Once upon a time, during the Chinese New Year of 2013, a guy name Brian decided that he wanted to marry Sally. Soon after, he went to Sally's parents without her notice to seek permission and they've given the green light. And so, he had put up a 'conspiracy' with both sides' parents to strike a surprise wedding proposal at Pangkor Laut Resort. So last Friday, I was sent to Pangkor Laut Resort for this special task - to photograph the process by the beach at the Emerald Bay during a private dining. We ironed out the concerns on my role, the flow and the lighting through emails and whatsapp till this day has come.
For Sally, this is a personal getaway with Brian, happened to be very timely away from the bad haze situation that instant.
The main challenges I would encounter is angle and lighting. The beach is a one-stretch area where you would easily notice people around you. Not to mention a stranger who is carrying camera and kept walking around, pointing the lens at you taking pictures.
Luckily that it has been sorted out ahead. The plot Brian had was to have the resort making a mistake on his room booking upon his check-in, to compensate the mistake, he will be given a complimentary private dining at Emerald Bay. BUT, the day will coincides with the resort having a photographer to take promotional pictures.
Initial problem solved. I wore a light brown slack intentionally to blend with the uniform of the hotel staffs, hoping would help me camouflage better.
On a sidenote, I felt more like a vacation than work seriously. Look at my room.
Pangkor Laut is a very beautiful place with unique emerald green sea color. Really love the beach and waves, it makes a very nice setting for a romantic photo. Occasionally, you'd see wild hornbills flying around too which is new to me. The only place I would see one at peninsular Malaysia is the bird park. Imagine if I were not able to shoot from the beach, I will need a boat shooting from the sea. But one thing for sure, will get huge amount of blur shots. The waves were strong.So the target has been dropped. You can relate the challenges now, with the beach I'm working with. Shooting photos for hotel and pointing your lens to a couple is two different thing. So I had to move quick and be alert where Sally is looking. So, the hotel photographer happened to be around the couple and ask if they are interested to have a photo taken. This was not in the plan but I think the lighting is just too gorgeous to miss this quickie. haha.. So Sally is still unaware of what's coming ahead at this point. But in the middle of the dinner, she asked Brian "are you sure we get all these for free?"I moved away when their entree is served. Back to the kitchen area, the staff is preparing the engagement ring, blending it with creative fruit art on the champagne flute.They tried a few versions and this is the end product. It is cleverly hid on the watermelon bird's neck. The dining area is dark and this wouldn't make it too obvious for Sally to notice before Brian initiated his proposal move. While the ring is ready, another important surprise element is here, the families.Now, this is it.So the artist of the drink introduced this special drink to the couple, explaining it's a special one and Sally has to find out on her own but she don't seem to notice the ring yet.It's very dark for the camera here, maxing out the low light capability of my DSLR. Although you see them smiling like this, zooming 100% into the picture you'd see tears in both their eyes. I found out accidentally while editing.They then continue to finish their main course while the family rest at the nearby bar at Emerald bay. Brian's mum asked: "Milan, Brian asked us, the parents to be here, do you think it's weird from your experience? I thought people nowadays will have friends to come instead?"
The question struck me by surprise - how the son and mum think on behalf of each other, I thought. So I answered, it's actually a very good & right thing for Brian to think of the parents when making this important decision in life. You'd see his sincerity despite the cost of stay at Pangkor Laut Resort. It completes the proposal by having the families. The atmosphere somehow became a little touchy and both mums with their first respective child getting married soon shed tears.
It is rare you can get milky way + couple together in Malaysia. Cause it depends a lot on your luck with the timing, clouds and weather too. My first attempt, not perfect but a good start. This shot was made with Brian and Sally's help to cover the little lamps with 4 towels!
&.b.t.w. - If you wonder how you can get milky way, I wrote a tutorial before where it is achievable by any DSLR here.
&.&.b.t.w. - Will embark for a soul searching trip this month. I think I needed it once every year. To think nothing about work, reflect and hopefully bump into random inspirations that will get me forward.