It is almost the end of the year (time flies so fast kan?) and this year I spend most of my time taking photo for news. Yes, less outing for sunrise or sunset after all rice is important (ada kau beras? he he he).

I almost have no time to conduct my basic tutorial class…but then again is there anyone out there who still trust me? Hehehe you do…let’s go for kupi.

Fortunately this year I did managed to make some photos for commercial usage for a water company. This assignment is special to me since they want photos that has natural looks and mood and less edited. I am not really sure if I managed to come to their expectation, but I must admit It does feel good when the photos that I took for them is used to promote their product.

thanks for the trust sir

to all kopisanangan toinsanan

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Hello everyone, it has been quite a long time, right? I do feel guilty to my own blog for abandoning it. However, I didn’t do it on purpose, I was actually too occupied with my media asignments. After all we do what we need to do to buy “beras”  he he he (same as usual), I do hope that you have not forgoten me he he he.

This time I would like to share with you my recent experience with the work I am doing now. My involment with media work has taken much of my time, so recently I decided to take up a friend invitation to tour the islands of Semporna. I was ready for a vacation…my boss however saw it as an opportunity to give me an asignment. There goes my holiday.. he he he :).

KEMBARA - Berita Harian - Ahad - 17 November 2013

KEMBARA – Berita Harian – Ahad – 17 November 2013

The 3 days and 2 night trip turns out to be a wonderful journey. Although I was under preasure to get photos of the place, the host of the trip and a good friend of mine, Muslianshah Masrie, made me enjoyed the trip to the max. Other than taking me and the other trip participants to 5 islands, he also made sure that we saw the unique part of the Sea Gypsies people and of course enjoyed the beauty of the islands. The best part for me is the food. Muslianshah made sure that we were well fed all along this trip. He cooked for us fresh seafood for lunch and dinner and for breakfast boiled tapioca with achovies paste or what we usually call as sambal ikan bilis (he he he tin punya kaitu bos? :)) Mus is definitely the best cook you can have during a trip.

KEMBARA - Berita Harian - Ahad - 17 November 2013

KEMBARA – Berita Harian – Ahad – 17 November 2013

Returning from the trip, tired but happy, I had to face my boss who has been waiting for the asignment delivery. I delivered the photos to him 2 days after returing and hoping he will approve my work. I was happy that he approved all the photos but I got the surpsrise of my life when he told me to do a write up of the whole trip to be published in Berita Harian column called Kembara. How my boss could come into conclusion that I could write, I have no idea but this was a job that really challenged me.

KEMBARA - Berita Harian - Ahad - 17 November 2013

KEMBARA – Berita Harian – Ahad – 17 November 2013

But, I tried my best…and I guess my boss finds my writing to be interesting enough, because he published it on 17 November 2013.

KEMBARA - Berita Harian - Ahad - 17 November 2013

KEMBARA – Berita Harian – Ahad – 17 November 2013

I guess what I really wanted to share here is my own expereince in venturing into new ground. I have no idea where this will take me but I am thankful to have the experience and learn a lot from it.

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Opportunity to learn

Hi everyone,

Apa khabar? 🙂

among my 1st work for news.. Nov, 2012

Among my 1st work for news, Nov, 2012

 I hope all of you are fine and doing well. As for me, a big change of routine had to be done but so far, I think I managed to cope with the change. I’ll tell you a little bit about it here.

capturing durian story with my camera for BH

Capturing Durian story with my camera

For the past 3 years, I have been concentrating on doing freelance photography work, my basic photography class and some commercial works. Officially this year, I have decided to try new arena of the same field. I used to think that this new arena is easy, but how wrong I was when I really am in it. Yes, finally, after some persuasion and encouragement I  have decided to join the media as a stringer photographer. I am not a permanent staff thou but still I have to deliver at the same expectation. I hope I have made a right choice 🙂

Cover photo for Life & Times article on Tagal Story

Cover photo for Life & Times article on Tagal Story in Kiulu, Sabah.

