Posts tagged culture

Petaling Street Photo Walk

On a gray, overcast day, 15 participants were eagerly waiting at the basement of PJEFC Heritage Center. They were all ready to participate in our first ever PhotoWalk trip. Eddy, our friendly bus driver was already there waiting by the roadside.

It was good to spend time with some good friends over photography and good food!

For more photos and settings, go over to the EKML Visuals Blog

Getting out there and shooting

Sometimes, work just piles up so much that I don’t have much time to shoot anything personal or for fun. One day, as I drive home from my parents place, I pass a road lined with lanterns. It’s the Lunar New Year (or more correctly, the Spring Festival in China) so festivities are in the air and many places have been liven up with lanterns, lights and rabbits. It’s the year of the Rabbit in case you were wondering.

Interestingly, this road actually leads to a Buddhist temple. I’ve never been inside this one but I like the road with the lanterns. After a Monday full of meetings and thinking, it was time to go out and use some creative juice.

Above: Shot as is in available light. Below: 580EX II on ETTL cord camera right, -1.5EV, Full-cut CTO gel.

Edit: First 3 shots, EF 85mm 1.8, rest of the shots, EF70-200 2.8IS II

Nine Emperor Gods

The Nine Emperor Gods Festival (Chinese: 九皇爺; Cantonese: Kow Wong Yeh) is a nine-day Taoist celebration beginning on the eve of 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, which is observed primarily in Southeast Asian countries like Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

It was a hot afternoon that we visited the Ampang temple on the 14th of October. According to many, it’s suppose to rain for nine days and nine nights but nary a drop of water was seen and it was literally a scorcher of a week. Arriving at four made it easier to get parking and of course avoid the times where there would be hundreds of people everywhere! That made it easier to shoot. We did bump into a couple of photographers, including Cheryl Hoffman who runs the 9 Emperor God’s blog here. It’s always fun to meet online friends in real life!

Anyways, here are my shots from that day. Sorry for the delay as my schedule got quite hectic after that. And, yes, today’s Diwali day so for my Hindu reader’s, Happy Diwali!

Pesta Tanglung at Number 4

Last Friday, instead of having our usual cell group meeting, we decided to go “on leave” and have a mini Pesta Tanglung (or Lantern Festival) instead. We had it at a friend’s new home. Originally the Lantern festival is an ancient Chinese festival usually associated with the Lunar new year. In Malaysia, it’s more commonly associated with the mid-autumn festival or Moon festival where people will celebrate with food, family gatherings, lanterns and moon cakes. This is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is usually around late September or early October in the Gregorian calendar. It is a date that parallels the autumnal equinox of the solar calendar, when the moon is supposedly at its fullest and roundest. The traditional food of this festival is the moon cake.

All the shots were with available light and ISOs from 2500 to 12800 at f/1.8. Didn’t want to get in the way of the kids having fun…

Olé! – Spanish bullfight! (blast from the past)

Back in 2001, I had the opportunity to travel to this fantastic country where breakfast would be cerveza (beer) and jamón (dry-cured Spanish ham) and where many restaurants don’t even open for dinner till 8pm.

The story has been recycled and slightly tweaked from a long time write-up posted on my photo-sharing site (webaperture) which I’m closing end of this year. I figured it was a good time again to dig through my old scanned archives, process them a bit differently and in Photoshop CS4 — I was using Photoshop 6.0 then! I shot about 6 rolls of film (gasp!) within the hour-long event. I would have shot more but light levels were dropping and I only had ISO100 left after exhausting all my ISO400 film! Shooting digital, I would have just jacked the ISO up! Film was Kodak Supra 100 and Supra 400 (I later switched to Kodak Portra series). Cameras & Lenses: EOS-30 with 70-200 f/2.8 with 2X teleconverter, resulting in a 140-400 f/5.6 lens and an EOS-50E with a 24-85 f/3.5-4.5 lens. This was before my big shift to transparency film (aka slides) such as Fuji’s super-saturated Velvia 50 and Kodakchromes (along with ekta and elitechromes).

The bull ring at Madrid

The Iberian Peninsula forms a link of sorts between Europe and Africa and that makes it not only an interestingly unique country among Europe but one of the most culturally rich as well. Strategically located, it was invaded and visited by many, the Celts, the Phoenicans, the Greeks, the Romans, the Visigoths, and the Moors. It is also the home of the fierce Iberian bull. This also makes Spain such a historically rich country that one can be really confused where to start. I mean look at the depth of this country’s history and cultural roots. Many consider bullfighting as such an essential part to Spanish machismo. So one day, while we were stuffing ourselves with tapas and beer in Madrid, we decided that we’d watch a bullfight. Bullfighting would be quite an exciting start to our cultural tour of Spain since it is so much a part of Spain that almost everyone you meet will associate it with Spain although some Latin American countries also do it. Famous Spanish painters like Goya or Picasso have glorified it. If you drive around Spain, it’s unlikely that you’d miss these huge billboards in the shape of a bull.

The bull ring at Malaga

Now, don’t get me wrong. Even if you’re against this event, I still think you should go watch one. The problem is, how do you go about watching a bullfight. I mean most Spanish cities have these huge bullfighting stadiums called Bull Rings, all of which probably hearkens back to the decadent days of the Roman Empire where slaves and gladiators fought each other and animals in such arenas. When I approached the first bull ring I saw in Seville, I saw this long winding line of people. What they were queuing up for was never apparent to me despite walking around the entire ring and looking lost. The signs were all in Spanish and I gave up — hey, these were the days before google, mobile internet! Now, you’d just pull up your iPhone and google translate it. Anyways, call me lucky or whatever but it just so happens that my Uncle was posted to Spain as an ambassador. I figure he’d we able to get me some tickets. What’s the use of being an ambassador if you can’t get tickets to a bullfight. Again, I was fortunate to be in Spain in April since the bullfighting seasons starts after Holy Week which ends with Easter Sunday in April and continues until August. Any other time, and it doesn’t matter who you know because you probably won’t get tickets. Anyhow, so I got my tickets.

A good friend of my Uncle’s, who is a true-blooded Spaniard commented:
“The bullfight is the essence of Spanish-ness and it’s good for you to see one.”
His lovely wife, with a not-so-strong-but-you-can-recognize-it welsh accent replied:
“Ghastly. Cruel.”
Obviously, she wasn’t Spanish by birth. He continued:
“It defines Spanish culture and who we are!”
But she wasn’t finished:

Oh well. I have a fight to catch. Click on the Entry to read more…

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