Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Perth That Was: Snippets of My Short Holiday

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This post is dedicated to a great friend I knew from Perth who is now in Singapore, Marcus Pang. Don't hate me !! I ate all the good food !

My brief holiday in Perth has come and gone, and I have spent almost a week in the beautiful Western Australian city. I flew there mainly to shoot a Wedding Assignment, and the wedding couple are great friends of mine from the old days In between outdoor portraiture shooting and actual day wedding photography sessions, I did find some time for myself to roam around Perth and reliving some old memories. In this blog entry, I shall post personal photographs (non-assignment) from this trip. 

I did take some time to blog about my adventures when I was in Perth, but to my horror, those images processed from my Android tablet looked horrendous !! The white balance was out of place and the images did not turn out the way I intended at all. Hence I have reprocessed a few of the photographs and included them into this collection of my selected Perth photographs. While I was strolling around Perth and the locations adjacent to it, I made sure I had a camera with me, and I snapped at whatever that caught my attention. I did not exactly do street photography (nor did I intend to in the first place) but when something caught my eye, when the camera was already on standby, it was irresistible and I made some quick street shots. My main focus was documenting the beautiful urban landscape (tall buildings, city skyline, etc) which I did miss terribly. I also had a great time satisfying my taste buds with some of the best Perth food which I have missed too much. Before I ate, I made sure photographs were also taken (much to the annoyance of my friends, but I am sure they would understand). While I was on assignment, in certain locations, I also stole some shots for myself when I could (which was not much). 

This holiday was not meant to be an all out photography session, and it did get me thinking, perhaps I should plan a holiday in Perth which was dedicated purely to just photographing the beautiful scenery, and also do serious street photography shooting. I strongly believe this place is suitable for street photography, and people seem to be responding very positively to my camera so far (though I have not done anything as daring as I have in KL).

The wedding shoot went smoothly without any major hiccups, and this was my second overseas assignment, the first being the Bali Wedding which I did about more than a year ago. Considering that I did spend some time in Perth during my uni days, I was quite familiar with this place (and the people, culture and food), and that helped me in this assignment a lot. Perhaps after the delivery of final photographs to the clients I shall then blog and perhaps talk more about the wedding itself. 

All images were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital lenses 11-22mm F2.8-3.5, 25mm F2.8 pancake, 50mm F2 macro and 50-200mm F2.8-3.5. When I was walking around (non-assignment) I only carried the wide angle and the pancake lens. I had full gear when I was on assignment. 

Perth CBD
This scene probably has been shot millions of times before, so it was not easy to come up with a fresh idea to shoot it. It was close to noon, and I decided to use the strong light from the sky to create silhouette of the buildings, while capturing the textures of the clouds. I know HDR would have saved the sunspot from burning but I liked it that way too.  

Though Perth is one of the smaller cities in Australia, it has plenty of skyscrapers. 

I like how the city was designed to make you feel "at home". There are many, many places where you can just sit and lounge around. Benches, seats, steps and even the green grass can be used !

The new stretch of the riverside (Swan River) that I have not explored before. 

Coming back after 5 years, the city has changed quite a bit. There have been a lot of painting and graffiti going about on the building walls, making the city area looking a little bit more "artistic". 

Black Swan, the main symbol of Perth and Western Australia. They run wild, and may not be too tame with people. 

Forest Chase. Not sure why suddenly there is a huge hole in the middle of the suspended slab, but it works for my shot. 

I feel now Perth has become more alive. The shopping hours have been extended, and there is an interesting city Friday night event (not sure what it was) with food bazaar being set up just in front of the Forest Chase building. 

The old Post Office building came alive on Friday night, with food bazaars. The food there was quite expensive though! They look yummy. Too bad I already had dinner. 

Little Creatures, one of my favourite hang-out places. They brew their own beer, and are famous for their pizzas and seafood. 

I really love the huge warehouse concept with very "romantic" lighting, and this was situated just next to the seaside !!

View of Perth from Mill Point Road at South Perth. A thought hit me while shooting this scene. It was about 9pm, and I remember when I was shooting KL skyline, a lot of the buildings have their lights turned off. However the Perth skyline was all brightly lit. Why was it strange? Perth, or anywhere in Australia, the work culture was known to hit off-hours early, and employees get out of the office at 5-6pm. Yet the lights of the buildings remained on. In contrast to KL where everywhere you work you find workaholics, meaning working till at least 9-10pm, it was a surprise to see the building lights to be turned off too early !!

The blue boathouse. I was waiting for that couple before I get my turn. This has been an overused wedding shoot location. I do not understand why, because that was after all, just a boathouse. 

Generally, animals in Australia are not scared of humans. Something I have not quite worked out yet, why animals in Malaysia are not people friendly. 

Girls in the alley.
Seems friendly enough to shoot !! Should have brought along my 50mm F2 for closer shots. 

Part of the Painting
That girl was sitting so still it appeared as if she was a part of the wall.

View from the end of Hawkins Street. I was staying at friends' place in Mount Pleasant, which was situated just by the river, overlooking the city view !! When I framed this scene, some random flock of birds decided to fly by. So why not shoot a frame or two?

Even random stuff that grows out from the lawn can look pretty in Australia. 

Our new friend, Peanut, who warmed our stay in Perth. 

Matilda Bay, this was where I did spend a lot of time when I was in Uni, because my Uni was just 5 minutes walk away. They have a Yacht club there. 

Matilda Bay is also a good picnic location, and yes you can also see the city from there. Usually the water is blue, but I was cursed with ugly skies all week long. I miss the blue skies. 

Cups and Marilyn Monroe. If you do not get what I mean, step away from the computer screen and view it from a distance. 

London Court

Blue Boathouse, again. 
My friend Jason told me this has a Life of Pi feel to it. If only I brought along my tripod and ND filter, I could have smoothen the water more, and shot from a higher perspective. 

Tiramisu, Ciao Italia
One of the best deserts I have tasted in life. No kidding. It was THAT good. 

Chilli Mussels, Ciao Italia.
There are several places with great Chilli Mussels in Perth, and Ciao Italia's was pretty awesome. 

Lamb Shank, Ciao Italia

Spaghetti Carbonara, Tiamo (Nedlands)
This was what I have been missing for 5 years !! You cannot find any good Carbonara in KL at all, I have tried so many and they were all FAKE !! Carbonara in Tiamo tasted just as delicious as I remembered it to be. 

Salmon with Rice in Taka (Perth City). 

Beef Teriyaki, Taka (Perth City)
Though this dish looked ordinary, it was YUMMY !! Somehow beef in Australia tastes better than what you can find in Malaysia. Add to the fact that Taka is run by REAL Japanese, with Japanese people doing preparations and cooking in the kitchen, as well as Japanese people taking your orders at the counter, and cleaning dishes. 

Spaghetti Marinara, Ciao Italia

Meat Lovers, Broadway Pizza (Nedlands)
One of the best things in Perth, and this is good enough reason for me to fly back to Perth !!

Roadhouse Brekkie, McDonald's

Subway !!! For breakfast, with REAL bacon, and eggs !!

Cafe Latte, Tiamo (Nedlands)

It has been an amazing trip for me, meeting up with old friends, spending a lot of time catching up over dinner or lunch. One of the things that broke my heart when I left Perth 5 years ago was leaving all those beautiful friends behind. It was also great eating all those yummy food again. While we do get good Malaysian food, I miss Perth food dearly. 

Special thanks to Mabel and Calvin for such warm hospitality !! I will miss Peanut !!

Also, most importantly, congratulations to both Chris and Charmaine on your marriage !! It was a very beautiful wedding, and I was very privileged to be your official photographer. I appreciate your generosity and your willingness to spend time with me, in the midst of your busy schedule. I wish you both nothing but peace, love, happiness and abundant blessings. I am blessed to be your friend. Thanks for having me over !!!

Just a preview, shot directly from E-5's camera screen. 



  1. Chris Reinhart4/23/2013 01:10:00 AM

    All great shots Robin, but I love the Salmon with Rice shot. Magazine quality. :-)

    1. Thanks Chris !! It tasted better than it looked !

  2. The black swans remind me of NZ.
    I like to blue boathouse skyline colour, really nice.

    I would love to visit Perth someday.

    1. Thanks Kim Hang !! Yes you must visit Perth one day, air ticket is not expensive too.

  3. Hi Robin, it was very entertaining to read after a long tiring day and the pictures are awesome too. The food pictures are really yummy... Perth seems like a very nice place to go and you have captured many varied shots to represent it... ! I like the blue boathouse shot and the bird's shot too...

    1. Thanks Johan.
      As much as I like the blue boathouse, it was such a common sight to us who stay near University of Western Australia, we saw it everyday, thus it was not that outstanding to us ! But I know it is very photo-genic !

  4. I love the London Court shot. Quiet yet lively, the awnings are so welcoming. Looks like you got a goo amount of Therapy in ;-)

    1. Hello Libby,
      Thanks !! Yes, surprisingly I did shoot quite a bit !! Guess hands got too itchy somehow

    2. I like to blue boathouse skyline colour, really nice.

      I would love to visit Perth someday.
      europe tour package

  5. Your food shots are terrific - man, I was gaining weight just looking at them! Very yummy indeed. Amazing pictures of a amazing city. The pictures convey the ambiance of the place very well. The boathouse scenery IS beautiful, and I just loved the "birds in flight" B/W shot. I can see that you really enjoyed it, and the pictures reflect it.

    Now not to worry, a few bites of that delicious Malaysian sateh ajam with peanutsauce and some nasi goreng kampung and kropek surely will help you to soothe your love for Aussie food.

    Welcome back, Robin! And thanks for the fantastic photography (and sharing it!)

    1. Thanks Andre !!
      I have been munching Malaysian food away since I got back, and yeah they were good cures.
      It was my pleasure to share the photos, always !

