Travel Photography of Cats in Melaka

I went on a Melaka trip with a good buddy a couple of years back. It was my first time exploring in this artistically UNESCO historical city of Malaysia – the city has numbers of beautiful wall murals, good contrast of colors, the morning light was extremely beautiful. Of course being me who likes to explore around, adventuring around a city truly excites me.

Travel photography is perhaps one of the most difficult subjects to do in all photography. Travel photographer needs to have a very good eye to see the environment differently.  My goal in travel photography is always to do my best to capture the best view i can in general, within the given time frame i had. Not forgetting to savor many delicious local foods and visiting popular attractions.

There are so many beautiful and captivating pictures to share about Melaka city, and to share it all at one go might not be too digestible to you. I have decided to break it down into portions for your to enjoy what i had captured on camera.

If you are similar to me, that like cats. This is the perfect blog post to read on for travel photography tips.

Cat photography is one of the most fun subjects to photograph. There are so many different ways to take really amazing cat pictures. From what i have generally observed, most people would take pictures of cat from a top down angle, or squat down to make the picture. Some will use the zoom in function to do a close-up shot of the cat.

I am going to share some cat pictures in Melaka that i have captured. Further sharing with you about some cat photography tips – the method or thinking process when capturing these fluffy little cats.

I was roaming in the street and was surprised to come across these group of cats behind a gate. All of them were looking at one direction with their head in parallel with their body position. I simply got no clue what they were staring at, hope is not something scary that i can’t see. Anyway, the gate grill opening was suitable for most of my lenses to poke through. I quickly changed to a fixed focal length of 50mm lenses. I made a gentle squishy noise to get their attention, four of these cats turned their head around and i quickly made many frames from it. Their expression seems to have the same serious look, maybe annoyed because i had disturbed their focus on “something”. I love how that ginger cat hiding behind the gray cat with it head peeping up to glimpse at me. The background wasn’t too messy which is a bonus. The environmental colors were a bit flat because of the lighting condition, but this makes the group of cat stand out really great in this picture.

St. Paul’s Church is another sightseeing venue in Melaka, i was surprised to see many cats “station” up on the knoll. This picture is the church ruin interior. I saw this cat was sitting on the ground looking around, not be too concern about the flow of the crowd. Instead of doing close up, i did an interior picture with the cat relaxing in the foreground, to showcase the height of the place and how small the size of the cat was. Maybe i shall title it as “Cat relaxing in St. Paule’s Church”.

There were quite a few kittens been very playful. Judging from the size it must have been a few months old in this world. Been curious about their new environment and flexing their agile nature is these little creature’s innate. Is very rare for me to see kitten climbing up a tree in Singapore. But here, the cats were truly a Kampong cat – chasing and pawing each other. It was a wonderful sight to witness these little creatures in their most natural behavior. For the photography part, i will observe the habit of this cat before taking pictures. I need to understand their movement, then pre visualize what to do before i spring into action. In this case, the cat were moving quite fast. I need to have a faster shutter speed to get a sharp frame. I saw this kitten loves climbing up the old wooden pillar, it went up and jumped down, then went up again. Such a playful little one. So i position myself and hope for the kitten to make its next jump, and it did! I quickly capture many frames and different compositions. For this picture, i love the depth behind which showcase the stone slabs in the background. I like the overall  balance of  shadow and lighting. The raw bricks on the left frame were probably smeared with a layer of concrete, showing much age of this 15th-century church. The color were rather brownish which is very balance. I feel a large print of this picture would truly justify the quality of this cat in action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing the cats and kittens running around with such great mood. This cat went into the shallow drainage for a little adventure. I quickly went forward, get down really low to make some pictures. Surprisingly this curious cat suddenly popped its body out of the drain, standing on the hind legs looking at the camera. I would be disappointed if i miss such a rare moment. Look at this, the cat was making an eye contact with the camera for a moment. Its right paw was resting on the surface maybe to balance itself. Maybe i can title this “Portrait of a Melaka cat”

The last one was this fluffy small kitten flushing its body parallel with the ground. It seems scared. I used a telephoto lens, standing further away not to scare the little creature. I put my camera between the drain, switching on the live view function to get this shot. I was in a very awkward position to take a picture, luckily no one was around to see my silly position. I love this shallow depth of field. The focus is on the kitten’s face. Sadly the cat looks either too scare or was hungry, it has this death stare.

I hope you like the story and my very own cat photography tips of these amazing animal.

Check out my travel photography website gallery for more of Melaka stock/travel images.

If you like this post do support me with a “like”, share my post to people who love taking pictures of cats. Feel free to leave a comment below as well. I would love to interact with you. Or ya subscribe to my post too!

