Friday, July 02, 2010

Back in Malaysia

Well, I'm back from the United States!

I was there for five weeks, on exchange under the State Department-funded Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) for Student Leaders on Global Environmental Issues.

We were based at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawai'i for four weeks, during which we made a week-long excursion to the Big Island of Hawai'i. The final week of the programme was spent in Washington, D.C.

SUSI '10, and the 52 rolls of film pending processing.

(All in all I shot some 58 rolls of film, six of which were developed in Honolulu.)

Some good news that arrived by mail while I was away. Thus ends three years in arguably the best possible way.

(I already knew, but it's really something to see it in print!)

* * *

Sneak preview of life in Hawai'i:

The bus service in Honolulu goes by the self-explanatory name, 'The Bus'.

(Nikon P5000)

Hiking up Diamond Head Crater in Honolulu.

The most recognisable landmark on the island of O'ahu, it's a dead volcano near Waikiki Beach. It was so named because minerals in its surface appeared to sailors out at sea like diamonds.

(Kodak Tri-X 400)

Ka'upulehu dryland forest on the Big Island.

The vast beige patch is uprooted African Fountain Grass, Pennisetum cetaceum, a highly invasive species.

(Kodak Ektar 100)

A Naupaka hedge leads the way to the sea, near the Pu'ukohola Heiau National Park on the Big Island.

I didn't actually notice that the green 'leads' to the sea, till Yen pointed it out to me.

(Fujichrome Velvia 50)

Green Turtle, Chelonia mydas, at a coral reef off the Mauna Kea Beach Resort.

(Fuji X-tra 800)

Halema'uma'u Crater at sunrise, Volcanoes National Park.

This crater is one of the most active in Hawai'i, and in the world, spewing tonnes of hot sulphur dioxide gas daily.

(Fujichrome Astia 100)

O'hia lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) sapling, Kilaue'a Iki Crater, Volcanoes National Park.

Volcanic ash is very fertile.

(Kodak Portra 160 VC)

* * *

Besides carrying home quite a number of books and a handful of souvenirs, I also acquired some photographic gear at fantastic second-hand and consignment prices, and some film.

This is what my fleet looks like now.

The amazing thing is that ALL my film gear (three cameras, five lenses and a few filters) costs about the same as what many people pay for DSLRs these days.

* * *

On another note, my portfolio is ready and actually has been up and running since before I left for Hawai'i.

On at least three occasions in America, I had people ask if I were a professional photographer.

I have never quite figured out how to answer the question. I mean, I don't take photographs for a living; however, saying 'no' may give the impression that I don't take photography seriously, while in fact I do.

After discussing with my parents, I think I'll go with their suggestion: 'professional freelancer'. Or, would 'professional amateur' make any sense? After all, the word 'amateur' originally meant 'lover'.


this girl said...

Welcome home!

A refreshing post, somehow...:)

"A Naupaka hedge leads the way to the sea" eh... ;P

Valerie said...

welcome back and congratulations on your first class honours ^^

jhmh said...

congrats ben!

Suzanne said...

congrats for the first class. and WOW, that's one huge fleet!

Belle said...

ah i see you have the poloroid camera too.. cheaper over there??

SimianD said...

Belle: The polaroid (well, technically Fuji Instax; 'Polaroid' is a registered trademark of its own) was cheaper in Japan than it is here.

I got it mainly as a novelty from Japan, figuring that a camera (and a Fuji camera at that) would be a fitting representative souvenir from Japan.

Had loads of fun with it in Hawai'i.