Posts Tagged ‘Jiaren Lau’

This was the view from my office yesterday afternoon.

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4391

but lets start from the beginning, shall we? Ok, I’ll tell it how it is.

This is NOT some heroic rescue story. This is simply how I saw it. My account of what happened.

A bit of background for those NOT living in Toowoomba/QLD/Australia. Toowoomba is a city perched on a hill, 700m above sea level and I was just telling my relatives not to worry about the Queensland floods because Toowoomba is *immune* to floods. Yesterday, I ate my words. Also, I live on the very top of a hill, close to being at one of the highest point in Toowoomba, on about a +-10% incline.

Went to work yesterday morning, it was drizzling. Not the most normal of mornings but judging from the weather this past couple of weeks, nothing out of the ordinary.

Went back for lunch around 12.45pm – heavy rain.

At 1.30pm, I left for Noodle Box in Westridge to buy some lunch for Leon. I noticed that my garden was already flooded and at that point in time I remember thinking that it was pretty funny. I took one look outside and was greeted with this site:

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4362

Remember this is pretty much close to one of the highest points in Toowoomba, about 3/4 way up on a steep incline. That opposite side has NEVER had water running down it, so to have it fly over the curb like a wave is crazy. As I reversed down the driveway, the water splashed over my bonnet for the first time.

Headed to Westridge and parked right on the corner closest to shelter. I had an umbrella in the passenger seat but figured I’d make the one meter without getting drenched. I was wrong. I remember stepping out and noticing that the water was about an inch high. Why did I take notice? -because I was wearing my new leather shoes :(

3 minutes later, I walked out with my order and it was like a beach. Water gushing out of the drainpipes and drains didn’t help. When I got to my car the water rushed into my shoes (almost four inches).

Time from office to home for lunch: 10mins. It took me 30 minutes + major detours to get back to the office as I figured some places would be worse off than others. I later found out that I was right as the road that I was suppose to take has a steep incline and at about the same time I decided to take “the scenic route” a similiar sized car to mine tried to climb it (opposite direction from where I was heading) and ended up bogging down on the spot with water rushing over the bonnet. *phew*. As I drove down West Street, I followed a 4×4 pickup going not more than 20kmh. Now, there are small side streets that run into West Street every 50 meters or so. Everytime I saw that pickup go past one you could see the water slam into its sides. I only prayed that he wouldn’t stop because I had a feeling the water was at around the height of the car exhaust and didn’t want to let go of the accelerator.  I followed the highest roads I knew and passed a number of cars that had simply bogged down in the middle of the road and finally made it back.

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4376

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4381

When the rain stopped, I took my camera and walked outside to have a look. As the fog cleared up I could see the worst of it in the distance. (see first photo). I strolled down to have a closer look. I was greeted with a torrent of a current running through the road effectively splitting the entire city into East and West (below picture taken facing dead East).

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4392

After a couple of morons tried to go through it failed, officials came to seal off the road and traffic got rerouted away. As I turned the corner I noticed Goggs Street in the distance…

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4393

Only later did I realize that the reason the current was so strong was because the place in the picture below acted as a Delta where all the water from the higher grounds in the South side merged and ravaged the CBD (Central Business District) tearing apart everything in it’s path.

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4395

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4404

Even with water all over the place the water level wasn’t at its highest. At this point it is at about the height of a car tire. A couple of minutes later and its up again. Now its about as high as the button you press for the green man on a pedestrian crossing.

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4407

Of course there were the usual a bunch of people taking photos and videos. I’m all for that but why walk into the water? Remember how I said that manholes across the city have pushed their covers out and are now overflowing? What? I didn’t? Well, they are and the bacteria from those drains are now all over the place. Very hygienic indeed.

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4410

See this bulge in the water? That’s coz of the two cars that got swept like a bulldozer picking up a person and slamming it into a wall.

