Sunday, March 30, 2008

Room for us in Ipoh

Ipoh was amazing. And I'm blogging about it nearly two months late. A group of us PKVians invaded Ipoh from the 3rd to 5th of February, during the Chinese New Year hols. And I was on a train again: it's been over two years since the trip to Alor Star.

I learnt a lot from the trip, but I think it's best to let Kee Aun and Adele tell those stories. ;-)

The following are some of my favourite pictures from the trip; favourite because they break new ground. And this year I think that's what I want to do. I'm no longer content with pictures that look good just because they are polished or balanced in exposure or have great subject matter; I want to go where I have never gone before, and I want to go where no one else has ever gone before.

(Note: there are some great pictures which did not make it into the following because of subject matter deemed private-and-confidential. Those of you who were there will know, heheh...)

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The corridors of Kellie's Castle facing the courtyard. I liked the way the late-morning light streamed in through the window arches. I always think of this as a potential album cover shot.


The reading room in Kellie's Castle. It took us awhile to get this shot, as a bit of vandalism was required to get rid of a certain unsightly artefact of recent origin.


Great photos aren't possible without a great team. From left, the Gua Tempurung crew: Ben the cameraman, Kee Aun the other half, Swee Meng the reflector-bearer, Mun Siong the flashgirl and Rachel the torchbearer.


More light writing, in the mould of d'NA (but with a handphone flash instead)! Kee Aun did such an excellent job with 'PKV' that we only needed one take. Shot on the way back from the end of the trail.


Yet another long-exposure success. Mirror held open for thirty seconds while I sprayed light on each of them, one by one. (If you look closely, I'm the ghostly spectre in the middle.)


What's a trip to Ipoh without breakfast at a local kopitiam? Toast, half-boiled eggs and above all... Ipoh white coffee! Really, if you haven't tasted Ipoh white coffee, you haven't tasted coffee. (This claim is, however, opposed by some of our Ipoh friends.)


I liked the light and reflective floor of the Ipoh Railway Station, so I experimented with overexposure to produce a very bright studio-like image.

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And now, the best of the best:


I had the camera positioned for a vertical shot to capture the ceiling and floor of this chamber in Gua Tempurung, with Mun Siong silhouetted against the outdoor light to act as counterpoint to the size of the chamber. The cave was lit using a technique employed by the great National Geographic photographer Ira Block: painting the walls with light from my flash unit.


It happens that on the morning of the third day, when we were in Old Town for the kopitiam breakfast, Jen Hann parked his Datsun in front of this dilapidated building. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect shot to depict 'Ipoh Old Town'.


This is my favourite photograph from the trip. There was no technical wizardry involved; only a group of friends willing enough to accommodate a meticulous and demanding photographer. And I think that's what makes a photograph great and memorable: the way it conveys the spirit of a place or event.

"In my Father's house are many rooms," said Jesus Christ.

If there's any picture that sums up what the trip meant to me, this is it. Go ask Adele why.

1 comment:

Jon Chu said...

Ah, Ben! The picture you mentioned that is potential to be an album cover is really good. :) And the overexposure one with Adele and Mun Siong and whoever-that-is-in-the-background is good!

HAHA. :)

If we are going to record songs from Entangled, the Musical, we would definitely need your expertise in photography! :)