Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kuching from above

As an architect, one has to overcome the fear of heights, especially if he is working on a project that is quite tall.

What you experience when you are at the top of your ''creation'' is indescribable, to a certain extent.

Of course, the view that you get during daytime isn't as great until the sun starts to set.

The sun's rays cast a slight orange glow on the buildings. You can see the MBKS building to the top right of the image.

Depending on the height of the sun in the sky, you may get a brilliant yellow...

... or a dusky orange colour.

And when the sun sets, I can testify that Kuching is indeed, very beautiful from the air.

As you can see, the sky changes its colour very quickly, and within a few moments, the pink skies aren't as intense as what they looked like a while ago.

When you turn to the north, Wisma Bapa Malaysia stands out as a golden lamp out of all its peers.

Its interesting that when you start to zoom into the details of your photo, everything seems clearer; waterfront, Electra House are easily recognizable among the zillions of metal pitched roofs out there.

Having a wide-angle lens is so much fun because you can either try to get the buildings to appear perfectly vertical..

Or tilt the lens below or above the horizon line to get more dramatic angles.

Of course one shouldn't just concentrate on one spot only. The surrounding buildings also can be used for pretty pictures.

Thank God for lovely evening weather this past few days. I think I can get hooked on this sorta thing :P


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Clearing out the cobwebs

"Forgive me Lord, for I hath not been updating my blog as often as I should"

In case everyone's wondering, I'm still alive, albeit floating aimlessly in Kuching. Work has indeed taken its toll on me (physically and mentally). I'm still photographing, but I guess I'll be more selective with my future postings.

I visited the MBKS (Majlis Bandaraya Kuching Selatan) building one evening with the hope that I will be able to obtain some nice evening shots. Unfortunately they did not turn on the lights, so I left 'empty-handed'.

I visited the Zecon wharf with 2 members from KFK (Kelab Fotografi Kenyalang) members; Yusri and Asfan. They're a nice bunch to mix with, and it reminds me of the times we had street photography sessions with my mates in Melbourne.

A week before the World Harvest Festival event at the Sarawak Cultural Village, there was an opening show at the Spring to determine which of the contestants would take home the "Miss Spring" title.

Naturally, the first contestant, who's of Kenyah - Chinese parentage, Janet Bennet impressed the judges with her fair complexion as well as her slim and tall figure. The 18-year-old lass is currently pursuing a diploma in Public Administration at UiTM and hopes to be a lawyer.

A few of the other contestants weren't too bad - Jennifer Carterina, the 5th contestant is one of them. I used a bit of fill flash to give some catch light to her eyes and to give some lift to the shadows. The ever-faithful 35-100 helped heaps in separating the subject from the background.

Compared to the last time I was home, this time, I'm making sure I'm having heaps of delicious kolo mee all round Kuching. This is the kolo mee at my favourite shop located at the 3rd mile bazaar.

At office, sometimes work can get quite stressful, that its good to have some .... ''distractions''. [Cough!]

I miss my Gundam models from the old days. Mum threw them all away becaue they were expensive and bad for our academic progress. This is my colleague's.

Compared to the city skylines of Melbourne, the sunsets here seem more ''poetic''. I've got humongous, puffy clouds, mountains, the Sarawak river, and the occasional fishing boat. Splendid!

This shot with the 7-14 was taken moments later when the sun finally set below the horizon. I'd wish I had my tripod (I left in the car btw), but Image Stabilisation helped me to nail the shot nonetheless.

ps: I would consider this a rare appeal, but if you like the shots in this post (or my blog in general), please do kindly leave a comment. It helps alot in encouraging me to post more pics. Thanks!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mud slinging Malaysian politics

Yesterday was rare in a sense that I was not involved in any form of photography as I usually do during the weekends. Perhaps I was just tired from being involved in the Miss Fair and Lovely finals the night before at the Sarawak Cultural Village.

On Sunday mornings, I usually "muddle my mind" by reading the local newspapers on politicians blatantly accusing each other. Barisan National being the main political party in Malaysia openly incriminating the opposition of hypocricy and dishonesty, vice versa.

Today was no exception.

