sometimes HE sends us messages …

I’ve not picked up my gear in the serious sense since the Heavenly GODs last spoke, but I took NO heed

I’ve lost the urge. And besides I’m too preoccupied with other things the last couple of years.

It’s not that I had not tried. I signed up for two workshops, but never made it. Never got my refunds, although one had said a refund would be given. Oh whatever.

Between then and now …

I had participated in a charity drive; donating 6 shots that was made into 600 prints for sale.

Between then and now …

Two of my shots was exhibited. One by Photophilantrophy.org somewhere in the USA – I can’t recall now, but I am sure the invite is somewhere in the 2″ high unopened snail mail that sits on the antique buffet table. Or in my mailbox with gad-zillion unread emails.

p{Haque} School India

The other in Brazil – I can’t quite recall what it is and I didn’t quite understand the who shebang about it, but the folks were nice enough.

p{Haque} Jesus 01

They were all from the archive. And NO, I don’t take religious shots per se.

Off late I’ve been content with my iPhone 3 (can’t say the same of the Blackberry inbuilt camera). And if I do take the effort to board a plane beyond 4 hours, I’ll take my Leica point-and-shoot and grudgingly the Leica M8, knowing that 95% of the shots will be done by the point-and-shoot and only a handful of the remaining 5% with the M8 will be worthy a second look!

My success with a borrowed Fuji X100 was anything but juvenile. Frankly my hairy “cousin”, I suspect could possibly have taken a few better shots than me if given a chance to use the Fuji X100.

There’s just something about it and me. The colours were off. And a sizeable amount of shots I took seems to have some light leak, which is not possible.

Nonetheless, it was good fun playing with the 180 degrees panoramic abilities that preoccupied my nights along The Bund in Shanghai, while I endured Shanghai as I waited for my Tibetan visitor permit … that never materialized. Well, at least with the Fuji X100 and my obsession of getting at least one great shot, I have to say the premium paid for a hotel that is 3 minutes away from The Bund paid-off; least they could have given me free Wifi … but I quickly discovered it was counter productive without being able to access my normal websites!

So today, I decided to call on Jason’s brother James to get a one-size-fits all lens for my sister for Christmas; relenting to her relentless nag about not having the right equipment to capture moments of her children for Project Life. Now, if you would allow me. There’s something that needs to be said about Project Life.

Firstly, it’s nothing new. Ali Edwards have been doing it for eons; I bet she feels like crap when all the credit and moo-lah is directed to Becky Higgins! What am I on about? Oh, this is scrapbooking.

Secondly, it is additive. As silly as it may be … and oh boy how hard I resisted getting sucked into this madness, I finally thought I’d give it a try … and yes, it is additive.

Lastly, anything additive is costly! I am down to my 2nd pack of Canon Selphy paper and ink cartridges – yes, I am reduced to iPhone photos being Instagram-ed and now, a low quality instant compact home photo printer that’s fuchsia in colour!!!

As for my sister, well, she is definitely up the value chain, having inherited my D3s along with the 50mm 1.4f, but obviously needed something more practical – of which I am unable to provide as I only shoot exclusively prime and wide angle. To top it off, my gears have been cleared (forcefully and not by choice) … and I’ve not had the desire to really replace any, having “retired”. So it was time to get a medium focal length lens for her – the 24-120 f4.

But when I entered the shop, Sam and James tells me of a pristine condition used 24-70 f2.8 …

Naturally this would be a perfect companion to the 70-200 f2.8 and everyone knows you need both of that and a good portrait lens to cover you for 80% of just about any normal person needs to shoot.

Heck, this is not even normal person. This is the gear combination for most professional photographers.

But we all know I never shot zoom. I never had a need for a 24-70 … so why am I still thinking about it?

So, I stuck to plan and came out shot of 2 grand “richer” by not succumbing to the 24-70 f2.8 and proceeded to the dentist. While waiting, I flipped through The Rotarian. I don’t know about you, but my growing up years left me with the impression that The Rotary Club was just a old wealth or new professionals club for self deserving needs. Sure, they do “charitable stuff” – but what exactly is charitable in their books other than the odd cement benches in the parks? is unknown to me.

The Rotarian educated me on their work across the world, focusing on causes like polio eradication and sanitation (i.e. stopping people for defecating in the open – it was a rather comical story if you could look past the action). But what caught me was a whole third of the magazine (which is very thin by the way), was devoted to Carol Guzy. Her shots captivated me – I mean, what’s not to captivate when this woman has won four Pulitzer prizes!?!?!!!  {check her gallery here}

and there I go thinking about the 24-70 again! until the drilling and probing started, which got me remembering the number of nerves that’s embedded in one’s gums! Why God? Why? Surely you could spread them out better. Ouch.

