I said goodbye to my dear friend yesterday. She has been good to me, faithful in the wee hours of our morning romps. She climbed mountains with me, sailed oceans with me, flew with me, and slept with me. She gave me perspective, added colors to my life. She lets me see the simplicity of life and, at the same time, the complexity of human emotions.
You will be missed my friend. You have been good to me. And as you find your next faithful assignment shooting wildlife in Africa, remember me sometimes, as I will be remembering you...
Many things happened this week. Firstly, got a pre-owned Manfrotto 190xprob tripod with 488rc2 head. And *drumroll*... I got my hands on a brand new D90! Went out this morning to test drive the new equipment. The D90 is such an improvement over the D40x and I am really satisfied. It has been hard trying to track down a new D90 for sale in Singapore as it has been out of stock for a while and demand remains very strong. I was lucky (and fast). The D40x is already put up for sale and there are 4 people lining up to get it. Wow. Anyway, here are the pics taken at dawn at Marina Barrage with my new baby.
It's been many months since I last used my old Fuji S9500. So I took it out for a spin with me while we were stocking up on spices and dried goods. Here are the shots taken at the Singapore Pasir Panjang Wholesale Center.
I was very charged up after my morning shoot but that excitement was cut short by the sudden fog. I just had to go shoot again, and headed for Marina Barrage to shoot the sunset over downtown Singapore. The sunset turned out to be extremely beautiful, one of the nicest sunsets I've seen in a long time.
#1 - Beautiful sunset over the city. Taken with ND8+GND4 filters.
#2 - Marina square and the Singapore Flyer. Taken with ND4 filter.
It is the weekend again and time to test out my new Cokin P filter system. Woke up early and headed for Upper Pierce Reservoir with a good friend to catch the sunrise. It was a nice cool sunrise and there were no other photographers there but us. The fog did move in causing some condensation issues, but overall, it was fun and fruitful.
#1 - No filters. The green stuff in the water is actually green algae.
#2 - With Cokin P series GND 4. Exposure dodge and burn done in LR to bring out foreground more.
#3 - With Cokin P series GND 4 and ND8.
#4 - With Cokin P series GND 4 and ND8. Fog moved in quick as the sunrise approaches creating a giant diffuser in the sky. Converted the picture to B&W.
Huangshan (黄山) aka "Yellow Mountain" has always been top on my list of places to visit for a while. The interest was sparked by several of my friends who have been there over the years. Seeing their pictures, I told myself that I have to visit that mountain soon but never got around to doing it. Six years later, I finally did it. We went on a short 2 day trip to Huangshan from Shanghai and, although painful, it was worth it.
Getting to Huangshan was relatively fast and easy. There is a direct long distance bus fromShanghai South Bus Station to Tangkou, Anhui (安徽省汤口镇), right at the foot of the Huangshan national park (¥140/person each way). The journey takes around 5.5 hours including the restroom stops along the way. To get to the Huangshan cable car stations from Tangkou, there is choice of public bus (¥13/person) or a cab/private car (¥60/car). The admission tickets to Huangshan Scenic Area costs ¥230/person and the cable car rides are priced at ¥80/person each ride. There are no vehicular roads up Huangshan. So all supplies and building materials are hand carried up the entire range of mountains. Even the trash are steamed, compressed and hand carried down the mountain. I really take my hat off to the porters, as their hike is over an elevation of 1700m up the mountain on foot , usually carrying 30-50kgs load. And on top of that, by regulation, porters with loads are not allowed on the cable cars.
There are two recommended cable car stations at the foot of Huangshan. Cloud Valley (Yungu) New Telpher (新云谷索道) scales the Back mountain while the other, Jade Screen (Yuping) Telpher (玉屏索道), scales the Front mountain. You can see an english version of the schematic map to Huangshan here. We went up the back mountain and came down the front mountain. Here is another useful billingual map of Huangshan.
#1 - Cable car ride up Cloud Valley (Yungu) New Telpher.
#2 - Amazing vista point called Small Dreamscape (小梦幻) vista point situated at the top of Guanyin Peak (观音峰). The mountain peak seen here is White Swan Peak (白鹅峰).
#3 -Awesome views on the way to Begin-to-Believe Peak (始信峰).
#4 - Stalagmite Peak (石笋峰).
#5 - Breathtaking views on Huangshan.
#6 - Black Tiger Pine (黑虎松).
#7 - Pine on a brush (梦笔生花).
#8 - Locks for the heart. There is a practice for lovers to get their names engraved on locks and lock them to railings on Huangshan. This is supposed to ensure a long and lasting relationship.
#9 - This is a very grand view of the West Sea Grand Canyon (西海大峡谷) at the Paiyun Pavillion (排云亭) vista point.
#10 - A closeup of the beautiful pine trees on the rocks in West Sea Grand Canyon.
#11 - Flying-over Rock (飞来石) is an amazing looking piece of rock that seems to defy gravity. It is known to be a must-see venue on Huangshan and is one of the top tourist stops. Here it is seen at dusk.
#12 - Sunset on Huangshan.
#13 - View of Lotus Peak (莲花峰) from Turtle Peak (鳌鱼峰). Lotus peak has the highest elevation in Huangshan (1864m) and is accessible by foot. However, it was closed for conservation when we were there. The stone railings seen here were just built last year after numerous accidents over the years.
#14 - Leaving Turtle Peak (鳌鱼峰) and going downhill. Looking out at the majestic mountain range.
#15 - View of Turtle Peak (鳌鱼峰) from below. And view of the hordes of tourists flooding the mountain. Most of the are going in the reverse direction from us.
#16 - A look at the famous and dangerous Celestial Peak (天都峰). Third highest peak in Huangshan, it stands at elevation of 1810m and is accessible by foot. The climb to the peak, however, is quite challenging and dangerous. Not for the faint hearted. We decided to skip this peak due to time constraints and the fact that we were already very tired. To see what the top of Celestial Peak (天都峰) look like you can check out this link here.
#17 - Last look of Huangshan on the way down. Taken at the Yuping cable car station.
#18 - View out of the backpacker's inn we stayed in at the foot of Huangshan at Tangkou.