Fortitude: resolved, a film (or: Thaipusam 2017 with the H6D-100c)

Fortitude: resolved from Ming Thein on Vimeo.

Note: the video was shot in 4K, and will play at 4K if you click through to Vimeo, or use the full screen player and pick the appropriate setting.

Every year, a huge number of Hindu devotees gather at the Batu Cave temple outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the Thaipusam festival. It celebrates a significant event in the life and mythology of Lord Murugan: the gifting of a weapon to defeat evil. Participants burden themselves with offerings to Lord Murugan in various forms – from milk pots to portable Kavadi shrines and other offerings piercing their body. It is believed that the more significant the offering and the higher the personal suffering, the more blessings are accorded to the devotee in their struggle against their own personal challenges.

I’ve covered this event for several years running; at first to challenge myself, and later for various agencies or publications. It is the kind of environment that we photographers relish: it’s target rich, photography-friendly, and provides endless variety. It’s also extremely challenging for so many reasons – not just because the peak of action takes place in a cave, at night with relatively poor lighting. There are also significant crowds (estimated at 500,000 over the course of several days), high humidity and temperature, and all of your subjects are moving. It’s simply an intense sensory overload, at so many levels.

Last year, in 2016, I shot the festival with a borrowed H5D-50c; it was both the first time I’d shot in anger with that camera and the first time I’d attempted that kind of documentary with any medium format system. This is probably not the typical kind of situation under which you’d pick medium format as your first choice – and I wouldn’t blame you. Very surprisingly, the shooting experience was not just workable but produced the best pictorial results I’ve managed from this festival – both from a creative standpoint and also one of absolute image quality. Since the majority of my commercial and personal work revolves around available light documentary-style photography, one could say that the experience opened new possibilities to me – and was what convinced me to switch to Hasselblad completely.

Fast forward another year, and with significantly more familiarity with the H system under my belt, I revisited Thaipusam again – this time, with the H6D-100c. Achieving pixel-level perfection last year was a huge challenge given the pixel density per angle of view (the determining factor for lowest hand-holdable shutter speed thresholds, visible camera shake etc.). But I did the math and figured it should be possible: I shot with the 80/2.8 previously, but now I had a 100/2.2 available, together with another stop of usable sensitivity from the new sensor. Together, this should theoretically buy me enough additional latitude to avoid visible shake – a shutter speed somewhere around 1/ 2.5x of the focal length, or in other words, 1/250s for the 100mm. This is a ‘safe’ speed that takes into account several factors: the angle of view on the larger sensor, motion of the subjects, and the caffeination level of the photographer (high, given we were shooting well into the small hours of the morning).

I had one other magic bullet: a cross-arm bracing technique I’d been experimenting with for the last few months to try to couple the mass of the camera to the mass of my body by resting it on my upper arm and shoulder to increase stability, instead of the usual under hand-hold. Carefully used, it’s good for another stop or so – but doesn’t help if you need to shoot at any height other than eye level, compose portrait orientation, or of course have a subject that’s dancing around.

In practice, I needn’t have worried so much: light levels were about half a stop higher than last year thanks to installation of new lights, but the extra latitude bought by the faster lens and new sensor proved to be more than enough. Beyond the obvious resolution gains and print possibilities, the biggest difference I found was that dynamic range and color purity were preserved out to a much greater extent than with the 50MP sensor.

The files not only have more latitude for adjustment and allocation of the tonal range, but also a richness of tone that’s very difficult to achieve with a smaller sensor – something that was reinforced when I did the color grading for the video* – it was nearly impossible to maintain both color accuracy and close tonal separation in skin tones, despite being shot with much faster lenses and significantly lower sensitivities. It’s also important to note that resolution and tonality are not independent: the more spatial steps you have to describe a tonal transition, not only can you convey finer detail, but you also have a greater ability to represent more subtle changes in luminosity and color.

