My first mountain

And it’s Mount Batur in Bali. I didn’t go all the way to the peak, but this view was pretty much good enough for me, for now. I have to say, I really enjoyed the climb and am hoping to do more of these hikes.

Sunrise at Mount Batur, Bali.

The great leap forward!

I see them in videos all the time. But seeing so many of them in real life in the wild… woohoo!!:D

Dolphin pod at Lovina beach, Bali

The familiar arch over the water

I took a short trip to Bali last month to check out some of the less traveled places. Here’s something that I’ve longed to see. My next dream is to be able to swim with them in the wild. On my last day there, we saw about a hundred of them around our boat. Such a wonderful feeling.

A helping hand

Weather: Overcast with light wind. This is the kind of weather that either makes you want to sleep, stone or reflect. A few weeks ago, I was having breakfast at the hawker center in my new neighbourhood. I ordered myself some ‘chiu kueh’ (rice cakes) and found a seat in the crowded hawker center. Those who had chui kueh before will know that they are generally served with chai por and chilli on a piece of paper. With the fans blowing my direction every few seconds, the paper threatened to flip my rice cakes over, especially towards the end of my meal. And me having this habit of reading news on my smartphone while eating didn’t help as I timed myself to hold onto the paper whenever the fans blew my direction.

Halfway through my meal, an elderly couple came by and took the seat on the same table. I noticed the man seem to have difficulty moving, likely due to a stroke or something. Picture this, I was totally engrossed on reading and suddenly, a hand moved into my frame and pressed the edge of the paper which was flapping wildly. When I looked up, the elderly gentleman just gave me a reassuring look as if to tell me, ‘I got you there’. He continued doing that so that I could finish my meal. I thank him, put down my phone, finished my meal and said goodbye. Reading news on the phone during meals doesn’t seem so important after all.

Just a very nice experience that I thought I’d like to share.

Light Lust

To satisfy my lust for light, I traded my dive vacation with another trip to Norway. Same place, different experience. Instead of a largely guided tour last October, I opted for a self drive (which was quite an experience itself). Stayed far away from Tromso city itself and somehow landed there during the full moon period. We didn’t see as much as we hoped due to some really bad weather. The newspaper reported that it was the worst weather to hit northern Norway in 50 years. I guess 50 years is quite a universal benchmark for bad weather these days. After some driving marathons, we managed to catch some glimpses of dancing lights near the Finnish border (I found out that crossing the border to Finland is easier than going to Sentosa). For some reason, the lights seem to dance alot quicker this round. I’m not sure why, but I’m not complaining.

Northern lights at the Norwegeian-Finnish border. It’s almost like a peep show. The clouds parted like a curtain. The lights appeared, did a really quick routine and retreated back into the skies. The clouds then closed in and the skies turned grey. Still pretty mind blowing.

Malapascua in and out of water

So, this is it. From Malapascua.

When I first saw it underwater, I thought it look like a cathedral. I have another not so colorful print on my wall. Someone told me it looks like the earth breaking up or something.

The beach outside Exotic Resort where we stayed. Dive resorts line the beach along the island. Exotic is one of the more established ones in the area. The food at the restaurant was simply spectacular. We spent most of our non-diving hours sitting at the restaurant pigging out and wifi-ing:D

Catching waves at the beach. You can also find souvenir peddlers along the beach. They sell some pretty nice woodwork. I got my wooden Manta and Thresher shark there. Pricing wise, it’s considered expensive there, but you probably won’t get it at that price in Singapore provided you can even find it.

Loading up for the next dive. Resort staff loading equipments up the smaller boats which will ferry them to the bigger dive boats.

Every morning, we gather around 5am in the morning for the dawn dive to wait for the Thresher Sharks at Monad Shoal. Whether or not the shark shows up, we still get to see the beautiful sunrise. During the 20 min ride to Monad Shoal, we just stone or have coffee onboard.

Taking the giant leap off the boat. Amos giving a positive demonstration:D

Kelvin checking out the strange looking jellyfish. While we were there, the seas were filled with tiny jellyfishes or their dismembered parts. It’s not uncommon to get stung, but nothing too serious.

A lone batfish patroling Monad Shoal.

A lone Thresher shark appeared on the first dive of our second trip. Unfortunately, that was our only Thresher sighting that trip.

A flatworm during the night dives.

Whip coral shrimp.

It’s the same one, just a silhouette. It’s interesting that part of the body seem to glow in green.

