Spread the Love – June 2013

Thanks to Ahpa Saeyeoh for introducing me to her friends Dickson and William. Dickson has studied Chinese medication for more than three years while William is currently understudying him. Both of them have improved on my back’s condition.

My back problem had lasted for nearly 15 years. It was worsened during my NS days due to the excessive loads I had to carry regularly. I had gone for X-ray and MRI screening but the results were not as “bad” as what doctors expected for me to downgrade permanently. Despite getting temporary “excuse heavy load” medical certificate from the medical officers (MOs), I had to continue to carry heavy stuffs. Well, I was simply unlucky because I had a bastard superior called Captain James during that time who would threaten (indirectly) all the injured co-slaves to work. His moonlighting business – some aquarium shops – should be failed by now after being cursed by so many nice people.

I was in fact one of the fittest guys in my camp other than having the injuries, which nobody could see nor understand. I had to go for regular physiotherapy sessions and campmates would jokily call me “chao geng”, thinking it was just an excuse to skip “work”. Friends who know me well should know that I was a very determined and responsible person who would do everything well and not push work around. An example would be during the BMT’s SIT test, I actually fireman-carried a platoon-mate much bigger size than me over a distance all by myself. Therefore, during my NS days, I was being hurt both physically and mentally.

Anyway, the aching on my back was more terrible than anyone could imagine. For a few times, there were sharp pains when I was jogging – obviously the spine was connected to lower body. The aching happened very often that I had lie down every now and then. More than half of my days, the pains accompanied me faithfully. I simply had to sit down for five minutes without my back supported to trigger the aching for years.

After some examination, Dickson told me I had slipped disc, which was not easily to be detected by both X-ray and MRI. He used a big stick with around five or six split ends to whack my back hard for probably longer than 20 minutes that my face turned red. He was experienced enough to tell that the pain was bearable compared to the 15 years of my torment. However, my back was numbed from the whacking that I was unable to tell him the exact condition so that he could do more.

The sore on my back improved immediately, which stunned me totally. All these years, I always thought the western doctors were right that I could only train my muscle hard to support the injured spine. Most of the time, I thought my back muscle was injured as well. If only I had more faith that my back problem could be cured or improved, so that I could seek better Chinese physician for help earlier, my life would be so much better. The pain had slowed me down badly in my work.

Another Bad Photoshoot Experience

I have just deleted a set of photos. I’m feeling relieved actually because they require lots of time to edit and the end result may not be up to my expectation; most of all, the model is not as nice as I think in term of character. Tricia almost wanted to “kill” me for my taste of “model” in term of appearance, but I was more of looking for the experience with “model” of good character.

The model is my net friend, a Thai expat, whom I have not met before the shoot. Anyway, I used to think she is a fun-loving person and definitely easygoing, but it turned out that I was wrong all the while. Other than her usual slow or no-reply response, I really thought she was just too busy. After a few years of knowing each other with just very rarely short chats, I thought she could help me to practise with my new gears. Most of all, since I was expecting her to be very nice, it would be an enjoyable experience.

She was supposed to send me photos of her outfits the night before but she failed to. I had actually looked through all her photos in Facebook but she rejected my suggestion of outfits because they were old. Our plan was to do fashion shoot at Boat Quay area since she was staying very near Quake Quay. I woke up early right after sunrise to wait for her late confirmation of the shoot, which I thought I should just go back to sleep. Then I went to the bus-stop in front of The Central to meet her without seeing her outfit.

I had been updating her of my location on the way but I did not see her at the bus-stop even though she was staying very near. After some time, she suggested shooting at the beach instead and I agreed since I thought she was afraid of the crowds at city area. At the same time, she amazed me by saying that she had just left her house. Next, she told me to wait downstairs her house for her to pack her stuffs. It was an hour after arriving at the bus-stop and finally to the gate of her place, I got to see her. I tried to turn a blind eye to her lateness since she was my net friend after all and that she seemed to be really friendly.

The first thing I noticed was that she was not wearing any makeup. Her hair was also very dried. The weird thing was that I could smell alcohol in her.

We took a cab to Sentosa in my jeans and shoes, which made me look like crap. On the way, she admitted that she had gone drinking with her friend till late hour. Our initial location was at the far end of Tanjong Beach but there were presence of a few outsiders around. Then, she wanted to find a place with fewer people. We ended up walking to Palawan beach and crossed over the famous bridge and to the two towers. I was able to take a few warm-up shots before more people arrived. She wanted to go back to Tanjong beach after that and we decided to shoot along the way where there were many trees. I had quite some fun instructing her to turn and hide the meaty parts of her body and in fact, I was quite impressed with myself. Since the path was quite narrow with cyclists travelling to and fro frequently, I was not able to take out my speedlite and umbrella. We had to end the photoshoot when she began to be drained. We took a cab out. After I got home, I used Whatsapp to text her but she did not reply.

