Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Foggy Day!

Another two days, 2009 will be history! Here we are, stuck in our little house in Karori. Why? Take a look outside, it is all misty; on a day like this the best thing is to chill out in front of our computers! Our favorite pass-time! ;)

In New Zealand, this time of the year is known as the "silly season"; large part of the population went on holiday and business slow to a crawl.

Where I work, we were let off from 24th December and we will chill till 11th January. Usually, we took this "shutting down" period to go traveling. This year we are saving what ever left of our leave for a important April trip :)

While tidying my photo archives I spotted this pano of our Karori valley I shot a while back, unlike today it was a beautiful sunny day!

The embedded meta data told me the pano was shot with my D300 DSLR and the 15 years old Nikkor 20/2.8 lens. What a glorious view from our deck on a day like this!

You must click on the picture to see a glorious sunny Karori day!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Graduation and Family Portraits

Last week, out of the blue; our friend Rachael told us that her twin boys are attending their graduation ceremonies Wednesday next and since her other son and daughter also came back from Perth and Hong Kong just for the occasion; can I take some family portraits for her?

I told her, physically; I am unable to cover the ceremonies. To get a good coverage you are looking at FIVE hours for each ceremony and trotting a bag full of heavy camera and lenses (300mm included) is for younger photographers :)

In Wellington, graduating students from Victoria University traditionally march from the Law Faculty, Government Building in town to Civic Square, 30 minutes (slow walk) away.

Picture above show our eldest girl May-N, Lamont and friends during their march in 2001.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Pano Maker for Mac

Yesterday, Simon; our Manager for New Operations Development inform me that there is a new panorama maker for Mac available for free! Thanks Simon!

Back home, at 8 pm; the late evening sun is setting over the Karori Valley. I noticed the nice cloud formation from our wide French door, a perfect "spread" to test out the free beta software!

I spent a pleasant 30 minutes on the deck with my Nikon D300 DSLR with a 20 years old Nikkor 35-70/3.5 zoom lens. The sunset was shot at ISO 200 at 35mm, f5.6 and 1/80 second, four shots; handheld and moving the camera from left to right.

According to Stoik Imaging, the free beta version of their PanoramaMaker for Mac is:

"a automatic panorama software that turns any group of overlapping photos into high quality panoramic image. The program combines very simple user interface, step by step work flow and powerful modern mathematical approach to image matching.

You can create panorama either automatically with just few clicks, or assemble and stitch pictures manually if automatic procedure fails to perfectly match images in complicated cases"

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My GMT-Master

After a long wait of FOUR WEEKS, my Rolex GMT-Master finally came back from Singapore!

My friends laugh at me when I tell them I miss my watch!

"It is just a bloody watch, a watch to tell time!" Sigh ;( They just don't understand, this "watch"; a superlative chronometer to be exact has been on my wrist since 1988! Been everywhere with me, ticking accurately at 28,800 BPH (Beat Per Hour). Since I bought it in 1988, it has beat none stop, without complain; a whopping 52,9804,8000! That is FIFTY THREE MILLION beats!!

In comparison my heart only beat an average of 9,3819,6000, slightly more than nine million time!

"Just a watch?" DUH!

I still remember, it was like yesterday in 1988; my family and me were getting ready to move to Wellington, New Zealand. I always wanted a Rolex, but it is just a dream to a "lowly paid" Picture Editor of a local newspaper. Especially when the paper I work for was CLOSED by the Malaysian government!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tui Obsession!

After shooting the Tui bird outside my dinner's window, I got kind of obsess with this native birds!

When I took my best shot to my work place last Monday and test print it on the new Epson Stylus Pro 9900 we just bought, the result was phenomenal! Now everyone want a print of that Tui bird!

Is this my best shots?

After all the initial excitement I look at the picture again and my photo-head tell me that there is something missing from this shot! Where was his LEG?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Bird and The Lens!

You thought I am gonna tell you about the birds and the bees? Ha ha ha...

Last weekend I noticed this "black bird" outside my dinner's window picking at the giant flax plant. My photo-head told me that is a perfect subject for a lens test!

Click on the picture to see the bird on the flax!

It was much later that my daughter Ming-N told me that "black bird" is a native Tui! Duh! I think all Kiwis would know that! hee hee...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Daddy I Drop Your G7!

G7, Canon compact AF point and shoot extraordinaire! Since I got a G9, it was given to my younger daughter and last week when we meet up with her for lunch she told me she accidentally drop it!

At first I thought, "She'll be right!"; the little camera is built like a tank! Why, I cannot even see any dent or scratches after the drop!

Appearance is deceiving! The camera do not work anymore! The retractable lens is half-out and refuse to retract fully when the on/off button is pressed. All you can see on the rear screen is a line of text: "Lens error, restart camera"!

