Street Photography in Malaysia – Moments In Time Ep 3


– Excuse me, is there any way to open? – It’s raining so I will
open when it’s ready. You guys doing shoot? – I wanna take a photo
outside, like, up here. – [Security Guard] Are
you guys going shoot? – No, just photos. – [Security Guard] You’re not shooting? – Nope, yeah, this is, makes
things like very stable. I just lied at the security guard. These are not the cameras
you’re looking for. (upbeat electronic music) I hope you’ve enjoyed
the previous two episodes of Moments in Time. Now we’ve got a bus to
catch if we’re gonna make it to Kuala Lumpur on schedule. We’re running really late. Still gotta get out tickets. Our bus leaves in like 10 minutes. Probably in here. This place is huge. It’s not this way. Excuse me, do you know
where Arrow Line Bus. Up, up, up, up. Arrow Line! It was this one. Okay, downstairs, all right thank you. Got the tickets. So this is double decker. Arrow Line, all right, let’s get our bags. So we gotta start puttin’
out stuff underneath. All our stuff. Think they’re gonna have
to reload a little bit. We’ve broken the system. It’s a luxury bus, it’s actually, like, one eighth the price of flying
and you get, like, nice seats and personal entertainment. And you actually get to see the view, driving by, which is kinda cool. It’s easy to lose Singapore on the map because it rests on the southernmost point of the Malaysia Peninsula, separated only by a narrow series of international waterways
called the Straights of Johor but historically, Singapore
was part of Malaysia from 1957 until broke away to form its own city-state in 1965. The difference between the two countries is immediately apparent after crossing the bridge over the strait. While Singapore is packed to the brim with buildings, cars, and people, as soon as you drive into
Malaysia, you start to see nature. Farms, and forests stretching for hours and seeming to never end. Until, you get to KL. Situated at the confluence of
the Gombak and Klang Rivers, Kuala Lumpor is Malaysia’s
biggest city and capital. In Malay, it actually
means muddy confluence, which is very appropriate
considering monsoons are frequent here and
the city sometimes floods during heavy rains. Having undergone massive growth in the last 20 years, it’s
still not slowing down. Almost any skyline view is
filled with building cranes and new construction. The most famous structures in KL are the Petronas Twin Towers
and from 1998 to 2004, they were the world’s tallest buildings. But more on them later. Right now I’m meeting
up with Yaman Ibrahim, a Fujifilm X-photographer and KL local to show me around the historic
old quarter of the city. It’s interesting that, just because I do landscape and cityscape, it doesn’t mean that that’s the only photography
I look at or admire. In fact, the photography
that I consume personally is usually documentarian
style photography, street photography,
black and white fine art. I actually feel like we can learn more and acquire new knowledge for our own art by studying other genres altogether. And it’s fun now because
usually I just get to look at the end result. Now I feel like I get to
be a part of the world and a part of being able to capture this. You’re only get this
from a local perspective. Yaman knows these streets. He knows some of these people, running into photographers
that he knows here. He knows exactly where to go and that’s, that’s with comfort and experience. This catches my eye just because of lines. – Yeah, because of the lines. – [Elia] Now, so to be able to
maybe catch somebody walking. – It’s better if you use tele-lens. (soft upbeat electronic music) See the light? – Oh beautiful. – It’s around 9:00 or 9:15. – Would they allow photography here? – Yeah, yeah, yeah.
– Yeah, oh, great. – See, do a rim light. – Yeah, that’s nice. This definitely takes some knowledge. You know, we have all
of the incense burning and then in another five minutes, the sun’s gonna be high enough, it’s clear enough where the
light’s gonna come through and add more dynamic lighting to a scene that’s
already really beautiful. (chill electronic music) I’m also tryin’ to be quiet out of respect for a sacred space. And that’s something when you’re photographing
historical sites, religious sites, you could still be in here taking photos but definitely show some respect as well. You think we’ve approached
the right time now? The lighting’s right?
– Yeah, yeah, yeah. But there’s not people there. – So we’re watching now. These shadows.
