Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

About a month ago, we headed off to Sydney for the Hillsong Conference. Altogether there were about 20 of us which was pretty cool…unfortunately, we didn’t all travel together (nor did we all stay together). I headed a group of 11, nine of which were gonna fly to and from Brisbane together, while one of them took the flight before and the other came from Singapore! Here’s our group of 9 after we disembarked from the plane:

sydney-4248

Okay, that creepy non-Asian white guy in the back is a advert poster…Will isn’t in the shot coz we were on the horizontal escalator where as he wasn’t…of course I was behind the camera…
After countless hours (yes, literally HOURS) or arguing which would be the best transport to get to our accommodation we finally decided on a big shuttle bus which brought us on a 40 minute drive to Parramatta, which is located to the West of Sydney. We happily unpacked our bags and was out the door! We took the train down to the city where we were just in time for dinner before heading toward the Harbour to meet up with Christoph.

Meet Christoph:

blueMt-4325

Christoph was our housemate back in Toowoomba for a year. He’s currently somewhere between Thailand and Singapore on his holiday before heading back to Germany where he comes from. He moved out by this time and happened to be in Sydney that night so we planned to meet up…being Asians, we had to take a lot of group pics…

sydney-4308

sydney-4292

How many people can you spot? One of us had relatives in Sydney so he didn’t join us…thats why there’s only 10 ppl. *EDIT* Actually theres less coz I cropped Edna out of the frame…Sorry Edna! I didn’t have my tripod and so I had to improvise…this next shot is heavily cropped so the lamp post I used wouldn’t get in the picture of the Eye of Sydney.

I think its funny how every major city now has an “Eye”…

We walked along the harbour past the Sydney Aquarium and other attractions which were almost closing as it was rather late by this time…We checked the schedule for the ferry and saw that we would be able to make the last one so while we waited for the ferry we walked back to the Sydney Aquarium where they had a nice backlit billboard of Spongebob Squarepants. I noticed it on the way to the ferry and went back for one purpose and one purpose only: to get this shot:

sydney-4345

That’s my friend Patrick (which also happens to be from Miri). This picture is titled, “Patrick & Patrick”.

Anyway, we then headed to a place called the Rocks to have some sort of famous pancake. Indeed it was a pancake house franchise which had been sort of springing up all over the place. We went in for dessert. Now, let me make it clear that I do NOT take pictures of the food I eat…its sooooooooooooooooooooo cliche doncha think? …but they insisted so I took a happy snap of my chocolate strawberry pancake…YUM!

sydney-4402

Hmm…I’m really sorry but my timeline of the events that occured after this pitstop seems to have screwed itself up in my brain so I can’t remember what we did when we did…All I remember is that along the… (this crossed out paragraph corresponds to the “Patrick & Patrick” picture and the paragraph above it…)

Although I took a bunch of pics after that I’m not going to share anymore simply because I still have a lot to cover…by the way, the current time now is exactly 5.13am. I don’t plan to sleep and I want to finish by dawn-ish so we can go to the Sunday Market before church Who’s “we” you ask? That’s me and Steph…I’m not sleeping tonight because I slept this arvo…what’s “arvo” you ask? its Aussie for “afternoon”. What’s “Aussie”? It’s short for “Australia”. What’s “Australia” you ask? A big island surrounded with water which has a severe water problem. Go figure.

Fast forward through the night and early the next morning…

Yours truly together with his team of intrepid explorers, Patrick and Stephanie, went to pit their strength against the wrath of the mighty Blue Mountains.

blueMt-4603

The Blue Mountains is one of Australia’s biggest tourist destination. It is a collection of mountains that expand across the landscape that when looked at appear to be blue in colour. Its blue haze is of a different hue and deeper than anywhere else in the world. This is caused primarily by Eucalyptus trees emitting oil vapour into the atmosphere which along with fine dust particles and droplets of water vapour scatter the blue light (blue light is short wave light) more than any other colour in the spectrum. (That last sentence was taken from the guide book. If you’re interested, look for it on wikipedia.)

Also the home to the Three Sisters, a natural rock formation which is sort of difficult to explain so I’ll show you a picture:

You can see the Blue Mountains in the background. I’ve already warmed up the tones to make the Three Sisters more prominent in the frame of this picture and even so the mountains appear so blue so you can imagine how blue it actually was!

