Archive for November, 2009

What do wedding photographers (like me) do when we think work is killing us.

Take a chill pill. Go do something else. Stop replying emails. Have a milkshake. Talk to strangers. Check the weather report and compare it with the real thing. Have dinner with parents. Watch some silly taiwanese variety and laughing with my folks. Racist jokes. Computer maintenance (another reason why I have to take a break).

There you go.

After that, no more work. Just an urge to complete something I’m looking forward to.

But, before that. Sleep. I’ve been sleeping really early after I returned from Bali. And it’s an amazing feeling to beat the sunrise without the alarm clock’s assistance. I posted this on facebook few days back (no offense, just give it some thought).

“those who stay up late, only look good in the dark.”


Woke up today having to do up some maintenence work on my computers. Backing up files and some housekeeping on the computers. So many images from the 2 crazy months of September and October! It’s a good break from all the wedding edits. Also, I would like to thank my clients for their patience and taking real good care of the photographer (me!) during those event packed days. It made the shoot so much easier:) Thank you.

I was in Penang late August for a shoot. Took some time to walk around Penang and savour the mind blowing local cuisines. Besides the famous Char Kway Teow and Laksa, I found the chestnuts really good! Fried the similar way as we have it in Singapore, but I think they break the shell before putting them under the fire. It’s seriously one of the best food I’ve had in recent times (besides the fishball in Hongkong). Even the indian taxi driver can’t help but ask me where I bought them.

Anyway, while backing up the wedding files, I decided to do up one of the images.

Oct/Nov Bali Day seven and eight: Padang Bai/Candidasa

Final day of diving was spent at Padang Bai. And it’s on one of those fishing boats that I have seen so often but never got the chance to ride on. It’s a really narrow boat with enough space to fit a single file of “not too oversized” people.

Visiblity was pretty bad with strong underwater surges due to the full moon as was told. It seems like there’s alot happening when it comes to full moon here. Saw some interesting critters and also a small school of squids. They look really “spacey” in those cloudy waters, moving in perfect unison. Calamari will never look the same again on my dinner table.

Not wanting to spend too much on hotel stay this time round, I put up at Kelapa Mas at Candidasa at a discounted rate given to me by the dive operator. It was a clean, no frills cottage along the main street of Candidasa, right in front of the beach and breakwater. I was recommended to this Restaurant Rendevous by the money changer. It’s a really cosy restaurant right by the beach with a spectacular view of the waves breaking lit by the full moon. From there, I could see the waves crashing onto the breakwater right outside my hotel. It’s like a symphony of waves, looks something like a digital equalizer on the radio. I stood there for a good 5-10mins, mesmerized by the combined work of man and nature. If only it’s bright enough for images… too bad, it’s not and it’s kinda dangerous (not worried about dying, more worried about getting wet and having to take a shower again) too.

The following day, I took a fishing trip out to sea before checking out of the hotel. Minutes after we left the shore, a huge 5kg red snapper got hooked and I was thrilled!! But watching the fish die after that wasn’t that great a feeling. I had to decline lunch with that fish on the menu offered by the fisherman. I was kinda glad it was the only catch of the trip. Now I have to figure out how I’m going to handle the spear fishing trip.

Some images for the two days.

Agung and beyond

The classic photographer’s self portrait. Tried to kill my shadow by putting it in the middle of the road. Didn’t quite work.

The cute little bugger. Still trying to ID it. We had fun playing hide and seek… for awhile.

Trumpet fish (me thinks)

“We come in peace… please don’t put us in the deep fryer!” Don’t they look like alien spacecrafts? How different when deep fried… better alive than dead really.

And they decided to come into my “photo booth”.

School of yellowtails (I think… based on visuals) fighting the current. I was swept all over the place. It was nature’s rollercoaster ride. One word, FUN!

The breakwater in front of the hotel. A few hours after this was taken, the crashing waves went up like 5 meters when they hit the breakwater. Amazing amazing sight! (ok, maybe I come from land of swaku, but you get the idea…)

Hope: the name of the fishing boat. Not the one I went out with though:P

Made (pronounced as Mar-day, means 2nd child of the family) with his 5kg red snapper!

The Kuta dog. This time, a rottweiler. These so called “dangerous dogs” (in Singapore) roam freely on their crowded beaches. Maybe maybe if you walk them enough everyday, they aren’t that dangerous. Geddit?

My favourite ship. Where are you sailing today? Gets more dramatic everytime I see it.

