Am I lucky?

DSCF4492-Edit-Edit

Sweet little girl. Dong Van. Northern Vietnam. September 2018

How not to get bored of traveling?

My way? Planning for each travel trip is very important to me. If I plan to be at a place for say 14 days, I would plan on my everyday itinerary together with my backup plan if anything doesn’t go according to my plan.

Flexibility help reduces my anxiety.

I travel to do and see things I can’t at home. I hope to learn more about myself and being flexible allow me to be more open to a new self-experience.

My planning reflects my commitment to creating a unique different moment in each place that I visit. So that I could recall how does that place makes me FEEL years after years later.

_SMM8325

Sapa. Northern Vietnam. September 2018

I am glad that I am into photography. Morning light and afternoon light is always my favorite hours. So, I would be up very early in the morning and stayed until the last light, hunting and experiencing local festivals, market crowds, treks the hills to have a peek of the enchanting landscape, walking through a strangers village to have a look at how is life on this other side of the world and so on. The moment of learning and experiencing humanity is always a satisfying moment for me.

Wandering is a lot easier if you have a clear direction on where to go. Sharing some photos during my trip to Northern Vietnam last year. Will share more story during this trip on my next post. In Sha Allah

_SMM9544

Ban Gioc waterfall. Northern Vietnam. September 2018

And last question … am I lucky? Yes, I feel lucky therefore I am lucky. Have a good day dear reader. Bye.

 

Cheers

MM

10.01.2019

 

 

 

 


on how to photograph children

Sharing tips on how to capture my favourite subject … our little children in NST BOTS/ click!

On the street or in the studio, these 5 essential tips would definitely help create the cultivating ambience for our little subject for us to capture their growing up moment.

Sharing it here.

49787329_280738619270896_7676765948631580672_n

Photographing the little ones. Monday 07.01.2019

It’s Friday. Enjoy your weekend.

Cheers

MM

11.01.2019

 

 

 

 

 


Bored with Traveling

DSCF2822

Sapa. Northern Vietnam. September. 2018

A friend asked me.

After so many places that I have been to, do I not feel bored?

After a while every place would look the same, she claimed. She travels a lot too. Covering common touristy places that normal tourist would go but yes, I think she has a good point there.

We tend to overdo things.

And when we overdo things, we’ll get numb and bored.

DSCF2964-Edit

A farmer.Dong Van. Northern Vietnam.September 2018

I call it the “touch and go” kind of traveling … get to your next stop, the Instagram famous spot,  then click here click there in 30 minutes run to the bus to the next stop, click here click there in 20 minutes back to the bus again and repeating that for 7 days while covering for 6 continents (I am exaggerating here yah).

After a few trips like this … places will look the same, there is not enough time to FEEL. The reason we travel is to experience the FEEL. Every place offered a different opportunity for us to FEEL but we need more than 30 minutes to explore the new surrounding and experiencing FEEL.

_SMM8569

Hmong people. Dong Van. Northern Vietnam. September 2019

How not to get bored while constantly traveling? Create a unique moment for each place that you visited. To do that … you need to do slow traveling.

Take more time at each place. Breath the air. Wander along the street. Explore local markets. Stay at the local’s home. Trek the mountain. Cycle around the town. Hangout at the local restaurant. Join the local festival.

Time for bed. It is 11:25pm on 03.01.2019. Will continue my rant on my next post. Goodnight.

Cheers

MM


Calmer 2019

DSCF2954-Edit-Edit

Dong Van. Northern Vietnam.September.2019

Another new year.

Feeling obnoxious. Adding up another year to my age. 2018 was not a very productive year and the mental exhaustion sometimes makes me want to quit from being the nicer me. Maybe this is maturity.

Overthinking. Fear that something might go wrong if I choose a different path. People of my age prefer to just choose the most comfortable path. But I always have that rebellious voice aka conscious voice that I want to listen to.

It seems like maturity took a heavy toll of my childish inner self. I am still not sure how to deal with it. Give it time … maybe Allah will show me the right path.

In the meantime … life goes on.

DSC03782

Kashmir. India. October.2018

Happy new year to y’all who dropped by here reading my online journal.

