Friday, January 31, 2014

Urban Juxtaposition #14

Actually this is not a juxtaposition of an urban objects, but it still a juxtaposition happened in urban environment.

I was scouting for location to shot Pasupati (again). Walking down alleys in Kampung Pulo, lost direction in labyrinth, and finally arrive at this place. Boys were playing football on the streets. This is a common scene we could find in many Indonesian city. Children living in alleys tend to treat the streets as their playground. Football, or other traditional game, played right on the streets. When somebody with motorcycle pass, they step aside a little to give enough room for the passer by, and then continue the game.

I spent few minutes here, because I'm interested on the potential to get an action shot. Out of my expectation, the boy standing on the side wall suddenly make such a posture, a kind of humorous one in relation to the scene on the background. I snap it instantly.

26 Jan 2014
Nikon D700
AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D
ISO 400 - f/8 - 1/100s

Urban Juxtaposition #13

At first, I envisioned a tiger, or lion, doing activity on the foreground, with the Cihampelas apartment on the background. I found that tiger area is directly facing toward the apartment, a perfect arrangement. But I have to be inside the cage with the tiger. O boy, I'm not ready for that. So I drop that idea.

Walking further approaching the apartment, I found a lake with man made island in the middle. The island is designed as an open cage for this monkey. This area is very close to the apartment, only separated by Cikapundung river. Even you can see the constructor worker on the apartment side. This is what I'm looking for !

Photographing monkey has its own challenge. Being in open cage, this monkey going back and forth freely from one tree to another, sort like a dance. Beautiful and lively. But I want that monkey prominent enough in front of those trees and arranged nicely with the apartment to make a good composition. Apart from that, the posture of monkey plays a significant too. This particular monkey has a white colored hair along the line of its arm. The ambient light has such characteristic that make a little "glow" on the monkey's white hair. I take many shots and I found this one to be the most interesting due to its open arm posture.

It draws enough attention and in a good harmony with the branches of the tree, which have similar tone. The green leaves on the middle ground give a soft nature nuance that emphasize the abrupt transition to the concrete construction on the far behind.

I think this photo successfully convey the message about the flaw of city design. Could you imagine what would happen to the zoo in general and this monkey in particular, in two or three years to come ?

19 Jan 2014
Nikon D700
AF Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D Micro
ISO 640 - f/3.5 - 1/3200s

Project : Urban Juxtaposition

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Urban Juxtaposition #12

This is an easy shot and the weakest image in this project. I include it to ask you a question : how come an apartment located on the vicinity of a zoo ?

19 Jan 2014
Nikon D700
AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D
ISO 640 - f/11 - 1/250s (-0.7 EV)

Project : Urban Juxtaposition

Friday, January 10, 2014

Urban Juxtaposition #11

This is the first time in the project I put photo without human element. After I got the shot #10, I feel like I've got what I want. But I don't want to terminate this project yet. In search for another object to photograph, I walk to Pasupati again. Somehow this place has become my laboratory. A place to exercise new concept, figuring out whether it works or not.

I found this spot right under the Pasupati landmark. A rather disgusting place but has strong urban character. At the background, right at the end of the channel, a skinny building stand firmly creating a good composition with the leading line formed by the channel. Great! At that time I've no idea what building is it, only later on I know it is a hotel in Cihampelas street where X-Trans Shuttle have a pool there. (I can't remember the hotel's name).

This shot is an exercise of exposure. I really depend on the back screen of my D700 to evaluate the histogram and the overall appearance of the image. I can't imagine how could I take this picture using analog camera on film. Those old masters should have a strong feeling to sense the right amount of light to create the picture in their mind. It's more than just blindly follow what light-meter suggest, you have to decide on what "zone" you put that part of the scene. GND filter was used to capture the cloud texture while at the same time keep sufficient details on the channel ground.

I need more shot like this to sharpen my skill in exposure.

27 Dec 2013
Nikon D700
AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D
ISO 400 - f/11 - 1/200s

Project : Urban Juxtaposition

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Notes from 1993-1996

When I just started to learn photography, I have a notebook where I wrote notes about the picture I took. I specifically design the cover to make it looks like a real photo book. As you can see, I put my portrait in suit to give more "professional" feel. That portrait was taken on my graduation day from junior high school.

It was an analog era. I spent around two weeks or a month to fill all 36 frames of a roll. Sometimes when I eagerly want to see the result, I take the camera to the shop and ask the operator to cut the exposed film and give me back the unexposed with the canister to be used for my next photo shots. All photography shop already have automatic machine to run C-41 process in high volume. Usually I sat patiently in the shop and have my negative ready within 30-60 minutes. After reviewing the negative, I make selection which frame to print and coming back the day after to see the result. Sometimes I feel surprised, both positively or negatively, with the photo I got. After the emotion calm down, I put some of those photos on the notebook and start make comments on it.

Looking back to this book today, glancing through the pages, the handwritten notes ... it raises a bizarre feeling. This is me 20 years ago. A kid who learn photography. The question is, today, am I better than this kid? Let's have a look ...

Still Life

Still life is my favorite shots at that time. It looks like I want to study more about lighting and it would be much easier if I do that in a controlled environment, much like a studio. I remember I use anything found in the house as light modifier, a styrofoam as reflector, silver/gold paper to alter the reflected light, etc.

To my eye today, I quite like those photos. It is not a professional grade of course. It seems I'm very determined to do a commercial/advertisement photography that time. On the contrary, I never take still life shots these days.


Panning is one of photography techniques that I want to master that time.

As you can see, I already made a good progress.

Urban Places

I even shot B/W !!



This is what I shot these days.
I don't like the first two photos. No composition at all. It was my first night shot.
I rather amazed with the B/W. Not the picture, but the photo paper. It was printed on January 1995, 19 years ago. They still have that contrasty color. The gray shade looks so pleasant. That's why people of previous generation so loves their black and white photos.
Compare to today, I think my current Urban Juxtaposition project is the continuation of these early works.

Special Effects

This is my beloved sister, Lusiana Diorita. I put her on the bench in front of black carton for this experiment.
Double Exposure is a simple thing with the right equipment. Unfortunately, Yashica 108 is not. I have to hold the unlock button at the bottom of the camera body and press the shutter at the same time. Sometimes it works, other times it won't. So, I don't have much works around this technique. Today, double exposure is completely irrelevant. You could easily layer those images in Photoshop.

I remember doing this in my bedroom at night. Water floods on the floor on every shots. What a mess! It's quite fun anyway and I'm happy with the result.
If I have to do it again today, I will built a special purpose microcontroller device with infrared motion sensor and electronics circuitry to trigger the camera. That's what I do as Embedded System engineer.


Photographing model is not my major interest. But at least, I had my attempt once to fill my portfolio. This is my friend, Coki.

The above photo is the one I like from this photo session. Until now, I still don't "get it" about model/fashion photography. But I do like portraits, especially those works by Steve McCurry.

Closing Thoughts

I have to be honest that I'm proud to be that kid. I think I still have the exploratory spirit and determination that moves him around. About the question, am I now better than him? I could only answer, not much.

I can see the interest shift in photography field between then and now. In that time, I was still in senior high school, even I haven't go to university yet. It clearly seen I want to be a professional photographer, majoring in commercial photography. That's why still life dominates my early works.

It turns out now I have a profession in another field. Photography is purely a hobby which doesn't dictate me what field/genre that will raise the most revenue. I'll keep it that way, that's the luxury I have with my photography.