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Travel Collection – 3 in Sri Racha

How i learnt about Sri Racha was back in 2007, i was still learning the rope of the photography industry, more interested in the commercial aspect. I was asked to assist a photographer who is going to have an assignment in Thailand. It was my first time going to Thailand, was very excited about it at that point of time. Later i learnt we were going to Sri Racha to work for a few days. Where the hell is that??? That was then my first intro to the subdistrict town in the eastern part of the country.

Many years later, back in 2011 (has it been so long already). I travelled back to the less crowded town to pay a visit to my local friend. I took the opportunity to wander around as a tourist, more chill not too focus on making pictures. I did later transformed into a photographer mode and start my ‘hunt’.

Portrait of a local kid

Portrait of a local boy

Portrait of a young girl

Even thought my three subjects are children, i still treat them with respectful manner, more funky approach as well. Bear in mind good manner will influence others to be courteous and polite as well.

I approached each of them with a friendly smile, and with my fascinating broken Thai language, hand gesture was more universal at that point of time. Trying to engage with the kid for a while before i try to take pictures. I usually visualise how i want the picture to turn out, rather than pondering about how to compose the picture. Because i am not in a controlled environment, i never know what is going to happen next, the kid can suddenly dash off , or the parent calling for them. Is better for me to do it asap than been draggy, if the child still hang around, i can continue to take more pictures.

One tips to get their smile, is  to show the children their pictures on the LCD screen, they love it, their smile will appear if they did not smile initially. This method never goes wrong for me so far. Once that smile break open, quickly capture more pictures while they are smiling from the heart. You got yourself some great pictures.

Feel free to check out other of my travel collection articles.

1 in Beijing

2 in Bangkok

Travel Collection – 1 in Beijing

Travel Collection is a group of photos from various travel trip i did in Asia countries.  I decided to select my favourite pictures, open up another folder in my website and put my favourite all together. Photoshelter function allows me to seamlessly handle large number of images in a breeze. The purpose for this blog is to share why do i make this particular image and how do i approach towards the subject during travel in other countries.

Portrait of an old lady 

I was exhausted after squeezing and exploring around the Temple of Heaven, Beijing. I headed to the park within the premises. Taking my time to rest and enjoy the lush of lighted greenery that embraced me. This old lady sat beside me, one bench away. Somehow we started chatting a bit through my mandarin language and their own Chinese dialect, i always love to have a conversation with a kind and good stranger. She was all smiling and laughing, you know the sunshine personality. I thought she would make a good portrait picture for my travel documentation,

She was already unreserve and relax, i asked her permission whether can i take her photograph? She agreed, wooohoooo! I took out my trusty long lens and started shooting. While am still making minor conversation to make it even more natural. I only asked her to look at the camera, and she was smiling all the way.

There was a generous depth in the background behind her. Technically is easier to isolate the background in order for the subject to stand out in it best. When people look at the picture, the focus is immediately on her, the greenery background became an aid to the overall composition.

I thought surrounded by greenery is a natural luxury.

‘Snap, Snap, Snap’

Check my LCD and was content with the outcome.

I really love that smile reflected on her facial expression, being positive and cheerful at her age. Is like an indication that her life is much peaceful. I showed her the picture and asked whether she likes it? We continued chatting a bit more before i headed for my next destination.

Camera setting
Focal length: 94mm
ISO: 800
Aperture: F/5
Shutter Speed: 1/250

Let me know if this is helpful, as i intend to write more (to improve my writing) of my experience to share with like minded photographers so that your can gain something as well.

Drafting pictures of Gardens by the Bay

My goal is to capture beautiful cityscape picture of Gardens by the Bay. Is not aim to take part in future photo competition or show everyone how good i am. Is more important to share my image experience of what i see. Is also very important to polish my visionary, pushing my creative level.

Landscape photography require a lot of time and patience. Am not an utmost expert in this field. Anyone can easily shoot a decent landscape picture if the weather is welcoming. But the respect must be given to photographer who spend an enormous amount of time to capture that final captivating image. So i put myself in the shoe of a landscape photographer, visiting the place several times, or years to get that final shot. Patience and passion plays a big part of success.

Below is a series of images i capture over several days during evening time. I particularly choose this timing is because i wanted to capture the magic hour moment, where the transformation is almost magical and amazing. It only happens for a few minutes, hence, such moment is very precious.

The above images are some of my favorite, but is not the final picture representation.

For more pictures you can check out my Facebook page to see more.

Hope you like it.

Air pollution in Beijing

We have been reading news of Beijing suffering from air pollutions in recent years. Latest report indicate that there is a drop of China’s tourism since the smog takes toll. China has seen sharply fewer tourists in 2013 due to the worsening of air pollution, partly to blame for themselves.

Water and air pollution from factories and cars is the outcome of successful economic development. It is difficult to control because it is different or politically infeasible to identify responsible parties. Excuses?

