Friday, January 08, 2010

Project Pangkor Island: Part 2


…. And the pangkor adventure continues on.

After we had a light lunch, settled into our chalets, freshened up a little since we were up and running with any sleep all the way from the previous night (we drove over the night), we jammed ourselves into a rented Rusa and toured around the lovely Pangkor Island. Yes, we are doing our very best as Malaysians, and supporting our local tourism industry.

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The Dutch Fort

The entire island itself was hilly in nature, hence getting around with bicycle was not quite a feasible option. Thank goodness we rented a van and we managed to cover quite a few grounds over the afternoon. The first stop was at the Dutch Fort, that did not exactly look anything outstanding to me. I acknowledge the historical significance of this artifact, but somehow, I believe the fort was a lot more than what it was displayed today, which seemed nothing more than just bits and pieces of the ruins remaining on the ground.

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Photo Note: I was waiting so patiently for the whole place to be vacated, but the chance never came during my short visit at the fort. I hate people being there in my photo !!
Without an ultra wide angle lens, I seriously do not know how to make interesting compositions out of this place. I did want to do panorama shots, but that would have been too time consuming, and somehow people moving and out of the place did not encourage me to do so too. Oh well, it is not like the fort looks anything super extra ordinary anyway.

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I intended to make some nicer looking photographs at this location, but people flocking in and out of the place all the time just ticks off the opportunity. This was also a place and time when I felt an ultra wide angle lens has not just become a luxury item, it was a necessity instead. The need to fit more areas into the frame can seriously open up a whole new world of perspective. The ugly sky did not help at all, hence all we did in the end was camwhoring.

The Fishing Village

Coming from Kuching, and stayed there for most of my time ever since somehow hindered me away from the world of fishermen. It was my first time witnessing with my own eyes the real, and operating fishing village. We were stopping by a fish snacks factory and warehouse outlet to purchase some souvenirs. As my friends went along their shopping spree, not only I decided to keep my wallet in my pocket, I braved myself to the adjacent pathways leading to the platforms overseeing the fishing village.

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Photo Note: The opening photo, a panorama view was also taken at the fishing village. Since the day was cloudy, I toned down the saturation and boosted the contrast of the photo to enhance the overall mood.

As an engineer, I was deeply intrigued by the structures and the development of the whole area. The residential houses had platforms and something like a warehouse that stores the fishing facilities and docking features to the fishing boats. Most of the structures were wooden built, with minor reinforcements by concrete and occasionally steel. The challenge was obvious, building structures over sea water. The water underneath the platform must not be shallow, because it required a certain depth of water for the boat to float and dock. The view of hundreds of similarly built houses across the village just by the ocean was a photographer’s paradise. I only wish I had more time there to explore even further, and make even more beautiful photographs. Perhaps, documentation of a fisherman’s daily life can be interesting as well, apart from just the views and partial scenes of the place. I was glad to be there, and it was quite an eye opening experience for me, at least to a world I have not been exposed to.

The Temple

We also made a stop at the Chinese Temple resting on the hills of Pangkor. Initially I did not have many expectations, but as we arrived at the temple I was stunned by how huge it was. The temple does not look shabby at all; it seemed very well maintained and generously funded. Thankfully my Malay friends were sporting enough to tour the whole place with an open mind. This is the true spirit of One Malaysia !!

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Photo Note: I tried something rather new in post-processing technique here. It may not work to everyone's liking, but I find it rather appropriate to bring out the miniature feel to the mini-great wall of china. Soft focus filter effect + desaturation + heavy vignetting. Somehow, I tried to replica the tilt-shift outcome to a certain extent, but without overdoing it.

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Another panorama attempt at the peak of the hill, overlooking the temple and the surroundings. Somehow the perspective and composition was not as impactful as I have originally intended it to be. Nonetheless, it does provide a wide coverage from side to side.

The feature that stood out the most from the Temple was the Miniature Replica of the Great Wall of China. At first I thought there was nothing overly dramatic about this mini-wall, in my mind it was rather small, probably encompassing a small garden with beautiful views. However, I could not believe it when I realized that the wall, though small, was actually running along the slopes, all the way up the hill to quite a respectable height. It was way longer than I have anticipated, leading up to a lookout point overlooking the majestic Temple and the adjacent breathtaking scenery. The design of the walls was rather appealing by themselves, encouraging the patrons to walk on further to explore the far lengths. All I could wish was for more time so I could take more photographs, again. Touring the place with friends had its price, you have extremely tight and limited time for photography opportunities. Nonetheless I made the best out of what I can.

Island Macro

On another separate note, there was another unexpected discovery. I found many insects and spiders lying everywhere, out in the open, at the grass, bushes and branches of the walkway around the slopes of the temple. I was regretting the decision of not bringing along my macro lens.

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The spiders and insects were HUGE, and that led me to a probable conclusion that the closer you get to the sea water, the larger the creatures can get. Furthermore, you get to find different species of spiders and creatures on hilly areas, and places adjacent to the seaside. Perhaps, it was not a wrong decision to leave the macro lens at home after all, or else everyone else would have had a hard time dragging me away from the place.

I found a huge spider, possibly almost as large as my palm with its legs fully extended. I did not even need a macro lens to capture this shot, all I needed was to zoom in my 14-42mm Kit lens at its tele-end, and even at F5.6, the depth of field was just nice. There is no way to justify the size of this spider, intimidating putting itself out in the open, but I can assure you it was huge, and judging by its size, you would not want it anywhere near you.

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So yeah, we did our cuti cuti malaysia part, touring the island of Pangkor. Of course there are many more adventures awaiting us on our short visit there, and spending the time on an island, away from KL was a Godsend opportunity for us to breathe.

More on Project Pangkor, coming up soon.

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