Monday, January 21, 2008

The First Photo Win

Winner of the I-Snap Photography Competition, Minggu Minda Kreatif VII, 2nd Residential College, University of Malaya. (Picture cropped to 8R and slightly brightened.)

The competition was open to all UM students and ran for several months. The submission dates were 2 and 3 January and judging was on the 12th.

I'd like to thank, in general order of comments given, Li-Shia, Valerie, Dad, Zhen Quan, Eunice, How, Shannon, Adrian, Chee Seong, SooT and Yen. My shortlist was compiled based on your feedback.

(For the record, the winning picture was voted for by Dad, Zhen Quan, How and Christine. Though of course this doesn't necessarily mean it was the best of the lot, only that the judges saw it as the best of the pieces submitted, and I did not submit all the ones I shortlisted due to the limit of three entries per participant.)

I'd also like to thank;

Christine for helping me decide on the final three that would be sent, especially on such short notice.

Chian Ming for accompanying me to 2nd College (before TITAS class last Tuesday) to look at the entries on display (hence being the first to know when I received the phone call then), and for coming again with Adrian on Thursday to witness the prize-giving ceremony.

* * * * *

I told myself I'd say it if/when I won my first competition. Since there was neither time nor space for an acceptance speech, I'll say it here:

"This win is for you, Dad!"

In the greater scheme of things, I'd like to thank in particular:

My parents for supporting this 100% non-profit hobby of mine over the last year and a half.

Christine for introducing me to the world of SLRs and turning me into a Nikonian.

My friends who have over the years filled the frame of my camera. Every photo taken, every blunder made, every glimpse of glory was a step towards the photographer I am today.

All glory goes to God, because there are two equally miraculous stories behind this picture.

On the second day in Mersing, I decided in the morning's quiet time that I would structure my photos around Psalm 104; the fruit of that labour appeared on my blog in the 31 July entry last year.

What I did not mention on the blog (but which was referred to in an issue of the Triple-M, Mensa Malaysia's official magazine) was the story behind the bird picture. The 12th verse kept eluding me:

Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
They lift up their voices among the branches.

The few birds I spotted in Mersing weren't on branches, and those that were were comfortably out of sight, hidden amidst the leaves. It was in Kluang that the breakthrough came. As we were leaving Michelle's house for church, this little bird perched itself on the bare tree.

Immediately I saw the photo I was waiting for, fumbled for my 55-200mm lens, quickly attached it to the D50 (I think I actually had to remove the other lens, either the 18-55mm or the 50mm, first!), pointed the camera out of the car window and pressed the shutter.

There was no time to adjust anything and I was too excited and desperate not to let the moment pass. And then the bird flew away, as suddenly as it appeared. I had no time to make a second exposure. If I could sum up the entire blessedness of the whole trip--for indeed it was blessed in many many ways--in one moment, that was it.

The second miraculous story is somewhat more general where it concerns photography: it is the miracle behind every photograph.

Because if you go back nearly 170 years to 1839, you would have heard the words exclaimed by Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre when he produced the world's first photograph: "I have captured the light!"

And if you go further, much, much further back than that, you would have heard the first words echoing across a dark universe:

"Let there be light!"


Suzanne said...

congrats ben!:)

Siedne said...

CONGRATS!!! :D lovely shot

timc said... you're the guy that won it eh...=P