So far, I have learn that the delivery of photo for media  is very strict, I have to be very aware of the technical part of photography, since only minor exposure correction and cropping is allowed in this line of work. Furthermore, I do not have the luxury of picking what kind of shots that I want since everyday I have to capture anything that is assigned to me from sport, event, human interest and even tragedy. I admit that there are time that I performed but most of the time, I have no option but to make sure I perform.

Cover photo for Learning Curve about school kids in Sabah interior

Cover photo for Learning Curve about school life at Crocker Range, Sabah.

One good thing about this condition is that I finally have the opportunity to learn from the senior and well known media photographers. Not only that they guide me about photo but also on dealing with work demand. I am still trying my best to present a photo that is taken technically good and composed to suit media needs. It is not easy especially when the time constrain is tight and I am grateful that my seniors are always there to help me in great amount  in guiding me to deliver my work.

School life on Crocker Range

Still photos for a story on school life at Crocker Range, Sabah.

Tapi…I am still looking forward for the opportunity to meet and learn from all of you too. After all, a good friendship can lead to a whole lot of learning, opportunity and of course kupi-kupi session 🙂 In the mean time, I wish all of us will be given the opportunity and space to do and learn what we enjoy the most.

Nevertheles since this media part is only a part time thing, that means I am still available for kupi session. To all friends, bah…kupi kita 🙂

Portraiture work for Metro :)

Portraiture work for news too…

p/s To all friends in the media line, thank you for the trust and support and most of all, pounsikou for sharing your knowledge with me.

.. i guess there is a lot of things need to learn..

I guess there are a lot of things need to learn..

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Welcome 2013

Hi everyone, hope it’s not too late to wish all of you Happy New Year 2013. Hope this year will be a better year for all of us. My wish for you, may all of us have good health through out the year and have a successful & enjoyable life for 2013.

700_1945_1700 2013

Welcome 2013

Anyway, I know the beginning of the year is a handful to many…and this year I am not off the hook with busy schedule. Apparently, my new responsibility (work matter) is pretty time demanding, no regrets but sometimes I miss ‘kopi time’ but most of all I miss Tasik Likas.

So for this year, besides all the work projects for, I plan to continue the I Trust You session at Tasik Likas again.  And since I am almost there in managing my time, most likely I will have the pleasure of visiting Tasik Likas very soon. However, going there alone pun boring juga, so…will you join me? If you trust me, do pm me at my facebook or to my email 🙂

See you there.

Lano Lan

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A tribute

Hi everyone, how has December been treating you?

Mine has been exceptional for a while, until today thou. It started early this morning as I go on with my daily routine of having a walk in Facebook land. The first post that I saw, changed my whole world. A news that never crossed my mind. My mentor and my close friend, Rabani H.M Ayub (I’m sorry I can’t  bring myself to call him ‘the late’) has passed away while on assignment at Sukau, Kinabatangan.

I do not wish to write about what happened to me after reading the post because today I want to write all about him. Come to think of it, I once told a friend that one day I would want to write about all the people who has inspired me greatly in my photography journey but this was not the way I would imagine it should be written.

Abang Rabani pose for my camera during my 1st assignment at Mount Kinabalu Climbathon back in 2009

Abang Rabani pose for my camera during my 2nd assignment with him at Mount Kinabalu Climbathon back in 2008

Years ago, a week after getting my first DSLR, I started my learning proces from abang Rabani and a week after that, my first assignment with him was covering Sabah Base Jump at Tun Mustapha Tower. I followed him everywhere I could after that, hoping that one day I will be able to make him proud with my photography work. The whole time he was mentoring me and my friends, I found that he was a mentor who gives unconditionally, always patience with my jokes during any outing, able to put my feet back on the ground when I gone overboard, full of wise brotherly advice, understand the hardship I was struggling with but most of all always asking me to give my best in everything I do.

As a photojournalist, he took photo of everything and make a big deal out of his subjects. However knowing him, his true passion is the mountain and valleys of Sabah. He was not afraid to spend his time knowing and understanding his subjects, he reads a lot and a good writer.  He has infectious determination and always try to make time to be with his friends and family when he was not on field. I can’t thank him enough for all the knowledge that he has given to me.

