Bentong Getaway

 

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Last year’s December, I spent some time back home in Malaysia during the Christmas and New Year holiday. While lying around at home with nothing to do for about 2 weeks time, I decided to head on a short road trip with my friends to Bentong. It’s about one hour drive from where my house, and we get to indulge ourselves in some greeneries and nature and just walk around and relax.

 

We visited the so called “hot spring”, it’s pretty rundown actually but still, its a place you need to visit when you are in Bentong. Then we went to Bentong town for a walk, had a lunch, and shop for some local produce. We then spent our night staying over at Waterway Villa, which is quite a nice place for short staycation.

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The next day, we went to Bukit Tinggi and visited a few locations around such as the French Village and Japanese Village. We also got ourselves some durian and rambutan, though I’m not a fan of them. And the final morning, we went for a short stroll to the fruit farm nearby to where we stayed, wrapped it up with a trip to Genting Premium Outlet for final shopping before we head home.

It’s a nice outing with good old friends, where we get to talk to each other face to face, having fun, and most importantly, relaxing my mind, body and soul after a year of stress accumulation. For the whole trip, I shot 5 rolls of film (both colour and black & white) with my Hasselblad Xpan & 45mm lens, and Zeiss Ikon with the 50mm F/2 Planar. It’s been awhile since the last time I bring them out for some exercise, and I screwed up some settings on my first roll of film too, but luckily everything turned out fine.

All in all, glad that I had this lovely trip with my lovely friends. Hopefully we’ll get to do more of this in the future.

Traveling with my Leica M-P

I went to Hong Kong for a short trip earlier this month. It’s more of a relax trip than a photography trip. But of course, whenever I get to travel, I try not to waste the opportunity to snap some pictures as well. And I have decided to add some “stress” to my relaxation… that is to travel with my Leica M-P for the 8 days trip.

Traveling and shooting with a manual focusing camera may seems like a “mission impossible” to many. Yes, of course you are losing the convenience of auto focus, but that doesn’t mean to be the end of the world, or so I thought. So, I was embarked on a journey to find out the answer of whether I can actually survive traveling with a manual focusing camera. At the same time, I would like to see if I can crunch out pictures that are different from what I shot last year in Hong Kong.

I brought along with me Summicron 35mm ASPH, Zeiss Planar 2/50mm and Tele-Elmarit-M 90mm f2.8. Basically these are my entire lens collection. Along the trip I managed to pick up a Super-Elmar-M 21mm ASPH to complete my lens collection. I traveled through streets, fishing village, hills and mountains and so on. I shot everything that interest me, ranging from streets, people, landscape and etc. with my M-P. I shot from wide open to f16. I shot with all the lenses in my bag. I tried to utilize every skills and knowledge I know about photography to plan and get the shot I want. In the end, I can safely conclude that: Yes, I can live with manual focus, even for oversea trip like this.

Of course there are some shots that are harder to take when you are shooting with manual focusing, unless your lens is set to hyper focal distance where you can literally just point and shoot. It just requires a little more effort from your end to pre-plan and visualize the shot, and wait for the moment to come. I do missed a couple of shots, either due to myself being too slow to react or I have dialled in the wrong setting/adjustment. Well, there’s no one else to blame other than… of course, myself.

I’m carrying all the stuffs in my trustworthy Billingham Hadley Pro bag. Considering the weight of my setup:

  • M-P – 680g
  • Summicron 35mm ASPH – 255g
  • Zeiss Planar 2/50mm – 230g
  • Tele-Elmarit-M 90mm f2.8 – 225g
  • Super-Elmar-M 21mm ASPH – 260g

The weight of my full setup tops around 1.65kg excluding other accessories such as extra batteries, filters, shutter release and etc., and the fact that I can squeeze everything easily into my bag (there’s still room for water bottle!) has reassured my decision for investing in this system. If I were to bring my Fujifilm’s gear, I’ll probably ended up with the following items:

  • X-T1 – 440g
  • XF10-24 F4 – 410g
  • XF18 F2 – 116g
  • XF23 F1.4 – 300g
  • XF56 F1.2 – 405g

The weight of full setup will be around 1.67kg, similar to what I brought, but the size of the setup can barely squeezed into my bag. Well, end of the day is all about leveraging on compromization. If you want auto focus, versatility of zooms, you’ll lose in size or weight in return. As simple as that. Well, at least now I know that I have built up two very usable systems in my dry cabinet, which can cater to my shooting needs and change accordingly.

My next trip will be re-visiting to Japan, but this time I’ll be heading to Tokyo instead. So which camera system should I bring along? Hmm… we’ll see 🙂

A journey to the forgotten land at Haw Par Villa

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I can still recall from my memory that I have visited this place when I was young. Back then, the theme park is packed with tourist and locals, and there were so much to see and discover. Today, Haw Par Villa has become a quiet and lonely place, as if an old man lying on his sick bed while waiting for his last breath to come. It’s sad to see this as there was sentimental and emotional attachment between me and this place.
Back then, all the statues and decorations looked huge and gigantic. Now, they seems rather average in size. This is the time when I realized time goes by and I have grown up so much. Ironically, the huge theme park back then has shrunk in both size and scale. Gone are some of the decorations, attractions and the boat ride through the Dragon Tunnel. What left behind are just poorly maintained and well beaten.

Journey Through the Ten Courts of Hell from Funny Bunny on Vimeo.

All pictures were shot with Leica M9-P and edited in iMovie

Haw Par Villa, as a oriental theme park based upon Confucianism and Chinese myth, was once a place for parents to instill good value and morale to their children. The main attraction, “Ten Courts of Hell”, is one of the most graphical representation of after life in chinese mythology. It sets to create a reminder to people to be a good person, as whatever sins you have done in your current life, you will need to pay them back after life.
Today, Haw Par Villa is a free entry theme park and it’s easily accessible via the new MRT station located near to it’s entrance. When I embark on this personal photography project, I came here for a few times and only seen a handful of people who drop by to pay a visit. Let’s hope that new life will be restored to this place in the years to come.