Those Canon engineers sure have a weird sense of humour! How the hell you are suppose to "restart" when the bleeding lens is STUCK outside the body?!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tea For Two

Our eldest daughter May-N took us to Vancouver Island when we were visiting her in Vancouver, on this spectacular and beautiful island we were introduced to the classical English High Tea.

Actually High Tea is a misnomer, most people refer to afternoon tea as high tea because it sounds more regal! High tea to the English is actually dinner. Do visits the link on English High Tea, it is fascinating!

The stunning waterfront city of Victoria is the vacation capital of Canada, it attract over six million visitors yearly!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Does Camera Matter?

Every time I show a better shot of mine to friends, my most often questions will be - "What camera you used?"; it is as if he/she was using the same type of camera I was using, they will capture the same moment ;)

So the six million dollar question, DOES CAMERA MATTER?

There are different school of thought to this question, Ken Rockwell; famous avid shooter and who has used every new model once launch, reckoned - "Your Camera Doesn't Matter!"

When I read his article I felt he was expressing a shallow advice, it was then I also read a rebuttal from my favorite site, Luminous Landscapes that I laugh my head off :) It is one of the BEST article I ever read on YOUR CAMERA DOES MATTER!

Take a look at the picture below:

"Feed The Birds" was shot along Collin Street, Melbourne; one Christmas day.

I like the shot because I feel the essence of the moment was captured.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fantastic 14 mm!

A friend pop in to my work place to see me and being a very enthusiastic photographer himself, we somehow talk about our favorite lenses!

I told him he is so lucky to own the latest Nikon 14-24mm f2.8G ultra wide zoom, I lament when I was with the media; my favorite lens was the Canon 14mm f2.8 ultra-wide.

I was thus shock that he reckon the 14-24 was a terrible lens and is "not very sharp, hard to compose; the sales guy said it is because of the curvature of the lens!" He also believe an ultra-wide is no good for landscape or scenery shots!

Where he got those misleading notions from? As far as I know the new Nikon 14-24 is the BEST rectilinear ultra-wide, even when you zoom to it's 14mm range; the lens is virtually distortion free! Straight line remained straight! Who ever gave my friend those "fact", SHAME ON YOU!

In parting, I promised I will post some of my best 14mm shots...

"Lost Love", the Canon 14mm f2.8L.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cream of Ice Cream!

I notice on my FaceBook that an ex-Star colleague is in Vancouver and she love ice cream, I asked her if she knew about this joint in Vancouver that serves 218, yes; TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN flavours of yummy Italian Gelato ice cream...

From a local paper, and I quote:

"Tucked away in an industrial corner of East Vancouver where Venables Street crosses the railroad track (1033 Venables Street, 251-3211) is an Italian ice-cream factory and parlour to make the Roman gods droll.

According to owner Vince Misceo, who is from Bitritto in southeastern Italy. La Casa Gelato has more flavours available than any rival establishment in the world."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Adios Sri Intan!

In May this year I wrote about "the most authentic Nonya cuisine in New Zealand".

I was talking about Sri Intan Malaysian & Vietnamese Cuisine at Lot 11, 945A New North Road, Mt Albert, Auckland.

Sad to say, last week I was informed by Charles and Janet that they are closing Sri Intan effective 11 Oct! To all their fans they are offering special $250 a table for ten which showcase TEN of their best Nonya dishes!

Adios Sri Intan, you will be missed!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

May The Force...

Just finish watching Star War Episode 3 on TVNZ, still interesting after all this years!

The special effect packed movie remind me of my meddling with digital effect many years ago.

I wrote an article titled "Of Sky Fire, Think Outside the Square and Double-Scans", like the epic movie, I think it is time for me to repeat that article!

Sky Fire - May The Force Be With You!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


WOW, an iconic art event in Wellington announced its 2009 winners last week.

What is this WOW?

WOW stands for World Of Wearableart, it is a show like no others; it's official web site described the show as, and I quote:

"Step into a world where art and the human form combine, where dance, music an lighting tell a story of the body as a canvas, where the lines of fashion and art blur and merge as one."

I never attended a WOW show, not that I cannot afford the $150 ticket; I did not go because I am NOT allowed to take pictures during the show. So I don't see the point of going. ;)

We were at the FREE Air New Zealand sneak preview at Frank Kitts Park last Saturday, sadly; the 30 minutes show was lack lustre and the FIVE MINUTES sneak preview costumes were a far cry from what to be expected of the real show!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Great Old Glass! Nikkor 105/2.8 Micro

In April this year I wrote about an old manual focus Nikon zoom, the incredible Nikkor 80-200 f4 that was used to capture Dr Mahathir's iconic picture, I still try to use that lens on my D300 DSLR whenever I can!

