Traveller, Life Student and Fauxtographer

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I’ve Seen the Movie! Bring it On!!

Ipod touch Zoom

Just preparing for the New Years :OP

We have just finished our Xmas in Philippines and now waiting to get a flight to Taipei to see in 2012.

I downloaded this wallpaper for my Ipod Touch months ago, and have had it in mind for a shot like this for some time now.

The Ipod itself is propped up on a slight angle with the camera on a tripod standing over it.
I used my body weight to hold down the camera and tripod steady, set the camera settings, zoomed fully to 55mm, hit the trigger,
and then slowly zoomed back to 32mm.

Exif Data:

Camera: Nikon D5100
Aperture: f/11
Shutter: 8sec
ISO: 100
Lens: 18-55 @ 50mm to 32mm


Incredible India…. Pt 2!

After seeing most of the sites that Delhi has to offer ….. except the Lotus Temple….
It was closed for a week for some unknown reason….. :O(….. i really wanted a picture….. :O(…..

Sorry, i’ll start again.

After seeing most of the sites that Delhi has to offer, we decided to hop on a train to Jaipur!


And, as i said in my last post, if you havent done your research, booking the tickets and getting on the train is going to be a hardcore mission.


There is a separate office at the station where tourists can book train tickets. It is on the first floor, and you can get
to the stairs by heading towards the main entrance of the station building, but before you get to the security check point,
head to the left, you should see signs highlighting the way from there.
Getting to this office can be a bad head. Many people will approach you offering “friendly” advice about where to go for
the tickets, Just smile, say ‘thats ok, thank you’, and keep walking towards the station! People will tell you lie after lie,
saying things like the office is closed today, the office closed down weeks ago, the office burnt down, etc, etc. They are
all lies. If you listen to them you will end up at some “Government *cough* Approved *cough*” office, where you’ll end up paying alot more than you need to.

Once you make it to the office, things are alot easier. You are required to fill out a form for each destination. Its pretty good, you can get tickets for all your train journeys in India here, if you’ve planned that far ahead.
Expect to spend a good half a day there, as the workers are far a few between and the queue gets quite long.

I was very lucky the first time i went through this.
Having not done my research, and people approaching me telling lie after lie about the international office, i found myself very confused and unsure what to do or where to head. Luckily, the girl i was travelling with did know about these cons and told me just to ignore them and keep moving forward. It took us a while but we finally made it to the office.

Also, when you attempt to enter the station and find the platform your train departs from dont let anyone see your ticket.
People will ask to see it and then tell you that they are sorry but that train has been canceled. Again, this is most likely a lie.
Once they’ve told you its canceled, they will offer “friendly” advice about where to go to get new tickets.
If someone does do this, just smile and nod and say its fine, no worries, and head out onto the platforms. Once you’re past the
security check point, there is more offices, guards and info posts, just ask someone which platform you should head to.

As with alot of things, once you get all the bad crap out the way, things get pretty good.
One very good thing about train travel in India – they keep feeding you!
Depending on how long your journey is, and what time of the day, you get breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks in between, and
constant tea packs! Love it!

After, what seemed like hours, ducking and diving to avoid touts, to buy our tickets, and locate the right platform
to board our “canceled” train, we finally arrived in the Pink City!

Said to be one of the finest planned cities in India, Jaipur – The capital of Rajasthan, has plenty of historical sites and scenes
to keep the average backpacker entertained for a couple of days.


As with Delhi, we opted to hire a TukTuk driver for the whole day to take us around the various sites.
It cost us about 1,000INR (about 20USD), but you could probably get cheaper, we didn’t haggle too much.

The PROS – You get to see alot of what Jaipur has to offer in one fell swoop
– You don’t have to haggle with each TukTuk driver as you go from one site to another
The CONS – The TukTuk driver will more than likely take you to shops and warehouses so we have “the opportunity” to buy authentic goods at wholesale prices (at which the TukTuk driver gets a nice commission from). This is abit of a pain in the arse, they make it very hard for you to not buy anything. But just smile and nod through it all and if you really dont want to buy anything you don’t have to. I often just look for the cheapest novelty thing i can find and tell myself its my souvenir for this trip.


Located 11kms outside of Jaipur, we decided to visit this site first in the morning so that we could see the elephants heading up to the fort. There is an option to ride an elephant up to the fort (up until 1pm), rather than walking, but we decided it was good enough to see them, we can walk up to the fort.

Jal Mahal, meaning ‘Water Palace’, is located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake.
The palace is actually a 5-story building, but 4 floors are hidden under water when the lake is full, only the top floor is visible.
It is considered an architectural beauty built in the Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture.

The Water Palace

the ‘Palace of Winds’, designed in the form of the crown of Krishna, it has 953 small windows that were originally used to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen.

