Sunday, December 28, 2008

Aqil's journey in life so far

With my wife due to give birth to our second child at any time, I'm reminded of what is really important to me: my family. One of the great things about photography is how we can use to capture priceless moments with our family, things that we might forget until we take a look at those photos again.

I have to admit that I'm not a great photographer, but it does not matter that much to me since most pictures that I take are snapshots of my son. The important thing to me is to save those memories of moments that are never going to come back again.

I keep meaning to make an album or a scrapbook of each month of my son's life so far. Now with a 2nd child on the way, I'm wondering if I'll ever get it done.

Using Google's Picasa, I had created a web album of each month of my son, Aqil's life. Shown below is one picture from each month of Aqil's life so far.

Aqil at the hospital on the day of his birth.

We had to opt for a cesarean because he was in breach position. My Mom came with me to the hospital for the birth, but the hospital wouldn't let us into the operating theater. It was quite an agonizing wait to find out whether my wife and son were all right after the operation. I have to tell you that holding him for the first time was probably the best moment in my life.

Aqil 2 months old during his Aqiqah ceremony.

My wife had ordered Aqil's Baju Melayu (Malay traditrional clothing) especially for this occasion.

Aqil 3 months old on my father's hammock.

My Father had just bought this hammock and Aqil was one of the first people to try it.

Aqil 4 months old

Aqil 5 months old

Aqil in our hotel room in Sabak Bernam, while we were visiting some relatives there.

Aqil 6 months old

Aqil 7 months old

(disclaimer: do NOT put a baby in a Bumbo seat on an elevated surface, it's dangerous as the baby can tip over and fall head first. Somebody was beside Aqil on both sides when this picture was taken.)

Aqil 8 months old

Aqil eating an orange at my parent's house.

Aqil 9 months old

Aqil having fun at Port Dickson on his Spongebob Squarepants float.

Aqil 10 Months old

My wife introduced Aqil early on to books. So far (at 21 months old) he likes to look at the pictures and name some objects, but hasn't really learned to read yet.

Aqil 11 months old.

An accident in the kitchen (his maternal Grandmother was frying fish when he came into the kitchen, when suddenly the oil popped and some splashed onto his forehead) caused him to have some scars on his forehead, which luckily healed quickly. The scars aren't that clear in this picture because it had already started to heal.

Aqil 1 year old

For some reason he really likes brooms (maybe because he always follow his maternal Grandmother, who takes care of him during the day, while she cleans the house and sweeps the lawn).

Aqil 13 months old

Aqil on the swing in front of his Grandmother's house.

Aqil 14 months old

Aqil 15 months old

Aqil and my wife, Hawa taking a stroll at a park in Shah Alam.

Aqil 16 Months old

Aqil playing with his favourite toys, from the Thomas and Friends television series. The tracks were a present from my sister.

Aqil 17 months old

Aqil at the hotel swimming pool with my wife during our holiday in Malacca.

Aqil 18 months old

Another of his favourite activities, drawing and doodling.

Aqil 19 months old

Aqil pointing to a character in his Thomas and Friends book.

Aqil 20 months old

Aqil 21 months old

Aqil taking an afternoon stroll by the lake at the Enstek housing area in Sepang.

Looking at these and other pictures of my son reminds me to spend more time with him. I'll also post something as soon my second child is born.

Monday, December 22, 2008

All the things we used to do

Shuttlecock in the grass

Why is it that the older we get, the less time we have to do things? Why is this? More responsibility? More obligations? Less energy?

I used to have to play any sport in the afternoon, be it football, badminton, volleyball, or any other team sport. Although for some reason, I can't make myself do solitary exercise like going to the gym or jogging. Perhaps it's because with team sports, you don't really realize that you are exercising, you just concentrate on playing the game and having fun. I'd come back from school, college or work, and then would go out and play a sport. If it rained heavily, or if for some other reason I couldn't play, I would get frustrated.

I know of some friends who were into sports in school, but stopped playing as soon as they finished school. Not me.

Unfortunately, nowadays it is getting harder and harder for me to do this anymore. Which is frustrating since in sports, you never know how long you still have in terms of being able to play. Something could happen (like serious injury) at any time that would stop you permanently from playing the game.

The thing that keeps me positive is sometimes seeing older people still playing sports. Granted, they are not able to play at the same pace, but they usually are able to use their experience to play better. I've seen them play badminton, golf, football (when I say football, I'm referring to soccer) and tennis. I've seen some still go running in the afternoons and feel ashamed that I'm not as fit as they are.

