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Jan 23 \'10

1:10 AM


Hi guys, I'm here to inform you that I'm officially switching to Tumblr. You can continue to follow me at samueltan.tumblr.com. So starting for today, I won't be updating this blog anymore.
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Jan 7 \'10

12:05 AM


Today we had a whole day video shoot. Yes, it was from 6am until 5pm. It was so hot that I got goosebumps, it's a reaction of my body. Anyway, it was good. We finished 2 videos for Wildfire Party 2. Everybody's welcome on the 23rd of January at Excel Point Community Church!

Our camera-women!

A soundman will always be a soundman.

Our director from NY.

Soundman when he's resting.

I could never live without artistic photojournalism! =)

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Nov 2 \'09

5:53 PM


Pastors from the rural areas of Malaysia gathered around one place at the same time for one purpose, that is to improve their and multiply their talents. I had the honor to serve these pastors and more over, documenting this awesome conference.

Pr Sam from Excel Point Community Church

Pr Sam Soukotta from Indonesia

Dr Chew from SIB Kuala Lumpur

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Sep 6 \'09

11:16 AM


A community gotong royong took place on the 29th August 2009. Anchored by Excel Point Community Church as their annual community project. Previous partners such as Priority Fitness again participated in this project. The church came together to help clean up the whole Pekaka area with MPPP supplying the equipment.

Ps Mei(right), associate pastor of Excel Point Community Church.

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Sep 6 \'09

10:10 AM


Recess Revo: Penang held their first ever party on the 22th September 2009 at Methodist Boys School. Currently, there are 22 schools and 1 college that has joined Recess Revo: Penang. Include Methodist Boys School, Methodist Girls School, St Xavier Institute, Penang Free School, St George Girls School, Convent Light Street, Convent Green Lane, SK Bukit Gelugor, SMK Heng Ee, SMK Ayer Itam, SMK Bukit Gambier, SMK Hamid Khan and KDU. In just 8 weeks, 22 souls were saved and counting. This movement has made a big impact in this country that big organisations such as NECF are inquiring more about this movement. The Re-Evolvers, core members of this movement, now has even being invited to Alor Setar and Ipoh to talk about this movement.

Recess Revo, original a movement from Acts Church, Kuala Lumpur began with only testimonies from Amanda Ooi in her school. Her testimonies touched many views and thoughts of the people all over Malaysia. More and more people are catching this vision and believing that this is important.

Pragas K, youth director of Excel Point Community Church, also the spokesperson of Recess Revo: Penang caught this vision when he attend the Revolution Conference by Acts Church in June this year. "I had been asking God what to do? What is His will for the young people? At first when the Revolution team came to Penang and shared Recess Revo, I wasn't much moved but when I attended the Revolution Conference in Kuala Lumpur, I immediately know that this is God's plan and vision for the young people in Malaysia." said Pragas K.

"When Pastor Andy asked me to write a few devotional material, I was really excited." said Pastor Sam, senior pastor of Excel Point Community Church. Pastor Sam who received a calling to start a church to impact young people has always been supportive of every youth movement. Excel Point Community Church has been a partner of Revolution ever since it started.

Members of Recess Revo has been praying and doing good works for their school, such as cleaning the canteen, giving away free drinnks, washing the classes. Many people in the schools asked why are they doing this? And they simply replied, "We just want to bless you."

A helper taking the registration of the students and giving out door gifts.

Students before the party started.

Pastor Sam giving a word of encouragement to the students.

Students buying Recess Revo: Penang merchandises.

One of the ushers guiding the student's way around the school.

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Aug 19 \'09

10:59 AM


A lot of people asked me what equipment I use, and when I say I only use a Nikon D90 with a 50mm f1.8 and the kit lens 18-105mm, I often get the reply 'Are you sure that's all?' Honestly that's all I use. So I thought I should write some of my insights on documentary photography here, I hope this would help you understand what I feel.

Don't flash!
Some of you might know that I work part time in a photo lab and I get a little too many orders of wedding photos to develop. When I say 'a little too many' I meant there are too many photos of the same quality. Flash is a powerful tool if we know how to use it.

[You many refer to my archive under 'Flash That' to look at my first try at flash]

In my opinion, flash has been abused by many of the so called 'wedding photographers'. I still remember that one of my mentor told me to look at one of the photographers work, he say the photographer takes beautiful images. Yes, the photographer did take beautiful images. All his images on his website are beautiful, no doubt but I got to know that particular photographer's caliber when I had my chance to develop the actual wedding day images taken by him. To my surprise, the actual wedding day images were mediocre and dull. It's the same as everyone else! Why? Because flash has been abused by many wedding photographers. They may create beautiful posed/pre-wedding images, but when it comes to the actual day, all they do is mount a flash on their camera, point it up, maybe add a diffuser and start shooting. End up you get the same images that others do. Photographers may argue that it was a low-light environment. That's true, but many of the local photographers are using the same excuses.

