Mave On The Move - Week 3

Discussion in 'Locations' started by David M. Byrne, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. David M. Byrne

    David M. Byrne New Member

    Hello again to all,

    When I last checked in with you all 7 days ago, I had one night left on a Thai beach, holding out hope for a semi decent, Thai-beach sunset picture. After that it was goodbye to Thailand… but not the beach as I hopped over the border to the Malaysian Island of Langkawi for a few more sun-drenched beach days. 2 nights were spent there before continuing south to the former British colonial settlement of Penang, another island off the north-west coast of Malaysia, before finally heading inland to my present location of Tanah Rata, a small town in the Cameron Highlands. The Highlands are Malaysia’s premier hill station, a vast area of rolling green hills, tea plantations and forest, & another favoured hangout of the colonial British all those years ago.

    I really didn’t know what direction this entry was going to take me earlier in the week. It was a slow start to the week photography wise - it was mostly islands, beaches & ferries - but things picked up over the last few days thanks to a bit of colonial architecture & some unexpected wildlife. So a bit of a mixed bag really.

    Picture 16, Day 14 – Sunset on Railay Beach, Krabi, Thailand. March 19th 2012.
    I mentioned in my last entry how I was holding out hope of capturing a good sunset picture on my last evening in Railay Beach. Well low & behold I did... kind of (one minus the sun itself). The sunset I witnessed on the last night wasn’t one of those bright-golden-disc-in-the-sky type of sunsets - the sun disapeared behind clouds well before it hit the horizon & things pittered out pretty fast after that. I was disappointed - 3 nights & 3 sunset no-shows. But then, sitting as I was sulking into my Chang beer & cursing all things Thailand, something wonderful happened; the sky above started to glow a beautifully comforting shade of pink. This continued until eventually everything around was bathed in this beautiful pink glow. It was surreal & sitting on a beach awash with pink was very zen. I took this picture with my wide-angle lens (& sort of wished I had a fisheye) and there was no post processing of the final image at all - this is exactly as it came out of the camera which did a great job of accurately capturing the wondrous colours.

    Picture 17, Day 17 – Ascending the Cable Car on Langkawi Island, Malaysia. March 22nd 2012
    After Railay in Thailand, it was off to Langkawi Island in Malaysia, a duty-free island on the north-west coast of Malaysia (& just south of the Thai/Malaysia border). I found the photography conditions on the island difficult – the lighting was very intense/washed out at most time of day and visibility was generally very poor. This is a picture taken through a narrow cap in a window of the Langkawi Cable Car, the most popular tourist attraction on the island. I was ascending when I took this & needed to keep the spring-mounted window open with my left hand (bottom left) while holding the camera with my right. I’m a sucker for reflections so of course I particularly like the reflections seen here; I feel they detract from the poor mountain visibility caused by low-lying haze emanating from, I assume, the jungle floor below. In the distance, beyond the mammoth 70m-high Tower 2 as seen here, is the longest free span section of the whole 2.2km cable car ride, the 950m stretch between the tower up to the Middle Station.
    Note: See this and other pictures captured in Langkawi as uploaded to my photography blog here.

    Picture 18, Day 18 – Street Food Vendors in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. March 23rd 2012.
    After Langkawi it was south, via ferry, to another Malaysian island, this one called Penang, It's an interesting place, compact enough to explore on foot and lively enough to throw up a few photographic opportunities. The island is well known for its culinary delights and its street food is some of the best I've had while travelling. The Chinatown area of Penang's capital, Georgetown, is abuzz with street food vendors and because they are such an ever-present part of the Georgetown experience, I wanted to capture them in action. This was the best shot I managed after a night of pointing my 28-75mm Tamron lens at every street food stall I saw. I made sure to capture this from a low viewpoint to show the gas flames under the stall, something I wanted to show in the image.

    Picture 19, Day 19 – Incense Burning at the Kuan Yin Teng Temple, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. March 24th 2012.
    I love temples. Whilst the dark corners can make them difficult places to photograph (if you’re allowed to photograph them at all) there’s always something happening. I took this picture inside the small Kuan Yin Teng Temple in the Chinatown district of Georgetown. The temple, built in the early 18th century by the first Hokkien & Cantonese settlers in Penang, is not very big (or even very impressive) but it is full of photo opportunities thanks to the practice of lighting incense for offering at various locations inside & outside the temple itself.