Today, as I dutifully look for my Pisa and Rome photos to queue for print on the Selphy so that I can continue with my Florence Project Life, I loaded the external drive with a “TRAVEL” label on it, only to realized it contains pro bono shots I had done for the AIDS Council, UNICEF and a few others unknown to the normal man on the street. It has been mislabeled.

Attempting the second external drive, I stumbled upon shots I had taken of tribes in Kenya and Ethiopia …

At dinner, my sister hands me a print of myself playing the Samburu version of “congkak” (a game of pebbles) with a group of Samburu warriors who had hosted me for 3 days 2 nights.

HE is sending a message

Hamer 08BW

All Photos are Copyright {p}.Haque | All Rights Reserved

{this photo above is not the Samburu. This is the Hamer tribe during the bull jumping ceremony}

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hitting out on the geeks and a not so great psd job

I’m pretty convinced I should just deal with machines now.

In the last 72 hours I have successfully gotten pissed off with 2 geeky parties; a website programming course provider and a website developer dealing with Magento. The former is to better manage and maintain my existing eCommerce site. The latter is to develop yet another eCommerce website platform.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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Dear Kenny,

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This is frankly ludicurous! To charge me 5,000 ringgit to get a quotation from your company!
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Also, how is one suppose to pluck a budget from thin air? More so a budget that would surpass your magic figure before you consider yourself at par as Linda Evangelista to work at a budget!

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On your second request, here’s my answer:

Firstly, Magento is not a widely used application in Malaysia and if I am a programmer I may at a stretch of imagination be able to estimate mandays for customisation of a new application with Magento.

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I had very clearly spelt out my needs and had asked a 30,000 feet QUALIFYING question of: is your company able in terms of capability deliver a C2C platform? A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer would suffice.

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Secondly, I had asked yet another 30,000 feet question on costing base on the following 5 areas:

  1. domain and hosting
  2. software licenses
  3. programming cost for website design (front end – html, css) – mandays required
  4. programming/ customisation costs for website design (back end) – mandays required
  5. maintenance cost p.a.
Correct me – the apparently techno moron in this correspondence – if I am wrong:
  1. is EXTERMELY standard

  2. I had said I wanted to use Magento with the Unirgy extension (rates are published and public! and I had pointed it to you HERE. So, it’s for your company to advise on the mix-and-match of plugins with pros-and-cons)

  3. website design is again extremely standard and you could well give a range. Part-timers and college students does this in their pyjamas for crying out loud!

  4. yes, variations are large here – again if you are capable and have track record of doing C2C, you would be able to quote a range/ ball park figure with pros and cons

  5. maintenance cost p.a. is standard without additional customisation or enhancement, no?

So, frankly, what’s the issue?

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At the rate this email is going I will be a fool to even proceed with you and your organisation. I shudder to think of the  post development support I will get. Let alone the maintenance, if any at all.

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FYI, I own an online store with more than 100,000 SKU and am ranked top 25 globally in my industry. On this premise, I should be issuing you a request for proposal priced at a discounted rate of RM500 for the tender documents and RM4,500 for the right to tender and a performance bonus!

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So again, can you and have you created a C2C platform.
If NO, there’s really no need for us to proceed with any more communication.

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And if you are dull enough to even want to respond to me {given the high probability of the above sarcasm and verbal abuse not passing through your thick skull … which I suspect a good 60% of my sarcasm is wasted like water on duck’s back}, note that I do NOT need or want a regular e-Commerce B2C store. I am highly capable of maintaining this and have programmers to do so with html, css, java and php.

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Thanks

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– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
The above is partly due to PMS.
But mostly they were just idiots with very little people skills.
Now note, not all geeks have bad people skills.
I am geeky and I generally have great people skills {only if I set my mind to make an effort to charm}.
I also happen to laugh out loud at geeky and nerdy jokes … so I have nothing against them. 
The above is partly due to pent-up frustration over two legal contracts I’ve pulled molars over and offered kidneys to for days now with an affiliated of the Central Bank and a sort-off DFI.

So to chill out tonight, I decided to try my hand at psd the photo of two Hamer boys gazing into the pasture while waiting for the bulls to be gathered for the jumping of the bulls taken in Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia a few weeks back. I had set out wanting to experiment with a grunge metallic look (which Joey Lawrence is famous for), but realised my sky is so blown out (thanks to taking photos at midday in over 45 degrees Celsius heat) and there’s not enough richness in the background colour.

Abandoning my photoshop attempt halfway … here’s the shot.

