Tag Archives: Huawei P9 Camera

Singapore Heritage Festival 2017 @ Singapore River

The Singapore Heritage Festival 2017 is now entering into her final weekend, this Saturday 13th May and Sunday 14th May, consisting of many different festivities, performances, fun, food and celebration, with the Singapore River being the main attraction for this final Singapore Heritage Festival 2017 weekend.

Taking place at Singapore River this weekend, organised by Asian Civilisations Museum, it’s going to be transformed and brought back in time to the era when the Singapore River was a thriving hub that helped to define Singapore’s status as a trading port and one of the cross roads of the world shipping routes. At where the Asian Civilisations Museum is located, Singapore Heritage Festival 2017 final weekend takes place on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th May, they are taking over the space, bringing visitors back in time to learn and understand Singapore’s early history, heritage and culture of the Singapore River through the activities, performances and of course, delicious food.

What are some of the festivities, performances and fun that you can expect when you visit Singapore Heritage Festival 2017 at Singapore River from 12th to 13th May 2017?

  • Singapore River Performances

Asian Civilisations Museum

Various timings

Free admission

The Asian Civilisations Museum presents a series of performances related to, and inspired by, food stories and migratory cultures.

The performances include:

  • Through My Eyes

by Act 3 International

12 May | 7.30pm

13 May | 3.30pm and 7.30pm

Asian Civilisations Museum (Outdoors), Hardcourt

Meet three living statues, and listen to them bring the history of Empress Place to life. Revisit hawkers by the river, the old Immigration department, and the government offices of bygone years.

  • Part I: The Dream

by TO ensemble

13 May | 2pm and 4.30pm

Asian Civilisations Museum, Level 1, Contemporary Gallery

Spice up your afternoon with fusion music that explores the founding of the Lion City.

  • Part II: Port City

by TO ensemble

13 May | 3pm and 5.30pm

Asian Civilisations Museum, Level 2, Foyer

Be transported back to the hustle and bustle of the old Singapore River scene, and experience its growth over the years through this multicultural musical performance.

  • Sounds of the Island

by TCR Music Pte Ltd

12 and 13 May | 10pm | Asian Civilisations Museum (Outdoors), Hardcourt

& 13 May | 6pm   | Asian Civilisations Museum, Level 2, Foyer

Sing along to Xinyao, Singapore Mandarin pop tunes, surrounded by the river, food, and people that are distinct to the island.

  • A Banquet of Songs

by Vox Camerata

13 May | 1.30pm and 4pm

Asian Civilisations Museum, Level 2, Foyer

Groove to a delectable collection of folk tunes, as this a cappella group tickles your aural palate with songs of adventure, travel, and longing.

  • Museum of Eating

Asian Civilisations Museum

Date & Time: 28 April – 14 May | Throughout museum hours

Free admission

We love our Singapore food, we eat a lot, however, do we know more about food, the processes, habits, quirks and practices here in Singapore? Visit the Museum of Eating inside the Asian Civilisations Museum to find out more!

  • Masak Makan Trail

Asian Civilisations Museum, Level 1, Central Staircase

Date & Time: 12 and 13 May | Throughout museum hours

For children only

This fun activity would be ideal for parents bringing their children to Singapore Heritage Festival 2017 at the Singapore River.

Question: “Do you know why the spouts of coffee pots connect near the top of the pot, and tea pots from the bottom?”

You can find the answer by going on a self-guided trail through the Asian Civilisations Museum to discover the answer!

  • Somewhere Around Here

Asian Civilisations Museum (Outdoors)

Date & Time: 28 April – 14 May | Daily

Free admission

Photography enthusiasts, history, heritage, conservation and preservation enthusiasts, this photographic installation will definitely interest you. Walk around the environment around the Asian Civilisations Museum, discover how the surroundings around it had changed over time, through archival photos. Remember to check out the stories and anecdotes from the Oral History archives.

  • Outdoor Film Screening

Asian Civilisations Museum (Outdoors)

Date & Time: 12 & 13 May | 7.30pm – 10pm

Free admission

Watching movies under the stars, have you tried it before? It’s been a long time since I went to watch a movie under the stars! At Singapore Heritage Festival 2017 at the Singapore River, catch the local films being screened!

  • Kway Chap (2015)

by Sun Koh (15 minutes)

12 May | 7.30pm

Asian Civilisations Museum (Outdoors), ACM Green

Even though filmmaker Sun Koh grew up in a family of famous kway chap hawkers, she never made a film about them. But now she makes a last-ditch attempt to document the memories of her family and their livelihood. But many of the places where they started the trade no longer exist – is she too late?

  • Old Friends (2015)

by Royston Tan (67 minutes)

12 May | 8pm

Asian Civilisations Museum (Outdoors), ACM Green

From the creators of Old Places and Old Romances comes the final instalment of the trilogy: Old Friends. Savour the stories of those who pioneered the rich, authentic flavours of traditional Singaporean cuisine – and those lucky enough to taste them – in this evocative film by Royston Tan and his team. 

  • The Missing Ingredient (2016)

by Wang Eng Eng (19 minutes)

13 May | 7.30pm

Asian Civilisations Museum (Outdoors), ACM Green

The filmmaker follows the struggles of her cousin as he prepares for the Mid-Autumn festival in Singapore. His challenge – recreating the family’s signature salt and pepper moon cake. His efforts are subjected to criticism by the rest of the family, who feel he doesn’t know the recipe. The expectations of continuing a culinary tradition weigh heavily upon the shoulders of her cousin once again this Mid-Autumn.

  • Wanton Mee (2015)

by Eric Khoo (71 minutes)

13 May | 8pm

Asian Civilisations Museum (Outdoors), ACM Green

Wanton Mee presents the journey of Koh Chun Feng, who takes his camcorder with him to local food stalls. He begins to amass the stories of the stall owners, and hidden within those, the history of how Singaporean dishes were created.

