Why I Like Photography

Peter Tan taking photographs at The Secret Garden of 1 Utama
Peter Tan with his camera at The Secret Garden of 1 Utama.
Photo by Wuan.

I have been taking photographs since I was fourteen years old. That makes this the thirtieth year that I am into photography. This also means that that I have been doing this consistently for that long. No other activity comes close. I am still doing this because photography has been a fulfilling passion for me. It is the conduit to self expression, one of the few that I can still do independently, by myself. The other is blogging.

The technical aspects aside, photography is a challenge especially when I have to shoot from a seated position all the time. The angles and perspectives for composition are limited. My weak hands make holding the camera steady difficult. I have resorted to using a monopod. Those drawbacks notwithstanding, I have come to love photography for what it does to my mind.

The sense of liberation that comes with photography is priceless. I had to give up doing so many things after my spinal cord injury. I lost control of my limbs and more. I loved the great outdoors. I loved swimming. And I loved playing the guitar. These I could no longer do, except photography. With the camera, I am in control again.

There is more to it. Photography has been a good way to freeze those memorable moments in time. Mum left a stash of old photographs dating as far back as the 1940s that gave me a peek into her life back then. She also kept photographs of me from the time I was a infant until I went to primary school. These black and white images I treasure very dearly.

I want to do the same for myself – to capture those moments for posterity. Many years down the road, I know I will appreciate myself for what I am doing now. I look forward to many more years of chronicling the events around me through photography, and blogging. Both activities have made my life colourful, photography more so. My life has been richer for it. I would not want it any other way.

Seagate Expansion 1TB External Drive

Seagate Expansion External Drive

Photography used to be expensive. It cost a bomb to buy and develop films, and then get the images printed. Now, it is still expensive but in different ways. While digital cameras do not need films, there is a need to store those images properly. Contrary to popular beliefs, digital images do not last forever. The integrity of the images are as durable as the media that they are stored in. That includes hard disk drives, thumbdrives, CDs and DVDs. All these have a lifespan.

Between Wuan and I, we have over 100GB of photographs taken over a span of six years. That does not include the scanned images from negatives which may come up to another 50GB. Two years ago, I got a 160GB external drive to store my digital images. Wuan has her own 40GB external drive for the photographs that she took. With that amount of photographs scattered across different drives, it was a chore to look for images that we needed to use.

Last week, while shopping at the All IT Hypermarket at Ikano Power Centre, we came across an offer that was hard to refuse. The Seagate Expansion 1TB external drive was going for RM299 only. I never thought I would need to buy such a large drive. William convinced me that it was best bang for the buck. Moreover, I really wanted to consolidate all the images into one place where it would be easier to look for them.

In the process of backing up the files from my notebook and 160GB external drive to the 1TB drive, I discovered that I had accumulated a lot of junk data, some from ten years ago that I had progressively transferred from one hard disk drive to another. Some were files that I thought I had lost. There was also a lot of data that are duplicates in different folders.

I have been spending the last few days reorganising the folders and files. There is still a lot to be done. I have moved everything out from the 160GB external drive and made it the primary storage for all the images from the Canon Powershot A610 and Nikon D60 which will be periodically backed up to the 1TB drive via Synctoy. Likewise, Wuan’s images in her 40GB drives have been backed up.

The Seagate Expansion 1TB external drive is plugged directly into one of the two USB 2.0 ports of the notebook. The 160GB external drive is plugged into a powered USB 2.0 hub that is plugged into one of the four USB ports of the notebook cooler which is plugged into the other USB port of my notebook. It is all in such a tangled web that I sometimes forget what is plugged into which.

The external drive itself is just a black slab that has quite a large footprint – approximately 5″ by 8″. It has USB 2.0 connectivity and comes with a two-year warranty. The external power adaptor doubles up as the power socket. It comes with a slot for different pin configurations. I used the 3-pin plug. Once the drive is connected to the computer’s USB port it is ready to use. No formatting is required. There is no audible sound when reading or writing. Data transfer ranges from 6.50 MB/sec to 9.50 MB/sec depending on where the various drives are plugged into and how many devices are sharing the same USB ports.

Like William said, it gives the best bang for the buck, and I have to agree. Now Wuan and I do not have to worry about disk space for our photographs. It will be several more years before we need to get another drive to top up the existing one. By then, the drive storage capacity would have grown many times, transfer speed would have quadrupled at least and price per byte would have dropped significantly. Just imagine, I paid RM260 for the 160GB 2.5″ drive plus casing about 18 months ago.

Pasar Tani Mega Kampung Simee In Ipoh – Part 3/3

Pasar Tani Kg. Simee
Pasar Tani Kg. Simee

December 19, 2009

The stalls selling vegetables at the pasar tani was another interesting and colourful sight. There were green from the vegetables, orange from ripe pineapples, purple from jantung pisang and pink from the bunga kantan, among others. I had expected to see more varieties of ulam. I guess the rainy season must have deterred the harvesting as less people were expected to visit the pasar tani.

I was salivating again when I saw the tender bamboo shoots called rebung on display at one of the stalls. It has been a while since I last had bamboo shoot dishes. I like it sliced and cooked in coconut milk curry with prawns. However, the Chinese believe that it will cause a lot of “wind” in the body and should be eaten in moderation, or better still, not at all.

After all that shooting and salivating, I was beginning to get tired and decided to call it a day at the pasar tani. I did not want to wear myself out too much as we had to check out from the hotel, have lunch with the in-laws in Ipoh and drive up to Penang right after that. We wanted to reach the island before dark.

Bamboo shoots - rebung
Bamboo shoots – rebung.

Flowering Chinese cabbage - choy sum
Flowering Chinese cabbage – kobis Cina – choy sum.

Torch ginger flower - bunga kantan
Torch ginger flower – bunga kantan

Pineapples - nenas
Pineapples – nenas.

Bananas - pisang
Bananas – pisang.