Brunei Darussalam

4 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH

On 26th March 2004, I drove to Kota Kinabalu (KK) for the very first time (and hopefully the last). In the car were my wife, the kids and my in-laws and we were in a convoy of 4 other cars. When we arrived, some 6-7 hours later, we stopped by the roadside curious to see what the stores were selling, you know, it’s a family must-do tradition!

As early as 2004, I had my Canon EOS 300D and thanks to EXIF, I know I had the EF28-135mm @ 75mm shot in Manual mode, 1/200 sec, f/6.3. There were times I wished blogging platform had been available as early as 2004 but that would have been just another learning curve to overcome as I had just embarked on this thing called photography.

jewel_kk.jpg
© Jan Shim Photography

I stumbled across this photo as I was updating my archives and thought it would be interesting to post this here, for a number of reasons the key one being how this picture had been edited. Back then, I thought it was neat to be able to distinctively separate a picture by combining colour and B/W. I remember when I first posted this picture on Dpreview.com some thought it was compositionally interesting with the kitten’s head while others thought I should remove clone the head out completely.

The girl is none other than my daughter Jewel who was, coincidentally, also 4 years old at the time and I think she was looking at the stones while the curious little kitten was looking at her. This photo is also an indication of the times when such editing technique was hip. Today, I find no real reason, creative, artistic or patience to do something like that again. I would find it tacky but in the interest of experimenting, it was OK!

At the risk of causing a stir with that remark, I commit the perfect crime having incriminated myself in the process.

In the same month of March 2007, just a year ago, we visited Japan in Spring and at the Samurai Park and so happened I had the camera focus–locked on her and a gust of wind blew parts of her delicate flower off and I got that Kodak Canon moment.

jewel_japan.jpg
© Jan Shim Photography

10 thoughts on “4 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH

  1. The past can teach so much, bring us so much closer to a reality that we once forgot. you have a very beautiful daughter Jan. and this picture though it might not seem like much now, in your past it did, and as such is the basics on which your artistic skill has matured into the art you create today. you were great then and still are now.

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  2. I must be un-hip then because I still find pictures edited that way – combination of colour and B/W – interesting.

    It’s a matter of taste and I resent that being called “tacky”

    As a Sabahan, do change your mind about “never driving to KK” again. Who knows after 4 years, you’ll see the experience differently.

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  3. The past can teach so much, bring us so much closer to a reality that we once forgot. you have a very beautiful daughter Jan. and this picture though it might not seem like much now, in your past it did, and as such is the basics on which your artistic skill has matured into the art you create today. you were great then and still are now.

    For a while now, I’ve noticed your flair for writing and have wondered how that came about. As you may know, I am exploring possibilities in writing as a career to compliment my photography. As it turns out, you’re a writer—what are the odds of that happening and in a strange sort of way, we were introduced online by my cousina teacher—too weird!

    I must be un-hip then because I still find pictures edited that way – combination of colour and B/W – interesting. It’s a matter of taste and I resent that being called “tacky”.

    I tried to be euphemistic about my choice of words to describe how I felt while writing that piece, I couldn’t find a substitute for the word tacky. Then a online dictionary reference says tacky also means flashy or showy so just pretend I’m referring to this meaning instead. 🙂 But it’s still tacky! Vern’s philosophical interpretation is, on the other hand, insightful—basics on which your artistic skill has matured into the art—deep and meaningful.

    As a Sabahan, do change your mind about “never driving to KK” again. Who knows after 4 years, you’ll see the experience differently.

    I cannot rationalize commuting in my own backyard, I definitely cannot find pleasure in spending half a day behind the wheel. I believe my in-laws are planning a trip there and I’ll suggest catching a plane! I would drive if absolutely required to but you won’t find me volunteering anytime soon. I’m quite the team player 🙂

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  4. I believe the bw+colour combination is still a viable artistic tool, it helps direct the viewer’s eye straight to the subject especially when the picture has a colourful and cluttered background.

    And Jan, I’m sure you could re-PP the photo to your current standard. And post a side by side of the pics, so we could visually see how much better you are now as a photographer. 😀

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  5. I believe the bw+colour combination is still a viable artistic tool, it helps direct the viewer’s eye straight to the subject especially when the picture has a colourful and cluttered background.

    It’s a novelty and we are all guilty of doing it one time or another. Much like HDR, some are tastefully done others are over-the-top. But what do I know about HDR, I’ve never done one before and judging from samples I’ve seen, I am not inspired to.

    There are other ways to direct the viewer to a subject in a picture and that’s through use of shallow Depth-of-Field (DOF). I added the second photo taken in Japan to illustrate this. Not only is the picture compositionally interesting, the EF24-70 lens provided sufficient DOF for this scene to blur the shops and tree behind the subject. The same scene if shot with the EF70-200mm would have yielded a shallower DOF. The weight of that lens is too prohibitive to tour with unless it’s an official assignment.

    And Jan, I’m sure you could re-PP the photo to your current standard. And post a side by side of the pics, so we could visually see how much better you are now as a photographer.

    I have become much better at using the camera and have not made much progress in the world of Photoshop. I’m still using the same software that was as outdated 4 years ago as it is today 🙂 Besides, I have better things to do such as visiting the Lexus Roadshow today at OGDC to check out the Lexus LX 470!

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  6. I agree, selective coloring has become somewhat tacky these days. It was cool when it was first being used, and it can work for some images… but these days I’ve just seen so many bad examples of it’s use… it makes me cringe 😮

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  7. Ok, I agree DoF and bokeh would better direct the eyes of the viewers. But the bw+colour combination does still have it’s uses, especially when you can’t get the DoF or bokeh you want, and you need to fall back on this tried and true technique.

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  8. Hi
    This is big lou from down under I just love reading about your work and family. At the end of it all there are two worlds the one we measure with line and rule the second we feel with our hearts and imagination.

    Thats what taking photos is all about the love of it all.

    Regards Lou Down under

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  9. Hello Louis,

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving your foot prints on SHIMWORLD as they say (in tourism lingo). I lived in Perth WA for 4 years as a student between 1988-91 at the WA Int’l College then finished the last year majoring in International Marketing and Business Admin at the now defunct Australian Business College (not sure what happened).

    Since then, I have visited Sydney and my last trip back to Oz was Perth and was able to visit some familiar places and shared those momories with my wife and kids. I really should post the Sydney photos up too though I’ve been putting that off for so many years now I’ve completely forgotten they existed.

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