Last but not least, when you visit Singapore Heritage Festival 2017 at the Singapore River, YOU CANNOT MISS THIS!

  • New Empress Place Food Centre

Asian Civilisations Museum (Outdoors)

Date & Time: 12 May | 7pm – 10.30pm

& 13 May | 5pm – 10.30pm

Free admission

Do you remember the Empress Place Food Centre which used to be in front of the Former Empress Place Building (now known as the Asian Civilisations Museum)? I still have some memories of this place when I was a young kid!

Now, you can relive those memories again, with the New Empress Place Food Centre! Let me show you, some photographs of the delicious local food that you can enjoy when you visit!

This is the final weekend of Singapore Heritage Festival 2017, with Singapore River being the spotlight! Come on down, visit and enjoy yourselves with your family, relatives and loved ones! Do visit the Singapore Heritage Festival website for more details of activities and events taking place at other locations too!

Singapore Heritage Festival 2017 @ Singapore River (organised by Asian Civilisations Museum)

Date & Time:

  • 12 May: 7pm – 10.30pm
  • 13 May: 1pm – 10.30pm

Free admission to the whole museum during the festival, including the Joseon Korea special exhibition.

Visit www.heritagefestival.sg for more details.

* Information courtesy of National Heritage Board *

Hokkaido 2016 Photography Adventure Day 4

24th October 2016 – Day 4 Otaru -> Mikasa -> Ashibetsu -> Furano -> Biei

Day 4 marks the start of another new photography adventure in Hokkaido! I am on a photography tour planned for the next 4 days by my friend, Tsuyoshi Kato, who is also a Hokkaido Photo Guide. I first knew Kato san in November 2014 during my first visit to Hokkaido as part of the Central/Eastern Hokkaido familiarisation trip. Kato san is very knowledgable and experienced in planning for photographers who want to visit locations around Hokkaido for an unforgettable photography experience. I decided to engage Kato-san’s professional photography tour services for the next four days as I would love to explore different locations around Hokkaido whereby photographers love to visit.

Departing from my hotel Dormy Premium Inn Otaru, Kato-san’s plan for today was to visit the Furano and Biei region and we started the drive from Otaru towards Furano and Biei, making stops along Mikasa and Ashibetsu for some pretty interesting sceneries and landscapes!

Mikasa

On the car journey from Otaru to Biei, we passed by Mikasa City, this used to be a thriving and prosperous area with the coal mining industry pushing the local economy. Today, the coal mining industry is no longer in operation and this area had been quiet since then.

The Old Pombetsu Coal Mine

Kato-san made a quick stop to show me the Old Pombetsu Coal Mine. The former coal mining buildings and structures are still standing there and it is now closed to the public. There is a informative signboard that had maps, old photos and a short write up of the history on the Old Pombetsu Coal Mine.

Lake Katsurazawa

We continued our journey towards Furano, driving through roads that showcased distinct weather and climate of Hokkaido. In some areas, that would be snow falling on the forest/trees and they really made a very beautiful scenery with the autumn leaves on the branches that had not fallen yet. Another 20-30 minutes drive down the road, the sceneries and landscape might change into autumn only, no snow at all. This is a beauty of Hokkaido that I will always remember, the season can change in just some distance away.

Kato-san stopped at Lake Katsurazawa, it’s a beautiful location surrounded by forests, quiet and tranquil. The colourful autumn leaves can be seen in full foliage around the lake, making it a good spot for photographing the autumn season in Hokkaido. However, the water is brownish and unlike some of the other beautiful clear blue lakes in Hokkaido. The water is not free flowing because it is a large artificial lake created by the Katsurazawa Dam. Even though the water may not look as beautiful like some of her other counterparts in other areas of Hokkaido, the beautiful forests surrounding it would make it a place to visit during the other seasons.

Ashibetsu

Sandandaki Waterfall /三段滝(Google Map location: https://goo.gl/maps/CByHFsf3Jnz)

Leaving Mikasa, entered into Ashibetsu first before reaching Furano. That was a location in Ashibetsu that Kato-san brought me to. It’s a waterfall with 3 sections thus the name Sandandaki Waterfall /三段滝.

A gorgeous location, while the weather was a bit overcast, we were able to spot the colourful trees surrounding both sides of the river, the 3 sections of the waterfall and the downstream after that. The path to the lookout point/hut that can get you close to the waterfall and the downward stream was a bit wet and slippery due to the wet weather.

When we finished photographing and about to leave, snow fell from the sky with a bit of gusty cold wind blowing. The weather in Hokkaido can change pretty quickly in the blink of an eye sometimes.

Furano

Continuing our journey, we drove into Furano. My first impression was a flat and wide valley ground, surrounded by 2 mountain ranges on the sides, Mt Yubari, Mt Ashibetsu and Mt Furano-Nishi on one side and Mt Furano, Mt Tokachi, Mt Tomuraushi, Mt Chubetsu, Mt Hiragatake (Daisetuzan National Park side).

Living at the bottom of a valley can get really really cold during winter, from my experiences when I went skiiing in New South Wales, Australia, many years ago. Mt Kosciuszko (Perisher Blue) wasn’t too cold at the top when I was skiing yet when I reached Canberra, I was kind of freezing (in the night).

Furano had many farms growing different kind of crops. This area is a very popular destination during spring and summer, I can understand why. The entire area in summer season would be packed with crops ready for harvesting. For those growing flowers, the colourful and beautiful flowers would brighten up the whole place. I would love to visit Furano during the summer season and hope to do it some day in the future!

