Author: bett3r


From the Mountains of Atlas To Souks of Marrakech

From the Mountains of Atlas To Souks of Marrakech

Happy new year everyone! It’s been a while since I posted, and many things have been happening. Nevertheless, it’s good to embrace a new year with a recharge of mind and spirit. I’ve been visiting a few places last year like Europe and South Africa. One of my favourite places was Morocco. It’s like a magical land with ancient secrets ready to be found. I was (happily) lost in the alleys of the markets, to the hot sand in the desert. So, it is an honour to share this with you all!


I’m the kind of person who loves to travel where it’s not in the busy summer season but the weather is still lovely. I went on a trip in the spring of 2022 to Morocco which was my last destination after I visited Berlin, Germany and Den Haag in the Netherlands. Morocco is a country located in North Africa where African, Arab and European cultures are entwined. Situated at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea, Morocco is the closest point of contact to Europe for Africa as a continent. Morocco is a land of tolerance, a blend of cultures and religions, and a country known for its amazing hospitality. It is a well-known location for Hollywood film shooting locations such as The Mummy (1999), Casablanca (1940), Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015), Gladiator (2000) even some famous series like Game of Thrones and Prison Break.


Morroco’s capital is Marrakesh (or Marrakech), sometimes called the red town because of the red Kasbah wall surrounding the medina, which was founded in 1062. Youssef bin Tashufin, cousin to the sultan began construction of the city. Under his watch, houses were built and a mosque began. Marrakech was the capital of the Almoravid Empire that covered a vast area from Maghreb to Europe. Now, along with the Berber, the Andalusia influence was born. The city is busy during the day with lots of locals and tourists colliding into this fun interaction. Right in the heart of the city is Jemaa el-Fnaa, a large square where you can find so many different vendors and entertainment including snake charmers! My experience was getting lost in the souk, which is basically corridors and alleys of market sellers of clothing, food, accessories, and everything you can think of. It was so huge, it may take you 40 minutes just to walk in them! What makes it amazing, this place has existed since the 11th century.


One thing I can recommend when you visit Marrakesh is to experience hammam, which is basically a public steam bath. Although the first hammams originated in Arabia, the idea of a hot bath can be traced back to the days of the Roman empire. As the Roman empire expanded to other parts of the world, from Europe to North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, so did their bathing rituals. It is open for men and women although they were separated by gender to allow for modesty. Because of their private nature, their entrances are often discreet and the building’s façade is typically windowless. From the traditional ones to the luxury ones, you will find all kinds of Moroccan hammams in the city based on your preferences. The place that I choose only cost CAD $40 for a complete one-hour traditional bath. Their black soap is truly magic, it makes you a whole new human once you’re done!


Then we’re off to the mountains. The Atlas mountains from the spine of Morocco stretched some 2,400 km (1,500 miles) from close to the Atlantic port of Agadir in the southwest of the country almost as far as the Tunisia capital of Tunis in the northeast. It took 3-4 hours to drive from Marrakesh with treacherous roads and some local police checkpoints we must pass. But I assure you the hours it took were nothing compared to the exquisite view. Accompanied by Berber people’s music played by our beloved DJ/driver, it was an enjoyable trip. Our destination was Ait Ben Haddou which is an ancient city located along the Ouarzazate river. This UNESCO World Heritage site in Morocco is very popular since some episodes from Game of Thrones were filmed here. The Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou in North Africa is over 1000 years old but still stands majestic with all its glory. On the way back, we had a stop at Cinema Museum in Ouarzazate city. They still have some production sets from the movies shot in the country, including information and old cameras they use for film production.


One of the best local cuisines in Morocco is Tajine (or Tagine), a kind of stew cooked in a stew that can be a mixture of meat, poultry or fish, vegetables or fruit and spices and olive oil. Sweet and savoury is the signature flavour profile of Moroccan cuisine and this Chicken Tajine embodies that balance perfectly. I had an absolutely amazing time in Morocco and I advise you to visit at least once to experience it too!

Halloween is back, back, BACK!

It's been almost two years since everything came to a stop because of the pandemic. But now so many people lately invest in their health and care for their loved ones, they've decided to get vaccinated. The world began to reopen. People can dine-in, concert halls and venues now slowly come alive and events can be held in person again.

