Monday, December 31, 2007

29th Dec 2007 - Esplanade & Vivo City Photoshoot + Location Recce

On the 29th December, I went to The Camera Workshop to get my tripod head base plate changed/fixed up but it was closed for the festive season leading towards New Year Day. Thereafter, I decided to shop around before heading towards the Esplanade to recce potential locations for shooting fireworks on New Year Eve Countdown.

I also had a good glimpse of the floating pontoons in Marina Bay whereby the fireworks would be firing up into the Central Business District skyline, 8 minutes of fireworks display, I am looking foward to shooting fireworks again !

After having some ideas on potential shooting locations, I went inside to the Esplanade and was entertained by a trio of young guitarists & singer performances at the concourse, jamming rock ballads on their acoustic guitars, rock ballads that I identified easily because I grew up in the rock ballads era. The boys are 12 & 13 years old and they possess a great level of talent for playing the guitar extremely well, let alone performing rock ballads in front of an audience. There was a singer who sang really well too, she had a great voice and she is a real talent for singing !

After watching the performance, I walked towards Clifford Pier to catch a bus to Vivo City, meeting Dave Koh of Espoir Bridal for photo taking and drinks. While I was crossing the Esplanade Bridge, I saw the Singapore Flyer lighted up !

Vivo City is in the midst of preparations for New Year Eve Countdown Concert and there are still many people post-Christmas shopping mood. The lights are still in place and the big and bright Christmas tree still stands tall and proud. Moving around to explore and take photos of Vivo City, enjoying the relaxing pace of photography.

Year 2007 is coming to a close and counting down to welcome 2008 !

Sunday, December 30, 2007

First Car Model Shoot - Honda Civic Si JDM FD2

I always love taking photos of cars especially sports cars and have been following sports cars since I was blown away by Takumi Fujiwara & his AE86 drifting of the Initial D anime series.

Even though I went to many motorshows and sports car carnival events, I don't have the opportunity to have an official car model photo shoot. However, I was given my maiden opportunity to have a photoshoot for my friend, Jack's with his Honda Civic Si JDM FD2.

Jack also has a great and awesome car blog dedicated to his Honda Civic Si JDM FD2, do drop in and take a look, it's very informative and highly popular with local and overseas Honda & car fans !

I took him to a new location in Singapore, it would be a lovely location to visit when the whole area is finalising their construction. Even though it was nice, I couldn't get many decent and nice photos of his wonderful car, 1st time at this particular location, didn't plan my shooting before hand. In the end, I only managed 2 decent shots.

Please drop by my maiden portfolio on my first car model shoot
Jack's Honda Civic Si JDM FD2 - a photoset on Flickr

I promised to improve my car model photo shoot for Jack and would update on my blog here when I shoot Jack's Honda Civic SI JDM FD2 portfolio shoot in the future (track racing, tranquility locations, nice long roads etc etc)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

My Christmas Gifts 2007 collection

Christmas 2007 has passed, no big celebrations but a good rest away from the overcrowded crowds.

Looking back, special year, have received a number of Christmas gifts (I usually don't give and neither do I receive, yes, I am a scrooge). Wonderful gifts from many people, some went inside my tummy (Eric's chocolates and Sterling's Macadamia Nuts from Hawaii).

Showcasing some gifts here that I received:

LED lights from Scoutmaster Sterling imported from Hawaii, Beijing Olympics key chain from Joe, Hokkaido key chain from Alex, set of ESPRIT towels x 3 from Christmas gift exchange with Raymond.

Thanks to all who have given me wonderful Christmas gifts !

Also thanks to Kelvin & Jenny & Celeste for organising and allowing us to use their home for a Boxing Day gathering !

Have a great festive season 2007 ! Let's all countdown to welcome 2008 !

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year !

Dear readers,

Thanks for dropping (regularly) by my photoblog to read and view my photos ! Hope you all enjoy my blog !!

Wishing all of you here Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year ! Many best wishes and all the best for the new year 2008. May this shining star below bless everybody with wisdom, blessings, well wishes and guidance, a guiding light for all.

Enjoy the festive holiday season, folks !

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Lights Shoot at Esplanade - 22nd Dec 2007

It's a long day of events,

Morning - Pre-Wedding Portfolio Shoot with Espoir Bridal
Late Afternoon - Coffee with Scoutmaster Sterling Yong of Hawaiian Scout Troop 42
Evening - Dinner and coffee with Dr Edwin Tng of Smile Arts Dental Studio

Before meeting Edwin, I was walking around Esplanade, taking a few photos of the Visual Arts Festival, I also wanted to take photos of the floating spheres of well wishes that would be lighted up with the UV spot lights at the Esplanade Promenade and Esplanade bridge but it wasn't lighted up, wonder why ?