Going through my arsenal of old Nikkor lenses lat week I noticed the long unused 105 f2.8 micro and I wonder how this second edition lens fared in 2009!

After all, Nikon has now put in auto-focus and VR in their latest edition; as far as I know the lens elements are now different too. Why, even Ken Rockwell reckoned the new version as; and I quote - "For all-around use as a general-purpose tele, this 105mm is Nikon's best yet."!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tip Toe Through The Tulips...

Remember the song? All these beautiful bloom are at the Wellington Botanical Garden, SPRING has arrived!

How do we know spring is "in the air"? Believe it or not, on that day (1st September); the air was especially crisp and COOL... I did not say COLD.

We know spring is here when the BIG FAT bumblebees starts to circle the flowers to satisfy their sweet teeth (do bees have teeth?).

It is only in spring that tulips are at their full glory at the Botanical Garden... so I took out my digital camera which has been in hibernation all winter and head for the garden.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering WTC

The world remembering 9/11 again...

Memories of 9/11 opened a flood gate... who was right, wrong; do not mean a hell lot to me. I am just a photographer and I cry for the thousands that perished in that senseless act!

I prefer to think of the GREAT time my family and I had in N.Y. and the World Trade Center.

It was 1994 when we visited the WTC, as can be seen from this shot taken by our eldest daughter May-N with a 35 mm Nikon AF compact. It was shot from Ellis Island which was a good place to capture the New York skyline with the two imposing twin towers.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

09-09 A Star Is Born

My friend Jeff Ooi lamented in his Screenshots a few days ago:

"Come September 9 to the date, the late Penang-born journalist KS Choong will be remembered again for giving birth to The Star at Weld Quay, Penang; Malaysia 38 years ago.
Sadly, the People's Paper is now a Party's Paper."

From Weld Quay Penang to Pitt Street, to Jalan Travers KL then to Section 13 PJ and to Phileo Damansara... Happy anniversary!

But aren't we forgetting one person without whom there will be no "People's Paper"?

I am talking about K.S.Choong, the FOUNDER of The Star; do you think at the celebration tomorrow, any of the merry making Star people ever remember K.S.Choong?

When I "rejoin" The Star the third time round I noticed that all the Star people tend to behave he did not exist!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Merdeka @ Wellington

A small group of Malaysians and friends celebrate the 52nd Merdeka Day with a pot luck dinner and cultural show at the Johnsonville Community Centre last night.

We were a bit apprehensive of attending because the same function last year was a near disaster! Extending the Malaysian's "everyone are welcome!" spirit, more than 300 turn up and the rest is history ;)

This time round, kudos to the organising committee; only invited guests need attend AND table numbers were allocated to all the guests... the event ran like clock work! Why, they even "staggered" the food and table numbers calling to make sure everyone get a share! Well done guys! Even our Singaporean friends were impressed! Ha ha ha...

I had my little Canon G9 point and shoot with me and I recorded all the cultural dances in video, the pictures you see below are "grabs" from the video itself.

A classical Joget Melayu performed by the WMSO students member, love their moves!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Oh Malaysia!

Come Monday, it is Malaysia's National Day again; I thought this is a good time to "blog" this shot for the world to see!

I like this symbolic picture, it should be titled "Formula Malaysia"!

Oh... I actually entered this picture in a photo contest called "Formula Malaysia" in 1999. The contest was organised by some MEGA organisations in Kuala Lumpur and heavily publicised in the New Straits Times and the Chinese Media.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Merdeka Swing!

After the wet encounter in year 2000 Merdeka celebration... I had a plan for 2001 at the Kuala Lumpur Padang!

Trying to get a different look to the annual celebration picture, my plan is to mount the Canon EOS1n film camera and a 15 mm fish-eye lens on a Manfrotto carbon monopod; a cable release is then attached to the motor-drive to "fire" the camera.

I was going to play invisible man and to "merge" myself into the parade, walk with the folks who participate in the parade; when we pass the VIP's Grand Stand I will hold up the mounted camera and "empty" a whole film roll towards them!

It was easier said than done! It was not easy to avoid the eagle eyes of the policemen and army personnel who make sure that the media are out of the parade!

When this group pass by I managed to sneak into the middle of the group.

I tell you, there is nothing like the ultimate "high" of heavy adrenaline rush!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Déjà vu 9 - Tunku and Holden

Found this old print among my souvenir...

My contact at Rasa Sayang Hotel, Penang tipped me that my favorite actor William Holden is in town!

I charged over to the beach hotel with a reporter and we managed to get an exclusive pictures and story not only of Holden and him with beautiful Stephanie Powers!

When Holden found out Tunku Abdul Rahman is the Chairman of The Star, he asked me to take him to meet him.