Resolution? Naaahhh … no new resolution for me this year. I will always do what I always do … giving my best effort in everything that I do. I am not brave nor I am strong. If pushing myself to survive is this adventurous, damn …I would do this, again and again, for a million time.

Time for bed. It’s 12:04 AM now. A new year. A new day. A new challenge. Have faith.

Bye

MM

02.01.2019

 

 

 

 

 

 


Playing tourist in Kashmir

_SMM0011-Edit

A man from Uttar Pradesh that I met in Kashmir. He works at a brick factory outside Srinagar

I wanted to visit Kashmir. Heard so much about the beauty of this place but I could not find the right time.

I want to visit Kashmir in autumn.

Autumn this year, I was in New Delhi waiting for my connecting flight to Srinagar, Kashmir. I happened to read the local newspaper on the latest news about the current unrest and unsettled situation in Kashmir. The struggle has been going on for years … I heard.

As I landed at Srinagar airport, I have to fill in pages of immigration and security forms. Full armed police and military personnel are seen everywhere in the town. Yes … I mean it, everywhere.

DSCF6562

Nomad shepherds preparing their cattle for winter

There has been a fresh attack recently killing a few people from the public. You can feel the tension rising in the air and shops around the Srinagar town choose to remain closed for a few more days.

But despite the unrest situation tourist still continuously flock here, undeterred by the chaos. Just like me and my friends …

_SMM9721-Edit

A brick factory located outside Srinagar

Kashmiris knows that their main economic source of income comes from the tourist . Rest assure that tourists and travelers are well taken care of despite the unrest situation, my local guide said.

I wonder … why is it so many unrest or chaos places in our world?

I played “the tourist” this time around. Instead of wandering freely around the streets … I hesitantly followed the group leader. Yes, my heart struggled to tame down my curiosity and my feet were itchy to just walk around and explore my surrounding, the way that I always did whenever I am in a strange land. But if you decided to be in a group, it is best to just stick to the group’s tempo.

DSCF6769

Me sitting in front of our shikara enjoying the view of Dal Lake

But … honestly, playing “the tourist” sometimes is relaxing, just pure vacation.  No waking up early in the morning or staying at secluded location hunting for sunrises or sunsets. No walking aimlessly around villagers hanging around with what they said the ‘unpredictable’ locals.

Food is well served … on time, no hunger, no gastric acid like always, lol. Well pampered accommodation. I even get my own hot water warmer beg, sweet.

Not complaining though … I love it.

_SMM0033-Edit-Edit

View from the peak of Apharwat Mountain (3,950meters)

DSCF8670-Edit-Edit

Another side of Dal Lake, Srinagar

DSCF6516

Kashmir apples

_SMM0142

Dashing view of Sonamarg

I am not gonna continue ranting about how beautiful this place is but I would come here again in autumn of whenever years … just to spend more time walking on the streets and wandering around the villages here in Kashmir, enjoying human to human moment … In Sha Allah. I have all sort of plan now in my head on where should I wander and what should I do here.

Just a friendly reminder for photographers who plan to visit Kashmir. Staying light with your camera load is highly recommended as entering and existing Srinagar airport is quite a nuisance due to the tight security check.

I wrote an article about Dal Lake of Srinagar for NST Bots. Sharing it here together with my timelapse video of Kashmir landscape.

05d7f922-ef6d-45b6-9e40-92d2f51534fe

Don’t just exist. Live life.

Cheers,

MM


The jewel of Semporna Sabah

DSCF1667-Edit-Edit

keep your head up boys and survive the best way you could

For months I tried to find the excuse to re-visit my childhood hometown. Being born and raised during my teenage life in Tawau, Sabah, this place has a soft spot in my heart. I miss the food … I miss my old childhood friends and I miss talking in the Sabahan dialect too.

This time around, my excuse is … I am re-visiting islands around Semporna for the second time. Had a good deal return ticket from KL to Tawau and spent a few days hanging out in Tawau with my childhood friends while enjoying the weekends at the islands surrounding Semporna, hunting the light with some new friends.