*The video was shot in Cinema 4K on a pair of Olympus E-M1.2s with 12-100/4, 25/1.2, 45/1.8 and 75/1.8 lenses, handheld, with no additional rigging and no stabilisation required in post. What was originally meant to be a simple ‘product in the field’ video somehow turned into a short National Geographic segment…

In short: using a camera like the H6D-100c for this kind of work is not only possible, but delivers results we could only dream of not long ago. We are very much in the realm of not just conveying our observations and impressions – but now have the transparency and resolution to able to put our audience in the position of being there – under a huge range of circumstances. MT

Still images will follow in a coming photoessay; I shot with the Hasselblad H6D-100c, 50 and 100mm lenses, and post processed with a mix of cinematic workflow in Making Outstanding Images Ep. 4 & 5. and later on, The Monochrome Masterclass.


More info on Hasselblad cameras and lenses can be found here.


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Exploring Tanjavur, India

Hot Tanjavur Travel Tip

Whatever you can do to get to this place, do it! There are several temples like this… it’s so beautiful and foreign. Once again,, my family and I were the only white people there! I really like these sorts of places… I remember at one time, my daughter Isabella was surrounded by a bunch of Indian kids and grownups that had never seen a white person. They were staring at her and stroking her cheek. It was really sweet (nothing creepy)… Isabella was a little freaked out of course, but I think she kinda liked it too!

You can see more from Tanjavur in a few clips in this video I made last year – enjoy!

Daily Photo – Exploring Tanjavur, India

Wow, how amazing are these temples? One thing you can’t see are the dozens of monkeys running around all over the structure. It was like the monkeys were ruling this thing and simply allowing humans to walk underneath it. This is another vertirama… rather hard to put together, truth be told… all a handheld shot, believe it or not! 🙂

See more of them temples here.

Exploring Tanjavur, India

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-12-25 20:54:36
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO2500
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7


Current Obsessions: The Golden State

From a legendary architect’s furniture to LA’s hillside homes, here’s what’s inspiring us this week, all in anticipation of our upcoming California design week:

Anglepoise Original 1227 Mini Ceramic collection kitchen
Above: Admiring British lighting brand Anglepoise‘s new four-piece collection, the Original 1227 Mini, debuting at Euroluce at the Salone del Mobile in Milan next month.
Momoko Mizutani momosan Shop Jochen Holz glass pitcher
Above: We’re looking forward to the newest iteration of Tate Edit, a design shop at the Tate Modern in London curated by guest editors. Next up: Momoko Mizutani from Remodelista favorite Momosan Shop. Her collection launches on April 28 and will feature a mix of crafted homewares and functional objects including this artful Glass Jug by Jochen Holz.
Area Inc Evan Bedding on Remodelista Current Obsessions
Above: Awaiting the new spring collection from Area, makers of Margot’s favorite cotton blanket. Of particular note: the Evan, a heavy textured cotton blanket that’s “similar to a waffle weave” and ideal for cool spring nights.

Our Latest Instagram Inspiration

Kirsten Marie Interior Design
Above: We’re admiring the eclectic interiors of Malibu-based interior designer Kirsten Marie (@kirstenmarieinc).

Obsessing over a new project or product? Share it with us via Instagram with the tag #RMFinds.

And if you’re always seeking new haunts and design picks, consider our recent posts:

The post Current Obsessions: The Golden State appeared first on Remodelista.


Poem of the Day: Sparrow Trapped in the Airport

Never the bark and abalone mask
cracked by storms of a mastering god,
never the gods’ favored glamour, never
the pelagic messenger bearing orchards
in its beak, never allegory, not wisdom
or valor or cunning, much less hunger
demanding vigilance, industry, invention,
or the instinct to claim some small rise
above the plain and from there to assert
the song of another day ending;
lentil brown, uncounted, overlooked
in the clamorous public of the flock
so unlikely to be noticed here by arrivals,
faces shining with oils of their many miles,
where it hops and scratches below
the baggage carousel and lights too high,
too bright for any real illumination,
looking more like a fumbled punch line
than a stowaway whose revelation
recalls how lightly we once traveled.