We took the ExplorerBus to Scenic World, home to the steepest railway which has a maximum gradient of 52 degrees!  It feels like its almost 90 degrees!

blueMt-4433

See how the trees are straight? If I left my bag on the empty seat im front it would’ve ended up right at the front! When we got to the bottom Partrick helped me take a picture of me and Steph and the three sisters…thx Pat!

blueMt-4452

We continued by foot through the forest to the bottom where we would take one cablecar up to the main platform and another back to the place the bus dropped us. We managed to sneek in a strobist shot while walking through the forest. After a few attempts we got it right…credit to Steph for taking the picture and Patrick for holding the flash:

blueMt-4518

Heres Steph in the cable car enjoying herself on one of the cablecar rides:

blueMt-4601

Oh, by the way, this is our ExplorerBus…the hop-on hop-off tour bus we used to get between places…the bus driver was kind enough to let us take a picture before he zoomed off to the next stop:

blueMt-4609

The driver was very friendly. There are actually two busses but this one seemed to always be the next one up! We walked through the cold forest to Leura Cascades. Its a beautiful stream of water falling all the way to the bottom. Be warned that I LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOOVVVEEE waterfalls. If I see a waterfall I MUST take a picture of it…that means I have to take out my ND filters and spend a good 15 minutes taking the fall from almost every conceivable angle. These are my three favourite shots:

How convenient the series is actually in order of how I shot them and its going from top down so you can actually sort of visualize the waterfall as it slowly cascades down to the bottom where you can see the pool in the last pic…

After this we continued our jungle trek for another hour or so until we finally reached the end and waited for the bus to pick us up. These were the last few shots I took during the day because I was too tired by the time we were out of the forest.

blueMt-4657

A view from one of the many many lookout points.

blueMt-4671

Patrick at the bus pick up point to head back to the main town.

The rest of the group actually asked us to go back to the Sydney CBD after our trip to the Blue Mountains but we were just too tired to bother…otherwise we could have met up with Rachel who lives there… By the time we got back to the accommodation (which is 2hr + away from the Blue Mountains) it was about 9pm and I couldn’t wait to sleep!

Fast forward through the night and early the next morning…

Today we had big plans. Places to go, things to see, and stuff to do…unfortunately, we were late.

…sooooooooooooooooo we ended up going to see the Sydney Opera House and then went to some small town for lunch before we did some other things which I can’t remember…crap this is the second time in this post! Well, that doesn’t matter because I only want to share my pics of the Opera House and ask you a question.

This is a rather famous bridge. The Sydney Harbour Bridge. Now for the question. Which of the following two photos do you think is better? They are both the same picture just differently cropped.

Personally, I like the second one. That’s all I got. The day after this was the conference so I’ll get working on it right away! Til then, thanks for reading!


walklogo2

Last Saturday…well, last LAST Saturday was the 2nd annual Worldwide Photo Walk. We didn’t know about the first one…Although I have a bunch of photos from Sydney, blue mountains, Hillsong and all that I’ll talk about this walk first simply because I’ve finished with photos…the only reason I’m finished with them is I had to make my submissions by Saturday midnight. Even so, I was actually late and submitted my entries on Sunday morning.

You know the great thing? ..because Australian time is so far ahead I could submit it late and still have it counted because the deadline is a US time zone…

If you don’t already know what a photowalk is let me explain:

All over the world people sign up and create little groups with a max capacity of 50 people. On Saturday, 18th July 2009, all those people met up at a designated time and place. Since I was in Toowoomba, one of the Toowoomba flickr group members started a toowoomba walk and so I decided to join! We’ve (some of the photographers in Toowoomba) been meaning to do this for some time but its difficult to take initiative if you know what I mean…especially since we didn’t know one another personally. This was a wonderful opportunity to meet up with local photographers and break the ice with them. In retrospect, I’m sure we’ll be able to organize regular “Toowoomba Photo walks” or something similiar…ask the creative team to come up with something catchy!

If you wanna know more about the worldwide photowalk, click HERE. Perhaps you can organize one for next year! Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, lets talk photography!

The main meetup was scheduled for 9.30am – 12 noon. However, our leader told us that there would be a dawn shoot for anyone interested. I WAS interested. Only problem is I’ve been sleeping very irregular patterns since I’ve finished uni…(OH YEAH, BTW, I’VE GRADUATED!!! I FINISHED UNI!!! NOW I’M…I’m…un…em..ployed…! D’oh!) Whoops, digressing there…where was I…ah, so I wasn’t sleepy at midnight…I wasn’t sleepy at 1.30am…heck I wasn’t even sleepy at 3.45am! …so, logically I just didn’t bother to sleep! Took a shower at 5.30am and rushed to meet the rest of ‘em.

