Tag Archives: Review

The Quarters Experience

A modern communal dining experience, having the best of both worlds, a mix of traditional cuisine with a modern cross fusion of cooking style from other cultures. This communal dining experience had 10 different types of dishes, starting from the appetiser, followed by 7 main courses, there are so delicious and mind blowing beyond my imagination, rounding up this unique modern communal dinner with 2 desserts. This is the Quarters Experience.

The Quarters Experience was created by Deming, whom I knew a few years back when he was just doing just one food, his trademark Durian Crème Brulee at a pop up event at Haw Par Villa in 2014. In the blink of an eye, he established two food brands, The Quarters and Kush. Watching how Deming established, transformed and innovate his food cuisine over this period time from 2014, I had great respect and admiration for this innovative food entrepreneur friend of mine.

When I was invited down by Deming to experience The Quarters Experience, I was grateful and thankful to be part of this amazing modern communal dining experience. I arrived earlier than the scheduled start time, photographing the setup process on what creates the special experiences behind The Quarters Experience. This was also a time to catch up with my friend Deming before he got very busy during The Quarters experience, hosting and sharing with the guests on each and every dish that was served during The Quarters Experience.

Personally, this was one of the best dining experiences that I ever had, not because I am invited and treated to this Quarters Experience, not because Deming is a friend of mine. Why the Quarters Experience was one of the best dining experiences that I had was because of the love and passion for food, translated into the excellent cooking skills that can be experienced, felt and tasted inside all of the 10 dishes of the Quarters Experience. All the 10 dishes (except for durian crème brulee because I don’t eat durian) touched not just my taste buds, they also touched my heart, mind and soul.

Let me bring you into the world of The Quarters Experience, sharing my thoughts and views of every dish, and interviewing Deming, his stories behind each dish.

Achar

An innovative and unique method to showcase the Achar, it’s a breakaway from the traditional style Achar. The Quarters Experience Achar is like a small pastry/canape type of dish. I liked how the Achar taste, a good mix of the East meets West cuisine.

JH, “Deming, the Achar looks unique and very different from traditional achar, what is the inspiration behind this unique and innovative design?”

DM, “Traditionally made, it serves as an amazing Amuse Busche to whet the appetite of the diners. The combination of the crisp puff and flavour of Achar is amazing.

Shiok Bak

First and foremost, I am a big fan of roast pork and when I saw the description of the Shiok Bak from the menu, I was eagerly looking forward to it! When I saw the dish arriving, I knew I was in for something more special than I ever thought. There were buns complementing the Shiok Bak, that are usually ate with braised pork, along with fresh lettuce. The skin of the Shiok Bak was extra crispy, crunchy and dry. As the name suggests, it’s really shiok to eat this Shiok Bak! Oh yes, there is a sauce to go along with the Shiok Bak too, the spicy rempah!

JH, ”Deming, I love this dish! This Shiok Bak is really shiok and it looks like it has a mix of a few different Asia cuisines cooking style infused into this dish. Let me make a guess, Teochew (the bun for the braised pork a.k.a. lor bak) + Korean (lettuce to be wrapped with pork) + Filipino roast pork? Did I guess correctly?”

DM, “Yes. There is a myraid of influences involved here. Its combining the best of Filipino style crackling with our chinese roast pork technique. The Teochew influence comes from the braising of the pork belly and Peranakan from the Rempah inspired by the Hiam Te Bak. All in all, it is delicious!

Har Lok

A perfectly charcoal grilled prawn, fresh, juicy and declicious. The menu stated that it was Cantonese style and I got curious. What exactly is a Cantonese style cuisine prawn dish?

JH, “Cantonese style, would you mind sharing more about this style of cooking?”

DM, “ This is my contribution in preserving a dying dish in the Zhi Char world. This dish has been overshadowed by Salted Egg Prawns and Cereal Prawn. The essence from this dish is Canontese inspired with its simle yet amazing sauce. The smokiness from the charcoal grill elevates this dish which is a worthy rendition of this Hok Hei laden dish.

Ooh La La

The Venus clams, cooked in flambed style with Singapore style chilli sauce and croutons added into them. The final product is like a chilli style soup with Venus clams and croutons.

JH, “The Oooh La La dish, was it meant to be a spicy soup dish since you added croutons into it?

DM, “This is our take of Singapore’s most favourite Chilli Crab sauce. More than just a cute play on words, this clams in this dish elevates the umami experience of the dish.

Bibik’s Chicken

Another perfectly charcoal grilled dish, the Bibik’s Chicken with a rich Buah Keluak Sauce. When I ate the Bibik’s Chicken, the chicken meat was tender and not overcooked, this demonstrated the skill and experience level of the chefs charcoal grill cooking.

JH, “This Bibik’s Chicken is so delicious, so awesome! I have a few questions, is this a Peranakan cuisine? Was there any special seasoning on the chicken?”

DM, “ This dish is a tribute to the traditional Ayam Bua Keluak. Normally done as a stew, this rendition adds a few more layers into the gastronomic experience. Unlike the usual Buah Keluak Ayam, this dish brings together many more textures. The Chicken is firstly charcoal grilled to achieve a really crispy skin with the meat left tender and succulent. Infused with local herbs and spices, it is a flavour bomb when eaten together with the buah keluak paste.

Mum’s Cabbage

A plate of mixed vegetables, consisting of stewed cabbage, carrots and minced pork. This dish may not look the most glamorous compared to the other counterparts in the 10 course The Quarters Experience. Yet, when I took a bite, the feeling was like “This is Home, truly”. The type of dishes, the emotions and feelings that warms your heart, mind and soul when you are back home eating your favourite food cooked by your parents or grandparents. The menu described it as “Family favourite …” I totally agree.

JH, “Bro, this dish, a simple dish yet I felt so good, the feeling of home cooked food! They just warmed my heart! How did you do it?” 

DM, “ Inspired by what my Mum cooks at home, its about the simplicity and perfect balance of flavours which is appealing. Food done well, with love. Yum!

Quarters Fried Rice

An egg coated fried rice with two types of salted fish. The rice was so soft, fragrant and not oily at all. The Quarter’s Fried Rice was addictive because it was simply too good, too delicious.

