July 20, 2009 05:08 by Adrian

Hey everyone!

       After a long busy week processing a heap of photos for a few projects from last week, we @ Ardent decided to just chill out and doing that in style by spending Sat night at Sky Bar @ Traders Hotel KL.   

      For a period from 15th to 18th July and 23rd to 25th July, Ben Ng who started out bartending at the age of 17, mixing it from his hometown's Farquhar Bar in the Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang to West London's chic Baroque. Today he's a highly sought after as a consultant and trainer in the art of mixology. With a breadth of experience spanning Moscow, Beijing, Singapore, Jakarta and Bali, Ben is now bringing his edgy cocktails to SkyBar.. That's what its written on the LCD screen, of course this down sampled version is going to be too small to read but I've cropped it so that it'll be enlarged in the below version. 

 

So, feel free to drop by and check his lovely cocktails out.. seriously if you get to see him behind the bar, he's like a road runner, mixing up all his cocktails in sheer percision and passion.. every single detail of the drink from the taste down to the outlook as in what to decorate it and what glass it best be presented.. all of these small little details that escape the regular customers but for this dude? its all about getting the cocktails right and of course at blazing light speed.. 

The next few series of images are taken in Black and White.. it only works well in certain arrangements such as to highlight big clear texts and when the subject is of large enough to draw the viewer..  

SkyBar made a really cool menu just for his event..  

Ok the drinks is a bit hard to read but basically he fused local fruits in his cocktails in this round of selections such as Mangosteen Mist, Rambutan Runner and Mango & Rambutan Daiquiri among others.. 

Got to say, its all lovely! damn this fool is going to make Ardent bankrupt in no time.. 

Below are the pictures of MOET.. shot using our new baby AF-S 14-24mm Nikkor lens..  

The idea is to just get the wordings in sharp focus with the rest slowly blurred away.. 

And back to color.. below is a shot taken at 200mm using the popular AF-S 18-200 Nikkor..  The idea is to see the wordings but yet get the sweat and the ice surrounding it.. 

Ah.. back to the delicious cocktails..  the Rambutan and Mango Daiquiri ... yummlicious!

This one.. erm.. terlupa.. but taste amazing as well..  

Ah.. and the maestro himself.. Ben Ng.. taking this dude's picture is an artform in itself..  as he doesn't stop moving, one needs to predict his 'tempo' and snap during his slower movements.. but I've a feeling he's purposely puting things in front of him whenever my camera is raised ready to snap.. time to go for long range zoom.. paparazi style!

I wanted a picture of Ben overlooking the KL Tower in the background.. its seriously an amazing bar to both work and just hang and chill.. 

Ben.. all serious in preparing the drinks..  no playing with this dude when it comes to work..   

And more so when it comes to my drinks.. hehehe.. as I'll be photographing it after he's done with it.. 

And the final shot of the length of the busy bar..  

So that's about it for our Saturday night out with Ben Ng supplying the intoxicating and yummilicious cocktails..  So do drop by to SkyBar on 23rd to 25th July and sample the unique and lovely cocktails by Ben.. try the Mango and Rambutan.. I wonder if he'll start using Durian soon.. Cool more later!

Cheers,

Adrian Y.  


July 9, 2009 05:10 by Adrian

Hey guys and gals!

              This will be the final part of our multi-part article on our trip to Phuket.. Hope the articles are informative and the pictures captivated you as we bring you along 'virtually' to Phuket..  

             There are many many attractions in Phuket, such as temples and the amazing night life such as the famous Tiger Show.. We did sample the night life at Bang La Road.. cocktails go for about RM15-RM20 with gals dancing on counter tops.. and was introduced a bar game that uses a wooden box and 2 dices something like the Shut The Box picture below.. 

  

For those who haven't played, its quite simple and helps pass the time.. basically you just roll the dices and flip over the number that you choose from either

  • The lowest single dice number
  • Sum of both dices

If both options above has already been flip, then its game over.. so the objective is to keep on rolling until you get all 12 numbers flipped.. sounds easy right? but nobody got up to 9 that night.. closest was 8 in a row .. 