These are just a few of the sites that Jaipur has to offer. There are many more, along with numerous Bazaars and museums.
Well worth a visit!

Sunset on Long Beach

Long Beach, Phu Quoc

Sunset on Phu Quoc island, Vietnam

Nikon D5100
ISO 100

Incredible India – Lessons Learnt

My second visit to India! I decided to make a quick stop ….. while going from seoul…. to Bangkok…. just a minor diversion….
This time we were only there for 9 days, visiting Delhi and Jaipur.

Many travelers i have met have a pretty low opinion of delhi, but to be honest i think it is one of the best areas in India.
yes, there is alot of crime and corruption, but once you learn to smile and nod and pretty much refuse anything anyone offers, its not such a bad place!

You really have to research alot about what you want to do and how to do it, otherwise people will take advantage and your already small budget will become near non existant!

Lets get the DOWNSIDES out of the way first…

The first time i arrived in Delhi (about 3 years ago) i didn’t really know anything, what to do, where to go, but luckily i was with someone that did know at that time.
She knew alot of the cons that went on and how to get things done on our own, and after a few days she even took my money from me (i really struggled with the poverty… i mean the poverty in India, not the sudden lack of money i had afer she took it) I couldn’t stop giving money away to the kids running around in rags begging for pennies, or the crippled elders sitting along the side streets.)
I saw it as – i have money…. they don’t, so i SHOULD give to them. But this was a very weak and naive way of thinking.
Although i couldn’t see it at the time, the money we give just goes to a higher power anyway, someone that controls alot of the people on the streets, who the kids have to give the money to. In a way giving to them just means we are funding this type of crime…

Plus, alots changed since i was first there. This time when people where begging i could see that they weren’t hungry, weren’t desperate, it was just habit for them to beg.
I saw one American guy take a whole family from the street and treat them all with a McDonalds, which is fair enough, but 30 mins later i was walking down the street and saw the same family begging for food again.
Similar to many things i saw in India it was just another con…

Its also ridiculous how many people approach while you’re wandering down the road and try to get you to go to “the Tourist Information Center”. They all say they are government approved, but NONE of them actually are.
These supposed friendly Indians, that “just want to help”, all get a commission on whatever over priced tour you inevitably end up booking.

I highly recommend just finding one of the many TukTuk drivers that roam the streets, go somewhere not too far away with them and see what kind of person they are. If they seem friendly enough (not creepy weird),, then ask them if they would mind taking you around to various sites the next day for a fixed price.
Depending on your bartering skills (mine aren’t great) the price for the whole day can vary – the first time i was there (about 3 years ago) the whole day was about 200INR, this time it was at least 600INR (i found alot of things have gone up in price drastically, doubled if not tripled).
But in the end, well worth it – you dont have to worry about bartering everytime you get a TukTuk to the next site, and you get to see everything in one day – Winner!
Plus, after you’ve done this you don’t have to ‘umm’ and ‘Arr’ about whether to hear out what the mass of hawkers and touts have to say, you can just go by saying ‘done! Seen! Cheers! Bye!’

Finding accommodation can also be a problem.

In my experience, it really is where you sleep that makes the trip.
I used to just go for the cheapest places and make do with the crap that would follow – the ‘one drip one second’ freezing cold showers, the questionably stained bedsheets, unbearable humidity, lack of safety and comfort.
Now i know better. I will always look for something abit more mid range thats still cheap but not a complete hole.
They’re easy enough to find if you take some time to look around and inspect a few rooms, plus with abit of bartering you can usually get a nice room in a decent place for the same price as a “room” in one of the holes you just left behind.
the nicer places get more business in the long run and so don’t seem to try as hard to rip you off.

Once you have a nice place to sleep, you can leave your belongings without worry and you can sleep with ease without wondering if you will wake up with some kind of virus or infection. all in all you can feel alot better and enjoy your time in India.

Now – Some Pros to visiting India!

Although alot of people may get down by all the above cons (and alot more that i havent mentioned!), but they are easy enough to overcome. You just have to research thoroughly!

Once you’ve got into the swing of things, smile and say ‘no thank you’ while you KEEP walking (dont stop or they’ve got you!) to the various touts and hawkers, and feel confident that you know what your doing and how to do it, you can have a good time in India!

Taking a trip around both New and Old Delhi can give great insight into the various aspects of Indian life, as well as getting the opportunity to witness an evergrowing economy.
I also recommend reading some of Arivand Adiga’s books (especially ‘The White Tiger’), great reads that give you some insight into Life in India.

And of course there are many historical sites to visit and Bazaars to shop at.