– Yes. – So we know because of
the long shadow here. – Wait, Elia. Wow. Wait and wait and wait. – Well, we encounter this a lot because often we’ll see
photographs online or in a gallery and we’ll think that’s an amazing photo but we don’t know how long it took, how many days, years, how many times. – It’s like you’re
saying, it’s like you wait four, five years for the photo, right? – What I’ve noticed too is even with all the preparation as many times. – Lotta people don’t know that. – Luck takes a role. – People just saw the, your photo, and, yeah, it’s good, good. They don’t know how hard for us to get that shot. – I think it’s encouraging
for people to learn that, too. Because it makes them feel better because sometimes we
can’t help but compare our work to others and
when you see that photo, that you don’t know it took five years. You just think wow.
– Wow. – You know, but then
when you learn the work, then it makes you feel
good because you know you can put the same amount of work in. You know, it takes
effort, timing, planning. – Put a good effort for a good photo. – We have a combination
of the incense, the smoke, the light streaming through
to create that back rim light and Yaman’s positioned
himself right in the middle. In these types of situations,
sometimes you can’t get a lot of photographers in the same spot. So if you favor symmetry,
it’s good to come by yourself. We happen to be at a spot
with a lot of photographers. Sometimes everybody’s
kind of crowding around and now only is it difficult
to get the shot that you want but it also draws a lot more
attention from the people. Yaman was able to get the shot he wanted both as a wide and a medium. Then it was time to go a more
chaotic location in the city, the Second Hand Market. – Have you been here? This is Petaling Street.
– I have never been to this street, no.
– This is Petaling Street. I think this is the most
famous street in Kuala Lumpur. Every tourist, everybody that come to Malaysia will come here. – So, okay, it’s a famous street so then if you’re gonna take photos here, are people pretty used to
having their photos taken. – Yes, okay, no problem. This street full of stall
and, small stall shops and then they’re selling
goods like, imitation. – Imitation products, yeah. No you can say it. They sell fake products.
– Yeah. You can find everything here. Come, this is the place. – Try this, oh this is it? – Yeah, this is the place. See, here we can, we
can, we can find a plenty of nice portrait, yes.
– Oh interesting, yeah, I see. I also smell the garlic. And I’m seeing a lot of parts
of things are being sold. Little toy guns next to
hairdryers next to shoes. There was a little tripod
there, a My Little Pony and a tin of Johnny Walker Black Label. It’s tough for me, street
photography’s not my main thing. So I kinda need something
with a little bit, let’s just say training wheels on it, that’s not this claustrophobic. I want a photo of the
guy in the pirate hat. I wanna do one vertical one of you. I like your hat. It’s perfect. See, I’m from the Caribbean
so I know the hat. – (speaking in Malay)
– (speaking in Malay) – (speaking in Malay) – So here you spent a lot
of time with this guy. He’s very interesting. I saw maybe you were trying to position the lines behind him straight.
– Yes, yes, yes. – And then what else, what made you spend so much time with him? – No, I think, I like his face. Seldom you can find a
man wearing a earring, something like, I know this is for, just for gimmick selling goods right? But then since he’s nice too, why not? – Okay. So he seemed very willing?
– Yeah. – That’s what attracted to
you is his interestingness and then he’s willing to.
– Yeah, willing to cooperate. – Be a part of it.
– To be part of our, our shooting today. – [Elia] How long have you been
shooting street photography? – [Yaman] 10 years. – 10 years.
– 10, 12 years. I didn’t, for me, street photography is like a hobby, right? You know, the.
– Passion. – Yes. Street photography cannot
make you money, right? – No, no. The best things you do in photography are usually because of passion. You can’t think about money. – No one wants to buy, you
know, other people’s faces. – Yaman and I spend a few
hours catching more people on the streets as they
went about their day, sold their wares, and in
one particular instance, I even got to meet a baby chicken. That was pretty cool. Those chickens are kinda cute too. Now it’s time to head to Traders Hotel in downtown Kuala Lumpur
because their pool deck has one of the best views of city center. But, we immediately ran into some trouble. Hello, how are you? No reservation, I was just
hoping we could get one of these couches maybe. – Yes you can sir, you
can sit anywhere you want. It’s just you are not
allowed to use any tripod. – [Elia] No tripods? – To get to the view. – Oh no problem but.