Anwar Ibrahim's blog stated that

"on or about 16th May 2009, you (Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman) uttered and or made a statement at the State Department in Washington during a joint press conference with US secretary of State Mrs. Clinton, that was published and/or caused to be published by Associated Press and was consequently carried by The Star Newspaper (and several local print and electronic media), which was captioned as “Anwar offered me the DPM’s post, says Anifah” ". This is pretty serious stuff.

Obviously, Anwar's lawyer's aren't amused, hence a letter of demand sent directly to Anifah's door step. "Our client has also instructed us to demand damages of RM100 million from you for the injury caused to our client’s reputation."

BN politicians are also crying foul of the recent interview of Anwar Ibrahim by reporter Ian Buruma being published in The New Yorker. They claim that Anwar isn't Malaysian enough to make these kind of statements, and his claim that his life is in danger is all bullsh*t.

You may read the post in full here or download the pdf version.

The problem encountered by the BN puppets is that its just too late to stop media from the internet. Too much damage has been done through the internet, such as Malaysian Today blogger Raja Petra that there's simply no way to cover these issues except to blatantly deny them as over and over again (as if there's nothing better to do, and serving the needs of the rakyat isn't their number one priority).

I'm not saying that Anwar should have the helm of the country. An economics student whom I talked with recently says that Anwar doesn't have enough economic backing to be able to restore the price of petroleum to a level before Abdullah Badawi called off government subsidies for this essential commodity. Plus he's got so much issues to deal with DAP and PAS, that I doubt the Pakatan Rakyat will be able to be as solid a party as the BN coalition of UMNO - MCA - MIC.

Only God knows who will have the last laugh.

Me? I don't know, and I don't care. There are much more important things in life.


Friday, May 22, 2009

pdn photographers virtual trade show

Well.. i'm currently on my old laptop, trying to access the chatrooms of this virtual trade show.

Presented by: PDN
Live show date: May 21, 2009
Live show hours: 10 A.M. EDT - 6:00 P.M. EDT

the sales reps are pretty informative, i can tell you!

for example:

Q: " am thinking about switching to Canon from Nikon. It just seems as though there is a bigger variety of lenses available at a better cost for Canons. Is there a place where I can find some sort of chart that gives me camera equivalencys? I shoot now with a Nikon D700 and I'm not sure what the nearest Canon "equivalent" would be

A: I'm sure various third-party sources have created "equivalency" charts, but Canon (to date) has chosen not to openly name competitive models in our marketing materials. Anyhow, the nearest equivalent to the Nikon D700 would be the EOS 5D Mark II -- both are full-frame cameras, smaller in size and lighter than the full-fledged professional models like our EOS-1D Mark III or Nikon D3 series. The 5D Mark II is higher resolution, at 21.1 million pixels (vs. about 12 million for the D700), and also offers the option of HD video shooting at 1920x1080, something a lot of still shooters have begun to find has opened doors in making their work more valuable to their clients."

Q: My 40D pop up flash wont pop all I see is a error 05 I think that keeps telling me to turn it on and off, but that dont help, any solution?

A: Sounds like something is wrong with the latch mechanism that holds/releases the built-in flash. I can't speculate on what or why, but if you get that error message, the camera has detected a problem. You can try putting the camera in an exposure mode like P or Av, and pressing the Flash button on the side of the lens mount (with lightning bolt icon). It should pop up without hesitation. If it does not, it should be examined by a qualified service technician.

Q: am a semi-professional photographer and am using a 40D camera with the 28-135 lense that came with it. I find it doesn't let enough light in and would like a suggestion for a good all purpose lense that will work for my situation that is very affordable. I primarily am taking photographs of small children in outdoor situations (chasing them) but also a lot of indoor newborn sessions.

A: depending on price there are a couple of ways you can go. The 24-70L is a great choice but on the expensive side. If you can deal without the flexibility of zoom, some of our fixed lenses may work great for you such as the 85 1.8. you could als try the 17-55 2.8 - it does not zoom as far as your current one but is a lot brighter

Q: Hi my name is O*****, I want to ask if somebody can help me, I have a 580 flash, and the 580II, and both gets to hot so soon. You know when they got so hot you can shoot with flash until it cool down, I'm using a canon 5d, I really love Canon, but may be I doing something wrong and I always scared of my flash.

