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Website Overhaul

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Over the past week, kenchuaphoto.com has been hacked at least 3 times and with my webhost inability to plug the vulnerability on their end, I have decided to do a manual clean up of my site. I changed to a new template and removed most of my older codes and plugins. Several new security features on the backend were added as well to better secure my website.

Hopefully this will close the exploits and deter future hacking attempts. If it occurs again, I will really need to relook into my database integrity. For now this seems to be the best solution which allows me to better respond to any hacking.

There are still some minor issues and testing required to get everything running as it should but it’s not critical at the moment, so I’m pushing the website back online first.

Took a while to setup everything again but it’s good to get the website back online again! 🙂

Mobile Photography

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Mobile photography has been quite a revelation for me, the use of mobile devices to make photographs allowed me to explore new perspectives on photography.

The image quality has been mush higher than expected, a testament to how far and fast technology has progressed. The ease of use and the various editing apps available means that I am able to contain the entire photography process within the ipad mini.

This photo was taken at Traders Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, which provides a great vantage point for admiring the architecture of KLCC. This image was captured and edited with the ipad mini and while the image quality cannot be compared to what you will get from a DSLR, I find that I actually enjoy using my ipad mini to take photographs even though it makes me look like a awkward tourist snapshooter most of the time.

Here are some of my recommended photography apps that I used: Camera+, VSCO Cam, Snapseed and Camera Awesome

Labrador Park Sunset

2013 Thoughts

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A new year. A new beginning.

The past year has been great for me in terms of photography. 2013 will mark the start where I try to balance photography with full time work. Hopefully I will be able to devote time to shoot and improve my photography skills.

The featured image was taken at Labrador Park during low tide back in December 2012. I did a reprocess of this image again to try out new techniques and I was quite surprised by the result. The final image was much closer to what I had in mind and it was much better than the previous edit.

I have just started to explore the world of mobile photography and I must admit it has been quite a fascinating process. The image quality exceeds my expectations and the variety of quality apps available for processing shows that it is a more than capable tool for serious photography as well.

Check out Kevin Russ and the amazing work he does with his iphone: http://vimeo.com/56803464

Inspiring.

Kaizen

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It has been quiet over here as I did not shoot much for the past month. I’m taking it step by step to get back to shooting more landscapes and hopefully I will post more regularly over here in future. While having lesser time to head out and capture the beauty of life, I spent the rest of my time updating the website. The portfolio section has been revamped and I invested in a paid 500px plus account as well to organise and share my photos. My personal photobook “Journey into the Himalayas” is nearing completion as well and hopefully the final version will be ready in about a month’s time or so. Do check out http://500px.com/kenchua for more regular photo updates.

This photo is from the archives of my Nepal trip, where the morning sun was just rising over the himalayan mountains. It was a great moment to watch and revel in the moment as the light revealed the intrinsic details of the ice cap peaks. This photo is part of my photobook selection as well, though presented in a different format.

Till the next update!

Travel Photography Tips

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I met Boon Chin, one of the founders for Ubersnap a few months ago and he approached me to write an article for Ubersnap. I decided to write on travel photography and the article has just been published over here: Travel Photography Tips: When in Doubt, Do What You Love

The article is replicated below so you can choose to read it here or head over to check it out at Ubersnap. So here are the top five tips for travel photography that I have learnt along the way and I hope this will help you make better travel photographs during your next overseas trip.

Love. You must love travel and photography. Travel is not easy at times with all the planning, packing and even last minutes changes. Things are constantly in a state of change during your travels and it can get tiring at times. Once I started to accept that it’s all part of the travel experience and let my passion for photography guide me, I began to see much more photographic opportunities during my travels.

Variety. On my first travel photography assignment, I was taught the importance of having a variety of photographs. Take wide angle shots of the landscape, normal shots of the people and their daily life and close up shots of their unique items. A good variety of photographs helps to paint a complete picture of the place and gives the viewer a better sense of the place.

Explore. Stop worrying about getting lost and explore the place. Trust your own gut feeling and let it guide you. Explore the place, connect with people and your experiences will become personal stories which give your photographs an additional depth. As you explore more, you increase your chances of finding a great photographic opportunity.

Wait. There is always a tendency to travel fast and cover as many places as possible due to the limited number of days in our travels. Patience while on travels is so much harder to achieve yet for those who wait, they will often be rewarded with great photography opportunities. Wait for the light to be right, wait for the moment to happen and your image will stand out from those who lack the patience to take a second look at the scene.

