From Zero to Play Store

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Steven Leong Photography appThe story began about a month ago, it was right after Chinese New Year in 2013, which for some meant that it is time for a diet because they ate too much during the holiday season; for others, it was a time to readjust themselves to the work environment after the triple-combo celebrations of Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year.

For me though, it was a time to prepare for the rest of 2013 and Q1 2014.

I have always been fascinated by stories about how this is now the age of the mobile devices and how it would change our lives. As someone who loves gadgets, I am on my 2nd smartphone and 3rd tablet; and as such, I have experienced first-hand the usefulness of mobile apps on as well as how they can potentially change people’s lives.

Why not get someone to develop a mobile app then? Having used third-party developers for my website twice before, I can safely say that is out of the question as they never actually produced anything that is up to my expectation. The alternative would be to the application myself but I haven’t done software development for nearly 10-years now.I was from the world of C, C++ and Assembly; had zero experience in doing anything involving a GUI (Graphical User Interface) and not to mention Java or stuff that ran on-top of a Unix-like operating system like Android or iOS. So the plan for a mobile app was put on hold until I could find a better solution.

There are things in life however that is somehow fated or is meant to be done… as it turns out getting a mobile app was one of those things for me.

One fateful day, a month ago… after I played with a sub-standard Android app made for one of my industry partners which was written by “professional” app developers, I got the final push to develop an app myself. “After all, I can’t do any worse than those “professionals”, right?” I told myself.

The following day, I sat beside my laptop and Googled, “How to develop an Android application”. And the rest as as they say, is history.

For those who are wondering why I didn’t start with a iOS app, it is simple, Android is a platform that I am more familiar with.

Google to its credit, have made it incredibly easy to develop apps for the platform; providing a very good and free development environment and built-in debugging on any Android device via USB or network. In all honesty, Java though initially seems quite foreign to me, it is still C or rather C++ based; and writing stuff in XML is so much like HTML and CSS.

Yes, software development have evolved so much over the last 10 years; not in the sense that new programming languages are developed but in the way of the tools to improve the efficiency of the developer, in the usage as well as quality of API (Application Programming Interface) and the wealth of information on the Web. I can imagine myself enjoying software development a lot more these days than I did those years ago.

After much researching, learning, hacking and rewriting code, the app is finally ready. As of last night, an app called “Steven Leong Photography” is on Google Play Store. I hope it will provide a good enough an experience to everyone.

And if you are in possession of an Android device running Android 4.0 or higher, hop over to the Play Store HERE.

Canon EOS 1Dx Impression

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EOS 1Dx with EF 16-35L II @ 16mm, f/16, 20sec, ISO200; camera on tripod; no adjustments during RAW conversion

It was 18th October 2011, I was there with hundreds of others in Kuala Lumpur at the launch of a mysterious unnamed camera from Canon.

With a puff of smoke, lots of gasps (and an occasional moan :P ), tens if not a hundred or so smartphones and tablets raised up into the air, the CEO of Canon Marketing Malaysia took the Canon EOS 1Dx out of a safe.

Yes, it was exciting, it was great… and as far as anyone could tell from the working protoype, Canon Inc’s new EOS flagship is ready!

But then… the wait started; first it was early January 2012… then it was pushed back to April 2012 and finally, 8 months or so from the announcement, a production Canon EOS-1Dx finally reached my hands in late June, barely a month before the opening of the London 2012 Olympics.

So, did Canon drop the ball this time? Releasing an imperfect camera? Or releasing it too late? Or BOTH? Continue reading

1st Place at WPJA Q3 2011

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It isn’t everyday that I get good news such as this but HERE it is : http://www.wpja.com/contests/51-2011-q3-contest/10-lit-portrait.html ; I won the 1st prize for lit portraits at WPJA (Wedding Photojournalist Association) at their Q3 2011 competition.

It is indeed an honour to receive such recognition for my work from an international organisation. This is a milestone and it will not be only one; I will both be hoping and working towards being better in the future.

p.s. hope you guys like this image as much as I do and for those who are wondering, neither the sunset nor the motion blur on the bride’s dress are digitally enhanced or added in.

Stories we never want to read about…

It has been quite some time since I have last written anything because I was moved or touched but today is rather unusual if not special.

Last night, a friend commented, “Photography is no fun at all, because you always have to bring along so many things then go out early in the morning and come back at midnight” (quote modified from typical IM-style English) and not so long ago, I found a suitable reply for my friend’s comment in some stories I read.

These are stories that we (as photographers) never want to read about or hear but sadly (or fortunately, depends on how you look at it) we tend to be involved in them. Continue reading