Getting back to the night life scene, there are plenty of bars at Bang La Road.. with one of the most talked about attraction is the ever so famous Tiger Show, probably only second to the other famous show the Ah Qua or Transvestite show.. didn't get to watch either tho.. maybe next time.. Cool 

       In Malaysia, some of our roadside snacks are things such as Goreng Pisang (Banana fritters) or Goreng Keledek (Fried sweet potato) .. but here, we found this, Banana Pancake.. that you can choose from an assortment of different add-on ingredients.. I've tried the Nutella and as well as Honey .. not bad actually.. if you find one, do stop and give it a go.. Smile 

After checking out from the hotel, we made a stop at the famous Pon Tip sea shop which is actually along the road from Patong towards the Phuket International Airport..  

Yeah... you get a large ass fish sawadikuping you when you enter.. this place sells a helluva variety of dried foods from nuts to dried sotong (squid) to dried meat floss and even fresh honey.. Lets take cashew nuts for an example, you can get the typical roasted variety, but you can get those anywhere.. so I end up getting the wasabi flavored cashew nuts.. whao.. its really wasabi flavored plus the kick.. Cool 

With typical Thailand style of customer service, every one of the different food types comes with a sample in a small plastic container.. so feel free to sample and decide...

Anyway, you buy 10 packets, you can get 1 item free which is their fried anchovies and also entitles you to a lucky draw.. which in my case got me another packet of.... fried anchovies.. oh well..

So all in all, I bought like 12 packets in a large big plastic bag.. which I then realized, damn.. How in hell am I going to stuff all this into the luggage? seriously there was no way to hand carry or stuff it anywhere..

Of course, the friendly staff at Pon Tip already had the answer.. 'Sir you want me to box it for you?' I'm like.. box? what do I need a box? until I realized their box is a shipping ready packaging.. they even have their own special Pon Tip box that you can write your name and other information on a pre-printed area on the box..  

I initially thought.. not bad.. they taped it and I thought it ended there.. but no.. they even put 2 plastic belts over the box (picture below) for added measure.. and best of all.. its all free of charge..   

That's the wonder of my trip.. as a tourist, I felt so taken care of.. mostly due to the pro-active measures to help resolve typical touristy problems such as the pon tip packaging issue above.. 

So off we left Pon Tip and made our way across the road to newly opened shopping area.. its mostly branded items with discounts but then again I could have gotten this back in Malaysia.. the only difference is that any VAT I pay here I can reclaim it back at the airport..  

Couldn't resist taking the above shot.. when taking a silhoutte type image, if its not something easily recognizable, its best to have the foreground slightly lit (not too brightly as it will look fake as the sun is backlighting the foreground) .. meter the foreground and place it about 2-3 stops down.. the above image wasn't photoshop and that lens flare is genuine... this crazy lens, even with the sun shining directly at it only created that tiny lens flare.. 

Lens flare is ok when you take pictures like the above as its a natural thing, what you don't want is lens flare without seeing the light source.. that would look just wierd.. and of course keeping the lens flare to minimal will prevent distracting the viewer while giving it a natural look..

So in the end, like all journeys, everything comes to an end.. leaving Phuket was really difficult, not only for the beautiful beaches but for the warmth of the people there.. their hospitality is just something that we on this side of the border got to dig deep to learn and improve.. 

We touched down at LCCT at about midnight..  and was greeted with a walk on the tarmac spanning the length of the entire LCCT terminal! only to exit and to walk back the entire of the LCCT terminal towards the bus station.. in all seriousness, we literally walked around the LCCT terminal.. only to be informed that the we have to wait for an hour for the busses which was originally stated to leave every 30 minutes.. their excuse? all of a sudden too good a business until 2 of their reserve busses got used as well..  One would expect that the Air Asia bus operators should know the number of flights arriving at a certain time and do a better job at planning..  rather than making tourists wait for 1 hour in the middle of the night!

To add further insult, when the bus finally did come, everyone pushed their way into the bus..  some tourists had to be booted out of the bus as it was full..

sigh... 

'Welcome to Malaysia'   

Cheers,

Adrian Y. 


July 4, 2009 03:31 by Adrian

Hey everyone!