JH, “Bro, would you mind teaching me the secret behind the secret to your Quarter’s Fried Rice?” 

DM, “ It’s yet another dish which is a hit with our diners. We go through an arduous process to make sure that the rice is of the right consistency as well as using the right combination of dried fish and cooking technique to accomplish a very satisfying dish.

“Nai You” Lobster

This lobster dish stood out among the 10 dishes, it was charcoal kissed and butter poached. The chefs of The Quarters were really skillful in their charocal cooking techniques, it was just nicely cooked, sweet and tender.

JH, “I saw it on the menu, charcoal kissed and butter poached, would you mind elaborating more on this cooking technique?”

DM, “Inspired by our favourite “Nai You” Crabs and prawns. This is our take on elevating simple ingredients with an amazing lobster. Simply put, we butter poach the lobster and finish the lobster on the grill for that bit of char and smokiness. It’s all about the right timing.

Duriancanboleh

This is Deming’s trademark dish, the original dish that got me to first know Deming for the first time (3 years ago) before he launched his food concept The Quarters. Today, I am back again to taste another revolution and innovation in his traditional and modern cuisine. I gave away my Duriancanboleh because I don’t eat durian (don’t judge me, please!)

JH, “Bro, you know that I don’t eat durian hor, not that I don’t like your Duriancanboleh hor!”

DM, “ You would have enjoyed the other renditions of crème brulee which have done over the years. Lemongrass and Vanilla. The magic and texture of the crème brulee would still be the same. It’s an in house secret which we are proud of.

Profiterole

It’s called the Kaya bomb in the menu, not exactly the profiterole that you have in your mind.

JH, “Bro, this looks more like a The Quarters mini Kaya bun leh, why did u call it a profiterole?” 

DM, “ It’s a Kaya profiterole. An amazing kaya which explodes out of a crispt choux pastry. What can be more delicious and local than this?

At the end of the 10 course The Quarters Experience, I had a very wonderful and very enjoyable food dining experience, a modern communal social dinning experience with an excellent selection of dishes, a mix of traditional and modern cuisine fusion and also East meets West fusion. The chefs excellent, highly experienced and professional cooking skills can be found in their 10 course dishes, without a doubt.

The main attraction doesn’t lie in the fusion of traditional and modern cuisine, or excellent cooking skills. For me, it’s in the heart, mind and soul, the passion and love for cuisine, traditional or modern. That to me, are what makes Deming and his The Quarters stand out, that later gave birth to The Quarters Experience.

I would like to thank Deming of The Quarters for the invitation to experience The Quarters Experience. This was beyond an awesome communal dining experience, it’s a fusion of traditional and modern cuisine. The love and passion for cooking, traditional cuisine, I totally felt it in my heart

If you would like to experience The Quarters Experience for yourself, you can visit their website and register to taste it.


Created with flickr slideshow.

Canon EOS 1DX Mark II Review

The Canon EOS 1 series, the flagship Canon DSLR camera, the most powerful and fastest Canon DSLR camera, a must have workhorse lens for journalists, sports and wildlife photographers. Once you used the EOS 1 series, that’s no turning back.

My love affair with the EOS 1 series started when I playing with my friends Canon EOS 1D Mark I and Mark IIN, I was totally awed by its high frames per second and the sound of the high speed shutter. In time to come, I found myself owning a used Canon EOS 1D Mark III that I faithfully used for a few years before I upgraded to another EOS 1 series, the Canon EOS 1DX, also a used camera when the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II was announced and the price of a used EOS 1DX started to drop.

During a media event in February 2016, I got my hands on experience with the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II and inside my heart said, “I know you want it, buy it!”. However, my brain said, “It’s out of your current budget at the moment, even though you have a use for it on a professional basis” Therefore, I opted for a used Canon EOS 1DX, that I still love it and it’s now my current workhorse DSLR camera, as much as I badly wanted the EOS 1DX Mark II.

I did have an opportunity to review the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II recently, I was very excited because I am a huge fan of the EOS 1 series, not just on and from a professional basis, also from a photography enthusiast perspective.

During the review period, I had the opportunities to test the EOS 1DX Mark II over different situations, themes and events, from Singapore Motorshow 2017, Chinatown Heritage Walking Trail CNY 2017, River Hongbao 2017, Battle for Singapore Tour media preview, Chinese New Year gathering, Jaybird Freedom Wireless earphones product theme shoot and walking around Marina Bay area in the blue hour and night sceneries walkabout shoot. The experiences were really good and I was secretly lusting for a Canon EOS 1DX Mark II for my professional photography work along with a Canon EOS 1DX as a back up / second camera setup!

Through the various types of photographs that I took with the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II, I have the following observations, views and opinions of this powerful and awesome Canon flagship DSLR camera, written down in this review article.

However, before I begin, first and foremost, let me highlight the key differences between the technical specifications between the Canon EOS 1DX and EOS 1DX Mark II, the information that I extracted from Canon Singapore website by comparing these two Canon DSLR cameras side by side –

DSLR Specifications Canon EOS 1DX Canon EOS 1DX Mark II
Continuous Shooting Speed (shots per sec) (Up to) 14 16
Custom Functions (Total) 31 34
Dimensions (Excl. Protrusions) (mm) (Approximately) 158 x 163.6 x 82.7 158 x 167.6 x 82.6
Effective ISO 50 to 20,4800 (expandable to L (ISO50), H1 (ISO 102,400), H2 (ISO 204,800) 100 to 51,200 (expandable to L (ISO50), H1 (ISO 102,400), H2 (ISO 204,800), H3 (ISO 409,600)
Effective Pixels (Megapixels) (Approximately) 18.1 20.2
File numbering Consecutive numbering, Auto reset, Manual reset Continuous, Auto reset, Manual reset
Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 (L)
4608 x 3072 (M1)
3456 x 2304 (M2)
2592 x 1728 (S)
5184 x 3456 (RAW)
3888 x 2592 (M-RAW)
2592 x 1728 (S-RAW) 
5472 x 3648 (L)
4368 x 2912 (M1)
3648 x 2432 (M2)
2736 x 1824 (S)
5472 x 3648 (RAW)
4104 x 2736 (M-RAW)
2736 x 1824 (S-RAW) 
LCD Monitor Resolutions (dots) 1,040,000 Approx 1,620,000
Max. Resolution (Pixel) (Still images) 5184 x 3156 5472 x 3648
Memory Card Type CF Card (Type I or II) CF cards (Type 1, UDMA 7 supported)

