any easier as far as weathering the elements is concerned—scorching sun, unexpected rain, sand flies, big red ants, falling coconuts—are some of the natural challenges to overcome. Others not so natural ones include flying golf balls (I had two near misses previously) and I was prepared as much as I could for any eventuality except for one—a Nikon D3 that my partner shot with corrupted over a dozen images that thankfully were the ones from the registration. At time of writing this post I have not confirmed if we have a full set of the group flight photos required by the client. This is one camera that had D3STRUCTION written all over it!


© Jan Shim Photography

So yeah, this year I offered an associate a chance to shoot a golf tournament and at the same time kept me company. We’ve worked together on a number of events in Brunei and abroad including last year’s ASEAN 100 Leadership Forum in Hanoi, Vietnam. Golf photography, unlike other corporate events, is in my opinion demands a lot from the photographer and there are no creature comforts on the green and the hours are too long to be on one’s feet and because both of us live in the Belait district with my partner an additional 30 minutes drive to his residence. Getting up before 4 AM is very much our reality when it comes to Golf event shoots.


© Jan Shim Photography

The scene at the entrance of the Country Club was much like an airport departure hall where one Lexus vehicle after another arrived and golf bags tagged.


© Jan Shim Photography

This oval A-sign has been featured in previous tournament where two golfers posed for a photo on either side. This year, with the Lexus LS 460 flagship offered as the Hole-In-One prize, I wanted the flight photos to bear more than just the Lexus logo. So this year, the photos combined the serene landscape of the golf course from the Hole 4 vantage point and the LS 460 vehicle that people couldn’t stop talking about.


© Jan Shim Photography

As photographers, we get asked a lot of questions by the golfers as we flag them down for the photo session. A head turner such as the LS 460 is bound to arouse a lot of curiousity so naturally I got asked abouts its cost, technical features and strong selling points of the luxury sedan. Having sat in one at the Lexus Road Show and a good read of the brochure before bedtime not only equipped me a nice dream but also with information to handle basic Q&A!


© Jan Shim Photography

A Hole-in-One for the golfers but an entire weekend with the one for me and Anthony. Don’t think I didn’t try to see if staff had forgotten to lock the car and miraculously left the key inside too! There was a real worry that a golf ball from the adjacent green might land on the car but that didn’t happen. Think about it, the car by any mathematical or Murphy’s odds, is a more prominent target than my head unless the ball had heat seeking capabilities.


© Jan Shim Photography

One of the opportunites working with a partner is creative freedom that I would not have shooting alone. The ability to tell a story from a the vantage point of a “third party” can sometimes be greater than the incumbent. The third and fourth picture in the BLNG Emblem post illustrates this as I attended the event as an invited guest and I had people wondering what I was doing shooting way back at the from the room partition. It all made sense afterwards!


© Jan Shim Photography


© Jan Shim Photography

The game of golf is bound by many rules and etiquette that a non-golfer like me has difficulty understanding. Photographing golf tournaments has taught me a thing or two about the game but not enough to sound intelligent on my part to engage in any meaningful golf conversation. That said, there are countless opportunities to shoot the event and the players artistically and creatively.


© Jan Shim Photography

The bunker or sand trap is one such place where some of these creative freedom can be put to good use. In local tournaments, I’ve gotten very close to the action without inteferring the game with my EOS 20D and 100-400mm lens (the combination of the 20D’s 1.6x crop factor gives me an highly usable focal length of 640mm at the long end) and the camera’s 5 fps is more than enough to freeze action shots from the bunker as demonstrated in the images below. The first one was captured purely by accident as I knocked the dial into another mode locking the shutter speed to 1/20 second at f/11.


© Jan Shim Photography


© Jan Shim Photography


© Jan Shim Photography

ALL FOR ONE. ONE FOR ALL. I wasn’t the only one exercising creative freedom. Traditionally, we asked that each golfer posed with their clubs but really they are more than welcome to pose free style and with this group, I had them put their hands together to signify team spirit.


© Jan Shim Photography

On the second day, the rain was fairly heavy on our way to the venue. The drive was about an hour from Seria and by the time we arrived the rain showed no signs of easing but thankfully by 7 AM when it was time for the group photo, it had reduced to a drizzle. Rain or shine as long there’s no imminent danger, the game gets played. By the time the players were ready to be photographed, small rain droplets that had collected on the 5D eventually morphed into larger droplets and the camera was wet to the touch. The rain beads had also given the LS 460 increased appeal and I only wished I had the 100mm macro lens though my bag was already filled to the brim including two side pouches—two bodies, 70-200mm, 100-400mm, 24-70mm, 10-22mm, 580EX flash, CP-E2/3 Power packs, SLIK tripod & monopod, four bottles of 100 PLUS, 1 bottle water and a bag of stuff for the mouth!


© Jan Shim Photography

There was no shortage of golfers wanting to take a peek at this epitome of luxury and as the hours went by towards the end of match, question of whether Hole-In-One had been won came flooding in. Unfortunately, this car remained unclaimed.


© Jan Shim Photography

Even though I know nothing about the game of golf, I do know enough about the game to spot the subtleties to tell a story. A player checks the wind direction and as it turned out, he’s the GROSS WINNER of the tournament. Don’t even ask me what that means. I Googled for a definition and decided hmmm … I’m not going there! :)


© Jan Shim Photography


© Jan Shim Photography

The EF100-400mm L has an extremely fast AF for an f/5.6 lens and it works extremely well on the 20D. 640mm is just sweet for golf and if I had this lens in Shanghai, I would have much better shots of the pros doing their thing. There’s just so much body language in this game to capture and most times you just have to anticipate them. I’ve been able to swing and lock focus on the subjects such as the two pics below. It takes practice regardless.


© Jan Shim Photography


© Jan Shim Photography

The last time I came across a tiger mitten was at the Sheshan International Golf Course in Shanghai where Tiger Woods played at the 2005 HSBC CHAMPIONS tournament. What fond memories. On the right is the NBT LEXUS Challenge Trophy on which the names of previous winners are inscribed in succession since the inaugural event in 2004.


© Jan Shim Photography

An obvious advantage shooting an event in pairs is that our paths occasionally cross and you end up with a working photo such as this.


© Jan Shim Photography

An NBT LEXUS staff hanging on to the Challenge Trophy while MD presents the other prizes much to the excitement and much awaited anticipation of the crowd.


© Jan Shim Photography

Congratulations to GROSS WINNER YAM ASP Pg Anak Hj Mohd Saifullah bin YAM Pg Indera Setia Pg Anak Idris and NETT WINNER Han Kim Kuang who have won a trip to Singapore to compete in the Lexus Cup in December.

Related Golf links