We took Holden to Tunku's chalet at Batu Ferringhi Beach and he met Malaysia's first Prime Minister.

After a long conversation together on wild life conservation, Tunku and Holden stood at the veranda and look at the sunset....

I recorded the moment with a Nikon F2 and a 105mm f2.5 lens. Kodak Tri-X film was used.

Now to find some more pictures of Holden and Powers!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Walk On Air!

I LOVE suspension bridge! Especially those that MOVE when you walk across!

We had a really enjoyable experience when we were on the 136 metres (450 ft) long Capilano Suspension Bridge in the District of North Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

The "moving" structure is suspended 70 metres (230 ft) above and across the Capilano River.

Click on photo for a LARGE view!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Cloud

Winter in Wellington is ideal for stunning sunset shot! I do not have to go far either... from my deck I get a panoramic display of the changing hues!

They say the more simple the subject, the harder it is to photograph well.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Home Town

I do not know why of all day I got the home sick blue today! May be it is the exceptionally cold winter day, may be it is time to take a trip back?

And I got the home sick blue...

Home, even after all these years of wandering; still feel like it is PENANG! Hey all you Penangnites out there, away from home; true or not?

To ease my blue, I thought I will post some of my Penang shots for all my island folks out there!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Father of "PEN" passed away at 76

Yoshihisa Maitani, the visionary designer who created the popular Pen series of cameras for Olympus, passed away last night at a hospital in Tokyo.

Yoshihisa Maitani with the Olympus Pen F. (Photo: Olympus)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Déjà vu 8 - Workshop In Kuching

The last time when I was working in Kuala Lumpur for four years, I must have attended more than 20 "workshops" and "seminars" that were "Photography related". But sad to say, like a lot of the participants I spoke to; we came out of such workshop none the wiser!

I found almost all the workshops and seminars are sponsored by big name camera manufacturers and understandably the seminar presenter is more keen on promoting their products than teaching you how to shoot better pictures, after all; most of these "talks" are free and usually with a good lunch "thrown in" :-)

So when the Sarawak Newspaper Association asked me to give a one day workshop to their members, I was in a bit of dilemma. Their "members" are all working media professionals, what can I teach them? At the end of the seminar they better learn something, my reputation is at stake and to fly me from K.L. to Kuching, Sarawak; the two nights stay in a 5 stars hotel beside the colourful Kuching River, all the makan and a "token ang pow" cost a good sum too!

These were my plan:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

They Shoot Spider Don't They?

You might be wondering how all this come about... no, it got nothing to do with Spiderman :)

I was sitting on the carpeted floor watching TV while having dinner on our second hand coffee table when I felt a sharp pain on my lower right shin.

What do you know, I was bitten by a Kiwi spider and I am bleeding! The creature was squashed to a pulp when I felt the pain so I do not know what species it was, but knowing there are not that many poisonous spiders in NZ I felt pretty reassured!

Don't be so sure if you are living in Australia though :-)

I then remember the picture of a BIG spider I took at the Brisbane airport. Why in the world do I photographed a spider you asked. Story....

How do you kill time when you arrived at Brisbane airport at 6 am (Australian) and your connecting flight home to Wellington was 4 hour away?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Déjà vu 7 - SMILE! You are on...

Once upon a time, in a land far far away... there was a Japanese princess name Naoko who was so bored with the palace life that she decided to sneak out and attend the first F1 race at Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

Being of royal decent she was admitted to the prestigious Petronas stand and while taking her plate of food to her seat she was spotted by the notorious paparazzi Leow-San, who took a series of exclusive pictures of Her Highness! But wait! She seems to enjoyed her pictures being taken!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Heather Behind Lens

For a change I am going to post a selection of eleven pictures taken by my colleague Heather Newby.

Heather is our microfilm camera operator, she is crazy about snapping pictures! Everywhere she went, her "cheap" Canon Powershot A470 is there, snapping away!

She is not worry about mega pixels and all the bell and whistles missing from her little point and shoot camera, she just wanna have fun taking pictures and capturing a slice of memory!!

More of us photographers should be like Heather!

Last week Heather went on a two week break to Greymouth on the west coast of the South Island . They went through Arthur's Pass which is 45 minutes drive from Greymouth.

Her dad`s house is right next to the beach at Greymouth.

Here are a selection of her shots I help edit.

A waterfall at Mitchells, West Coast.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mid Summer WHAT?

Sometime I think the Kiwis have a strange sense of humour, we are experiencing the coldest winter in 25 years and our work place (NZMS) is holding a Mid Summer BBQ! Ha ha ha...