Cfast card (Cfast 2.0 supported)

Metering Mode 252-zone TTL Evaluative, Partial Spot, Centre-weighted Approx. 360,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor and 216-zone TTL open-aperture metering, EOS iSA (Intelligent Subject Analysis) system, Evaluative metering, Partial metering, Spot metering, Center-weighted average metering

 

Metering Range (Measured at at 23°C or 73°F with EF50mm f1.4 USM lens, ISO 100)

 

EV 0 – 20 EV 0 – 20
Mirror Quick-return half mirror Quick-return type
Movie Format MOV MOV, MP4
Peripheral Connections Hi-Speed USB, Video Output, HDMI, LAN SuperSpeed USB, Video Output, HDMI, LAN
Playback Zoom (Approximately) 1.5x – 10x 1.5 – 10x
Processor Type Dual DIGIC 5+ Dual Digic 6+
Red Eye Reduction Yes
Standard Power Supply Battery Pack LP-E4N Battery Pack LP-E19 / LP-E4N / LP-E4
Video Resolution (HD) (Pixel) (Approximately) 1280 x 720
Video Resolution (SD) (Pixel) (Approximately) 640 x 480
Viewfinder Information AF information, metering and exposure information, flash information, white balance correction, JPEG Type / RAW Type recording, maximum burst, number of shots remaining, battery check, recording media information, highlight tone priority (D+), composition information, grid, electronic level

 

Image type: JPEG/RAW, Shooting mode, Metering mode, White balance, Drive mode, AF operation, Flicker detection, Warning ! indicator, AF operation indicator

 

White Balance Auto, daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten light, white fluorescent light, flash, custom, colour temperature setting, personal white balance (Total 5 settings)

 

Auto (Ambience priority), Auto (White priority), Preset (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten light, White fluorescent light, Flash), Custom (5 settings), Color temperature setting (approx. 2500-10000 K), Personal white balance (5 settings)

 

Based on the comparisons of technical specifications only, the key differences may not seem by many users as a big jump from the EOS 1DX to EOS 1DX Mark II. From my sharing of my Canon EOS 1DX Mark II review, I would share some of the key improvements that makes professional photographers to make their upgrade from EOS 1DX to EOS 1DX Mark II.

Colours

The Dual Digic 6+ processors inside the EOS 1DX Mark II make a key difference and impact to the quality and output of the photographs. They were richer and more accurate in colours, making it even easier and faster for jpeg photographs straight out from the EOS 1DX Mark II to be used quickly for your work requirements.

Dynamic Range

From my observations of the photographs shot with the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II review camera, on various subjects and themes during the review period, the dynamic range of the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II has improved. Therefore, the EOS 1DX Mark II is able to capture and retain more details and information. With this significant improvement, the shadows/dark tone areas of the photograph are lifted.

Anti-Flicker Technology

The Anti-Flicker technology that was first introduced to the Canon EOS 7D Mark II is now available inside the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II. The flickering of the indoor lights always pose an issue to photographers and they can give some photographers many problems/challenges to handle when shooting indoors. With the Anti-Flicker technology, indoor sports or events photography with the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II is so much more easier and pleasant, without the hassles of the flickering lights.

Auto Focus

The Canon EOS 1DX Mark II is the current flagship DSLR camera, it’s a monster machine as I always love (and usually) call it. Their Auto Focus system has improved significantly over the past few models since I started off (still owning it at this current juncture) with the EOS 1D Mark III and I am currrently using the EOS 1DX.

What make this Canon flagship DSLR camera so powerful, highly trusted and widely adopted by professionals around the world, from photojournalists, sports and wildlife photographers, are the AF technology packed inside this camera.

The technical specifications on paper shows how good and powerful this Canon EOS 1DX Mark II is. I recommend photographers who are keen in this camera to try it out and have a go at this flagship DSLR camera, you will then know why it is so highly trusted and widely adopted by the professioanls in photojournalism, sports and wildlife.

Here are the key improvements that are built inside the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II

  • 170 RAW images with CFast 2.0 card
  • Live View RAW – 16fps
  • New AF algorithm and AI Servo AF III+
  • EOS iTR
  • Large Zone AF
  • Newly developed 61-point AF sensor
  • AF shooting is possible on most lenses using all AF points with a maximum aperture value of f/8
  • Intelligent viewfinder II

During my review and research that I done previously for the Canon EOS 1DX, I discovered Canon USA produced a guide book on Canon EOS 1DX AF Setting Guidebook for users to fully utilise and customise the full AF capabilites. This book is now helping me to fine tune my AF settings in my EOS 1DX.

For this review article, I went back to Canon USA website and discovered that they have produced a new book titled Canon EOS 1DX Mark II AF Setting Guidebook. I strongly encourage photographers (whether professionals or serious enthusiasts) to download this handy guide book for their Canon EOS 1DX Mark II DSLR camera. This is a very handy and useful guide book to have for the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II.

Thoughts and views

The Canon EOS 1DX Mark II is the flagship Canon DSLR camera, this camera is highly regarded and used by professional photographers in the fields of journalism, sports and wildlife.

Owning a EOS 1DX is a huge upfront investment, the cost is pretty substantial. Therefore, this camera model is not something that all photographers would choose to purchase, considering their shooting requirements and budget. Moreover, Canon has a series of different professional DSLR camera models for professional as well as photography enthusiasts to choose from, such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EOS 5DS, EOS 5DS R and not to forget the semi-professional camera models such as the EOS 7D Mark II, EOS 6D, EOS 80D etc.

Key factors that make photographers upgrade from EOS 1DX to 1DX Mark II

While the differences between the EOS 1DX and EOS 1DX Mark II may not be that big of a difference on paper, professional photographers who view the photos and read about the key differences in performances, they would choose to let go of their EOS 1DX and go for the EOS 1DX Mark II.

During the period when I reviewed the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II, these key factors (in my personal opinion) are why some photographers are letting go of their Canon EOS 1DX for the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II

  • Improved dynamic range
  • Shadows/Dark tone areas improvements
  • Anti-flickr shooting capabilities
  • Smarter and faster auto focusing with the new AF algorithm and AI Servo AF III+
  • 170 RAW images with CFast 2.0 card

On a personal note, I would really love to own the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II when my budget and finances allow. The Canon EOS 1DX is still a very capable camera, that is still doing its job well for me. Therefore when the opportunity arises, I hope that I can upgrade to the EOS 1DX Mark II in the near future.

I would like to thank Canon Singapore and Ogilvy Public Relations for the opportunity to review the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II.


Created with flickr slideshow.

Canon celebrates 14th consecutive year of No. 1 share

Canon Inc recently announced that their company’s interchangeable lens digital cameras have maintained the number 1 share of the global market for 14 consecutive years from 2003 to 2016.

I was one of those that used the Canon EOS 300D, the DSLR camera that made the breakthrough and changes to the DSLR market in 2003. This particular DSLR camera was the start of a very eventful and exciting photography journey for me, starting from 2004 (and still ongoing) when I started using my first DSLR, the Canon EOS 300D for taking photographs and also for my holiday trips to Tokyo, Japan and Penang, Malaysia in 2004.

While I started entering into the world of photography way back in the analogue film SLR days, starting from my primary school days when I played and damaged my father’s SLR camera. I only got into more serious photography starting from 2004. From then on, I never look back, my relationship with Canon DSLRs blossomed with the upgrades from the maiden DSLR, the EOS 300D, followed by -> EOS 30D -> EOS 1D Mark III -> EOS 70D -> EOS 1DX, over the years from 2004 to 2017 (and still counting).

Beside owning the various Canon DSLRs that I wrote down, I also had the honour to be given many opportunities to test and review other Canon DSLR models, sharing the photographs, my reviews, thoughts, views and experiences with them right here on my photography and travel site. There is a particular Canon DSLR model that I really like, yet I didn’t own it, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. This Canon EOS 5D Mark III allowed me to produce some photography works that were instrumental and significant during my photography adventures.

Over all these years for me, partnering with the various Canon DSLR models, I had learned a lot, grown and improved my photography together with them. At this stage in time, I am now in a new phase of my photography adventure, the start of a new era, striving even higher benchmarks, goals and objectives for myself, in both a personal and professional capacity in my photography.

This is my personal (rather lengthy) Canon DSLRs story, now let me share with you, the Canon Inc story –

Canon Inc. announced that the Company’s interchangeable-lens digital cameras (digital SLR and compact-system cameras) have maintained the No. 1 share of the global market for 14 consecutive years from 2003 to 2016*.

Canon develops the key components featured in its interchangeable-lens cameras— CMOS image sensors, image processors and interchangeable lenses— in the pursuit of “Speed, Comfort and High Image Quality, the core concept of the EOS series.” The Company employs these cutting-edge technologies across its entire lineup, from entry-level models that achieve high image quality with easy operation to flagship cameras trusted by professionals, effectively responding to the needs of a wide range of users.

In 2003, the dawn of digital SLR cameras, Canon introduced its breakthrough EOS 300D Digital (EOS Digital Rebel or EOS Kiss Digital in other regions). This groundbreaking camera, which was competitively priced and featured a compact, lightweight design, captured the top share of the global market and set the stage for growth in the digital SLR market.

Since that time, Canon has continued to launch a range of epoch-making products, including the professional-model EOS-1D series and the EOS 5D series which paved the way for digital SLR video recording.

In 2016, Canon introduced an impressive lineup of interchangeable-lens camera products that supported the Company’s achievement of a 14th consecutive year at the top of the global market. In the first quarter of 2016, the Company unveiled the flagship model, the EOS-1D X Mark II, which wields significant clout in the sports photography world thanks to its 14 frame-per-second continuous shooting. This was followed by the EOS 80D for advanced-amateur users, which features excellent still image quality and superb operability when shooting videos. The EOS 5D Mark IV, capable of 4K video, was released in second half of the year. Additionally, the Company’s interchangeable-lens camera lineup was further expanded with the introduction of the high-end EOS M5 compact-system camera in September.

Canon will continue to respond to the needs of its wide range of customers by further bolstering its lineup in 2017. Earlier this February, Canon announced the introduction of n three cameras equipped with the cutting-edge and highly accurate autofocus technology, Dual Pixel CMOS AF: the EOS M6 compact-system camera and the EOS 77D (EOS 9000D in other regions) and EOS 800D (EOS Rebel T7i or EOS Kiss X9i in other regions) digital SLR cameras.

Through the further refining of its diverse imaging technologies based on the Company’s core optical technologies, Canon will further strengthen and expand the EOS lineup through the integration of still image, video and network functionality. Canon will continue striving to create attractive and reliable products aimed at contributing to expanding the culture of photographic and video imaging.

*Based on a Canon survey

 ** Information and picture courtesy of Canon Singapore and Ogilvy Public Relations ** 

Canon EOS M5 Review

The Canon EOS M5 was announced in September 2016, in an earlier article that I shared about the Canon EOS M5 official announcement with an input of my thoughts and views of the EOS M5 announcement. The Canon EOS M5 is the fifth camera model from the EOS M family and it was the latest Canon EOS M model during that short period of time before the Canon EOS M6 was announced in February 2017.

Photo courtesy of Canon Singapore

In my sharing article earlier on the Canon EOS M5 announcement, I wrote the following paragraphs inside the article:

“ ….. Personally, I have used the EOS M1 (belongs to my dad), reviewed the EOS M3 and EOS M10. Over the years, I had seen improvements to the Canon EOS M family through their camera body designs and EF-M lenses for the EOS M series. When I saw and read the official news on the Canon EOS M5, my initial impressions from it were – Canon is serious about their mirror-less camera line up, the EOS M series. During my recent trip to Canon EXPO 2016 Shanghai, listening to the top Canon Inc executives sharing on the next wave and trends, I wrote the points that were shared and discussed at the media interaction here in an article here on my photography website.

