2015 Year in Review
So here we’re, at another year’s end! Photographically, 2015 has been a great year for me. I was lucky to traveled to some of the most beautiful locations around the globe such as Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Paris and Singapore. So most of my images have arisen from these places.
My first trip in 2015 was back in February to Lombok, Indonesia. Pure landscape photography activities for 6 days. The second was a very tiring two weeks trip to South Island of New Zealand in April during my Autumn Photo Tour with Kamrul. We had everything during this trip, wild lenticular clouds invasion, Aurora Australis, you named it. The third trip is to Paris, France shortly after I came back from South Island. The fourth is a 6 day trip to Bali, Indonesia. My fifth trip is to Melbourne with Sony Malaysia team and finally a short trip to Singapore on December for some dancing lights of the laser show in Marina Bay.
So, below is a collection of my favourite photographs from 2015. Chances are, you’ve seen most of them before. But I thought it would be a good way to look back on the year. Now, let’s get to the images and some stories behind it!
February : Lombok, Indonesia
# .. Outcast ..
This image was taken at unknown beach in Lombok as we have to made an impromptu stop for a sunset shooting. The original plan was to have sunset at somewhere else, but due to we’re run out of time so we decided to just stop here. There was nothing else along this beach except for this traditional rowboat that was use mainly for fishing activities by the local fisherman. I took this shot with a 3 minutes exposure to capture some of the movements in the skies as the clouds were moving pretty fast.
# .. The Little Guy ..
This image was taken at Mangku Sakti Waterfall, just outside Sembalun Village area. It was really challenging to reached this waterfall as there were no proper road and we had pushed our non 4×4 vehicle to the limit where we were driving on an off-road until the tyre blew up! Then we had to walk further inside the jungle which I think is about 1 km away where we had left our car before reaching the waterfall. The little guy you see standing below the waterfall was actually yours truly. I put my camera on a self-timer and ran in front of the shot for couple of times before I got the shot that I wanted. Anyway, the main purpose of adding a human element on this shot is to show how small are we compared to mother nature. The waterfall is really huge and it make me look so small standing below it!
# .. Melodramatic Sunset ..
This image was taken at Senggigi beach, which is the main tourist strip of the Indonesian island of Lombok, stretched out along several kilometers on the coastline. It was almost sunset and the tide was rising at this time. I used a 3 stops ND filter to achieved my desired shutter speed as the lights were still bright at this time. I had a great time shooting the waves although I ended up got soaked couple of times because of the high splash. Man, I still love seascape photography!
# .. Semeti Explorer ..
This image was taken at a cliff in Semeti Beach. It was our last sunset hunting in this beautiful island and we wasn’t sure about the location because we haven’t been here before. So we just gambled ourself because its quite challenging going off-road with non 4×4 vehicle to reach the shore and for sure we can’t turn back or we will miss the sunset. But once we arrived, I was truly amazed by this amazing rocky cliff that Semeti has to offers. I just had to do another selfie with my F-stop Loka Backpack as the sunset was also pretty amazing! How contradictory the color was? Love it!
April : South Island, New Zealand
# .. Essence of Dusk ..
This image was taken at Lake Tekapo during our first day in South Island during my Autumn Photo Tour. It was really a rushing day for everyone. Earlier back in Christchurch, at the campervan depot, we encountered the built-in heater in Kamrul’s campervan is not working so we had to wait for it to be repaired. We wasted around 3 hours or so at the depot, then once the heater is working again, we rushed to Lake Tekapo which is 250km away. Alhamdulillah, we managed to arrived just in time but man the sky was already on fire. By far, this is one of the most stunning sunset I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life, period!
# .. The Galaxy Church ..
This image was taken at the famous Church of The Good Shepherd in Lake Tekapo. Earlier after sunset, we went back to Lake Tekapo Holiday Park which just around the corner to refresh ourself and have some dinner. At about 9.30pm, we went out again to the church for some night skies photography. Alhamdulillah, it was a clear night as we had expected! Milky way was rising and even fainted aurora australis was already in the shot at this time. But I didn’t notice that until midnight.
# .. Unexpected Encounter, The Majestic Aurora Australis ..
As the night goes darker and the temperature is dropping lower, we have been out here shooting the night skies for almost 3 hours now. We started around 9.30pm and by 1.00am, most of our participants is feeling cold and they already went back to the campervan to get warm. Only me, Kamrul and Kak Tim was still outside during that time. My camera was running on timelapse mode and I just had to wait until it finish. Suddenly, a Korean couple stepped into my composition and I politely tell them that they were standing in my frame. They said just one more shot of the northern lights, then we out of here. After that, the couple came to me and showed me their shots of the northern lights and I was totally speechless when I saw them! I was shooting at the wrong direction, where the northern lights appears. I stopped my timelapse and changed my direction and boom! There was the Aurora Australis..It was truly magical! I was then joined by Kamrul and our participants where at first, they were having a hard time believing there was actually an aurora happening outstide. Haha. Maybe because it was too cold and if I’m not mistaken, the temperature was around -2’C that time. We continue the aurora till 2am before calling it a day off. Everyone was so happy because it was totally unexpected experience to witnessed an Aurora Australis at the church. Well, thanks to the Korean couple for informing me I guess.. 🙂
# .. Hooker Lake Sunset ..
This image was taken in Hooker Valley track. It took us 45 minutes of light trekking to reached here where the Hooker Lake was still another 45 minutes up front. We were moving very slow due to our heavy camera equipments, hence we decided to settled at this pov. Not a bad view though!
