Thursday, November 29, 2007


I first came across this term in one of Galen Rowell's picture books. When I finally saw one, I was pretty excited to have a shot at it ... in fact, many shots... This intense red colour/glow is a result of light travelling through our atmosphere, and succumbing to the laws of nature (refraction, wavelength etc). I do not wish to go into the technical details, and in fact, can't because I'm not sure I can explain it well (see below). But twice a day, this phenomenon will occur if the sun's rays were unobscured on the mountain peak. The wondrous nature is further amplified by the speed at which the light changes!

For those going to mountain trips, esp if you're trekking, I urge you to get up before sunrise, at least once in the trip, to witness this show. Once the sun rises and cast its light onto the mountain face, it's spectacular! The above was taken in Nepal and the 3 shots were taken within 8 minutes! Similarly during sundown, just as the sun dips below the horizon, have your tripod ready!

Galen Rowell was one of the finest nature/landscape photographers out there, and was my inspiration for landscape photography. Unfortunately, he and his wife (who was also an accomplished photographer) died in a plane crash in Aug 2002. His book Mountain Light: In Search of the Dynamic Landscape was truly one of the most informative and inspiring books for me. You can read more about alpenglow and the explanation in this book.

Since then, I've shot numerous alpenglow. But my first exposure to alpenglow in this trip remains one of my most memorable, and this evening alpenglow remains one of my top favourites.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Where and when vs when and where?

This was taken at Peyto Lake, a well-known attraction in Banff National Park. One of the ways of getting a good travel image is, well, going at the right season! I was a relatively newbie photo enthusiast, but this trip to the Canadian Rockies was right at the best possible season - summer. The light is good, the weather is good, and of course, the scenery is fantastic! So with little effort, you get a really good image. Weather may be unpredictable, but it's about maximising your chances of getting the best!

Incidentally, this was also the trip where I got poisoned. I borrowed a SLR from my brother-in-law, bought some slide film, and took it along together with my prosumer digicam that I've been using for a year or more. It was considered early years in digital photography (2001), and my Canon Powershot G1 was high up in the prosumer category. But the feel of handling the SLR, its response, and the results - it's like a drug that had me yearning for the grasp, begging for the sound of the shutter, and longing to see the output. Of course, your mileage may vary :)

I found out later that there're tons of similar Peyto Lake images out there, since the viewpoint from where I took the shot was right where every tourist go. Nevertheless, seeing a beautiful image that you have shot yourself will enhance your confidence and belief, and would definitely provide motivation for better shots in your next trip.

While basic, this is still one of the key points while planning a photography trip - when is the best time to go? In fact, it used to be that typically, I will decide where I wanna go, and then find out when I can take leave or when I am free to go. But now, I'll rather find out when I am able to leave, and then find out during that period, where are the best places I can go that interest me......

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The things you see at void deck.....

Was going for breakfast at the hawker centre near my flat, when I saw a bunch of people at the void deck. The kaypoh-ness in the Singaporean me tugged at me, and I went closer to take a look. Imagine my surprise when I saw this :

Apparently, it is hurt, otherwise, it would not be just standing there staring at the people warily.

Someone had called the SPCA and soon, they came and captured it. It looks like a falcon of some sort, but I was really surprised to see it grounded at a HDB void deck. I believe its wings must be hurt somehow. It looks like a Brown Falcon which I've seen in Tasmania. Compare it here :

I hope it recovers and gets back where it belongs, wherever that is. If anyone can confirm what bird this is, would appreciate if you can tell me. Thanks!

Well, well, the things you see in void decks nowadays....

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Clubsnap-Olympus Zoo outing

Ok, this is not so much about travel, but on photography. The travelling I did was of course on our MRT and buses. A whole hour+ of it. Sheesh, plus waiting times etc, I can probably reach Ho Chih Minh city. But I only reached our Singapore Mandai Zoo.

One of the ways you can have hands-on experience with some cool gear is joining events organised by Clubsnap and its partners. They have co-organised events with the major players like Canon, Nikon etc. This time round, it was with Olympus, showcasing mainly the newly launched Olympus E3, and held at the Zoo. Details of the Olympus E3 can be found here.

It is also one of the ways you can try out some big lens as well. For travel photography, it is unusual to bring such bazooka lens unless its a specialised wildlife travel trip, for eg. My whole philosophy on travel photo gear is lightweight, lightweight, and still lightweight. So it was a good chance for me to try some big lens. Not that I would buy them though. My standard travel photo gear is mentioned at my articles section here.

As it turns out, after putting my CF card into the Olympus and shooting/testing some shots, I transferred it back to my Canon 10D. My 10D complained something about folder number full, but still able to take shots. Subsequently, I went to the other stations (they had 4 stations spread out around the Zoo with various lens for you to try out), and when I put my CF card into the E3's, all of them complained that the card being full. Strange. So in the end, I had only a few Olympus images to analyse at home. Not that I would analyse much though. No money to upgrade lah, so no point see so much....

Anyway, spent the whole morning at the Zoo. Don't go zoo often. Come to think of it, the last time I came was also another similar event, but with Canon, 2-3 years ago. Not bad, at least I see what other travellers come to Singapore to see. Oh, if you do come down, take a look at the Outback section. Apparently, it was helped setup by Steve Irwin when he came as a special guest in Mar 2006. And he got killed in Sep 2006 :(

Ok, leave you with one image of the animals I like, for its speed and grace - the cheetah.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Intro blog post

I am grounded! Boo Hoo!

So, anyway, I will attempt to post some of my pictures in this blog and share some information on them. You know, like where they're taken, any stories, histories on them. Photo tips if any on how they're taken etc etc
So, yup, essentially, I just wanna talk on anything travel & photography!

Since I'm grounded... Boo Hoo Hoo!


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