In my article, I wrote

“From the media interaction sessions, Canon remains committed to the EOS M mirrorless line up. We should be able to see more of EF-M lenses, EOS M accessories and maybe a new EOS M mirrorless camera body in the near future.” ….”

My initial impressions and thoughts based on the technical specifications of the Canon EOS M5 was that it is pretty good and much improved over the earlier four EOS M camera models. During a media dinner event, I had a short hands with the Canon EOS M5 and it reinforced my initial impressions and thoughts. Therefore, I waited for an opportunity to review the Canon EOS M5 and I managed to obtain a review unit in February 2017.

This Canon EOS M5 review camera went through a number of interesting events with me, she was very handy, small and lightweight for my carry around camera and events camera. This EOS M5 review camera went to HTC U Ultra and U Play smartphone launch, Majestic Market @ New Majestic Hotel, 2 x NHB Battle for Singapore 2017 tours, N.E.mation! 11 Awards Ceremony, OPPO R9s Plus smartphone launch, Singapore Biennale 2016, I Light Marina Bay 2017 media preview, extended family reunions and she also played an important role in the 100th day ceremony in remembrance of my Grandmother’s passing. Overall, I think I took about 1,000++ photographs with the Canon EOS M5 during the review period.

Some quick thoughts and views of the Canon EOS M5

Pros

  • Small, lightweight and compact
  • Easy to use
  • Wi-fi setup and file transfer is smooth and easy, just a touch of the button on the side of the EOS M5 and the Canon app
  • Build in Electronic View Finder (EVF) is awesome
  • Intuitive Touch and Drag AF
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF System
  • Easily accessible operating control dial on the top of the EOS M5 body
  • Five-axis image stabilisation system inside the EOS M5
  • A well thought out ergonomic design, buttons layout and with a good hand grip

Cons

  • The tilt screen can’t flip upright due to the design of the built-in EVF and it can’t flip sideways 180 degrees, it can tilt downwards 180 degrees.
  • At ISO 25,600, the noise level at times can be really grainy and distinctive (even for myself who has a high tolerance for the grain), therefore use ISO 25,600 at your own discretion.
  • While the AF system has been improved inside the Canon EOS M5, the AF system has some challenges re-focusing on the subject that moved away or around when AF is not locked and tracked on the subject.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF System

The Dual Pixel CMOS AF System is now integrated inside the Canon EOS M family, starting with the Canon EOS M5 body. I had the opportunity to use the Dual Pixel CMOS AF System in the Canon EOS 70D, a DSLR camera body that I reviewed and I bought a used EOS 70D later before letting it go to fund for my EF 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM lens.

The Dual Pixel CMOS AF System allows the EOS M5 to achieve 7.0 fps (AF tracking) or 9.0 fps (AF fixed). Recording a video with the Dual Pixel CMOS AF System built-in, makes it very handy, useful and great when recording a video with the EOS M5.

Video recording

Armed with Digic 7 and Dual Pixel CMOS AF System inside the camera body, recording a video on the Canon EOS M5 gets easier and better. While I currently do not specialise in video production, the videos that I recorded and produced showed the ease of use for the daily user. Video recording can be a fun activity with the Canon EOS M5, whereby you can also record videos for memories beside taking photographs.

Intuitive Touch and Drag AF

This is one of the few key features inside the Canon EOS M5 that made me very impressed and liking this EOS M5 a lot. The intuitive Touch & Drag AF is like the “joystick”, the Quick Control Dial and Multi Controller of the Canon DSLR. With the eye on the EVF and your thumb controlling, moving the AF point, it’s just like my Canon DSLR in action.

I have my own unique experience using it, while I love this feature, it also got me fustrated because my eye tend to go very close (basically glued) to the EVF (from my experiences handling my Canon EOS 1DX), thus my face and nose would touch the screen. There were many a times, my nose and the finger “clashed” when I used the touch and drag AF.

The trick is not to put your eye too closely to the EVF, allow some space away from your face and there would be no clash between your finger doing the touch and drag AF and your face/nose.

Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Review

The Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is a new lens addition to the Canon family of lenses. The EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is available in silver or graphite colour, it is small, lightweight and compact.

Focusing speed

The focusing speed is decent, it’s not a fast lens especially at the other end of the focal length at 150mm.

Sharpness

For the entire review period, I only used this EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens. This lens produced sharp photographs and it is able to retain the sharpness after cropping.

Bokeh

While this EF-M lens may not be as famous as her fellow sisters, the EF L lenses, the bokeh produced by this lens is commendable, pretty good with some creamy smooth bokeh. Let the photograph below reinforce the views that I wrote –

Canon EOS M5 with EF-M 18-150mm @ 150mm, f/3.5-6.3, ISO 640, f/6.3, 1/250s

The Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 is a small, compact and lightweight telephoto zoom lens, suitable for your travel usage.

Here’s a quick recap of the product specifications of the Canon EOS M5 and EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM

Product specifications

EOS M5

Image sensor: 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor

Imaging processor: DIGIC 7

Focal plane AF: Dual Pixel CMOS AF

Max frame rate: 9.0 fps (AF fixed), 7.0 fps (AF tracking)

Max standard ISO speed: ISO 25,600

Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting touch panel LCD, approx. 1.62 million dots

Movie: Full HD 60 fps

Connectivity: Wi-Fi / NFC / Bluetooth

EVF: Approx. 2.36 million dots

Dimensions: Approx. 115.6 x 89.2 x 60.6mm

Weight: Approx. 427g

EF-M18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM

Focal length: 18-150mm

Maximum aperture: f/3.5 – 6.3

Minimum focusing distance: 0.25m (at 18mm), 0.45m (at 150mm)

Maximum magnification: 0.31x

Filter size: 55mm

Aperture blades: 7

Length: 86.5mm

Weight: Approx. 300g

Pricing and Availability

The EOS M5 is now available at all Canon authorised dealers at the following recommended retail prices.

Models SRP (incl GST)
EOS M5 kit (EF M15-45mm) $1,669
EOS M5 Body $1,499

The Canon EOS M5 camera, on my own personal basis, with views and opinions collected during the camera review period, it got a pretty good score and endorsement from me.