# .. The Traveller’s Passage ..
This image was taken at Tasman Glacier Lake in Mount Cook National Park during a magical sunrise where we had a lenticular clouds invasion. We was here quite early as we wanted to do some nightscape photography. It took us around 50 minutes of trekking in the pitch dark from the car park to reached the lake shore. We managed to shoot some stars before the skies was lit up with beautiful sunrise colors. I just had to do another selfie of myself standing between those snowcapped mountains! Again, for this shot, I set up my camera on a self-timer mode and I ran infront of the camera for a adventure-type of selfie. This image has been licensed by Lonely Planet and currently being showcased on their website. Not a bad selfie to do eh! 🙂
# .. Purakaunui Foliage ..
This image was taken at Purakaunui Falls in The Catlins. This image was taken at The Catlins. It was a simple trek from carpark to reached this multi-tier waterfalls. We were expecting autumn colors, but I guess they arrived bit later this year as most of the foliage still covered in greens. Amazing falls though! Anyway, when shooting waterfalls with high megapixels camera such as the Sony A7r, you’ll definitely want to use a very stable tripod that can withstand the current of the stream. I choose Really Right Stuff tripod to be my workhorse on this trip and I must say that I am impressed with the result. You just can’t go wrong with the right stuff!
# .. The Wanaka Lone Tree ..
This image was taken at Wanaka Lake, the famous lone tree. Good thing being early to location is that you’ll have the all the place by yourself. Well at least for a moment before all the tourist arrived. They usually did not wake up as early as landscape photographer does. I took this shot before sunrise as you can still see some stars on the top part.
# .. Queenstown Skyline ..
Took this shot from Queenstown Skyline where you can access with a gondola ride up to the top. It was actually not a sunset angle, but I still get some of the color bias in the sky. The sun was actually setting to the right of this image. It was a cloudless evening but the reflected pastel colours from sunset made the shot more colourful. You’ll definitely would want to drop by here if you in Queenstown!
# .. The Guardians of Glenorchy ..
This image was taken in Glenorchy lakeside where the famous Willow Trees line up on the shore. It is located about 30-45 minutes drive from Queenstown. We camped about half and hour from the lake the night before, so we had to wake up at 4 in the morning and drove to the spot for sunrise. But again, luck is playing hard ball with us as the place was totally covered with thick fog that morning. So we ended up waiting for it to clear up. And when it cleared, we have dramatic display at the scenet. Even rainbow is sneaking out at the back!
May : Paris, France
# .. Eiffel Tower Trails ..
This image was taken well, obviously in Paris, France. I went to this beautiful city of love/lights not for a photography trip but rather for work or duty calls. It was a 6 day trip and I only managed to take out my tripod for a walk on the last day. I walked for about 3-4 km from my hotel to city for some cityscape shooting. Earlier I stopped by at Arch de Triomphe for a blue hour shots before I proceed walk further up to the Eiffel tower. I ended up back at the hotel at around 12 midnight. It was a long walk and very tiring and I still had to packed up my things as my flight was in the morning. Little did I know, once I arrived in Malaysia I noticed that I have misplaced my first memory card which contains the images that I shot at the Arch de Triomphe. Another lesson learned, you should be more organized with your belongings especially small items like an SD card. After that incident, I bought myself a Pelican memory card holder to ensure everything is in place.
September : Bali, Indonesia
# .. Temple of Batu Bolong ..
Took this shot on my first day exploring the beauty of Bali landscapes has to offers. Here is the famous view of Batu Bolong Temple in Tanah Lot. The tide were pretty low but I manage to find this little pool that creates a reflection of the temple. The place were pretty crowded as it is one of the most visited place in Bali. I had to removed lots of people in the shot to get to this final image. Well, hard work pays off doesn’t it? 🙂
# .. Pinggan Hill Sunrise ..
This image was taken in Pinggan Hill, a majestic point of view of the volcanic Mount Batur. Although we were expecting a sea of clouds covering the village down below, luck is not always on our side as it was not meant to be. Still, I enjoyed myself breathing a fresh air by the mountains. Priceless!
# .. Pantai Karang, Sanur ..
This image was taken at Pantai Karang Sanur which is famously known with its stunning sunrise view. Albeit lack of rowboat in the water, we bumped into local photographers at the scene and they were pushing this rowboat into the low tide sea and it does make a great composition for my shot. We were blessed with indeed a stunning sunrise view after a few cloudless morning. Syukur!
