Nature’s Art

The cats in the previous picture were looking at me looking up at this tree in the orchard. They must be thinking city people are strange people.

A couple of curious kids came and sat next to me on the grass littered with fallen leaves. Finally, one brave little girl asked: “Why are you looking at the leaves for so long?”

I wanted to explain: “I am looking at the seasons in the sun”. Although trees are evergreen here, they do have their seasons where the leaves change colours and the branches bear fruits.

I didn’t know how to put it in simple words. I could only muster “Cantik” (beautiful) and she giggled. I bet she thought I am strange too.

Many moons ago, the late country singer John Denver was in KL and I was happy to run into him by chance. I saw him looking silently at the fountain in front of the hotel for a long time. Only his wife and manager understood what he was doing, I thought to myself.

The rest of the entourage thought it was rather strange and a few began to snigger after a while. Several busybody taxi drivers laughed and told me “dia gila” (he’s mad).

I smiled but I knew what he was doing. He stopped to smell the roses, as the idiom goes. He took time from his busy schedule to appreciate the beauty of things around him.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f6.3, 1/100 sec.

Man In The Tree

Sharing more outtakes from the earlier leg of the road trip. Saw a man plucking cikus (sapodilla) on top of a tree during exploration deep inside a village in Ulu Yam. I will continue with the journey after the long holiday weekend.

Someone asked me: Why carry the very expensive Sony A7R and its heavy arsenal of Zeiss lenses when it is safer, easier to use lighter, less expensive mirrorless systems?

The answer is simple. I do carry two other mirrorless cameras but a day will come. This was such a day. The day when a scene will cry out for the brute resolution of the A7r. The camera will clearly define every leaf and every fruit.

It will pick out the details right down to the ash on the tip of the cigarette or make out the motifs on the man’s shirt. Its fine tonal rendition will separate the leaves from the fruits. The excellent dynamic range will keep everything in check, from sky to face, even under the harsh sun.

I can think of more but the most important reason is that this is also an archival mission. Many of the old surviving buildings, towns and lifestyle documented on this journey will soon disappear forever. So why not capture it at the best practical quality for future generations to relive and to appreciate.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/800 sec.

A Magical Garden

One of the many perks of kampung living is having an orchard, farm or garden on your own backyard. In this garden with a magical-like atmosphere, I saw a mysterious lady.

She turned out to be Wawa’s aunt and was plucking the fruit of Belimbing Buluh, a plant known also as the bilimbi or cucumber tree.

The fruit has various culinary and medicinal usage across Asia. Puan Timah told me she is using it to give her fish curry a tangy flavour. It can also replace mango in making achar (pickles dip), the kind lady enlightened me.

Originally from KL, the retiree is staying at her sister’s kampung to attend a ‘kursus umrah’ (Mecca pilgrimage course) in Hulu Bernam.

Photography Tip: Use a simple reverse vignette of white, instead of black, to give the edges a kind of soft-glow, thus enhancing the magical effect.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f2, 1/200 sec.