Vote Buying Scandal?

April 25th, 2013 | Personal, Weddings

Since election campaign started last week, my phone has been buzzing with messages from concerned friends and clients. “Louis, was your office used by someone for vote buying?” They sent me the link to a video that allegedly recorded this illegal activity. This video had gone viral with 3600 shares on Facebook which is great for anti-vote buying awareness but not so good for us who were inadvertently implicated in this scandal.

The location where the allegedly suspicious activity happened was our former office. We moved out a year ago but we left the large sized poster on the glass panels and our signage on the door. We should have known better.

We relocated to a larger unit in the same building and have NOTHING to do with whatever that was going on in the video. However we really appreciate your concern and messages. We are touch by how much some of your care. Here is a shot of our new studio. If you have not dropped by, please do and give me a tinkle before you head over.

Louis Pang Studio, Louis Pang

Lost & Found

March 22nd, 2013 | Personal

When you lose something, drop a wallet, forget a package in a taxi, or in my case leave behind my beloved iPad in the front pocket of the passenger seat, you just don’t expect to see it again. The good old days of honesty and sincere customer service is as scarce as dinosaur sightings, so I thought.

Louis Pang's iPad

We were on our way to 36-hour journey to Washington DC. Woke up at 3:30am to start a marathon air travel that took us from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, LA and finally Washington DC. I only realized the iPad was missing when I boarded the Tokyo/LA-bound flight. It wasn’t the hardware that concerned me most but the personal info & Amazon shopping account. Imagine someone racking up thousands of dollars of shopping bill at Amazon! As I sat in my seat, I said a short prayer. It was outside of my control. I can let this ruin the rest of the trip or I surrender this to God and Malaysia Airlines crew.

Flight stewardess Nget Swee was like an angel to me. Calm, assuring and proactive she took down my details and contacted the ground staff at Narita Aiport, Tokyo so they could attend to me during the 90-minute layover. As I disembarked the aerobridge, an earnest Japanese MAS staff greeted me and attended to me. Ten minutes later, this gentleman informed me there had not been any sighting of an iPad. He filed a report on my behalf. I wasn’t optimistic.

When we arrived LAX 12 hours later, we followed up with Darryl Stripsky from MAS baggage service at LAX. “We have a good record of recovering lost items. Hopefully yours will turn up,” said Darryl. There was no guarantee of course. He made a follow up report immediately and within hours, he contacted me for more details of my flight itinerary and the details of my missing iPad. Two days later, MAS Lost & Found office at KLIA contacted me to drop by the office when I return from USA. They located a unit of iPad that fits my description.

Long story short, 17 days after I left behind the iPad in an aircraft, I was reunited with it. Once it was lost, now it is found. I kissed and hugged it.

I am so glad to be proven wrong with my skepticism and lack of faith in the decency of humanity. I am much quicker to judge and denounce than I am to praise and compliment. To all the doomsayers of our national airline, I have encountered only professionalism, care and kindness in this incident. Traditional values of honesty & integrity is well and alive in MAS. I only wish I could personally thank the airline’s security personnel who located the iPad and reported it to the Lost & Found.

Louis Pang's iPad

May & Jeffrey’s Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

February 19th, 2013 | Weddings

There is a saying, “Only those who are faithful with small things can be entrusted with bigger things.”

May’s exquisite taste and her handpicked team of florists and decorators certainly had a great eye for the finest details. She had everything covered for her wedding even if it meant she had to work hard till the wee hours the night before her big day. That’s determination, girl! From the newly wed car license plate, favours, programme, place cards, flowers, bouquets, wedding gown, garter, down to the personalize take away bags for desserts she had thought of everything. Hats off to Westin Kuala Lumpur for pulling this off, and Wishing Tree for the decoration and flowers. Many beautiful decorations were let down by poor lighting, but not at Westin. The each table has a dedicated pin light which accentuated the center pieces. It was a festival of light meets a festival of flowers. I cannot be more thrilled photographing this.

May kept apologizing being obsessive with the details. “Louis, I know I am crazy. But I’ll leave it to you to decide to shoot what’s important,” May repeated many times. It is GREAT to know what’s important to a bride. What’s important to a bride is important to me.

Oh, did I mention about the dessert bar that was open during the pre-dinner cocktail? Gosh, those macaroons, marsh mellows, candy, chocolates, and cupcakes. I was told they were as yummy as they look. It was all gone in no time. What fun to photograph such a beautiful wedding.

So what about the groom, Jeffrey? Well, he married a woman with great taste and attention to details. That can only be good. May and Jeffrey, I hope your marriage will be more beautiful than your wedding. Cheers!