But Kiwis are sporting though, they came dressed for the occasion! A little fun won't hurt anyone :) and good time to catch up with each other, especially over plenty of bangers (sausages) and intoxicating beverages ;)

After operating the microfilming camera for untold hours, Heather find this ultra-blue sunglasses advantages to see in the dark!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The "X" Factor

After reading my "Photographer's Swan Song", Angela Rao from Stockholm commented:

"Hey CY! I have to agree with everything you've said here. Those pictures were outstanding....nothing like it in the papers now! Hope you pass on some of your "oomph" to the younger generation at the Star. The picture of the doll and the slippers were freaky!"

Thank you Angela and that bring me to a very often asked questions from GEIC, MD and Editors of newspapers that I worked: "Why can't you train your photogs to shoot better news pictures?" or "After two years as Picture Editor, why can't they shoot pictures LIKE YOU?" or better still, and this actually came from a top Editor of The Star in Malaysia, "Why can't they shoot like LIFE magazine's photographers?!!" DUH!!


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Déjà vu 6 - A Day In Malacca

The last time I was working in KL I went to Malacca thrice in four years, none of those trips were specifically photography orientated... then I got a call from a Creative Exec of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the brief:

One day shoot in KL and Malacca, among the shots; they will select 5 from each location to be used in their Global Image series.

Would any photographer worth his salt... oh... lens, turn down an offer like that? :-)

So one fine Saturday morning I pack my gear and took a young photographer with me, who that person is; best remained unknown but I am happy to say that the young photog has learnt a thing or two from me.

For my choice of equipment I thought I will give my long idled workhorse, the Nikon F3P a workout. I took with me the 20/2.8, 50/1.4, 35-70/3.5, 80-200/4 and the ultra compact 300/4.5 IF-ED. The Canon EOS1n came along because I can use it for the 15 mm fish-eye. All shots were done on Kodak Ektapress 200 and 400 film.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Adios Kodachrome !

Kodak announced yesterday that it will no longer produce Kodachrome, the slide film which has captured some of the world's most iconic images for 74 years.

The company introduced the 35 mm colour slides film in 1935, and it gained a following among professional and amateur photographers alike.

The haunting green eyes of the “Afghan girl” who graced the cover of National Geographic in June of 1985 was captured on Kodachrome.

Some of the best-known colour photos of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley were snapped with Kodachrome transparencies!

Singer Paul Simon gave the film his endorsement with the hit song Kodachrome in 1973, lauding the film's “nice bright colours” while imploring, “Mama don't take my Kodachrome away.”

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Blast From The Past!

Just two days ago, my colleague Simon was lamenting to me about his dad and his BRONICA 120 camera.

Ahh.. the good old Bronica, sure bring back some fond memories! I still remember I read with sadness in 2004 when TAMRON announced that they are discontinuing the Bronica camera range.

But first let me tell you how I got bitten by the 120 bug.

I started mucking around with photography while I was in form 4, my classmates the Ooi Twins were photography nuts and they must be from a rich Alor Setar family because they were using an EXAKTA 2b 35 mm SLR!

That camera cost as much as a car!

Did you know that this queer camera's film wind is left handed and it have a build-in KNIFE that can slice your film for you?

Monday, June 15, 2009


No, no, no... not that kind of Extreme Makeover! No one going under the knives here :)


Arrrrhhhhh!!! A once in a life time wedding shot, under exposed by at least 4 stops, background is pitch black; some light came from "above" (no divine intervention here ;) but leave a bad illumination! How did it get to be like this? Can the photo be "saved"?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Evergreen Nikon 50mm f/1.4

I had another lens in my jacket pocket when I was shooting our office bake-off two days ago.

I like to call this "old glass" my "evergreen prime lens", the lens is the Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AI, a manual focus gem.

This lens was very popular in the 70s, it came as the "standard lens" with some Nikon models.

I like it because it is very fast and really sharp images can be capture after f2.8!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bounced Flash and Bake-Off

I dislike using flash in my photography, but most indoor lighting condition are not really bright enough for even illumination.

Direct flash can cause even the most flattering photos to turn out bad, direct flash is harsh and highlight in photos are "burn out" and lack detail.

If you are serious about your photography, the first technique you must learn is how to BOUNCE your flash!

Sadly, virtually all the smaller, so called "point & shoot" cameras came with tiny, fixed flash that you cannot tilt and bounce! Even if it can, the output is just too weak for that purpose.

What you need then is an external flash that is equipped with a movable "head" which you can tilt and turn to direct the light up or sidewards.

What is the advantage of bounced flash then?

This is where the BAKE-OFF part come in...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Mana Ada Sense" - Part 3

After blogging our eventful trip to Auckland a week ago, I received a super fast reply from Sky City; I am very impressed with their response!

Today I got a response from Air New Zealand, here it is in full:

Good Morning Mr Leow,

Thank you for your email received.
It was very concerning to read of your experience onboard during your flight to Wellington.

