Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The Faces of Buddha 1 - Phnom Penh

If Buddha had a face, I think he would look like these...

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Monks 1 - Phnom Penh

Boy on the Street, Phnom Penh, Laos

Phnom Penh, Laos, was a city that I did not expect too much from. The whole point of going there last year was that I wanted to go to Lua Prabang, one of the hidden gems in Southeast Asia, where the whole town is listed a heritage site by UNESCO. But as I wandered along the streets in Phnom Pen, I saw this little boy whose happiness and smile could not be contained when I kept take pictures of him. You can tell by the streak drool under his lips!

There is his mother, who is as beautiful as her son. More to come on Phnom Penh people, and many, many Buddha statuettes.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

The Egg(鸟蛋)- National Centre for the Performing Arts

Built by French architect Paul Andreu, the National Centre for the Performing Arts, or intimately known as The Egg by the locals, is one of my favourite pieces of modern architecture in Beijing. I love how as though it is dropped from the sky in the middle of the traditional Chinese buildings (The Forbidden City, for example) and Communist landmarks (such as Great Hall of the People and Chairman Mao Mausoleum). The style, a futuristic silvery dome, is so out of place that it actually fits in quite harmoniously.

Today, Beijing saw one of its balmiest days with warm sunshine and crystal clear sky. A lot of photographers flocked to The Egg with their tripods and multiple cameras set up at the best locations, trying to get the best shots they could. I, however, just peddled away on my bicycle, finding the best location and tried to steal a shot here, and a quick shot there like an opportunist, marking a memorable end for my first Labour Day in Beijing.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

I ♥ Hong Kong

Moving to Beijing has not been a difficult transition for me. And I actually haven't missed much about Hong Kong but except for one thing: the sea. My family live right on the habour side in Fortress Hill and even after I moved out, I lived some 10 minutes from the Victoria Harbour in Central. The waters of Hong Kong have played an integral part of my growing up as a) I have always lived close by the sea, and b) I love going to the beach and c) there's nothing I love more than going on a boat trip in Hong Kong.

Now living in Beijing, which is practically in the middle of the desert, going to the sea as become a kind of luxury. Pictured above was taken just outside where my parents live. With the skyline from Tsim Sha Tsui as a backdrop and a fishing sampan in the front, what I live most is actually the fisherman sitting at the bottom of the Easter Corridor, waiting for his boat to pick up him.

Hong Kong's famous skyline of Victoria Peak, featuring Wan Chai, Admiralty and Central.

Contrary to most people's belief, Hong Kong is actually full of nature. In fact, 70% of Hong Kong's land is green and bushy. Shown here is a small creek in Fan Ling, northern Hong Kong. There is so much to offer in terms of hiking and water sports.

Sunset at South Bay - my favourite beach in Hong Kong. I used to go there almost every weekend. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Lama Island and Lantau Island. The poles are from Ocean Park, one of Hong Kong's most famous theme park. The reason I love South Bay is, it is very gay friendly and yet very stylish and not too cruisy. It is such a meeting place for lots of different people that every time I went, I always ran into people I know. And the sunset there is always gorgeous, best enjoyed in the beach bar with drink in my hand...

As much as I like Beijing, the next city I move to must be close to the sea...

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

People of The Philippines - 02

I love Asia. I love Asia for its openness to being photographed, especially among parents for their children. Had it been in the West, I wouldn't have been able to take photos like this as the parents would fear that I would be a pedophile trying to sell photos of their children on line.

I remember when in Australia, I pointed the lens at a fully clothed girl, her father gave me the angriest look. If he had a chance to see the photo I took of his daughter, he would probably beg me to send him a copy.

When it comes to portraits, I have to admit that children are my favourite subjects. They give me the pretties eyes and, while some find children very hard to work with, I find them very willing to talk to me and to my camera. Building a connection is key in taking portraits of children, but getting the trust from their parents is even more important. Therefore, I often show them my photos right after so that they'd see how beautiful their children are.

Monday, 27 April 2009

People of The Philippines - 01

A few years ago, I went to The Philippines (third time I think). That was also when I first got my second hand DSLR. After a few years of film photography, like most film photographers, I was a bit reluctant to change. When I was still using film, I had a very high-quality Nikon classic: Nikon FM. That was like the epiphany of cameras the decade it was produced.

Then I had the Nikon D100, which I still own and use a lot. I was very impressed, and I'm sure most people will find it hard to believe why I had that kind of reluctance for the transition. That trip to the Philippines in 2004 was the first trip I took my DSLR with me. Sometimes I can't help but wonder, would any 25-year-old or below still know how to load a film on a point-and-shoot, let alone on a Nikon FM?

Compared to today's DSLR, my D100 might seem a bit obsolete. But to me, it's more about the composition and the use of available lighting. In my next post, I will post one of my favourite portraits ever taken with my Nikon D100.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Egypt - Continued

Some believe that the pyramids were built by aliens and I didn't find it hard to believe. The precision of the alignment of the pyramids - how they resemble the belt of the Orion constellation. And looking how the sun sets directly behind them. I was in awe looking at the pyramids. In fact, I stayed inside the pyramid site the whole day just taking photos, waiting from day in to day out. I was quite lucky to get this cloud formation on that day to give this dramatic effect.

Going on a desert safari had always been one of the many dreams of mine. Now I did it, on a camel back. Pictured here is a desert just outside Hurgada, which is by the Red Sea. It is not the kind of desert you see in the Sahara or Gobi, as it is full of pebbles and boulders. In fact, it looks more like the deserts you see in Arizona or Australia's Outback. I was a little bit disappointed as I was expecting to see sand dunes and the ripples. Nonetheless, I was in the desert and when I showed this picture (below) to my friends, they thought that it looks a bit like the surface of the moon. The picture above shows two camel herders.

Here are two pictures taken on a highway at the end of my trip, with the land stretching as far as the eyes can see...

Tuesday, 21 April 2009


Girl selling bread with mother under a bridge.

Orthodox church priest sitting out in the sun, with their shades on.

Beautiful veranda by a lake south of Cairo.

A gang of people waiting to cross the road, under the bridge.

Children on a donkey in a field in an oasis in the desert.

A young boy waiting patiently outside a mosque, in Egypt.

Two Muslim sisters.

Old lady sipping tea in a cafe, smoking hookah.

Today, I finally received my external hard drive from the data recovery company. I popped it in the nearest PC and I breathed a sigh of relief. Just finished importing all the photos into iPhoto. Unfortunately, the data restored was saved in PC format and so all the previous iPhoto settings are missing. That means, even though the pictures are still categorized under different events, all the events name are gone and I have to key in every single event (358 all them) again. And some of the pictures have their modified and original versions filed under the same event and thus I need to go through every single photo (23,000 +) to delete the modified ones.

Thing is, my photo filing wasn't particularly organized and it wasn't until I got my Macbook Pro that I started to really file all the photos with a dedicated event name. Maybe this is time I organized my photos better, with a reborn photo database.

Attached here are some of my favorite B&W portraits from Egypt when I visited in 2004. These were all taken in B&W film, not digital.

Saturday, 18 April 2009


Looks like someone from Jak & Jil or The Sartorialist? Street fashion in Lama Temple, Beijing.

Lama Temple.

Worker clearing joss sticks.

So I finally downloaded Aperture 2, Apple's answer to Photoshop CS. I had always used Photoshop before and thought maybe I should give Aperture a try. My first impression is, for a program that is 1/4 smaller and costs much cheaper, it's doing not too bad. It has most of the features that CS offers but takes up much a smaller space. I have tried its black and white feature and let me know what you think of them.