I remember when my friends and I used to play badminton at night, on an outdoor court, with only streetlights as the light source. It was pretty damn funny because we'd be taking airshots and making jokes at each other. However, even this has stopped now for some reason, despite a few attempts to try and play badminton together. I really miss playing sports. Watching or reading about it isn't the same as playing it.

The weird thing is, my friends stopped playing badminton soon after I bought a new racket to replace my old one (the frame got distorted due to me stupidly leaving it in the car.)

The group of people who used to play football (they were different from the group of friends who played badminton with me) soon stopped playing when I bought new football shoes as well. I know it's just coincidence, but it really left me feeling bemused. If everybody was just going to stop playing and I knew about it, I would have saved money instead of replacing old gear, which is now not being used.

At least I'm still relatively young and healthy. I should just go and exercise again, even if it means exercising alone.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Actually going out there to take pictures

Pelican in Putrajaya B&W

Sometime ago I realized that I spent more time reading magazine articles, forums, blogs and online articles about photography than I have actually going out and making pictures.

This could be because I like to read and also because I like looking at amazing pictures that others have made. But it could also be because I'm just plain lazy, so I guess I should really start going out and taking pictures. Another reason is because I get quite self-conscious sometimes with a camera in my hand for some reason.

I keep telling myself that I should just go out and start taking more pictures, since this is the only way to improve. Which is one reason I started this blog, to force myself to take more pictures so that I can put them in this blog.

It's not as if I have a shortage of inspiration.. I probably have more pictures in my flickr favorites than I do in my own flickr photostream.

I always see lots of great locations and interesting subjects to take pictures of, plus I have lots of picture ideas.. so what's stopping me? I really need to stop making excuses and just seize the picture opportunities that come my way. Maybe one of these days, I will.

Friday, December 12, 2008



One thing that fascinates me is the fact that most self-portraiture (especially the really creative and wonderful ones) seem to be created by women. Why is this? Is it because women tend to be more in touch with their emotional selves than men? Or have I got my assumptions wrong and there are actually a lot of great self-portraits taken by guys out there?

One thing that I've also noticed is that for some reason, my friends who like to take pictures are also the ones who seem to not like having their own picture taken. Take me for example, I have lots of pictures of other people, but I don't seem to have that many pictures of myself.

Here are some examples of self-portraits that I like on flickr: here, here, here and here.

There are lots more that I have seen that were really creative and very inspiring. The odd thing is that I have never really been motivated to actually and go and make self-portraits of myself. To be honest, I don't really know why. Maybe I should just go and try to capture a self-portrait of myself. Maybe someday..

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Limitation is the mother of creativity

I'm one of those people who always think that I could take better pictures if only I had more (and better) equipment, more interesting subjects and more time. But sometimes I'm reminded that sometimes limitation is the mother of creativity. Sometimes when you are seemingly limited by something, you begin to really test the boundaries of those limitations and are able to produce something you might have never thought to try. There are quite a few exceptionally creative movies, pictures and music that were created under certain limitations (censorship, limited budgets etc).

In fact some people like to work under limits so much that they love lomography or use pinhole cameras etc., so that they can get random stuff that are interesting.

For example Alex Majoli has been able to take award winning photos using point and shoot cameras. Joel Charlebois and others have managed to win competitions using point & shoot cameras.

Ok, I'm not saying that my pictures are exceptionally creative, but the achievements of people who have managed to take exceptional images using so called limited equipment inspire me and I have to start challenging myself to take better (and more creative) images with what I already have. Especially since my budget at the moment doesn't really allow me to buy a lot of photography stuff.

I started digital photography by using my friend's digital camera whenever he brought it around and then I borrowed my then girlfriend's (she's now my wife) camera to play around with. One of the results of my experiments with her camera is shown at the top of this post. At the time, I really got frustrated by the camera's shutter lag, so I started playing around with moving the camera while I took pictures. One of those pictures that I took that day was a picture of my guitar (which I still am trying to learn to play). After the picture was taken, it was post-processed using Picasa. It's not great, I know, but as with a lot of my pictures, I'm using it as a sort of starting point to obtain ideas for future pictures. I have some almost good pictures which could be better but at least with digital, the learning curve is a lot faster.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Welcome to Redza Ahmad's blog!

Hi! Welcome to my blog. The purpose of this blog is to for me to use it as an outlet for myself, a place where I can put down in writing my thoughts and at least try to make some use of my pictures.

I also decided to blog as a way to push myself creatively, as with my own blog, I'll need to come up with something fresh often. Hopefully, my photos and my writing will improve as a result.

I also hope that visitors to this blog will come and give comments, perhaps to critique my pictures and writing, plus provide constructive criticism which will help me to become a better writer and photographer. Any thoughts and comments would be greatly appreciated!