Torinuma Park  

Our first destination in Furano is Torinuma Park. Upon arrival, I was greeted by good weather, I saw clear blue sky, sunshine with cloud cover! This good weather made me very excited, I had overcast sky, snow, rain and chilly winds for my first four days in Hokkaido. The beautiful sunlight cast the colourful autumn leaves on the leaves into something magical, green, yellow, red and orange colour leaves against the beautiful clear blue sky. I was ecstatic and blown away, this was the autumn that I had been seeking when I arrived in Hokkaido.

We explored the forest surrounding the lake at Torinuma Park. There were some great places to take photographs from different spots with different perspectives, when the strong winds blew across, the leaves dropped and fell onto the lake, providing the lake with a pretty layer of colourful leaves on its water.

Lunch – Shinasoba ramen by Shinatora

One of my favourite Japanese food is Ramen and during that afternoon, I was brought to this local ramen shop in Furano, the name of the ramen shop is Shinatora, their shop speciality is a soup base mix of pork and fish! When I had my first taste of the Shinasoba ramen, I was in heaven!! This special and unique ramen is really oishii!! Ramen is an absolute delight during the cold autumn/winter seasons, hot and heartwarming.

Rokugo Viewing Platform / Kyohsai Farm (Furano Jam Garden)

With such a delicious and hot ramen lunch inside us, Kato-san brought me to the area near the foot of the Mt Tokachi / Mt Furano mountain range where the famous Kyohsai Farm / Furano Jam Garden was located, they had some many different types of jam for sale, along with a nice café to have coffee while resting at the same time. Although I didn’t buy any jam, I would love to come back during summer and visit this place again! Kato-san said this place is very popular during summer season!

Behind Furano Jam Garden, there was a small dirt road leading up towards a small hill, suitable for cars to drive up the small dirt road. On the road upwards, there was a famous lone tree that stood out from the row of forests beside the road. From the ground up perspective, the lone tree looked like it’s “floating”!

On top of the hill, there were farm lands, we visitors must be careful and considerate, not to trespass and trample onto the farm lands because we might destroy the crops and hurt the farmers livelihood and hard work.

There was an open area with a nice hut on the top of the hill, known as Rokugo Viewing Platform. The view up there was breathtaking, a great panoramic view of Furano. The cold autumn winds were blowing hard at us and I was freezing again when the cold winds hitted me! However, I was greeted by another iconic scene of Hokkaido, the light rays shining through the clouds onto the land.

There was another monologue tree nearby the Rokugo Viewing Platform, used by television company for some of their drama productions! It’s a very famous and iconic tree!

Mizusawa, Biei

The sky was turning dark as Kato-san drove up towards in the direction of Biei. A tale of two seasons in Hokkaido, separated by maybe 30km, from autumn into winter season. It was close to sunset timing when we arrived at this spot in Biei, snow was falling and it was cold around -1° (it’s not the coldest yet for Biei, Hokkaido).

There was a small farm house up on the hill, standing alone in the midst of the snow covered fields. While the small house stands alone in the open, it’s not alone at all, the role and significance cannot be underestimated. Somehow, I am always able to relate to lone/single objects e.g. lone tree, lone house etc etc … We might be monologue / single at times, however we are not alone because we attract the things around us to come to us.

Driving down a short distance from the small farm house, Kato san made a stop beside an open field between two forests. There were two trees that stood out in between the two forests. I stood there, enjoying the sceneries, peace, quiet and tranquility. It was really cold for me because I wasn’t really suited for winter season. After taking a few photographs, I stood there and enjoyed the moment while I am freezing myself out there (due to the chilly wind and rain).

The sun had set for the day, we also made our way to our hotel in Nakafurano, had our dinner, enjoyed the onsen and had a good night sleep.

Hokkaido Autumn 2016 Day 4 


Created with flickr slideshow.

Hokkaido Autumn 2016


Created with flickr slideshow.

Hokkaido 2016 Photography Adventure Day 1

21st October 2016 – Day 1

A good night of sleep and rest, I woke up to a cold, wet and overcast Otaru weather. That didn’t deter my plans to explore Sapporo and Otaru today on my Day 1 in Hokkaido. First and foremost, I went down for my morning onsen, refresh myself before heading out for my photography adventure. The weather in Otaru was pretty cold for the autumn season and the winds were a little bit gusty when I stepped out of the hotel as I walked towards the JR Otaru train station.

I had to exchange for my JR Hokkaido pass at JR Sapporo station and I hopped onto the local JR Hokkaido train towards Sapporo. It’s been quite some time back since I last sat on the JR local train and I happened to choose the train that made a stop at every JR station along the route from Otaru to Sapporo (I had forgotten about the semi-rapid JR train service!). The journey was beautiful, part of it was along the coastline.

JR Sapporo station is a pretty huge place, not just the central train station, it’s also a huge hub for the offices and shopping malls, all linked and connected together. My first stop was to visit the JR office and exchanged my JR Hokkaido pass, the procedure wasn’t too difficult. I gave them the exchange voucher, filled in a form, showed my passport and the friendly staff there processed my JR Hokkaido pass on the spot and I am ready to go riding on the trains.

Now to start on my Hokkaido 2016 photography adventure! First stop was Hokkaido University / Gingko Avenue.

Hokkaido University / Gingko Avenue

A short walk away from JR Sapporo station, about 15-20mins walk (slow walk due to ice/snow on the ground). I entered into Hokkaido University campus ground, it’s a nice and quiet campus, they reminded me of my St Lucia campus of The University of Queensland. Once I stepped inside the campus ground, I spotted the colourful autumn colours on the trees with snow on the ground, a gorgeous mix of both autumn and winter together.

The sceneries were really beautiful, even though the sky was overcast and gloomy, I didn’t let the weather affected me in my photography. I slowly walked, taking photos along with both local and international tourists visiting Hokkaido University.

