Wide Playground

Children playing at the courtyard of the village temple. Not many open spaces on the mangove island as every track and lane were on planks built on stilts.

At Chinese fishing villages, it is common to see Taoist temples dedicated to deity Mazu, under different name variations. Mazu is the revered Chinese Goddess of the seas and guardian protector goddess for fishermen.

I was obsessed with 16: 9 widescreen format in year 2010. It was more for Full HD video than stills. It was a challenge to compose and to fit many subjects. Some subjects or scenes such as this one were made for the ratio. I added the ‘letterboxing’ to fit Instagram’s square format.

I will create a Kukup Hotels page later. Meanwhile, try the hotels in Pontian Kecil nearby:

#kukup #johor #ferryterminal #fishingvillage #pontian #mazu #deity #chinesetemple #taoist #widescreen #anamorphic #fullhd #hd

Cholon Is Saigon’s Oldest Surviving Chinatown

It was the Thean Hou Temple in Cholon Chinatown, Saigon I photographed and its history dates back to 1778. Loved the spiral incense coils inside the temple.

It was a bittersweet experience when I met an elderly and kindly local Chinese man outside the temple. We conversed in Cantonese. Finding out that I am from Malaysia, he asked me whether the Chinese are treated fairly. Surprised by the question, I didn’t really know how to reply to it and I told him: “We will survive, just like how your community did in Vietnam” He smiled and nodded his head in agreement. Coincidentally, an old Chinese man in Jakarta asked me the same thing. So did a Chinese man in Manila Chinatown.

For a lone traveler, it was a comforting yet an awkward experience meeting a concerned member of the far flung diaspora.

#temple #saigon #hcmc #vietnam #chinesetemple #chinese #diaspora

There Is No Smoke Without Fire

This candle stand is the start of the smoke chain in the temple. The devotees light their joss sticks and incense papers here, spreading smoke as they move from the altar to the urn outside.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f2, 1/3200 sec.

#streetphotography #temple #flame #candles #smoke #chinatown #chinesenewyear #cny #sonyalpha #a7r #zeiss

One Moment In Time.

Through the doorway: the skywell, sun rays, smoke, spiral joss sticks and ancient Chinese architecture appear like art. It can happen only in that one moment in time when the light, smoke and objects combined perfectly.

Photography Tip: Use a tele lens not just for reach. Here; I used the compression effect of the Sony FE 70-200mm lens to reduce the perceived distance between objects. I wanted the roof to appear nearer to the spiral coils than it actually was.

Exercise extra care when changing lens in a temple environment. There is a lot of fine ash that can get into the rear element and sensor.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/1000 sec.

#streetphotography #temple #chinesetemple #architecture #smoke #art #josssticks #chinatown #chinesenewyear #cny #sonyalpha #a7r #sonyg

That Soothing Smile

I was sitting on a bench drying my eyes in the smoke-filled temple and breathing fresh air when this cheerful 11-year-old plonked herself next to me. I immediately asked her to move further from me. Hope she wasn’t offended as I knew right away she is very photogenic, even through blurry eyes.

Photography Tip. I asked her to move as I knew she was sitting too close for this particular lens to focus. Know your lens’ minimum focusing distance without even having to look through the viewfinder. This will save you time. Fiddling about is also unfair to an obliging subject, especially when it is a stranger.

I consciously kept her off-center to include the two worshipers in the background. Sometimes, just ask your model what’s going on behind you and she’ll look unsuspectingly over your shoulders. That’s when you click.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f1.8, 1/2500 sec.

#streetphotography #smile #temple #street #portrait #candid #chinesenewyear #cny #sonyalpha #a7r #zeiss