Kuala Lumpur and the f2 lightweights

travel

I’ve been in Kuala Lumpur twice in the past six months but I have never had the opportunity to make a more extended photography coverage of the city (hopefully very soon will have enough images) but still in both occasions I managed to carry my Fuji XT2 and two prime lenses – a 23mm and 35mm both f2 – and take a few shots in the streets.  This two little lenses are up to everything basically and for many reasons they are the first choice when I make my travel plans.

 

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The Fujinon 23mm f2

 

 

The Fujinon 35mm f2

 

 

 

 


Fujifilm XT2

Fujinon xf 23mmf2

Fujinon xf 35mmf2


 

Cambodia and The Khmers

Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and The Khmers

travel

I wasn’t supposed to travel to Cambodia, not this time. For a whole month I planned a trip to Vietnam – Hanoi and the North – but an increase in the price of the flights and a tight schedule made me change my destination on the very last second, to Siem Reap in Cambodia.

 

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First glimpse of Cambodia 

 

So there I was for a short four-day trip with zero expectations and to be honest slightly nervous about the fact that this was the peak of monsoon season in Cambodia but at the same time excited to see a place that I never expected or planned to visit. It’s an old story, right? No expectations, no planning but huge rewards. And so it was. During my four days in Cambodia I had an incredible time, met beautiful people and the most ironic thing of all…it almost didn’t rain!

 

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Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta prohm.

 

The idea of visiting Angkor Wat was something that never crossed my mind, not before I came to Singapore. It’s one of those places that seem intangible, almost unreal, something from movies and old travel books. But the reality is that Cambodia and its Khmer Temples are becoming a mass tourism destination. A good indication of this was the amount of people queuing in front of Angkor Wat at 5.30 am! to watch the sunrise just behind the Monastery. Nevertheless the experience of seeing Angkor Wat being slowly revealed in the horizon was unforgettable.

 

The experience of seeing Angkor Wat being slowly revealed in the horizon was unforgettable.

 

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Angkor Wat is an incredible experience. The place still feels a bit raw and there aren’t many restrictions when it comes to mobility and access to the different areas. There aren’t any signs and security guards in every corridor so we have this feeling of surprise, this permanent thing that something special is about to happen. And it does happen. Whether it’s a beautiful, unexpected game between light and shadows or a monk crossing the gallery or a little girl doing her homework sitting on the floor of the biggest religious structure in the world, you´re bound to see something special. Personally this was even better than watching the sunrise. All my senses were flowing and I felt nothing but pure joy.

 

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The other two temples that are part of the ‘small tour’, Bayon and Ta Phrom, are very distinct from Angkor in size and structure but they still retain that same mysticism that can be found in Angkor Wat. Bayon is characterized by the narrow corridors, small galleries and the statues with smiley faces. Ta Phrom is an incredible place as well with  its ancient trees that embrace entire man-made structures.

 

 

 

The  Old Market (Psar Chas)

The Old Market is located in the heart of Siem Reap just between the river and the infamous Pub Street. It is worth the visit but keep in mind that it can be quite a visceral experience. There are three distinct sections – the souvenirs shops where you can find all sorts of things from t-shirts to small replicas of the temples, the food stalls that serve typical local meals and the wet market.  The wet market can be quite an experience…

 

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Kampong Phluk

Kampong Phluk is a fishing village by the lake Tonlé Sap that is partially immersed during the ´wet season’. It takes around one hour and half to get there – tuk-tuk plus a boat – but it is worth it. There are closer villages to Siem Reap but they lack in authenticity due to the amount of visitors.

Wet Season in Cambodia lasts around six months which means that schools, temples and churches, markets and shops are all reachable by boat only, no side walks or paths, just water.  It is really remarkable.

 

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Cambodia and The Khmers

Fisherwoman by the lake Tonlé Sap

 

A final note to some of the amazing people who I met during this four days.

From all the staff at the Hotel, which I highly recommend ( Chronicle Angkor Hotel ), that really made me feel at home and help me organize my days, to Mr. Seng, the Tuk Tuk driver that drove me around the entire time and to all those people that I briefly met and talked with in restaurants, shops, markets or even on the streets – Thank you very much!

 

Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and The Khmers

  • Daily flights from Singapore with Silkair
  • 40 USD night on a double room with breakfast (on low season)
  • Visa on arrival – 30 USD + 2USD for a photo (you can bring your own mugshot)
  • One day pass for Angkor visit – 37 USD
  • Tip is usually expected but some restaurants already include the tip in the bill
  • USD are accepted everywhere.
  • Mosquito repellent, A MUST!

 


 

Fujifilm XT2

Fujifilm X100s

Fujinon xf 35mmf2

Samyang 12mmf2


 

 

Table Mountain

Cape Town | 开普敦

travel

No matter how organised you are, things never really happen the way you plan, especially when traveling. We went back to Cape Town and some of our initial thoughts to shoot and document the trip didn’t quite happen the way we expected. In fact they didn’t happen at all. You see, we have a toddler and toddlers basically control your agenda. They boss your life without you even notice – If you have one of those you know what I’m talking about. It all started when we set foot on a plane for a fourteen hours flight. After that we needed two days to recover from the experience and another two days to prepare ourselves mentally for the return flight.

Still I managed to take a few shots and share them here, not as much as this city deserves, but we will return to Cape Town very soon and hopefully by then, share a lot more.