To read of your wife falling sick during turbulence is a discomforting experience in itself. I appreciate the disappointment you felt with the performance of our crew at this time. I apologise the action to rectify your situation at the time was not sorted in a hasty way. 

A rubbish bag would have been the convenient thing to bring to you for the sick bag, and some cloths to help clean up and for your wife as well. It clearly seems our crew member did not utilise any common sense in this occurrence or empathy for your wife.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Candid - SHY KIDS

One of my avid fan complain that I do not post enough of my work, by doing that; he can appreciate the photography I done and hopefully learn something from it :)

I am honoured indeed, so I have decided that I will post one of my better shot every week!

Good picture got to be seen big, so do click on it for a better view!

"SHY KIDS" was a candid shot I took in Kuching, Malaysia.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

"Mana Ada Sense" - Part 2

KUDOS to Sky City! They reply a day after I lodged a complain about my disappointment! Here is their reply in full:

Dear Mr. Leow,

Thank you for providing me with your reservations details and giving me the opportunity to look into this further.

From your reservation details I can see that you had booked under the "PARK" rate code for a Standard Room.

As you say from your email and your internet blog upon arrival you were advised that the room type you had booked was not ready yet. Your room type would have been ready before our standard check in time of 3pm.

You checked into your room at 12.38pm. On check in you were offered if you wished to upgrade into an "refurbished - upgraded room" for the quoted fee of $30 per night. I have to clarify this amount is including GST, and not as you state excluding GST. You are welcome to check this on your invoice provided upon check out.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Auckland Revisited and Mana Ada Sense?

**** "Mana Ada Sense" - a tongue-in-cheek, translate to "Where Got Sense?" or "No Common Sense!"

The last time we were in Auckland I was 60 years young :) It was Feb 2007... and last week end we find ourselves in this busy city again.

We were flying Air New Zealand, our tickets were bought on-line; at our Wellington airport we learn how to check-in ourselves! The wonder of technology!

What do not make sense to us that our local flight luggage allowance was 25 Kg, wheres my sister in laws who are flying MAS (Malaysia Airlines System) to Kuala Lumpur were only given 20 Kg each!

Come now MAS! What is going on? Local flight 25 Kg and international 20? A case of "Mana Ada Sense" ??

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nyonya food at its best, in Auckland ?!

Yesterday (2 Oct 2009) I was informed by Charles and Janet that they are closing Sri Intan effective 11 Oct! To all their fans they are offering special $250 for ten table which showcase TEN of their best Nonya dishes! Adios Sri Intan, you will be missed!

The Sri Intan story...

The General and I were in Auckland sending off her sisters back to Malaysia, we decided to hang around Auckland for a couple of nights to catch up with friends.

The last time we met up with Charles and Janet in Auckland was in March 2007! Janet introduced us to the Gyuto Monks and I wrote about them in "An Enlightenment Journey" in my old blog.

This time round we are very excited to savour their latest creation, some named it "the most authentic Nonya cuisine in New Zealand"!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mt Tit-What?

After viewing my "Stealthy Bird" entry, Heather (my colleague and fan) comment:

"Stunning photo!! Looks great enlarged on desktop...but... an unfortunate name for such a lofty mountain!!

I can imagine your wife with her face squashed up against the window while you are leaning over,clicking away! ha ha. Poor little bird.It would be cold and lonely up there.

This is what I read about "Mt Titless ", Mt Titlis is all about the views. The Swiss Alps are simply breathtaking and to even try to put their beauty and scenery into words does not even come close to doing them justice. Even people from spectacular alpine areas like Canada and New Zealand agree.

Stealthy Bird!

Weather have been wet and cold for nearly a week!

They say you can't beat Wellington on a good day, but on day like this; you sure wanna beat the hell out of here!

Met Service forecaster said yesterday's bleak weather was only going to get worse as southerly gusts increased today, reaching gale-force speeds of up to 140kmh in exposed places.

To make life even more exciting, there was an earthquake near Wellington! Luckily it was only measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale :)

Ever wonder then, how can birds fly in this gale force wind?

Take a look at this picture:

Click on picture for a grand view!

See that "stealthy bird" slip streaming the gusty Alpine wind?

This shot was captured at Mt Titlis, Engelberg; Switzerland... 10,000 feet off the ground.

A Canon EOS1n film camera with a 17-35L lens and Kodak Ektapress 400 film were used.

Did we design our Stealth Fighter by copying this bird? Ha ha ha...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

More Rainbow but no gold!

After reading my rainbow blog, Heather replied:

"It is good to see that there are people who take an interest in the REAL WORLD..which is our surroundings..landscape,environment,.How many even notice rainbows anymore,,let alone capture them on film? 
The idea that a pot of gold can be found at the rainbow's end originated somewhere in old Europe. In Silesia, an obscure area of eastern Europe, it was said that the angels put the gold there and that only a nude man could obtain the prize. Hmm.....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wish Me A Rainbow....