Well, I was enjoying Christmas celebrations atmosphere, there were choir singing and there was also a performance by UN53A at the Stage @ Powerhouse. More details of the UN53A can be found on the Esplanade What's On - Events Site ~ Esplanade Presents UN53A, it was raining before that when they performed and it kind of deterred people from going outside.

They played wonderful music and songs, led by the beautiful Sara, accompanied by Alvin and Colin. Slowly, their music performance attracted more people to Stage @ Powerhouse. I wasn't able to stay and listen to all 3 performance segments because Edwin arrived in Marina Square to meet up for dinner and coffee.

I would write up more about the pre-wedding portfolio shoot soon... keep a lookout !

Sunday, December 23, 2007

2007 Photograph of The Year Contest

Dear folks,

Recently, I was surfing the internet, like what I usually does, I found this wonderful website called PhotographyCorner. It's a great website that have articles on photography resources, knowledge, equipment discussions, photo galleries, many many more wonderful features !

This photography site is special because it has a blog inside its website called Photography Corner Blog and it is a interactive blog network to learn, read and interact with people of the same passionate photography hobby.

Inside this leading photography website, there is something even more special. They have photography contests !!! Folks, PhotographyCorner is having a contest known as 2007 Photograph of The Year Contest !! This contest is sponsored by great sponsors:

More details of this contest can be found on their photograph of the year contest website e.g. prizes, rules, details (prizes are valued at over $20,000 !!!!) . I am keen to enter this photography contest and pit my photography skills and works with international photographers.
I would love to win this photography contest, but winning is not everything. This website gives me the chance to interact with fellow photographers from all over the world, I am now a member of PhotographyCorner, participating in the forums as much as I could. If you are a photographer or keen to take up and learn photography, this is a great website for you to join the international photography family known as PhotographyCorner.

Let's all enter the 2007 Photograph of The Year Contest and showcase our photography works to the rest of the world !

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Lights Shoot @ Vivo City - 20th Dec 2007

Today is a public holiday, everybody seems to be out shopping and relaxing, preparing for the upcoming Christmas holiday. I was in Orchard area walking around, haven't done so for quite sometime and it was chaotic and crowded. Before that I was talking to Dave of Espoir Bridal, discussing and analysing on our recent triple-photographers pre-wedding photo portfolio project.

Met up with Scoutmaster Sterling Yong from Hawaii Troop 42, along with my seniors Jeff and Vinnie at Meritus Mandarin. Got nice Christmas gifts from Scoutmaster Sterling, would post my new toys when I take a product shoot on them !

Thereafter, went to Vivo City to meet Dave for a night Christmas Lights Shoot @ Vivo City. It was really nice to see a big Christmas Tree besides the usual tree we usually see in Ngee Ann City, took photos of the Christmas Tree reflections off the water surface.

Hope you folks enjoy the photos !

Counting down to Christmas and a new year 2008 !

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mount Kinabalu DSG Trekkers

2007 is coming to an end, many things had happened in my 2007 calender. Some of the wonderful events that impacted me in 2007 were my involvement with the 85th Anniversary Celebrations, helping out in the planning and project management of the 85th Anniversary Campfire and Dinner.

Being part of the 85th Anniversary Mount Kinabalu expedition trip, I had lots of fun with all those who made the trek up together. Thanks for making it fun & exciting !

Keep a lookout for the 85th Anniversary Year Book.......

Onward Dragon Scout Group !

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Day 5: Kota Kinabalu City - Senai - Singapore

Day 05

After reaching Kota Kinabalu City on Day 04 night, checking into King Park Hotel, I was busy bringing out my wet clothes to dry up in the hotel room, packing it only in the morning of Day 05, squeezing it into my backpack.

After breakfast in the hotel, all of us went to a nearby day market, known as Gaya Street Sunday Market, it was great to be walking around flea markets again, I always enjoy visiting such places, bringing back fond memories of my time in Brisbane and Sydney, visiting day and night flea markets. There were many interesting things on display, ideal location to find gifts back home for your friends, relatives and family members.

After shopping, I went back to the hotel to check out of my room, went with Mr Heng to find Yee Keat and Jovan. Thereafter, we went walking around Kota Kinabalu City, we walked straight along Jalan Sapuloh and Jalan Duapuloh, visiting Warisan Square, a modern shopping centre with nice restaurants. Crossing across the road, we arrived at a really beautiful marina promenade known as Waterfront, many cafes and restaurants occupy this location, making it an ideal location to sit down, chill out and relax while enjoying the peace, tranquility and beauty of South China Sea surrounding Kota Kinabalu City.

We went to explore around the area further, walking around Handicraft Market, Central Market and Wet Market. Many different trades and business operating around this region facing the sea, showcasing the modern and traditional business side by side in Kota Kinabalu City. When I was walking through the various markets, there were food stalls preparing and cooking their food (seafood, BBQ etc) and it looked really delicious !!!

