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October 2011 - dtbh

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  • October 2011 - dtbh


    We are proud to announce our PhotoMalaysia featured photographer of the month

    - October 2011 -

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    dtbh - aka - Dr Teh Ban Hup

    Here is the interview with him:

    Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

    Firstly, allow me to thank Photomalaysia for selecting me and giving me this great honour
    to be the photographer of the month of October 2011.

    I am a paediatrician by profession but have since optionally retired from my clinic practice
    to spend more time with the family (many people thought I have retired to go into
    photography full-time). I own and am the medical director of a 60-bedded nursing/
    retirement home in Petaling Jaya. Photography to me is a hobby. I have tried all genres of
    photography and I now almost invariable do portraiture as well as travel photography.
    If you like to see some of my work please go to my gallery at my website at or

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    Q: What is your photography history?

    Like most people, I started photography because I wanted to take photographs of my
    family. It started during the film days. It was the usual shoot in Program mode and then
    send to the lab to print routine which meant I had no control of the outcome. When digital
    photography became affordable, I bought my first Fuji digital Point and Shoot camera. A
    couple of years later (end of 2006), my eldest daughter ‘hijacked’ my Fuji and when I
    wanted to get another one I was pleasantly surprised that I could get a dslr for about the
    same price. It was then between the Nikon D50 and a Canon (can’t remember the model).
    I eventually decided on the Nikon simply because of the more ergonomically designed
    grip. I then Googled the internet to learn and that was when I chanced upon
    Photomalaysia. You can say that Photomalaysia is the birthplace of my photography
    where I happily shared and learn. I soon realised that I can actually be in control of the
    final product of my shots by being able to post-process them. More of this later.

    Like many of my fellow photographers, I succumbed to the terminal ‘disease’ of Nikon
    Acquisition Syndrome which meant purchases after purchases. Thank goodness this
    syndrome decrease in severity with with age. One month after getting the D50 I traded it in
    for the D200. A few months later I upgraded to a D2x. Perhaps this yearn to upgrade was
    semi-intentionally because I reckoned if I got the best gears I could not blame my gears if I
    captured crappy shots. Now I know how wrong I was.

    Of course, the upgrades included lenses too. I started with the Nikon 18-200mm VRI. I
    then got the 17-35mm/2.8 followed soon after by the Nikon 28-70mm/2.8 and the Nikon
    70-200mm/2.8 VRI. I have since upgraded to the Nikon D3 with some new lenses i.e.
    Nikon 24-70mm/2.8, 24mm/1.4, 85mm/1.4 and 70-200mm/2.8 VRII

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    I started with family portraiture. When I got bored, or rather when my family members got
    bored with me, I gave birding a try. It was then that I bought the Nikon 300mm/f4. I went
    birding with some PM friends (Kamsu and Aziz). When one weekend I came back with no
    shots after a whole day away from the family, I decided birding was not for me.

    My interest then shifted to macro-photography. I bought the Nikon 105mm/2.8 together
    with Kenko extension tubes and Raynox magnifying lenses. My usual hunting ground was
    my garden which was and still is teeming with all sorts of insects especially dragonflies. I
    must say that some of the shots I had were quite decent. In fact an online camera shop
    from Singapore actually used some of my shots to advertise their Raynox products.
    Like birding I soon got bored with macro-photography and went back to my first love,
    portraiture. Meanwhile I was experimenting with photoshop. I bought many books on this
    topic but, to be honest, they got me nowhere - they taught me everything but didn’t lead
    me to the effect that I always wanted. It was then that I saw some portraiture by Manuel
    Librodo which really got me excited - his style was almost what I wanted to see in mine.

    After a few email exchanges I was on my way to Bangkok to attend a one-on-one
    workshop with him. In fact, I was his student number 2 (he likes to tell me that I am his
    best - I suspect he tells all his students the same). I found out that his post-processing
    method was very much like mine with some minor (but important) differences.
    They say practice makes perfect. That was exactly what I did. I experimented daily
    practically every minute of the day, sometimes even in between patients, until I achieved
    what is presently my style and the way I like to see my shots.

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    I used to share my shots in Photomalaysia and some other forums overseas until I got
    lazy. Some photographers overseas apparently like my style and requested me to run
    some workshops in their countries. I could not because I presumed they would not pay me
    enough to close my clinic. They then suggested I come out with an ebook. That was how
    my ebook on Portraiture Post-processing for Beginners came about. For those who would
    like to know more about this ebook you may go to

    I am fortunate that this ebook sold very well. Way beyond my expectations. And because
    of the many requests for the advanced version (the satisfied customers said that if there is
    a Beginners version they must be an Advanced version too), I will never allow demand fall
    on deaf ears. I soon got down to work and that ebook soon followed. The rest is history.
    Who was or is still inspiring me? Strangely enough, the one person who inspired and is still
    inspiring me is not a photographer but the famous artist Rembrandt. I have always been
    amazed by his style of art and how he played with ambient lighting in his masterpieces.
    This was even way before I took up photography. During my student days I used to draw
    portraits and, may I shamelessly add, was quite good at it so much so that my university
    floor mates would book me to draw their portraits for them. That, I believe, has helped a
    great deal to shape me as what I am today, photographically speaking.

    Unfortunately I do not look at other people’s photographs due to time constrain - I spend
    all my free time experimenting with post-processing! I am sure if I did look, there will be
    many whose work will inspire me.

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    Q: Can you describe your photography style?

