Friday, January 6, 2017

Top 10 Photos of 2016

2016 was another good year for photography with a number of great shots to choose from. 70% of my photos in the top 10 were taken with my iphone 5s as I made the transition from carrying around my bulky DSLR to using the convenience of the iphone. The iphone camera produces best results outdoors in the natural light and a few of my top 10 were taken in those precise conditions.

We stayed at Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel Kuantan in October and had a great time there. The children went for a dip in the pool and I naturally looked for photograph opportunities. The abstract image I came up with is a view of falling water. There was a little waterfall at the pool so I walked behind it, took some videos and pictures, and was delighted to come up with this highly artistic shot! (iphone)

I love being at the beach. Sometimes it is a simple image that can endure long in the memory, like this birds eye view of seashells taken at Batu Hitam, Kuantan. (DSLR)

It was indoors with artificial lighting, which is not my preference for good iphone photography, but it is the content and not the quality that gets this one into the Top 10. My wife and her four sisters are the subject for this shot that I captured crouching down and to the right of centre. Sometimes a change from the regular angle makes a difference. We were in Kuching attending our cousin's wedding on this occasion. (iphone)

Welcome to Pavilion shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! As you can see from this viewpoint I shot, it was all decked out in lavish Christmas decorative elements when we went there in December 2016. The two-tier carousel was provided by Swarovski and contained a world-first 3 million crystals, embedded in the floor, horses and everywhere. We queued for a long time and were grateful that we did because it was a great ride! (DSLR)

One of my favourite photos of the year! My two girls with their favourite aunty. Aunty Urai determined to do a photoshoot with them before she went back to Kuching, and we took a load of really lovely photos. For some reason, I am drawn to this one above the others. I just think it's very cute! (iphone)

The only tussle with in-flight photography is ensuring the camera focuses on the outside landscape and not on the plane window. Once it does that properly, you are good to shoot some fantastic images. This picture is part of the Kuala Lumpur landscape just minutes after take-off from KLIA during our short hop back to Kuantan. (iphone)

I love this atmospheric shot which is full of texture. It takes me right back to the moment it was shot! There was a storm brewing up and the humid heat had turned into a cooler breeze with spots of rain. I like the fact that there are people walking on the beach, sandwiched in between the fierce storm clouds and the plants in the foreground. I literally spent about 10 minutes out on the beach snapping photos of the weather system before I had to take cover. (iphone)

The sunrise on our 6:30am flight from Kuantan to KLIA. It is thrilling watching the sunrise and sunset on an airplane. You get a whole different view to the one from the ground. On this particular morning, there was a splendid mixture of grey, silver and white wispy clouds punctured by the blazing yellows, oranges and reds of the rising sun. It was just a 30-minute hop but I spent near enough the whole half hour snapping pictures out the window. (iphone)

This lady has featured prominently in almost all of my yearly Top 10 photos. It's easy to see why. Florina is a natural model and the camera loves her. More perfect settings at the beach half an hour down the road from Kuantan. Storm clouds beginning to whip up, lots of natural light, and slightly cooler-than-usual temperatures. Florina and I wanted to make the most of these favourable conditions and I took a couple of dozen pictures and videos in a 10-minute spell. There were a lot of good results but this one was as close to perfect as I have ever taken with my iphone. Thanks to my sister Florina for her flash and eager modelling skills! (iphone)

So my top photo of 2016 is this magnificent family photo (Malaysian side) we took at the Riverside Majestic Hotel in Kuching near the end of 2016. Since we all live in various parts of Malaysia, it is always a highlight when we are all together once or twice a year. We had booked 3 rooms to accommodate us all, but upon check-in, we learned that the hotel had overbooked and didn't have enough rooms for us all, so out of the goodness of their hearts, they gave us the one and only PENTHOUSE in the entire hotel! You can imagine, we ran around in a state of joyful panic exploring every inch of the two-floor suite we were given! Taking a family photo in the grand living room was at the top of our list and this was taken right before we attended the wedding ceremony of our cousin. It is not the sharpest due to the low light, but it sure is our overwhelming favourite!

That's a wrap for 2016. Looking forward for more photography adventures in 2017!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan, Malaysia - Our Stay

We received a message from a friend that Mr. Quek, the owner of Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, would like to offer us a free night's stay in return for a bit of help in spreading the news of his new hotel. 

Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel is located mid-way down Jalan Air Putih 2 opposite the abandoned Delima Residences project, in Kuantan.

Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

Mr. Quek and his wife, a friendly and helpful couple, bought the property, a large single-storey house and completed the renovations in 6 months. Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel opened its doors on Monday 26th September, so we were amongst the first stream of guests to stay.

We were invited to stay in the Family Loft Suite, the only room of its kind, and one of seven rooms in total at the hotel.

King size bed in the Family Loft Suite, Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

Family Loft Suite, Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

A staircase leads to another level in the Family Loft Suite, Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

Leah sits on the queen size bed upstairs in the Family Loft Suite, Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan. The window opens onto a balcony

Looking down to the main room from the upstairs bed area in the Family Loft Suite, Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

The glass doors beside the bed open to a small garden area in the Family Loft Suite, Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

The bathroom of the Family Loft Suite, Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

A panoramic image of the shower complete with two shower heads and choice of cool or hot water in the Family Loft Suite, Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

Refreshments in the Family Loft Suite, Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

We loved the Family Loft Suite. The girls especially loved the comfortable beds and going up and down the stairs to the upper floor. 

The Family Loft Suite is rented out for RM278 per night and in our opinion, is well worth the money if you would like to sample it for yourself. We had a very comfortable night's sleep and it was very difficult to get out of the nice warm shower. One thing I loved was sitting on the toilet seat and not feeling freezing cold! The bathroom is not air conditioned like the main room, so the warm steam lingers a while after showering too.

View of the pool from the upper floor balcony of the Family Loft Suite, Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

The other rooms are located close by around the property

The Laman Suite at Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

Especially for couples, the Laman Suite boasts an outdoor bathtub, the surrounding wall ensuring privacy

The Laman Suite shower with an open-air cubicle

A kids pool with water fountains and sitting area are also on the premises of Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel. Lauren went for a swim in the late afternoon.

Kids Pool at Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

The water fountains are a feature of the kids pool at Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

Sitting area and kids pool at Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

Of course, this is a small boutique hotel, so you will have to either bring your own food or go out to eat for meal times. We ordered some KFC delivery for dinner, and the next morning, Mr. Quek was kind enough to buy breakfast and eat with us by the pool. 

Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel at night. Main entrance.

We love LSBH - Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel! Used a 30 second shutter speed and my iphone flashlight to capture this image

Entrance to the reception at Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel

Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan is a no smoking hotel

Look out for the sign board by the side of the road on your way to Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

Family picture in our Family Loft Suite at Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

Family picture in our Family Loft Suite at Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

Finally, a thank you to Mr. Quek and family for looking after us and providing us with a lovely room to spend the night at Laman Sentosa Boutique Hotel, Kuantan

Find the hotel on facebook at: 

And here is a video I shot of our Family Loft Suite:

Friday, April 29, 2016

Gio Mall, Kuantan

Gio Mall is a kind of mini mall in Kuantan opposite UTC. It is primarily a Muslim women's fashion/clothing mall with a number of very trendy outlets selling modern clothes. Upstairs at the top floor one can buy fabrics and materials and household items. There is also a children's playground. 

We had a lunchtime stroll around Gio Mall and Leah absolutely loved the mannequins! The following photos show Leah posing with them and also offer glimpses of Gio Mall.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Chinese New Year 2016

One of my favourite times of the year is Chinese New Year. Each year we visit friends, some of whom we only meet annually during this holiday. It provides a refreshing of friendships and the opportunity to catch up on what each other has been doing, as well as deepening solid long-time friendships. This year was no different. We enjoyed the company of great people, food and happiness.

With Fidelia's university friend, Ka Yi, at CNY

At Grace and Kenny's house during CNY

Paying a visit to some old English students during CNY

Excitedly driving from house to house at CNY

With Mr. Khoo and family for CNY

Happy faces during CNY!

Large CNY group photo at Dato' Johny's house

Leah enjoying playing with sparklers at a friend's house for CNY

All dressed in red, as is typical during CNY

CNY wouldn't be the same without spending time with some of our longest friends in Kuantan

Love visiting our friends during CNY

My favourite CNY breakfast, nian gao

Posing for another photo with good friends at CNY

The boys provide the music for lion dances throughout CNY

The lion dance in full flow at CNY


And more happy CNY times here


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