DSCF1954-Edit-Edit

the sea gypsies of islands surrounding Semporna, Sabah

I miss the salty air and the beautiful endless open sky. As we were speeding off to Selakan Island from Semporna jetty, I can’t help reminiscing the old sweet years when I used to spend my weekend doing island hopping with my compact camera. Carefree years … when my camera was just so light and the years where I carried my flippers more than my camera.

I am feeling old … only old people reminiscing their old sweet memories.

My second visit to this beautiful place. The first time in 2015 when I was still fresh in this photography world, at that time everything looked new and exciting to me. Guess what … the second trip is as excited as before, I am born to do this … to wander around my surrounding and just fall deeper into my own world while doing … the THINKING, lol (so much to think about).

_SMM8195-Edit-Edit

gypsy girls swinging carefreely

Timbun Mata, Bodgaya, Maiga, Selakan, Gusungan, Ormadal and a lot more surrounding islands that we can explore. The setting of each island looks damn good during sunset and sunrise. And, I noticed something different this time around with my new travel mates … they play with the drones more than their cameras.

A new way of enjoying our beautiful surrounding which is aerial photography. Now everybody can fly … me? I think I would just stick to my paramotor addiction. Flying with a group of motivated adventurous paramotor pilots and enjoying the raw aerial view with my own eyes, self-satisfaction. I get to feel the fear of the unknown circumstances while flying … while the drone players fear that they would lose their drone signal and later would lose the drone.

_SMM7454

a girl drying fish at the beach in Maiga Island

What makes a place interesting?

For me … it’s the people that reside in the place that makes the place compelling. In here the sea gypsies people are well blended with their nature. Life is simple.

But for a thinker … you’ll get worried just by looking at the children paddling here and there aimlessly. I always believe that every child needs to go to school, at least to learn reading, writing, calculating and reading the Quran.

_SMM7853

Zainab and her lunch for today

By giving that basic skill to our children we fulfilled at least the very minimal responsibility as a parent to them. Giving them the skills will help them make a better choice in life. It is up to the parents though. I saw a few schools here in some islands. Maybe they just choose not to send their children to school.

Ahh well … enough worrying, at least they are happy with their choice of life. As I said earlier … it’s a simple life, no ruffles.

DSCF0854

sunrise in Maiga island

I always want to say this at the end of my writing … that I want to visit the same place again and again. 3 days 2 night is not enough … it was cloudy during the 3 days that we were there and on the second day, we were chased by the storm during sunset at Bodgaya Island. I think a week would be good.

The cloudy stormy sky is the best time to capture time-lapse as the clouds would move rapidly. Sharing my time-lapse video here for y’alls. Amazing moment captured using my small gopro6.

And last but not least, belanja a picture of me under the stormy cloud for my fan out there (perasan … lol am being cynical here) and for those people who are not so my fan, please underestimate me, that’ll be fun. Annyeong …

_SMM8074-Edit-Edit

Underestimate me please, that’ll be fun

 

Cheers

MM

ps: if life gave you lemon, make lemonade.


Reciprocal kindness in Kalash Valley

I hate the word ‘busy’.

Oh … I have been busy, much busier than you (competing which each other on who is busier).

For me, the word ‘busy’ is like an excuse … oh, I could not spend my precious time with you, as my dear you are not worth my time, I would rather spend it with someone else which is more important than you. That is why you are so busy.

Hmmm … me being grumpy at my introductory paragraph. Excuse me … lol.

DSCF8304

A carrier horse in the middle of Peshawar market

Me? I have been busy too and like always I admit that I have been crazy busy catching up with I dunno, maybe work, life or just recuperating from my back-to-back trips. And … despite being busy,  I make times for my loved ones. The 3-ones that I always cherish, my pets too and my mom.

But …always a satisfying feeling despite how tired I am right now … ‘do what you love, love what you do’. I guess that I love myself the most when I am wandering around the stranger’s land more than when I am at home worrying about my unpredictable future.

DSCF7427-Edit-Edit

Kalash kids in front of their home

I was in Pakistan for the second time last July with my travel mates.

We wanted to visit the Kalash people of Pakistan. Took a domestic flight from Islamabad to Chitral and a jeep ride to the remote area of Kalash Valley, Northern Pakistan. Reside between the mountain of Hindu Kush, this place is geographically harsh but for a person who loves nature, ahhh this place is beautiful.

