A Room With A View – 2

A Room With A View In Downtown Ho Chin Minh City

I was already a happy chappy when the front desk informed they are upgrading me to a higher end room, I was even happier when I stepped into the room and noticed the beautiful view of downtown Ho Chin Minh City framed by the large window area with a vermilion lounge chair set next to it and a lovely looking floor lamp by the side. Another great setting for a ‘room with a view’ shot to add to the series, I thought. Well, yes, but it took a few days (I had the luxury of biding my time as I was on a long stay at the hotel) and a couple of attempts to get the right balance of lighting between the external surroundings and within the room for a proper balanced exposure, while at the same time finding sufficient drama in the sky for an interesting and moody shot, before I was happy with the outcome. Hope it works for you ūüôā

Ho Chin Minh City is certainly developing fast with already a number of landmark high rise buildings dotting the downtown skyline, more are expected to join the club soon by the looks of the numerous high rise construction projects happening all round.

Photo: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 23mm



A Rear View


Are you one of them who pays similar attention to what lies ahead as well as what lies behind when out¬† exploring and photographing? Good for you if you are of this disposition, as for myself, I am guilty on many occasions to tend to pay more attention and focus on what lies before rather than behind me, perhaps it is our innate primordial instinct to continually seek the ‘unknown’ (think adventure) as a matter of priority rather than deliberate on what we have traversed and know. And if not for a quick glance at the rear view mirror to visually check on how my daughters were doing at the rear seat, I would have missed this glorious sunset evening scene setting completely as we drove along the western coastal road of Yakushima Island. I slowed down and pulled over further down the road, set up my camera and walked back towards the tunnel to a point I could nicely frame and get the shot I wanted. It certainly pays to keep an eye on what’s at the back from time to time as we go forward, we may just find an angle or framing, a different perspective of a subject or scene for some better or more interesting shots, or something altogether different, which we have not thought of or observed earlier.

Photo: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 35mm




My Favourite View Of The Taj Mahal

The Magnificent Taj Mahal Mausoleum From The Main Gateway

On a cool hazy Saturday morning, I step into the Taj Mahal estate from the Eastern Gate. After going through security check, the majestic and imposing Main Gateway gradually beckons on my right as I walk towards the center of the square. Built from sandstone, with intricate Arabic calligraphy from the Holy Quran and motifs made by semi-precious stones inlaid in the white marble of entwined flowers, leaves and vines spiraling down and adorning its niches, the Main Gateway is an outstanding piece of architecture in itself, and intimates to the visitor something greater and monumental awaits and lies beyond.

‘Woooooow!’ flash across my mind as I take the first few steps into the Main Gateway and behold the Taj Mahal Mausoleum¬†framed by the pointed arch doorway leading into the Gardens. Lit by diffused early morning sunlight from the east, highlights and shadows accentuate its form, structure and depth of architecture beautifully against a light blue sky backdrop. I am amaze by its simplicity, yet timeless, majestic and pristine beauty, in remarkable condition still after all these years (except for the ongoing restoration works to the front right minaret and part of the rear left section) since its completion 363 years ago, taking 22 years in its construction. The remarkable and (spiritually?) inspired genius of the team of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, in exploiting a symmetrical design and proportion for coherence and uniformity, the exquisite level of engineering and craftsmanship culled from the best artisans and working with the finest and exotic materials at their disposal at the time has magically turned solid ivory white marble into an amazing and timeless work of art and beauty.

I remain at this spot for a good 45 mins or so, to enjoy the view before me and to capture an image that do it justice. Not an easy task as I have to frame/shoot handheld (note that no large (camera) bags/tripods are allowed in the Taj Mahal) while raising the camera slightly above the crowd as visitors keep streaming in to experience the magnificent view before proceeding to the Gardens and the Mausoleum. Out of all the images, I like the final image posted here for a few reasons:¬† 1) the woman’s walk and posture which leads one into the image hints at the spectacular spectacle she is seeing and experiencing before her, corroborated by other visitors within her proximity in various poses with some snapping away¬† 2)¬†visitors further afield hints at the popularity and interest in this architecture masterpiece and gives a sense of proportion and scale of the Mausoleum and¬† 3)¬†a¬†pair of birds¬†flying playfully¬†above symbolises emperor Shah Jehan and his queen, Mumtaz Mahal, undying love and marital devotion to each other lives on to the present day.

Photo: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 23mm