Gingko Avenue is a very well known road inside Hokkaido University, very popular with both local and international tourists. Once I reached there, I was able to fully understand why they loved it so much. Two rows of trees, lining up Gingko Avenue, in the midst of the vehicles, cyclists and people along Gingko Avenue, this road gave a sense of aura of nature, peace and tranquility. I really had a good time along Gingko Avenue, taking photographs from different perspectives and angles.

Former Hokkaido Government Office

The city area of Sapporo is pretty well planned out, it’s not too difficult to walk around. I walked back to JR Sapporo station before walking down towards Odori Park, making a stop at the former Hokkaido Government Office first.

This is a historical building of importance and significance to Hokkaido. You can’t miss it, it’s a distinct red brick colour building and are you able to spot the red star? Due to time constraint, I didn’t visit the interior and exhibits inside the former Hokkaido Government Office.

I strolled around the compound, enjoying the peace and tranquility at the pond with beautiful trees. This place would look great during the spring and summer season with the flowers and greenery.

Before reaching Odori Park, I stopped by a convenience store at a junction facing a segment of Odori Park. Visiting a convenience store in Japan is always very interesting for me, there are so many different types of food, drinks, tidbits, magazines, daily neccessities that you can find inside a Japanese convenience store! Lunch was a simple sushi set with a bottle of green tea, at the corner of the convenience store where they have bar stools and bar table.

Odori Park

Odori Park is a pretty long stretch of green open space lined up with trees in the middle of tall concrete buildings in Sapporo. This beautiful green space gives people living/working there a nice area to take walks, relax, have their lunch etc. It’s a great place to visit major events held in Sapporo every season e.g. Sapporo Snow Festival.

I walked from one end of Odori Park to the other end where the iconic Sapporo TV tower stood. There wasn’t too many people at Odori Park during my time there, I saw some young children playing with snow and trying to build a snowman! I hope that maybe in the future, I can return to Sapporo again during a time whereby a major event/festival is held there and I am able to enjoy Odori Park.

The bright, colourful and beautiful autumn colours lined up the sides of Odori Park. I felt the aura of the autumn colours even though it was a bit cold with the winds blowing. It was a quiet and tranquil time for me when I was walking down Odori Park, I can’t explain how soothing it was for me, for my mind.

Sapporo Clock Tower

I began to head back up to JR Sapporo station, planning to take the JR train back to Otaru and explore the area in the night. While walking back, I stopped at the Sapporo Clock Tower, another iconic and cultural landmark of Hokkaido, it was built in 1878. The bell rings every hour to announce the time to the city of Hokkaido.

I would love to visit and know more about Sapporo Clock Tower history and culture inside the building. However, I had a number of places that I wanted to cover, therefore I didn’t manage to go in and visit.

Walking back to JR Sapporo station, I checked the timetable and caught the rapid express train to Otaru for a evening/night walk. The weather was overcast and there wasn’t much of a sunset scene as I reached the port area of Otaru. I felt the cold wind blowing coupled with the cold autumn season. I decided to head back to my hotel and rest for a few hours before coming out later in the night for night walkabout of Otaru.

Otaru former Temiya railway line / The Bank of Japan Otaru Museum (Ministry of Finance)

I like to explore railway lines especially those that were no longer in operation and remained behind as tourist/historical landmarks/monuments. I saw photos of the former Temiya railway line and wanted to check them out. Using the Otaru city tourist map, I found my way to a junction along Nichigindori Street. The former Temiya railway tracks and landmarks are still around, the platform and train waiting area.

I would love to return back to Otaru again and explore the former Temiya railway line again, in the daytime instead of going there in the night. There are still a number of places in Otaru that I wanted to go but wasn’t able to complete it due to time constraints and trying to cover as many locations as possible.

Not too far away from the former Temiya railway line junction, I saw The Bank of Japan Otaru Museum building. It looked pretty grand at night with the lights shining on the building façade.

Otaru Canal

The Otaru Canal is an iconic and cultural area of Otaru. A beautiful area in the night to walk along the canal, enjoying the night lights of the nearby buildings and former warehouses along Otaru Canal. Walking down from Nichigindori Street, I reached Asakusa Bridge of Otaru Canal, a good spot for taking photos of Otaru Canal.

A quiet stroll along the canal, towards Chuo Bridge, another good spot for taking photos of Otaru Canal and surroundings. This is really nice for a romantic couple walk along the Otaru Canal in the night where it is quiet, peaceful and tranquil. It’s always great to view history being preserved, the warehouses along Otaru Canal played a central role as part of the city’s busy port in the early 20th century.

I would love to explore Otaru Canal again if possible during different seasons such as winter and summer.

Night Singing Noodles of Dormy Inn Premium Otaru

The Dormy Inn Premium Otaru was highly recommended by my friend/Hokkaido Photo Guide Kato san. Not only was the location awesome, they have onsen, room rates are reasonable for a comfortable hotel room. There was also something special, they provided delicious, hot and heart warming singing noodles to the guests of the hotel during the chilly season.

The night singing noodles is known as Yonaki Soba, it might look like a small simple bowl of soba noodles. However, it was cooked with so much passion and care for their hotel guests to keep warm with a hot bowl of Yonaki Soba in the night from 2130 hrs to 2300 hrs.

After a heart warming, delicious and hot bowl of Yonaki Soba, I went for my daily onsen, to relax my aching muscles from a whole day of walking around Sapporo and Otaru. While it was a cold and overcast Day 1 in Sapporo and Otaru, I am very happy to be out there exploring, enjoying myself away from Singapore and taking photographs.

Hokkaido Autumn 2016 Day 1


Created with flickr slideshow.



