I’ve back in my hometown of Kuala Lumpur (KL) now for just over a month now, and I’ve jumped straight back onto the streets as if I never left it. Running around in the heat & humidity and the torrential downpours in the afternoons, I have not missed those. Seeking out the delicious local food and the overly sweet drinks whilst roaming the streets, I have definitely missed that, very much so. I’ve also definitely put on some weight since being back :P
I’ve been out a few days a week now, roaming the same haunts as before. Evidently, the same places almost all street photographers go to in and around KL. Petaling Street, Masjid Jamek and Bukit Bintang just to name a few. This time though, I’ve been testing out two new lenses, both of which give me a super long focal length. Something which I’m not used to using on the streets. I had the gigantic Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED to try out for only a day and then the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO Lens to try out for a few days after. Thank you Robin Wong for the lenses. Both impressively designed lenses, both amazing for portraits and for sports (especially the 40-150mm lens), but both a huge challenge for street photography. A challenge at least my for my style of street photography, but one I was interested in testing myself with.
Almost immediately, I found myself having to stand on the opposite side of the street to take photos. these lenses really give you tunnel vision. In no way was I able to get up close to my subjects to fill the frame with interesting angles and things. Secondly, if and when I did get somewhat close, the long focal lengths meant that even my depth of field was shallow, blurring out the background or even the foreground, even at smaller apertures. This kind of street photography, I was not used to. So I had to change my game, I had to look way beyond what I would normally look at or for. Looking at people, scenes at the distance, to find interesting street shots to capture.
Feeling like I was out on an urban safari, capturing moments from afar, these were the kind of shots I was getting. The good thing about using these lenses is that by standing so far away, you’re not in anyone’s way, and that makes you invisible to the subjects. They just go about their routines oblivious to what I’m up to. Some people and I’ve seen many photos of this sort everywhere on the internet and social media, love this kind of street photography. The un-confrontational (not that I am the confrontational type), inconspicuous, take-the-scene-from-afar type of street photographer. It's the easiest style of street photography out there. Nevertheless, taking this kind of street photography did take me some time to get used to. I don’t think I’ll be using these kinds of lenses in the long term though. Even while writing this, I already know I’m going back to my normal wider-lenses right after I finish this post.
This will be the first of many future entries into my street photography journey back here in Kuala Lumpur. So be prepared to see a lot of my hometown in upcoming blog posts. I’m also trying to think of a tagline for my adventures on the streets, hopefully, something to write about in a future post. If you have a suggestion, please feel free to let me know or comment below.
Once again, happy to be back in KL, If you’re ever around or visiting KL and want to shoot the streets, let me know.
Enjoy the photos below. :)