Wilfrid The Paparazzi, At Volcano “Kawah Putih” (Bandung South)

Such mist!

There are many reasons to process the photos not long after the trip.  First, viewers are sharp.  They may ask why this set of photos is not as good as the previous set.  Second, some people may look thinner or … erm … quite the opposite then than now.  Especially after one long year.  Third, it is always good to get the photo processing work out of the way, as soon as possible.

December 2008, we have visited Bandung.  And I have published four sets of photos.  This particular set of photos captured at the crater “Kawah Putih” is without a doubt my favorite collection.  Looking back, I wish my technique was better.  And the weather was really bad as well.  Nevertheless, I have attempted to put together an album with some … very offbeat captions!

  • Click here to view the entire album (53 photos)

Below is an extract of the album and oh, we shall be in Bandung by the time you read this!

This Is The End Of The Spain Holiday Series

At San Salvador

I wish I could save the best for the last.  But my favorite photo album is still the journal of the previous day.  Followed by the “Jelly Fish” post that some of my friends refer to.

The writing of this set of journal have been one helluva journey.  A total of more then 22,000 words not counting the associated blog entries and close to 600 photographs.  And this blog entry is dedicated to the regular readers of this series (and my website).  Without your support, I reckon I would gave up halfway.  So, thank you.

To read more about our last day of our trip in Mallorca …

To read the rest of the travel blog entries, please follow this tag.

GCA 2009 – “Hacking” Our Way Into Games Convention Asia, Lol

OK, they got my name wrong ... lol ... sort of.

I didn’t wake up on a Thursday morning thinking that I would attend an exhibition.  “GCA” sounded familiar.  As though I have been to such an event before.  I did some checking on my website and guess what?  One year ago, on this day, I was wearing the media pass for this event, invited by Nokia!  It’s been a year already?  And neither did I wake up on a Thursday morning thinking that I would wear a professional visitor pass, acting as my good friend’s assistance for a day.

This morning, a text message arrived at my phone.  My friend wanted to meet up at SunTech for a meal before heading to an exhibition.  Fine by me.  “What are we going to do at an exhibition?” I texted.  “I will tell you later,” she texted back.

As I made my way to the convention center, there she was, looking absolutely stunning , and professional too.  Fashionable long dress and jacket, with a Prada handbag to match.  Her job title is “Head of Regional Sales”.  Not long ago, we were peers, same company, same team.  I really ought to catch up on my career progression.  And I am happy for her.  Sales type of work suits her better than my 9 to 5.

It seemed like her first time here in this kind of exhibition.  Feeling excited and all.  It was definitely my first time in this kind of exhibition, without a media pass.  I too felt excited because … oh well, computer gaming is in my blood.  GCA is primary for the business partners to meet.  Nokia doesn’t seem to participate this year.  I wonder why.

With confidence, my friend headed to the registration counter to get the professional visitor pass.  I doubt if anyone would say no to my very pleasant looking friend, together with her equally pleasant name card.  I played along when it came to my turn and said with a smile, “She is my boss and I am her assistant, today!”  The young chap seemed amused and he didn’t say no to me neither.  Hooray!  I played a good assistance, helped my ‘boss’ to sign in, and …

… Oops.  I bumped onto a few journalist friends from the media.  One of them asked, “What are you doing here?”  And I said, “I am with my boss, on a mission!”  “But you are usually the main guy!  Where is your camera?” he asked.  “Not today!  Ha ha ha, I will see you around,” I waved goodbye.  My media friends seem to remember me by my camera.  How strange!

Upon receiving our passes, my friend suddenly turned professional, looked at me and said, “Since you are my assistant today, tell me what’s our game plan?”  Hmmm.  I put on my consultant hat, pulled out the program guide and said, “If I guess your intend right, we should check out the business exhibitors first and gather some contacts.  After which, we could head over to the consumer side as it is usually more fun.  As for the conferences, we can think of that later.”

Of all the business exhibitors, I enjoyed chatting with the folks from Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab.  It is a collaboration between MIT and Singapore.  I asked if it is the MIT and the students said yes.  Amazing.  One Western lady is currently studying computing and mathematics in MIT.  We had a friendly chat.  And I had also chatted with some of the Asian students in order for me to understand what it takes to build an Indie computer game prototype.  It is often a 10 weeks or so project with up to 10 team members taking on the roles of producer, game designer, graphic designer, and etc.  The passion these students has was infectious.  I could feel it immediately.  If you have time, check out GAMBIT’s official site.  Before I left the booth, I asked one last question, “Have you considered joining Blizzard?”  For those who are new to the gaming industry, I think Blizzard at present is the place to be at.  “Funny you asked that,” he continued, “as I have considered working with Blizzard before.  But I prefer to work in an Indie environment instead.”  Good answer.  And I wish them all the best in their studies.

