iPhoneography in Kuching

I made a return trip to Kuching just recently to once again savour the freshness of the air, and to soak up the quiet ambiance of my beloved hometown Kuching.

Kuching has changed a lot during my time in the Little Red Dot, and there were opportunities aplenty for taking great pictures. In this change, there was a part of me rooting for the familiar and comfortable facets of life in Kuching. Perhaps, it was my time away that cultivated in me a certain fondness for the mundane and simple. Distance does indeed make the heart grow fonder. I am back to my domain, and once again, the master of the house.

Below are some pictures taken with my iPhone 6, minor touch-ups in Adobe Lightroom CC.

If you are interested to see my other articles on iPhoneography, please see part 1 and part 2, linked at the bottom of this article.

Calm Before the Storm – Damai Beach, Kuching, Malaysia.

Damai Beach, Kuching, Malaysia.

India Street, Kuching, Malaysia.

TGV Cinemas, VivaCity Megamall, Kuching, Malaysia.

Also, see below for further reading:

iPhoneography Part 1 | iPhoneography Part 2

Kuala Lumpur 2016

Kuala Lumpur, more affectionately known as “KL”, is an urban potpourri of old and new, with a sprinkle of colonial landmarks and towers of glass and steel.

Below are some pictures taken from in and around KL during my walk-around with a dear friend.

A combination of Lightroom CC and Nik Collections were used for post-process of the images presented here.

Suria KLCC

I wanted to capture the beauty of the twin towers in the background against the expanse of the gardens in the surrounding vicinity. For that I had my Tokina 11-16 and the results were outstanding.


Lake Symphony at Suria KLCC

  • Lens Used: Tokina 11-16
  • Shutter: 1/40s
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • ISO: 1250

Suria KLCC Garden Entrance

  • Lens Used: Tokina 11-16
  • Shutter: 1/50s
  • Aperture: f/4.0
  • ISO: 1000

Old Kuala Lumpur Station

This station used to serve as the central railway hub for Kuala Lumpur. The old station may be well past it’s prime, but it certainly retains some of it’s charm and character.


Platforms (facing Central Market)

  • Lens Used: Tokina 11-16
  • Shutter: 1/125s
  • Aperture: f/6.3
  • ISO: 100

Station Platform Area

  • Lens Used: Tokina 11-16
  • Shutter: 1/60s
  • Aperture: f/4.0
  • ISO: 100

Batu Caves

Batu Caves is home to one of the largest Hindu temples outside India and plays host to the Thaipusam festival in Malaysia. An interesting place that warrants another visit, and I highly recommend making a trip there. You’ll have to first trek up a whopping total of 272 stair steps to reach the main cavern! Slightly daunting, but it is well worth the effort.


Main Entrance of Batu Caves

  • Lens Used: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8
  • Shutter: 1/250s
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • ISO: 200

Batu Caves Main Cavern

  • Lens Used: Tokina 11-16
  • Shutter: 1/30s
  • Aperture: f/4.0
  • ISO: 640

Devotees at Batu Caves

  • Lens Used: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8
  • Shutter: 1/50s
  • Aperture: f/2.2
  • ISO: 320

Old Government Complexes

Probably the creepiest entry in this list – and possibly the most interesting. It doesn’t look like these buildings will be in use anytime soon, but it does appear like conservation works are in progress. Hopefully, the buildings will be restored to their former glory.


Old Stairs

  • Lens Used: Nikkor 18-105
  • Shutter: 1/40s
  • Aperture: f/6.3
  • ISO: 200


Creative Over-exposures

Much time is spent trying to get the ‘right’ exposure at every snap of the shutter. On the contrary, intentionally over-exposing a scene might produce some interesting results.

Aesthetically speaking, over-exposing creates a ‘washed-out’ look, which subtly washes away fine details and textures, and creates for a slightly more abstract look and feel.

The same image can be converted to monochrome to accentuate the thicker outlines.

Just a thought for the day.


Singapore CBD Nightscapes

There is nothing better than walking around a windy-breezy Singapore at night, with my camera in hand. Below are some nightscapes that I took. The poor dynamic range at night means that I had to turn to exposure stacking – just a fancy way of refering to ‘HDR’.

Photos are strictly for your viewing pleasure. If you wish to reuse them, please contact me first.