"Wish me a rainbow... wish me a star...."

Remember that song? Hmmm.... you are too young? Sigh....

There is something special about rainbow that I love, partly because they are so difficult to capture on film; well... most of the time you do not have a camera when you see one!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Zoom Zoom zoom!

The second generation Mazda3 has been launched in New Zealand, and is set to go on sale on 1 May, said the motor news.

Strangely enough it did not excite me at all! Being a "petrol head" all my life, is this a sure sign of old age?

Five years ago when the first gen appeared, I was so excited and went and bought one of the first few available!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Afternoon Delight

Lucerne has long been one of Europe’s most heavily touristed towns, five million admirers passing through each year. Wow! Just imagine the whole population of New Zealand passing through this picturesque town!

We were there for one day and half day, too little; too short!

If you are there, The north bank of the Reuss River is a must see! Take a walk among the river bank, take in the beautiful vista.

May be take a nap beside the river!

Afternoon Delight...

Beautiful fine day, cool breeze; along the river right smack in the city of Lucerne... great spot for a nap, baby included!

This delightful snap was "napped" with a Canon EOS1n, EF17-35L zoom lens on Kodak Supra 400 film.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Déjà vu 5 - Putra Night

On 1 February 2001, the 4,900-hectare Putra Jaya was declared the third Federal Territory of Malaysia. This new federal administrative hub was built at a cost of some RM2.2 billion and is within the Multimedia Super Corridor.

Putra Jaya is also Malaysia's new, and futuristic, administrative capital containing within it the imposing, Putra Mosque. The mosque, named after the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj, is located beside Dataran Putra fronting the scenic Putra Jaya Lake.

Almost wholly surrounded by water, Putra Mosque also affords a breathtaking view of the lake as well as the Putra Bridge and the Prime Minister's Complex.

To mark the historical event a celebration was held around Putra Jaya and of course the climax of the night was a spectacular firework display!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Eyes Have It!

Isn't that what good photographer are all about? He/she should be able to SEE what others do not and react to what he sees and be able to freeze and capture that "slice of time", a slice of the moment that BELONGS to you!

A good photographer must be very sensitive to all sorts of things around him - light, emotion, objects, shapes, composition.

When situation arise he must be able to operate his camera like his second nature... an extension of his mind, his soul, if you like; no hesitation, decisive; instance!

(Click on the picture! For Your Eyes Only!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Room With A View

Sunday morning, as usual we got up pretty late and at 1 pm; drag ourselves to the Sunday open market next to the Te Papa Museum car park. After buying what we need, on our way back to our parked car; we were stunned to notice the new block of high rise apartment opposite the museum! We don't remember it going up, you know the feeling? Go to show how unobservant we are! Ha ha ha...

Then my wife saw the "Open for viewing" sign and got all excited, we MUST go and take a look; who know, we might be able to afford one!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Déjà vu 4 - Over The Hills

This article was published in Jeff Ooi's CY's Lenses before, sadly this and many other stories were lost when the old site got hacked!

Recently, some of my Malaysian friends wanted to visit Martinbourough when they drop by New Zealand; I am rewriting this for them :)

If you come to Wellington, do pick up a free copy of the "Escape Planner 2005 on Wairarapa", according to this excellent little guide book; Wairarapa is "Over the hill and a world away."

You can "Wind your way along the route trodden by early settlers 150 years ago, over the Rimutaka Hills to the place Maori called Land of Glistening Waters." Sounds like LOTR Middle Earth country? Looking at the stunning colour shots in the guide book, you bet!

Sad but true but for Asians like yours truly and Mrs, all these splendor of only 90 minutes drive away; we only visit ONCE a year and only during the famous "Martinborough Fairs" on the first Saturday in February and March!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Decisive Moment... The Plane! The Plane!!

Sometime, before a "BIG" news job, your intuition tells you there bound to be a "decisive moment opp" during the unfolding of the event. What do you do? What any good photojournalist will do, plan and more planning before the job!

Case History: "The plane! The plane!" How many of you remember this phrase at "Fantasy Island" on TV? :)

My brief was EIGHT super-duper Mirage fighters are going to fly pass Fort Conwallis, Penang to mark Adelaide becoming the "twin city" with Penang Island; the event is real big deal!

The planes were flown by pilots from Adelaide, Australia. They were based at Butterworth, Malaysia. The display was to mark the Adelaide Week celebration also, thus the "A" formation.

