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Entries in Photography (97)


A Hazy #WWPW2015

It was finally done and I stayed indoors most of the time. The API doubled between the time we gathered until we split for lunch. And the KL Marathon scheduled the next morning was cancelled soon after due to the haze.

But that did not deter our determination to shoot. In the end, only 40 shooters turned up, which was a decline from last year. On paper it should have been at least 70.

We congregated as planned at Restoran Yusoof dan Zakhir right opposite the Central Market main entrace. Since I arrived late from the hospital, I parked straight there. Luckily it wasn't affected by the KL Free Car Day that morning. Had a quick breakfast before we congregate at the front of CM main entrance for a quick briefing as well as the obligatory group photo.

Soon after we that, we set off. We walked past the old “Bus Stand Kelang” - now transformed of course, passing by the far entrance of Petaling Street towards Pasar Karat, which was our first shooting area. We spent around half an hour there, shooting and mingling around with the crowd, having some coffee in the end as well.

I then walked past Petaling Street proper - which was still closed as it only operates from 11 am - through the remnant of Hotel Malaya towards the Guan Di Temple. Here, the group started to thin out with half of the group moving on towards the Sri Maha Maniaman Temple while others decided to hang around at Pasar Karat.

Me? I went to a completely different direction. I turned back towards Petaling Street, all the way towards Stadium Negara and join some friends at Merchant's Lane Cafe. This was a real discovery for me, a quaint, rustic cafe bar, renovated from the old pre-World War shophouses along Petaling Street with a hipster twist. Something that Puan Anita would appreciate! More on that later.

I had a slightly bigger breakfast, took some photos there while catching up. Half an hour later, it was time to walk towards the end meeting point while taking snaps along the way of course. But by this time, the haze was really picking up. The sky was even greyer than when we started, the air quality deteriorated, not a conducive time for a photowalk all around.

I skipped the planned stop at the Indian Shops along Leboh Ampang, and went straight to Burger King where we end our walk. We reached there quite early and got the best seats in the house. Again, we caught up with friends, said our goodbyes, quenched our thirst before finally setting off towards Central Market again, via Dataran Merdeka.

At this point in time, the KL Marathon had yet to be cancelled and preparations were in full swing. A long of runners were there to pick up their gears for the next day's race and judging from the air quality, I wasn't surprised that the announcement for cancellation finally came. We walked past the Masjid Jamek bridge and walked towards the CM Annex for our final stop - lunch.

Bob Magnus suggested that we have lunch at his old stomping ground on the top floor of Central Market. It must have been around 20 years since I last been at the stalls there, and not much had changed. More food and finally time to pack up and go.

A subdued walk due to the haze unfortunately, but the flame was still there. Definitely would be going again next year. And now time for post-production …. and uploads of course!

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Tidying Up

Since Aidilfitri, I had been taking plenty of snaps, but didn't have time to go through them and do the post-processing, let alone archiving them. I spent last weekend getting them organised and now, uploading them to my server for storage as well as some onto my SmugMug and Flickr accounts.

That was hard work. I think it was best to organise my shooting better so that the post-processing would be more organised ...

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UNESCO Day Malaysia 2015

As usual, I love to be nosy. I like to know what was going on in KL all the time and if it was a form of festival, with food involved, I always tried to be there. That was how I discovered Urbanscape - in the old more chilled-out form - back in 2009. Since it had gone commercial, I felt that there is a devoid in independent, urban event organised by the locals, for the locals.

After visiting the UNESCO Day, I was still searching.

There was a couple of events going on around KL last weekend. The first - probably the bigger was the Pesta Belia Putrajaya - Putrajaya Youth Festival - held of course in Putrajaya, organised by the Ministry of Youth. Not exactly well advertised, and I only learned about it through Twitter. The sad thing was finding more information about it proved a pain, and I felt that it wouldn't be worth making the trip across to Putrajaya when I couldn't really plan the day.

That was shelved.

Next up, it was Hari UNESCO Malaysia - Malaysia UNESCO Day. It was under the umbrage of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and as expected the two ministries don't really plan things together, hence the clash!

In terms of venue, the UNESCO Day won hands down since transport to and from Dataran Merdeka was easy and admission was free and all. A quick walk from Central Market and you were already there. Easy decision in the end.

