Friday, 22 July 2016

Pink or Purple?


This is the first Milky Way photo I've edited on Photoshop, for real. I've always opted to directly edit the photos on Instagram before posting. This photo looked pinkish on the phone but purplish on my laptop. Since it was pointless to figure out either it was pink or purple, I just went ahead posting the photo on Instagram in the middle of the night. Next day I realised it had gained many 'hearts' from Instagrammers, especially the Astrophotography community. Majority of them were from other countries. Well, thanks to the hashtags. You know you gotta love the # on Instagram as it does help in promoting your photos and getting you many followers too. For as long as you don't use it out of sync, your Instagram account will benefit from it. Hashtags are useful on both Instagram and Twitter, not so much on Facebook for me. So, hashtag isn't entirely ineffective, it depends on how and on which app you're using. However, I do believe in the end it all boils down to the quality of photo you've uploaded, and that will get you many likes. 



Sunday, 10 July 2016

Stargazer



Perhaps one day
In my old day
I'll write about us
Like those bright stars
Each has its stories
Alive in the memories
Hope you'll see
Of you and me


This is a short poem I had in mind while editing this photo. Written on 10.07.2016 at 12.10 a.m. I normally would just post some song lyrics as captions for my Milky Way photos. This time I decided to put my own thoughts into it. Every time I look up to the night sky, I'll do some reflections on my own life. The stars remind me we're not alone. Sometimes they remind me of our God too. Other times, it's about someone. To sum up it up, each star represents every person I've come across my entire life. Be it family, relatives, friends and even strangers. I guess the rest is based on your own interpretation. Go figure!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Best Milky Way Shot


If you wish to see world's most interesting Astrophotos, please head to Instagram. The Astrophotography community on Instagram is the best and always the one who gives me the most 'hearts' on all of my Milky Way photos. You'll get to see countless of such photos taken from around the globe and in ways that you can possibly imagine. They are all stunning! 

As the Milky Way looked most visible last night from my parents', so I decided to take a shot and unintentionally captured myself in the same photo. I was positioning and holding the camera so that it didn't shake while taking a long exposure shot. Voila! A selfie with the Milky Way above my head! 

I have never seen anyone did this shot yet. Most people would just stand in front of the camera, looked up to the sky and took the photos. So, let's see if this could become a trend on Instagram one day. Hey, I don't take much selfies so I consider this one a job well done! I'm happy for this rare photo honestly. I hope people don't think it is Photoshopped, it's real! 

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Not Today


June is coming to an end and it's odd how the weather isn't that hot. It is usually either too dry or hazy at this time of the year. Not a surprise when global warming is at its prime time, causing change in weather pattern. We still get plenty of rain besides seeing flash floods or strong winds reported all over the news. 

Right, I haven't written many blogs this year. I'm still in my recuperating season honestly. It's going to take at least a year before I can resume an active lifestyle after a major surgery, which due to sport injuries. I just need time to heal. After half a year, I'm still feeling a little pain on both my knee and spine. As the doctor said, the pain can never be totally eliminated. I never let it gets the better of me, it helps me to prioritise instead. 

This journey to recovery truly makes me see things from a different perspective. I used to care so much about pleasing others, now I'm learning to focus more on myself and learning to say "No" politely. Don't get me wrong, I'm not being selfish. Sometimes when we worry too much about pleasing our family, friends and colleagues, we tend to forget ourselves in that process. Pleasing people can be exhausting and detrimental to life itself in a long run. 

I finally had my revelation after waking up from the most excruciating surgery, it was a life-changing experience. I've worked hard to realise my family's dreams for three decades, and now is the time I should think more of myself. Lying on a hospital bed alone for a few days had me thinking hard what were the things I'd regret not doing if I were to wake up to a paralysed body. Prior to my surgery, I was told I could suffer such irreversible consequence if I took a hard fall. Thank God, it didn't happen.

I remember reading an article about five things people on their death beds regret not doing, one of it is the wish of having the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life that others expected of them. I did exactly the opposite for my entire life. Well, not anymore. Not after waking up from my sixth surgery. It was a matter of life and death at the time. What if I couldn't walk anymore? So many questions popped up in my mind as I stared into the clouds through the window.  