_SMM6450-Edit

I am not sure what is going on with these 2 children from the Kalash valley

In a country dominated by Muslims, this mountain people of Kalash is still holding on to their ancestor’s belief. Estimated around only 3000 Kalash people who are still practising the culture and their ancient pagan religion. Some of the Kalash people converted to Muslim, abandoning their traditions and adopting the Muslim lifestyle but still staying together around the valley.

The Kalash girls and women dressed up in a thick embroidered black robes with matching head gears and heavy bead necklaces every day. While the man adopted the same Kurta shirt as the rest of the Pakistani man. They have a colourful lifestyle and I think it is interesting to explore more about their culture.

40654348_2097205923630994_7365527488509771776_n

My article in NST on how to photograph other culture

Summer has just started when I touched down in Islamabad.

It was interesting as I always choose to travel to certain places either during the end of winter, spring or autumn and never in summer, as I prefer staying home in my hot and humid 24×7 country more than experiencing the heat of summer of another country.

DSCF8690

Morning chai at a street in Peshawar

In Chitral and Kalash Valley, the summer heat is the same as at home but the air is drier and windy, which made it bearable. But in Peshawar during Summer is … wow! challenging, due to the greenhouse effect temperature during the daytime is very warm (38’C feels like 42’C).  Walking along the small alleys in between markets with the heat is not something that I look forward too but well … I survived Peshawar.

DSCF8347

Busy street of Peshawar’s old city market

I always wanted to visit Peshawar.

My late university professor was from Peshawar (he passed away from dengue a few years ago). He told me that tomatoes in Peshawar are as big as mangoes. It makes me curious. Where got such thing as tomatoes as big as mangoes. I told him that one day I would love to visit his hometown, Peshawar and check out the tomatoes. And he said, ‘Please don’t go to Peshawar, that place is a dangerous place to walk around’.

My curious mind will never listen to NO. Oh … and I checked out the tomatoes, the size is still the same size as our tomatoes back home in Malaysia.

DSCF8357

Busy street of Peshawar old city market

Walking on the street of Peshawar as a woman with a camera is not easy as you need to adhere to the local custom. Proper dressing is required. I wore my favourite black abaya and yes, it helps with the heat. But my gender becomes a hindrance for me to walk alone on the street and yes, I need a male companion to be able me to walk around the market. Thank God my local companion is very helpful and friendly, so my wandering process went smoothly.

DSCF9502

Morning crowd around my hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan

When I am at home now, recuperating, I asked myself … what do I remember the most about Peshawar?

Uhhhh … the food.

I tasted the best lamb stew ever (better than in Xinjiang). The food tastes different from Islamabad, Chitral or Skardu. I was told that food in Peshawar is delicious due to the influence of Afghanistan, as Peshawar is just 57km away from the Afganistan border. And now I wonder … about the food in Kabul. Is it good? Hmmm curious mind.

I overstuffed myself with lamb and chicken every day, 3 times per day in 11 days. Never in my life that I’ve been eaten overload of animals in a day … Masya Allah. A happy Masya Allah actually as I lurvvveee lamb. I need extra energy for the walking (aka wandering) and extra strength for me to carry my heavy camera bag, lol.

DSCF9378

My breakfast … roti

What an experience.

I could see myself exploring Pakistan again and again. Maybe I should start strengthening my knee and my legs so that I could hike up on those beautiful mountains surrounding Skardu and enjoy the smell of the glaciers. I should start tomorrow … lol  In Sha Allah.

_SMM6331-Edit-Edit

A little lady from the Kalash valley

Time for bed. Catch you again on my next post. Bye for now …

Cheers

MM


Getting serious …

Promo Photo Studio-2

Taking up a new challenge out of my comfort zone

I have been putting this off for almost a year. If I want to improve my photography skill then I need to be serious about my paid job too. So, I started buying my studio equipment slowly since last year, bought my studio lights last few months (coz I couldn’t decide which one suits my pocket and my style).

