Monday, 14 November 2011

Catching Sunrise, Revisited

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Breaking Dawn I'm not posting holiday photos. This is sunrise in Penang. If you've spent some time in Penang before, look closer and you'll probably recognize that tiny patch of black trees as the tiny island close to Penang bridge. And on the horizon is Butterworth on the mainland.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Catching Sunrise

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Sunrise and Penang Bridge It was Deepavali, a public Holiday in Malaysia. But instead of spending the morning in the bed and compensate for the sleep debt accumulated over the working days, we ended up waking earlier than usual. The reason? Some silly promise I made to myself a few days back.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Khoo Kongsi

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Penang:: Khoo KongsiWhen the Chinese migrated to Malaysia (then Malaya) about 200 years ago, they formed closely-knit communities. Those who shared the same surname lived together and watched over each other. In the Hokkien community in early Penang, there were Five Big Clans, namely, Khoo, Cheah, Yeoh, Lim and Tan. These communities built their clanhouses and formed settlement around them.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Evening At the Park

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It has been months since my last post. Ever since I started working more than two months ago, free time has become a luxury. On the weekdays, daytime and nighttime is but an alternate between work and sleep. Weekends meanwhile, are for slumbering and being unproductive, except for the very few occasions when I'd somehow force myself out for a photo session.

But what's a photo session without my beloved Zhi, who's also my faithful camera assistant (she carries the lenses for me) cum photo model? And so, poor Zhi was dragged along to the Youth Park, on a hot sunny day when stepping out of the house is hardly a welcoming idea for the sane mind.

Thankfully, our session was a fruitful one. We came back with a number of satisfying shots.
Evening at the Park :: Gotcha!

Saturday, 30 April 2011


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Redang Dawn
We've talked about this since half a year ago, long before I returned from Japan - a trip to Redang Island. But planning a trip is never easy, especially if you're travelling to an island that is not as accessible as your local shopping mall... First, you'll need to either take a plane or a bus to Kuala Terengganu. Then, hop on a taxi to get from the airport to the jetty, where you'll take a boat ride to finally reach the island. That's right, half a day and at least three modes of transportation to get to Redang Island!

Friday, 29 April 2011


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After 5 years in Japan, I'm back to Malaysia. From now on, my photo album will feature photos from here, starting with Pulau Redang! Pulau Redang is an island off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the South China Sea. ("Pulau" means "island" in Malay language.)

With no light pollution, the night sky was dotted with stars that you will never see in the cities. If you look closely enough, a couple of them was caught in this photo. Even with a 52-second shot, the stars were starting to trail off.

This rocky hill is located in the middle of the two beaches. It was lit by some light from a resort close by. The white "mist" in the foreground is the waves hitting the beach. And in the background, some distant light (perhaps from a lighthouse?) lent an eerie glow to the night sky.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

11 March 2011 - The Day the Earth Shook

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I woke up this morning, wondering if yesterday was a dream. Just then, the building trembles as if to remind me it wasn't. Okay, point taken!

So there I was, pushing the trolley back to the lab after sending my stuff to the post office. As I walked into the university compound, staff were coming out of the administration building on my left. The terrified looks on their face showed that something was amiss. They turned back to look at the building they'd evacuated. Oh god, the building was swaying. So were the trees that lined the road. They seemed to be shaken by some invisible force.

Then I felt it. The ground was moving.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

First Anniversary (Part III) - Resolutions

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I hate to be apart from you. Some nights, after putting down the phone, it's hard to fall asleep even though I've just talked to you. The deafening silence of the room reminds me how much I miss you. A girl who's willing to wait for his return - what else can a guy wish for? Remember the hesitance we had before we got together? How we worried if things would work out even though we're apart? I thought it would be irresponsible of me to keep you waiting. But at the same time, there is this selfish desire of wanting you for myself. That is why when you eventually promised to be with me, I fell in love with you even more.

First Anniversary (Part II) - Watershed

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The sound of the closing door reverberated through the room. Every thing was familiar but it now felt emptier than when I left a month ago. All by myself now, I no longer had to hold them back. The welled up tears broke loose.

I was missing her already. What's left with me now was the memories of the things we did together in the previous month. Those memories that I had diligently etched to my mind so that I could relive them at times like this. But instead of relieving me of my longingness for her, I grew even more dispirited. Despite the feelings that we had for each other, there was this psychological watershed we were not ready to cross. The fact that I was still going to be in Japan for the next few years shut the door on any prospects we could have.

First Anniversary (Part I) - Shared Memories

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Long ago, men went to sea, and women waited for them, standing on the edge of the water, scanning the horizon for the tiny ship.
It has been almost a year since we last saw each other. A phone call every night, frequent exchange of short messages, and an occasional love letter - these are what have been keeping our love strong. Yet at the same time, they can never appease my yearning for her physical presence.

That's why they say long-distance relationships are never easy. But the irony is, if I hadn't left to study in Japan, we wouldn't have been together. I would have forever remained that awkward teenager whom she had once rejected during high school (18 was a dreadful age). It is these five years of life overseas that made me shed my former self. Appearance-wise, I'll never star in a J-drama, and my fashion sense is still no better than a garden slug's. But at least I can now cook, handle household chores and settle the bills by myself. I keep a couple of part-time jobs to fund my retirement savings. So I guess that makes up for my other shortcomings.

Our mutual friends think it's a surprise how we got together despite the distance. That's pretty understandable - we surprised ourselves too. Instead of attributing it to pure coincidence, I prefer to read it as nothing other than a sign of romantic destiny. But even if our destinies were woven by some higher power in the heavens (10,000m up there), I believe it still takes some form of initiative from both sides to ignite a relationship. For us, it was my asking her out, and her willingness to open herself to me.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Rocky Waters

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Rocky Waters
Took this long exposure shot in Odaiba. In the background is Odaiba's famous landmark, Rainbow Bridge. The problem with landmarks is, they're always "shot" to death, by tourists. For travel snaps, it'd be fine but if you're looking for something of a different touch, sometimes you'll have to go the extra mile.

The spot where I took this photo was pitch dark. Even the rocks couldn't be seen. Luckily, I stopped by at the place hours earlier in the evening so I had a rough idea of how the composition of my photo should look like. And with the help of a tripod plus long exposure, voila!

I used to call it the day when the sun goes down. But it seems that night time has plenty to offer too! Even if it means you've to take the trouble to carry your tripod with you.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

The Temple and the Tower

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I have never taken many HDR photos. The main reason being that you can never know the end result until you process them on the computer. Besides, I believe my HDR works will always be overshadowed by the Mt. Fuji HDR shot I took back in 2008.

Taking HDR shots wasn't my initial plan when I went strolling in the vicinity of Tokyo Tower last weekend. But I took three exposures for a couple of my photos because the background was just too bright for a normal single-exposure shot. After processing them on Photomatix and Photoshop, voila! It turned out more decent than I thought!

Koshoden @ Zojoji
It's halfway between "realistic" and "CG-like" but as long as it doesn't end up like over-saturated Marvel comics, the effect suits me just fine!

Unfortunately, it wasn't until just now that I realized a huge flaw in the photo. That semi-transparent bar in the middle left is the result of some mistake I made when adding the frames. It can be easily fixed but with my free Flickr account, I can't replace photos! Hint, hint... Buy me a pro account, someone...