After a while, we decided to sit down at Coffee Bean Cafe at the Waterfront, sit down to relax and enjoy coffee while chatting away, while waiting for the sunset to arrive, whereby we would get a good view from the Waterfront promenade.

1745 hrs - We proceed outside of Coffee Bean and looked out into the sea, the sun was setting down and we started taking photos of the sunset slowly coming through. We had a good 15 mins of photo taking before leaving at 1800hrs to head back to our hotel, joining the rest of the other guys for our coach to the airport for the flight back to Senai and taking a coach transfer to Johor Bahru and finally back to Singapore.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Day 4: Laban Rata - Low's Peak - Laban Rata - Rose Cabin - Kota Kinabalu

Day 04

At 0145hrs, we woke up and prepare ourselves for our summit push from Gunting Lagadan to Low's Peak. It was really cold in the early morning hours in the mountains but we were buzzing with excitement and eager for the climb to our ultimate objective.

0215 hrs - Falling in of entire contingent, roll call, final check and split into 3 groups for summit push.

0230 hrs - Commencement of our summit push !

Being an old boy + adult , there were responsibilities on our part to ensure the young boys and girl were taken care of during the summit push due to its technical and terrain difficulties. Yong Kok and myself took care of the Group 2, with the following crew, Wei Chuan, Wei Tian, Wen Li and Ai Xia.

The summit push was much more difficult due to climbing in total darkness, although we had head lamps attached to us. I have to thank Wen Li for helping me fix my maglite torch on my jungle recce hat because I didn't bring a head lamp ! While climbing up the granite rocks, keeping close to the thick white rope, we could easily see lines of "christmas lights". The night was very beautiful, once we trekked out of the temperate rainforest altitude, only the shiny granite rocks greeted us and looking up into the dark clear sky, were full of bright shining stars !!

As much as I would love to stop and take photos, the urgency and sensibility to be safe and taking care of the crew, supersedes my photography ambitions. Moreover, due to the terrain, we had to be a lot more careful and sometimes, we had to be on all four limbs.

It sounds dangerous here but I have to emphasis that, you must follow the white rope, don't deviate away and always be mindful of your steps and people around you, the risks would be controlled considerably and under such circumstances, would you grow in strength and character of yourself in the aspects of risk taking and responsibility actions. Something that even an outdoors person like me, I find my summit push a humbling, enriching and learning experience.

Reaching the plateau, we slowed down significantly, due to fatigue and altitude sickness. I had to constantly motivate my people and it was a huge challenge for me, I had to thank Ms Aixia for helping me to push and motivate the guys up also because upon reaching the plateau, I was pretty drained out and took a bit longer to acclaimatise to the altitude of 4000m. Kudos to Ms Aixia for showing true leadership qualities, well done !

We all finally reached our destination ! Low's Peak @ 4095.2m ............ Physically drained ...... yet Full of pride, happiness, excitement in conquering Low's Peak. We took a bit of time to enjoy the beauty of Mount Kinabalu summit and its surroundings, being so high up in the sky above the clouds, the feelings and emotions were very special and unique. To experience exactly what went through my mind, I strongly encourage you (reader) to climb Mount Kinabalu.

Climbing down, it started to rain heavily and we had to be extra careful, soaking wet and slipping many times, we finally made our way back to Gunting Lagadan, changed to dry clothes, packed our daypacks and head towards Laban Rata for warmth, food and water. Once everybody returned from the summit and gathered at Laban Rata, we gathered ourselves, bid goodbye to the mountains and trekked downhill to Timpohon Gate. With aching legs and sore knee caps, I couldn't go too fast.

During our descent, it rained again heavily, soaking wet again, we returned to Rose Cabin, to collect our backpacks, changed to another set of dry clothings, tucked into dinner and headed towards Kota Kinabalu City......

A very memorable (& VERY WET) day.......

Friday, December 14, 2007

Day 3 : Rose Cabin - Timpohon Gate - Laban Rata

Day 03

Rise and shine ! Waking up to a brand new day, overlooking from the balcony of our room, I was mesmerised by the beauty and aura of Mount Kinabalu, feeling the tranquility and spiritual enlightenment of Mother Nature. The sky was clear and we had a great time admiring the trek that we would be embarking on later.

After a hearty breakfast and packing our backpacks into the hall, we were transferred in vans and multi-purpose vehicles to Kinabalu Park Headquarters, where we met our local guides and collected our Mount Kinabalu National Park ID tags. When the entire contingent was ready, we boarded a mini bus uphill to Timpohon Gate, the entrance to Mount Kinabalu National Park. Before passing through Timpohon Gate, the guys and girl did stretching and warm up and took group photos.