I want to master studio light and take awesome B&W portraits. And, I kept on justifying all the ringgit out from my pocket for this purpose … to master light and shadow under a controlled environment and I need to have all this equipment. Dang!!

Got my favorite dark grey ash backdrop fixed and I start taking photos of my most best-loved subject … baby!.  Yes. I am all geared up for my next learning experience. Learning by doing. My portfolio website is up and running at matsudamashimaru.myportfolio.com,  my facebook page is done (jom follow), my spirit is highly motivated for this (am having bad flu right now) and let’s do this Matsuda.

Mastering a new skill.

If you are interested to have me capture your intimate beautiful moments with your baby, children or the whole family, please feel free to get in touch me via email at salliza.salleh@gmail.com or Facebook or Instagram.

Cheers

MM


Strike of luck

NEP_7302-Edit-Edit

A moment when I passed through this fishing boat

What does photography teach me?

As I add more months and years to my photography experience, I learned about the role of “stroke of luck” in my artwork. Unplanned moments or shall I say accidentally moments that just hit the “jackpot” or a rewarding moment that made my day as a photographer.

It was 100% totally luck. I was in the right place at the right time with the right people.

Just that.

I always see it as a gift … a gift from the invisible hand, the Planner. Each time I came across such moment I feel grateful and contended.

MYS_8098-Edit-Edit

A moment when I passed over a pond filled with wild buffaloes

So each time when I am sad and feeling unlucky … I would scroll down and browse through my lucky moments. Telling myself … for each moment that I am at lost, I would experience more lucky moments as a reward for my perseverance and my patience.

I take photography personally. Most of the time I captured my own moment … moments that related to me. A way for me to learn and understand about life. To calm my soul when things don’t work accordingly, as the Planner always has a better plan for me. I just need to trust Him.

DSCF5368-Edit-Edit

A sunset moment when the golden light decided to be generous

“Art depends on luck and talent”

Whenever you came across that lucky moment, you need the talent to be able to recognize such moment and you need the technical skill to decide on what and how to properly frame it. How do you do it?

Practice makes perfect.

Sleep deprived. Need to doze off. Bye …

Cheers

MM

ps: TEDx Talks about  Mastering Change by Michael Yamashita.

 


Eid Fitr Mubarak 1439H/ 2018M

35270257_10216412376924898_7874186757502140416_n

Now I understand the reason why writing will always make me feels good. I always wonder why does it feel good to pour your thought out for others to discover?

It is an opportunity to be heard and it feels good to be heard.

And the soul-nourishing month of Ramadhan has ended while the joyful Syawal has begun. It’s interesting to observe how people around you interpreted their belief system. Am not talking about the belief system between different religions but I am more concern about the different interpretation of the same belief system.

Islam is just one belief, one teaching and one God … don’t add yourself as another interpretation of other arrogant God.

If you believe that a religion is beautiful then your interpretation of that religion should be that beautiful too. If the teaching of a beautiful religion is to worship the Al-Mighty while at the same time to look for the best in human (as we humans are created as an equal Khalifah on this earth), to bring out the best in human-being and to unite people of various races in the world … stick with that teaching and please interpret this beautiful religion rightfully.

I felt frustrated with the arrogant believer that think that they are better off in front of Allah just because they have better religion knowledge (they believe so) than the rest. If you think that you have more knowledge than others please SHARE in a well-manner more civilize way. Not through a barbaric way as we are now living in an informative and intelligent era. Everybody has their own limitations and challenges … the sincerity of the heart matter the most; the HEART MATTER …

Sorry for the long ranting … I got distracted by the MAN who thinks that part of his leg is already firmly planted on Allah’s Heaven. Well … the more I see the more I want to ask why? And, a woman who always asks WHY is a nuisance for such MAN MADE FOR HEAVEN (so he think so).

Sharing my thought and my latest article in NST about how to capture the spirit of Hari Raya (eid) from a photographer’s point of view aka my point of view.

Eid Mubarak to all my readers.

Cheers,

MM

ps- The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The believer is friendly and befriended, for there is no goodness in one who is neither friendly nor befriended. The best of people are those who are most beneficial to people.”

Source: al-Mu’jam al-Awsaṭ 5937


%d bloggers like this: