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Saturday 8 September 2007

Hanging Out with the Mosquitoes

Macro photography is one of my favourites apart from travel and street photography. It takes passion and patience in this type of photography especially when chasing after the most vivacious type of insects.

The best time to photograph insects is early in the morning or later in the evening. As insects are cold-blooded creatures, they are less active when the ambient temperature is low. You may ask why not do this at night then. Well, we still need some ambient light to focus and compose the picture.

In order to obtain enough depth of field, or simply the sharpness across the depth, the camera has to be set with small aperture. This restricts the amount of light getting through the lens, hence, requiring artificial illumination from the flashlight. The control on this artificial lighting requires some skills as well, so that the picture doesn't look flat.

Hanging out together

Hanging out alone

Hanging out with an uninvited guest

Hanging out at the dark corner

Hanging out at the back

The Return of CK from Italy

On the 11th of June, 2006, I took the Eurostar train very early in the morning from Napoli Centrale heading for Roma Termini. I was supposed to catch the train to the airport at Roma Termini half an hour earlier but missed it, so I was quite late when I arrived at the Fiumicino/Leornado da Vinci International Airport and there was already a long very queue for check-in to Malaysia Airlines flight MH15.

My turn for the check-in didn't come until after about an hour of queueing. I thought Malaysia Airlines is one of the most expensive airlines in the world, but apparently it's not for the foreigners. Perhaps we Malaysian are ripped off to subsidise the foreign passengers, like what Proton does to us with their car sales.

When my check-in procedure was complete, it was already boarding time. I rushed till I forgot to bring a can of the Italian Coca-Cola for a friend.

My reserved window seat at the front cabin had been taken by someone else. I was given a choice of the aisle seat in the front cabin, or a window seat at row 60. I took the later as I wanted to take some photos. In fact seat No. 60A wasn't so bad at all as there is ample space between the armrest and the window.

There was a group of Taiwanese with me at the back of the fuselage. My goodness! These people didn't stop eating for the whole duration of flight. I was so tempted by their cup noodles but was too shy to ask for one. They walked in and out of the pantry for the boiling water as if it was their own kitchen.

When it comes to the on board duty free sales, they were grabbing everything as if those things were free. Then they passed around their acquisitions proudly as they have outdone the others.

I experienced this while holding my camera and kept on shooting out of the aircraft window.

The streaks of light piercing through the cracks of the clouds marked another beautiful day ahead of me. :-)

If you would like to read my other posts on Italy, these are the links:

CK Goes to Italy – Amalfi

After about an hour of swivelling around on the bus ride from Sorrento to Amalfi along the Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana), my final destination of this joy ride was finally visible from the narrow ribbon of asphalt.

The lovely coastal town under constant sea breeze was getting nearer by the minutes.

The very first thing I did after alighting from the bus was walking to the very end of the jetty.

And, of course, not forgetting a self-portrait. :-D Was that 'ang moh' lady at my back picking her nose?

There's a church up the hill with this interesting bell tower of colourful facade.

The view of the waterfront is just breathtaking!

And the shore protection rocks formed a very interesting subject for photography too.

There are a lot of seagulls here. I saw three of a kind perching and posing for me on the shore rocks.

Oh uh! A seagull shouted at me, "Hey, you paparazzi there, don't take my photo! Back off!" Another one just couldn't be bothered.

However, there were more and more of them wanting their portraits taken by me, as I'm wearing the sign "Bird Portrait Photographer."

As I walked towards the beach, the sun was getting stronger to lure all these bikini gals to show off their curves on the sand.

Some of the buildings here are painted with colourful patterns and scenes on the walls.

As I walked to the other side of the beach, I could see some hunks, and children having their great day with the sun, sand, wind and water.

I explored Amalfi town further along the cliff, admiring all the beautifully decorated buildings.

And I was rewarded with this scene at just a turn around the cliff.

