© 2010 Wazari Wazir | Dr. Manmohan Singh ( L ) and Najib Tun Razak ( R ) | Prime Minister Office | Putrajaya
The above picture is the latest high profile assignment that was assign to me from my photography department during Official Visit of His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India and Mrs. Gursharan Kaur to Malaysia on 27th October in outside Malaysia Prime Minister Office PMO Putrajaya.
This is a photography blog so I will not write long history about Malaysia and India relationship and all other political news or related things, so I will focus on my job, my role as one of the official photographer covering this historical event. Dr. Manmohan Singh is on three day official visit to Malaysia from 26th to 28th October 2010.
Our photography unit from Information Department of Malaysia under Ministry Of Information Communication & Culture was responsible to provide full coverage for the visit from the moment the Prime Minister touch down at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport KLIA and up until departure time. Apart from doing full coverage of the event, we also responsible to provide a photo album for the Prime Minister, we must finished the album on time, so we can deliver it to the Prime Minister at the airport before the Prime Minister departure.
This is not one man job but it is a team work, one photographer taking picture at the airport during the arrival, the other photographer already waiting at the hotel where the Prime Minister stay while other team member waiting at the office to prepare for the album. The most busy day is during Official Welcoming Ceremony at Prime Minister Office in Putrajaya. During the welcoming ceremony, three photographers including me were assign to cover this event.
Back to the camera equipment, for this event having two set of camera body is vital if you are on your own but I was so lucky because we work as a team, two of us are station outside Prime Minister Office while another photographer already wait inside Prime Minister Office since I don’t have much time to run and catch the lift head for the Prime Minister Office or meeting room.
I use two set of camera body here, one equipped with short 70-200mm and the other with 300mm lens, why I need this lens, it’s because we can’t get close to the subject, if I just have a wide angle lens, for an example if the only lens that I have is 24-70mm lens, I can’t do the job effectively because we are position quite far away from the Prime Minister and not to forget for this welcoming ceremony there are a lot of Ministers and ambassador here and we just can’t get close to them. Wide angle lens is only suitable for an established shot but we don’t need many of them, just few shot is enough, for the rest of the image we wanted a tighter shot, close up shot because they have more impact.
During the inspection of guard of honour by the India Prime Minister, we were position very far away, even though by using 300mm lens, the Prime Minister still look quite small in the frame, I’ve seen some photographers using 400mm to 500mm lens just for the inspection of the guard of honour, can you imagine if the only lens that we have is wide angle lens. Yes we can crop the picture later but the image will not look as good as when it was taken with super telephoto lens. The reason why we need two camera body with different lenses is because we don’t have much time to switch lens but we can switch camera body faster than changing a lens. Just after the guard of honour inspection, the India Prime Minister will be introduced to all cabinet ministers and for this shot, we need to use 70-200 lens because it wasn’t that far but still wide angle lens is not suitable. We are not the only photographers here, using wide angle lens will block other photographer, so in order to work comfortably, all of us photographers using 70-200mm lens.
For the “Photo Op” or Photo Opportunity above, I use 300mm f2.8 lens to get the shot and that was a crop image, we are very far, so I need to crop the image later in Photoshop to get a tighter composition for more impact, we don’t use super telephoto lens for the sake of glamour or show off, we use it because we need it, because we have to.
Having the right equipment for the right task is very important to us in order for us to work effectively. We depend on our equipment to get the shot, most of the times we don’t have a second chance if we miss a moment. If you shoot a picture for fun or just as a hobby, I think the equipment doesn’t matter so much, you can choose your own subject to shoot and take all the time you need, for an example if the only lens you have is 50mm and you like to shoot a portrait, you can always plan your shot with your subject, you can always get closer to your subject. You really don’t need 70-200mm lens just to get a beautiful bokeh because you can always get a beautiful bokeh with 50mm lens if you know how to use it properly. Just get closer to your subject and make sure a distance between your subject and the background is far away. I mean you can plan your shot.
We photojournalist also can plan our shot, we can also be creative with what we have but we have a protocol and procedure to follow and we just can’t work with 50mm lens or with standard kit lens. We must be realistic, equipment does matter depending on our photographic endeavor. If you are serious landscape photographer, I think you need more than just a standard kit lens, you need ND or Neutral Density Filter, you need Grey Graduated Filter in order for you to to balance the exposure between the sky and the foreground and having a tripod is a must rather than a luxury, you just can’t shoot long exposure without a tripod and most landscape photography use long exposure because landscape photographers like to shoot at smaller aperture with lower ISO to get the best image. Equipment does matter if we want to get the best image or picture.
Equipment does matter if we are serious about our photographic endeavor, camera equipment does matter to get the right shot. If we just take picture for fun without worried so much about picture quality, then any camera will do the job, you don’t need a DSLR and I think those of you who own a DSLR are serious about their hobby, for those of you who own a DSLR and said that camera doesn’t matter have to ask themselves, why they bought a DSLR in the first place and why not just bought a cheap compact camera or even a disposable camera if camera equipment doesn’t matter. Camera is just a tool but we need the right tools in order for us to get the best result depending on our task, assignment or even a hobby.
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