Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best of 2010

Another year almost gone. Time just seems to go faster. Looking back over the year I have selected 12 special images highlighting some key events over 2010.

Realising that the infamous Pudu Jail in KL was about to be demolished for a new property development I took the opportunity to make a last visit before the bulldozers arrived and shot images of all the walls with painted murals and of course the intimidating front entrance.

The Kwong Tong Chinese Cemetery sits in a prime plot of land in central KL on a hill overlooking the city and offers some wonderful picture opportunities.

In February Joe McNally blew into town and conducted a lighting workshop and seminar. The Shangri-La Hotel ballroom was full on the one day seminar with hundreds of photographers who came to hear from the guru. They were not disappointed with a humorous and informative talk and a great opportunity to meet and talk with a world famous photographer.

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers from Scotland gave a blistering performance at the Hilton Sentral Hotel with a successful blend of traditional bagpipes and more modern guitars and drums in a new music genre termed bagrock.

I had the opportunity to visit Chiang Rai in northern Thailand staying at the Meridien Hotel on the banks of the Mae Kok River. This wonderful sunset was seen as I supped on a cocktail at the outside bar.

On the outskirts of Chiang Rai you can visit a village where you can see a number of different hill tribe people living including the famous Karen tribe with the elongated necks caused by wearing neck rings. This lady was from the Yao tribe and had such a wonderful warm smile.

The Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan, or Federal Territory Mosque, is a magnificent building and this image shows it with the background of the KL city skyline.

The Birch Road cemetery is an old Christian graveyard in the heart of downtown KL. It's rundown and overgrown which provides some atmospheric photo opportunities.

The medieval town of Brugge in Belgium with its canals and old buildings like the cottage above is a great getaway for a few days. The local food and beer are also excellent.

The interior of the luxurious Metropole Hotel in Brussels, Belgium is magnificent and I had the chance to stay there for two nights during a visit to belgium. Built in 1895 this is the only 19th century proper still open for business.

Patrick Low conducted a flash photography workshop in November and the lovely local model Evon Tan provided a very pleasing subject to capture.

Bangsar Shopping Centre in KL has gone through a very successful renovation with a number of new outlets including WIP restaurant/bar where I will be this evening to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. Happy 2011 to all!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fattoria Castello de Monteriggioni

Fattoria Castello di Monteriggioni was founded in 1964 by Alvaro Gozzi and his wife Luisa Masini Gozzi. Alvaro Gozzi, fascinated by wine, bought lands, between Monteriggioni and Castellina in Chianti. He planted the vineyards and build the new wine cellar. He loved the oenological world and he wanted to know much more every day. During many years Alvaro Gozzi was able to obtain products with improving quality and so the wines of Fattoria became famous in Italy and in many more countries.
When Alvaro Gozzi died, his role in Fattoria Castello di Monteriggioni, passed to his son Michela Gozzi, also director of an other business venture of the family, the Hotel Monteriggioni.
Today Fattoria Castello di Monteriggioni is managed by Tommaso Battignani, graduated in Winegrowing and Oenology. Thank to his studies and his passion, like his auntie and his grandfather, Tommaso works every day, to produced wines of high quality, to keep up the family's tradition.

Monday, December 20, 2010


This shipwreck was lying on the beach on the north Musandam coast of Oman. The Musandam peninsula juts into the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow entry into the Persian Gulf, from the Arabian Peninsula. The Musandam peninsula is an exclave of Oman, separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates. Its location gives Oman partial control, shared with Iran, of the strategic strait. In the northern section of Musandam, around Kumzar, the current language isKumzari, which is one of the south-western Iranian languages and a sub-branch of Persian. The Musandam Peninsula has an area of 1,800 square kilometers (695 sq mi) and a population of 28,727 people. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Live Music at Sacre Coeur

What a great venue for a live performance .... the audience sit out on the steps with the musician at the base of the steps with the impressive Sacre Coeur church on top of the hill overlooking the whole scene.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost five hundred years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government.
Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms and covers 720,000 m(7,800,000 sq ft). The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
Since 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artifacts were built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Part of the museum's former collection is now located in the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Both museums descend from the same institution, but were split after the Chinese Civil War.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Baklandet Trondheim