If you would like to read my other posts on Italy, these are the links:

Thursday 6 September 2007

CK Goes to Italy – Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana)

The Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana) consists of a 50-km coastline stretching from Sorrento to Salerno via Positano and Amalfi. I always have a passion for the mountains and the seas, not to mention this coastline with steep cliffs dropping down to the deep blue sea! How could I miss it, right? So, I boarded the Circumvesuviana from Naples to Sorrento again on 9th of June, 2006. Upon arrival at Sorrento, I headed straight to the SITA bus station to take the bus for a joy ride along the narrow ribbon of asphalts winding along the cliffs.

The first stop of the express bus I took was Positano. I didn't have the chance to take decent photos for the ride from Sorrento to Positano, because I was on the side of the bus facing the cliffs instead of the sea! When the bus arrived at Positano with most of the passengers alighted from the bus, I quickly grabbed a seat by the side of the bus facing the sea, and this is the first decent shot I could take showing the buildings built on cliffs at Positano.

From then on, I could happily click my shutter away for more decent shots along this long and winding, ribbon-like asphalt covered motorway. The construction of this motorway is an engineering feat by itself, as spectacular as the view of the steep cliffs dropping down into the deep blue Mediterranean Sea.

The view of the mountain ranges soaring up from the deep blue water is just so astonishing!

As the bus swivelled through the bends, I could see a wider view of the mountain ranges.

There were small surprises along the way, with a view of a small church overlooking the sea.

And there are some interesting rock formations along the way too.

I wish that I owned this peninsula and I could build a castle, so that I could play with the blue water at the tip of the peninsula everyday.

Peeping through a valley in between the steep cliffs is a common scene here, but where else on earth could we find a breathtaking coastline like this?

I wonder how many man-hours were spent on blasting the rocks to build the road clinging on the cliffs.

These are the people enjoying life to the extreme! They live by the cliff and swim in pools dug out of the cliff!

Eventually, there are many people who know how to make use of their lives to the fullest. They can have the view everyday but it was the once-in-a-lifetime thingy for me.

Well, there is an end to whatever beautiful things on earth, so lets enjoy it while it lasts! :)

If you would like to read my other posts on Italy, these are the links:

Monday 3 September 2007

CK Goes to Italy – Capri

I took the Caremar ferry from Marina Piccola of Sorrento to go to Capri. When this resort island off the coast of Naples and Sorrento has become nearer and nearer, my adrenalin level has risen as well.

The first thing I did upon arrival was jumping onto another motorboat to visit one of the sea caves.

This is where I entered one of the most prominent sea caves, Grotto Azzurra (Blue Grotto). From the motorboat, I had to be transferred to another small rowing boat to get inside the sea cave, as the opening is too small for the motorboat. It was really a challenge to me transferring myself between boats on the sea. We had to be seated low in the rowing boat with our legs wide open to accommodate the other people in front of one and another, which was really awkward, especially when a lady was in front of me!

This is what Grotto Azzurra is famous for, the turquoise blue water from the reflection of sunlight.

After that, I headed back to the Marina Grande at Capri town to explore the main island.

I sat down at a café and ordered an iced cappuccino to quench my thirst before I took the Funicolare (funicular train) up the hill.

The funicular train came to a stop at one corner of Piazza Umberto I in the centre of Capri.

And it was already late in the afternoon. I gotta catch up with time to explore this fantastically beautiful island.

So, I quickly took a glance at the Chiesa di Santo Stefano at one corner of Piazza Umberto I.

Then I zoomed in closer to look at the details of the interesting dome of the church.

After that, I wandered through the narrow lanes heading south to Giardini di Augusto (Gardens of Augustus).

Along the way was this astonishing Certosa di San Giacomo.

I couldn't take my eyes off Certosa di San Giacomo, so I tried to shoot this monastery at a different angle.

This long and winding path would have brought me from Giardini di Augusto to the southern coastline of Capri below.

The view of the southern coastline from Giardini di Augusto is really fantastic!

And there are these rock stacks called Isole Faraglioni along the southern coast, as viewed from Giardini di Augusto.

I took a detailed look at Isole Faraglioni again.

And then I walked back to Piazza Umberto I, took the funicular train downhill and boarded the last scheduled boat leaving Capri for Naples, the SNAV Jet.

If you would like to read my other posts on Italy, these are the links:

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