The same thing that happened in our Raglan Community, right here in the heart of Toronto. We decided it's time to put smiles on people's faces especially kids! Halloween is the best time to show and dressed up as far as your imagination can take you. With an abundance of food, great music and laughter from our close neighbours it was a successful costume party. One even came as T-Rex rider and chosen as the winner for the best costume this Halloween!

Here are some of the best costumes this year and enjoy.

(to download, simply right-click and "save image as")

Footsteps: Treasure of Srivijaya

I have been travelling and taking pictures (internet called us “travel photographers” lol) as long as I can remember. Most of my early destinations started closer to home: Indonesia. If I were in a job interview with one of those cliche questions, my weakness probably too lazy to upload my travelling pictures. In my defence, they are very well organized.

So here we are, I will start to share with you my stories and what I have seen along the way. I love to get lost in small alleyways, unexplored path, mingle with the locals and eat what they eat. Let’s call this journey Footsteps. I hope you will enjoy each story from your own comfortable space!


Me and a friend of mine, Lian, we both lived in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. We tend to just spontaneously booked a flight just to travel somewhere new. This time we just point the map and choose a spot in South Sumatra. It was June 2013 and we are on our way to one of the best Pempek in the country.

The second largest city in Sumatra after Medan, is the city of Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra Province which was once the celebrated seat of the rich and powerful Sriwijaya empire (or Srivijaya empire) that for three centuries - from the 9th to the 11th century - reigned supreme over the Sumatra seas and up north included the strategic Straits of Malacca. Palembang is situated along the Musi River. Spanning across the Musi river right in the heart of the city, the Ampera Bridge built in 1965 is today's icon of modern Palembang.

There’s a small island located on Musi River not far from the city called Pulo Kemaro (Kemaro Island). On the island there is a Chinese pagoda, the Hok Tjing Rio monastery and a tomb said to be the burial place of Princess Siti Fatima. Buddhist worshipers attend a small temple there. The island is busiest during Chinese New Year and many young lovers travel to the island to carve their names on the ‘Tree of Love’, so much so in fact, that the tree is now fenced off from the public.

According to folklore the island emerged when Princess Siti, who was due to marry a Chinese prince, drowned in the Musi river. Her marriage was on the condition that her father would received 9 jars of gold as a dowry. She declared ‘If you see mounds of earth appear on the riverbed, you will know that I have drowned as this will be my grave.’ It is this romantic folklore take that attracts young lovers to the island today.

Chinese Pagoda Kemaro Island

Ampera Bridge lights

The brownish river depth used to be 12 meters (39 ft) sadly due to pollution, now it decreases to only 7 meters (22 ft). Still, people of Palembang including major companies depends their daily routines and income from once this trade route since the days of the Srivijaya Kingdom. The Ampera Bridge lights up every night as a proud icon of the Palembang City.

Musi River

On the Ampera Bridge

I have the honour to visit Kampung Kapitan as a settlement of Chinese people back in the days. It is located in bank of Musi River on 7 Ulu, Seberang Ulu 1, Palembang. This place inaugurated by Sriwijaya Kingdom in 9th century and Ming Dynasty in 14th century. This place is a good place to learn about the history of a Chinese person that called as Kapitan in Netherland colonial period. You can find the 13th generation of Kapitan that is still live in this village.

Chinese ancestors altar

One of the oldest house in Kampung Kapitan

Ancestors of Kampung Kapitan

Pempek is a traditional Indonesian fish cake made with ground fish meat and tapioca. The actual origin of this dish is the city of Palembang, situated in the South Sumatra province. The origin story of pempek says that an old Palembang citizen was tired of the traditional fried or grilled fish, so he thought of an innovative way to ground the meat, mix it with tapioca flour, and deep-fry it to get a crunchy and delicious snack.


Palembang traditional market

Night bazaar

City Snapshots Vol #3

On November 16, 2019 City Snapshots continued with our third volume. This time taking the theme foodtography, we're exploring our creativity with food photography. Thanks to the good folks at 519, we are lended a wonderful space for our indoor photography session. The room comes with a great natural light source from the window in a chilly November weather. Having few table setup and another additional spot-in light, our group off having fun with our cameras.

To create a good food photography, it's quite simple actually. Follow these simple rules: best light source is natural light, tripod to keep your image sharp, and explore every angle. Some other advance foodtography use technique to make the food or beverage stands out. Like for example did you know you can make an image ice cream doesn't melt throughout the photo session by replacing it by mashed potatoe and food colouring? Those tips need more preparation for sure but will result perfectly especially for commercials.

