Seven years ago today on 17th April 2010 I donated this 27″ x 23″ wood framed cardboard mounted photograph of a glorious Kampong Sungai Bera sunrise to the Panaga Helps Earthquake Fundraiser event as a lucky draw prize.
This picture was selected by event organizer Liesbeth for the auction she themed: “This sunrise piece represents the new dawn for the earthquake victims of Haiti and Chile as generous donations pour in from all over the world to help rebuild their lives.”
‘I framed this shot from my kitchen balcony. Beautiful landscape moments like this was what made getting out of bed easy. Fast forwarded a few years, however, such views along with the iconic trees got lost to neighbourhood housing development and everything quickly became a distant memory.
Seven years on, Facebook prompted this reminder which I shared on my timeline only to receive a surprising comment by the lucky draw winner, Sanne Van Grinsven-Braakman … “I was the winner of the Panaga Helps auction 7 years ago and this pictures hangs now on my wall in New Orleans!”
It’s been more than a year since my last post, and I have no good reason for the unusually long hiatus other than the fact that I was using Facebook a lot more and the social media platform was more (instantly) engaging than blogging. Today, completely on a whim and somewhat motivated by yesterday morning’s awesome group activity, I thought hey why not share pictures of a side of Sungai Liang that’s rarely seen or known to folks that don’t call this kampong their home.
If you own a Canon Powershot G series that features a tilt and swivel LCD screen, you already have a camera that takes phenomenally better selfies than your latest smartphone — that is, if image quality matters to you. I was never drawn to taking selfies because smartphone front cameras are largely still supremely inferior when compared to a 5 year old battle-scarred G11. Also, you may have read about RAW support in Android 5.0 Lollipop, I am shooting RAW+JPEG with the G11. Only slight drawback with this camera is its rather narrow 28mm field of view (newer compacts feature 24mm). Regardless, I would take distortion free any day except in rare circumstances where fish eye would be more desired.
So yesterday, I put the rig to the test (without the remote shutter cable solely relying on 10 seconds timer for each shot) at our 4 km Bukit Pak Natu hike in Sungai Liang. These pictures were taken between 3.30pm and 4.45pm on an extremely sunny afternoon and what’s the first thing that springs to mind when shooting under such conditions? Yes, harsh shadows, strong contrasts and if you’re taking pictures using a smartphone, front or back camera, you would most probably end up with pictures of dark faces or blown out background, not to mention images with no discernible background detail.
The following images were taken at various scenic spots throughout our hike — no forest canopy here just full on direct sunlight leaving subjects with dark faces especially when hats are worn. Here’s the thing with this setup: the G11 has DSLR-like controls so it’s extremely useful to have FEC dial to balance flash power when shooting under such extreme conditions. Conditions that overwhelm even the mightiest of smartphones (their tiny LED flash do not stand a chance). I shot RAW+JPEG and each of these images are good for A3 prints.