There is so much that I wanted to tell him, especially on what I am doing now…to ask for his blessing again and to thank him. For he was a part of the mold that puts me at where I am now. His passing is a great loss to many of us, but his passion and legacy will always remain here, in the heart and memory of his friends and students.

Mount Kinabalu Climbathon 2008

Abang Rabani standing at a rock edge during Mount Kinabalu Climbathon 2008

His last SMS to a friend,

‘…Abang will always be out there among the mountain and valley.’  Rabani Ayub

Rest in peace abang, I will miss you. Al – Fatihah

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Considering all consideration

Hi everyone,

The weather has been quite in cooperative lately, so maybe instead of complaining about it, I thought maybe I should share with you a habit of mine, which I built for photography purposes and has been really helpful to me especially  when I am on the street.

It all depends on the type of lens that is attached to my camera on that time or specifically what kind of photo I would probably get with that lens. For example, if I have on my camera an 80-200 mm with F2.8 aperture on broad daylight, I would gladly put my ISO between 400-800 to make sure that I would always get the speed that would freeze my subject as well as take care of my handshake when I shoot at maximum of 200mm (heavy & non-VR lens).

Technical explanation for this shot.

For this candid shot, my setting was at ISO 500 on Aperture priority mode at F2.8. the reason why I picked this aperture is because the place was a bit busy and the background is crowded. Plus I was only aiming to get shots of people’s faces on that day. I know the fact that at f2.8, I can ensure myself a cleaner background and throw away any distraction in front of my focus point.

As for metering, my camera was set at center weighted however at the distance that I have between me and the subject, the bright background of my subject (60% more brighter than my subject) would trick my camera’s sensor if I choose center weighted metering. Maybe if I put my camera reading at spot metering the lights reading my camera auto judgement would have been more accurate.

Since I know my camera will be tricked, I locked the exposure that I targeted on the sumandak’s face because at this distance, the camera will be more interested with the bright background and ignore the lights on the lady’s face, regardless of the fact that  she is beautiful. Therefore I changed my camera’s interest by compensating it to +1.7 on fly and as a result I get what I had in mind. There are two things that I am well aware of when I took this photo, first – my background will be overexposed and second I am positive that i will be cropping the photo during post processing…and all these consideration and decision was made within a split second. This was the only shots of this sumandak which had a clean background, the next few shots were filled with a lot of other distractions.

This however is not a case of expertise but mainly about understanding and lots and lots of practice.


Cropping is mainly done to make sure you will have a better compo and to throw away distractions from your photo or sometimes to straighten the horizontal line. Especially for landscape shots, a photo with a straight horizon will be much more appealing to our viewers unless you have a good reason to originally tilt the photo. Personally I would much prefer to crop my photo before I even press the shutter since cropping obviously will make you lose mega-pixel value.

I know that I am going to crop the photo later during post processing because of these three reasons first – the busy condition of the place, second – the distance that I have between me and the subject (even after I put my lens on 200mm) and third – my 80-200 mm is unfortunately infected with fungus along the side of the lens so I placed the lady’s face right in the middle of the frame  to avoid her face from being blurred by my lens condition.

Lastly, during cropping I made sure that I cropped the photo according to original photo ratio or sensor size ratio. This is important especially for printing purposes. However this is not a fixed rule, for it all depends on your own ka’ngam’an (preference).

Note: Photo exposure as direct from camera.

I guess that’s all for now my friends, until next time…

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The Convocation and Photography..

The Convocation and Photography..

Helipad – UTM Skudai Aug 22, 1995

Its been quite a long time I didn’t mumble here in my blog. Its going to be end of the year again and have been a bit busy lately with various assignments including supporting friend in their photography work. For the last few days, I was with Studio Pesona providing graduation studio photography at Anjung Siswa UMS on UMS 13th convocation held on 26, 28 & 29 November 2011.