 

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Landing in Johannesburg airport at sunrise

 

Lions Head

I used my first couple of hours of ‘free time’ to go to Lions Head mountain. It´s a peak with almost seven hundred meters high nestled between the Atlantic and the famous Table Mountain. The hike takes around forty-five minutes (depending on your level of fitness) and the views you get of the Mother City are fantastic. It was the third time that I hiked Lions Head so I tried to see things with a different perspective but I ended up focusing on the obvious – Table Mountain, the gorgeous Camps Bay and and Robben Island.

 

 

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Wide perspective of Table Mountain National Park

 

Mouille Point and Sea Point promenade

A brief walk by the seaside just to confirm something that Capetonians are famous for – they vanish during winter. And believe me when I say that winter in Cape Town is not that bad. It is actually fairly pleasant with a few cold nights but mild sunny days. And still, just when the first not-so-pleasant days kick in, they disappear. Well, they don’t really disappear, you can still find them in malls, bars and restaurants but the point here is that the city changes dramatically when compared to Summer. Streets became wider and shadows far more obvious. And it’s not a bad thing. It’s just the way it is.

 

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Time was scarce and days flew faster than the infamous Cape Town wind. But you cannot leave Cape Town without the taste of a good ‘Braai’ especially if you are visiting friends and family. ‘Braai’ is the Afrikaans word for barbecue but in South Africa ‘Braai’ is more than just a barbecue, it’s a whole institution and everyone takes it very seriously.

 

” The word braaivleis (English: /ˈbrfls/; Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈbrɑːifləis]) is Afrikaans for grilled meat. The word braai (plural braais) is Afrikaans for barbecue or grill and is a social custom in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi. The term originated with the Afrikaans-speaking people,[1] but has since been adopted by South Africans of many ethnic backgrounds. The word vleis is Afrikaans for meat. ”

from wikipedia

 

Cape Town

Cape Town CBD

Braai Master

Our ‘Braai Master’ for the evening

Cape Town | 开普敦24Braai

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The Little Boss !

 

See you soon soon Cape Town!

 


Fujifilm X-T2

Fujinon 35mm F2

Fujinon 56mm f1.2

Samyang 12mm F2


 

Main Pagoda

The Chinese Gardens

Jurong, Singapore


Last week I saw an image on another Instagram account of a Pagoda in Singapore – the place is called ‘The Chinese Gardens’.

To be honest I had no idea that this place existed. It´s a little bit off centre in an area with very few tourist attractions. I went there just out of curiosity and I found my self surrounded by this beautiful garden and traditional Chinese architecture. I got there really late and light conditions werent the best but still managed to take a few shots. This place deserves more than just a few snapshots so I promise to return in order to give you a more detailed view of its beauty.

 

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Fujifilm X-T2

Fujinon 35mm F2

Samyang 12mm F2


 

PULAU UBIN

Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin, Singapore

Pulau Ubin is an island located in the North-East area of Singapore with an estimated population of thirty-eight people and a total area of 1,020-hectare. The official National Parks website which ‘Pulau Ubin’ is part of, describes the island as a ‘journey back in time’ where you´re able to observe Singapore last villages or ‘Kampong’. I’m not entirely sure how accurate this is, what I do know is that Pulau Ubin offers something that no other part of Singapore does.

I arrived at the Changi Point Ferry Terminal very early, just in time for the first boat of the day. Departures are based on the number of people present, there is no official time-table. The boat leaves when it has 12 people. A ticket costs three Singapore dollars one way, if there isn’t enough people you have the option of paying for the remaining seats.

 

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There aren’t many options available once you arrive at the island – either you walk or you rent a bike. The second option is the most obvious one. Just after the disembarking port you will find half a dozen rental stores with different types of bicycles. The rental process is very simple, no documents or signatures needed, only cash and off you go. Before you decide to go, just do a quick ‘pre-trip’ inspection of your bicycle. It can make all the difference. Unfortunately I skipped the inspection and took a bicycle with the most uncomfortable seat that I can remember. The scenery did however made my lower back pains, worth it. Beautiful light, the most enjoyable bird singing and a real sense of proximity with nature.

 

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Chek Jawa is probably one of the highlights of Pulau Ubin. It’s a preserved area with rich biodiversity. You have to hike since cycling is not allowed in this part of the island. But the hiking can be quite pleasant due to the constant scenery change –  dense coastal forest, mangroves,  coral rubble and sandy beach can all be seen during the hour and a half hike.

 

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Just before I went back to the Jetty point I stopped at the The Wei Tuo Fa Gong Temple. It looks more like a small farm converted into a Worship place. Its full of buddhist and chinese paraphernalia and around five people doing some sort maintenance. There are also two ponds filled with turtles and huge lizards (Water monitor lizards, I think).

The temple itself is somehow underwhelming with some garbage lying around, especially near the pounds, and has a ‘bizarre’ atmosphere. At least when I visited on an early Tuesday morning.

 

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I left Pulau Ubin just around lunch time after seven hours of cycling and hiking. If you want to visit Pulau Ubin keep in mind that this is, above everything else, a natural park destination and not exactly a sample of the old Singapore. As a natural park it can be exciting (and challenging) but as cultural destination a little bit underwhelming.

Some final tips:

. Bring your mosquito patch, in fact bring all the mosquito repellent you can find.

. Test your bicycle before you pay for it.

. Bring snacks and water. During the week most of the road food stalls are closed.

. Bring a light rain jacket. I was lucky (or not) to visit the island on a sunny day.

. Use sunscreen and a hat

. Bring cash. Not sure if there is any ATM available.

 

 

Pulau Ubin Singapore

Arriving at Changi Point Ferry Station

 


Fujifilm X-T2

Fujinon 35mm F2