Monday, April 23, 2012

Cindi Lim @ Lighting Class by Kevin Chooi

Taking a break from holiday and street shooting photos, i went to a studio lighting class, organized by Dream Wanderers, and conducted by Mr. Kevin Chooi, a professional photographer from Penang, Malaysia. The class are held at the Lightroom Studios @ 8Rows owned by Mr. John Liew. The lighting setup and  equipments are superb, perfect for us to learn studio lighting and photography. Our model of the day is Cindi Lim, also a professional make up artist.

Cindi Lim

As a newbie in studio lighting, i learned alot on placing of lights, uses of various diffusers and relectors, a great way to refresh memories and do some practical shooting instead of reading theories. Here's the result of the class, taken by Nikon D700, Nikkor 35-70 F/2.8, and 6 studio lighting setup by Mr. Kevin Chooi. Comments and critics are highly welcomed!

Here's a group photo at the end of the day,
Our sifu, model and participant

Thank you all!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Siam Reap Street Photography continues...

We continue our shooting on the next morning after some bbq food and of course, cheap 50 cent Angkor beer. We ordered bbq frogs and freshwater prawns. Some fried rice and tit bits. Only USD5 per person.

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So, next morning, we walk to another part of Siam Reap, crossing the bridge linking both housing and shops areas. At 7am, the street is filled with motorcycles and bicycles. Some goes to school, some goes to the market, and some goes to work. Typical. And next photo, an old man opening his shop for business.

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We walk pass through a small roadside market, and there is alot of freshwater fishes ( well, all come from Tonle Sap ). Here in the photo is juveniles Channa micropeltes, or more commonly known as Toman/Giant Snakehead. On the other side of the road, farmers are selling their vegetables ad fruits.

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Petrol or Gas is commonly sold in a bottle almost anywhere around town. Looking at the numbers of motorbikes on road, it's not surprising to see. Something similar to what i've seen in Hat Yai roads. Liquid gold, isnt it..
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The barber seems to have good business the day before, judging at the amount of hair on the floor.. :P
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Street food of Cambodia? How about this charcoal baked waffles? If you were to judge it by the waffle maker, i doubt you gonna try it. Layers of carbonized flours and stuff, the seller doesnt seems to clean it often. (but it taste kinda good though.. and smells pretty good!)
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Spotted this young girl sitting on the roadside, probably playing around..
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During my walk back to the hotel, we pass through another local market in town. You can find a lot of interesting things to buy, cheap but deserves heavy bargaining. For example, i bought 3 key chains for USD 1, and the store next door offers me 4 for USD1. What the? Not a big amount but crazy competition going on there, side by side, everyday thing. I bet there's quarreling sometimes.. As the sun goes higher, more and more activities are spotted in town. Here, you can see one sharpening his knife, getting ready for good business, mainly targeting tourists.
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I'm going to end this post with food shots! These were taken at one of the famous Cambodian restaurant called Arun if im not mistaken. Tasty, but not as rich in flavour as what i've expected. Mild. Pretty obvious since there's a lot of western tourist here having lunch. We ordered quite a number of dishes, from banana heart, green pepper, curry, pineapple, amok, prawns, meat and fishes of course.

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So are you hungry now? Haha.. Go have your lunch/dinner now and check back the blog later for more updates. Signing off! Cya!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Siam Reap Street Photography

I'm going to categories the blog post on Siam Reap based on what we did. It is because we went for street shooting for 2-3 days, and Angkor Wat for 3 days too. Compiling all the photos in one single post for one location.

Let's start with street photography in Siam Reap. We went out almost every morning, walk around the city, catching some golden lights of sunrise and some morning activities. It was an interesting experience, and a good chance to practice some street photography. We went to the biggest local market, or some called it central market of Siam Reap. To get there, you need to get a ride on Tut-tut, it cost about USD2 if i'm not mistaken, from Pub Street to Central Market. The weather is kinda crazy hot, so we actually cut short our trip. Anyway, here's what i saw that day..