    Picture 20, Day 19 – The façade of the colonial City Hall in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. March 24th 2012.
    As part of their South-East Asian conquest the Brits were here from the latter part of the 18th century until the mid-19th century (they used it, as well as Singapore & Melacca, as trading bases). And say what you will about them they certainly left impressive buildings behind wherever they set up shop. This is part of the oh-so white facade of Georgetown's City Hall, one of the more impressive colonial-era buildings in the city, with the Malaysian flag flying overhead. One look, or maybe two, at my flickr photostream will show you that I like capturing this building façade type of image (I particularly have a lot of them from my travels in Europe where the architecture lends to this type of image) although I haven’t seen much in the way of façade-worthy buildings on this trip thus far.

    Picture 21, Day 19 - Puff Adder, Temple of The Azure Cloud (aka The Snake Temple), Penang, Malaysia. March 24th 2012.
    And now for the wildlife I mentioned in my introduction to this entry. I paid a visit outside Georgetown to the Temple of The Azure Cloud, more popularly known as the Snake Temple due to the numerous poisonous snakes who like to call the temple complex home. The temple itself wasn't up to much - wasn't up to much at all - but the small Snake Farm in the grounds of the temple, presumably there to appease all the tourists like me who come to the temple to see snakes, is quite the attraction, especially considering the 5MYR (€1.20) admission. I took this picture through the glass of an aquarium-esque holding cell for this puff adder. It had just been fed (& they only get fed once, maybe twice, a week) and the snake slowly - very slowly - ingesting the whole mouse provided me with quite the spectacle. I fired off a ton of shots from close range and hoped I got at least one I liked. I did. I got quite a few actually with this being one of my favourites. As for the puff adder. According to the inscription above its tank 'the puff adder is the 2nd largest of the venomous vipers with large fangs.... they grow to a maximum of 1.8m .... & their venom is hemotoxic (causes widespread & rapid tissue damage & organ degeneration) & lethal.' I guess the poor mouse never stood a chance.

    Picture 22, Day 19 – An Iguana in The Snake Farm, Temple of The Azure Cloud (aka The Snake Temple), Penang, Malaysia. March 24th 2012.
    The Snake Farm had a few other delights on display and the proximity with which I was able to view them, coupled with my fully zoomed Tamron lens, meant I was able to get some great close-up shots, like this one of an Iguana.

    By the way, I didn’t want to include 2 pictures in this weeks’ entry from the Snake Farm but I just couldn’t decide which of the two - the gluttonous snake or the colourful Iguana - to omit so I just included them both.

    What’s Next?
    I’m approaching the end of the first part of the trip (already… gosh). In 7 days from now I’ll be leaving South-East Asia & flying to the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Between now and then I’ll be taking a closer look around here, the Cameron Highlands, & spending the rest of my South-East Asia time (for now) in both Singapore & the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. So quite a bit of busy, frantic & hot city time to be had over the coming week with, I’m guessing, city pictures to dominate next week’s entry. Let me know, based on my submissions so far, if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to attempt to capture. And don't forget you can keep up to date with my latest whereabouts by visiting the dedicated Travel page of my photography blog.

    Once again I hope you’re enjoying the entries and that you’re seeing (and reading) something you like.

    Until next time. Regards from the Highlands!

    David M
  2. Paul Lange

    Paul Lange Moderator

    Another wonderful installment David. I particularly like the street vendor and the reptile images.
  3. Thomas brookes

    Thomas brookes RPF Chief iPhone app Reviewer

    Stunning David..... Simply stunning.
  4. Chris Dodkin

    Chris Dodkin West Coast Correspondent

    That sky over Railay Beach is just a stunner.

    The snake with the mice is very disturbing - great capture
  5. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    I need to catch up with these David but I do like the latest crop. I'll reply properly soon.
  6. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    Wonderful David, I particularly like the shot of the insence ...
    And te sun set ... Well, that's given me the biggest pang of envy so far!
    Do you know though what I am enjoying about your posts... I'm barly thinking about the photography, just enjoying the photos (and your tales)... Does that make sense? It does to me!

    Looking forward to seeing some city shots!
    I lived your shot from the other week of the train platform!
    Id love to make suggestions, but I don't want you to be distracts from doing what your doing!
    Great shots, really enjoyable read!
    Looking forward to the next installments!
    Did I say thanks for doing this for us?? :)
  7. David M. Byrne

    David M. Byrne New Member

    Many times Hamish my good man, many times. And it's my pleasure.
  8. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    I'm really enjoying your blog David and the images that accompany it. My favourite of this group (although the lizards are super) is the girl lighting the incense sticks. A great everyday detail that invokes so much about the place. There is always a danger that we get used to such things but they add so much fine detail to your log.

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