8th Jarasum International Jazz Festival 2011

The 8th Jarasum International Jazz Festival was held from 1st – 3rd October at Gapyeong province. Jaraseom literally means Jara Island, an island formed on Bukhangang River as a result of the construction of the Cheongpyeong Dam. I found out this event through the Visit Korea website and CNNGo Link.

When I check the online ticket purchasing site, it was all in Korean and they only accept Korean Bank transaction. Fortunately, I managed to get my Korean colleague to help purchase a 1-day ticket for me. From Seoul, I took a subway to Sangbong Station. Then changed to Gyeongchun line (Grey Line) towards Gapyeong. As there are so many people boarding the train to the Jazz Festival, I have to sit on the floor of the train for almost 45 minutes!

This is the first time I attended a Jazz Festival and I find it rather special. Instead of one performance stage, there are actually 9 different stages located around the island and one just outside of the subway station! The performances were held at the same time on different stages. Therefore, you need to choose which one you want to go. Ironically, I found out that the ticket I purchased is for the performance at Jazz Island and Part Stage (a bigger performance stage located on a separate smaller island at Jaraseom). Other than that, the rest of the performances are open to public for free. Video post added!

Celebrating Thaipusam

Despite working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for some years, this is the first time I went for a Thaipusam celebration. I have to wake up at 5AM and drive several km to reach Batu Caves. By the time I reach there, it was already packed with people from all walks of life. One thing I noticed was most devotees were adorned with dresses and vesthi of yellow and orange color, known to be the favorite color of Lord Murugan.

On the main entrance to Batu Caves (obviously it has been blocked for vehicles), I can see thousands of people flocking towards the temple in procession, some carrying kavadis (wooden/bamboo structure decorated with peacock feather), some carrying milk pots (known as Pal Kudam), some were tranced to impersonate various Hindu deities. On another corner of the street, I can see shelter for barbers offering devotees to shave their head bald, an act of atonement to the Hindu God.

I followed the devotees towards the foot hill of the temple, where one needs to climb up 272 steps to reach the Murugan Temple (The Caves). There were 3 lanes for devotees to line up in front of the stairways: the right for exit, the left for entry, the middle as “backup” either for entry or exit. We as a visitor and photographer, managed to take the middle lane and snaps some good photos. I proceeded to climb up the stair and was lucky to capture a few of my favorite shots (as shown below). Upon entering the caves, there were already hundreds or thousands of devotees queuing up, ready to offer milk, water, fruits and floral that they have carried to Lord Murugan.

KLIMS 2010 – When Girls Meet Cars

This is the sequel of my previous post. I intentionally separate the post so that one is showing only the cars, and another is showing only the models (or simply the babes). I always wonder why exhibitors hiring models standing beside their cars? It wouldn’t be just because of attracting guys (typical car buyer) in some way, but I’m sure you wouldn’t have considered purchasing a car just because there’s a pretty lady promoting that car?!

PWP Darren & Mei Ling

This is the first series of Pre-Wedding Photography (PWP) for Darren & Mei Ling. There were not much preparation as it was meant to be a casual outing + photo shooting session. The general plan for the day are separated into 3 places: morning @ UPM, afternoon @ Putrajaya, and evening @ Tanjung Sepat. We have 4 photographers (including myself) and 1 assistant joining the shooting. The weather was very promising in the morning, but turned overcast after noon. Below is a teaser shot for the event.

Teaser Shots

I quite like this shot taken at UPM, when I asked Darren & Mei Ling to hold hands and walk up the hill. The focus is on Darren’s face with fill-in flash. Several shots have been taken at this spot, and the best was chosen. The sun glare was a DPP job.

ISO 100 | 1/1600 | F2.8 @ 17mm

This shot was taken at Putrajaya Lake. Simple and clean, just one take.

ISO 200 | 1/2000 | F2.8 @ 90mm

Here’s my favourite shot from Tanjung Sepat. Again, I have asked the couple to walk hand in hand towards me, and I shoot this from low angle. I have taken several shots initially but not satisfied. I’ve switched shooting from different position and try to find a better composition. The bonus to this shot was the dramatic skies of the golden hours! The cons is sacrifying the shadow without using a fill-in flash, but I have pushed up a bit of the shadow by DPP. Other photos in the set can be find here.

ISO320 | 1/80 | F2.8 @ 32mm