Originally I wanted to take Anita along but she felt a bit under the weather, although I suspect that she was worried that it would be raining. I set off alone after parking my car at KL Sentral, taking the LRT to Masjid Jamek. And the weather was gorgeous.

The venue was split into a couple of areas. The main exhibition area - a rather formal affair complete with stage and VIP seating area. The other area was mainly to chill out - foodtrucks and tables. In between, there was the Dataran Undrgrnd - shaded area which used to be a carpark, fully airconditioned if you need shelter from the sun and rain, and also where the toilets and surau were located. Really convenient.

I spent the afternoon mainly at the foodtruck area as well as the far side of Jalan Raja where the street arts were located. As a place to chill out in the middle of the city on a sunny Sunday afternoon, the UNESCO Day was a winner. The sun, and some really nice coconut jelly was just heavenly ..... Would definitely come again for the sun and food. But for the exhibits? It was way too formal, something you'd expect to see in an expo hall. And I have attended far too many conferences before ....

More photos from this event at my Flickr page here.

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The Edgy Camera

iPhone had always been the go to smartphone for photographers. It gave a consistently pleasing results, and with each iteration of the phone, the results kept getting better and better. It is a given that any flagship smartphone would come with a great camera.

The Lumia series then redefine the concept of a cameraphone. I own a Lumia 930 and the results had always been fantastic. But the main drawback with the Windows platform, was the lack of software, although the Windows 10 looked promising. Hopefully more apps would be available of the likes of Snapseed and VSCO cam for a bit of post-processing.

Even the Blackberry - at least on the Z10 - had a decent camera. I really like the output from the phone, but it was grainy and blotchy on low light. It also relied heavily on post-processing as the out-of-the-camera result wasn't always that great.

Then came the Android. They tended to be a mixed bag. Sony tended to have great sensors for their camera. LG was not far behind although I was disappointed with the Nexus 4 - which was made by LG. Oppo made great hardware and screen, but their camera was always so and so. The we came to Samsung. They were improving over the years and the output from Note 3 and S4 was pretty decent.

The S6 edge was a different beast however. The 16MP - or in my case 12MP since I use the 3:2 format - snaps I was getting from the phone had been mind-blowing. Yes, they tended to be oversaturated one minute and subdued in another, but overall I was not expecting it to be this good. I would have bought the phone on the camera alone, let alone the scrumptious screen and form factor.

The jpeg had issues in high contrast situation struggling to cope with a wide dynamic range, but it held its own pretty well. On par if not better than my iPhone 6 plus in most situations although it occasionally tended to underexpose indoors. The iPhone tended to get the exposure right compared to the Samsung. Low light performance? Astounding. However, I still rated both the iPhone 6 and the S6 lower than my Lumia. The Lumia could challenge even a half-decent compact cameras at times.

At the moment, I was pretty happy with the results from the S6, and paired with Snapseed, it was definitely worth a look as a compact travel shooter. As they say, the best camera was the one you have with you at the time.

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The Decors are Out

Xmas was gone, and it was now time to look forward to Chinese New Year. It would be a busy time of the year for me as I would be covering my colleagues, but it also meant that the decorations would be out at the shopping malls. It may not be as extravagant as the last few years due to the economic situation, but the opening gambit at Pavilion was quite decent.

I have also seen photos from Nu Sentral and 1 Utama as well, but yet to find time to go out there. I also had the time to have a look at Suria KLCC, and as usual, they tended to be a bit conservative and predictable there.

It would be the year of the Goat. Last year, the Wooden Horses appeared in hordes at Pavilion, turning into a spectacular spectacle. For this year, there was a giant golden goat in the central foyer and lanterns all around. The entrance was nice however as the lanterns formed into an arch welcoming the punters through the Bukit Bintang entrance.

The angle from the famous fountain was nice, in fact many stopped to look and take photographs. Shame that there were so many constructions going around the area, clogging the place with traffic. I wished that the walkways would be exclusively for pedestrian, and the cars would be diverted away. That would open up the area into a large boulevard, connected to Starhill, all the way to Lot 10 and Bukit Bintang.

I went there before the rush of shoppers walked in - on an afternoon when I had no clinic. I had a chance to look around, but wished that I had more time to explore. Next would be Nu Sentral for me I think, but finding the time would be a challenge. Maybe this coming weekend.

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