27 January 2016

Enjoying Exempt Langkawi

Langkawi, also known as the Jewel of Kedah, is a tropical archipelago of c. 100 islands in the Andaman Sea, some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. The islands are part of the sultanate of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border. By far the largest of the islands is the eponymous Langkawi Island with a population of c. 65,000 and the town of Kuah as largest town, of which c. 90% are ethnoreligious Muslim Malays; the other ethnic groups consist mainly of Chinese, Indians and Thais.

Matt Hahnewald Photography; Facing the World; street portrait; Asia; Southeast Asia; Malaysia; Langkawi; Kuah; smiling; beautiful; Malay girl; posing; makeup; stylish; 1Malaysia; black hijab; Muslima; teeth; eye contact; beautiful eyes; culture; travel; travel destination; Islam; closeup; headshot
Matt Hahnewald Photography; Facing the World; street portrait; outdoor; Asia; Southeast Asia; Malaysia; Langkawi; Kuah; Malay woman; Muslima; red lips; posing; makeup; 1Malaysia; patterned hijab; read hijab headband; corpulent; Islam; culture; travel; travel destination; smiling; eye contact; sweating; sweat beads; closeup; headshot
Matt Hahnewald Photography; Facing the World; closeup; street portrait; headshot; outdoor; Asia; Southeast Asia; Malaysia; Langkawi; Kuah; Malay man; posing; 1Malaysia; travel; travel destination; Islam; eye contact; taqiyah; kopiah; grinning; photography; colour; portraiture; person; people; closed-mouth smile
Matt Hahnewald Photography; Facing the World; closeup; street portrait; headshot; outdoor; Asia; Southeast Asia; Malaysia; Langkawi; Kuah; smiling; beautiful; Malay woman; posing; beach; makeup; stylish; 1Malaysia; travel; travel destination; Muslima; Islam; eye contact; brown hijab; closed-mouth smile
Matt Hahnewald Photography; Facing the World; closeup; street portrait; headshot; outdoor; Asia; Southeast Asia; Malaysia; Langkawi; Kuah; smiling; Malay woman; blue hijab; posing; beach; stylish; 1Malaysia; travel; travel destination; Muslima; Islam; eye contact; closed-mouth smile




























Langkawi was a haven for pirates which affected the northern part of the Malacca Strait and it remained as a quiet backwater until 1986 CE, when the then prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, decided to transform the archipelago into a tourist place. The island rapidly grew as a tourist destination, and by 2012 CE, it had received over 3 million tourists a year, with many of them from Asia and the Middle East.

Matt Hahnewald Photography; Facing the World; closeup; street portrait; headshot; outdoor; Asia; Southeast Asia; Malaysia; Langkawi; Kuah; smiling; beautiful; Tanzanian photographer; teeth; charming
Matt Hahnewald Photography; Facing the World; closeup; street portrait; headshot; outdoor; Asia; Southeast Asia; Malaysia; Langkawi; Kuah; smiling; beautiful; Korean girl; sunglasses; sunhat; tourist
Matt Hahnewald Photography; Facing the World; closeup; street portrait; headshot; outdoor; Asia; Southeast Asia; Malaysia; Langkawi; Kuah; smiling; beautiful; Malay woman; hijab; red lips; posing; beach; makeup; stylish; 1Malaysia
Matt Hahnewald Photography; Facing the World; closeup; street portrait; headshot; outdoor; Asia; Southeast Asia; Malaysia; Langkawi; Kuah; smiling; beautiful; Malay woman; hijab; red lips; posing; beach; makeup; stylish; 1Malaysia
Matt Hahnewald Photography; Facing the World; closeup; street portrait; headshot; outdoor; Asia; Southeast Asia; Malaysia; Langkawi; Kuah; smiling; beautiful; posing; Sabahan lady; teeth; jetty; tourist; 1Malaysia




























Langkawi is a duty-free island which means that beer and booze can be bought at rock-bottom prices (320-ml cans of beer from MYR 1.50 or US$ 0.35 per can; 1,000-ml bottles of Scotch from MYR 20.00 or US$ 4.70 per bottle). Though Malaysian law discourages Muslims from imbibing alcoholic beverages, tourists and the rest of the population are free to do so…

Matt Hahnewald Photography; Facing the World; closeup; street portrait; headshot; outdoor; Asia; Southeast Asia; Malaysia; Langkawi; Kuah; smiling; beautiful; Chinese Malaysian woman; red hair; cool; baseball cap; sunglasses; makeup




























About Bokeh

Most of the street portraits above show a (more or less) sharp subject and a blurred background which is called bokeh. It derives from the Japanese word boke, which means "blur" or "haze". Adjectives that describe a pleasing bokeh include: smooth, sweet, silky, soft, and excellent… but what exactly is it? 

Bokeh is defined as the effect of a soft out-of-focus background that one gets when photographing a subject, using a fast lens, at the widest aperture, such as f/2.8 or even wider, e.g., as in this blog post about Langkawi, the fast and robust Nikkor AF-S FX 50mm f/1.8G prime lens together with the reliable cropped-sensor Nikon D3100. Although bokeh is actually a characteristic of the photograph, the lens used determines the shape and size of the visible bokeh.

I mostly shoot street portraits with the lens wide open, using a shooting mode of Aperture Priority or Manual. Manual gives me the ability to choose both my aperture and shutter speed, whereas Aperture Priority allows me to choose the best f/stop (e.g. my preferred f/3.2 ... f/3.5) while the camera chooses automatically the appropriate shutter speed for the exposure.

One little trick: by increasing the distance between the background and the subject, I can further enhance the bokeh in my images. Another option is to decrease the distance between the camera and model. 

Bokeh can add softness to an otherwise brightly lit photograph. Using this technique to separate the subject from the background allows me to utilise a sometimes not-so-photogenic background which helps to highlight the subject, not detract from her or him.



Street portrait photographs of hijab-framed Muslim beauties in Matt Hahnewald's

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