The built-in EVF gives it extra marks because I am schooled in the film SLR camera and I still prefer the EVF. With the feel, touch and capability of a DSLR, along with the Dual Pixel CMOS AF and intuitive Touch & Drag AF, it makes the Canon EOS M5 a very enjoyable camera to use since I am mainly a Canon DSLR useer.

This lightweight and compact Canon EOS M5 is packed with some pretty good capabilities and functionalities from the EOS DSLR family. An ideal camera for travel for those who do not wish to bring their DSLR out.

Would I take the Canon EOS M5 as my side/spare camera in my current Canon DSLR cameras setup?

Yes, if I have the extra budget on my side as I need to channel my funds to other L lenses purchases/upgrades first.

No, because I am waiting for Canon to release a full frame EOS M camera with a built-in EVF (In my personal humble opinion, I think they would release a full frame EOS M, probably in 2018, maybe Q1? That’s my wild guess!)

If you are looking for a mirrorless camera, do check out the Canon EOS M5, visit Canon Singapore Customer Care Centre at Galaxis, have a touch and feel of the Canon EOS M5.

* I would like to thank Canon Singapore and Ogilvy Public Relations for the opportunity to review the Canon EOS M5 *


Created with flickr slideshow.

i Light Marina Bay 2017 is back!

Asia’s leading sustainable light art festival, the iconic i Light Marina Bay is back in 2017. They would be starting today on the 3rd of March 2017 to the 26th of March 2017, to be held at various locations around the Marina Bay area. For this edition of i Light Marina Bay, there are 20 sustainable light artworks from nine countries including Singapore, being displayed around Marina Bay. This event has been organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) since 2010, I had been following and covering them since they first started, do check out my i Light Marina Bay collection inside my flickr!

Besides, the artworks, there are also other programmes and dinning options for for all visitors to i Light Marina Bay 2017! Let me highlight some of them, there will be three complementary themed festival hubs for visitors to this event. One of them is the The Fantastical World of eco.me at The Promonotory, they will be showcasing sustainability-themed activities such as recycling and upcycling marketplace, an urban garden, a learning yard, a kinetic energy playground, immersive performances and music from 3rd to 5th March and 9th to 12th March.

The other two hubs are Art-Zoo, an imaginative inflatable play-garden at The Float @ Marina Bay and Gastrobeats, where visitors to this event can sit down, enjoy the food and drinks selection available there and enjoy the music! There is something for everybody for the children to adults, it’s a great and meaningful event to bring your family and children down to Marina Bay and enjoy i Light Marina Bay 2017!

During my preview session on 1st March 2017, I was able to view some of the sustainable light artworks, let me share with you some photographs of the artworks! Come on down to Marina Bay Singapore, from 3rd March to 26th March 2017, explore and have fun at i Light Marina Bay 2017!

Artwork 03 – Social Sparkles

Artwork 05 – Horizontal Interference

Artwork 06 – Home

Artwork 08 – Moonflower

Artwork 12 – You Lookin’ At Me?

Artwork 16 – Kaleidoscopic Monolith

Artwork 19 – The Colourful Garden of Light

Artwork 20 – The Body of the Sea

I would share more photographs into my flickr folder along the way when I revisit I Light Marina Bay 2017 over the next 3 weeks! Do keep a lookout for them inside my flickr collection, Twitter, Instagram and FB page!

For more information on i Light Marina Bay 2017, you can visit their website for more information and details! There is also an app, bilppar, that you can download for your smartphone, to explore and navigate i Light Marina Bay 2017. The bilppar app is free for download from the Apple store or Google Play.

 


Created with flickr slideshow.

Hokkaido 2016 Photography Adventure Day 3

23rd October 2016 – Day 3

It’s Sunday in Hokkaido, another cold and chilly autumn morning with the cold wind blowing. My plan for the morning was to make a pilgrimage to a whiskey that I really like a lot, Nikka whiskey. The birth place of Nikka whiskey is in this place called Yoichi, just three JR stations away from Otaru. I checked the local JR train timetable heading towards Yoichi the night before, planned the time to wake up, head towards onsen, buy my breakfast from the JR Otaru station convenience store before boarding the local JR train to Yoichi.

The local JR train ride was fun and I always love my traveling experiences there. Although it was only three stations away, the distance between them were quite far apart. I loved the views from my short JR train ride, I saw the colourful trees, the sea, coast line, hills and houses. My train ride was quite busy, not too packed, there were a number of people on the same train ride too. I spotted some elderly Japanese folks drinking beer in the morning while traveling on the train!

Nikka Distillery

Upon arriving at JR Yoichi station, there were a lot of people that were riding together on the train also alighted along with me. It dawned upon me pretty quickly that we were all heading towards a common destination, the Nikka distillery! A short walk away from JR Yoichi station, I arrived at the entrance to Nikka distillery, I am awed and excited because I made a pilgrimage to my favourite whiskey!

Visiting and walking inside Nikka distillery wasn’t too difficult, you can choose to join a guided tour (in Japanese though) or you can choose to walk around and explore on your own. I chose to walk around and explore myself. There were many information at various locations on the history, significance and things related to Nikka whiskey. The most interesting segments for me were the whiskey museum and Nikka Kaikan (guest hall, tasting room). My most eagerly anticipated segment of visiting Nikka distillery was the free whiskey tastings! There were 3 types of whiskey available for tasting inside the Nikka Kaikan, there were some rules to follow for visitors, no drinking for those visitors driving and each visitor is only allowed to taste 1 glass of whiskey from each type of whiskey available for tasting.

Whiskey is supposed to be enjoyed slowly, shaking and stirring the aroma up from the whiskey, slowly sipping, enjoying the after taste before continuing to slowly sip up the rest of the whiskey. In the midst of my excitement and over enthusiasm, I drank two of the three whiskey in kind of double quick time. Although I really loved the taste and feeling, my head started to spin because I drank too fast and furious! I had to quickly grab some ice water to drink and settle myself down!

There was a place known as Distillery Shop “Northland”, a gift shop to buy gifts and Nikka whiskey. Initially, I thought of buying Nikka whiskey back home to Singapore, however, they were not able to do the duty free procedure therefore I decided not to buy it back. Instead, I bought an ice ball maker and a box of Nikka Distillery chocolates.

