For the past several weeks, yours truly and other Fotopages members Arep, Rosli and Alynn had been planning a photography meet up. Arep and Alynn are new friends I had made through the internet, and both are also very enthusiastic about photography. I was at first introduced to Arep by Alynn, but being the small world that it is, I came to learn that Arep is my neighbour here in Coventry, we practically live next door to each other (and it only took me 2 years to realise it!)
The meet up was originally planned for Coventry and I had been scouting interesting places around this city for photography. Unfortunately, the trip to Coventry was cancelled right at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances which in other words mean Kaoru was too busy with assignments to come (more on Kaoru later).
Instead, we changed the meeting to Sunday, and the venue to Oxford. Unfortunately Rosli still could not make it (but is still visiting us several weeks from now).
We drove together with Arep and Dina along the one hour trip to Oxford. The journey was uneventfully calm and uncomplicated. Upon arrival to Alynn's I was surprised that there was no awkwardness in meeting these people in real life for the first time despite only knowing them through the internet for several weeks. Conversation flowed naturally, and naturally there were lots to discuss. I was also surprised that Alynn and her housemates spent so much effort in making us feel comfortable and preparing delicious food to fuel our day in the field. We even got to sample their famous biskut cornflakes!
Barely 10 minutes after we set foot in the house, everyone started taking out their various different types and brands of cameras (above is Puan Mama Sarah taking out her camera phone). We were suddenly drowned in a cacophony of various clicks, whirs and chimes (in the case of PMS' camera phone) as all the photographers in the house started taking pictures of everything and everyone. It was exactly that moment when I felt I was right at home among these people!
After enjoying the delightful breakfast prepared by Alynn and housemates, we took off to the Oxford University Park. The day was sunny and warm, and the park was aglow in Autumn colours - much to Amar and Sarah's delight as they were running freely in the open expanse...
with Kak Dina chasing after them.
Where are my manners? I should introduced everyone much earlier: above is Dina and Arep. Dina uses a really sleek Sony DSC T-series camera, and Arep uses a Canon 350D. He came complete with various accessories including 5 different lenses, and one of those lenses was the Canon 70-200 F2.8 L. That is NOT a cheap lens, readers.
In the above picture, on the left, is Alynn and her Nikon D50 nicknamed "Yume" which means "dream" in Japanese. Arep and yours truly being in the Canon camp remarked how silent and civilised the Nikon's shutter speed sounded compared to our more "macho" (read: loud) click & whir. Above is Arep lecturing Alynn on exposure and metering. You see, Alynn knows almost diddley squat about DSLRs. She was pointing to Arep's flash unit innocently asking, "What's that?". She doesn't know what the ISO is for, she doesn't know how to change lenses and she shoots only using the point-and-shoot "P" mode.
Despite all that, she takes brilliant photos. After yesterday, I've finally realised it's true that it's not about the camera - it's the artistic eye of the photographer that makes the picture.
Above are Alynn's friends, our Oxford hosts. From the left is Amer, Kaoru and Fakhrul. They were all really sporting, friendly, funny and accommodating. They were perfect hosts. Amer and Fakhrul were supposed to leave for London at 3pm, but they left very late in order to keep us company. Thank you so much!
Sarah and Amar were immediately comfortable with everyone; Sarah and Amer were throwing leaves at each other, and Amar was silently contented as Fakhrul carried him hither thither.
Alynn has told us how funny her Japanese friend Kaoru is, but believe it or not, she's even funnier in person! The two little ones were immediately comfortable with Kaoru too and above is a picture of all three burying themselves with leaves.
Above all, it was an excellent photography trip. We took photos to our heart's content and showed pictures to each other for critique and suggestions. I have learnt a lot from just watching these guys in action.
I think, even Puan Mama Sarah enjoyed the day watching Sarah and Amar rolling on the ground and playing with their new-found friends.
Lastly, a group photo of all of us yesterday. Puan Mama Sarah and I would like to thank all our hosts and Arep and Dina for an excellent, wonderful Autumn day in Oxford. Thank you for finding time in your busy schedules to entertain us and the cooking was gorgeous. We're looking forward to seeing you guys again in the future and please do visit us in Coventry as well one of these days. It was really nice getting to know all of you!