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

May & Jeffrey's Wedding at Westin Kuala Lumpur

“Creating” Sun

February 7th, 2013 | Photography Tips

In Genesis, it was recorded that God said, “Let there be light and there was light.” As a photographer how I wish I had such power. Poor weather & lousy lighting conditions have deprived us of many photo opportunities. Some of my colleagues moan about working in the tropics where we only have a “golden half hour” where as photographers in the northern or southern hemisphere enjoy great light for 3-4 hours a day.

We have two options. Either we play victims, or we find solutions. I am a big fan of solving problems.

The bad news is we have to spend some time learning how flash works, and ditch that “I’m an available light shooter” badge we wear so proudly. The good news is the solution is inexpensive and simple to understand. There are many ways to shoot, but this is my way:

Step 1: expose with manual exposure, with 3D matrix (Nikon) / Evaluative (Canon)
Step 2: expose for the ambient light. I prefer to expose the ambient light 1-2 stop under to add drama and contrast to the picture.
Step 3: bring in the flash in manual mode. Adjust the power until you get the exposure that pleases you.

I was photographing Louisa and Khavines. By 6:30pm the sun had gone beyond the horizon, and together with it, the golden hour. As you can see the ambient light was dull, disinteresting and flat. I asked myself what would this scene look like during the golden hour. The bottle brush grass would be gold in the late afternoon sun and the couple would bask in that amazing light. I could see the entire scene in my head. Now, I need to recreate that with technology.

So I brought out a SB800 with CTO gel and the Phottix Odin wireless system on paint pole. The whole setup cost less than U$500 probably less since the SB800 is 5 years old. The light was positioned 8-10 feet from the couple to the left of the frame and 10 feet off the ground. The whole idea is to replicate a late afternoon sun. The warmth of the CTO gel gives us the warm glow.

Portraits created with Phottix Odin by Louis Pang

Portraits created with Phottix Odin by Louis Pang

Portraits created with Phottix Odin by Louis Pang

Portraits created with Phottix Odin by Louis Pang

Then we move on to a pier. By then it was 7:05pm. We had even less light to work with. I could have opted for this exposure by bumping up my ISO, shoot wide open with an exotic lens.

Portraits created with Phottix Odin by Louis Pang

Instead, I decided for this look which gives more saturation of background, a peaceful and gentle blue hue of the water and skyline with a sprinkle of warm “late afternoon” light from a beat up SB800 with CTO.

Portraits created with Phottix Odin by Louis Pang

Portraits created with Phottix Odin by Louis Pang

And this is how we achieved it. The flash was 25-30 feet from the couple, and about 15 feet from me.

I see flash as a tool, just like any other tools in my camera bag. Tools are to help us solve problems and achieve our vision. So it is my responsibility to learn how to use my tools as well as I could. Knowledge widens our photographic horizon and possibilities. While we are no God, yet we can certainly say, “Let there be light.”

The pictures above were created with the Phottix Odin wireless flash triggering system. I’ve been using them for 6 months now. This wireless system sets a new bar for the combination of ease of use, quality and pricing. The Odins are outstanding wireless flash triggers/transmitters. I was skeptical of the Odins at first because Phottix was all new to me. I was given several units as a gift from Phottix. Took me a while to bring them along with me for shoots because I was more familiar with a different system. Now they are with me in every shoot. They can be used for TTL flash or manual triggers for studio lights, including my trusty Elinchrom Quadra. It’s also the most inexpensive wireless system I’ve used.

(Phottix is one of my main sponsors for my Platform Class at WPPI.)

Emma & Carl

February 1st, 2013 | Weddings

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

One of the blessings of being wedding photographer in Malaysia is to witness the diversity of cultures and religions. There is an extra bonus to be asked to photograph an non-Chinese wedding. It is like having a front row seat to a cultural festival.

We have the privilege of photographing Emma and Carl’s wedding ceremony in Sandakan and their reception in Kota Kinabalu.

One of my favorite part of a Malay wedding is to see the pomp of the “hantaran” (delivery of gifts) between the two families. Gifts come in the form of the Holy Qu’ran to PlayStation 3 and from fragrance to cash. Then there is the beating of “kompang” (traditional Malay skin drums) and the arrival entourage which add a carnival flavor to the wedding.

For Emma and Carl, their wedding is also bridge the political divide as both families are passionate supporters of rival political parties. Yet, love transcend politics and alliances. For one day, political tribalism gave way to love.

Carl is an avid 4×4 enthusiast. His 4WDs are equipped with giant wheels, fog lights, snorkels, definitely tough enough to rumble in the jungles of Borneo. How Carl manage to convince the petite and gentle Emma to climb up to one of these giants is beyond me.

As Malaysia is urbanized rapidly, it is always refreshing to see how my Malay friends are holding strong to tradition, respect for family and mannerism. For that I will always love photographing Malay weddings.

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

EEmma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang

Emma & Carl's wedding photography at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Malay Wedding, Louis Pang