Hokkaido Autumn 2016


Created with flickr slideshow.

Hokkaido 2016 Photography Adventure Day 0

20th October 2016 – Day 0

My Hokkaido 2016 photography adventure began in the early morning of Thursday 20th October. I was taking Scoot TZ 216 to Sapporo (Hokkaido) New Chitose via Taipei, departure at 0615hrs. Scoot currently fly to Sapporo (Hokkaido) three times a week with their Dreamliner 787. This is an travel route worth considering for those who wish to fly to Hokkaido on a budget.

The Scoot flight schedule was as follows

TZ 216

0615hrs – 1045hrs Taipei (Taoyuan International Airport)

1155hrs – 1700hrs Sapporo, Hokkaido (New Chitose Airport)

During my flight from Singapore to Taipei, the flight encountered some gusty cross winds and a bit of heavy air traffic at Taoyuan, causing the plane to be slightly delayed in their arrival timing. The transit procedure wasn’t too difficult, just like any other transit procedure at international airports. After another round of hand carry baggage security check, I was back at the departure gate to board my next leg of flight from Taipei to Sapporo.

Overall, the flight from Singapore to Sapporo via Taipei was pretty smooth with the usual turbulence along the flight route. I did manage to capture the sunset at Hokkaido from my seat prior to the plane landing at New Chitose Airport.

Upon landing at New Chitose Airport, night time has arrived in Hokkaido. After clearing immigration, my friend, Kato san, who is also my Hokkaido Photo Guide for Days 4 to 7, picked me from the airport and gave me a lift to Otaru where I based myself for the next 4 nights

While driving along the highway from New Chitose Airport to Otaru, snow rain fell on the highway, winter season kind of arrived early for Hokkaido and my friend Kato san said, “The snow welcomes you back to Hokkaido!” This is really awesome but I am not prepared for early Hokkaido winter! The snow rain was pretty heavy at some stage and Kato san had to drive more slowly and carefully!

Upon reaching Otaru, we went for dinner together and I chose ramen for a cold chilly autumn night. My first Hokkaido meal, was simply amazing, authentic ramen in Japan! I had a good chat and catch up with Kato san, he also passed me some brochures and tourism information for the areas that I wanted to explore on my own during my first 3 days in Hokkaido.

My hotel was Dormy Inn Premium Otaru, right in front of JR Otaru station, very ideal location, they have onsen too! After checking in and settling down, I immediately head towards the onsen! I missed the onsen experience in Hokkaido, it was really amazing, soothing and relaxing, allowing me to have a good sleep on my first night in Hokkaido!

Hokkaido Autumn 2016 Day 0


Created with flickr slideshow.



Hokkaido Autumn 2016


Created with flickr slideshow.

Travelers Notebook for the Travel Wanderlust

A travel wanderlust I am, even though I haven’t travel to as many countries around the world as I would love to. Technology, information technology gadgets, internet and social media has helped travelers in many ways to research, plan, connect and communicate with travelers and destinations. There are times whereby a traveler sometimes just want to be less connected to technology and social media, we travelers just want to immerse and enjoy the joys and wonders of traveling.

A few months back, through a Facebook post by my senior from Dragon Scout Group family, he showed a photo of this nice looking leather notebook with all their beautifully designed travel writing accessories at Narita Airport. I was amazed by all of them and started researching on them. That was the time when I got to know about Travelers Factory from Japan.

When I visited Hokkaido in October 2016, I was planning to buy the Travelers Notebook in Sapporo. However, I didn’t master the Japanese language and I wasn’t able to navigate my way around Tokyu Hands Sapporo to find it. Moreover, I was in a bit of rush during my Hokkaido travel trip, thus I didn’t manage to buy it when I was in Japan.

I came back home to Singapore and went around searching for the Travelers Notebook at various bookstores and stationery shops on Travelers Factory list. Finally, I got hold of my Travelers Notebook from Tokyu Hands Singapore! I was impressed with Tokyu Hands Singapore customer service, they took a few more days than usual to reply my enquiry email (I was asking them if they have the Travelers Factory stamps that I really like), they went all the way out to check with the supplier in Japan before replying to my email that they were not able to bring it in here to Singapore. Nevertheless, I am appreciative and thankful for what they did.

The Travelers Notebook is of good quality leather cover, workmanship and good quality paper. I really love it and this is like an encouragement to me, to fulfil my travel wanderlust. This Travelers Notebook is still raw and waiting for her maiden entry. Somehow or another, the omens were strong that I have to visit Japan again. I placed my amulets (from Tokyo and Sapporo) inside the notebook to see if they would make a good bookmark when I travel, there was a little box there and they fit it very nicely! Recently, I went to the library and found a book on Japan Railways travel photographs and locations whereby travelers can go to and photograph those gorgeous Japan Railway scenic locations with the JR trains running!

Now, is it time to plan for my next Japan trip in 2017? I think it just might be!

The Travelers Notebook is truly indeed a notebook for the Travel Wanderlust.

Smarty (prescription) Sunglasses for my photography and outdoors

Sunglasses, how does come into the picture for my photography website? This accessory is not directly linked to photography and mainstream photography accessories. The sunglasses is more of an apparel, essential and important especially for those who spent time outdoors in their work and leisure. A pair of sunglasses in my personal humble opinion is very useful and important for photographers like me who are taking photographs in the outdoors (events, wildlife, travel) and also for those who love the great outdoors!

Nowadays, there are many more sunglasses brands, models and designs available in the market. I owned other sunglasses previously and still have them today but they were not prescribed to my short sighted eyes. I have been searching for prescription sunglasses and couldn’t really find suitable ones over the years. When I read about Smarty Sunglasses by The Lens Men, I decided to read up and research more about Smarty Sunglasses and they were able to do a prescription sunglasses!