A: With any portable speedlite, if you fire repeatedly and quickly (even if the ready-light has no trouble keeping up), you run the risk of building up internal heat both at the capacitors (and their supporting electronics), and at the flash tube/flash head. With the 580EX II, there are a network of heat sensors that monitor this, and will shut the flash down if internal heat gets too high. This is by design, and there's no work-around. Using high-voltage, third-party battery packs WILL speed up recycle time, but there's always a risk of building-up internal heat if you shoot lots of frames this way. Our advice: simply take it easy, even in fast-paced situations, and give the unit a few moments to cool off after a quick burst of pictures. That's about the only thing the user can really do to change the potential build-up of heat in a speedlite.

Join this event while you can.. its pretty cool!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Yes, after several weeks of being in Kuching, I'm finally sick from flu. If I were travelling during this period, I'd probably get quarantined at the airport!

It does get irritating after a while, having a piece of tissue stuck in your nose while you're at office. I don't think my colleagues are impressed. Even the big boss decided to avoid me today after seeing how runny my nose is.

I've just taken a Clarinase pill from the fridge, with the hope that everything will be well today.

I've got a deadline for the AutoCAD drawings I'm currently doing, which is on Friday. By God's grace, I'll should be able to complete it.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

My [current] life

Even though I've been raised in Kuching for about 20 years, I'm currently missing Melbourne so much that its not funny at all.

I'm currently working a 9am -6pm desk job at a local architecture firm near Novotel. For the first few weeks, I was assigned to do some sketchup models for my boss' housing project near Hup Kee. Now its all about 'getting my hands dirty' to do all the autoCAD drawing for submission at the council. Every single friggin' line counts, down to the width of a drain and the pitch of a roof over a building. Lunch break from 1230 to 130 pm (its religiously adhered to. At 1235pm, everybody's out for lunch).

When I leave the office at 6pm, its usually sunny enough for me to do some evening shots of the city, as it doesn't take that long at all for me to reach the Kuching waterfront. I usually lug my camera gear, tripod and laptop (for fear of it being stolen) at the same time, and it makes me pretty inflexible with my photography options, and it definitely weighs me down.

After some evening shots, I return home for dinner after 8pm, where mum stuffs me with as much vegetables and fruits as if I'm a cow (with one miserable serving of a meat dish). I then religiously check my emails , or go for supper with friends.

Unfortunately, supper is rarely on the list, because everyone seems to have reasons of their own:

"I'm really sick, so I guess I have to stay at home"

"I'm in KL at the moment, can we meet in a few weeks?"

"Work's really tiring, and I need my rest"

Since I'm not meeting as much friends as I used to when I return to Kuching, I'm starting to wonder if I'm reaching a phase of life where people aren't that close as they use to be, and are busy attending to their careers (or family, if they're married).

I'm currently forging new friendships with photography enthusiasts more intensely than I ever have thought I would, since my current contacts are busy with their own lives. It isn't an ideal situation, but I'll have to live with it somehow.

I've also been ''strongly'' advised to pick up some local dialects; aka. Foochow. Those who''ve met me know absolutely well that my level of Mandarin and Chinese dialects are in the pits and not even worth mentioning. If I don't do so now, I'll have a hell of a time at work as an architect in the future.

Enough of my blabberings. Time for a shot of London Gin, then off to bed for me.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Due to technical issues, I don't think that I'll be able to post my photos on facebook, until I get my laptop sorted out. But thankfully in the meantime, I am still able to updated my blog.

I'm taking part in a Heritage Trail Photography Competition in Kuching.

Jointly organised by the Institute of Architects Sarawak Chapter (PAMSC), Sarawak Heritage Society (SHS) and Sarawak Tourism Federation(STF), the contest aims to:

1. Raise publis awareness on heritage conservation
2. Support government's initiative on their pursuit of world heritage listing for Kuching
3. Document the tangible and intagible cultural heritage of Kuching.

The satay man - People tell me he's been around for ages, but I'm yet to taste how good his satays are.

This is the old wet market along Jalan Gambier.

In the midst of decaying buildings, life still goes on.

You can almost imagine several uncles, or grandmas sitting on those chairs, and spending the whole day talking about life.

The security guards are here to ensure no one gets away by stealing metal pieces from the buildings. Thieves in Kuching can be pretty resourceful in getting finding ways how to earn their bread.