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4418

If you’re local you’ll see them repeat the video of this happening…right next to Repco (you’ll see it in the background). Viewed from the other side of this shot:

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4423

Close up for your viewing pleasure (gotta love the 70-300mm VR lens):

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4427

After a little while I thought I’d  better head back to do some work. I turned around and noticed something I hadn’t before: Prescott Street. It’s a little street running parallel to the flood that had its worst not too long ago. Have a look:

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4441

I went in for a closer look:

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4454

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4457

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4463

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This is the Yamaha shop. You can see all the bikes ruined in the background…

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4464

At this point I had had enough. I headed back to the office after taking one last shot. It looks like he’s at a beach. On the left you can see some tiles from a sidewalk that had been torn out.

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4482


For the rest of the afternoon I got updates from colleagues including facebook photos/e-mails/videos and other third party info. So, after work I made it a point to visit some of the more severely hit places to see if I could get some photos of the aftermath. Got scolded by a policeman in the process – not to mention this very sad way to inaugurate my new shoes – by walking through dirt and mud!

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4506

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4507

Car bumper with no car…

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4509

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4511

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4518

Check out this slab of asphalt simply ripped up from a road. It looks small bit its about a meter wide:

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4519

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4520

Towing companies taking advantage of the situation… AUD66/tow multiplied by… 1,2,…3000000!

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4522

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4515

See that blue Mitsubishi Magna on the right(top)? That’s Winder and Iris’s car…now flooded with water :(

Below is Russell Street, one of the worst hit streets which saw brand new thousand+ dollar sofas simply thrown into the streets. People had helped clean them up by now and lined them up along the sidewalk.

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4528

People volunteering to help clean up the streets as best they could:

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4531

These were brand new sofas and La-Z-Boys not more than 24 hours ago…

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4537

Dirt and mud littering the downtown city centre:

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4540

The Coffee Club on Margaret Street was one of the worst hit. Glass was broken and water pouring out of the cafe. I dare not go closer so this is all I have:

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4541

Sidewalks were all piled up by the side of the road probably to be put back when the situation calms down.

toowoomba flash flood 2011-4545

All in all it has been an insane day. I’ve been told not to come into work today so I figured I’d write this post. Everyone I know is fine and there were forecasts of rain today but so far so good. Let’s hope it stays this way.


You know once in a while you do a photoshoot that you really really REALLY liked?

I mean like you go back to review the shots and even think to yourself, “Dang, I’m good!”

Something that made you proud to showcase not one, not two, but really almost every shot that you took…so much so that just weeding out which shots NOT to be included on the DVD was the hardest task?

This was one of those times.

Meet my subjects.


Lena, from Germany.


Nina, from  Germany.


Hao Chu, from Vietnam. AKA Heidi.


I was told that it was Lena and Nina’s birthday present for Heidi. I found out later that it was actually Nina AND Heidi’s birthday. I’m sure they enjoyed their present. These photos are all over their facebook profiles now. I’ve even got compliments from friends just walking around the uni. Anyway, if they’re happy – I’m happy.


The theme of the photoshoot was “Fairytale”. I did a bit of research of how cartoonists draw fairytale pictures like Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc. Okay, actually it was a single picture with all of the above in it with some other “princesses” of which I cannot remember the names. Here is my rendition:



Too posed? I like it.

I should find the cartoon that I was looking at and insert it here…in retrospect I should’ve moved this shot to someplace else. I took the shot here because I liked the backlight on the trees. See that golden, greenish colour….I liked that and was trying to get it blurred enough to become some really nice rounded bokeh. After going through the troubles of posing the shot it would’ve been too troublesome to shift everything to somewhere else. Also, we were loosing light so we had to move.

This next shot was probably one of my faves…not this one exactly, but all the ones taken here I really liked.



“Who wants to be that tree?!”

By the way, it was around this time and the individual shots (the ones where I introduced the subjects) that my Speedlight fell down again. Yup. AGAIN! “Friggin, stupid *#!@#$!!!” Everytime I do a shoot a Speedlight falls. It doesn’t matter how secure I make it it’ll still drop! I even put my SB-600 (the more expensive of the two) on the tripod which is heavier = sturdier. I was taking a shot of one of the girls and was backing up slowly. I backed into the tripod and it slammed into the ground – diffuser first. (I also dropped my SB-600 when I was taking Rick and Michelle’s Wedding) Last time I broke my umbrella, this time I broke the shot shoe feet on the plastic wireless flash receiver – Thanks goodness! I’ve yet to glue it back but I’ll do it before Wednesday (26th May 2010) because I have another photoshoot then.

