F.U.N. Photographer of the Month – February 2010

[written by “Great Grand Master Bluffname” and compiled by “Great Monster KopiOkaya”]

The Photograph of the Month award is usually given to an excellent image that captures the spirit of the times. But for February, “Great Grand Master Bluffname” and “Great Monster KopiOkaya” have decided to award recognition to a truly excellent photographer – TheChef.

TheChef is an inspiration. His enthusiasm for learning, open-minded attitude, determination and hard work have led to his transformation from an being average photographer to an accomplished artist in just one short month – in fact, during the shortest month of the year, February 2010.

TheChef used to be active in another photography forum, where he received ample praises for his photographs that were, at best, ordinary. But he was seeking more than just praises. To quote his signature in his forum posts, he was “In search of excellence in photography”.

And so when he saw that photos posted by Fujifilm F.U.N. members on SgShoot.com were “interesting” and different from most others, he joined in the discussions and sharing of images.

One of TheChef’s early contacts with F.U.N. was in November 2009 when he turned down an invitation to join a F.U.N. outing, preferring instead to shoot a lion dance competition, his favourite subject. The two photographs he posted of the lion dance received harsh criticisms from KopiOKaya.

[photos: TheChef]

That did not deter TheChef, however, unlike some other forumers who “disappeared” and never posted again after receiving negative feedback. He stayed on and, finally on 30 January 2010, joined his first F.U.N. outing at Thaipusam. And when he later joined an informal “Bromancing” outing to shoot an Esplanade concert, he got hooked. TheChef became a regular and active FUNee.

Other F.U.N. members will not forget his initial flood of sharings, with sometimes more than 20 images posted after each event. He posted just about everything – the good, the bad and the, er…. ugly! Some of us did not know how to respond. KopiOKaya and Bluffname, however, took up the challenge to provide constructive, albeit negative, comments, pointing out areas in which his images were not up to par – unnatural skin tones, distracting backgrounds, untidy compositions, and so on.

TheChef took it all in his stride. Not once was he defensive. Instead, his more usual response was to modify and improve his images, or to show in his next set of images that the comments had been noted. His progress was thus evident. And rapid. Each time TheChef went shooting – and he shot a lot, sometimes two or three events in a day – his images were markedly better than the previous lot.

But, like all of us, he, too, sometimes regressed. As February drew to a close, he posted a series of rather good images, only to be followed by one that was totally messy.

By then, F.U.N. members had been talking about high standards at the “Shaolin School of Shooting” and TheChef had expressed his determination to become a “Chamber Master” of the Shaolin School within three years. This time, the “Great Grand Master Bluffname’ and “Great Monster KopiOKaya” did not moderate their comments. TheChef received one of his harshest criticisms ever!

The result? A truly stunning series of awesome images posted just two days later. With this latest series, TheChef knocked hard on the doors of the Shaolin School. Those doors have now been opened to him. TheChef is now walking on the red carpet.

[photos: The Chef}

Congratulations, Chamber Master Chef. Never before has the Shaolin School of Shooting graduated a student in such a fast-track express course. A celebration is in order! Bring out the shark’s fin soup, roast suckling pig and bird’s nest dessert… and not forgetting the champagne!

As the saying goes – “Too many cooks spoil the broth”. In TheChef’s case, it is many Sifus that created a top chef.

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