There's a photographer in Norway which I couldn't recall his name who uses manual flash. I would say he's an expert in this because I couldn't determine which image of his is taken with and which one without flash. Someone once told me that if you could capture an image with flash and viewers thought that you only used available light, then you've truly mastered your flash.  This photographer definitely did.

The problem with many photographers (even pros) is that they think of flash as an easy way out rather than a creative tool that they can use to enhance their images. This is why I don't see any difference between pros and amateurs when it comes to wedding photography. Of course, there are a few exceptions like Louis Pang whom I greatly respect. He uses his off-camera flash as a source of light to create a particular mood in his images, although I'm sort of against this (being a documentary photographer with an unobtrusive style). Nevertheless, he is good at what he's doing.

This image was taken at f1.8, 1/100" at ISO 3200. If I were to use an off-camera flash bounced up, it would've created too much shadows on the bride and groom's faces, making them look fake, thus spoiling the mood.

A lot of my family members and friends asked me,'Why don't you get an off-camera flash? The reason is simple, I don't need one.

Quality over quantity.
I daresay quality and using flash is directly connected. One of the things that I've observed is photographers tends to overlook this area. Because he/she has a flash, and all he does is shoot whatever he/she can gets, rather than giving every image that he/she takes the attention that he/she supposed to.

Let me ask you a question, how much effort do you think a photographer puts into producing his/her images if he/she has taken a thousand of them over the period of 5 hours? Let's
do the math here. There are 300mins in 5 hours. So 300mins divided by 1000 images you get 0.3mins which is 18sec. Which also means the photographer take an image every 18sec averagely. Now do you think he/she could (1) look for good lighting (2) look for a good angle (3) consider what to put in the frame (4) compose the image (5) wait for the right moment. Well, (1) to (4) is pretty much easy for an experienced photographer but when it comes to (5), no matter how experienced you are, you still have to 'wait' for it. And it doesn't come every 18sec.

I consider 3 basic principal for an image, (1) light (2) composition (3) storytelling. A great image has all 3 of them, a good one has 2. It's not easy to get all 3 of them all the time. Most of my images has the storytelling element in them. If an image has a meaning but not good light, I'm okay with it.

This image, I would say has all 3 principals. The light is considerably good, composition was good and it has a storytelling element in it. To me, it's a great image.

Frankly speaking, you yourself are your own greatest critic. If you think that you're doing good, you're doing good. I wrote this article not to criticize local photographers here, but hoping to enlighten photographers about a few wrong thinking that they have.

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Aug 9 \'09

11:55 PM


Excel Point Community Church(EPCC) celebrated their 12th anniversary on the 9th of August 2009 in  the Matahari ballroom, Equatorial Hotel, Penang. EPCC started out with only three people, and after twelve years they now have close to a thousand members. Many of the community works by EPCC has impact many lives in their community. Pastor Luis Cabral from New Zealand was once again invited as the guest speaker. This year, EPCC ushered in one of the most salvations all these years and truly, God is working mightily amongst them.

Pr Luis Cabral preaching in English, translated into Bahasa Malaysia by Pr Sam Surendran.

Pr Luis Cabral.

EPCC Media Crew setting up before the service.

Pragas K. program manager of the service.

Dancers, flag bearers and the worship team leading the congregation in worship.

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Jul 27 \'09

12:14 AM


Here are a few images from the short timeI had for myself not too long ago.

A foreign worker walking his way to clean another area.

Motorcyclists traveling on the road without any head protection.

A boy cleaning the window of a car.

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Jun 15 \'09

12:23 AM


Excel Youth recently held a 4 days 3 nights camp at My Gopeng Resort, Perak. The 'Overcomers' themed camp had a turn up of more than 60 youths from all around, including Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak. Excel Youth also sponsored more than 9 youths for the camp. The camp saw 4 salvations and spiritual growth in individuals increased rapidly.

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May 21 \'09

2:21 AM


Wow, it has been a while since I last updated. I guess I had been busier that usual. Recently I tag along one of my friend, Daniel Yap [here] to photograph a wedding. If was fun because for the first time, I'm able to work without much pressure as I was there only to assist him. This is by far the most relaxing and the most hectic wedding I'd (sort of) done. The place was filled and packed with best mans and bridesmaids. Here's are some of my favorite images for the day.

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