» Wazari Wazir Photographer Blog, Malaysian Photographer

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  • Welcome to My Blog!

    Hi, I'm Wazari Wazir, Malaysian Photojournalist working for the Government of Malaysia. Will be sharing a wide variety of pictures here from my official assignment and personal pictures. I do conduct Photography and Photoshop Workshops if there is any invitations.

    I've Conduct a Photoshop Workshops in IIUM International Islamic University Malaysia (Gombak) and also at Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology (UniKL MIAT), in Selangor and other Photography Workshops all over the country including Sabah Malaysia North Borneo.

    My Blog is The Winner for Best Photography Blog 2014 during MSMW Malaysia Social Media Week Blogger Awards 2014.

    Thank you for visiting My Blog and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me through my email...

    wazariwazir@yahoo.com | Tel No : + 6012 2812753

Photography Tips | Children Close Up Portraiture

© 2014 Wazari Wazir | Close Up Portraiture of My Daughter Arianna

“I always felt like the close-up portrait was the most essential, the most valid picture out there, it was just all about the person, not about their clothes, not about the environment, not about their background, not giving any hints to their social status.”

– Martin Schoeller – 

Lately I like to do some kind of environmental portraiture shot for my family picture, I like to have some kind of background story about whereabout my subject, the places they have been to, for an instance, but in doing so, the portrait, I mean the face of the person in photograph is a bit small in the frame.

Now enter close up portraiture, just like what professional photographer said in his quote above, when we took a close up portrait of a person, it was just about the person, not about their clothing, environment, background or their social status, it’s purely about the person.

Some people are a little bit afraid or feel intimidated when someone photograph them close up, well, it depend on your approach, I’ve photograph people at close up distance during my travel and with the right approach, it should be fine and doable.

Here I like to share with you just a little bit tips when photographing a children. First rule especially if you are photographing super active child that does not know how to stand still, make you that you are using suer fast shutter speed, in the photograph above I use shutter speed of 1/1250, with an aperture set at f/2. My one year old daughter, Arianna did cry in the shot, no, don’t get me wrong here, she is not crying because she is hurt or something, but simply she just wanted to be free.

I put her sitting on a falling log just outside my hose, her legs could not reach the ground, so that she can’t stand and running away from me, and that’s why she cried. I took the shot with 50mm f/1.4 lens but set the aperture at f/2. So the first rule is to use really fast shutter speed, but in doing so, you need to make sure that the area that you are going to photograph your children or someone else children is well lit, in a bright area, then only you can use fast shutter speed.

The second rules is that, if you are photographing a person with a wide  open aperture, you must be aware that the depth of field is very shallow, if you are photographing your subject, a little bit from the side, not exactly frontal where both eye were parallel, the you need to focus on the eye that is closer to the lens. In the photograph above, my daughter left eye is closer to the lens, so I set my focus point on her left eye, if you look closely, you will notice that, her right eye is a little bit out of focus. If both eye were parallel to the lens, then you won’t have this kind of a problem. I think you won’t have a problem photographing an adult with a parallel eye to the lens because they can follow order and can stand still for a few seconds.

The best close up shot is on location, I mean, get close up portraiture on the location, do not shoot loosely and then you crop it tight in the computer using photoshop, you will lose some details. Yes, you can vary your shot at the location, shoot some loose portraiture with a little bit background and then get close up, fills the frame with someone face or head. Do not afraid.  I think great close up portraiture woks best when the person being photograph shows some kind of emotion. Before you are going to photograph strangers in close up mode, you better start with your family and friends first. Get yourself comfortable photographing someone close up at a close distance, and your photographs will never be the same again.

Life is a Journey | Road Less Traveled | Bario Sarawak

© 2014 Wazari Wazir | Road Less Traveled | Bario | Sarawak

“The Road Of Life Twists And Turns And No Two Directions Are Ever The Same. Yet Our Lessons Come From The Journey, Not The Destination.”