This sudden realisation just got me thinking what I would do to make my life more meaningful and worth living. One of the things in my list is to go for a road trip to places I've never been. I don't want to travel in such a very touristy fashion because I know it won't excite me for long. The idea to ride a bike, mingle with the locals, camp out and stargazing is a lot more appealing than just being a tourist. So in order to make this dream come true, yes, I need to plan. It won't happen overnight, it might take years. 

From now on, I'm gonna live this life for myself. I don't live it because someone wants me to. Just keep asking yourself this one question, "What if today is your last day on earth and what would you do about it?" 

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Dead Town, Astrophotography Heaven


The photo above was taken on 08.05.2016 at approximately 12.15am. It was just right after Sarawak State's election, the night the results was announced. I didn't have the intention to go out of the house to get some shots, but upon seeing many stars I decided to take out the camera. The Milky Way wasn't obvious at first. I took several shots of the night sky at random directions and found it. It was right in front of my parents' house. 

While capturing the Milky Way photos, many things came to my mind. I know people who don't do Astrophotography would wonder about my Instagram post which I tried to relate to the political scene in a 'Dead Town'. Sri Aman or formerly known as Simanggang was dubbed the Dead Town ever since my childhood for a reason. Despite being governed by the same old ruling political party for decades, not much seem to change. The town itself barely expands since I was a kid, life is moving at a slow pace and pretty relax. Still very much a suburban area with little light pollutions. 

Those who are into Astrophotography know one needs to be away from the city lights as far as possible if you intend to see the Milky Way. I never have to go that far to get the shot because there's not much light pollutions around the town. I can just take the shot from the parking space at my parents'. This is an indication the town is not that developed, yet. Human can claim they have done a lot to bring development into this sleepy town but the stars in the galaxy don't lie. The Milky Way and the stars tell you the truth. 

For as long as we still can enjoy the ever mesmerising starry night sky in Sri Aman from our own backyard, you know the town isn't going through much transformation. Don't be easily swayed by the promises made at every election, words are cheap. So here's my suggestion to the locals, since the only thing that attracts outsiders flocking this Dead Town is the Benak, why not turn it into a heaven for Astrophotographers too. I'm sure you are smart enough to figure out effective ways to promote this outdoor hobby and generate income for the town through tourism. At least people don't have to travel all the way up to Bario or Mount Kinabalu to capture the stunning Milky Way. Never underestimate the beauty of night landscape, explore the Instagram and its Astrophotography communities, you'll know why people love to travel to a few Northern countries just for the sake of witnessing Aurora Borealis with their own eyes. Norway, for instance, turns it into tourism opportunity not only for the locals but also for stargazers and astrophotographers from around the globe. 

Perhaps it's best to not wake this town up from its current state, or do we have to? Either way, is it good?  I don't know, time will tell. For the time being, I think I can live with the fact I still can enjoy looking at the Milky Way from the comfort of my parents' home. Whatever it is, I hope the newly formed State's government will run this state with transparency and fulfill all your promises within these five years. Otherwise it is just another failed attempt to impress.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Disconnected


Okay, this is my first blog of the year. I used to write once a month in 2015, but that is not the case for 2016. It was a goal back then. I have decided to do it at a slower pace this year due to work and my own health. As you know I had a major surgery four months ago, so I need to learn to prioritise and minimise my movement. 

Despite having physical limitation, I always try not to think too much about it. I will tell myself to give the best in whatever I do. In 2015, I was assigned to coach students for divisional inter-school athletics games. This year instead of being a coach, I was given the task to be a judge. Not everyone would enjoy this job as we would have to carry out our duties in unpredictable weather. It was sunny most of the days. Suffering sunburn was a sure thing. 

This year we had to stay at a remote residential area where there was no mobile network coverage. Batang Ai Dam to be exact. I was literally disconnected from the rest of the world, from sunset to sunrise. No internet, no television to watch. Every night my colleagues and I would gather at a place sharing food, chit-chatting and making jokes just to kill time. 

The experience itself taught us to really enjoy each other's company instead of staring at the phones or 'phubbing'. I guess not being glued to the smartphone once in awhile has its own benefits. I slept early and I paid more attention when people were talking. Those silly jokes, laughters and long conversations were truly unforgettable. Besides, living at remote area also means there is not much light pollution. So, I took the opportunity to do stars time lapse and astrophotography. If I have to do this again in the future, I bet I will not have much hesitation as I did before. 


The Orion's Belt Time Lapse