There are other alternatives too e.g. wearing contact lenses or going for lasik surgery. After weighing the options available and based on my personal preferences, I chose the prescription sunglasses method. Therefore, I decided to visit my friendly and trusted optometrist The Lens Men (my last two pair of spectacles were with them). Prior to going down, I had a chat with The Lens Men via Facebook and they were responsive to my queries.

I was lucky that The Lens Men happened to run a promotion program – Sporty September on their Facebook page in the month of September 2016 with custom Rx packages featuring Essilor’s Crizal Xperio are 30% off, I managed to make an appointment the final week of September and get my Smarty prescription sunglasses, at The Eye Site, sister company of The Lens Men! Some might feel that it’s a bit pricey for a prescription sunglasses, I view it as an investment for my photography and outdoors. I managed to raise some funds for my Smarty prescription sunglasses from selling off old smartphones during my de-cluttering process.

Smarty Sunglasses S14516
Smarty Sunglasses S14516

When I was at The Eye Site getting my Smarty sunglasses done up, I initially wanted the model S14509 because I really liked this design. However, the friendly folks at The Eye Site advised me that based on my the degrees for both my eyes, it is highly not recommended because the prescription lens will look really thick and not suitable for that particular frame. After listening to their professional and detailed explanation, I looked at other alternative models and I chose S14516 instead. I waited for about 1 week+, I was finally able to collect my Smarty Sunglasses and I realised why the folks at The Eye Site / The Lens Men advised me not to go for the initial model S14509 because my lens would be quite thick!

With photography master Yip (centre) and photography master Jensen Chua (right) at Singapore Zoo

Finally, after searching for some time, I finally have a prescription sunglasses for my photography and great outdoors. I brought it to Hokkaido recently in October and it came in very handy when I was on Mount Tokachi, with snow on their slopes (while it is still autumn season), facing the sun and snow, my Smarty sunglasses really helped me a lot, protecting my eyes too! Although I have to lift up my Smarty sunglasses to view the photos on my LCD screen on my camera, it’s just a minor action to do and I can live with this action, as long as my eyes are protected from the glaring sun.

As a person who love the great outdoors, a photographer who shoots quite a lot outdoors too (wildlife, events, sports), a pair of sunglasses to me is a must have. Add in a prescription based sunglasses, it’s really ideal for me! I found this prescription sunglasses with the Smarty Sunglasses via The Lens Men and The Eye Site, friendly, professional and knowledgable folks, this is my third pair of glasses with them!

Time to explore more outdoors and taking photos with my prescription Smarty Sunglasses!

Hokkaido 2016 photography adventure introduction and overview

I visited Hokkaido in November 2014 for a Central/Eastern Hokkaido familiarisation trip and I fell in love with Hokkaido. This gorgeous destination is a photographers haven with the great outdoors and the natural environment. As a fan of the great outdoors, landscapes and love of photography, Hokkaido has a very special place in my heart.

0u3a1226

I made a promise that I wanted to return and visit Hokkaido again, I fulfilled my own promise when I visited Hokkaido from 20th to 27th October 2016 on my own personal photography trip. A personal photography trip that rejuvenated me from the difficult period in 2016. My airfares were booked in April for October, flying Scoot airlines, on their new 787 Dreamliner to New Chitose via Taipei.

For the first 3 days of my photography adventure, I was on my own, based in Otaru and traveling out using the JR Hokkaido train service. From the 4th to the 7th day, my Hokkaido Photo Guide, Tsuyoshi Kato, a friend that I got to know during our November 2014 trip to Hokkaido when he was our photo guide.

I engaged the professional services of my Hokkaido Photo Guide Kato-san. He planned my photography adventures exploring different parts of Hokkaido, not only is he very experienced, he’s also very knowledgable, also a fellow photographer that understands what photographers want and where to take photographs. Kato-san is highly recommended if you are thinking of a photography theme trip to Hokkaido.

0u3a1890-edit-1-3

This Hokkaido trip was very special, I was very lucky to enjoy both autumn and winter seasons together in Hokkaido during the period that I am there. Such is the beauty and charm of Hokkaido, simply amazing! Not just did I enjoyed two seasons in one week, there were a few simply mind blowing memories that I managed to capture down not just with my camera, also with my eyes, heart and soul.

What was my schedule like? Here’s a quick introduction

Day 0/20th October – Singapore -> Taipei -> Hokkaido (New Chitose) -> Otaru

Day 1 /21st October – Otaru and Sapporo

Day 2 /22nd October – Otaru and Sapporo

Day 3/23rd October – Otaru, Yoichi and Sapporo

Day 4/24th October – Otaru -> Mikasa -> Ashibetsu -> Furano -> Biei

Day 5/25th October – Furano –> Biei -> Lake Toya

Day 6/26th October – Lake Toya -> Sobetsu -> Date -> Muroran -> Lake Toya

Day 7/27th October – Lake Toya -> Date -> Noboribetsu -> Shiraoi -> New Chitose Airport

I am currently preparing my photographs and stories for each day from Day 1 to Day 7. Do stay tuned for my travel photography stories coming soon!

Lego 7567 Traveler – Photo Explorer

This is a very small Lego, it’s also very precious and special. Traveling by plane all the way from California, USA, inside my friend’s luggage.

I have been searching for a Lego minifigure that can truly represent me in my new photography adventures that I am embarking on. This Lego minifigure also reflects my dreams, aspirations and photography projects. I wish to build up from my November 2014 travel to Hokkaido.

This Lego City Traveler is further configured with a backpack and a jungle hat added on to it. I dream of bringing photography groups overseas for travel photography trips, overseas pre-wedding photography shoot. These are in my second phase of my photography business timeline.

