Monday, August 25, 2014

The Abandoned Classrooms

by Daniel Chiam

It's been one heck of a few busy days for me lately. Wake up early for setting up and taking care of districts level competition for primary and secondary schools. Its harder when you're a night owl whose always up late for God knows what reason. Anyway, I saw some old abandoned classrooms near the Banjar Primary School's hall where we were setting up our sound systems and lighting for the competition. So I took my camera and explore a bit.

Abandoned buildings are always great for photography. It always has that melodramatic, melancholic and nostalgic kind of feel when you put the photos in black and white. All photos were taken using the Nikon 50mm f1.8 Series E lens. Just to let you all know, I have another new vintage lens in my collection already! This new one was built sturdy like a tank! Will write about it once I have enough time for some test shots :D

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Walk in the Woods with Lady D

by Daniel Chiam 

Today I brought Lady D for a walk in the woods to help me with my manual focus practice. I seldom use a manual lens before this and most of the time everything was on autofocus. Recently, I just got my Nikon 50mm f1.8 Series E lens and now I rarely switch it with an autofocus lens anymore. I fell madly in love with the vintage lens and I am determine to stick with vintage lens for as long as I possibly could. The downside for beginners like me, often we find it hard to get the right focus when using a manual lens. Especially the one with big aperture, which often made us desire for that bokeh shots. Go wide open all the way they say...

The truth is, the wider the opening the harder it is to get your subject in focus manually. Before this I always open my lens the widest possible, so that more lights can come in, faster shutter speed and less shaky hands effect. I even took most of my landscape photos that way, which was totally a major disaster. I later realized that with wider aperture, the less details you'll have in your photos and that is not something you want for a landscape photo, and I repented since.  Nowadays I'm very confident with my camera setting and the reason why I always chimping is because I'm worried with my focus. I find it very difficult to get the right focus with the manual lens but I'm too stubborn to give up perfecting it. 

Anyway, today's practice I learnt that you don't necessarily have to go wide open all the time to get that bokeh shots (depends on how much you want your subject to be in focus). I dialed down my aperture a bit and was really happy with all my shots. I need an average of 3 shots to get the right focus. Plus, it will be easier once you have fine tune you diopmeter, so that your eyes could correctly see how much of your subject are in focus and how much will it actually be in focus in the photo, once you have taken that shot. I'm quite happy with my practice results today and the fact that all of it only required effortless post-processing, I can't wait to see if the same can be achieve with live model. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Luanti Fish Spa, Ranau | My Sabah Road Trip

by Daniel Chiam 

I'm not really sure if Luanti Fish Spa is the official name for this place but that's how some of the people I met address it. The name of the river is Sungai Moroli, located in Kampung Luanti Baru, Ranau. Winner of the Malaysia River Care Award back in 2006 and you can obviously see why. The water is clearer than crystal clear and the place are populated by hundreds of fishes (if not thousand!). Why do they call it a fish spa? cause you'll be attack massage by the fishes once you put your feet into the water. Personally I find it very ticklish at first, then some of the fish just bite the dead skin of your feet! Ouch a bit... but mostly ticklish, hehe. Oh, did I mentioned that some of the fishes are huge!

To get in the place, you'll need to pay a small amount of fee to get in, and you'll need to choose whether you want to just dip your legs in or the whole body into the river for the fish massage. You'll also be getting some fish food and you'll only be spending around 15 minute in the water. After that, you'll have to leave the water in order to avoid the fishes from over work. Haha, you'll have to leave or else the place will be congested with people getting too excited to not want to leave the fishes alone. The Luanti fish spa sure is one of the fun stop in Ranau that you'll enjoy.   

My other stop:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sabah Tea Plantation, Ranau | My Sabah Road Trip

by Daniel Chiam 

The long house

Our camp just right behind that purple flower


White Lotus

Big tree

I've been here before and honestly I don't really feel like coming back here for any kind of touristy visit, but since we were already off schedule for our visit to the Luanti Fish Spa, I decided to drop by and see if we could find a place stay overnight at the Sabah Tea Plantation, which located next to the Luanti Fish Spa. If you have been to Cameron Highlands tea plantation, then you'll be a bit disappointed with what Sabah Tea Plantation has to offer. Not a lot of great scenery of the tea plantation but it does offer a cheap price for you to camp there. For only RM10 per person, you'll have electricity, clean toilet and hot shower! They even have a small cafe there where you can enjoy the Sabah's tea.

Budget traveler like me just wanted a safe place to rest for the night. The rest of the facilities was really just a bonus and I can't resist a hot shower after a tiring day. All in all, I wouldn't say Sabah Tea Plantation is a must visit place if you're visiting Sabah, but if you are looking for a cheap place to camp for a night, facilities to recharge your electrical gears and to refresh yourself, then you can always swing by to Sabah Tea Plantation for the night.

My other stop:

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Hungry Ghost Festival

by Daniel Chiam 

It turned out green in the photo *spooky*

The angels that's looking after for one of the grave there

Some of the burn offering

Path of lights

The spectators

The last thing that I remembered about The Hungry Ghost Festival was that it was used to be a big celebration here in Keningau. They will have big joysticks with figure of dragon wrapped around it and placed around the town's football field. A lot of burn offering in all shapes and sizes, and I remember I used to go around and pickup those money and thought it was a Chinese version of monopoly currency when I was little. Later only I found out that it was actually hell's money for the dead. They'll setup a big stage for performances. It was like an open concert where you get to listen to all the Chinese oldies, and it was just too happening to have a certain spooky feeling that it was actually a festival for the dead.

I can't remember when did the festival stopped being organized in a large scale, and nowadays, every Chinese temples or Chinese association are organizing their own small festival for the dead. I attended one yesterday for work purposes, and it was held in a cemetery. It was my first time being in a cemetery at night, and I realized there was nothing scary about it. I don't really know much about my Chinese side of the heritage and cultures, and it's always great to know something about it as I go along. After the festival has ended, I realized that even the festival for the dead is a ritual for the living to be bless with great prosperity too. 

If you are hoping for a ghost story, then I don't have one for you right here. Sorry.

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