For this session, we're just having fun. Combining different items of food with each other to create a different feel of an image. After an hour, we came up with a set of incredible images. Thank you for everyone that attended the session and see you all in the next City Snapshots!

City Snapshots Vol #2

After a successful City Snapshots event, we decided to continue the event takin a different theme. Located at Underpass Park in Toronto, this theme will include a model. Looking at the urban setting which consist of graffitis and dynamic surrounding, street style fashion suited perfectly. Ariel volunteered to be our model for this session. Having a long experience in modelling, both for editorial and runways, he agreed to be the subject of photography. It was a perfect sunny day with some groups skateboarding and some families playing at a nearby playground. A bit about Underpass Park which located beneath the Eastern Avenue, Richmond and Adelaide overpasses, it is the most extensive park to be built under an overpass in Canada, and the first ever in Toronto. Underpass Park is home to Mirage, a public art piece designed by award-winning Toronto artist and architect Paul Raff.

We started the group photo session at 10 AM and Ariel gave us various poses between our shutter clicks. In street fashion, we just have to be aware of passerby, vehicles or sometimes animals that might be "flooding" into frame. Also keep an eye on the sunlight direction which can create a shadow from the photographer themselves. Other than that, just be as creative as you want with directions on how you want the model to pose. Since Underpass Park have high pillars, it's a good idea to capture from a lower angle to create spacious effect on the picture. Just be mindful of other photographers where you're standing or in use of a flash. Trial and error always helpful to develop your own photography style.

Model: Ariel Alud-ud (@alududariel)

Airbrush Me, Please!

Sometimes, the subject in a photograph needs a bit of tweaks or minor improvement. Some made them look completely different from the original shot but that's another conversation. What I believe is a picture should leverage the model's features (and the MUA skills too). After all, the photographer's credibility and name at stakes if the picture turns out unfortunate. A picture relies on the photographer's skill set, from setting up the equipments, arranging the pose up to post-production which is the longest in the process. All in the name of perfection.

A good photographer must always update their knowledge on various expertise, one of them is photo manipulation. Photo manipulation is to improve a picture in a desired way, there's many software for that. One of the most familiar technique is airbrushing. Before the digital era, hand-brushing was popular when photographers still using analog cameras and negative films (black and white pictures). Then in 1890 airbrush was found and it changed the story of photography altogether. Manual retouching continued to be used by professional photographers for portrait and commercial work. The main purpose of airbrushing is to remove (or add) parts in the pictures, like scars, objects, certain colour, strain of hair, etc.

Software programs such as Photoshop and many others allow users to edit photographs much more precisely than even the most skilled airbrush artist from the days of film-only photography. Quite often, the term "airbrushed" has been replaced with "photoshopped." This advancement in technology has also led to many debates. The ability to manipulate a photo in such a precise manner and with such easy-to-use tools brings up ethical concerns. Has too much retouching on models led to unrealistic perceptions about the ideal body image? Can photojournalists remove an element from a photo to alter the reality of what happened? Are companies using it to create false advertising?​

These questions are still in debate nowadays since with modern technologies people couldn't tell what's the truth in a picture. But I believe that's for the consumers' to decide. Take Instagram for example, filter excessively used in the applications are very popular. You can change the mood of a picture by giving it a nostalgia-like tone or even add parts of nature when it's not there. An Instagram user admits she's been using an applications to add clouds in all of her travel pictures. But all her followers actually doubled ever since. Then again, it is all up to the photographer's on how they want to create the style of a picture for their audience.


City Snapshots

On August 31st, I decided to make a fun event of photography inviting Out & Out Club Toronto members. The theme basically just street photography on a vibrant area of Kensington Market in Toronto, thus I called it "City Snapshots". There were six of us with various level of photography skills and equipment. Taking pictures supposed to be fun, it's not about expensive gears or biggest lens. It's the person behind the viewfinder with passion and ideas later on to be enjoyed by other people.

It was a sunny Saturday and the market full of passerby, cyclists, pets and other objects ready to be captured. Max, Jeffrey, Mark, Gary, Rob and myself started the morning with talking about photography 101. What's okay and not okay when taking pictures in public places. I've talked about it on one of my blog here: go and check it out! It essentially guidelines to make photographers (and the subject) more comfortable in the process. Furthermore, we decided to split up and venture the busy market and meet up in 45 minutes.