– Camera is okay. – I can stand up and take photos as long as I don’t set up a tripod? – Yes, as long as no tripod. – Oh, no problem at all. I’ll just keep it on the bag, thank you. So here’s what I’m tryin’ to figure out. We could sit anywhere we want but what I wanna figure
out is how to open this. Excuse me, is there any way to open? – It’s raining so I will
open when it’s ready? You guys doing shoot? – I wanna take a photo
outside, like, up here. – [Security Guard] Are
you guys doing shoot? – No, just photos? – [Security Guard] You’re not shooting? – Nope, yeah, this is makes
things, like, very stable. I just lied to the security guard. These are not the cameras
you’re looking for. I think what we’re gonna
do is head over here because there’s less people
that work here over there and they won’t really notice
that we’re not actually just taking photos. This place has a hard no tripod rule so I can’t set this guy up but I can use a little tabletop tripod. Now, what this is gonna
give me the ability to do is set this up on top
of this little platform so when it gets dark, instead
of hand holding my camera I can put it on this little guy here, set everything up and then
get a perfectly stable shot. And since I’m using a tripod, even though it’s a cute
little mini tripod, I can actually get the best settings, too. So I can leave the camera at F8, lowest ISO possible and come away with the best shot possible. And it’s also gonna be
one of those situations that without this little tripod, trying to handhold this
shot when it’s that dark, it’s not gonna come out good at all. Right now what I’m tryin’ to see is if I can use my 18 millimeter lens and what I’m really deciding is if I need to go any wider than this. Everything is the center is really pretty, centered on the Twin Towers, the Petronas Towers, being
the main part of the shot and the mall on the bottom. So I think this is gonna cover it. Sun’s about to set. The security guy that didn’t
want me to use the tripod has left for the evening
and nobody else around here seems to care. Next door to me, there’s a guy with, like, a giant JOBY which is like
an articulating tripod you can wrap around things
making it really obvious that he’s shooting on a tripod
so I think I’m gonna be okay but just in case, I’m
just gonna set this up and I’m gonna leave it and you can see on the edge here, I’m not that close to the ledge, but I can understand if you
put your camera out here, you probably don’t want it
to just sit here unattended. So what I’m gonna do
since sunset and blue hour and nighttime happen so fast, probably the span of 20
minutes from the sun setting, the sky turning colors, and it being full dark, I’m
just gonna stand up here and kind of guard my
camera and also use my body to physically block it from being viewed from the security people
in the background. So it kinda acts as a double situation. One, protect the camera, just
in case something happens. I don’t think it will. It’s really safe. And two, hide the fact that I’m using this little tripod from security. So I’m basically just
gonna square everything up, get my settings right, and then just take a
photo every few minutes so we can watch the progression of light. Right now I’m shooting an 18
millimeter which is rather wide so I can capture everything in the scene. But you might only have
your iPhone with you which is about 28 millimeter and if I set it up about the same way, centering those two towers, what I really wanna be conscious of is not cropping the top of the towers so I’m gonna have to
rotate up a little bit. If you’re in a situation where
you’re not far enough away to capture the whole scene,
sometimes it’s better to just rotate things vertically and just constrict the
composition a little bit, but then you can get more space on the top and the bottom. This is looking really nice and compositionally it’s pretty simple. What I’m trying to do
is keep the Twin Towers in the center and
shooting at a wide angle, that tends to pull all of the other angles from the foreground and
the bottom and even the sky into the center of the
frame and really emphasize that this is the most important
subject to the photograph, the Twin Towers themselves. This photo spot is amazing. And I highly recommend going up and seeing the view for yourself. Maybe just don’t bring
a personal video crew with you like I did. Thank you for watching Moments in Time. In the next episode, we visit
one of Malaysia’s biggest and busiest attractions, the Batu Caves. And yes, there will be some monkeys. We try not to break the fourth wall which basically just
means putting something in that should be there like. – But what if I really wanna be? – If you really wanna be
in it you can be in it. – I can just jump in like this. – You could just jump in yeah. Thanks buddy. – Gotcha.
– Good. – And I’m here too.
– And Bal, too.

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