I visited Beijing back in 2009 during Oct period. It was good a year after the 2008 summer Olympics. The air was clean, the sky was blue most of the time, simply beautiful. Admired at various sightseeing location to capture many wonderful Beijing travel photography images. Below am going to share the beautiful outdoor scenery i came across with unforgettable memory.

I wouldn’t mind going back to Beijing for further visit in future, but judging from the current condition and very little effort by the people to curb the pollution situation. I guess the smog is going to hover on the sky for a very long time.

Capture Asia – Goodbye 2012

It was a decent year for Capture Asia despite a poor economy outpour globally. Many companies engaged in-expensive photographers to lighten their tight budget. Regardless the quality of their portfolio. Sad to say this is the reality and the real world is rough. Am not dishearten by the fact. Life got to move on regardlessly.

Capture Asia will be offering affordable stock images of Singapore next year, an addition service to various international/local publication, especially in Asia. We also can shoot upon request if client required specific images. Giving a more exclusive usage than buying an image that has been used or published before.

The company recently invested in a medium format camera and digital back. I feel there is a need to upgrade and polish my photographic skill, and bring high quality images for my client. Medium format camera is usually use for advertising for professional and very rich hobbyists. Am going to use this camera for most of my commercial job next year. Will post more details of it next time.

Below are some of the portfolio i work on in 2012, regardless of commercial, documentary and travel photography.

A corporate photography for a client in Singapore.

An interior photography for local client from Japan’s office.

A lifestyle photography for a business client.

An editorial/lifestyle photography for students winning award of their product

An annual report photography for an European ship company.

Event photography for G-STAR RAW with various celebrities attending.

Asia travel photography in Nepal, more to come.

A short story coverage of Earth Hour 2012 event for WWF Singapore.

Chinese Guardian Lion is a documentary series photography that is on-going.

THank you for your time reading and support all this while. Ricky Gui sincerely wish everyone a fantastic Happy New Year. Enjoy and take care. See you in 2013!

Christmas period in Saigon, Vietnam 2012

One of the reason i jetted to Saigon is because i want to have a sunny Christmas celebration with my local friends. Singapore has been raining for the past 2 months due to monsoon season. The feeling of dull and wet every afternoon is not a pleasurable feeling. Christmas has always a slow period for me in the past years. Staying at home watching tv, i don’t need to go church either. Is rather unimaginative.

My friend in Saigon tempted me with the best Cơm tấm (broken rice) in the city, this is also one of the reason i decided to fly over to eat. Is the most expensive broken rice i ever eaten, if your know what i mean. But it was all well worth it in the end. The rice was easy to chew on with a nice fragrance over it, the grilled pork was cooked with their speciality sauce to enhance the overall taste of the meet, the smell of the grilling was simply luring. Overall it was a very well balance meal with the necessary local kimchi style vegetable that goes with it, not forgetting the soup that goes along without fail. Perfectlicious~


The crazy traffic in Saigon was beyond my imagination, i lived there before and i thought i had seen it all. But not during the festive season. The evening traffic during Christmas eve at the round about in Ben Thanh Market is too congested. The humility was exhausting with all the carbon monoxide from the hundreds to the thousands lingered in the air of Christmas’s spirit. The usual of giving and going way on the road is something i got used to it. The horning from trucks and buses gave me some annoying moment as usual.

In my Capture Asia’s Facebook page, feel free to check out the short clips of me stuck on the road and the crazy traffic in Ben Thanh Market round-about road.

Hello 01102012 – Hello Beijing 2009

A really fresh Monday on the first day of Oct 2012, first blog of the month. Earlier on i was browsing through the Facebook newsfeed and saw a nice image of trees with reddish leaves against the beautiful blue sky, indicating a sign of Autumn is here. The image immediately stirs thoughts of my Beijing travel photography journey in 2009. The fallen essence of time brings back an unforgettable memory.

I was lucky enough to couch in 2 different friend’s house in my entire duration. I can’t be grateful enough to them to host a city boy from Singapore. Been able to witness and directly experience the local culture atmospheric. The best way to blend in as local is to hang out with the Beijinger. This is my personal style of self-environmental adaption in a new city.

It’s been exactly 3 years now. As i planned on an affordable and good comfort tickets price. I was transiting from Hong Kong to Beijing. In all about 7-8 hrs in total. Upon landing, due to the engine heat from the plane. It wasn’t that cold once i step foot on the airport runway. I was quickly ushered into a lengthy bus, which will ferry passengers to the immigration counter. The rest was history.

I took the designated bus out from Beijing capital international airport. Following the direction instructed by my friend previously, taking the bus in overseas was no easy experience for most first time visitors. Luckily the bus had an electronic signboard to inform passenger what is the name of the next bus-stop, this makes my life easier and relax.