Oct/Nov Bali Day six: SHARKS!

Sharks: a type of fish usually seen on the dinner tables at chinese weddings.

I couldn’t hide my excitement when I saw them about 30m at Coral garden on my 2nd dive. The first one was playing with the remoras when we spotted them. I was told they were the resident Black Tip sharks at the Drop Off (even though I’ve never seen them there). I was in a happy daze after that… floating around till my tank went empty. And I meant 0 bar.

Earlier in the day, Ziggy and Powell, both whom I met at the dive at Nusa Penida arrived at Tulamben after taking a day off diving at Kuta. Ziggy have been sharing alot about diving in Bali since he has 10 years experience diving on this island. Two days ago, he told me the deepest he went to was 102m. I asked, “so what did you see at 102m?”. “My dive comp.” was his reply. Very honest and very funny.

The tide was very high as we approached full moon. Ziggy and Powell had left for a village to watch the full moon celebrations. I know I’m having a date with Z monster after all that diving. Nitrogen makes one sleep I think. As I sat at the restaurant, I can’t help but wonder, when will I be back again. Strange feeling since this is the 3rd time this year that I’ve been here. Soon I hope.

Here are some images from the day.

When I stepped out of my room, half asleep, clad in my sleeping clothes and lugging the camera along… I thought I was in jail. Beautiful lighting nonetheless:)

Sunrise at the Drop Off. Fishing boats out for their early catch.

I felt it, so I took it.

The resident barracuda staking outside the wreck. Visibility was pretty bad, good thing I didn’t run into it. It won’t be pretty.

I was taking the picture of the cleaner shrimp (below) and when I turned around, I saw this fella watching me. I pointed the camera at it and it flared it’s fins before swimming away while eyeballing me.

The cleaner shrimp doing it’s work at the cleaning station. It’s quite interesting to watch them work.

Red or Blue? The two Harlequin shrimps fighting over a piece of starfish. Red one won the fight.

The resident black tip shark at the Drop Off. They swam past the Coral Garden… lucky bump there!:D

Oct/Nov Bali Day five: Harlequins

I am now sitting in front of the beachside restaurant of Paradise Resort with my laptop and a cup of hot honey ginger lemon tea. The horizon is still visible at this hour as we are approaching full moon on a cloudless night. If I haven’t had a good 2 hour nap earlier, I’d have fallen asleep right here with the cool sea breeze. Just about more than a month ago, I was in this same spot. Not a bad spot to be in really:)

The trip had been rather nice so far. Sure, there were some screw ups here and there, but nothing mood dampening. There’s no internet, so I am forced to enjoy the cool sea breeze out there instead of facebooking in the hotel room. I’m not here with anyone else, so I am forced to talk to other people and found out interesting experiences that they went through. I was bored to tears on my long journeys to the dive sites so I managed to put in some thoughts on my photography. So far, the flip sides have been rather good, at least the way I see them.

On the 3 hour ride to Seraya, I spoke to Steve, an aussie who’s heading for Tulamben for a day dive.He used to be a dive instructor for quite a number of years around the world before moving on to something else. He shared the same enthusiasm as me about diving when we started. At that point, it wasn’t the fishes nor the colorful reefs that got us hooked. It was just the sensation of being weightless, freedom in another dimension. It’s an indescribable feeling to a non-diver. Alot of my diver friends would agree to that feeling. He gave up on expanding the career in the industry when his wife got pregnant. Same old story. The world revolves around the family, the Mafia knows best. I don’t need to remind myself how many times I heard “it’s a life changing experience”.

The dive at Seraya was good. Saw two Harlequin shrimps towards the end of the dive. It seems there are some people that kept moving them around and building “houses” for them. The dive guide would usually consult the locals who will tell them their “last location” (eg. Today it’s at 9m near the rope). According to my diveguide, some dive operators move them so they will have the exclusitivity of their locations. Can’t imagine moving houses every other day. Even moving between hotels is a pain, let alone a house.

2nd dive was at Coral garden at Tulamben. Nice little gem situated between the more famous sites (USS Liberty wreck and Drop Off). Saw a couple of ribbon eels, coral crabs, shrimps, the usual suspects.

Here are some images for the day.

Double #1: The ornamental Harlequin shrimps.

Double #2: Anemone shrimp with baby

Double #3: Nudibranchs

Moray eel living within a huge colony of shrimps.

Blue ribbon eel.


“one voice”