After battling the heat and happy with our results, we meet up in a cafe and talk about what the pictures we've taken. Different people captured different images with different styles. Very interesting! Then we end up talking about other things and get to know each other. Thanks again to all these great photographers and to Out & Out Club Toronto! We were happy and hoping to do the same thing some other time. Just like Pee-wee's said: " Why don't you take a picture? It'll last longer!" 😉 

Shoot First, Ask Questions Later?

Nowadays everyone can become a photographer. With a range of affordable DSLR camera, pockets, or even smartphones with gigantic megapixels. But did you know that some rules applied when you're taking pictures especially in public places? Ever wondered if it's okay to take pictures of strangers you saw on the street? Or children on a playground? Or maybe taking snapshots on a public transit? Some points below from BlogTO will explain more on that. But then again, since I live in Toronto, I can only speaks from Ontario bylaws perspective. You should read more about your local bylaws too!


Canada's law on photography kinda on grey areas and pretty lenient. Still, morally speaking (and common sense too) taking pictures especially on someone else's property is a no. You don't want to caught yourself with a law officers when the owner report ed on you. Some photographers even have this "rule of thumb" which is: shoot first, ask questions later. All I can think of is maybe the moment that you're trying to capture only available on that second. When it's gone, it's gone. Again, this is just some sort of undisclosed knowledge among photographer so don't take my word on it.



Public property

You're allowed to take photos anywhere in and from Toronto's public spaces (sidewalks, parks, streets, etc.) under the following conditions:

  • You can't be in the middle of doing something illegal while you photograph, like jaywalking , breaking and entering (we see you rooftoppers), or interfering with a crime scene.
  • You can't shoot commercially on City of Toronto property, meaning no paid wedding photography or photoshoots in the park unless you have a permit from the city. While law enforcement will rarely stop a commercial shoot from happening on the sidewalk, they might put an end to a paid photo gig in High Park.
  • Taking photos of private property from public spaces is allowed even if the owners forbid you from photographing their property; that only counts if you're shooting on their grounds.
  • If there's a sign that explicitly states that a law prohibits photography there, you can't shoot. And even if there is no sign, you still might be stopped from photographing – and that's allowed.
Photographing people in public spaces

According to our laws, photographers are basically allowed to take photos of whoever and whatever they want in public areas, including activities, police officers, and even children, without consent. Restrooms, dressing rooms, and medical facilities, however, are examples of places which carry a reasonable expectation of privacy. Taking photos of people here can get you charged with Criminal Voyeurism – not a great charge to have on your legal records. Same goes for the TTC: you're not breaking any city or transit laws by taking and even posting pictures of strangers on your public Instagram account (unless it's commercial, in which case you can submit a request for a permit). But that doesn't mean you get to throw common decency to the wind: if you want to post a picture of someone taking a nap on line 2 on your satirical Toronto transit IG page, don't be an ass – have the courtesy to ask first.

Photographing music festivals and events

If the event is public, you can photograph it, regardless if it's on private property or if there's paid admittance. However, event organizers can tell you to stop taking pictures, in which case you should comply unless you want to get booted out of the event. Things event organizers and private parties aren't allowed to do:

  • Force you to provide your identity or reason for photographing: only law enforcement can do that.
  • Confiscate your photography equipment.
  • Force you to delete your photos.
  • Unless they were witness to a serious crime that you committed, they cannot detain you against your will.
Photographing in malls or restaurants

Unlike regular private properties, these spaces are also open to the public. That means you're legally allowed to photograph until a security guard or manager approaches you to stop. Tip: Keep your DSLR discrete the minute you enter the building to prolong the grace period for as long as possible.


So, I hope you get the grasp on where, when and who you can take pictures on. Don't be afraid to practice your photography skills. Keep on learning and ask questions later! 😉

Umbrellas Lighting Guerillas

Photography is all about lighting and being creative with it. There are a lot of techniques, conception and theories but then again it always depends on how you want the end result would be. With the correct gear (it does not need to be expensive) you can create a stunning picture! I still love natural light of course but sometimes photographers need extra gear when working indoor. I found a super simple on how you can be creative with lights using umbrellas. A certain position on how you place the umbrellas can make a huge difference on the object. Then again it also can create an underexposure on certain angle in your end result. Just be fun with your lighting and keep trying until you get your own style in playing with the lights!

 According to Miguel Quiles, there are at least five different types of positioning your umbrellas to shoot portrait/ models:

1. Front Centered Above:

Light centered in front of the model and raised to where the bottom of the modifier is 4 feet or higher.