Singapore River Cruise and CBD
Number of Exposures: 3
Shorted Exposure: 5 seconds
Longest Exposure: 20 seconds
Aperture: f/9
ISO: 100

Singapore CBD
Number of Exposures: 4
Shorted Exposure: 4 seconds
Longest Exposure: 25 seconds
Aperture: f/9
ISO: 100

Art Science Museum
Number of Exposures: 4
Shorted Exposure: 2.5 seconds
Longest Exposure: 15 seconds
Aperture: f/9
ISO: 100

Louis Vuitton
Number of Exposures: 1 (Not an HDR)
Exposure: 3 seconds
Aperture: f/4.5
ISO: 100


iPhoneography – Part 2

I decided to take some nice picture of Kuching, and spent the evening scouting around for a nice vantage point that overlooks the Sarawak River, and older parts of Kuching city. In my previous posting, I mentioned that the iPhone has come to be regarded as a ‘serious photographic tool’. By ‘serious’, I didn’t imply that the iPhone was a good substitute for a serious DSLR, but that it was SIMPLE enough to use – camera app MINUS all the bells and whistles that you find in even in some of the basic entry-level compact digital cameras – such that you are left to FOCUS on the creative aspects of photography. Here are some pictures that I took just two days ago.

Tua Pek Kong Chinese temple. Kuching Central Business District at rear, overlooking the Sarawak River.

Old Kuching; with a touch of ‘modernism’ at the rear – the newly completed Plaza Merdeka shopping mall. The street you see to the right of the temple is the famous Carpenter Street.

Old Kuching. The ‘towering monstrosity’ you see at the opposite bank of the Sarawak River is the new State Legislative Assembly building.

Panorama of Kuching. For a larger version, click here.

Panorama of Sarawak River. For a larger version, click here.




iPhoneography is an art of creating photos with an Apple iPhone. –Wikipedia

The iPhone needs no introduction as a very capable photographic tool. I, for one, find it a relief to carry around, compared to my D7000, which to me feels like I’m hauling around half a tonne of bricks. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the iPhone is a replacement for any DSLR, but many will agree that it is indeed a very capable photographic device. I personally use the iPhone 4S for casual snaps, and find it’s camera to be the perfect fit between a DSLR and a compact point-and-shoot camera. Not only does the camera perform relatively well (its low-light performance is better than many compact cameras out there, just to be clear), it’s just about the most pocketable camera (yeah yeah…I know, it’s still a phone) I have ever owned; the perfect tool for practical mobile photography. Below are some pictures that I took with my iPhone 4S. Tell me what you think about them. If you have some of your own that you would like to share, simply post the links in the comments area.

Menu Cover, at Life Cafe. Taken with my Apple iPhone 4S, using Camera+ app.

Bubble Lamps at MBO. Taken with my Apple iPhone 4S using Camera+ app.

I had some time on my hands so I was poking my nose around Flickr, and the search filter turned up some really incredible photos. The photos below were all taken with the iPhone. You can view more examples here.

“The Walk” by whats_ur_flava2000

Sunset Camel Ride by Kirsten Alana

Flatiron Building and New York City Skyline From Above by Vivienne Gucwa


Crepuscular Rays

I was out with my photo buddy Steven Chua just two days ago taking some lovely photos of the evening sky. The original plan was to photograph the new Sarawak Energy building, which was where he worked. The plan didn’t materialize as I couldn’t find a good angle to photograph the building, so off we went to a jetty just next to the toll bridge. The area was overgrown with vegetation so it didn’t immediately strike me as the perfect vantage point, but it did offer a spectacular view of the distant Kuching waterfront. The weather was fine but the constantly shifting clouds meant that we had some overcast with short sunny intermittent breaks, which was what we were really needed. It was there and then, that we saw this wonderful sight unfolding before our very eyes; a giant fluff of clouds with crepuscular rays seeping through, as though the divine had suddenly decided to appear for a short visit at our lovely hometown. A nice day that didn’t go completely to waste indeed. I could use more moments like these.

A Fuegokoori Evening

It had been quite a while back since I attended a musical event in Kuching. The last one I attended was organized by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra during one of their concert tours in Kuching last year. So when I heard about a classical trio making a tour in East Malaysia which would see them perform in Kuching, I immediately pounced at the opportunity without hesitation. I suppose Kuching isn’t exactly at the top of the ‘must-go-to-perform’ lists of most musicians, which is a pity really, but at least I can see that is changing in recent times.