Lots of baguette greet us at the main entrance of the market
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If anyone fancy pickles, you have varieties here! Loads of them..
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You can find various clothing materials, linens, silks here.. i bet it's cheap, but i never really ask
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Salty fish anyone? or just looking for groceries? They have it all here..
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This is the back of the market, some sort like a wet market where vegetables, fruits, meat and fishes are sold.WM_DSC0317 copy

Besides all this, you can buy silver, gold, kitchenware, almost any stuffs you normally see in the supermarket. Even wide range of whiskey! Real or fake, it's for you to find out :) So after the short tour, we went back to the street for another round of shooting.

Bicycles comes in various size, types and even colors! Like these!
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Saw this young boy sneaking in the door and i was watching outside. It turns out there's puppies in there. Cute cute puppies.. here's one playing with the boy
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And this little girl is happily playing on the roadside, playing dirts... pity her but that's what most Cambodian kids grew up. Just like me actually.. growing in a kampung (village)
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This is something disgusting.. partially developed embryo of a duck, still in the egg are eaten as delicacy here in Cambodia.. ewwwww
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As we heading back during sunset, we walk pass a wedding ceremony and decided to stop by for a snap shot.
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The streets of Siam Reap is interesting, isnt it? Dont be afraid to wander further out of the city.. you'll get to see more things, especially the lifestyle of most Cambodian. Siam Reap city centre is full of tourist, it's all to modernized. 

To be continue tomorrow with more of the street scenes of Siam Reap! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Siam Reap finally! and Tonle Sap lake!

After a night at the Eighty8 Backpackers, Phnom Penh.. it's time to continue my journey to Siam Reap. I walk to the bus office as the tut-tut is pretty expensive. It's not a long walk but with heavy backpacks in front and back of me, it's a little uncomfortable. I reach the bus station about 30 minutes prior to departure, and waited and waited for my bus. Guess what? It's LATE again.. by one hour! Damn.. Well, at least it's not that boring this time as there's few travelers to talk to, and a local which telling me what's going on and whereabout.

Wall of a temple at Kampung Phluk
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As expected, we reach almost 1.5 hours late.. and my friends are waiting at Siam Reap already. Couldnt make or receive a call because hp is running out of credits. It's too expensive to call or receive in Cambodia using Malaysia number, and i don't want to get a local number because my trip is only 2 weeks. The bus stop us at the office, which is located quite far away from city. The only way to go is by tut-tut. Thankfully, a local shared with me, and he show's the direction to the gallery, called Colors of Cambodia, where i was suppose to meet my friends there. It cost USD2 to get to the city. Tips: Share with locals or other backpackers because it cost the same! By sharing, you can divide between you guys and save some money :)

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The tut-tut driver is kinda lousy..couldnt find the gallery, so we go round the city, running along Pub Street and finally found it! And so coincidentally, my friends walk out of a cafe and i saw them! Relieved! They were on a schedule to go to Tonle Sap and i havent grab my breakfast or lunch yet! So i grab a bacon baguette and off we go to the lake! Wohoooo!

Our destination is Kampung Phluk, the famous floating village located 30 min from town. We have to take a boat to the village and lake (of course!)

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Look at the level of the house? That's how high the water level will go up everytime wet season. And those hard sellers! it's annoying, but that's how they make a living.. 
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Good view of the village from a temple located somewhere along the river
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Adults, kids, all spend their lifetime by the river. Fishing is their main activity here at Kampung Phluk.
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The lake is magnificent, you cant see the other side at all! It's like a sea, freshwater sea! Amazing and breathtaking! The sunset were pretty amazing too! Love the golden colors, reflected by the hazy and dusty air of Cambodia
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It's a wonderful first day in Siam Reap! We went back to the hotel as the sky is getting darker.. We stayed in Reaksmey Chanreas Hotel, located on the main road of Siam Reap town. It's only USD15 per night for two! Very nice, comfy and clean hotel! And it's cheap! Highly recommended, especially for backpackers who have been saving money sleeping in a dorm (it cost about the same in the dorm actually..). So why not pamper yourself for a few days, and get a decent air-conditioned spacious room for a good night sleep.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh

After my family left HCMC, i went back to the hotel for another night and booked a bus ticket to Phnom Penh. It cost me USD10, and the hotel uncle told me, it's a good bus. Well, it's average only.. It's called Kumho Samco Bus. And well, it's late again.. departing around 9am and i feel the bus driver driving dangerously.. he is like driving a rally bus, especially after crossing the Cambodian border. And not to forget, honking non stop! It's mad!

