Normally, Saturday morning is one of the busiest days of the week when we juggle school runs, tamu (fresh market) shopping, breakfast, more shopping when the supermarket opens. But because it’s the last weekend of the school holiday and shopping’s done a day earlier, it meant we were able to organize what we couldn’t since the start of the year — an extended Bukit Shahbandar hike, which is basically twice the distance of the regular 9 Pondok trail but a lot more intense. But it’s not just the extended hike that I am writing about. It’s also that on the same day, after hiking an exhausting 6 km jungle trail, there was an hour’s drive home, leaving us about 3 hours to grab lunch, shower and rest, before another hour’s drive back to Bandar Seri Begawan to attend a Chinese wedding banquet.
11 hours later, with barely an hour of shuteye, we were on the road again for another hour’s drive to the Centre Point Goldstone Ballroom for Sharon and Yazid’s wedding banquet. It was a great opportunity to catch up with so many people we hadn’t seen in a while. We reached home close to midnight, ending a very productive day collapsing in bed super exhausted.
I almost always make it a point to have a camera with me when I hike, regardless if it’s a short hike at Sungai Liang or half the morning in the Shahbandar forest. Being a photographer, I think it’s a habit to do so but more importantly, as you’ve seen from the two group photographs above, you just never know who you’re going to meet during the hike and what better way to remember these chance encounters than to have them photographed and shared.
Two days ago an urgent photography assignment had me scouting a number of locations within the Belait District. Due to its urgency, waiting for a good day with nice blue sky and nice cloud formation wasn’t an option so I was fairly fortunate to have driven the distance to Luagan Lalak Forest Recreational Park and all elements in the scene were looking good. Out of three locations I had visited, Luagan Lalak was the only one picture worthy and promising. The client had a very specific wall measurement where a suitable image was going up to — 7700mm x 600mm (25 x 1.9 feet). Given the rather narrow height, this panorama image had to be cropped without compromising essence of this composition, and uprezzed to exact measurement without losing image quality.
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[This panoramic landscape was the result of stitching 5 TIFF files each measuring 5760×3840 pixels from the EOS 5D Mark III. Stitching was rather effortless for the custom built Core i7-3770K 4.4GHz powered PC but the real crunch that sent processor temps soaring into high 80 degrees Celcius was during the upscaling for printing at 7700mm wide. Heat wasn’t much of an issue when it was water cooled but due to problem with the pump, the stock heat sink was refitted while waiting for a replacement cooler.]
Happy with the shoot, I hung around the area a bit more, chat with a guy from Lumut who happened to be fly fishing in one of the huts. There I set up the camera for the image below — one that nicely conforms to the photography Rule of Thirds.