I checked the return trip JR train time table when I first entered into the JR Yoichi station, therefore, I had a bit of time to walk around Yoichi and have a quick look before making my way to JR Yoichi station. Japanese trains were very efficient, reliable and punctual. The station masters opened up the doors for the passengers to walk out to the platform about 10 mins before the scheduled arrival time of the JR train. The visitors queued up in rows, waiting in line for the train to arrive. The JR train arrived exactly at the scheduled time as printed on the boards inside the train station.

Reaching JR Otaru station, there was a short time transition for passengers to switch and hop on to the another JR train heading towards Sapporo. This was how great, detailed and thoughtful the Japanese placed in service delivery standards.

When I reached Sapporo, I wanted to look for the Travelers notebook by the Traveler’s Company. However, I wasn’t able to find my way around the shopping centre and I didn’t manage to buy it during my trip to Hokkaido. I went back to the same lunch place yesterday, ordered a curry beef rice, enjoyed my lunch and took the next available train back to Otaru, for my late afternoon to night view of Otaru from Mt Tenguyama.

Mt Tenguyama, Otaru

Mt. Tenguyama, is a famous and well known tourism destination in Otaru, as well as in Hokkaido. On top of Mt Tenguyama, it has one of the best views of Hokkaido, highly rated and recommended by both locals and international visitors. I took a bus from Otaru bus terminal in front of JR Otaru station towards the foot of Mt Tenguyama where the ropeway station was located. I took the ropeway up and it was a great view of Otaru, the port and the sea!

Mt Tenguyama indeed had some gorgeous views up at the top, there were a few observation points that allowed visitors to take photographs of Otaru and her surroundings from different observation points. The weather was a bit overcast and pretty cloudy when I was up on top of Mt Tenguyama. I explored around the top of Mt Tenguyama, it’s really peaceful and beautiful. There were gusty chilly winds blowing on that evening, making it very challenging for me to stay long outside in the open to take photographs (I was kind of freezing up there on Mt Tenguyama).

Waiting for the sun to set and night to arrive, I finally caught a good glimpse of the night landscape scenery of Otaru. I didn’t bring my tripod up to Mt Tenguyama therefore I made the best out of everything in a very cold autumn night with gusty winds blowing at the top of Mt Tenguyama.

Taking the ropeway ride down, enjoying the nights sceneries of Otaru. I took the bus back to Otaru city centre, went to JR Otaru station and bought a half deep fried chicken for dinner back to my hotel room whereby I was able to keep myself warm from another cold chilly autumn night.

On my last night in Otaru at Dormy Inn Premium, I went down for my night singing noodles, the hot and heartwarming Yonaki Soba, my last time to enjoy this wonderful noodles, I am not too sure when I would have the chance again. Upon finishing the delicious Yonaki Soba, I went back to my room, packed my luggage while resting before coming down to relax and enjoy at the onsen before my sleep time.

Hokkaido Autumn 2016 Day 3


Created with flickr slideshow.

Hokkaido Autumn 2016


Created with flickr slideshow.

Light Up Your Passion with Jaybird Freedom

Jaybird Freedom, the smallest wireless ear buds in the earphones market, is packed with many features and incredible sound system inside this pair of wireless earphones. Is it only for the sporting folks? No, this pair of small yet powerful Jaybird Freedom wireless earphones are a great fit for everybody in their daily life, from leisure, day to day traveling, outdoors and sports.

How does the Jaybird Freedom wireless light up the passion and lifestyle of two good friends, one is a sporting person and the other is a café lover?

Sam – a sporty and outdoors girl

A sporty and outdoors girl, she plays rugby union and is now currently playing touch rugby and she’s also a fan of traveling and the outdoors. Running for Sam, is another form of her sporting regime to keep fit in between training sessions for her touch rugby training sessions and work.

Plugging in the Jaybird Wireless Earphones, turning the direction of the earphones upwards, with the cable hanging above the ear, fitting and snugging nicely above and behind. Sam switched on her Jaybird Freedom Wireless Earphones, opened the MySound app, searched for her favourite workout music setting. Adjusting the volume on the side control panel, she entered into her sporting world with music accompanying her, isolated from the noise of the outside world. This is one of the great features of the Jaybird Freedom, the awesome and powerful noise isolation.

This pair of Jaybird Freedom Wireless Earphones is a great fit for Sam and her sporty lifestyle, she can use it for her running exercise regime and for her daily travel to and fro from home to work.

Fiona – a café lover and avid reader

A great fan of visiting different café, trying out their different meals and coffee with friends and sometimes alone with her book to read and relax, while listening to music. Sometimes, visiting a café on her own is for her own personal time with reading books and listening to music, giving the mind and soul a boost through reading and music.

While Fiona was enjoying her coffee after her hearty meal, she switched on her Jaybird Freedom wireless earphones, plugged it in and started playing her favourite songs. Now inside the world of her own with the power and capability of the noise isolation from the Jaybird Freedom, reading her book and listening to her sound of music, sometimes she got hyped up and happy that she hummed and sang along with the tune of her music. The other folks at the café didn’t mind too, for they enjoyed Fiona’s voice and singing too.

The Jaybird Freedom is not only suitable for the sporty folks, it’s also just as suitable for music lovers in our daily life, at work or during leisure time. The wonders of the MySound app by Jaybird allows Sam and Fiona to switch around the style and tone of music for their songs selection to suit their activities and lifestyle.

This pair of Jaybird Freedom wireless earphones suits both a sporty and leisure group of music lovers. No matter what you do or where you go, the Jaybird Freedom wireless can be a part for most of your daily life, work, travel and sports. Let the Jaybird Wireless Freedom light up your passion and power your passion to greater heights.

For the tech and music geeks who would like to know more about the Jaybird Freedowm wireless earphones, head over to my personal blog for the tech review article that I did for the Jaybird Freedom Wireless Earphones.

I would like to sincerely thank these two gorgeous ladies, Sam and Fiona for taking their personal and precious time off from their busy schedule to assist (model for) me in my special lifestyle theme photoshoot!

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.