Our tour guide, Mike Voon (president of the Sarawak Heritage Society) has plenty to say about the state of Kuching's crumbling buildings. I'd like to spend more time with him one day to document everything that may be lost due to the tides of development.

I met Harry, a local who's pretty accustomed to the scenes over here. He's teaching a school teacher from lodge how to 'fix' her camera shutter lag (its just a matter of a mirror lockup, nothing major).

The river can be pretty quiet in the mornings.

The river operators maintain a vital role in transporting villagers to the city for their entertainment and groceries

Taking a much needed break during the photography tour.

On the eve of the competition due date, I was going around the old wet market area in a last minute attempt to chew out some photos for the competition.

I can't seem to get a decent reflection of the columns, but hopefully I'll get better shots next time round.

I thought the contrast between the new and the old tells an interesting story.

Thats all from me for now.

signing out,

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I feel like a little chicken

I feel like a little chicken hanging for dear life at the end of a thin wire. There is no where else to go. The wire can only go left and right, but the person who's handling the pulleys has gone for his lunch break. Below me, two hungry, gleeful eyes peer at me diligently, waiting for the right moment to take action.

The creature decides its time to take action action, and poises himself ready for the kill. He puts his head up, and lunges straight at me. I close my eyes tightly and wait for my doom, but all I hear is a loud noise of teeth snapping and a crash of water below me. I open my eyes every so slightly, and feel relieved that the creature has not got me yet.

But this is not the end. The creature has all the time in the world, and does the same thing, again, and again, and again. Every time he misses, I breathe a sigh of relief to console myself, but the actual thing is with every time the creature misses me, he reels himself back together, and gets better and better each time.

I can feel his jaws getting closer and closer to me, and the sound of impending doom ever so nearer. There's no where for me to run. I try to curl myself up like a ball to avoid his bites, but its energetically and mentally draining me out. I don't think I can hold on much longer.

Part of myself feels really tempted to let everything go, and let the creature end everything for me. Of course, my other fellow chickens will feel sad, but its the only way I can console myself because I feel I don't belong to this world any longer. Its a sad fact, but its inevitable.

There are some people , myself included, who are in a similar situation like this little chicken. No matter how smart we are, we're only human, and have a tendency to put ourselves in compromising situations, even though we are thought to clearly stay away from them. We can do all things to hide our past errors. Unfortunately, most , or at least our past sins will find us out, and when that happens, we have nowhere else to hide.

We become so defeated, and fragile that we come to our wits end, after using up all our might to hang on to that small piece of wire. We're so tempted to give up, let go and let the jaws of death do what they are supposed to do.

I have to admit, during these past one and a half years, I've experienced so many things in life, things that I would never imagine myself nor my own family and friends to go through. Its a dirty and sick world out there. If we look to the world, it will only suck us dry, and others will hang us out on the line as bait in order to save their own selfish selves.

My strength of my fingers are waning. I am weak, and weary. Only time will tell when its time to end everything.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fashion Week at The Spring - 3 May 09

This post concludes the final day of Fashion Week at The Spring. On a whole, I must congratulate the organisers of this event for a job well done, and I'd look forward to more fashion-related events in the future at The Spring.


I saw a new model today, pity that she didn't give me enough eye contact during the show.


The highlight of the fashion show (for the entire weekend) was held by Xixili. Its the most number Kuching photographers I've seen so far congregated in one area (in front of the models).

She looks almost doll-like in this outfit.

I'm not sure what the masks are supposed to signify, but I prefer that they don't wear them at all.

And thus marks the end of the Xixili fashion show.

Allen rightfully won a RM 30 shopping voucher from Xixili.

I'm not sure what he did with it, but he looks pretty happy!

That day was the first time that I also saw a limited edition Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR lens, mounted on a D700 of course. Its such a beauty, isn't it?



The last show for the night was by La Primavera.

Although the main focus was on handbags / purses, the models' black outfits look pretty good too.

I'm not sure if any lady would like to carry a such a large bag around, but I'm sure it has its uses.

And thats all for the Spring Fashion Show 09. I'm sure Robin must have wished he was here!

Dang.. I think my 35-100 will be feeling lonely for quite some time :S



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