2. Sandwich Lighting:

Light raised above subjects head by 2 feet or more and a reflector is placed below.

3. Hair/Edge/Separation Light:

Place the light 30 to 150 degrees behind the subjects head.

4. 45-er:

Light placed 2 to 3 feet away at 45 degrees to the left or right of the subject and the bottom of the umbrella is eye level with the subject.

5. Background:

You can use your umbrella as a backdrop for a unique look, placing a large umbrella behind the subject and two 4×8 white v-flats (or a white wall) about 3 feet in front.


Find more of Quiles’ work on his websiteYouTubeFacebookTwitter, and Instagram


Rain Images Photography – Terms & Conditions

  • 50% of the total price is due upfront upon quotation receipt and 50% upon completion of all work.
  • Non-refundable upfront payment serves as kill fee for any cancelation.
  • Only accept cash, cheque or  
  • Tax inclusive.
  • Digital print-ready files will be ready 7 (seven) days after the completion of payment.
  • All files in high-resolution sent by email or Dropbox.
  • Copyrights of pictures solely belong to the photographer.
  • Additional print out materials available by request.
  • Additional time will be billed at $100 per 30 minutes
  • There will be extra transportation fee $175 outside of Toronto.
  • Entrance fee for venues (if applicable) not included.



A Different Kind of Challenge for 2019!

"New year, new me" totally overrated. However, as photographers -including yours truly- we need to reminded of our work and sharpen our skills. I stumbled upon a challenge as I read an article on the internet. Rest assured, unlike #BirdBoxChallenge or #KikiChallenge this is a positive (and fun) kind of challenge! A whole year of photography challenge to train your senses and creative mind originally created by Dogwood Photography. I never heard of this before but it seems that this is their fourth year to repeat this fun activity.

Unlike most photography challenges which are just a simple list of ideas, this 52 week challenge is designed to push your photography to the next level. This list is going to be more challenging to complete than a simple 52 week photography challenge list. But stick with it to the end and I guarantee you will be a better photographer for it. There is no specific start date for this challenge. Each photographer is on their own journey, and only competing with themselves from week to week. If you wish to form a challenge group and compete with each other based on this list you are welcome to do so! If you form a challenge group drop me an invite I would love to watch the progress.

Each week, the weekly assignment will be in one of 3 categories:

  • Portrait: Portrait photography is really about capturing the essence of a person in an image. A portrait image can range from a classic portrait to candid, or from street photography to a selfie. Each time this category comes up we will dive into a different area of portrait photography. The main focus should always be a person/persons (or maybe a pet).
  • Landscape: In the context of the #dogwood52 photography challenge, this category is pretty broad covering both traditional landscapes, and some non-traditional areas such as urbanscapes. Don’t be afraid to really explore your surroundings in this category. If the focus is the environment you are in, it will qualify as Landscape in this category.
  • Artistic Impression: When this category comes up, you really have room to express yourself. You can interpret the assignment literally or figuratively. Unlike the other two categories that are more focused, the main focus of this category is to let your creativity shine.

Moreover, here's how you can show off your progress and make friends along the way: #dogwood52 and #dogwoodweek[NUMBER] (ex: #dogwoodweek1, #dogwoodweek2).

There are no rules but being as creative as you can. Just make sure you don't forget to set yourself an example of being discipline by creating a reminder on your smartphone, print the challenge and stick them on your fridge or even write them on your planning. I tried to do more action and less preaching by completing the first week challenge myself. Luckily weekends are perfect for me to always create something new off the list. If you have something to say, please do leave me a comment!

Happy photo challenge!



Let’s Be Part of HERstory!

"With the education, we will no longer be underestimated. To those who always think that the trans-women only belong by the side of the road and at the red light will be able to see, no matter difficult the pressure that is given to us, we will definitely be able to pass it. The high education that I have achieved now is not only for me, but for the entire trans-women community, for all Indonesian people. So that we are all aware that education is our absolute right as the citizen. "

That was Mami Yuli's motivation when she explained how education she has achieved until this point was not achieved easily. The struggle by the struggle continues to be faced and its success was pursued in various way to inspire the transgender community and the Indonesian people in achieving their vision.

Yulianus Rettoblaut as known as Mami Yuli, 57 years old, is a trans-woman (transgender woman) who has a Bachelor's Degree of Law from Attahiriyah Islamic University. She then continued her Master's Degree at the Faculty of Law, Tama Jagakarsa University, South Jakarta, with the best citation (A+) and 3.85 GPA for 2.5 years. At that point, she was dubbed as the first transgender in Indonesia who was able to obtain a Master's Degree in Criminal Law.