Bubble coral shrimp. That’s one of my favorite subjects.

Sometimes the mornings can get rather cold. On this day, the waves were pretty bad and we had a bit of difficulty getting up the boat using that narrow plank, especially with the heavy camera. Good thing the guides are always there to assist. The guide for my first trip was Paul and the second one was Wilmar.

Getting your morning facewash at the bow of the boat.

At some sites, the current can be extremely strong. We took a trip to Dona wreck and were swept left right center by the current. I left my camera onboard after the first dive. It’s just not worth fighting the current with the camera. Tien Beng holding the rope during the surface interval. The bubbles were going sideways here.

While descending, I spotted this jellyfish and decided to take “a few” pictures of it, forgetting that the current was pretty strong. Within seconds, I lost the party but descended anyway. Got to 30m and did not see a single soul and the surrounding didn’t match the ones mentioned during the dive brief. I was thinking “where the hell is the plateau? what coral garden?! all I’m seeing is SAND!” So I ascended and found the boat more than 100m away.

So here’s the boat on it’s way to pick me up. Sorry guys, my bad.

The ‘feeder’ boats ferrying stuff to the bigger dive boats during low tide.

An approaching storm.

Swimming around this school of tiny fish while trying to get a decent shot. It’s fun to see how the flash lights up the water from beneath.

While waiting for the Thresher shark, I stayed relatively motionless and this lionfish was so attracted by it’s reflection off the dome port of my camera. It literally stuck it’s face on the port and looked left and right. Just like how you do in front of the mirror.

Probably the first time it saw it’s own reflection.

The Thresher shark doing it’s rounds while Andrew took the videos.

A headshot of the Thresher shark.

Sometimes they get rather close.

The tail is just amazingly beautiful.

The pregnant (?) nurse shark at Gato Island. That’s quite an incredible dive site. You also get to swim through a mini cave which was kind of fun.

Squid protecting it’s eggs nearby.

Frogfish looking devilish here. This was at the Exotic Resort’s house reef. which is pretty darn amazing for a house reef.

Juvenile Lionfish.

And finally, the mantas decide to make an appearance. These are huge, probably in the range of 5m.

Wave. This one’s good for facebook covers:D

Outriggers outside Wilmar’s house. He invited us for dinner and also to watch some cockfighting as there were some festival going on.

The last night on the island.


The spotlights from the resort lighting up the outrigger.

Finally, on the second trip I managed to blow perfect bubble rings. All thanks to Paul, who was very patient despite me pestering him every now and then to teach me.

Malapascua un-archived

2010, we did a trip to the island of Malapascua, Cebu (Philippines) to seek out the Thresher sharks. A total of 2 trips within a span of 2 months. When I got back, I got really busy with another overseas shoot and by the time I finally settled down (and recovered from a massive stiff neck), the Malapascua images were already buried under another few thousand images to be edited. Very soon, they got archived, backed up and stored away. The next trip came and I got pulled further away from them. Finally I got abit of time for myself and decided that I should revisit these images again. It’s like re-living the trip again. Here are some of the images taken on the second trip.

I spent a considerable amount of time under the hot afternoon sun getting the image of the wave I wanted during our surface intervals. During then, I found a dead bamboo shark and got ‘hit’ by a juvenile mantis shrimp.

Our last night at Exotic Resort.

A lone outrigger on the beach.

Snippets from WPN Journeys 2

Late last month, 8 of us from WPN took a trip to Penang for the food and some great company. You might think that a bunch of photographers will be shooting tons overseas. But it turned out that most of us are more interested in the massage (clean one ok!) and good food than anything else. Thanks to Dino for bringing us around. Being the 地头蛇, we were introduced to some really interesting dining and coffee joints. Here are some randoms from the trip. Shot with the Fuji X-Pro 1.

I was told it’s called Love Lane because that’s where people used to house their mistresses back in the days. Sounds like a perfect place to open a bridal boutique .

Light that falls nicely on a door. I’m guessing that this perfect symmetry only happens a few days a year since the direction of the sun does shift quite abit over the year.

This is North America.

Everywhere you go, someone will be pointing a camera at you.


KC between Yu Hsin’s legs.

Somewhat familar pose.

Marked Man: Eadwine.


Yu Hsin.


Food was good and things are relatively cheaper there.

What did I say about traveling with photographers?

At Chew’s Jetty.

Chatting up the boss of a vintage car workshop.

Y you no smile?

Extended wings.