– Don Williams Jr –

It can be tempting to blame others for our loss of direction.  We get lots of information about life but little education in life from parents,teachers, and other authority figures, who should know better from their experience.  Information is about facts.  Education is about wisdom and the knowledge of how to love and survive.  But no matter how much advice you get, you are the one who chooses which train to board.  As you pass through life, pay attention to the signs and stations; if you don’t like the scenery, pull the emergency cord and get off the train. There is no other conductor in charge.  There is no one who needs to give you permission to transfer. This is your life.  Your journey.  Your trip to conduct.”

– Bernie Siegel –

“Sometimes, while traveling on life’s journey, we get stopped by a bad attitude, which can cripple us.  It’s like having a flat tire that needs changing before we can continue on the road.  With our destination firmly in our minds, we must first pull over and admit that something in our lives needs to change. Then we must jack the wheel off the ground and life that situation to God in prayer.  After that we must remove the flat tire and replace it with a new one, substituting the wrong attitude with a positive one.”

– Barbara Johnson – 

Photography Tips | How To Get Beautiful Bokeh

© 2014 Wazari Wazir | Portrait of My Daughter Arianna

“Bokeh” has evolved somewhat from its original meaning. Bokeh is now commonly used to refer to blurred lights or shapes within an image, where as, the term more accurately describes the aesthetic quality of the out-of-focus area of a photograph. Therefore, it is possible to have ‘good’ or ‘bad’ bokeh, (although that is purely subjective), but in essence, it’s all about the area of an image that falls outside the depth-of-field.

In photography, the term bokeh represents the quality of the magical out-of-focus blur that makes it look like the subject is isolated from the background. It is visually appealing for us to see a photograph with a soft, creamy and beautiful background. Why we need to make the background out of focus? So that our main subject stand out from the background, that’s one of the reason why people like to have some kind of bokeh effect especially when taking a portrait. 

Here is some tips on how to get great bokeh:

USE LARGE APERTURE : You need to use large Aperture to get a beautiful bokeh or top throw the background out of focus. That’s one of the reason why 50mm lens with f/1.2,  f/1.4 or even f/1.8 is among the most favourite lens, some other people also like to use 85mm f/1.8 or f/1.2 as their workhorse lens for doing portraiture.

The point is you need to use large aperture if you wanted to get a beautiful “bokeh” or turn the background out of focus. For the photograph of my daughter Arianna above I use Aperture f/2 to turn the background out of focus, I’m using Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens but decided to use f/2 instead of f/1.4.

It can be quite difficult to get our subject sharp if we use big aperture like f/1.4 or f/1.2 if you have one. The reason is that, using big aperture will create a very shallow depth of field, once you miss the focus, everything all be blur, that’s why I rarely put my aperture  at f/1.4. So my point is try using an aperture of f/2 or f2.8, but later on you can use the widest aperture that your camera have once you have a steady hand or depending on your subject, photographing a toddler like my daughter age is difficult, why? Simply because they don’t know how to stand or sit still for a few seconds, always moving around. You can try using f/1.2 or f1/8 if you have an adult as your subject, those who can stand or sit still.

USE LONGER FOCAL LENGTH : If money is not a problem, get a longer focal length like 135mm f/2 or 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. The longer focal length with large aperture will always produced a better bokeh than a normal standard lens like 50mm. But the longer focal length that you use means that you have to distance yourself a bit far from your subject and not really suitable for indoor or small studio photography. Why I’m using 50mm lens? Because it doesn’t cost so much compared to 85mm f/2 or 135mm f/2.

USE FAST SHUTTER SPEED : Since using large aperture will create a very shallow depth of field, you need to use fast shutter speed, for the photograph above I use a shutter speed of  of 1/500 and 1/640 respectively. In the photograph above, my daughter appeared to be “calm” but actually she is moving a lot, her head rarely stood still, even for a few seconds, always on the move. So using fast aperture is a must.