Flashing our ID tags at the gate office to National Parks Officers, we were registered to be officially entering Mount Kinabalu National Park and began our descent uphill to Laban Rata. Feeling excited with lots of adrenaline rush, we trekked up pretty quickly to the first pondok, however, we were put to the test our strength and endurance. The distance from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata was 6km and the altitude from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata was from 1866.4m to 3200m.

The route wasn't easy after a while, it wasn't too steep but it wasn't going to be a stroll in the park. It was physically demanding and trekking uphill towards higher altitude resulted in less oxygen available, thus making us more tired easily. We took regular stops along the route up at designated pondoks. There were water tanks and toilets at the pondoks, nicely done up in an untouched tropical rainforest.

Due to difference in fitness levels across the entire contingent, we reached Laban Rata at different intervals. Most of us managed to reach Laban Rata around 1430-1530hrs and had a well earned rest at Gunting Lagadan (our hostel). At Gunting Lagadan, I was feeling the effects of mountain sickness, feeling a bit of headache and dizziness, however, I was able to acclimatise and settled down.

We went to Laban Rata Restshouse for rest, afternoon tea and later dinner. I ordered hot milo and appreciated this lovely hot drink in the highlands of 11,000ft, with a temperature of 10-11 degrees. The weather and landscape up in the highlands were beautiful beyond words that I could possibly describe. Even though we were tired, we had a lot of fun taking photos at Laban Rata Resthouse.

I was blown away by the beauty of Mother Nature and be part of the clouds (we were about at the same level), sitting outside the balcony of Laban Rata, with my milo on the wooden garden table, I sat down with my Canon 30D and faced the beautiful blue skyline and white clouds. I felt enlightened in a way, my thoughts and feelings there were peaceful and relaxed, giving me an inner peace that I had been seeking. The emotions and happiness flooded my mind and I was very happy that I am up there in Mount Kinabalu and with the clouds in the sky.

Soon, Yong Kok joined me at the balcony, had a very good chat on visions, goals, desires and planning. The environment there at that point in time probably made us more composed and relaxed, coming together to plan out something for the future, mentoring and personal development courses for leaders.

Sunset soon began to set in and I was pretty glued to my seat for sometime, enjoying the beauty of sunset in high altitude, I just love sunsets and being able to capture the beautiful sunset so high up in the mountains, made my climb very special and memorable.

After dinner, we had a final briefing, water parade and rest before the summit push from Laban Rata to Low's Peak......

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Day 2 : Kota Kinabalu - Kiulu River - Rose Cabin

Day 02

Waking up in the morning, enjoying a simple breakfast at Trekkers Lodge, we prepared our wet water gear and checked-out of the backpackers hostel. We boarded our bus to our morning adventure location, white water rafting at Kiulu River (Grade 1 - 2).

After loading our backpacks into the luggage compartment of our tour bus, we took our daypacks onto the tour bus and headed for a 2 hour ride to Kiulu River. Soon, we reached the end point of our Kiulu River white water rafting and placed our daypacks at the compound before returning back to the tour bus, for the journey further up to the starting point of our white water rafting adventure.

Our white water rafting adventure was organised by Exotic Adventure Sdn Bhd and Asia Paddler. Upon reaching the starting point, we were given a bit of time to explore the surroundings and cross the wooden bridge. Soon, we were back for our briefing by our river guides, on the aspects of the raft and safety instructions. After strapping ourselves up with helmet and life vest, we were divided into 3 groups for our white water rafting adventure.

Photo taken by Exotic Adventure / Asia Paddler

Paddling down the river was really very fun, as it was my maiden white water rafting adventure, I was very excited, full of adrenaline rush ! I was at the front of the raft with Ganesh and we had the best front views of the river adventure. Moving up and down the rapids, splashing water on our fellow rafters, dropping into the river for a swim, building up teamwork with your mates in the raft, we had so much fun !

After a 10km white water rafting route along the Kiulu River, we reached our end point and went back to shore. With everybody high on adrenaline and spirits, we took photos of our entire group and respective raft crew, along with our river guides. We were treated to a wonderful lunch prepared by Asia Paddler / Exotic Adventure after washing up and changing into dry clothes.

After a wonderful lunch, we boarded our tour bus again and headed up towards Mount Kinabalu region, a very beautiful hostel known as Rose Cabin, 2km away from the entrance to Mount Kinabalu Park. After checking in, we had a good rest and went around taking photos of Mount Kinabalu from Rose Cabin, visiting their nursery, playing with their resident cat, relaxing...

A nice dinner follows and soon after our mountain climb briefing by Su, we proceed to prepare our daypacks for our ultimate adventure, the climb to the summit of Mount Kinabalu tomorrow.......

It's going to be Day 03 of our adventure.