An icy cold day in the old streets of Baklandet, Trondheim. The Baklandet Skydsstation is a restaurant bar in one of the old traditional wooden houses.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Ema at Kiyomizu-dera Temple

These wooden prayer tablets or Ema were seen at the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, in Kyoto, Japan. Ema are small wooden plaques on which Shinto worshippers write their prayers or wishes. The ema are then left hanging up at the shrine, where the kami (spirits or gods) receive them. They bear various pictures, often of animals or other Shinto imagery, and many have the word gan'i, meaning "wish", written along the side. In ancient times people would donate horses to the shrines for good favor, over time this was transferred to a wooden plaque with a picture of a horse, and later still to the various wooden plaques sold today for the same purpose.
Ema are sold for various wishes. Common reasons for buying a plaque are for success in work or on exams, marital bliss, to have children, and health. Some shrines specialize in certain types of these plaques, and the larger shrines may offer more than one. Sales of ema help support the shrine financially.
At some shrines, such as Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, one can find ema in many languages, as tourists leave their own wishes and prayers.

Lake Tonle Sap, Cambodia

The Tonlé Sap ("Tonlé" meaning "Large Fresh Water River," but more commonly translated as "Great Lake") is a combined lake and river system of major importance to Cambodia.
The Tonlé Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and is an ecological hot spot that was designated as a UNESCO biosphere in 1997.
The Tonlé Sap is unusual for two reasons: its flow changes direction twice a year, and the portion that forms the lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the seasons. From November to May, Cambodia's dry season, the Tonlé Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. However, when the year's heavy rains begin in June, the Tonlé Sap backs up to form an enormous lake.
For most of the year the lake is fairly small, around one meter deep and with an area of 2,700 square km. During the monsoon season, however, the Tonlé Sap river, which connects the lake with the Mekong river, reverses its flow. Water is pushed up from the Mekong into the lake, increasing its area to 16,000 square km and its depth to up to nine meters, flooding nearby fields and forests. The floodplain provides a perfect breeding ground for fish.
The pulsing system with the large floodplain, rich biodiversity, and high annual sediment and nutrient fluxes from Mekong makes the Tonlé Sap one of the most productive inland fisheries in the world, supporting over three million people and providing over 75 percent of Cambodia's annual inland fish catch and 60 percent of Cambodians' protein intake. At the end of the rainy season, the flow reverses and the fish are carried downriver.
National and local observers often state that the Tonlé Sap Lake is rapidly filling with sediment. However, recent long-term sedimentation studies show that net sedimentation within the lake proper has been in the range of 0.1-0.16 mm/year since circa 5,500 years before present (BP). Thus, there is no threat of the lake filling up with sediment. On the contrary, sediment is not a threat to the lake but an important part of its ecosystem, providing nutrients that drive the floodplain productivity.
The reversal of the Tonlé Sap river's flow also acts as a safety valve to prevent flooding further downstream. During the dry season (December to April) the Tonlé Sap Lake provides around 50% of the flow to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
The lake occupies a depression created due to the geological stress induced by the collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia. In recent years the building of high dams in Southern China and Laos has threatened the strength and volume of the reverse flow into Tonle Sap; a phenomenon that environmentalists have been slow to recognize or raise concern about. Already fish catches are significantly down.
The Tonle Sap Lake and its surrounding provinces are part of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve. There are nine provinces that are part of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve, these are; Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, Pursat, Siem Reap, Otdar Meanchey, and Krong Pailin.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Life After Death

This flower appeared to be thriving in this old graveyard in Prague, Czech Republic demonstrating the power of life while surrounded by death.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Old Water Wheel

This water wheel was seen in Prague, Czech Republic. I used Nik Software's Silver Efex application to convert the image to black and white which I thinks adds character and a timeless effect to the image.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

How to Keep Your Jeans Blue

Ever wondered how to keep your jeans blue? This is the trick at the Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai India where a large wooden tub is used to soak the washed jeans in a solution of blue dye and water.