Tuesday, 25 December 2007
This year also marks the Palace's coming to grasp with internet technology to issue a simultaneous release of the recorded speech on YouTube.com, which, for those not in the UK, will be able to watch via the world wide web. Kudos to the Palace!
Watch on YouTube : The Queen's Christmas Speech
Don't worry, its only about 7 minutes long.
Monday, 24 December 2007
I couldn't find a suitable scene to point my camera at, however. It was visual noise for me at that moment.
I continued walking past the fair and noticed in the hedge along the pathway, there were some small white flowers that were blooming in the shrubbery despite being winter, and they were magnificent. The scene caught my eye immediately and I made a photograph of it. I hope you like it.
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
The great thing about the GV2 (unlike the GV1) is that the pop-up flash is still usable, with the flick of a switch on the left side.
Because of my shortsightedness, I prefer to use the external finder to compose my shots, traditionally, so that my eye does not need to change focus off the main scene to the LCD and back again, causing strain and missed opportunities. In addition, I can turn off the LCD display entirely, thus extending battery life.
Sunday, 16 December 2007
16 December 2007
Also walked past the Godiva chocolate shop window and had to photograph this enticing display..mmm those that know me know that I love chocolate!
(Click on the each picture to see a larger version)
Sunday, 9 December 2007
(I popped by the V&A today and photographed Chihuly's huge glass chandelier in the foyer with the Ricoh, showing excellent detail and low noise.)
The GR Digital II however improves on this performance by cutting this shot to shot interval in RAW mode to about 3 seconds, and the camera has an internal buffer to write the files whilst allowing me to release the shutter immediately after the first shot. The High ISO files are quite film-like also, with noise appearing like film grain and is therefore ideal for high contrast black and white images. With 10MP resolution and a smallish 1/1.8'' sensor, this is an ideal street-shooter's stealth camera, with good depth-of-field. It even has a snap-focus setting to approximately 2.5m preset which improves the shooting lag. This gives me a usable professional digital camera that has the potential quality of RAW adjustments and enlargements should I choose to print large.
Another useful setting is its ability to shoot 3:2 format which is the same as 35mm film format. I cannot get used to the 4:3 format on all digicams yet and I seldom if at all crop my images, tending to frame my images critically as I compose.
I would thoroughly recommend keen enthusiasts among you to consider this camera if you are in the market for a decent digicam. Leave the zooms behind and consider using your feet to compose. You will not be disappointed.
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
Title: “I Love Valley of Hope” Carnival
Date: 8 - 9 December 2007 (Saturday & Sunday)
Title: “I Love Valley of Hope” Carnival
Venue: Dewan Orang Ramai, Sg. Buloh Leprosy Settlement
Initiated by: Sungai Buloh Settlement Council Organiser : Save Valley of Hope Solidarity Group
Co-organiser: KLSCAH Youth Section, SUARAM, Lost Generation Space Supportive Media: Photo Creator Magazine, Ai FM
VISION: To preserve Sg Buloh Leprosy Settlement as a heritage for mankind
1. Firmly acknowledge the immortality right of living of the lepers patients in Sg Buloh Leprosy Settlement.
2. Introduce the Valley of Hope, educate and create awareness among the public regarding the importance of preserving heritage.
3. Assemble the support and strength of all groups, in corroboration of saving and preserving the Sg Buloh Leprosy Settlement as National Heritage.
Day 1 : 8 Dec 07 (Saturday)
*10am-6pm Photo, Leprosy Settlement History and Flora Exhibition
*9am -12pm Drawing Competition
*1pm -2pm Opening Ceremony
*10am -1pm Movies/Documentaries Sharing
* 2pm-5pm Forum: The Value of Preserving Heritage (Mandarin)
2 days 1 night “I Love Valley of Hope” Youth Camp
Day 2 : 9 Dec 07 (Sunday)
8am-12pm Family Day & Exposure Trip
10am-3pm Photo, Leprosy Settlement History and Flora Exhibition
10am-12pm Movies/Documentaries Sharing
12pm-3pm Cultural Stage Performances
I photographed the living conditions, the activities and the inmates there during my visit and gotten to know a few of them. It brought me closer to understanding the condition of leprosy and the stigma it still has on sufferers although they are completely cured but disfigured. I learnt that the government funds the operation of the settlement, although the living conditions are pretty dire and basic, the inmates are self-sufficient due to generous donations from the public and social organisations.
Many inmates also grow fruit, vegetables and plant seedlings to supply the local garden centres, earning a small amount of income. Visitors are few save for relations and family members although this particular settlement is a Christian one, there are regular visiting clergy. There is a Muslim settlement adjacent I understand.
The settlement is quite large and set in a clearing which is green and lush with spectacular views of the surrounding hills. It has a local coffee shop where inmates hang out and a small sundry store also. A few inmates get around the area by motorbike or bicycles as they suffer from mobility problems although most suffer from facial and hand disfigurement.
I wish the settlement well and hope the event this weekend will raise the profile and awareness and preservation of this historical settlement and enable more public visits.
Monday, 26 November 2007
Its famous for its low costs compared to the supermarkets and gardens centres and there's always a bargain to be had, especially nearing packing up time in the mid afternoon. The stall holders shout out their best prices on the top of their voices in competition with their neighbours, and the cacophony of sounds add to the charm of the market.
Around the market there are wonderful gift shops and stalls selling art, decorative accessories, kitchen stuff, cools stuff and food.