Most people when using large aperture rarely pay attention to the shutter speed that they are using. The subject may appear to be super sharp in the viewfinder, meaning that the subject is in focus but the moment you click the shutter, your camera start shaking a bit and if you are not using really fast shutter speed  the end result will be, your subject is out of focus also. Always pay attention to the shutter speed that you use when using large aperture, especially photography a subject that doesn’t know how to stand still.

For a start if you are using 50mm lens with aperture set at f/2, make sure that the shutter that you use is no lower than 1/100. If you are photographing a subject that always shake his or her head like a toddler, then, increase the shutter speed to 1/250 or even 1/500. But remember, by increasing the shutter speed, you also need to pay attention to the ISO that you are using, sometimes you need to push the ISO from 100 to 500 if you decided to use fast shutter speed, otherwise your picture will turn out darker than what you want it to be.

GET CLOSER TO THE SUBJECT:

The other thing that you can do to maximize bokeh effect is to get closer to your subject where possible. The closer your lens to your subject meaning you will get a blurry background. You have to try it to understand why, try using f/2 aperture and get as close as possible to your subject, if possible try to get to the minimum distance that your lens capable of focusing and  see the result. That’s why macro photography subject have a great bokeh, why? Most macro photography shot were taken with a very close distance between the lens and the subject. That’s why there is macro lens and normal lens, macro lens let the photographer to get really close to the tiny subject and the result is  beautiful bokeh.

After that, you can also increase the distance between your subject and the background, the farther, the better. Take a look at my first photograph above, I get closer to my daughter and the bokeh is much more beautiful than the bottom one where I step back a little. The distance between my daughter and the background remain the same but you will get a better bokeh if you try to photograph closer to the subject.

CHOOSE A PLAIN BACKGROUND :

If possible choose a plain looking background, the background will also break or make your picture. Avoid a background that were too bright, they will only become a distraction for the subject. In the photograph above, the background were a dead tree covered dry leaves. I did not use flash for the photograph above, the lighting were natural, than;s to the overcast day which produce a beautiful soft natural light. The most important thing is that, you choose a background that ill make your subject stand out from the background.

Now, go a head and try it for yourself and come back home with a gorgeous looking bokeh that you can proud of.

Photography Tips | Dealing With Low Light People Photography

© 2014 Wazari Wazir | Buddhist Monk Light a Candles at Boudhanath Stupa | Kathmandu Nepal

There are different type of situation when it comes to low light photography conditions. It can be landscape, architecture or simple people photography. The point is that, you are dealing with low light, very minimal light. Depending on the situation, our approach will differ, if you are shooting landscape or indoor architecture using only available light, using a tripod is a great help, so you can use Low ISO like ISO 100 or 200 and get all the details without increasing the ISO.

But in this post I’m going to talk about photographing people in low light conditions. The first option when dealing with low light condition is to use flash but depending on certain situation, using flash will only kills the mood. Will take away the atmosphere, for an example if you take a photograph of a group of people enjoying a campfire at night, using flash will definitely kills the mood. Another example is the photograph above, if I choose to use flash to light the women face, definitely I will kill the mood.

So what are you going to do about it? If you still wanted to use flash, yes you can but maybe try using off-camera flash, put the flash somewhere else other than at the camera hot-shoe and try using some kind of gel or filter, so that your flash output will complement the colours of the available light there, some flash did comes with a set of plastic filter or gels in variable colours. Do not put the gel in front of your lens but put it or stick it to your flash gun.

Sometimes using flash, even though you put a gel on it or try using off-camera flash is not a good option, the reason is that, in some situation, it will only attract unwanted attention from the people around and might be put your subject at uncomfortable situation. SO the next option is to use High ISO, yes I know, that by using High ISO you will gain some “noise”, your picture will not be as smooth as silk but have some grainy look, don’t worry though, most of advance digital camera todays produce great picture at High ISO with minimal noise. The photograph above were taken using ISO 2000. The reason for High ISO is that, we can use fast shutter speed to stop the motion.

It is unpractical to use a tripod for people  photography in certain situation, the reason photographer  using a tripod is for them to use long exposure at small aperture and Low ISO, for some situation using a tripod photographing people on the move, or doing some kind of ritual movement with long exposure will only result in blurry photograph, and if we talk about travel photography, in some place, especially sacred place, using a tripod is forbidden.

