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.

Beauty In Our Backyard

This is one of my favourite pics and was captured during a previous trip. Autumn at the Sungai Liam Waterfalls in Ulu Yam.

The lonely spot is only about 15 to 20 minutes from Federal Route 1 via Ulu Yam Bharu. It is literally the backyard of Klang Valley.

Olympus OM-D, ISO 125, f5, 1/200 sec.

Ulu Yam In A Nutshell

Chinese folks from elsewhere go to the Ulu Yam area for one main reason. To try the famous Hokkien ‘lor mee’ there. It is a dish of yellow noodles cooked in a sourish vinegar broth. Although the dish originated in Ulu Yam Lama, several other restaurants at Ulu Yam Bharu serve it.

Apart from the now third-generation original shop in Ulu Yam Lama, the other popular ones are Aik Koon and Hock Lay in Ulu Yam Bharu. The former was closed when I was in town looking for food, so I settled for the latter. Fermented acetic acid isn’t exactly my cup of tea; so I asked for another recommendation besides lor mee. The head waitress suggested their signature dish of Shrimps In A Coconut, which she claimed is their creation.

The prawns are cooked in coconut juice (coconut water) and not santan (coconut milk). As a result, the mild curry prawns have a very distinctive fragrance and unique sweet taste. It comes with a tom yum-like dip that is spicy and sour. Excellent fare and reasonable pricing from Hock Lay Restaurant.

Waitress is also talkative, informative and cooperative. She helped me move my food and gear to a darker and cooler corner after I finished photography at a brighter side. Although this dish has no pork in it, the restaurant is not halal. Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/250 sec. The nearest decent hotel is The Leverage Business Hotel in Rawang. Available from MyCen Hotels at

Slow Down: Kids Crossing

The door-to-door ice cream man brings much joy to the children of a village in Ulu Yam. I stopped him to buy and to chat.

It made me feel silly and guilty at the same time. Silly, having had a so-called artisan elderflower-flavoured ‘ais krim potong’ (tube popsicle) for RM 8 ++ at a hipster mall with absurd parking. Guilty, because I am paying less than a ringgit for an equally tasty Wall’s Solero (imitation) here.

Of course, one can argue that many top malls charge RM15K or more for monthly rental of a cart or kiosk. For this mobile ice cream man, his overheads are petrol, dry ice and sweat. Speaking of petrol, I spent less on petrol getting here than for parking at some malls in the city.

Sucking a popsicle, hearing the breeze flapping the leaves of a banana tree. That’s life.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, 4.5, 1/800 sec.

Bougainvilleas And Dragons

Ulu Yam Bharu and surroundings may have a turbulent past but today it is a sleepy hollow. Not much activities except for people stopping over for food on transit to Genting Highlands. You may want to explore the town and village on foot to pick out hidden gems with your camera.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f9, 1/800 sec.