All in all I highly recommend a trip to India.
You can gain a better perspective on your own life, witness how others get by with obstacles that need to be overcome in their everyday life.
and if nothing else, Wherever you travel to after India, will seem like a breeze! (the KL airport was like a paradise after i left India! Everywhere was so clean… and there was a Starbucks!! lol)

Summary of Lessons learnt!

– Its where you sleep that makes the trip!
– Research thoroughly! Don’t trust what people who “just want to help” say, know yourself what is best for you to do.
– Smile, nod, politely decline, never just ignore. If you are nice to them in return they will be less forceful and hostile to you.
– Don’t give into beggers (i know its hard).

I plan to write my next post about Train travel in India and Jaipur….. whenever i get the chance!

Thanks for reading!



Seoul – Soul of Asia!

South Koreas Capital and Largest City.

A city with a long history!
i was lucky enough to be there during the annual lantern festival, where 30,000 colored
lanterns floated on the water along the 1.3-kilometer stream in the middle of the city.

The lanterns depict various aspects of korean history and culture, as well as other countries cultures,
including Philippines and Japan!

All in all, Great time!
Next stop: India!

Dynamic Busan!

South Koreas southern port and second largest city.

The first port of call of my latest travels.
1 hour 30 minute flight from Osaka – i reckon thats my shortest flight yet!

It feels good to be traveling again! 😛

Random Facts:

On an average day in Busan there is:
1,099 tons of fishery products caught,
466 crime related incidents
51 marriages and 23 divorces,
63 births with 52 deaths!

(numbers provided by : )

Sayonara Osaka

Self PortraitA

who has just finished his working holiday visa in Japan!

Sayonara Osaka!

Japan is my third country to complete a working holiday visa (first being Australia and second NZ).

It is also the country where i got my hands on a DSLR camera! The Nikon D40, and i have been learning as much as i can when i can.

I’ve also had alot of regrets since starting to learn photography – mainly wishing i had started sooner, All those places and moments previously that could have been captured….

Oh well! Will make up for it from now on!

Over the next 9 weeks i will be heading to a number of destinations around Asia, hoping to implement my newly found motivaton for photography and build on skills i started in Japan.

So, Wish me luck! 😛


Some types of photography attempted so far:

Long Exposure

CityscapeLong Exposure


High Speed Photography

High Speed Water shot

Landscape Photography

And Capturing sunsets!

Goodbye and Goodnight Osaka!

Making Use Of Negative Space

Effectively using negative space

After my last post i felt i needed to re-assert myself as an amateur Photographer who is progressing and gaining new knowledge and skills with every shot.(here’s hoping!)

So, This is my attempt at an artistic shot that has depth and….. emotion….. i guess….
I read an article on hongkiat – – that stated ‘negative space often adds interest as it can place a stronger emphasis on the subject and it can evoke emotions effectively’

Ive been wanting to photograph my boots, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try.

I’ve had these boots for a while now, but sadly there time is coming to an end…
They were a gift to me from my father nearly 4 years ago, and since then they have been with me through alot of journeys.
I had them when i walked along the GWOC, while i was working on Mt. Taranaki in NZ, and during my time running a hostel in Sydney,
They were strapped to the side off my backpack in India (too hot to wear boots!), and more recently, they’ve been with me while i was training to be a mechanic in Japan.

They are now, however, falling apart, and i made the decision to leave them behind for my next trip. (Hence this photo, to commemorate them)

Its strange how attached you get to things, inanimate objects that you don’t think twice about until they can’t be used anymore. Now i have to make do with my AirWalk trainers ….. which probably won’t last very long.

So! create negative space and keep the subject the focus of the shot?? …. nifty 50!

I wasn’t sure where would be best to focus on to be honest. My favourite after a few shots is the one at the beginning of the post – i like the tread being in focus and the bokeh on the far boot. But, i also took one focusing on the far boot.
Using Negative Space
Let me know what you think, and how i did to ‘place a stronger emphasis on the subject and evoke emotions effectively’.

Camera: Nikon D5100
Lens: 50mm F/1.8
Shutter: 0.05 sec (1/20)
ISO: 100

Photoshop Cs5 to convert to B&W and Sharpen with ‘unsharp mask’


Ok… I have a confession to make….. sometimes….. i might…. maybe…. kind of…. definitely…. use the Auto function to get the exif data of a shot i want to take, and then go back to manual for the final shot, making the shutter speed abit quicker to compensate for the overexposing that ‘auto’ tends to do

What can i say….. its a learning curve….

So! I’m curious, Does anybody else have any quick hints and tips for getting the shot they’re looking for?

Camera: D5100
Lens: 50mm f/1.8
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320)
ISO Speed: 400


Camera:     Nikon D40
Exposure:     0.002 sec (1/500)
Aperture:     f/10.0
Focal Length:     55 mm
ISO Speed:     800