  6. Great photos of the city and the food! Perth looks like a very inviting place to visit. I would not have ever known that, if you hadn't posted this wonderful set of photos. Your food photography looks great. Have you ever thought about shooting food photography for restaurants' menus or for cook books? You've already got a great little portfolio to show your talents in that area!

    1. Hey Gregg,
      Thanks for the kind words !! Perth is indeed a great place to visit. Very laid back and peaceful. Beautiful scenery too.
      All those food shots were taken in a hurry !!! Not restaurant menu worthy, need some time and setup to make them shine !

  7. Yoo bro ... amazing photos and I prefer to call them art work ^_' And the food makes me wanna plan my next next vacation (next is going to taiwan) to Perth ! Oh yah ... regarding the animal are more human friendly than our country ... I feel the same thing when I have my vacation at Chiang Mai(Thailand).

    1. You should surely consider Perth, it is very near to Malaysia !! Only about 5 hours flight from KL. And in the same time zone too.
      Air Asia does have cheap flights but you have to book early.
      Thanks for the kind compliments !

  8. thank you for the lovely dedication Robin! Perth looks so beautiful through your camera's lens. how come no shots of UWA and currie hall?


    1. Marcus, I did not even have time to drop by UWA !! Only Matilda bay and the blue boathouse. I also did not visit Cottesloe Beach, and did not have Cicerellos!!!!
      I did pass by Currie from the main road (was it Stirling Hwy? can't recall the names of the road, been away too long). It looked so DIFFERENT !!!!

    2. thats good! so we can go together next time :)


  9. That's some excellent food porn you've got here. I've got 2 questions, first do you ever use a tripod or monopod? Because you're photos are so crisp and sharp. Second, for the photo 'girls in the alley' are you sure the person on the right is really a girl? Just kidding... really enjoy your blog a lot, keep up the excellent work!

    1. Hello Warren,
      Thanks for the kind words. I did use tripod for some shots, the Mill Point Rd view and for some food photos. Everything else was tripod free, but for a few shots I did rest the camera on something flat and sturdy.
      Now that you have mentioned maybe that was not a girl !!!

  10. You have amazing talent, Robin. I'm glad to have stumbled over to your blog. I'm following it religiously now. Love love love all your pictures.


    1. Hello Cat,
      Thanks for the support and kind words ! Appreciate it a lot.

  11. Hi robin..long time not read ur blog..got a lot of work to settle..i like ur story n photo ..ur view from perth really awesome..like d city view n night scenery..its seem that place so peaceful..far from heavy traffic jem..did u know robin..just look at ur pic, i can feel how peaceful this place n it can release all my worse tension..hehehehe..anyway enjoy ur holiday..
    *hadi nik*

    1. Hello hadi nik,
      yes, Perth is a very peaceful and relaxing place, perfect for holiday to get away from KL ! Thanks for your kind words and support !!

  12. IN Malaysia, friendly birds and animals get caught, put in cages, dismembered and eaten by people of all ages from children to old men AND women.
    Or was your question rhetorical?

    Your pictures keep improving all the time, quite an extraordinary feat; keep it up.

    1. Please leave a name when you comment next time.
      I am a Malaysian, and what you were saying about us is NOT true at all.

  13. Now, I know what food (especially the pizza!!) to look out for when I'm in Perth. My relatives (from Perth) have been asking me to go there for holidays.

    1. Chong,
      What are you waiting for? GOOO !!!
      Great food to go for: Japanese, Vietnamese, Italian (pastas and pizzas), Fish & Chips as well as STEAK !!!!!

  14. The beautiful shots obviously reflect the great time you had. The bird shot was just amazing.


    1. Thanks PaulS !! The bird was so nice, it did not fly away though I was about 2 meters away.

  15. Nice to see your shutter therapy in Perth. In general street photography's ok in the capital cities. People get a bit worried about children though and the more successful photogs for them are simply women who "look" less dangerous.


    The street photography gang has been "at it" for several years now, some photogs are quite aggressive or don't act cool enough and with that many people shooting, someone will get irritated finally.


    1. I understand that Perth is a completely different place, and may take time to adjust to the scene there, hence I did not bother doing serious street stuff at all. I guess my hands got a bit itchy but my shots were mostly taken from a distance and the people did not mind at all. Some even came up and pose for me !!
      Nevertheless, I guess people do treasure privacy, especially safety of their children more in Australia.

  16. Excellent photos, Robin. I really like the wide angle shots.

    1. Hey Ian,
      Thanks!!! Wide angle is not my best focal length but working on it.

  17. Hi Robin,

    Good shots and nice pictures. Btw, why can't the FB follow works? It returns error. :D

  18. Nice pics mate! Can't wait to catch up with in KL!

  19. Nice pictures.Thanks for this post.

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  22. Hi guys,though to share my wonderful experience in perth. I stayed and rent a car from a malaysian holiday home. Mahira holiday homes and car rental pty ltd.Owner originally from kl.very good service and well equipped holiday bungalow with affordable rates. U can call 0123360098 .owner daughter is here in kl.she arranged everything so well for us.thumbs up!!!they even hav tour packages

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