Being in the land down under, it was a cold winter day and being so, it was still dark, gloomy, and cold. Unfortunately, what wasn’t there was any mist/fog which we were hoping to capture. We met up at Queens Park and there were four of us. I went to get my tripod and realised that I’d left my quick release plate at home! D’oh! Oh well, it didn’t matter though ‘coz there wasn’t anything nice to take. Luckily, Greg, our walk leader got a call from another shooter who was at a mountain cliff shooting first light. We scrambled back to the cars and headed for his spot.

Now there were 5 of us.

WOOT!

We got there and the others got to talking…I saw a beautiful sunrise and couldn’t NOT take it!

After that we stood there chatting around before we went onto explore the surroundings…

jiaren-5710

So off we went to shoot some other stuff…this is what I took:

Keep exercising

Go Green!

jiaren-5715

Then, we decided to hang around and chat some more…

We’re pretty good at that.

Now that we were done with that, the sun was out and we headed back to the park for some more photo opportunities. Now theres one thing that puzzles me…one thing that I cannot seem to able to capture. You know when you in a forest with trees all around? You face towards the sun and the light rays come streaming through the trees? I love it when that happens but I’ve never been able to actually capture it. I don’t know why? I’ve tried, believe me I’ve tried…if you know how do teach! There was some light haze (probably something burning) and it was all around…smelt like crap though but pretty to behold. I tried and tried but couldn’t seem to capture anything! ARRGH!!!

So I did what all great photographers do: I quit.

I went to shoot stuff I DID know how to shoot…

A Winter Morning

Windmills

jiaren-5747
Running Water

Ok, it was now around 8.09:22am (taken from EXIF info) so we decided to warm up and have some breakfast…I tried for the first time an egg benedict with bacon. It was delicious! …nope I wasn’t gonna be Asian and whip out my camera to take a picture of it…although presentation was pretty decent.

9.20 ish in the AM and its time to head to the rendezvous point which was the war memorial next to Queens Park. We waited and finally decided to get a move on. By now we had 8 photographers! yeah!

jiaren-5773

One of the churches in Toowoomba

jiaren-5798

An interesting view of the Empire Theatre

Another interesting perspective of the Ticket counter at the Empire Theatre

jiaren-5801

Free Masons Masonic Hall

jiaren-5842

This is a list of all the soldiers from Toowoomba that gave their life in WWI. One of the photographers had a contact which let us go into the RSL (Retired Services League) building to tour the place.

After our visit to the RSL, we headed off the main road and buildings into some small back alleys…

jiaren-5820

Okay, this is a little weird? abstract art in a back alley?

Simple building, Simple geometry

Lonely alley

One of the last things we past during the walk was a walk that was full of graffiti. I took a couple of shots because I liked the colour but it was only when I came to the end of the wall was there a small car park and it took a couple of shots to get it how I wanted it to look.

After a little cropping the frame looks evenly split into thirds and it looks like the graffiti Indian is coming out of the car! haha!

…and thats about it for the day! We had a blast! No group pic…its with Greg in his medium format 120 fuji camera so I guess we’ll have to wait. You can view some of the other photogs pics at the Toowoomba Flickr Group. Alternatively, check out http://worldwidephotowalk.com/toowoomba-ql-au/ to see some of the entries from our walk.

My submissions for consideration were the first and 7th pic, “First Light” and “A Winters Morning“.

Easterfest 2009 Day 2.

May 17, 2009

Right now I think I’m the only photographer who hasn’t already submitted their photos…and I’ve only just finished going through day 2!

…so without further ado, lets get on with it shall we:

1) New Empire

2) Austoville

3) Lucy Hannah

4) Into the Ocean

5) Naturally 7 (although only 6 of them were present)

6) Paul Coleman Trio

7) NewWorldSon

enjoy!

1) New Empire

2) Austoville

3) Lucy Hannah

4) Into the Ocean

5) Naturally 7 (although only 6 of them were present)

some crowd shots...
some crowd shots…

6) Paul Coleman Trio

check out the crowd at the Paul Coleman Trios show!
check out the crowd at the Paul Coleman Trio’s show!

7) NewWorldSon

NewWorldSon’s crowd rocking out!
Great finale showing how drummers play the guitar!
Great finale showing how drummers play the guitar!
The End
The End

Got church in 6hrs! See ya!