This next series is AWESOME. Kudos to Steph for thinking of this shot. We literally stopped them as they were walking away to the next spot and got these shots. I got them to swing their heads as I was counting down the shot and got some great hair action!




These were all taken in the Japanese Gardens at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba QLD, but theres not much to show for it, huh? So, I’m gonna throw in this shot just so I compliments the title:


By now everyone was getting tired as it was cold, and sunset had just passed. We set up our last shots for the day and went home. We wanted a shot of them dipping their feet in the water but there just wasn’t enough time.



Total duration of Photoshoot: 120 minutes.

I’m excited! I’m really excited…

This is the first time I’m uploading my shots taken with film online…I use a beautiful Nikon FM2n + Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI lens that is the best camera I’ve ever shot with and a tank of a camera at that. Built to take the abuse and is rock solid. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of my camera…but someone else does.

I hope Jody doesn’t mind me stealing her picture :-) (Shoutout to Jody Siong)

You can read her blog by clicking HERE.

I shoot film exclusively for B&W…Today, my friend Shane taught me how to develop film. You can check out his work by clicking HERE. He taught me by helping me develop my first roll of B&W film, a roll of Ilford Delta 3200. After I get a job I’m definitely gonna develop my own film. Its being dried at the moment so he’ll help me scan in into digital files and I’ll go see ‘em tomorrow. THATS WHY I’M EXCITED!!! Looking at the developed roll though there seems to be a streak that runs across the entire roll which will probably be quite obvious in the photos. :-( Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing the finished result and if they’re good I’ll make a post about it. I took the film about half a year ago and then realised that traditional B&W film NEEDS to be hand developed…so I stuffed it in my drawer as I couldn’t do anything about it…until today.

In the meantime, I’m shooting with Kodak BW400CN which is a C-41 process film (which means I can bring it into any photography shop and they can develop it for me. I just recently developed 2 rolls of this film at the shop. I wasn’t planning on digitizing them in any way but Shane was kind enough to do me the favour. (Shoutout to Kao Wen Sheng)

These rolls were taken around last September to November but I didn’t have enough money to waste on developing them so I resisted as long as I could. The pictures you are about to see are from November ’09 when my sister, Linzhi, came to Australia to visit.

Most of you know her as this:


or this:


The happy, weird, smiley, smartie pants with selective hearing. However, don’t be fooled. I’ve known this one for 23 years and it wears many…many faces. You can be sure because:

  1. Film doesn’t lie
  2. All these pictures are taken from 2 rolls of film so you know they were taken over a short period of time.
  3. You’re reading it here. Your one source of definite, undisputable truth.

If you know the both of us and know us well, you’ll notice she’ll regularly look at me with this face:



It means that I’ve either done something wrong, am about to something wrong, or am thinking of doing something wrong. When you’re as in tune with her as I am you see her in a different light.

Where others see this:


I see this:


Where others see this:


I see this:


Where others see this:


I see this:


Then, if you’re observant enough you’ll notice that she has her own little mood swings where she does random things at random times.

“Yeah right, Jiaren. You’re SO making this stuff up!”

“No way, this is your one source of definite, undisputable truth!”

“Prove it then!”

“Fine. I will.” Presenting…

…Weird random self-happy mode:


…Weird random self-sad mode:


…Weird random self-standoff “first-one-blinks-loses” mode?:


I think I’m made my case. :-)

Can’t live with her, can’t live without her!

All in all I love her and miss her already… :-( She’s great fun to photograph and fun to hang around with. She’s also single and available. If you’re reading this and still find yourself liking her give me a shout and I’ll hook you up. :-)

Cheers and God bless!