Source: Poetry November 2005

Averill Curdy

More poems by this author


New Obsessions

Instagram image by Donna Watson
book:  In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki

I was so surprised when I came to blogger to write a new blog post,  and saw that my last blog post was December 2016.  I guess that old saying, TIME FLIES, is true.  I remember when I used to be obsessed with Flickr… looking for artists to follow and finding wonderful imagery… and I still love my ‘favorites’ there (which you can find at my sidebar).   Then Pinterest came along, and my time and obsession moved to pinning fabulous images and finding wonderful artists… and I liked the process of pinning images into categories making them easy to find.  During this time, I still found time to write my blog posts, look for artists to follow, and leave comments.  But this past year or so, I started traveling so much more as I taught workshops all over the U.S…. and now I am leaving soon for Australia and New Zealand to teach workshops there.  So my blog has gone almost silent.  And now I  have moved on to my new love… Instagram.  I like taking my own images and posting them and finding new artists to follow there…. a new obsession.
Instagram image by Donna Watson
The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal

So Instagram has become my new obsession…  and the images I am posting here are some of my posts that included a book…. some of my favorite books, arranged with some of my favorite collections or obsessions… I seem to have a lot of obsessions!
Instagram image by Donna Watson
Evidence of Evolution 

I do recommend these books…  
Instagram image by Donna Watson
Breathe by Jean Hall

I do want to recommend BREATHE by Jean Hall…  which includes simple breathing techniques for a calmer, happier life.  Breathe helps you to increase energy levels, improve your sleep, instill a sense of calm, and reduce stress.
Instagram images by Donna Watson
Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

I also recommend HOPE IN THE DARK: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit.
"Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away."  RS
This book has been reissued recently, because of the times we are experiencing currently in our country.
Instagram image by Donna Watson
Burn the Diaries by Moyra Davey

If interested, you can find all my Instagram posts here.
Instagram image by Donna Watson

Instagram image by Donna Watson



Lisboa, places to go: The Alfama Hotel


[dropcap type="1"]O[/dropcap]n Rua de Santiago, the road where Cristoforo Colombo got married and the start of Camino de Santiago de Compostela lays Santiago de Alfama Hotel, a nineteen rooms botique Hotel restored from a 15th Century palazzo that had been a Shirt Factory – it’s interesting to mention that most of the people working in the factory itself were actually living there!
Santiago de Alfama is perfectly located below the Castle of Saint Georges and above the Miradouro de Santa Luiza famous viewpoint. As I arrived to the Hotel I couldn’t stop myself from admiring the sunset and the romantic view of Alfama while listening to Fado melodies accompanying the disappearance of the sun. Fado is the soul of Alfama!
The building is extremely well-preserved due to the very strict guidelines placed by the Portoguese Ministry of Culture – none of the rooms has the same shape and each single room has been individually restored.
I was given a top floor room which had absolutely the best view. As I woke up in the morning with a marvellous fresh “homemade breakfast” from Audrey’s Café the light coming in from my window and the strum of a mandoline from the street I thought I needed nothing more.
I wish i had more time to spend over Santiago de Alfama and I love late night chats in front of a drink – Manny’s Bar on the ground floor is the best place to catch up for pre and after-dinner drinks.  Its cosy atmosphere and the dim lights create a perfect and intimate atmosphere.
I was firstly caught from the interiors of this Hotel – almost exotic like a Moroccan Riad and at the same time cosmopolitan and trendy like a Manhattan hub.
All the décor is result of the owner’s inspirations Heleen, who meticulously brought together Indian and  Portoguese craftsmanship.
Santiago de Alfama is definitely the best place to stay to experience Lisboa – not only for its great location and remarkable interiors and attention to detail but also for the courtesy of the staff  that conquered me straight away.
Luckily I’ll be back soon!

The post Lisboa, places to go: The Alfama Hotel appeared first on Positive Magazine.


Food & Lifestyle Photography with Gabriela Tulian


Gabriela originally trained to be a chef. She never considered photography. Cooking was her main passion. “I come from a family of business people and art was not common in my house when I was a child,” she explained. “My grandmother was the only creative person in my family. She sewed wedding dresses and was an excellent cook. At that time, I collected recipes and, as a teenager, I spent the evenings cooking.”

In 2001, amidst the turmoil of social and economic crisis in Argentina, Gabriela decided to step away from her career as a part-time chef. Later in the year, she mustered up the courage to move to Montreal, Canada. Once in Montreal, she opened a small gourmet food cafe and market, called Mon Panier Gourmet. Everything started off fine, but then she realized she needed some commercial photographers to help her market her products.

After several years of working with costly professional photographers, Gabriela’s husband bought a camera and encouraged her to take the photos herself. “In only a few weeks my interest in photography grew exponentially, and those commercial photos felt into the background. I was discovering something much more important, a different form of expression.”