A few days later, she started asking me for her photos when I was busy. She wanted the raw photos without editing. Nearly three weeks after the shoot, she finally messaged me again in Facebook when I was watching TV. When I went back to my laptop, which was less than half an hour, I was shocked to see very nasty words to know her true character. So, I decided to delete all the photos and I was stunned by her reply, suspecting I would use her photos. I did not want to tell her the facts that her outlook at that point of time was too terrible for anyone to see, in order not to sound nasty.

I have a webpage written specially for TFCD photo shoot at http://sillydumb.com/photography/tfcd-photoshoot-singapore/ and people who have seen my work before are likely to have seen it before agreeing to have TFCD photo shoot with me. For this case, I’m partly at fault for not forcing her to look through the rules stated.

Which established photographer will give away photo for portrait without editing if the model does not put on proper makeup, especially when the model has very bad complexion? If you have a proper brain, you will probably know that it will only spoil the photographer’s reputation.

As for the timeframe, I will never over-promise anyone. I have in fact rejected quite a number of photo shoot requests because I understand I’m not able to produce the final work fast enough due to my current workload. The exceptional cases that I have taken up the shots are because I know the models’ schedules are tight. I have my own small business to run and it is taking far too much time for my hobby. Whereas, I have just upgraded to a different camera and started using speedlite, and still trying to figure out the settings. Lastly, there have been quite a number of events shots for me to process and I will definitely priortise them over FREE portraiture photo shoot.

Below is the transcript of our chats in Facebook.

A couple of days after the shoot…

A:
Hey photographer
Can I have my photos ?
Which way is easy to load ?

Me:
haha. you need to wait. i got quite some photos to go through

A:
Dont need to go through so much lah
Anyway not like I going be top model ha
Look so ugly

Less than three weeks after the shoot…

A:
Hey I want my photo without ur edit
Please send me
Thanks
Please I don’t like to ask many time
Just tell me how u gonna send
Why no reply?
Let’s me know by today thanks.. Be a man don’t hide under skit

Me:
i will send you after editing
if you insist, i will just delete all photos
let’s treat it that we didn’t shoot before
this is the rule of tfcd photoshoot
no photographer will send non edited photos if model has no makeup

A:
U can delete make sure u do don’t let me see my photo out there

Me:
don’t worry. you don’t think too well of yourself.

A:
I never think but u don’t wanna let me have it or just play around.. I not smell kid
Just be honest that all.. I never any photographer take a month to edit photo
I just want my photo that all why so hard? And I thought u r a friend after photo shoot I never tell me anything
Be understand.
If u really delate it I want evident make sure u do

Me:
oh you are the big model who has lots of photographers doing professional photoshoot for you. sorry i didn’t know you are so great. i must be blind that i can’t see any professional photos that you have uploaded. but well, i’m not as professional as your professional photographers and i have my own work to do and photos that i have to give to other models and people from bigger events. and i’m not going to give you any evident. you can go ahead and sue me if you ever see your photos.

A:
If u r not then why u want to keep my photo? This is so funny.

Me:
what for i want to keep your photo now???
dream on

A:
Honestly I never thought u r this kind of guy

Me:
honestly i never thought you are this kind of girl

A:
Good if u r don’t keep

Me:
you think you are paying me big bucks to do photoshoot and expect me to give you fast???

A:
Just do me favor delete it all thanks

Me:
that’s for sure.

A:
Good.

Me:
just remember to sue me if you ever see them.

A:
Sure will do

I would have explained nicely to her but she started turning nasty before I read her messages. She was very naive to think that I would keep her photos as my portfolio or whatever, and she was brainless to ask me to produce evidence that I had deleted her not-so-impressive photos.

I have been judging people too quickly, thinking most people are nice people. it is not easy to judge people clearly before you start working with them.

However, people should start to learn that if they have been replying to other people’s messages late or sometimes, do not even reply at all, don’t expect others reply to them immediately.

Spread the Love – May 2013

Hero of the month of May 2013 goes to Benson Lin. Benson is an advanced user in IT gadgets.

Benson is my ex polytechnic classmate and ex SAF platoon-mate. We were closer during polytechnic days together with Cher Fong, Yaozhong and Wenchang. Together, we had worked on a few projects during the course. However, we had not been keeping in close contact. Out of a sudden, his passion for photography seems to have surpassed mine and he has moved towards professional level.

Ever since I have gotten my Sony NEX F3, he has been sharing tips and knowledge with me. It seems to me that he has not been holding back on anything. I’m very amazed by his knowledge in photography.

During the month of May 2013, we met up with a few others and he gave me a short lecture on photography. I had learned a lot through Youtube videos but having an expert explaining stuffs to me face to face made a difference. Then, he spent two of his lunchtimes to accompany me to get my new DSLR camera and gears. He had to packet his food back to his office for both days. Without him, I probably could have bought some wrong equipments or at higher prices.

There are true heroes in this world who are willing to sacrifice their time and share their full knowledge without worrying that others would overtake them. Do you have one such friend too?