Four months before my Mount Kinabalu climb on December 17, 2013 I trained almost exclusively at the hills of Bukit Shahbandar in the Brunei-Muara district, located a little over an hour’s drive from my residence. Coming from badminton, a sport that I’ve played since my secondary school days, hiking wasn’t an activity I was fond of in the beginning. We started with the popular ‘4 hills‘ route that took us 53 minutes to complete, and in just a few short weeks the group decided unanimously that it was time to venture farther — the ‘9 Hills‘ route that took our group 1 hour 46 mins to complete — this route I really liked and got hooked on. On days when other members of the group weren’t available to join me I hiked alone, logging my best times — as an indication of my fitness.
My first solo attempt began on October 22, 2013 when I logged 50 mins 54 secs
Second attempt on December 11, 2013 clocking best time of 44 mins 27 secs
Earlier this week I made my first attempt of 2014 and finished at 41 mins 21 secs.
Where do I go from here? I’m thinking 40 minutes would be a realistic target.
Drone photography is all the rage these days and I can see the addition of a quadcopter to my inventory, when owning one becomes more affordable. Until then I’ll reminisce the aerial photographs I took on-board a Bell 212 helicopter during an assignment some years back. Instead of being strapped comfortably to the seats, I decided to make full use of my limited time in the air and took lots of terrain photographs. Looking through my archives a few days ago, I was extremely delighted to find one of Bukit Shahbandar where my wife and I go hiking. What began as a means to train for my Mount Kinabalu climb a month from today has escalated to what some friends describe as obsession with the hills.
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Here’s a more recent photo and my current favourite (captured on Samsung Galaxy S3) that gives you an idea of the trail we’re dealing with on a good day. On a stormy day it’s a whole different story and we’ve hiked in both extremes. Oh man, just looking at these pictures is enough to work up an itch to head out there.
I have in recent years photographed great number of corporate offices including hotels and their business centres. An example from 2012 is Radisson Hotel Brunei’s Business Centre and Boardroom. It’s not everyday I get an assignment to photograph a boardroom that features a 180 degree panoramic view of its surrounding and from the first floor. Trouble is, beyond the windows is a landscape of concrete buildings, workshops and general conditions of surrounding that are still under development — not quite the breathtaking views I’d imagined. Instead of the usual brightly lit pictures of the boardroom, I chose and waited for direct light at sunset to pierce through the blinds casting light rays and shadows for a dramatic finish.