Sunday, March 22, 2009

Recent Road Trips

The following entries are a small sampling of our recent road trips. We're so fortunate and thankful to have a car and driver which makes it possible to leave the city for these short little jaunts.

March 21, 2009
2 hours to the north... Fraser Hill

Sam and I ventured out of KL once again. This time we headed 2 hours north and explored the wonderfully weird little highland town of Fraser Hill. We not only enjoyed hiking jungle trails, but also savored the cool mountain air while having coffee and shortbread on the veranda of a beautiful English cottage all the while listening to the sweet sounds of the town's over 250 recorded species of birds and the call to prayer from a local mosque! After several hours of trekking around the jungle and town, we finished the day by dining with the locals at a quaint Chinese restaurant just off the main square.
The center of town...By the way, to get to Fraser Hill, we traveled on the only road into town, The Gap, a one lane former mule train road that is open on odd hours for going up and even hours for coming down.

Ye Old Smokehouse- built in 1924 by the English Red cross as a gift to surviving dependents of soldiers who had lost their lives in WWI. Today, the Tudor style house is a hotel and restaurant. It was a photographer's dream...and it's my dream to be a photographer!

Having coffee at the Smokehouse with our new friends, Elizabeth and Auden. They recently moved to KL from Washington D.C.

Looking into one of the Smokehouse guest rooms..wish these windows could talk!

Wild beauty spotted along one of the jungle trails we hiked.

March 14, 2009
2 hours to the south...Melaka

Our first major road trip was to Melaka. Melaka was once a thriving port...had an important role in the spice trade which prompted the Portuguese, Dutch, and British to successively colonize it. Today the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first protestant church in Malaysia. It was constructed by the Dutch using the bricks that had been used as ballast in the ships that sailed from Europe.

St Paul's Church...the first Christian church in Malaysia. It was built by the Portuguese in 1521.

Jalan Hang Jebat, formerly known as Jonkers Street...a colorful shopping street in Chinatown just across the square from Christ Church.

The Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia. It was built in 1646.

Lunch! Chicken rice balls..a specialty of Melaka :)
My next goal will be to post complete albums of all of our snapshots on Shutterfly. With any luck and a little determination, I'll have that done before we take our next road trip. "Selemat jalan" for now!


Robyn said...

Hey, Tracey!

Terry asked me to stop by your blog to offer advice about camera equipment...I'm more than happy to share! I'm not sure what you are currently shooting with or what your price range is so I'll make a couple of suggestions.

First off, I see that you are interested in becoming a professional photogapher and you already do great work, so I assume that you own a digital SLR. If by some chance you don't (because point & shoot cameras are getting better and better) then I strongly recommend getting one. You just simply cannot become a professional photographer without one. You can't even take photography classes without one.

One of the main questions people ask me about equipment is whether to buy Canon or Nikon. The answer is . . . it all depends on what you learned on. If you haven't worked with a SLR before, see what feels the best to you when you look at them in the store. They are both great products and you can't go wrong with either. There are a million professionals that swear by each brand, so get the one that feels right to you. I happen to be a Canon girl because that is what I learned on, so I can only offer advice on specific Canons. And, I happen to love Canon . . . seems to be more user friendly to me.

If you're just starting out with a SLR and don't have a lot of money in the budget, go for the latest version of the Rebel (think it's the Xsi?) I started out with a Rebel and loved it . . . still use it when I don't want to carry the big guns out to personal event stuff. It's very light weight and small compared to the other cameras and it's very reasonably priced . . . you can get one for just a little bit more than a great point and shoot. It also offers great quality, especially for the price.

If you're beyond the Rebel stage and the budget is friendly, I would recommend the 40D. I don't own this camera but a good friend of mine who is a photographer does and she loves it. It does everything mine does, but it has a built in flash, which is great in certain instances. It has a the highest ISO possible, is super fast, with high mega pixels and great quality. She hasn't found anything about it that she doesn't like.

I shoot with with the Canon 5D. It's what a lot of professional photographers shoot with because it offers great quality but is one step down from Canon's digital version of a medium format camera. It has everything I listed above for the 40D except for the built in flash, which is the possible downside of the 5D for someone learning. I always use a separate flash, so I don't really miss the built in flash. Of course, all the other cameras I mentioned allow for an off camera flash to be used. The other downside of the 5D is that you'll drop an easy $2000 to buy it and if you're just learning, that may be too much of an investment right off the bat. It's definitely a camera for someone who is a serious photographer - either serious ameteur or professional. Don't know what stage you're at, so you may be ready for the big guns!

As far as flashes, buy SunPac. They're cheap and work better and longer than Canon flashes.

As far as lenses go, keep what you photograph the most in mind when buying lenses. If you do mostly landscape, scenic stuff, a lens that has a wide angle is necessary. If you do a lot of portraits, a 50mm is great. If you do a lot of action, something with a low apeture is ideal. Spend the most money on the lens that fits your need best and buy cheaper lense for the other stuff. My favorite lens in my bag is my 24-105mm lens. It's my everyday lens and I couldn't live without it. I love my 50mm and my 70-300mm is okay too . . . it's my least favorite. The more expensive the lens is, the faster and sharper it will be. Buy what your budget allows and if you find that you love the mm range on it, save for an expensive one like it down the road . . . it will be a worthwhile investment.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other specific questions . . . I'm more than happy to help! Good luck with everything. Your travels sound amazing. Wish I could take my camera along with you!

Robyn said...

Hello again! If the Canon feels the best in your hands, then buy it and don't worry about what you MIGHT be missing with the Nikon. At the end of the day, you'll never know what you might have missed with the Nikon and I promise you will be very pleased with the results of the Rebel. The Rebel is a wonderful camera and I think you'll really enjoy it. It will offer everything you need to learn on and is the perfect camera to start out with. Enjoy!