# .. Morning Delight at Tegenungan Falls ..
This image was taken at Tengenungan Waterfall on my second visit during my 6 days in Bali. The first time I encountered too many tourists in my shots. Therefore I went there much earlier in the morning and it worked out well. I got the place all to myself!
# .. Melasti Sunset ..
This image was taken in Melasti Beach where the beach was literally covered with mossy rocks during low tide. I found this cool formation and decided to use it as my main foreground element. As far as I remember, I have not posted this image online yet, so it’s something new for everyone to see. I used to be in love with seascape photography and believed me, I still does!
# .. Out of Service ..
It was a morning with very low tide in Kelan Beach, Bali. I had to wade over shin-deep mud to get to this boat with my headlamp because it was pitch black during that time. After taking a few shots, I decided to use long exposure to capture some of the clouds’ movement because they were moving pretty fast. Ended up taking the shot using three and a half minutes of exposure (215 seconds).
# .. The Abandoned Ship ..
This image was taken in Kelan Beach also known as Tuban. We started just off the shore for sunrise and then ended up walked up further in thigh deep mud to this abandoned ship. That is Pak Pandu, my local guide when I was in Bali. If you’re looking for a photography guide in Bali, I highly recommend this guy!
November – Melbourne
# .. Skyline Panorama ..
This image was actually taken in April, during my transit to New Zealand. I decided to include this image in here to summarized my Melbourne visit in 2015. So we had about 10 hours of layover and we went out to the city for a walked and ended up sunset from 88th floor of the Eureka Skydeck. Shooting from inside a glass can be a massive problem with the lights reflection, so I used a “Lenskirt” to eliminate the issue and it worked out well!
# .. Bathing Boxes ..
This image was taken during my trip with Sony Malaysia team and a handful of media editors to Melbourne, Australia to try out the new Sony A7RII, Sony A7SII and Sony RX100IV. The trip was fully planned, organized & executed by Sony Malaysia. It was a simple point and shoot trip, no serious landscape photography involved. I barely get my tripod out for action as most of the time we were shooting handheld. :p
December – Singapore
# .. Twin City ..
This image was taken along the Marina Bay Sands on my recent trip to Singapore. We arrived to the location quite late because we were stucked at Woodland boarder due to a traffic jammed at 4 in the morning. Can u believe that?! So we then decided to re-route to the second link which took us 20 minutes or so from the first link. Thank god, the second link was still clear from traffic and after crossing the boarder, we then stopped at Sultan’s mosque for Subuh prayer. By the time we finished our prayer, it was already blue hour. Again, we were rushing to the scene and thankfully, we managed to arrived just in time before the blue hour is gone. Anyway, thanks to Ijam for another great hospitality in entertaining us. He just never get bored, what a nice guy!
# .. Sunrise over MBS ..
This image was taken from Merlion Park, opposite to MBS hotel during sunrise. It was a rather calm morning and the lake produces a gentle reflection that attracts my attention. Well, it was not the most epic sunrise, but I still managed to pushed out some of the colours, thanks to the 42 megapixels file from Sony A7RII.
# .. Laser Show in MBS ..
This image was taken at the opposite of MBS hotel. We walked all the way to the other side and believed me, it was far. Should have brought a hover board or a skateboard which should makes the definition of walking a whole lot easier. Lol! Again, same technique was used by combining multiple exposures to capture the laser show. I also took an underexposed shot just to recover some of the highlights on the lower buildings. I might add, a single image does not work best for this kind shot. By capturing multiple exposures you can be more creative with the final product!
# .. Helix Bridge ..
This image was taken from under the Helix Bridge, which is a quite famous point of view here in Singapore, I must say. Nonetheless, its still a fresh spot for me as I never been here before. We waited here for the next laser show and if I’m not mistaken which is around 9pm or so. Can’t remember. Same technique applied as my previous image where multiple exposures were combined together to capture the dancing lights from the laser show. I’m starting to fall in love with the beauty of cityscapes in Singapore!
# .. Disco Lights in Marina Bay Sands ..
This image was taken from one of the shopping mall nearby the MBS area. I can’t remember the name of the building, thanks to Ijam again for taking us up here. It sure does have a nice vantage point for the laser show! Some technical info about the image, I combined multiple exposures to capture most of the laser’s light dancing during the night and blend them all together into one final image. It gets a little bit tricky, but thankfully I managed to get it done. I think it worked out well. Don’t you think so? 🙂
So that’s about it from me this year. I hope everyone enjoy all the photos as much as I do and hopefully, it will inspired you guys to go out and explore the world beauty!
Before I end this post, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the continued support towards my photography. I really appreciate all the wonderful comments, likes and shares. Thank you Sony Malaysia for an amazing year of collaboration and all the tremendous support given throughout the year. Look forward for more exciting projects in coming years!
May 2016 bring us closer to our dreams and full of new opportunities! May we all live in a world at peace and with the awareness of God’s love in every sunset, every flower’s unfolding petals, every baby’s smile, every lover’s kiss and every wonderful, astonishing, miraculous beat of our heart!
Lots of love! 🙂