My Lego 7567 Traveler will also accompany me and be an integral part of my Instagram/photography telling/sharing stories in my world and in the Lego world.

Join me, walk along with me, as I bring you on my photography journeys, adventures, stories and dreams, with and through my Lego 7567 Traveler, the eyes, heart and soul of Tan Geng Hui Photography.

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, let me introduce Lego Photo Explorer GH1001 (hashtag #GH1001).

Ebi is making an epic McDonald’s comeback!

A burger is making an epic comeback, the Ebi burger is coming back to McDonald’s Singapore, with Singapore’s beloved Classic Ebi Burger and Cereal Ebi Burger with Shrimp Paste Flavoured Sauce!  Accompanying them in the Ebi burger comeback are Fish Dippers with Tartar Sauce, Seaweed Shaker Fries and Honeydew McFlurry!

I had the Classic Ebi Burger and Fish Dippers in Tartar Sauce (shot with Huawei P9) when I dropped by McDonald’s for my meals recently. They were pretty good and I do like the Fish Dippers in Tartar Sauce!

Let me share with you more information and details of the different food making an epic appearance at McDonald’s Singapore below –

Classic Ebi Burger

Taking you back to the Ebi-basics, the Classic Ebi Burger features a breaded fried Ebi patty filled with juicy whole shrimp. The patty is topped with Thousand Island dressing, random cut lettuce and tangy mustard – a delicious harmony of flavours bound to make you wish Ebi never left.

The Classic Ebi Burger is available from $5.45, ala-carte.

mde

Cereal Ebi Burger with Shrimp Paste Flavoured Sauce

Available only from 6 October, the Cereal Ebi Burger with Shrimp Paste Flavoured Sauce is a flavourful combination of succulent whole shrimp in a crunchy, cereal-coated patty topped with shrimp paste flavoured sauce and whole-leaf lettuce, served in between soft white sesame and chive buns.

The Cereal Ebi Burger is available from $5.75, ala-carte.

Fish Dippers with Tartar Sauce

Made with quality Alaskan Pollock and coated with a crispy golden panko batter, the new Fish Dippers with Tartar Sauce is the perfect side to any meal or even as a snack on its own. Get ready to go on a dip dive into a dollop of creamy tartar sauce and you are all set!

The Fish Dippers with Tartar Sauce are available ala-carte from $4.60 (6 pcs), from $6.30 (9 pcs) and with our Extra Value Meals™.

Seaweed Shaker Fries

Yes, you heard it right. The legendary Seaweed Shaker Fries are back! It’s time to shake up your taste buds with crispy golden fries dusted with savoury Nori flakes – Ebi approves!

The Seaweed Shaker Fries is available at an additional $0.60 when you upgrade your Extra Value Meal™!

mcdonalds-seaweed-shaker-fries

Honeydew McFlurry

When Melon met McFlurry® it was love at first bite. Complete your Ebi experience with the perfectly sweet and creamy Honeydew McFlurry – it doesn’t get any better than this!

The Honeydew McFlurry® is available from $2.90

mcdonalds-honeydew-mcflurry

Want a combo meal ?

Craving for the ultimate combo? Why not try the Classic Ebi Special set from $8.20! The Classic Ebi Special set comes with a Classic Ebi Burger, Seaweed Shaker Fries (Large) and Green Tea (M).

The offerings are available after breakfast hours in all restaurants and via McDelivery® from 22 September 2016, while stocks last. Itadakimasu (let’s eat)!

Have a good time eating at McDonald’s Singapore!

* Information and pictures courtesy of McDonald’s Singapore and Golin *

Huawei P9 Camera Review

The Huawei P9 smartphone, recently launched in May 2016, garnered a lot of attention around the world with their dual camera lens system in collaboration with Leica. When I first read about the announcement about the Huawei P9 smartphone, I was excited with their dual lens system and their collaboration with Leica, a world famous camera brand.

Recently, I got an opportunity to review the Huawei P9 smartphone camera and I am thankful for the two weeks plus that I had with this smartphone. What happened was that my iPhone 6 had a very bad apps crash and it kind of damaged my rear facing camera and flashlight. Therefore, I wasn’t able to do any live updates with photographs and my Instagram became Latergram. The Huawei P9 provided me with the opportunity to do my mobile phone photography during that two weeks plus review period.

IMG_20160629_155051

The Huawei P9 provided me this opportunity to test and review it. In this article, I would concentrate on the camera review on the Huawei P9 while the other segment of the review (aesthetics, user interface) has been completed in an earlier article on my personal blog covering technology and other personal areas of interest.

bdr

Huawei P9 smartphone camera is amazing for its technical specifications and photography system packed inside that beautifully designed and well built smartphone at the size of my palm. During my two weeks plus review period, I had a very interesting and fun time with the Huawei P9, producing some pretty good quality photographs straight out from the smartphone without any further editing. Huawei had been using these slogan “Reinventing Smartphone Photography” in their website and from my short review stint with the Huawei P9, indeed, it can and I think it would reinvent smartphone photography.

In an earlier article that I shared on my personal blog, the Huawei P9 press release article, let me recap some key information and details –

Integrating the design values and engineering excellence of both Huawei and Leica in a smartphone photography system co-engineered by the two companies, the P9 brings together best-in-class hardware and software, from optical lenses and sensors, to image processing algorithms, empowering users to capture the highest-quality images.

Key to the P9’s superlative imaging capabilities is a dual-camera design that fully unleashes the power of Leica’s optical lenses, renowned for precision and attention to detail, and subject to the industry’s most stringent quality screening requirements. The RGB camera on the P9 specializes in capturing color, while the monochrome camera is outstanding at acquiring picture detail. The two rear cameras of the P9 work in tandem to enable users to create images of superior detail, depth and color. The P9 truly excels in low-light conditions, as the dual-camera design guarantees that more light and detail can be captured.