This Is What I Came For

Where previously her products were being interpreted by other photographers, Gabriela now had the confidence to represent them as she wished. From that point on her skills began to develop. Now she photographs everything from portraits and landscapes to food, animals, and children. In the trend of lifestyle photography, Gabriela’s photos follow suit, reflecting more than just the products of her life, but their place in her life. “Photography is a sort of therapy for me; it is a means to share my perspective on things, while keeping me attentive and focused.” She doesn’t want to specialize yet and aims “to continue experimenting.”

“During my creative process, I always try to listen to my intuition over reason because that gives me better results.” It’s too easy to get bogged down in the technical details of photography, she explained. When it comes down to what, how, when, and where to shoot Gabriela goes with her gut. She finds moments, like when she’s looking at a landscape, a small object, or notices a particular bit of lighting she likes. Gabriela feels that without a passion for the thing you are shooting, the how you shoot becomes somewhat irrelevant.

“When it comes to photography, there are many rules that we can choose to follow, but I need to follow my gut feeling.”


“In this image, I lowered the saturation and set black to the minimum, and then I cropped it. It took me three seconds, and the image turned out as I wanted.” She says the image would’ve been discarded had she followed the consistency rules that strangle so many lifestyle photographers. Her ‘brand’ of photography isn’t so narrowly focused. The vast majority of her photos are in color.

Gabriela’s daughter, who is the model in many of her pictures, echoed that her mom’s camera is a major part of the family’s life. Gabriela thinks it’s important to capture her daughter’s childhood and knows that these portraits will become tomorrow’s precious memories. “I try to photograph her as is, without asking too much of her. Sometimes I just ask her to stay quiet for a second or to move to the side, that’s all.”


Gabriela works with natural light, which can be tricky sometimes, especially for someone who lives in a northern country and has to deal with short daylight hours. “With practice, I’ve gotten to know my environment and what is the best light at different times of the year, and to look for solutions that allow me to keep shooting.” When she shoots inside, she uses a tripod and takes advantage of the natural light sources like windows, to which she sometimes applies a filter. “To me, it’s important that the image looks as good as possible straight from the camera, without having to do thousands of fixes while editing later.”

Gabriela just returned from a trip to her home in Argentina, where most of her family still lives. In the coming months, she plans on taking some specialized photography courses and putting out some new projects like the shooting of a few local artists and models from Canada.


Be sure to follow Gabriela’s Flickr page to see the world #ThroughHerLens and tell her what inspires you the most about her work! Gabriela has been active on Flickr for a very long time and has made a lot of great amigos here. She invites you to connect with her and become a new one. 🙂 <3


Home: a project by Claudio Sanna


[dropcap]H[/dropcap]e has long wanted to work on a project about what he considers home, a project which would have been very personal, almost intimate, like a diary.
He was looking for something which would have allow him to rediscover in a more deeply way those places and the people who live there. Like in a diary he collects everything that catches his attention, places, details, faces.
The style he uses reflects the way you usually writes in a personal diary, instinctively and confused and that’s why the images are often grainy, gloomy and blurry.
The most important element of the project are the people, you can almost say that the whole project revolves around them. Some of them are people he already knows very well, other are just people he met occasionally, on the street or in some social network, and he founds them interesting.
This is what the photographer loves about photography, the opportunity to get into someone else life, to get in touch also with people which belong to a very different environment from yours.
He photographs any subject in the most natural way possible, while chatting and often between a beer and the other. For him it is important to establish a certain degree of intimacy.
He has begun this project at the end of 2015 and probably it will accompany him for a long time still. He loves the freedom it gives to him, the possibility to photograph everything that strikes him. Home is such a personal thing for all, and with this project Claudio Sanna would like to convey the viewer what he senses as home.
About the author:
Claudio Sanna was born in 1985. He lives and works in Italy as photographer. In 2011 he graduated in Communication with a degree thesis about photojournalism. He attended several workshops in documentary photography. He has won a Honorable Mention at International Photographer Of The Year 2016 and has been selected among the 100 best works at Photolux Leica Award 2014.

The post Home: a project by Claudio Sanna appeared first on Positive Magazine.