Well being an outdoor photographer for quite sometimes, doing studio work was quite a refreshment to me. The work-flow, the motif, the equipment, the environment, the PR and so on was really a mind opening process. Never the less, whatever the reasons are, I guess it is all about helping client to capture their most memorable moment in their life.. the graduation day.

Since I am “new” to studio things, most of the time before the assignment I spend sometimes reflecting back memory lane on my own convocation 16yrs ago. This was mainly to get an idea on what to capture on that special day for the graduates.

Looking at my memory photos I noticed a few things…

(1) The only properly taken photo is the photo on stage taken by a pro on film (its about to fade now.. no digital file…)

(2) sadly no photo with parent nor family (after all bringing family to Johor Bahru that time is super costly for unemployed graduate.. no AirAsia that time 🙂 )

(3) well by the way I guess I was alert to record the memorable day too by using compact film but as it was taken by friends and the details.. hemmm 🙂

So, moral of the story to all, on your graduation day, YOU MAY NOT REALLY FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT TO CAPTURE IT PROPERLY NOW but… as 16 yrs later you might say this out loud… AIYA KANAPAKAH DAN KANAPALAH SIA INDA BEGAMBAL BAGUS BAGUS DULU… to all graduates.. congratulation on your graduation day and good luck in future… 🙂

* photo above taken by my “girlpren” on my graduation day 22nd August 1995, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Johor Bahru Johor.

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Casting at Mantaranau river – the concept

I received a lot of questions regarding the catch and release casting at Mantaranau river. Many seems to regard see this place the same as other river casting area. I think it is only right that I explain what you can expect from this casting area, so you would have a better idea on what this place has to  offer.

Casting at this river offers a new experience to casting enthusiasts, the concept at this place is a little bit different in terms of the way anglers will be catered. Since the river is located a bit off from the main road, guests will be chaperoned by our experienced guide cum casting buddy, from the main road, to the casting point, along the river and back to Pusat Reakriasi Tagal Kg. Poturidong, Kiulu.

The casting area in blue-line

Catch and release angling here begins from upstream heading downstream or can be the other way around along a 4.05km river. Your casting buddy will take you from one fishing sites to another along this river. Be sure to pay attention to your guide, for safety purposes or maybe he can share with you the best ‘lubuk’ out of the 12 major ‘lubuk’ available at Mantaranau. Casting here will be a unique experience, since the river setup is different from the main river of this Bombon area. Canopy of trees will shield you from the sun and the boulders along the river provide a safe standing zone for casting.

crossing the river is fun too 🙂

Moving along and crossing the river is a must in this trip, suitable shoes and attire is advisable and you have to enjoy getting wet while casting here. Besides enjoying the brisk walk along the river bank, crossing the river offers you a different view of the river….and on a good day, you might bump into fish swimming by as you cross the river.

I will not promise you a 16kg fish from this river, after all this not Amazon but so far (based of the test we have done) the average weight is 1kg. However,all through the casting test week, there was never a day where we didn’t strike any fish from Mantaranau. There are Haruan in this river and if you are lucky enough to bring up this fish, we are happy to let you bring it back home, free of charge. Yes, its on the house.

Ikan haruan – the only fish you can take home free of charge

The guides we provide is not just ordinary guides. They are locals of Poturidong and share the same interest as you. Besides looking after for your safety, your guide will also be able to share with you  his  experience at this river and maybe their favorite striking spot. This is why we prefer to call them your casting buddy.

2.2 Kg Barob

Note to you

(1) You have to cross the river by – yes, you are going to be wet.
(2) You will be trekking along/ across a 4.05km long river
(3) Extra caution for electronic equipment (handphones/ tab / camera). A waterproof casing is advice able.
(4) Suitable shoes
(5) Food and drinks of your own.

Now, you are all set. Come, lets go fishing.

The river view

The River View at upper-section


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Casting at Mantaranau River – a photography journey.

Yes, I know it has been a while, my bad. Idea searching mode was activated and it took some time for me to put them into words.