The first thing I did when I was told about this job was to call the officer in charge at RAAF, Butterworth to find out more details like, from which direction the Mirages will zap by; then I went to the spot where I THINK the planes will cross and check out the best angle. Please take note young photogs! The successful photo coverage involved planning, planning and MORE planning!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Decisive Moment!

As a photographer I am always searching for what French-born photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson called the "decisive moment."

Henri wrote in 1957, "A velvet hand, a hawk's eye -- these we should all have. If the shutter was released at the decisive moment, you have instinctively fixed a geometric pattern without which the photograph would have been both formless and lifeless."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Autumn You Cold Beauty!

I love photographing Wellington cityscape whenever I am not too lazy or too tired :)

Autumn is in the air, the wind is getting colder and I do not look forward to a freezing Wellington winter day! But even on a "bad day", Wellington can look stunning too!

This shot was taken from the Queen's Wharf car park with my Nikon D300 digital wonder and the lens, a 1989 Nikkor 85 mm f2 "short tele" manual focus prime!

Wellington you beauty! Nikkor 85 you beauty!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Great Old Glass! Nikkor 80-200 f4 zoom

After posting "Dr.M and His Words" I get many enquirers about the Nikkor 80-200 zoom lens I used to shoot that Decisive photo!

Before I start, a little history about that Nikon gem of a lens!

To learn more about any Nikkor lenses, the best place to go gotta be here!

Extensive Nikon resources at your finger tips!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Déjà vu 3 - Dr. M and His Words

The old man is at it again, first he quit UMNO and now he is rejoining the ruling Malay party.

Fast rewind to November 2003, after 22 years; Dr Mahathir spend his last day as Malaysian Prime Minister. On the same day I arrived back to Wellington with my wife after an eventful 29 days stay.

Of my "short" visits, I spend a night in KL and finally got to meet up with Jeff Ooi! "A THIRTY years wait!" Jeff exclaimed... not bad, considered Dr M "DID IT" in 22! :-)

It was a most memorable day in KL indeed, Jeff took me to the National Art Gallery to see the "1,000 faces of Dr Mahathir" where I saw my "famous" shot of young M walking past his famous slogan... it was a HUGE print, if not the largest but arguably, my friends told me; was the most memorable picture of Dr M, EVER! I leave the judgment to you.

Fast forward to Thursday August 19, 1982... I was a young Photo Editor for The Star, waiting patiently for Dr M to come out from his meeting at the Second Army Division at Northam Road in Penang.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Déjà vu 2 - Shah Alam By Night

(Click for larger view!)

Sometime photographer will go all out to get the shot they wanted, take this night shot of Shah Alam for example...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Oriental Bay

"Right beside the capital city, Oriental Bay is the premium residential location in Wellington. With stunning city and harbour views, morning to late evening sun and golden sandy beach, this area is the most sought after location in Wellington." - www.orientalbaystays.co.nz/

Our oversea friends were so impressed with the Bay that they requested me to post some of my Oriental Bay shots to rekindle their sweet memories :)

Friday, March 27, 2009


Sometime in the early 80s I was asked to go with our senior reporter Anna Cheah to do a story on Venerable Chuk Mor in Penang. I will be the photographer and translator because Anna cannot speak Mandarin.

After the interview Anna asked me to ask Venerable if he can write her a scroll, (Chuk Mor's calligraphic skills were well known and highly sought after); the wise old man looked at Anna and asked me to inform her that he only write for people that he feel an affinity (yuan) to and he cannot feel that with Anna!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Photog's Swan Song

Caught up with a old photog friend last week and we reminisced the good time when we were younger and having fun in our job.

"So what DID you do that is worth remembering?" my friend asked me... past memories was like an overflow floodgate suddenly open and these stories of assignments are still vivid in my mind. Tell me what you think.

Cold Sweat...

Tuesday, November 14, 1978.

I was working the early morning shift in New Straits Times (Malaysia), I was told to go on a sampan with a reporter and secure a picture of Hai Hong which was anchored off Port Klang with 2,500 Vietnamese on board.

The media has been warned by the police NOT to be anywhere near the controversial ship or face the consequences! The thought of an exclusive photo sets my heart pounding! We hired a fishing vessel and head for trouble water...

I was prepared for the job, apart from a Nikon F2 with drive; I had with me a compact Nikkor 500 mm "reflex" mirror lens.

I started shooting when Hai Hong came into sight, the 500 mm lens magnified the image TEN fold; only trouble was, it also magnified the up and down motion of the boat... it was like trying to frame and focus on a gyrating see-saw!

I shot and changed film as many time as possible before the marine police saw us!

They did!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Going GREEN!

With over 25% of the population in New Zealand claiming Irish blood - and those with no trace of a drop still claiming the right to be Irish when the green is worn, I got a bit of a shock when I arrived at work yesterday to discover some of my colleagues "turning green"!