        Ok now, this entry is specifically for some of the close up flower shots and some of which was converted to 1024x768 resolution, suitable for wallpapers. If you require any of the pictures at a different resolution fitting your screen size, just drop me an email here  

        The flower pictures are taken at the Holiday Inn Phuket hotel located @ Patong Beach.. there are tiny fishes in the man made pool.. those tiny red lines in the water are the fishes.. 

         Anyways, enjoy..  

To download the above picture as a wallpaper 1024x768, click Here (183.84 kb)

The below shot is a close up of the shot above.. the crazy details that can be retained by the AF-S Nikkor 14-24 F/2.8G ED lens is simply amazing.. I could zoom in further to the bee and have its shape in sharp lines and not blury ones..  the color and contrasts is also accurate and lovely enough to capture nature's beauty.. 

To download the above picture as a wallpaper 1024x768, click Here (198.08 kb) 

To download the above picture as a wallpaper 1024x768, click Here (172.74 kb) 

And below is the wallpaper of the scenery taken on our Phi Phi Island tour in our Trip To Phuket - Part 4 article. 

 
To download the above picture as a wallpaper 1024x768, click Here (167.41 kb)

One more article and that's it folks.. stay tuned..

Cheers,

Adrian Y. 



July 1, 2009 11:56 by Adrian

Hey everyone!

          Hope everyone's all well and good..  this entry will be a collection of shots taken at Patong beach.. below is a dreamy picture of a really long row of beach chairs stretching to quite a distance towards the other end of the beach..  the dreamy effect isn't created by photoshop but rather something more natural.. 

The early morning view of the beach.. the image is aimed to show distance and depth flowing towards the mountain.. a sand trail would be perfect leading towards the mountain but since this is a holiday shot, and to the other fact that we didn't have the beach to ourselves to 'set up' the perfect shot, this is as close as we could get.. 

The water is just so great, it doesn't smell like what we get in Port Dickson and its just clean.. the waves rushing water over our feet in nature's own rythm along with the spectacular skyline, I decided to take a shot of just that.. 

The below shot was taken with a slow shutter speed at 1/13 sec to give the impression of water flowing.. the upper corner was purposely left blank or in this case the view of the sand as this will create the feel of water rushing upwards towards the beach..

Sometimes as a photographer, I wonder when will I start being just a tourist and just take shots as it is rather than worry about all these tiny details like what goes into every other of Ardent's images..  

These few shots below are during sunset at Patong beach.. the sky was less than ideal as most of the sunlight are obsecured by clouds.. normally what I look for is for that golden 5 minutes but even at that 5 minutes, the shape of the sunset isn't perfect.. far from it.. but what to do? as photographers we are also bound by nature.. and also bounded by $ (can't spend like a month every day taking sunsets until getting the perfect one, tho would sound fun) 

So the above two shots are typical tourist type shot.. but what I wanted was to show the power of the sea amid the backdrop of a beautiful sunset.. kinda like how nature can be so beautiful and destructive as proven in the 2004 tsunami..  

The below shot was taken with the waves going towards the beach.. what I wanted is to show the tranquility of the empty beach against the moving flow of the waves.. to achieve the desired shot, the below shot was taken with 1/3sec at 14mm exposure hand held.. as a trained photographer, 1/3sec even at 200mm zoom is possible but standing on the unstable sand and just coming off the boat trip from Phi Phi island which made me continuously sway even on solid ground made things very tricky indeed..

But again its all about timing and knowing how to get control of your body.. wasn't easy but there it is..  an image of a moving wave crashing towards the tranquil beach.. 

Now coming back to that initial imagery of a wave rushing to shore against the beauty of the sunset sky..  with again 1/3 sec exposure, and timed to perfection, the below shot is created...  this in within the 5 golden minutes just before sunset.. the serenity of the skyline is offset by the rushing power of the incoming wave...

Now with that above shot safely tucked in, some creativity is added in to further add depth and enhance the wave motion further. 

And the final shot, which is meant to capture the final landscape sunset before the final golden minutes are up..  

To conclude, the images are meant to create depth and mixing power of movement against the calm serene and beautiful skyline.. the above pictures aren't blured with photoshop just some minor enhancements in contrasts as my camera is set to 'Standard' and not 'Vivid' so as to allow me to control the contrast later.

I hope that you all enjoy the above pictures and understood the creativity and art direction that I was aiming to create... 

Cheers,

Adrian Y.