So, what’s up with me? Basically, I was busy trying to put two ideas into one. Casting and photography together. Well, it was not hard to connect the two activities together, after all both are hobbies, the hardest part was selecting the best place that can cater both activities in one time. Both place must be able to be enjoyed by anglers, scenic for photographers and unique for nature lovers.

A group of photo trekkers crossing the Mantaranau River

Here comes the best part, which made me thankful to be born as a Kiulu-rian :). I have THAT place, here ini Kg. Poturidong, Kiulu…and  its just 55 minuets drive from Kota Kinabalu.

Arginin showing off his catch at the upper most pool.. Lubuk Sindoon

To be exact, this place is called Sungai Mantaranau, a 4.05 KM river that falls in the Kg. Poturidong Bombon area. A bombon area or some call it Tagal area, is basically a stretch of river that is reserved by the villagers from any fishing activity. This area is exclusively protected and looked after by the Bombon community therefore fish harvesting rights are exclusively theirs. Harvesting is basically done periodically and after agreement of the Bombon council. That’s a little bit of basic information in case you are wondering what Bombon is all about. My real point is, protected area = many fish :).

Among my favorite site , Lubuk Suyad

Now, for the setup of the river itself. Basically this river has a lot of character, upstream or downstream. There are canopy of trees along all along the river bank, giving it a mystique and serene look. Plus, they can be a natural UV protection. The sand, stones and river banks are all molded by nature and the only hint of modification are the local’s small farms and rubber farms a few meters from the river bank. Even the fallen leaves from adds colour to the river bed. On a long stretch of fine days, the water will be crystal clear and cool enough to tempt you for a swim. Even after a few days of rain, the water can be a bit murky but that is how nature is supposed to be, right? My point is, this river offers an original view worth to be appreciated.

Lubuk Rikos offers a special setup for both anglers and photographers

Having put both together, my brother and I have decided to purpose to the Bombon council of Kg. Poturidong to open this river for a fishing sport lovers for catch and release activity and also for those who wish to go for photo trekking at this river. There was no problem with the photo trekking activity, however the council decided to assign a casting test team to see the potential  of catch and release activity at Mantaranu river before opening it to the public. My point is catch and release is a good way of conserving our nature and conserving will need rules 🙂

A conservation act – Arginin releasing back his catch to the river.

Yours truly and a few others then did a test and the result are:

Day 1 (9 July 2012)

  • We noticed that there are about 12 major pool and 10 smaller pool along this 4.05 KM river.
  • We caught and released 3 Sebarau, 1 Haruan and 7 Barob

My first cast at this river, a 2.2kg Barob ,  at Lubuk Gusak aka Dolungan Kubung

Day 2 (12 July 2012)

A morning view of Lubuk Maralom

  • River was murky, not much casting done but the team made a discussion on what can be done to make our guest have a smooth casting time here.
  • Besides offering a natural river view, this river also offers human interest view for photo hunters. Locals with their daily activities along the river.

Test Team on a murky water day

Day 3 (17 July 2012)

  • My brother Rushdi caught and released 3 Barob and I was busy with my camera taking photo of him and a local passing by the river on a bamboo raft.

Rushdi showing how the fish got the hooked

Day 4 (18 July 2012)

  • We caught and released 13 Barob, the biggest catch weighed 2.2kg.
  • Even all the pools along Mantaranau has original names, as called by the locals : Lubuk Tapayas, Lubuk Rikos, Lubuk Pangi and Lubuk Sindoon, to name a few.

My catch at Lubuk Tapayas

All our findings, are presented today to the Poturidong Bombon Council, all aims and reasons have been put down in the proposal paper. Rules and regulation, method and safety procedures, photos and proves…all are discussed thoroughly, before a decisions was is made. So, what was the decision?

Casting guide, he know every inch of the Mantaranau River, your ultimate companion and guide for casting here

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to catch, snap a photo and release casting area of Mantaranau river :-). Come over, I’ll show you around. 

My catch at Lubuk Monimpokong

p/s Do wait for another write up with details on the casting activity here.