It was a classical and mesmerizing evening as we were treated to a performance by the Fuegokoori trio, who performed a selection of masterpieces composed by the famed virtuoso Nicolo Paganini to the versatile Joe Hisashi whose work I got to know about through the Japanese animation ‘Spirited Away’. The Fuegokoori trio is comprised of Malaysian violinist Yap Ling, American cellist Robert Sang-Ung Choi and Singaporean guitarist Dominic Wan. To say that they performed admirably well would probably be an understatement, considering – myself as a member of the Sarawak Symphony Orchestra who finds some pieces so frustratingly-difficult to play – that they made playing the said pieces look like trying to cut a block of butter with a hot knife.

As I recounted the moment the trio played Hisashi’s ‘Memory’, I recalled how Robert’s fingers ‘danced’ up and down the cello’s fingerboard. Equally enchanting was how Dominic Wan expressed himself with, as with the other pieces, playing Sevilla by Isaac Albeniz. I was particularly hypnotized by Astor Piazzolla’s ‘Oblivion’ too. The trio just made it look so effortless, like a duck jumping into water.

Left to right: Robert Sang-Ung Choi (cello), Dominic Wan (guitar), Yap Ling (violin)

My hope for the future is that there will be more musical tours to Kuching, as indeed while the number of individuals who appreciate classical music is still small, the numbers are certainly growing.

More Information About The Fuegokoori Trio

Fuego means “fire” in Spanish, whereas koori means “ice” in Japanese. Fire and ice represent extremes as well as the fiery energy that comes out when they are put together. Since the first concert of cello and guitar in 2003, Fuegokoori has produced two “live” CDs and plans to record its latest with the newly established Fuegokoori Trio, featuring violin, cello and guitar.

Now an internationally-acclaimed ensemble, Fuegokoori explores crossovers of extreme emotions and soul-searching themes, featuring obscure works of more celebrated composers like Paganini, Sarasate, Piazzolla and de Falla, directly contrasted with works by leading Japanese and Chinese composers like Mayuzumi Toshiro, Zhou Long and Joe Hisashi. Experience the refreshing juxtaposition of Asian calm and tranquility with flamenco’s exuberance and fire.

More information can be found at www.fuegokoori.com.

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/FuegokooriTrio

Additional Note: Many thanks to Mr. Yap Ling for allowing me to take the photos.

More photos can be downloaded here.

Christmas By The Mall

It has been quite a while back when I took these pictures, just before Christmas to be exact, so this article is long overdue.

It is not uncommon to see Christmas decorations make their way into the malls during the season, but it appears that there is a new trend in the making. We’re seeing a number of giant ‘Christmas trees’ sprouting around town in front of malls and hotels, and the latest mall in Kuching is no exception.

The photos were shot entirely in Jpeg and were post-processed with Snapseed for iOS.

Equipment used:

  1. Camera – Nikon D7000
  2. Lenses – Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 and Nikkor 18 – 105mm
  3. Tripod

The mall entrance

The photographer and the child


Flickr for iOS

Marissa Mayer has made good her word on turning Yahoo! into a more mobile-centric company. After much speculation, the company has finally released the much-awaited (and long expected) mobile app for Flickr. Better late than never, right?

What seems to be a case of ‘too little too late’ is compounded by the fact that Flickr for mobile appears to be yet another ‘me too’ when it comes to filters, which isn’t really a bad thing. It is hard to blame Flickr for being yet another Instagram ‘clone’, but Flickr has got to be given credit for being a pioneer in social-media and photo-sharing.

One thing that I really like about Flickr for mobile is that the photos it has on display in its feed are not limited to those in my contacts.

As I am not going to, and I never intended to write a review of the app, I will just list down a couple of pros and cons, from the perspective of an end-user.


  1. Easy-to-use yet familiar user interface. Instagram users will feel right at home.
  2. Ability to save directly from the camera roll, or from the camera is a big plus point.


  1. The app is a bit prone to crashes.
  2. Lack of pre-caching; photos load only on view.
  3. Lack of sharing options. An option to share directly to WordPress and blogger would have been nice.