Interview with Mr Adrian Lim
This round, we are happy to interview the Michael Schumacher of birding, Adrian Lim (aka wmw96).
NPX: What got you interested in photography?
Adrian: I picked up birdwatching in August 2003. Back then, during many of my outings, a number of birders not in our group were noted to have been taking photos (of the birds). So, instead of just viewing with bino and recording the birds in record books, I thought it a great idea too, to have a collection of photos of birds that I had seen. Further more, the photos would help me to identify the birds accurately.Well, ‘ two birds with one stone’, as they said !
NPX: How long have you been doing photography?
Adrian: I only picked up photography after 2 1/2 years into birding. So you can consider myself as pretty ‘young’ !
NPX: What’s your favourite genre of photography? (eg. nature/portraits/landscapes/abstracts)
Adrian: Currently, I am only into bird photography. Perhaps when I am too old to shoulder the load of the lens, I may consider switching to nature and portraits etc.
NPX: We understand that before you took up bird photography, you’re an avid birder. What made u take up birding?
Adrian: It all started off unintentionally. I have a group of friends who are car enthusiasts, and they would meet every Sunday to take a drive together, from KL city through countryside and a small town, up to Gohtong Jaya, half way up Genting, where the Pump House is. They would park the car at the shops there, then would take a walk up the pump house, as morning exercise, and at the same time, they would bring with them their binos to watch birds, as that was considered a very productive birding ground. I was invited to join them on their drive one Sunday, being the owner of the same make of car they were driving ( well, you can call us members of a car club, if you like). While walking up pump house that Sunday, we spotted many birds, and one bird specie in particular got me interested in this hobby, and that was the Minivets. It was quite a sight, to see such beautiful birds in large numbers, flying together. I couldn’t stop talking and counting the bird species I saw that morning, while having breakfast with them at the shops later. Since then, I became the most enthusiastic member of the driving group, and also the most enthusiastic birder…. until I got involved in bird photography !
NPX: And afterwards why the switch to bird photography (if we can even call it a switch)?
Adrian: Just to further elaborate, birds don’t perch for long, like models, for you to watch or take time to identify, that is why birders are using field book to record glimses of newly spotted birds that they hope to identify later, if not then. To describe birds in words is different from taking and keeping photos of birds. A picture, or photo, paints a thousand words……this is the reason why I picked up bird photography…..ironically, I also started to give up driving with the guys !
NPX: Who are your photographic influences?
Adrian: I was not, in particular, being influenced into photography by anyone. It was just a simple hobby that I had picked up while watching others.Having said that, I do confess that every now and again, I do get some basic tips from bird photography books, and from birding with friends.
NPX: What are the critical advantages that you carry forward from your birding days that you know apply as a bird photographers? care to share those with us?
Adrian: Bird knowledge, knowing what bird to find and where ! In most cases, I can identify a bird just by listening to its call, watching its flight, or at times, can predict even the bird species likely to be found in certain species of tree. It saves me time, if I am looking for some new birds, as I can ignore birds that I am familiar with, without even looking at them. But I must emphasise, I am only familiar with montane birds !!!!
NPX: What kind of stuff do you put in your camera bag?
Adrian: I don’t carry a camera bag, instead, I have a plastic box in my car that is large enough to contain my Canon 600mm lens, the 1DMKIII, and all other accessories.Just look at my photo in the attachment, I like to bird ‘light’, have to take care of my back you know! Oh yes, I have a separate bag to carry sometimes, which normally contains some food items, insect repellent, bird reference books, raincoat etc.
NPX: What’s the most challenging aspect of shooting your favourite genre of photography?
Adrian: Sufficient lighting to have sufficient shutter speed, these are the two important, related requirements shooting in the jungles. Montane jungles are my favourite shooting grounds, but the lighting can be terribly bad, not to mention that the birds are always hidden, or partially hidden, behind branches and leaves. Somehow, having a good shot of a moving bird under the canopy of the tree is like watching Clint Eastwood shooting his enemy exactly where he wanted ! Satisfaction ? I can’t express in words !
NPX: What advice would you give someone who is interested in picking up your genre of photography?
Adrian: If money is no object, turn to the last page of the catalogue and buy the best equipment, this may, in the near future, yes, near future, saves you $$$$, having to upgrad the system ! You see, I did not listen to advice, and had ended up paying double the amount that I had spent on my current setup. Also, for not listening to the advice, I had, at one stage, learned to speak a language that any gentleman shouldn’t speak, out of frustration. You will know what I mean, when your camera shutter just refuses to click while your friend beside you has already fired 10 shots ! The best and fastest way to learn is to have frequent outings with unselfish friends who are willing to impart knowledge and experiences.
NPX: How do your family feel about your photography passion?
Adrian: I consider myself lucky, as this has never been an issue to my family, possibly because I have jumped from dangerous car racing to bird photography, a much safer hobby. Did I say safer ??
NPX: Describe your worst followed by the best photography experience you encountered while out in the fields.
Adrian: I don’t really know which was the worst, falling into the sea with my camera setup, or being told after that I had ventured alone deep into the jungle where a tiger had been spotted. The thought has given me goose pimples many times over! Best experience ? I guess every outing is good, and every experience is good, and that includes educating the passers-by on conservation and bird watching. Seeing the inquisitive faces turning into faces of content and smile is a good experience, everytime !
NPX: If you have to choose TWO favourite photo which you have taken, which will they be? Reasons?
Adrian: It is just impossible for me to pick out two favourite photos, as I have so many of them ! In my opinion, all the photos I have taken and retained are special, as each of them reminds me of a special day at birding ! Maybe I will start to look into all my photos now, but you will have to wait to see the two shots months from now !!!
NPX: Hmm, ok, can we then know what transport you use for your birding trips? A picture of it will be nice.
Adrian: Oops, this is a tricky one ! But since you ask…. Convertible Porsche, when I go to Bukit Tinggi, Fraser’s, Pump house, Awana and Cameron Highlands. Reason is simple, I combine opened top driving pleasure with birding. These places also have good roads, safe and with good parking areas. But to Bukit Rengit and Ampang Rimba, a BMW. I hope you won’t misconstrue that I am showing off, but this is the truth, I have no other appropriate cars to drive as my other cars are all too small or too slow for my liking ! Birding in style is not by choice, in my case, it just happened, from car club member to birding, a natural progression ! I just don’t feel the necessity to buy another car for this purpose, atleast not now. In difficult terrain situation, I can always go in friends’ vehicle.
NPX: Nice ride and thanks for granting us this interview.
Adrian: Gladly and thank you.
___________________________________________________interview edited by Roger