An Adventure with Travel Photographer Yudy Zukara
An interview on his work and stories
We’re here today with Malaysia based travel photographer, Yudy Zukara. He’s agreed to come on for an interview and to share with us his photography, stories and insights. We hope you’re ready for a terrific adventure through East Asia, as this is where Yudy takes us.
Thank you for joining us today, could you tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in photography?
“I was born on December 15th, 1977 in Terengganu, the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia which is endowed with a wealth of charming and refreshing natural landscapes. Hence the desire of capturing these panoramas came about since I was small. As a Kampong boy, I could never afford a camera until my first purchase of my first digital Canon 500D in 2007. I began to take photography seriously since then.
I love taking pictures. I actually shoot just for myself. The feeling I get when I find that perfect moment and I am able to freeze it forever in time is almost indescribable. Photos are memories. They are moments that moved you. They made you yearn to capture them. I have always been drawn to the power and magic of photography.”
What do you typically look for when you shoot, what kind of scenery, what kind of subject, etc,?
“I am a nature lover. What caught my eyes have always linger around the ocean, seascape, mountains, waterfalls and cityscape. I can do with any kind of subject that could complement the frame be it people, animals, twigs and other living and non-living things. When I travel, it is not just about photography. It is about getting to know local people, their culture and way of life. Like everyone else I always do some online research about the destination for each of my trips. I always come up with a plan. I never follow, follow my plan. My trips have always been based on a low budget. I will sleep anywhere where I think is safe. In the last few years, my trips were mostly to Indonesia. I am lucky to have made many friends in Sumatera, Jawa Island, Bali, Nusa Tenggara Barat and Timur, Sulawesi and Papua.”
What equipment do you usually bring with you to use?
“Until 7 -8 years ago I was using Canon system with a few L lenses, but now I use Sony mirroless camera and 4 Zeiss Batis lenses; 2.8/18, 2/25, 1.8/85 & 2.8/135”
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Where have you traveled to for your photography? What are some of your favorites locations, and why?
“I have traveled the furthest to South Korea. Due to financial constraint, most of my travels are limited to South East Asia namely Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. My favorites locations would be Indonesian archipelago and I am proud to say that I am the first Malaysian photographer to reach Gigi Hiu @ Kelumbayan, Lampung provinces at South Sumatra to capture the giant stone and tapered shape rock formation that resembles the shape of a shark tooth (Gigi Hiu) row in this beach. In a group of 4, we went through an excruciating journey on foot before we reach the beach to camp and did the sunset and sunrise shots.”
What difficulties do you often face when traveling for photography? And how do you overcome those challenges?
“As my favorites spots are usually located at rural country sides with no modern infrastructure, access would be the major challenge. I overcome by having proper planning and studying the topography of the site well ahead so that I can prepare the necessary equipment and tools to bring along and make arrangement with the local people for the transportation (by means of a 4WD/motorcycle/foot), accommodation and for food/other supplies.”
Can you share with us a few of your favorites photographs and explain the story behind them? What was the setting? The challenge of capturing the moment? (And so on)
1. Gigi Hiu aka Shark Teeth:
“Kelumbayan located in Lampung, Indonesia. This location is very natural and has not been visited by outside people even people neighbor village do not know where exactly name of Batu Layar aka Gigi Hui, has steep sharp rocks and big waves. In 2014 only few people know about this place ecspecially for malaysian photographers because the people of Bandar Lampung doesn’t attract for commercialing the place, they choose life with natural ecosystem they had. Road to Kelumbayan was quite bad. (Do not dare to try having a sleep inside 4WD coz it will cost a dizzy head) actual road passable only by motorcycles, riding motorcycles is impossible for those who are not familiar, the road is very bad. But the very bad road was paid with the wonderful blue-color-beach and the deserted ambience beach.” – camera setting 1. F2.,8 20 sec., ISO-1000 & 2. F11, 0.4 sec., ISO-100
2. Mata Jitu Waterfall
“The journey to West Sumbawa begins from Bali. Drive with 9 crazy friends from Denpasar taken time around 23 hours include ride 2 x ferry and small boat for first spot its called MATA JITU WATERFALL . Mata Jitu waterfalls, a stunning waterfall can amazed anyone who came to this region. Beautiful scenery complete with natural green trees made Air Mata Jitu waterfalls became one of excellent things at Moyo Island. Waterfall which has become part of Indonesian nature reserve, have been formed millions of years ago. The combination of green waterfall young and old seemed to hypnotize you to throw themselves and play in the water in this waterfall.Mata Jitu waterfalls has four railroad and seven pools. By the locals, “Mata Jitu” is defined as springs that fall right on the pond below. The beauty of Mata Jitu waterfalls is famous up to foreign countries. In fact, the late Princess Diana has been in this waterfall. People around the waterfall are also dubbed as the “Queen Waterfall”. The beauty of the waterfall staircase steps is not only the water coming down from above. The rocks that have formed thousands of years ago can also be seen here. Stalactite-stalagmite adorned wall surfaces Mata Jitu waterfalls as beautiful scenery presented. Form of stalactites and stalagmites that varied the main attraction for anyone.” Camera Setting ; f22, 6 sec., ISO-50
3. Panorama of Putrajaya Lakeside Malaysia
“To get what I want I don’t know how many times I repeated the same place again and again luckily this was near my workplace. Nature Landscape photographer’s best friend is the Weather.” Camera Setting ; f11, 2.5 sec., ISO-200 5 frames stitch to panorama
Can you tell us what a typical photography trip is like? Take us with you and explain the basic idea of the trip from the start to finish.
“I am a simple man. I enjoy 50% of the journey itself and 50% photography. A typical day during my photography trip will start by setting up the tripod as early as 3am (depending on the location) which is 2-3 hours before sunrise. Having captured the sunrise, I would have my breakfast, rest to catch my breath before exploring the city/village when I would invest my time to meet the local ethnics to build strong relationships with the people I met. Only then I would be able to make street photography that captures the soul of local peoples.”
What advice would you give to fellow photographers, and others planning to take photography trips, to travel and capture the beautiful world around them?
“Only one – you must have passion! With passion, everything else is possible – you will definitely produce captivating, compelling, provocative and moving photos. The unexplained magic in photography. Oh yes, before going for a photography trip, study the culture of the places you plan to visit, its do’s and don’t’s of the society as it is important to be respectful and compassionate to the people and country you are photographing. Make friends with people who share the same passion so that we can learn from each other useful photography tips. Above all, being passionate and intuitive about photography brings moments into amazing pictures.”
About Yudy Zukara
Yudy grew up on the east coast of Malaysia. From a young age he was fascinated with the world around him, he desired to photograph it however his situation wouldn’t allow for it until 2007, when he was able to afford his first camera. Since then he has produced stunning photography of the world around him. He now takes every opportunity to visit places within his budget to find the perfect, location and moment to capture his next memory. More of Yudy’s work can be viewed on his website.
This is Don MacDonell with the Talk Photography project, creating content with the intent of inspiring the new generation of photographers around the world by way of interviews, stories, insights and tips in various forms of photography. Look forward to our video projects to come in the following weeks.
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You’ll likely find Sinsee Ho‘s interview, and Tejal Mewar‘s project very inspiring as well. Our project with Street Photographers around the world is also online.
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