Chinatown Heritage Walking Trail CNY 2017

The Year of the Rooster 2017 is going to start soon in about 12 days time (starting from today 16th January 2017), ushering in the Chinese New Year on the 28th January 2017. Leading up to the festive season of the Chinese Lunar New Year, we have exciting events, activities and our favourite festive bazaar at Chinatown.

Having grew up in Singapore, I visited Chinatown a number of times during the Chinese New Year festive bazaar, to indulge in the festive atmosphere. It can get really crowded during this period and this is a great time to experience the Chinese New Year festivities in Singapore.

I recently went for the Chinatown Heritage Walking Trail held during the Chinese New Year 2017 festivities on 14th January 2017. Let me bring you through some of the destinations, features and highlights that you can experience for yourself with your family, relatives and friends during this Chinese New Year festivities at Chinatown (12 more days of Chinese New Year festivities before the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year on 28th January 2017)

This Chinatown Heritage Walking Trail was interesting for me because we had the gorgeous and beautiful Mediacorp artiste Sora Ma, leading us for this walking trail! She’s a great travel/tour guide, awesome interaction with the stall owners and walking trail participants, in the midst of the huge crowds and congestion!

Meeting point/Starting point: Chinatown Heritage Centre

The Chinatown Heritage Centre is an excellent destination for everybody, for the locals and our international visitor friends. This is the place where you can go and visit, to learn, see, feel and discover the footsteps of Singapore’s early pioneers and explore the personal stories of early Singaporeans who lived in Chinatown.

I visited and toured Chinatown Heritage Centre on a separate visit with my university alumni group during an alumni outing. It’s definitely an eye-opener and I strongly encourage everybody to visit Chinatown Heritage Centre. More information and details can be found on their website.

There are two exciting programmes at Chinatown Heritage Centre during the Year of the Rooster festive celebration

Happy Rooster Family Album

6 January to 28 February 2017

Daily: 9am to 8pm

27 Jan: 9am to 5pm

28 Jan: Closed

If you are born in the Year of the Rooster and you are visiting Chinatown Heritage Centre, you can get free admission into Chinatown Heritage Centre if you participate and be a part of the Happy Rooster Family Album!

Year of the Rooster Capteh Challenge

6 January to 28 February 2017

28 Jan: Closed

The capteh is a traditional game, I personally played it before when I was a young kid. A fun game, if you can juggle a football consecutively, you are definitely game enough for the capteh! It can be challenging yet it will be fun!

All you have to do is to catch Chinatown Heritage Centre’s signature memorable moments at 1pm and 4pm daily to participate in the capteh challenge. If you can keep the capteh flying in the air by kicking and controlling it for 8 consecutive times non-stop, you can win free admission to the Centre!

Try it out! It’s going to be a fun experience!

Chinese New Year Festive Street Bazaar

A must visit when you are in Chinatown during the Chinese New Year period, indulge and soak in the festive atmosphere of the Chinese New Year festivities, the huge crowds, the bazaar, the goods and food on sale.

It can be very very crowded, making it very difficult to walk around the congested streets during this time. Take it slow and easy, wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

Check out some of the stalls that we visited during the Chinatown Heritage Walking Trail!

YouthEATS @ Temple Street

A new addition to the traditional and regular Chinese New Year festive street bazaar, it’s my first time too! You have to check out the stalls and their food below –

Must try, I reckon you would love them! Sometimes, I don’t need to write a food review for them because I just want to show you the food and where to find them! Go try it!

Spots for Chinatown light up photography

I do love coming down to Chinatown for photography during the Chinese New Year festival season. I took photos from this location previously! There are a lot of different lightings, lanterns and displays during the festive season. Let me share with you, one of the locations to view, enjoy and take photographs!

Garden Bridge (Chinatown Pedestrian Bridge)

You can’t miss this bridge when you are in Chinatown, many people use this bridge to cross from one side of Chinatown (Pagoda Street, Temple Street, Smith Street, Mosque Street) to People’s Park Complex, The Majestic, OG People’s Park.

This would be one of the locations for me to take photos of Chinatown during the Chinese New Year festive season. Visit it during the night when the lightings, lanterns and displays are lighted up, making Chinatown extra bright and colourful!

Lepark @ People’s Park Complex

This is probably one of Singapore’s not too well known yet locations that I believe would slowly grow, transform and evolve into a destination that is popular with creative artists, youth and future flea markets. Lepark is located on the 6th floor of People’s Park Complex, the roof top carpark!

I heard a lot about this location and I had yet to visit Lepark. Thanks to this special Chinatown Heritage Walking Trail, I finally got to visit Lepark. When we were up there on 14th January, there was YHFLEA: Come Lepark Edition a first-of-its-kind collective flea and car boot market with Lepark and Young Hungry Free. Although YHFLEA was only held for two days (14th and 15th January), I hope they would return again and slowly help Lepark grows into a destination for all to visit in the future.

Lepark is another ideal location for street/urban landscape photography of Chinatown and Singapore’s Tanjong Pagar CBD sector. I have a feeling that more photographers will start to visit this location as time goes by. Let’s hope that all these activities and events would slowly transform and grow Lepark at People’s Park Complex.

After visiting Lepark, this marked the ending point for this specially organised Chinatown Heritage Walking Trail tour on the 14th January 2017. It was a fun trip with Sora Ma as our tour guide! Of course, we have to take group photos with our gorgeous and beautiful Sora Ma!

The Chinese New Year festivities are now taking place at Chinatown, do visit and explore some of the festivities, locations and food that I shared here!

Thank you Ninemer PR for the invitation and Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee for organising this walking trail!

Happy New Year 2017!

Hello 2017, goodbye 2016!

The first day of the new year 2017, I just want to start everything new and fresh, a brand new start, A New Hope! I also want to put 2016 behind me, strive forward, ahead and climb higher mountains!

For year 2017, I created A New Hope for myself, more details coming soon! I also want to restart and relaunch my personal photography projects in the year 2017!

I also have a number of travel dreams and destinations, I have an inspiration, a dream to create, produce and print my own travel story books.

Happy New Year 2017! Good luck and all the best to everybody in the new year 2017 for your travels and photography!