I cannot ask for a better month — two photo shoots in a month with two international franchises: KFC Brunei and Starbucks Brunei. Three premium desserts for KFC and a Starbucks menu just a week apart have kept me busy with post processing work. Somewhere in between I have had to rush a client’s request to uprezz (yes, there’s such a term) a panoramic landscape shot of Tasek Merimbun to 343 megapixels (45472×7543 pixels) to go onto a wall of JPMC Cancer Center. I am so glad that I had my computer’s cooling sorted before I have had to deal with an avalanche of CPU intensive processing work.
The setup at Starbucks Mabohai outlet: A pair of light stand mounted, radio triggered Canon Speedlite strobes including a third handheld Speedlite, 5D Mark III tethered to a 17-inch Dell Studio laptop for instant, critical review.
It is Starbucks policy to conduct their photo shoot in private but after juggling the idea of just a handful of preferred locations Starbucks Mabohai outlet was chosen even if that meant shooting in full view of passers-by and dine-in patrons. The display and merchandise section of the cafe was cordoned off for food styling and preparation and those who are familiar with my workflow know that I’ll bring a lot of equipment on location. A 17-inch laptop for tethered shooting is an absolute must when dealing with commercially critical images. I can’t imagine four pairs of eyes fighting to view the camera’s 3-inch LCD versus the convenience of a 17-inch display.
Testing light placements and checking exposure of the first item to shoot. A third unmounted light (not pictured) was used where required to provide additional lighting to hard to lift shadow details. Thank you Eric for this picture.
Fast forward five months and coinciding with Starbucks Brunei’s first anniversary, five warm meals are added to the menu.
There’s a time to feast on delicious cooked crabs and there’s a time to just … watch them. The last time I set foot on the beach I had an amazing time watching and photographing crabs local to the Seria shoreline. Hard to believe it’s been 6 years since I took these closeups — a test of patience with a dose of luck and opportunity. The price I paid for being extremely patient was bait for sandfly to feast on. This time, however, I covered myself a lot more than I did before — sunhat, long sleeved top and jeans along with socks and shoes — which somewhat helped except I had left my neck completely uncovered. As a result, I came home with three bite marks (as opposed to more than half a dozen before) that are now swollen and itchy. Still, a small price to pay to be up close and personal with these very interesting creatures, watching them dig holes. Because
This crab scoops tiny balls of wet sand to create a hole deep enough for it to hide in.
Walking back to the car with the front of my top and jeans completely wet (I laid on wet sand in order to get a good vantage point) I came across another catch — horseshoe crabs. Before today, I had only seen dead ones that people kept as display items in their house but these were alive and kicking on the very shoreline where the hundreds or thousands of tiny crabs hang out. I was ecstatic that a few hours on the beach had been so productive!
A fruitful morning for this family of four to have picked up four horseshoe crabs.
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.