Moving on to the consumer side, it did have the bells and whistles, big monitors and girls in sexy outfits to make people go wow.  OK, my friend was as excited as me, for slightly different reason.  Taking the center stage was none other than the Xbox 360 game “Forza Motorsports 3″.  If only those were Formula One cars, that would have been perfect – for me.  There was a costume shop that showcased a life size Thrall (a famous dude from the online game World of Warcraft who gets murdered globally perhaps a hundred times a day) and Ironman.  The Counter Strike costume worn by a group of real life male models was just so hilarious.

After we have covered both the business and consumer sides, the only agenda item left for us – or rather her – to visit is the conference.  Since we are not from the media, we have to pay S$700+ per person.  Uh huh.  OK, somewhere somehow, we have got to …

… my friend pressed on insisting that her company is sort of like a media company.  Hmmm, really?!  I guess we could see it that way.  The young chap got a bit lost, politely asking us to wait while he was going to get his boss.  Uh oh.  I swear I was about to pull my “new media” trick telling them I am running a rather, ahem, popular website in Singapore if we got ourselves into an embarrassing situation.

No need for that because his boss was not around.  We left the convention center, went our separate ways.  One hour later, I received a phone call.

“Guess what?!  They have called and issued us a media pass!  Do you wanna …”

She got the media pass?  Again, who can say no to her?

PS. Below are some of the processed photos I have taken during my adventure.  I didn’t bring my Nikon D700 with me and have used my Nokia N97 instead.

So Many Boats, In The Beautiful Island of Mallorca (Majorca)

Cynthia and I in Mallorca

If you are one of the handful of readers who follow this Sunday series, you probably wonder, where am I in the photos?  I am often not that keen to go in front of the camera.  Happy to stay behind the viewfinder instead.  And all of a sudden, in day 11, I put my tripod into action.  A bit late I know.  But better then never, eh?

Interestingly, out of this handful of readers who often drop a comment or two at my site (thank you!), one is traveling from Singapore to Hong Kong for holiday, with his wife.  And another one is traveling from Hong Kong to Singapore for holiday, also with his wife.  Well, bros, take some good photos and have a good family outing.  I look forward to seeing your photo albums!

Mallorca, or Majorca in English, is a beautiful island.  The beach, the boats, the blue sky, the lake, and the mountains.  It is a perfect destination for the cyclists too.  No wonder Mallorca is such a popular vocation destination for the Europeans.  To read more about our road trip in Mallorca.

To read the rest of the travel blog entries, please follow this tag.

Traveling To The Beach Resort Island, A Prelude to Mallorca

A view near the hotel Mar Azul

The color of this photo is taken straight from my camera, a faithful reproduction of the beautiful sea view that we saw.  I have been contemplating if I shall combine the day 10 and 11 entries into one as I didn’t manage to take many photos that day, for circumstances that you will read later.  But since day 11 and 12 – the last 2 entries of the series – are pretty heavy with some real good contents (I promise), I shall leave day 10 entry as it is – like a prelude.  A bit light on the photo album (sorry!).  The journal, nevertheless, is as meaty as ever (kekeke).

As such, below are the options you may wish to read more about our first day in Mallorca.

To read the rest of the travel blog entries, please follow this tag.

Madrid, It’s Madrid!

Cynthia on the top of a Cathedral in Madrid

Recently, I met up with one reader of my website, for a movie by an actress we both adore.  And he brought along with him a photo album of his recent overseas trip, shot using the camera that I recommended.  He had some questions in mind but I am far from being a pro.  Nevertheless, I was happy to share my experience with him.

I enjoy seeing a photo album of family and friends.  That is what I love to do; and that is what I love to see.  Specifically, I enjoy seeing the connection between the subjects and the photographer.  Personally, I find it hard to photograph subjects that I cannot relate.  Back to my new friend, we had such a good time.  He is a bright young man with great drive.  Certainly someone with a promising future.

Time flies.  Since when it doesn’t?  Some friends of mine start to ask, “How many more days to go?”.  Each Sunday, I publish a mini article on one day of my recent holiday trip to Spain.  Each article takes me any time between 8 hours to 16 hours to complete.  It must be quite an effort to follow this mini series of mine, as much as the effort I pour into each article.  The answer is: three more days to go.  And I am looking forward to the 26th of September, whereby I will take a break from the 12 weekends of non-stop publication of this travel blog.