Another way is t use fast lens, this is a pricey option, fast lens, a lens with big aperture like f/1.2 or f/2.8 is not cheap. Why fast lens? Because they come with a big aperture, big aperture means a lot of light will get through and once that happen, you can use fast shutter speed to freeze the action. The other advantage using fast lens is that, your lens will focus much faster in low light condition. For most of us who can’t afford using fast lens and have a kit lens with an aperture start from f/3.5 or f/4.

Our only option then is to use High ISO, and if your camera have IS or (Image-Stabilisation) or VR (Vibration-Reduction) capability, switch them on to reduce camera shake but this capability have no use if you wanted to use faster shutter speed. Normally people use VR or IS option when they wanted to use slow shutter speed like 1/30 or 1/60 while hand-holding a camera.

The next option, that I use for the picture above is to get some cooperation with from your subject. What I do is I  ask the lady to get closer to the candles, so that her face is much more brighter than previously, before that,  she stand a little bit farther away from the candles. In some sacred  or worship place like in the church, mosque or temples, usually there will have some spot that have much brighter light than the rest of the area, try find one and if possible ask your potential subject to move closer to the light source, so that you can photograph them in better light. I think most people, depending on the situation and depending on how you explain to them, will cooperate. Who doesn’t want to be photograph in a better light, don’t they?

Sometimes we need to manipulate certain situation to make things work, If I didn’t told you that I’ve asks the lady to get closer to the light, you would know about it right? One thing for sure, I didn’t ask the lady to light all of the candles in front of her to make things brighter, it is already lit when I came to her place, I just ask her to get closer to the candles and I take the shot.

Photography Tips | How To Photograph Reflections In Water

© 2014 Wazari Wazir | An Abandon Debris of an Old Airplane at Bario Sarawak

There are  many tips on how to photograph reflections in water. The best time of the day, depending on location maybe during early morning or during late afternoon and if you choose to photograph a reflection at the lake where it was quite busy with the people like at Phewa Lake in Nepal is during early morning when the lake was calm (because less people paddling a boat on the lake, less ripples)  , so there were no ripples in the water and you will get picture perfect postcard of Annapurna Range. It’s like a giant mirror were laid on the lake surface.

Anyway, I’m not here to discuss about the best time of the day, what I wanted to share with you that few people mention is that, in order to get the best reflection on the water is to get your camera as close as possible to the water surface. If possible, few inches from the water. I will never get that kind of reflections of the abandon airplane if I took the shot in standing position. I get lower to the water surface, about less than one feet from the water  and I almost fell into the lake to get the shot. I know, I might get a better reflections on the water if I get a little bit lower but then, I don’t want to get myself into a military position, I mean, face down like sniper’s prone position. On the other hand if you have a camera with flipping LCD screen at the back of your DSLR, then it would be easy for you to compose.

© 2014 Wazari Wazir | Road To Bario | (Left) Nancy and Harriss Hill View Lodge

For those of you wanted to photograph this beast, then you have to fly to Bario, but if you wanted to try your skill at photographing reflections, you don’t have to go far, maybe just outside of your house, especially after the rains, where there is a puddles by the roadside.

Anyway, the location of the abandon debris of the airplane were taken not very far from Nancy and Harriss Hill View Lodge in Bario. Just don’t ask me on how it get there, I don’t have much time to interview local people here about the plane, furthermore, there were few people around here at the time of shooting for me to look for an answer. Maybe you can do that for me, or if someone from Kelabits reading my blog, feel free to contact me and give me an answer about the plane.

Now you already get some tips about photographing a reflections in water and you also get a better idea on how to locate this airplane, if you happens to be in Miri, why don’t take a quick flight to Bario and maybe just stay one night here. I stayed at Mustapha Lodge, just less than five minute walk to the left side of Nancy and Harriss Lodge. There are many lodge and hostel to choose around.