Not only that, Mami Yuli continued to pursue her dream and vision, and is recorded as a Doctorate Program Student at the Faculty of Law, Jayabaya University, majoring in Constitutional Law. Mami Yuli wants to be a living proof for her community that trans-women also has the ability and can perform well like her.

"Trans-women, aside from being a marginalized society, are also the citizen who are consciously and openly often impoverished by the prevailing system in this country," according to Mami Yuli. Since 1979 until 17 years have passed, Mami Yuli has lived and worked in the streets, faced various forms of stigma, violence and discrimination from various parties including the society and the state. At that time, Mami Yuli was moved and she thought that the transgender community should not live on the streets forever. An empowerment program that is specifically aimed at the community is needed. For decades, Mami Yuli has struggled as an activist in empowering the community to get legal protection and their rights as the citizen, until this moment. "This law in Indonesia never sided with us as the transgender," Mami Yuli continued.

Mami Yuli is recorded as the initiator of the establishment of the Rumah Singgah Waria (Transgender Shelter) which is recognized internationally as the world's first Transgender Nursing Home, later became an inspiration for transgender organizations in other countries to pay more attention to elderly transgender people.

In the recent years, the usual assistance for the Rumah Singgah has decrease, even the Ministry of Social Affairs which previously provided support is no longer providing aid as a result of the increasing hostility towards the LGBTI community lately. Mami Yuli was forced to think extra hard for two things she loved, her education and the Rumah Singgah.

Currently, Mami Yuli can barely accomplish her Doctorate Education due to financial challenge. In fact, just a step further, the Doctorate degree can be a pride for the trans-women community in Indonesia. But the situation said otherwise, the Doctorate public exam which became one of the conditions for obtaining the degree, turned out to require a huge cost. Mami Yuli must prepare at least US $6,750 or Rp. 100,000,000 (a hundred million rupiah) to be able to carry out the exam.

This is the real condition of the education system in Indonesia, with all efforts to impoverish citizens who are already impoverished by the system itself.

Let's Help Mami Yuli to get her Doctorate Degree in Constitutional Law, to inspire all citizens to get their rights, especially the right to a decent education, and also to give ways for Mami Yuli to continue her struggle, for the transgender community in Indonesia, as well as for all Indonesian people in general. And in time, we will all be a part of the success of Mami Yuli as the first and the only Transgender in Indonesia today, who is able to obtain a Doctorate Degree in Constitutional Law.

Support here:

The Indonesian Trans-Women Communication Forum/ Forum Komunikasi Waria Indonesia (FKWI) is an organization that carries out its mandate as a coordinated mean that focuses on social issues related to transgender women in Indonesia, both in terms of productivity of advocacy, social assistance, and group monitoring so that the rights of transgender women in the society is protected. One of the many social work carried out by FKWI is the Transgender Shelter which is aimed at empowering elderly transgender people.

FKWI is led by Yulianus Rettoblaut or familiarly called Mami Yuli as its Chairperson.

Contact info FKWI:
Contact info #YouAreNotAlone Arus Pelangi: or
Address: Gang Golf, nomor 176, Pancoran Mas, Kota Depok, Jawa Barat - INDONESIA
Mami Yuli contact: +6281315400628
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Rain Images Photography Support #BreakTheStigma

Let's join this good cause!

#BreakTheStigma campaign began in 2015 when I was working with HIVOS and we’re focusing on transgender, HIV+ and MSM sexual health (including LGBTQ rights) for 6 countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, East Timor (Timor Leste), Philippines, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore. The campaign was to raise awareness that stigma towards the vulnerable key population is still high in numbers.
In 2017, #BreakTheStigma campaign is supported by Ukranian-Canadian Congress (UCC) and their Youth Engaging Youth (YEY) program together with Government of Canada on their #Canada150 celebration held a successful exhibition at Shadbolt Art Center in Burnaby, BC. It will cover people stigmatized as HIV+, LGBTQ+, racism, disability communities, mental health and indigenous people often attacked with harsh words. The intention is intended to raise awareness that stigma truly hurt people, even in disguised as jokes. 
Easy! I will ask you to pick one or two words  in English or in your own language, write them down on masking tape and sealed your mouth with it. The photos will be in black and white. The place of the photoshoot could be anywhere in Vancouver, or you can come to mini studio set-up in Commercial Drive. For some examples of the photos, check out Instagram: @BreakTheStigmaChapters
If you have other questions or want to make an appointment, click here.