{p}.Haque | All Rights Reserved

Having gravitated towards photo documentary/ journalism photos with a fashion/ commercial/ fine art twist, I’ve been wanting to experiment … and had bought an approximate of a bug killing book by Scott Kelby (the Editor-in-Chief of Photoshop User Magazine which I’ve never bought a copy off).
hmmm…
Maybe I should stop reading Scott Kelby to bed.
It’s rather pathetic – to think about it.
I haven’t had much time to do anything with my photos.
Some dates back 4 years now.
As a poor substitute I read Scott Kelby while imagining my photos being processed.
It’s really about digging in.
And it’s beyond me why a person who does not do self learning well would part good money for a book.
Oh yeah, that’s coz I end up being sarcastic with the geeks or nerds who can teach me … but rather not to safe themselves from being abused.

Day 5: Mt Kenya {the foot at least …}

………………… … or truthfully … very, very far from the foot of Mt Kenya!
We started moving at 6:35 am to be precise.
The time when the sun rises in this part of Kenya – at this time of the year, I should add.
Though being this close to the Equator – or are we? – will the sun risshift over the year? I don’t know. I am too lazy to verify this.
Everyone was rather excited about crossing the Equator.
Frenchman Marc in particular with his GPS and Normandy flag – rather comical and eccentric – our very own Mr. Bean, who is endearing to say the least!
L to R clockwise: (a) Marc, (b) lookout point overseeing the Great Riff Valley,  (c) Tess – Canada, Anthony aka ‘Bob’ – UK, Hannah – Denmark, Marc – France, Georgina – Australia, and me in a half squat pose flexing my thigh muscles!!! | Photographed filtered with ‘watercolor’ effects by Penelope Haque | All Rights Reserved
After a false start – I suspect the signboard had said “Equator Crossing Ahead Bloody Tourist!” – we finally got to the real Equator line, as Marc aka Jean Paul had vehemently protested when we had insisted the false start was right and suggested in not so many words that his GPS was crap. I mean seriously, it was a 50:50 of a false start with a board that accorded bragging rights, or the actual Equator line with possibly no board to photograph?
In any case, after monkey-ing around with poses, flags and bribed kids, our trip proceeded with roads that took an almost immediate southward turn post the Equator crossing, as if the man-determined demarcation had a direct impact on God shaping the topography on both sides of the line.
If that wasn’t depressing enough, as predicted, we were lost again!
Stopping at a semblance of a T-junction or to be more accurate a asymmetrical Y-junction with one branch ending abruptly at a bush of thorns, our huge truck halted the onward journey of a small convoy of 4 x 4s heading the opposite direction. Conveniently, directions were seek and whaddya know? It turns out that one of the 4 x 4 had Ms. Money Penny in it!
Hannah asking for directions from a film crew with Miss Money Penny in one of the 4×4! | Photograph filtered with ‘watercolor’ effects by Penelope Haque | All Rights Reserved 
Since we are naturally all way too young to remember Ms. Money Penny with Bond being 50 this year (ahem! what an outright lie!), it took us some 8 minutes or so to figure out who’s who and if the person spotted was actually someone from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Nonetheless, accurate or not, we could still claim that some famous British actress beyond our age stuck her arm out in the African plains to point us to the right direction … and with that, we continued to put the suspensions of our truck and innards to test.

Undecided if gravels was better than tarmac with axle snapping portholes for the bladder, suffice to say I was far from impressed and agitated at the sight of almost barren land. As the hours painfully ticked by with seconds timed by each bummed sustained, it was finally decided that come what may, I was going to be exposing my naked butt cheeks to a herd of goats and its shepherd. After all I reckon the shepherds would not have beady hawk eyes to spot me amongst the sparse bush cover and the goats could have a whale of a time for all I care. They are goats!
Samburu Warriors at Hulme’s Bridge, Samburu, Kenya | Photograph by Penelope Haque | All Rights Reserved
But oh boy … {as you would have guessed being my blog, my story, my life … }
I was sooooo wrong!
Just as I stood up to pull my pants up, a Samburu semi-nomadic pastoralist warrior youth comes charging towards me. With long slender legs and strong strides, he covered the ground that separated us in no time; bringing back flashes of my Australian outback kangaroo encounter some years back. Same situation. Same position. Same vulnerability!  
This time around I didn’t make a dash to the truck.
I wasn’t after all in any eminent physical danger.
Any modesty I had left had been drastically compromised. And so, I shrugged my shoulders and thought:
how many people in their lifetime can make a claim of 
flashing indecently to a Samburu warrior?

And with that it was decided that I would take his photo …

the Samburu Warrior who saw my naked cheek butt! | Photograph by Penelope Haque | All Rights Reserved