Alighted at the designated stop. I was welcomed by a chill of coldness. The weather in Oct was ranging from 5-15 degree Celsius, it was relatively a very comfortable temperature. Minutes later, i realized i was in middle of nowhere at all! The traffic kept flowing along the road, the long and narrow shelter bus stop was too cramped for me to squeeze in. I pulled my luggage to walk for a short 10 meter to get myself orientated in this city. It was about 8 pm, the sky was dark. I quickly called my host am here, she did not pick up. Unzipped my luggage to take out my jacket to keep me warm. Coldness and loneliness quickly creep in, my host’s mobile phone was able to get through. I looked at my paper map, thinking that if my host did not show up, i would head to the nearest hotel to check in. About 20 mins of waiting, it seems like an hour. My host finally appears, with a welcome arm and big smile, i knew the trip has just begun.

Here are some highlights of the places i visited.


A Chinese military police standing guard in Tian An Man Square with a big portrait of Mao Zedong behind him.


An art installation of a man standing on a small jeep in Beijing 798 art zone


Local tourist taking inside Temple of Heaven at Danbi Bridge


An architecture image of the National Centre for the Performing Arts during sunset.


Beautiful architecture of Bird Nest stadium in Beijing


A local visitor observing the panda sleeping on the tall tree.


The original state of Great Wall of China. Simply historical.

Lastly, i would like to wish everyone enjoy this season autumn. Stay warm and cool. *winks*

Composition tip #1

Robert Capa once said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” This statement to me weighs a lot of importance, a good picture, or a poor picture does depend how close one can get close.

In event such as seminar, conference, sport photography, Photographer is require to get a close up image of the person expression or the athletics in action. It create an visual impact for the viewer, understanding and feeling the person emotion or the dedication and explosiveness of their body of the athletics.

For street photography, beginners and some most amateurs i observe would deploy a telephoto lenses. Secretly, sneakily to snap the moment without disturbing the subject. Hoping for the best result. A wide angle lenses would capture the entire scene, usually a landscape and cityscape.

For me, i choose the specific tool that is needed for the shoot. Even if my lenses doesn’t zoom in enough, or not wide to an extend. Usually it will not pose any problem for the professional, depending on the location and situation.

I was in Dalat, Vietam for a short holiday few weeks back. I only brought a 24mm and 50mm prime lenses. As i wanted my visit to keep it as light as possible, so it will not cause me much fatigue for my leisure trip. Yet as an Asia travel photographer, visiting a new place is always exciting. No matter what must shoot, talk about occupation hazard.

I was wandering around the Dalat Cathedral church, i spotted this scene where people making their prayer inside. I was captivated by the beautiful warm light falling through the window inside the church, the lady closest to me was wearing a green jacket. Giving it some contrast in the scene. Immediately i frame it nicely and took a shot.

Picture #1

However 1 picture is not enough, i quickly look through my review panel, instantly knew it was not a great image. I quickly move close to get a better image that already form a visualization in mind.

Picture #2

See the different? Am not really a big fan of cropping in photoshop. As much as possible everything is frame nicely through my viewfinder. I choose to move in closer to get the final picture i want. I hope the quote and my illustration help.

Hope you like what i wrote. If you have question do drop me a message. Cheers!

Happy International Women’s Day in Vietnam

International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements. Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc. In many regions, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

I’ll learn about International Women’s Day when living in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam 1 year ago. I have never, ever hear about such special occasion. Learning from my friend that there is such celebration. I understand women or company female co workers would buy flowers, arrange it nicely to present it as a lovely gift. Well most women love flowers, aren’t they?

Abundance of flowers in the Flower Market.

7th March 2011, i followed my friends to the Flower Street in Saigon in the early evening. Soaking into the atmosphere of this warming celebration in Vietnam. Muscling my way carefully through the hard-pressed streets. Witnessing my Vietnamese’s friend deeply involved in buying beautiful and fresh flowers at the Flower Street in Saigon. Making sure she got the best price and the freshest flowers she wanted. Hence i took this opportunity to capture the vibrant street images there.

Congested road at flower street in Saigon, too many motorcycles going in 2 different directions.

A busy florist

Probably is one of those days where business are blooming for most of the florist vendors. Doing all their best to pull in more sales from the visiting customers. Of course not every stalls will be flood with customers. Some stalls are extremely crowded, maybe is the quality of flowers or the competitive pricing they are offering. Some stalls were were rather quiet, maybe is the location or visitors yet to venture deep inside the market.

The 2 flower sellers happen to be biting their fingers, or eating something. But looks like a nerve wrecking moment to me.

A vietnamese flower vendor trimming the flowers for customer.

A vietnamese lady doing her flowers shopping in the Flower Market.

Night scene of Flower Street market. Can witness many vietnamese women buying flowers to prepare for International Woman’s Day.

Lastly, wish all my female friends a very Happy International Women’s Day. *MUACKS*