    My interest now is available light portraiture and travel photography. To me they go hand in
    hand as I do not want to carry too many gears (read flash, batteries and related
    equipment) when I travel. I used to carry all my lenses but because of my bad back, I just
    bring along the 24mm/1.4 or 17-35mm/2.8 together with the 24-70mm/2.8. The 70-200mm/
    2.8 VRII has since been banished to the dry box.
    I used to do a lot of tight portraits but I now prefer environmental portraiture.
    What goes through my mind before I shoot? I don’t think too much nowadays as it is more
    a reflex. If I have to break it down it would be something like this. I will always choose my
    target especially in travel photography. I am quite discerning in that sense and do not
    simply shoot. Hopefully that would cut down less of crappy shots that I will never process. I
    then assess the background and the lighting environment. To me, if these 3 parameters
    gel, I have the formula for a potentially good shot. ‘Potentially’ because I still have to work
    for the shot e.g waiting for the moment, posing the subjects, perspectives, getting the
    subjects to react etc. The latter brings me to this point - I always interact with my subjects.
    This is another reason why I don’t bring my 70-200mm anymore.

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    And then there is my post-processing workflow. It is unique to me, in a fluid state and ever
    changing, albeit slowly, according to my moods. Photoshop is really a very powerful
    program. There are so many options available but one does not have to know all of them. I
    know I don’t. I just master and fine tune, through experimentations, what I need. Those
    who have gone through my ebooks and my workshops will know that I have shared with
    them good numerical values to use with each adjustment options during my post processing
    workflow. These values almost invariable work especially for portraiture. You
    will never get these from anywhere. At least not from the many photoshop books that I

    Any way, I am thankful that, being a hobbyist, I have no clients to please but myself. What
    you see in my shots is what I would like to see at that point in time. This is very important
    because without clients to please I find it not to cramp my style.

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    Q: Any advise for aspiring PhotoMalaysia members?

    Firstly, practice, practice and more practice. Shoot together with and learn from those
    whose style you like. That applies to both shooting and post-processing as they are closely
    related. To let you in to a secret, I usually can imagine the final post-processed result even
    before I press the shutter. That helps me a great deal to get less of crappy shots.
    Secondly, don’t be shy to ask questions. There is never a case of asking dumb questions
    because technically speaking many of us seasoned photographers actually do not know
    that much. At least for my case it is true. Even after so many years of using the Nikon D3, I
    still do not know how to use many of the options. Therefore if you see me and have some
    photography related questions, please do approach me and I will be more than happy to
    share with you as long as I know the answers. And don’t forget to say hi in the process!

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    Thirdly, share your work whenever you can. Here in Photomalaysia is a great place to start
    where there are so many great photographers willing to share their experience. Sharing
    especially in Photomalaysia was what I used to do to help me learn (maybe I should move
    my lazy butt and start again). Be ready to receive both positive and negative critiques.
    Personally I prefer the negative ones as they indicate to me what and how others think.
    Learn from the ones you think will help you and discard the rest. How fast you move up the
    ladder will depend on your personal attitude, how you sieve through these critiques and
    how much you learn from them and from your mistakes. Never become defensive because
    if you did, less will continue to critique your shots. Moreover photography, as in all forms of
    art, is very subjective where there is no right or wrong. Just thank them, collect the useful
    ones and move on.

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    Finally, I know I don’t do it because of time constrain, it is actually good practice to look at
    and get inspired by other photographers’ work. You will be surprised, given the same
    subject, how different photographers can come out with different interpretation of the
    image. The saying goes, “what the mind does not know, the eyes will not see”.
    Thank you for your patience and have fun with photography!

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  • #2
    Re: October 2011 - dtbh

    Sorry for the delay. My iMac gave up on me.


    • #3
      Re: October 2011 - dtbh

      Thumbs up for DTBH!


      • #4
        Re: October 2011 - dtbh

        Maxby has a facebook too

        PhotoSafari - each experience is a different


        • #5
          Re: October 2011 - dtbh

          Dr. Teh's portraiture is one of the best around. Fully deserved to be selected as photographer of the month!


          • #6
            Re: October 2011 - dtbh

            always love to see Dr Teh pictures ...
            [URL=""]liewwk Nature Photography Blog[/URL][URL=""] [/URL][URL=""]


            • #7
              Re: October 2011 - dtbh

              congratulation... inspiring


              • #8
                Re: October 2011 - dtbh

                Congratulations to you Dr. Teh. You deserve to be selected.


                • #9
                  Re: October 2011 - dtbh

                  Congrats. Really love your pictures


                  • #10
                    Re: October 2011 - dtbh

                    One of the more inspiring photographers here in PM. Congratulations!
                    Saya Ipoh Mali...jom pergi tengok


                    • #11
                      Re: October 2011 - dtbh

                      what took PM so long?

                      Congrats Dr Teh.


                      • #12
                        Re: October 2011 - dtbh

                        Congrats doc! A well deserved recognition!


                        • #13
                          Re: October 2011 - dtbh

                          Thank you all! You guys are very kind.

                          Originally posted by noordin View Post
                          Sorry for the delay. My iMac gave up on me.
                          Time to change! I hope it is ok now. And thanks for putting this interview up.

                          Originally posted by chenws View Post
                          what took PM so long?

                          Congrats Dr Teh.
                          Remember me saying "When I grow up I want to be like Dr Chen too!" when you were featured as photographer of the month in 2009? I have finally grown up! LOL.
                          Seriously there are so many good photographers here in PM. I am sure the persons-in-charge are having a tough time selecting whom to feature first from the pool.

                          Since I am processing some photos around this time and instead of me sharing them in another post, I will share them here as and when I have them ready. This one is 'hot from the press'.

                          Black Swan
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                          • #14
                            Re: October 2011 - dtbh



                            • #15
                              Re: October 2011 - dtbh

                              Congratulations doc !