There are many features packed inside the Huawei P9 smartphone camera.

Swipe left on the main camera screen, you can see 14 modes that you can choose from – Photo, Monochrome, Beauty, Video, HDR, Beauty Video, Panorama, Night Shot, Light Painting, Time-Lapse, Slow-Mo, Watermark, Audio Note and Document Readjustment

Screenshot_2016-06-27-17-03-14

Swipe Right on the main camera screen, there are

  1. Settings
  2. In Photo mode, you can shoot in RAW (not available in other modes)
  3. Resolution – 12M, 9M, 8M, 6M
  4. Film mode – Standard, Vivid Colours, Smooth Colours
  5. Camera grid – Off / Grid / Phi Grid / Fibonacci Spiral (Left) / Fibonacci Spiral (Right)

Screenshot_2016-06-27-17-03-32

On the main camera screen, you can use Full Auto, Pro (almost full Manual) mode, Virtual Aperture (similar to Aperture priority) mode.

When using Pro mode, you can control and change the settings that you desire except the aperture is at f/2.2

  1. 3 metering modes – Weighted, Partial, Spot
  2. ISO – Auto or 50-3200
  3. Shutter speed – Auto or 30s to 1/4000s
  4. EV – -4.0 to +4.0
  5. AF-S , AF-C and MF
  6. White balance options – Auto, Cloudy, Tungsten, Sunlight, User Define 1

In Virtual Aperture mode, you can adjust the aperture range from – f/16 to f/0.95, however the other settings cannot be changed.

Screenshot_2016-06-27-16-50-01

Other key points to highlight

  1. EXIF information available and it’s very useful. It’s very similar to the information and data that you see on compact digital cameras, mirrorless cameras and DSLRs.
  2. Further editing can be done on the phone itself e.g. Rotate/Crop/Filter/Splash/Illusion/Adjust/Beauty/Mosaic/Graffiti/Watermark/Label

Screenshot_2016-06-27-17-04-34

What are the key factors to me that make the Huawei P9 camera stands out?

  1. Film mode (Vivid colours) – the photographs are bright, colourful and rich. I like this particular mode a lot.
  2. Fibonacci Spiral (Left or Right) – this is great for those starting out in photography to learn one the rules of composition, the Fibonacci Spiral is an absolute classic to make them learn. I believe that even for seasoned and professional photographers, the Fibonacci Spiral comes in useful when using the Huawei P9 to compose their photographs.
  3. Monochrome mode – I love it, straight out from the Huawei P9 smartphone. On a personal note and my own personal preferences, I felt that they were good enough to be uploaded and shared with my readers on my various social media channels and platforms. However, I can understand that if there are comments/views that post editing can be done/should be done to make the monochrome photographs better or edited in a different B&W style, I also agree and I would look into it at a later time.
  4. Many customisable functions of the main camera screen, you can be fully automatic or (almost) full manual.
  5. 14 modes to choose from when you swipe to the left of the main camera screen.
  6. Choose from Full Auto, Pro Mode (almost full manual), Virtual Aperture (almost aperture priority)
  7. In Panoramic mode, you can take also take using landscape mode panorama beside portrait mode panorama.
  8. Easy to use once you get the hang of the camera app, I reckon photographers would love it.
  9. Small and lightweight, ideal for mobile street photography

Screenshot_2016-06-27-16-55-15

There are a few points that I don’t really like is

  1. Noise level at high ISO
  2. Battery heating up when using the smartphone and I need to slow down, allowing it to cool down before continuing to use it

Huawei P9 and P9 Plus were born from the results of a first collaboration between Huawei and Leica, following from an agreement of a long term partnership that was announced in February. Leica has been deeply involved in the development of the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus, with significant technological collaboration on many aspects of the camera, in the areas of optical design, imaging quality, image data processing and mechanical construction of the camera module to the graphic user interface. In this collaboration, we can see the high quality and standards from the dual camera lens system powered by Huawei and Leica deep collaboration, seen inside the Huawei P9 smartphone through their Hybrid Focus Technology, 12MP dual BSI CMOS sensors and image processing algorithm. The photographs that I took, produced by the Huawei P9, through this special and deep collaboration between Huawei and Leica, are a testimonial to the quality of the dual camera lens system and technology inside it.

The photographs that I took and shared on my 500px, Flickr and Instagram photography sites were not edited any further on the computer or any other software. They were straight out from the Huawei P9 smartphone camera system. I would leave it to the readers to view the photographs and have an understanding of the potential (and real) quality of the photographs taken with the Huawei P9 smartphone camera. Post processing/editing can be a very personal preference matter and also can be very subjective. The quality of the photographs that I took with the Huawei P9 were good and I was able to share it with my followers and readers on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook without any worries of post processing on my part.

cof

The Huawei P9 is not going to replace my current photography system setup. However, it has a place in my overall technology, business and photography setup. In my personal humble opinion, the Huawei P9 is an excellent smartphone for both leisure/business users and also for photographers, people like me who would love to have the best of both worlds of work and mobile phone photography inside the Huawei P9.

To me, as a photographer, a technology gadgets enthusiast, a person on the move handling marketing and social media, the Huawei P9 is an excellent smartphone choice that I am most likely going to own it down the road. While it would not replace my iPhone 6, it would most likely to co-exist with my iPhone when I decide to work with 2 mobile phone numbers, one for work and one for personal using a combination of one iOS smartphone and one Android smartphone, capturing the best of both worlds.

I would like to thank Huawei Singapore and Ogilvy Public Relations for the opportunity to review the Huawei P9 smartphone.


Created with flickr slideshow.

 


Created with flickr slideshow.