Amazing Sunset At Hand

People tend to love staring at sunset. The beautiful colours, the moment of serenity and you just want to keep it that way. So take a picture to make it last longer! However, you try and try but you never got that perfect capture just like those Instagram postings. Well, there's special technique to capture a sunset. It's not that hard, just a bit challenging with several tricks on it. According to Jeff Meyer, you just need to set your camera to the right mode.  

First of all, sunset are all about the correct lighting to get that dim yellow with a small burst of light in the middle. Adjust your camera exposure to manual. I know some of you think "Oh no, this is difficult. I prefer automatic mode!" well, if you want it easy it won't give you a perfection, will it? Make the camera thinks you want it that way, not what the camera thinks it should be.

Secondly, focus is another important thing to be careful with. Try to manual focus instead relying the camera to do that for you. If you're on a beach for a sunset, sometimes there's rock, boat, leaves, etc. Try to make those things as a "filler" to your sunset picture. Focus on the part that interest you the most! 

Last but not least tips, try to capture your sunset in different exposure/ lighting. Take 3 to be safe, one with the bright exposure (a bit too bright), another with mid-exposure and the third with the low exposure so it's a bit dark. Then, combine all of them with the help of Photoshop to make a perfect picture with even brightness. To make it easier, I attach a "cheat sheet" here for your camera setting.

The next thing is, have fun to hunt for that perfect sunset!

The White Magical Beautiful Winter

A lot of people stay warm indoors or rather wait until summer to began go out and hunt some great shots. When actually, winter is one of the most beautiful season especially with all the snow. You can have great pictures combine with a little of creativity, winter shots actually pretty amazing! But then again, to keep you prepare (both physically and camera gears) photoshoot during winter takes a bit of preparation. Here's a few things you should keep in mind if you want to go out and take that chance of amazing winter shots.

Have warm boots, regardless. On a recent photographic excursion into the Great White I was wearing an old pair of boots that had cracked in the rubber along the side near the toes. Every step I took allowed snow into my boots, and by the time I got home I was wringing water from my sock (which was wrapped around a numb foot). Don’t over-dress. To some it may sound stupid, but anyone who has spent any time outside in cold weather will tell you the same thing. It is better to feel a slight chill while standing still rather than overheat while walking, giving the cold temperatures the opportunity to chill your sweat and possibly lower your body temperature, potentially leading to early-onset hypothermia.

Gloves should be taken with you, especially if you’re going to be out and about for an extended period or away from “civilization.” I hate the bulkiness of gloves, so I prefer to simply go without when possible. One option is to wear a thin pair of gloves (maybe with rubber gripping on the fingers) for use when photographing, and take a pair of mittens along for slipping over the gloves in between shooting. Another option is to use a pair of shooter’s gloves/mittens which allow you to pull a finger out for use on a trigger (or, in this case, shutter release).

Do not place your camera under your coat in hopes of warming it up or keeping your batteries from draining too quickly (discussed below). The warmth of your body heat and the moisture from sweat can be potentially harmful (to your camera). To be simple, keep your camera cold! However, it is crucial to keep your spare batteries warm. Batteries drain faster in colder temperatures, so it is wise to carry extras and maybe keep them in a pocket or inside your coat, closer to your body heat, until they are needed. Newer lithium ion batteries have less problems with this, but it’s still good advice, nonetheless. Nobody wants to be fumbling around in a bag for gear when they need it or dropping equipment in the snow. You also don’t want to be setting your bag down in the snow and risking any kind of water saturation. So, whether you’re using pockets, a backpack, or an actual camera bag, make sure you can reach your gear with little effort.

Never delete an image until you have had a chance to view it on a larger screen indoors. There have been many times when an image that looked like crap in the field turned out to be a wonderful image once I had a chance to fully examine it. Use your histogram to determine the exposure your camera is getting (discussed below), or simply bring along extra memory cards. I know this one is a bit difficult, but try using manual mode. Snow is bright and can be overpowering for your camera’s internal light meter. Using your camera in AUTO, or even APERTURE/SHUTTER PRIORITY mode will undoubtedly result in dark images since the camera is reading all of the bright light reflected from the snow and compensating accordingly. The best way to overcome this is by shooting in MANUAL and compensating accordingly.