There are pubs and buskers and full of tourists with cameras. Its a bustling area not unlike Portobello Road, but more East End, and definitely worth a visit.
This is a shop selling fresh olives and olive oil with free tasting too! I tried some Colchester oysters round the corner from here. They were fresh and tasty but a bit small. At £1.50 a pop, it was reasonable I thought.
Friday, 16 November 2007
London in the autumn is my favorite season, due to the wonderful colours of the trees, the crisp chilly air and clear blue skies, like in the photo above. However, the drawback is that the sun sets early, about 4:30pm and darkness falls by 5pm. Photographically speaking, the bright sunshine and low sun makes for long drawn shadows (when the sun is out, that is!) which makes nice abstract images if one cares to look around. I intend to grab some Christmas shoppers and street scenes in this light soon. There is a seasonal ice rink installed by the Science Museum grounds in South Kensington with pretty Christmas lights illuminating skaters, which I might go take a peek one day!
Saturday, 10 November 2007
Let's hope the yellow march won't turn into a sea of red, and a successful outcome for all concerned citizens.
Saturday, 3 November 2007
Did you know we have our own Malaysian Baywatch tower in Batu Ferringi! Complete with polo-shirt donned lifeguards with binoculars, but no Hasselhof or Pam Anderson lookalikes sadly.
Thursday, 25 October 2007
A 5-piece gamelan orchestra played soothing sounds in the background, whilst guests browsed and chatted amongst themselves.
Rachel, the subject of our 'cover' was hounded by the press photographers too, posing with the mock-cover of the book which was unveiled from a 'ketupat' casing by Tuanku Zara earlier.
All in all, we had about 100 guests including the media crew. Thanks to Selena of The Bijan for presenting the venue so well and producing a superb canapes menu. The honey calamansi juice was a treat!
I would sincerely like to thank all our guests, family and friends who came along to lend their support, and hope that you will enjoy the book as much as we have in producing it.
We have set up a small exhibition of photographs from the book, at the the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from 24th to 28th (Sunday) October on Level 3, and Haliza and I will be present to meet visitors and sign books also. Margy my wife is helping out in manning the stand, bless her. Hope to see you there!
Friday, 19 October 2007
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
Monday, 15 October 2007
I passed by Hachiko Square again, so I took a snap (for you Luz) of the Akita.
The ride to Shinjuku costs 150 yen (about £0.70) and takes a few minutes. It is purportedly the world's busiest railway station, combining 4 separate stations serving several main lines in, out and around Tokyo, plus the Narita Airport express train. Above the main station are shopping malls, foodcourts and offices. Its a monster to most of us but the Japanese thrive on railway stations, everything centres around stations, they rely on this (very) efficient and relatively cheap form of transportation to get to work.
For you Hello Kitty fans out there, here's a photo of a Hello Kitty stall in the station, selling Hello Kitty cakes and merchandise!
I am slowly getting the hang of using the train now in my second day. Figuring out the route still takes a bit of time as there are so many stations and lines. A lot of people fall asleep on the subway, perhaps its the long hours they put in or they live a long distance away.
I am so glad that my hotel has free broadband connection so that I can update this blog daily. I hope to visit some museums tomorrow as most are closed today, a Monday.
Sunday, 14 October 2007
I left Sagamihara this morning headed for Tokyo, with my assigned interpreter Ken Nakanishi, who was very kind to be my 'guide' for the day, which, being Sunday means no work for him. Kenji Mukasa from the City Hall surprised us by seeing us off at the Hashimoto Station in Sagamihara. It was a bit of a moment then, as we had been communicating early on back in June with his first email, but as he spoke no English, it was Ken who was responding for Kenji in his emails to me. Strange situation, but then came good, and now I am departing Sagamihara, not having really had the opportunity to speak directly with him. I feel really grateful to him.
The train ride to Tokyo Shibuya Station where I will be staying took around 50 minutes only, and this is not the Shinkansen, or bullet train. Its a normal commuter fare. Shibuya, however is another world. The station is a huge complex combining the subway, rail,a bus station and shopping and retail all in one. Its high-tech and crawling with trendy Tokyo-ites.
Its also on the doorstep to Shinjuku, one stop away, which, apparently is has the world's largest railway station, department stores like Takeshimaya, Isetan and Tokyu Hands.
Shibuya, however, has Hachiko Square, a little memorial to Hachiko, a dog whose endearing story goes like this. This faithful Akita dog waited everyday for his master's return from work for 7 years at the same spot after his master had died.
Shibuya also has the famous street junction crossroad where hundreds of people gather on 4 sides of the intersection and cross at the same time. You have probably seen this in travel documentaries, ads and movies like Fast and Furious. Its a real sight. We went up to the Starbucks on one side of the intersection and watch from a cool first floor vantage point, whilst sipping green tea frappucino. Yes, green tea.
Friday, 12 October 2007
Its also a very contrasting country, like this photograph :
and this, I grabbed this (below) near the Hashimoto Railway Station in Sagamihara City, so practical to ferry school kids around in converted shopping trolleys. Now, why can't London schools...no, nevermind.
Now, I really like Japanese food. I am spoilt for choice here. Every corner, there's a sushi bar, or noodle house, and its actually quite cheap, compared to the UK. £2:00 to £5:00 buys you a bento box lunch or tempura set. Even 7 Eleven's sell bento sets and sushi, so one won't go hungry here.