Our bus at the border [Mobile]
                  Kumho Samco

It took me almost 7 hours to reach Phnom Penh city.. We reach the border after around 3 hours journey from HCMC. The bus guy will collect passport from everyone, and when we reach the immigration office, he will get the passport stamped, and called your name one by one. Once your name is summon, you'll take your passport, scan your luggage and backpacks (randomly), meet a officer to double check your passport and off you go. As easy as that. Get on the bus and continue our journey to Phnom Penh.

We reach the ferry terminal at 12.30pm, the Neak Loeung Ferry Terminal where everyone uses the service to cross Tonle Sap river. It's included in the fare.. :) It only took about 10 min to cross. Short but interesting.

Neak Loeung Ferry
                                            Neak Loeung Ferry
                    Neak Loeung Ferry

Reach Phnom Penh city at 2.15pm at the Kumho Samco Bus office. Outside the office, there's dozens of tut-tut waiting for the new arrival! It's quite a havoc, they came questioning you and offers, bargaining and collecting luggages.. it's quite far from the city centre, so, it's a must to take those tut-tut. Fortunately, it was cheap. What you need to do is bargain. I was offered USD3 for the ride to the city, which include some sight seeing. After some bargaining and delaying him.. i manage to get a great fare, only USD1! And he even agree to took me round the city for 15 minutes for some sight seeing! NICE!

I ask the tut-tut guy to bring me to the bus station to buy my bus ticket to Siam Reap the next day. It cost me another USD10 to get there. 7.30am bus they said. Alright den.. Next, i asked for accommodation and he bring me to Eighty8 Backpackers. The price for a dorm was USD7, so it's pretty cheap. You got your own locker with locks, so it's pretty safe. The place is quite comfortable, with a swimming pool, pool table, nice bar.. not bad at all. And of course, the uttermost important thing, free WIFI! Hehehe.. So after bath, unpacking some stuff, and checking fb and emails, i head out to the city centre. Decided to walk around since, according to map, it's not that far.. Geared with a apps called Travel Cambodia from MobileReferences in my SE Xperia Active, i got a detailed map of Phnom Penh. Good enough for me to walk around and explore the town on my own. First impression, dirty town. Next, safety issues. Dont know why but my instinct told me it's not so safe in Phnom Penh. Just be extra cautious and becareful.

First destination was finding a place to eat! While walking towards Sisowath Quay, i found a nice restaurant called Jaan. While reading about Cambodia, i noticed that Amok is a Cambodian specialty, so i've decided to try one! The Amok fish in Jaan is really nice, creamy and spicy! Reminds me of Nyonya foods actually. Strong lemongrass and coconut milk, and tender freshwater fish cuts, superb! Had my first Angkor beer too! The red one, Export Quality it says. Pretty good and cheap. About 75 cent or 15000 riel.

                     Angkor and Amok

I walk to the other side of the town, towards Wat Ounalom where a local/tut-tut driver start asking me questions there. Suspicious i say.. Took some photos there and left quickly.. those tut tut and motorcycle taxis are annoying as hell! Walk pass through the Royal Palace, and yes, it is an amazing building!

Wat Ounalom
                   Wat Ounalom

Royal Palace
Birds of the Royal Palace

Next, heading to the famous Sisowath Quay where most locals and tourist spend some relaxing time by the riverside. Also a place for crimes, from what i have read. So please be extra cautious while you're there too.

Sisowath Quay riverside

Tonle Sap River

After the evening stroll along the riverside, decided to walk back to the backpackers before it's dark and dangerous. Spend my night at the backpacker, onlining and sleep early to catch my next bus to Siam Reap to meet my photography friends from Penang.

Phnom Penh city at sunset

Next morning, while waiting for our bus to depart, they are loading tons of stuff into the bus including few of these motorbikes! [Mobile]
                   Bike on bus