Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shanghai, China - How Many Celebrate Easter?

Shanghai, originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.
It's Easter and instead of chasing rabbits and chocolate eggs, we always get reminded of God's love and what He did for us on the Cross at our family. As a Chinese and a Christian, listening to my pastor's message on the ABC radio today brought me back some memories of when I did my photography walk in Shanghai China 6 months back. "How many here know God?" I wondered...

Look at the photo! I nearly forgotten I took it. They are buried amongst the thousands of unprocessed personal photos I've yet to go through. This was taken on a Tuesday afternoon. I was overwhelmed by just the sheer number of people on the plaza! This is non-stop for the whole day...

Have a listen to the radio interview of Pastor Ben. A Chinese pastor of the English speaking congregation of the Chinese church I go to on Sundays. Have a listen to the raw, true and real meaning of what Easter is!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Philosophy on Marriage Series #3 of 5

The commitment of matrimony, originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.
It's been a while since I had time to write the continuation of this series. This blog is about "Commitment" to continue the series I started in February. Full ongoing series here.

After the first two of the five foundations comes Commitment. “Till death do us part” is a common vow we recite during our wedding. Have you actually stopped to really consider what exactly are you committing to? “Committing to loving each other to the end, of course!” you might say. Well as usual, this is often easier to say than it is to actually do it in practice.

In fact, I’d say that you should place all your efforts to committing to achieve the first two foundations in the series! That is to practice Unconditional Love and Extreme Honesty. You will slowly find that these next three foundations in the series are relatively shorter to explain than the first two because they are quite self explanatory and builds on the important first two.

I mentioned that to continue in love within a marriage is hard work and if you try to change yourself to always practice Unconditional Love is even harder work! Also to constantly strive for zero politics by constantly mining for conflict in extreme honesty to each other so as to achieve emotional and spiritual true intimacy is also very strenuous work! That is why in short, this third foundation is a commitment amongst yourselves work together on the first two foundations... “Till death do us part!”

Life is full of seasons and is like a sine curve. There are ups and there are downs. There will be times when love is challenged and honesty tested and stretches your patience. There will also be times where due to this labour towards love, you have pure joy with each other. Enjoying the fruits of your labour in love! Always remember that continuously working at it, talking about it, living it, brings not only physical but emotional and spiritual intimacy with each other. Statistically, couples who actively do this are less likely to fall apart than those who don’t. This is what it means to have commitment!

Again, referenced permanent link here:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vintage Camera Gifts

Vintage Cameras, originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.

My parents came back today from their trip back to Singapore and brought gifts!

On the left is an ultra vintage Shanghai 203! Thank you uncle Peter!! Bit of history... Prior to 1964 they called it Shanghai 203 after that they renamed it to Seagull 203. They are essentially the same camera. A medium format rangefinder. It's lucky that I got some training in the Holgas to handle these fiddly films again :D I'm so excited!!

On the right is a modern replica German camera Minox DCC 5.1. Honestly its not so good as a camera but it does play on my "collector's syndrome". They sell cute miniature attachments and replica mounted flash etc... Thank you dad! I can see more money there spent! :P

Monday, April 18, 2011

Redback - I wished I had a Macro Lens

Yeah. 'Nuff said with the title. A Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro IS USM would be a nice option!

Sorry just one of my random rantings while going through some of the backlog of personal photos I have yet to process...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Playing with Lightroom Presets

It's been a while since I actually written a blog or posted any photos on Mikaela. So I decided to combine this post of a recent photo of her plus a little bit of "tech-photo-speak"...

Today while researching on Photoshop plug-ins and presets, I found a whole cool new world of Lightroom presets! I downloaded about 130 presets and tried most of them for fun. To see what are the creative possibilities with them.

This got me thinking... So does using some presets constitute to "creative cheating"? Or simply easing the photographer's time? Pretty much anyone with LR and these presets could get the color tones and exposures seen here. I used a combination of 2 or 3 presets plus some minor tweaking of my own.

Hmm.. interesting thought isn't it?

Anyway, which do you prefer? I know most would like the one on the left because for a child, it's warmer and more personal. However, I believe if I didn't present you with 2 options and merely the one on the right, it'll work too as Mikaela's facial expression shows a little tint of coldness in it as well. So the colors would have played on that emotion.

You decide! Please comment!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Working on a Photo Book

Photo Book Page 11, originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.

I'm back! God has been quite good to sustain me through some trialling times this week. Had too much on and I basically had a minor blow out in my head. Anyway, I'm slowly getting back into things and pacing myself.

First up, a photo book. I've been meaning to do this as a profile coffee table book to be placed at a few places where there are waiting areas so someone can pick it up and see some nice photos. This is an excerpt from page 11 on the photo book. Yes, this is my grandmother in case you were wondering :)

Also, if the text cannot be read, here is what it says:

Why Brokenvase Photos?

“It was an online nickname I chose for myself a long time back when I was a teenager. I believe that we're all broken and like a vase, even after we're mended back together, the lines will show. And these lines are what makes up one's character. In other words, no two vases when broken, will be mended back together having exactly the same lines!

How is this relevant to taking photos? I feel that I am always learning. Sometimes, even broken repeatedly. Each time I mend the vase back, I try to see what I can learn from these lines. So now I am going to marry my love for lifelong learning and taking photos into one. This means trying to capture for people and myself our memory lines along the vase - one photo at a time, one event at a time...

... Learning life through lenses”