Use your histogram to determine what actual exposure your camera is getting. You may also use your histogram as a guide for adjusting your settings while shooting in manual mode. Slowly warm up to room temperature along with the rest of your bag and its sundry contents. If you need to get your memory card out of the camera, be sure to do so before going inside. That way you won’t risk prematurely exposing your camera to the warm air. This goes back to whole issue of condensation forming inside your camera or lens.

So, what are you waiting for? It's time to go out with your camera in the lovely winter weather!

(source: Allen Mowery (

Foodtography? Why not!

Have you ever seen people taking pictures of their food before they eat it? The purpose is merely to "show off" of how good their food in the pictures for their social media. Now, making a great photographs of your food (or known as foodtography) is quite simple actually. You just need to know few basic rules about plating the dish, how to make it superb on the camera! Now here are some tips and ticks that could help you to be a great foodtographer.

Lighten up. Photographers always think of light first – the quality, direction and color of it. Use a large, natural soft light source, such as a window. Better yet, shoot outside. Cloudy days are great, but if you don't get one you can use a white sheet to diffuse direct light. Shoot close to and with the window directly behind, to the left of or right of your food subject (anywhere but at your back).

Bounce back. Bounce light back onto your food from the side opposite the window with a piece of white poster board to keep shadows from getting too dark.

Focus on the food. Pick simple backgrounds, props and plates that don't distract and aid in color harmony with the food. Backgrounds may seem unimportant, but they set the tone and mood of the shot.

Close-in on your subject. Use a slight telephoto lens (longer if you can). This helps soften background elements and helps keep food the focus. If you can, use a wide aperture to keep the background out of focus. Don't be afraid to let some of the subject go soft if you have a sharp area that maintains visual interest.

Hold still. Keep your camera steady to ensure sharp images. Use a tripod if you have one.

Warm it up. Bad color is unappetizing. Automatic white balance settings on digital cameras are often cool. Adjust the settings to warm up the shot and to make sure the color is as close to real as possible.

Dig up your camera's owner's manual. It sounds crazy, but you may just have to get out the directions for your camera to see what you can do with it...if you can find them.

Play with your food. Our moms told us not to, but when it comes to food photography, don't be afraid to move around, shoot from a variety of angles and just have fun. (Oh, but keep your elbows off the table.)

Take shots along the way. Food isn't just beautiful when it's "done." Take shots while you are sautéing, chopping and mixing, too.


Apart from the techniques, styling the food is also important. There are some basic rules to make the dish stands-out in the picture. Here are some simple tricks  in food styling:

Cut into it. Often the most interesting texture and color is inside your food.

Tend to the finishing touches. A drizzle of oil or a bit of freshly ground salt or pepper can quickly take a shot from simple to special.

Go green. Watch for herbs in your ingredient list to use as garnish. Sprigs of thyme, rosemary, basil or sage add texture and visual interest.

Keep it under wraps. Moist food is prettier than dry food, so keep it covered until you're ready to shoot it. Spritz or mist it with water or brush it with water or oil if needed.

Prop it up. Add a beverage or small flower, but remember the food is the hero.

There you go, have some fun on foodtography!



How to Choose the Best Photographer?

With the recent revolution of digital photography, it has become increasingly easier for the unskilled enthusiast to get their hands on a nice camera with professional potential and call themselves a pro photographer.

These essential tips will ensure that you aren’t trapped in the common pitfalls of the process and will help you choose the photographer best suited for the job:


  • This seems quite simple but you can’t beat word of mouth referrals. Ask your friends if they know of a good photographer.
  • When you are viewing the online gallery or portfolio of your potential photographer, you’ve got to look past the first few photos. However, if you dig a little deeper and find that the photography quality disintegrates quickly, or that the best shots come from only a handful of clients, you may want to find a photographer with more experience.
  • The question of affordability is always high on the list. Be sure to check all costs involved of both session fees and post-shoot display products.

"Most importantly, you are paying for the talent and experience that your photographer will bring to the table."


  • Make sure that your photographer can supply what you want (for the end product) and that they acquire it from professional sources. That doesn’t mean that the price needs to be sky-high, it just means that you’re getting quality product.
  • Most importantly, you are paying for the talent and experience that your photographer will bring to the table. You’re not just paying for the cost of ink being printed onto photo paper with some wood and glass holding it onto the wall.
  • You’re paying to get a photographic piece of art from a talented professional.