Posts in Photography

Shooting T

I always believe in the power of the still image. An experienced photojournalist can capture a moment that can evoke powerful emotions for the viewer. As I shoot a variety of subjects, from products to people to weddings, it’s often necessary to be professional and detach your feelings from the event happening around you. This is more so when I shoot for Hospis Malaysia. Many of these people have a measured lifespan and are usually at the end of their lives. Quite a few of the people I’ve taken photos of no longer walk this earth. A sobering thought. But it keeps you grounded. Mortality reminds you to assess what is truly important in life.

On a bright Monday morning, as I drove to the shoot location across town, I expected it was going to be a tough shoot. I did receive a patient brief the week before. Photography challenges are expected but I don’t worry much about such things. Emotions are a totally different situation.

Today, I’ll be facing a two-year-old girl, toddler T, diagnosed with stuff I can’t even pronounce properly. I arrived early. Rang the nurse and waited. Took a few moments to calm down, check the gear, and walked to the lobby of the public housing flats.

The flat was small. The baby cot was prominently in one corner of the very small living room. Also obvious is the whole IV drip stand with the controller, brackets, oxygen tanks, and equipment surrounding the bed. This was no ordinary toddler. Emotionally, it felt gloomy and it was dark. The mother, perhaps reading my mind, opened the drapes and sunlight streamed in. Got the cameras out, and immediately started to frame and shoot. Detach. Focus on telling her story. Her cries of distress, obviously due to her discomfort, were unsettling. Shot a few more frames. The nurse and doctor tried to calm her, take their measurements. Only her grandmother managed to calm her. It didn’t help when the pulse oximeter didn’t register readings on her fingers and they had to try several times.

I know toddler T knows what’s going on. I took some frames, flipped the camera around and her eyes would follow the LCD screen. There was a flicker of recognition. That’s me or mummy and me on the screen. It was heart-wrenching looking at her. At one point, she was asphyxiating. The mother got to the oxygen tanks and her smooth, fluid motions told me that this was just another day and that it came from experience and practice.

After the shoot, we parted ways, I stroked her head and said goodbye to toddler T. Got back down the flats, and walked back to the car, locked the doors, and just let the tears flow. That evening, when I picked my son who was only a month older than toddler T, I held him tight. He gave me his usual cheery smile and “Hello Daddy” and I only held him tighter. “Daddy loves you very much.” Any terminal illness is awful but for me, acceptance is easier when the person is 90. I’m also a parent with a child about the same age. Toddler T should have toys in her crib and should be running around with her sister and brother. She should not be tethered to her crib by an IV line or oxygen tubes. How does one ever come to terms with this? I know editing this shoot is going to be painful.

It is amazing work that these people from Hospis Malaysia do. Truly. When you are that parent who sees your child in this state daily, how are you going to cope each day? Who is going to give you that lifeline? I cannot imagine what’s like to be toddler T’s parents and may never will. It does demonstrate what people at Hospis Malaysia can do, a beacon of hope and life when all else seems bleak. It also reminds you of the power of a still image. It is all the loved ones have, at the end of it all.

This shoot was done early 2013 and this article was written several months later but was never published until today, March 24, 2021.

Current Production Disks

As a follow on to this post here, the list below is what I have in all my current running systems including production client “remote backup” services (on QNAP NAS systems). I’ve also changed my storage architecture (another post on that) but primarily, I’m currently mostly on SSDs and WD Red NAS disks.

Currently running in “production” systems (excluding laptops)…

  • Samsung
    • Evo 840 – 250Gb SSD – 2 drives
    • Evo 850 – 250Gb SSD – 1 drive
  • WDC
    • WD Black 2TB – 1 drive
    • WD Black 1TB – 1 drive
    • WD Red 3TB – 6 drives
    • WD Red 2TB – 4 drives
  • Plextor
    • M6S 250Gb SSD – 1 drive
  • QNAP NAS (TS-669 Pro)
    • WDC Red NAS 2TB – 6 drives
  • QNAP NAS (TS-439 Pro II)
    • WDC Red NAS 1TB – 4 drives
  • QNAP NAS (TS-251)
    • WDC Red NAS 1TB – 2 drives
  • QNAP NAS (TS-231P)
    • WDC Red NAS 1TB – 2 drives
Retired drives
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.12, 7200rpm, 1TB – 4 drives
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 DM001, 2TB – 7 drives
  • Western Digital WD5000AAKS , 7200rpm, 500Gb – 1 drive
  • Seagate Momentus XT 500GB Hybrid – 2 drives

2012 Christmas Ginger Bread house

Last year, we managed a time-lapse of the construction (see here). This year, with a toddler roaming around the house, a camera on a tripod wasn’t a good idea so it’s just a couple of photos whenever I remember to grab the camera.

Instead of a regular standard house, we decided that we’ll make a larger house using two Ikea ginger bread house kits. A couple of cracks in the second box meant that we had to make some changes and adjustments. Now that we’ve gone for size, perhaps next year will be more upgrades instead of size!

iPhone 4S + Camera + Life

The biggest improvement for me when upgrading to the new iPhone 4S is actually the camera. Yeah, I’ve a ton of apps but my core apps are frequently my communications and networking tools – messaging, email, social media, etc. The next most common app I use is the camera and Instagram.

One thing for sure is that it’s always with me so it’s always the best camera — even when I’m lugging a truck-load of photo equipment, it still allows me to document, capture and basically, photo-log my activities.

More importantly, it lets me capture events and people important to me. I’ve every photo taken since my iPhone 2G days and the count is in the five digits. Browsing through the photos is like stepping back in time.


One thing I’ve observed in many local churches is the minimal use of internet technologies available.

Websites and email aside as those are to be expected of any entity or organization today. I think it’s time they embrace more tools to enable better and greater reach.

Recently, our cell group scheduled a session with the esteemed Reverend Lim Kar Yong of STM to teach us on a series of Parables. Well, we decided to enlarge his audience by combining with Kinrara cell group via web-cast. Of course other members who could not make it could also attend the webcast session. Slides, audio and video were broadcast at standard definition. It was evident however that our regular Malaysian home ADSL service (Streamyx) would not cut it even though the webcast only required a downlink of about 350kbps. On a 1mbps line, the video would be choppy and occasionally drop out.

It was an interesting experiment though and one we would continue for the next three weeks. For those who couldn’t attend the webcast, we have audio recordings and if you want to watch, we have a HD video recording of the session as well!

I’ll blog about the tools we used in a separate post later this week.

2011 Year in Photos

The year everything changed – 2011

Here’s looking back the 12 months in photos from blog entries excerpted over the year.





Surprisingly no photos and no entries in April.