Fun. Have lots of fun while travelling! Travel and photography is meant to be a rewarding experience and the more fun you have during your travels, the better your photographs will be! Having fun also means that regardless of the quality of the photographs, you will still have all the wonderful memories and stories of your travels!

Merlion’s 40th Birthday

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I was at the last night of celebration for Merlion’s 40th Birthday on Sunday and I was glad that it was not too crowded with people and photographers, unlike shooting national day fireworks.

The first show was a total disaster for me as I didnt expect the fireworks to erupt right at the start of the show and subsequently I missed getting the other two blasts of fireworks in my photos as well. Thankfully the exact same thing will be repeated and I just had to wait for it. The second round was much better for me as I knew the timing of the fireworks and was much better prepared this time round. I got the shot I wanted and instead of heading for dinner, I decided to go to the ground level to get another view for the third show with the possibility of getting a few more photos  at a different angle. It turned out to be one of the better decision I made that night as I left the show with one of my personal favourite photograph as shown above.

Most of the time I have a rough idea on how to shoot the scene when I reach a location.  However I must admit that sometimes the inspiration for a shot happens by chance and this particular image was only made possible by a random stranger who bumped into my tripod while my camera was in the middle of an exposure, resulting in a shaky final image. That shaky image sparked the inspiration for a long exposure panning shot to capture the sense of the party atmosphere of the Merlion’s 40th birthday celebration. I started to get excited with the idea and it took quite a few more shots before I finally got the image I was satisfied with.

Thank you random stranger. If you didnt bump into my tripod, I would not have gotten the inspiration to make this image.

Updates

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It has been a while since I updated over here but while it’s all quiet over here, my passion for photography has been churning along. Since the last Vietnam trip, I have been on the Crossing Bridges 9 trip to Malaysia and it was an awesome experience and I have just finished selecting and editing the photos, will probably write down my thoughts on that at a later time.

I have finally relinquish my position in the Photographic Society of NUS as well and perhaps it really time to seriously work on my Nepal book and get it done. It’s like taking forever and I finally appreciate the difficulty in producing a book.

This photo won 1st prize for the Jurong Lake Run photography competition and I was really very surprised at the results as I was definitely not expecting to win at all. The photo was taken with a GoPro camera, non HD version and I could not even see what I had shot until I was back home. Reviewing the photo, the composition was definitely not ideal and the sky was blown and it does not look like a winning shot to me on technical merits. I thought the other photo that I have sent in was a much stronger photo and stood a better chance than this one. It’s kinda interesting because the winning shot from the NUS libraries photography competition which I judged and the youth winner of Montage 2012 were photographs that were not taken by DSLRs. Goes to show that it’s not necessary to have a DSLR to take winning shots.

I reviewed my photo after the announcement and thought about the reasons why the judges chose my photo as the winning shot and I could only come up with the following possible reasons. It was in black and white which stood out from the other colour photographs and perhaps my photograph connected on an emotional level. I was part of the run, running with the GoPro at the back of my head and having fun running and photographing at the same time. If you are on my facebook, check out my “Adventures with the GoPro” album, so much fun really. Really glad that I won though as the prize money will go towards the next air ticket. 🙂

Chasing your Dreams

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“The difference between a dream and reality is just doing it” —Cheeming Boey

A man without dreams is a man without purpose. To those working towards making your dream a reality, don’t stop. There is no better time than right here, right now. I’m in the progress of building something exciting but it takes time and is definitely not easy. You will hear more about it in due time when it’s finished 😉

A little update from my recent North Vietnam trip. This time I travelled with a friend with a new travel gear setup which means I was out of my comfort zone. It’s always a different experience travelling to different countries. Travel is definitely not for the fainthearted.

Vietnam was nothing short of amazing, the people that I met along the way and the majestic landscapes of Halong Bay and Sapa Valley were enthralling and captivating. No matter which country I have set foot in my travels so far, the experience has been enriching and the things that I learnt along the way allowed me to have a better understanding of my own strengths and weakness. My favourite part of travel is meeting and interacting with the locals and fellow travelers. I get inspired by the travel stories that fellow travelers shared and watching the local children play reminds me to be curious at heart and appreciate the simple pleasures that we have in life. These are things that we sometimes forget in the midst of the hectic life back home. Featured triptych is a small collection of the amazing Vietnamese children that I met along the way.

I wonder if they are just as curious about me as I’m about them. 🙂