A show off photo. Who wouldn’t, the Barob caught at Lubuk Pangi, weigh 2.2kg

kopisanangan do dongotuong good nite 🙂

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Camera setting and setting your understanding…

Sometimes, when I post photo in Facebook, I usually get questions from friends. Among the famous questions that I usually get are

  1. Boss, what’s the suitable setting for taking pictures? or
  2. If I want to take pictures of sunset, what’s the best setting I should use? or
  3. Boss, about that mountain picture you took this morning, what camera setting did you use?

I don’t like to disappoint, so I do give the setting, after all it’s just a setting. However it is kind of not good for me, when after a few days I get another inbox saying ‘ Boss, I tried the setting you gave me yesterday, but my picture didn’t come out as yours did.’ …makes me feel like being accused as a liar (hey..I have  sensitive soul bah 🙂 )

This is a matter of personal opinion thou, the reason why we have setting or what photographers call EXIF data is for analysis purposes. For example, after the photo was taken, why is the person in the photo looks like in a motion but all signs are showing that the photo has correct exposure. Surely its because the shutter speed is not enough to freeze the the person. Plus, there are other things that need to be considered such as dept of field, colour cast, amount of light and a few other matter. My point is, should you use the setting that your friend suggested to you to capture Mount Kinabalu, be thankful ( I mean very, very thankful) if the photo comes out as you wanted it to be, especially the exposure…seriously.

And of course the question, ‘what is exposure?’ will pop up. Well,  I guess the best way for me to explain this (tau la orang kampung) is  how your photo would look like. Does it look too bright or does it look to dark or does it look just as your eyes see it?  Which then leads to another question, what is the perfect exposure? And honestly, the answer is just ‘it is really up to you.’ If you like it to be bright, then let there be light…and if you like it to be dark then let the light be gone.

However, do bare in mind that most people, prefer to see what is almost similar to how our eyes see it. Especially if the photo is for documentary purposes.  If  it is meant for art, then I guess that is another different story. But, remember, should you take a photo of a group of people having ‘gotong royong’ activity and suddenly the photo turns out to be overly bright until you can’t make up what the people are doing, then you claim it to be friend that is for me , a totally unfair. Personally, for me, for a photo to be considered to be artsy, it has to be properly arranged and not luckily shot.

To understand how our camera work technically or knowing where/ what/ how/ why and when to change the setting in our camera to get that shallow dept of field,  freeze the moment, have a certain red colour on the sky are the main things that we need to understand in order to make taking photo much more easier.

TECHNICALITY is not the secret for a photo to be perfectly presented but it is the COMPULSORY BASIC that every photographer must have in order for him or her to concentrate more on the moment or the composition while working on field. Let’s face it, when you understand your basic, taking photo will be easier thus you can concentrate more on flirting while taking a girl photo (ok, ignore that, its just a joke but a real experience) 😉

Oh, and yes understanding how our camera deals with light is also an important matter. Technically, in photography it is called metering the light. Please keep in mind that a beautiful photo does not depends on weather you are using a matrix metering or spot metering. Metering the light only helps to guide the photographer to decide on the suitable setting before he or she click on the camera shutter.  Usually, a camera light metering can be deceived by a few situation, such as when the subject or the scene is too dark or too bright. This is mainly because all camera is equipped with a “reflected light meter” technology that measure light reflected from the subject and not from the source of light.

I share with you an example, for the photo on the left, I let the camera decide on the setting on Aperture priority (depth of field is my priority) and the result looks like that my camera has been deceived and the photo ends up looking to bright, loosing all the shadow…but for the photo on the right, still on Aperture priority (same setting ) but I set the camera to see the dark area and end up getting what is almost the same as what our eyes see it. So, if you are interested to learn more about this, come and join me this Saturday, 28/04/2012 at Tasik Kompleks Sukan Likas for some Basic Photography Tutorial, if and only if you trust me.

both photos taken with Nikon D700 – Nikon 24-85 (2.8-4) – posted as in camera capture except re-size and boarder.

Having said that, kopisanangan don dongotuong 🙂

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