Historical Penang

 

Cheah Si Sek Tek Tong, originally uploaded by CeeKay’s Pix.

Georgetown is probably one of the most historically interesting city in Malaysia. Though I was born there, I had never truly visited the historical heart of the city, until lately.

On July 8, 2008 Penang and Melaka were given World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of their “remarkable examples of historic colonial towns on the Straits of Malacca that demonstrate a succession of historical and cultural influences arising from their former function as trading ports linking East and West”.

When I was in Penang last week, I saw for myself why this island truly deserved this international recognition. I’ve tried to capture and reproduce the mood and atmosphere of the place through these pictures but nothing can really substitute the particular buzz of the place as much as being there in person.

Do check out the rest of the picture set at my Flickr page.

Penang Botanical Gardens

mebeli

Red Ant, originally uploaded by CeeKay’s Pix.

I’ve visited the Penang Botanical Gardens this morning and took some really interesting shots. Nothing really drives home the existence of a parallel micro universe of insects going about their daily routines better than the view coming through the camera’s viewfinder.

As joggers jog and people walk, these critters were working very hard cutting down leaves, transporting food to their hives, eating and collecting flower syrup.

After this morning’s excursion, I shall never look at a tropical garden park quite the same anymore.

New Macro Lens

Bougainvila, originally uploaded by CeeKay’s Pix.

Finally, I bought a Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di 1:1 macro lens today! After months of deliberating, the choice was down to 2, namely the Tamron and the Nikkor AF-S 105mm f/2.8G ED IF VR.

Both are really superb lens not only for taking extreme close-ups but also as a prime fixed length lens for everyday shooting. Reading online reviews and forums didn’t help as people who bought the Tamron, swore by it and likewise for those who bought the Nikkor too.

What pushed me to the Tamron was basically the price. I paid RM 1420 for this lens in Click N’ Snap in Komtar, Penang. They were also kind enough to throw in a free UV lens protector after I told them that another shop around the corner was selling at RM 1350. When asked about the RM 12xx price tag that everyone was talking about in the forums, I was informed that Tamron had raised the price of their lenses 2 months ago.

Compare this price with the asking price of RM 26xx for the Nikkor, getting the Tamron was really a no brainer!

First impressions of the 90mm were generally very good.

It takes really sharp and well saturated photos. The bokeh is very pretty. Unlike other reviewers, I didn’t find the autofocus to be too slow but if you want it to be faster, use manual focus instead.

If I have to nitpick to find a single fault with this lens, I can only point to one: build quality of the AF/MF slider (which has a “rough” snap whenever one switches from auto focus to manual focus).

I am going to take more photos later today and I shall post the more interesting ones on Flickr.

Babies

Chayan and Grandma, originally uploaded by CeeKay’s Pix.

Babies are designed to tug at your heart strings. They are the most manipulative (but cute), calculative (but cute) and cunning (but cute) little beings that will always get what they want.

Their inability to verbally articulate their desires are complemented by 2 powerful ways of expressions:-
1. Their seemingly effortless mastery of the ear drum crushing cries
2. Their well timed and often well executed disarmingly charming smiles

This Chinese New Year, Cheryl and I met with a lot of babies. Some were big, some were small while others were hairy and others were bald. But all in all, we had a ball will all the babies running in the halls.

Yes, officially, I love babies now…

Japan Holiday Photos

Mt. Fuji from Mt. Komagatake, originally uploaded by CeeKay’s Pix.

I posted more pictures from our recent trip to Tokyo. It took a while to upload them because I had to clean them up in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

When I first downloaded the photos into my notebook, I was very disappointed because all of them were tainted with dust and lint, especially shots against a single color backdrop like skyscape.

Tokyo Trip

Japan Tourism Office, originally uploaded by компютри втора употребаCeeKay’s Pix.

Last month, Cheryl and I visited Tokyo for a quick break. I found Tokyo to be what I expected it to be: culturally vibrant, predictably orderly and possessing a never dissipating buzz about the city.

This buzz is nothing more than the gigahertztic pulses of information that course through both the wired and wireless veins of the city. While this information travels quietly as digital bits, zipping across the city, hopping from senders to recipients, Tokyo is generally a city where its people do not casually hangout in public places to chatter or share a laugh.

Perhaps technology is the underlying thing that makes Tokyo sane. It probably has been a force of liberation to its people after thousands of years of introverted self restraint on public displays of emotions. Ultimately, it may have fulfilled the need for the Japanese people to connect to one another meaningfully while maintaining stoic normalcy in their perception of the real world.

This can be seen everyday as Tokyo inhabitants safely navigate through seas of people in the crowded streets while their faces are buried deep in their widescreen mobile phones playing a game or texting with their friends. It can also be felt through the efforts that Tokyo put into replacing tedious manual labour through the use of machines to sell everything from water to food coupons but proudly reserves its highest technological showcase to robots that mimics the inefficiency of the human form.

Yes, Tokyo is a city of contradiction and conformity. A city where ying lives peacefully with yang.