Day 9, we toured Madrid.  You know how some days you pick up your camera and feel that every shot you make is just great.  Some days, you keep trying for different settings and still not quite getting it.  Day 9 turns out to be quite a challenging day for me.  Maybe the sun was too strong.  Maybe I was messing around with the flash setting trying to do something different.  I thank Cynthia for being so patience, standing under the sun for those multiple shots of the same pose, same scene.  Till her nose bled.

As always, below are the options you may wish to read more about our trip.

To read the rest of the travel blog entries, please follow this tag.

A Museum Crawling Day In The City Of Madrid

Inside the Queen Sofia Museum

Throughout this series thus far, you have seen pictures of the Churches and the monuments, of the road trips, and even those of the bizarre creatures and the futuristic buildings from Valencia.  On the 8th days, we dedicated the entire Sunday touring museums in Madrid.

Cynthia and I love to spend time inside a museum.  I reckon if we spend enough time inside museums, we could sharpen our sense of art appreciation.  I am not sure how museums are run in Singapore (perhaps we shall explore).  In Spain, Audio Guide rental services are provided.  We think Audio Guide is a wonderful innovation.  It is a headset that comes with a keypad.  At a given location, observe the numeric label besides the artwork, punch in the numbers, and listen to the commentary playback through the headset in the language of your choice.  We have learned how to appreciate cubism and realism.  And we have also learned what questions to ask when admiring art models in 3D.

As always, below are the options you may wish to read more about our trip.

To read the rest of the travel blog entries, please follow this tag.

On The 7th Day, We Toured The Toledo

Cynthia, and the Street of Madrid

I would never forget the exhilarating experience of driving in the narrow sloppy streets of Toledo with a left-hand manual car.  Some of which I could not quite figure out the one-way road direction.  Another time, we drove into a dead end only to reverse all the way out to the road junction as the street was way too narrow to U-turn.  Overall, it was an interesting experience.  We just have to do it the hard way.

On the seventh day, we toured the Toledo.  And on the seventh day, we drove into the heart of Spain, Madrid.  Below are the options you may wish to read more about our road trip.

To read the rest of the travel blog entries, please follow this tag.

Jellyfish Is Called Medusa In Spanish, Out Of Valencia And Into Toledo

Inside a Marine Center in Valencia

This post is dedicated to the loyal followers of this Spain holiday series and to those few of you who constantly ask me if the photos are coming out any time soon and drop some comments here.  It is your anticipation that keeps me going.  Thank you.  At the end of this series, we may have a 15,000 words journal completed with 600 photos.  All because of you!

Day 6, we have approached the midway point of our journal.  Of all the episodes, I look forward to the photo album of this one the most.  It is because the subjects are so different from the rest of what we have.  The structures in the “City of Art and Science” are so futuristic, so unexpected of.  I wish I had more time to tour this part of Valencia.

As usual, below are the options you may wish to read more about our road trip.

  • A photo collection for day 6 of our trip to Spain (39 photos with captions)
  • A journal written in details on what we did and more (approx 1,800 words)
  • A highlight of the photos below (8 photos – and for Facebook readers, please view the original post)

To read the rest of the travel blog entries, please follow this tag.

Taking The Driver Seat For Our Valencia City Tour

Jesus on a Cross, inside the Cathedral of Valencia

I wonder if by now you may think that I am converting my personal website into some kind travel blog site.  Well, I am not.  Just a phase I am in.  I am still a raro (weirdo in English) and those out-of-the-world posts will return, I promise.  In fact, this weekend, I have been very much distracted by my songwriting activity.  I planned to squeeze in some time to do some home recording before Cynthia & Co. return from Hong Kong.  That didn’t happen.  I need a longer weekend.  A much longer weekend.

As you may have read my travel  journal, insofar I had been taking a back seat on this holiday to Spain in June.  Men are hopelessly lazy in nature.  That’s why we need our significant halves.  On day 5, my action oriented nature kicked in.  And so I took a more proactive approach to decide where we should go.  Taking the driver seat so as to speak – both figuratively and literally.

Speaking of driver seat, when I was in Valencia, I thought driving inside the city was crazy.  And in our next destination, it went even crazier.  But I am ahead of time here.  As usual, below are the options you may wish to read more about our road trip.

  • A photo collection for day 5 of our trip to Spain (63 photos with captions)
  • A journal written in details on what we did and more (approx 2,000 words)
  • A highlight of the photos below (10 photos – and for Facebook readers, please view the original post)

To read the rest of the travel blog entries, please follow this tag.