Tag Archives: Indonesia

Riding the Light

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A lady sitting on the floor of a market in Bantul, Jogjakarta

I was in Jogjakarta, Indonesia for a few days in mid-November last month. Hanging out at Kota Gede with my local photographer friend, Romeography of Studio 76. We planned to wander aimlessly around the east part of Jogjakarta with our cameras.

It was already the beginning of monsoon season here in Southeast Asia … and I was pretty sure that the sky would be dull and the light would be challenging in Jogjakarta too, as the raining season is here to stay until at least towards the end of January next year

After a few failed attempts to hunt for sunrises and sunsets, we decided not to waste our time wandering around hunting for gorgeous landscape anymore… we were out on the street focusing on human interest instead.

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Plaosan temple at sunset

We hang around markets mingling with locals selling all sorts of daily items. We snuck around a group of people selling roosters or cocks for the gamecocks or cockfights. Uh … scary sight of bleeding roosters fighting for its life.

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Spontaneous gamecocks

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6-months old  rooster was for sale at rp600,000

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Caged birds were for sale

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Mbah Madio selling palm tree sugar at a market in Bantul, Jogjakarta

Wandering around with motorbike hunting for subjects and lights has its pros and cons. Other than the pain in the butt (from sitting on a small seat for too long), it was also the risk of getting wet from the rain.

But … it was the easiest way to move around from point A to point B without having to worry about the condition of our routes plus we can just park the bike anywhere we wish. Talking about convenience right …

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The horses of Malioboro street were having their morning bath here at a river near Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Hunting for light at the nearby bridge in Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Farmers along side of the road in Bantul, Jogjakarta

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Spent a few hours here at Pak Sugiman’s workplace at Putat Village, Gunung Kidul, Jogjakarta

Well … the rain doesn’t stop me from achieving my primary goal for this trip lol … which was to have a stress free moment chasing the light. I had a great time … getting close and personal with my subjects, good food and good companion all the way … ahhh I couldn’t ask for more, alhamdullilah.

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My closing sunset for this trip. A dramatic sunset due to the unpredictable weather

We are planning for more future trips to explore more of the landscape surrounding Jogjakarta … maybe after the monsoon season is over. Who knows … In Sha Allah

And …. life goes on and on … and I am learning throughout the journey. Learning to be grateful for each moment that Allah presented to me. Learning to see and accept people as who they are. Learning to love every soul that cross path my journey … and letting go the one that decided to venture out of my path. People changed … a heart changed.

“Oh Allah, please ease my path. Guide my iman. Guide my every single actions. Guide me to love for Your sake. Protect what is in my heart. What lies in the future, only You know. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, Most Merciful and Most Gracious.”

Bye for now,

Cheers

MM


Wandering Soul

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Sulaiman: Danau Tarusan Kamang, Agam, Sumatera, Indonesia

New places always excite me.

I could spend hours just wandering and observing my surrounding for something to learn from or just something to look at. Sharing 5 of my favorite portraits that whenever I look at it … I felt like packing my bag and start wandering on the street again.

Pic above: Sulaiman, our local talent posing for me with his fish cages. Danau Tarusan Kamang is a natural pond that seemed to have a mind of its own mind. It dried up and swelled up with water according to God knows whatever rules … I think it has something to do with its underground geographical structure.

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Mr Freedom: Bukit Tinggi, Sumatera, Indonesia

Pic above: Mr Freedom showing off his ‘freedom’ … tattooed hard on his chest. What a coincident since freedom is my all time favorite words lol.

Meeting strangers from all part of life while wandering around is an eye opening. I learned to listen well too. Stories about their day-to-day life which is most of the time would be an opposite story from mine.

Engaging a simple and sincere chat with strangers on the street came naturally to me too… I like it. And, I think that it would be rude for you to just showed up from nowhere and suddenly just click on your camera on somebody’s face.

Have some respect … kot.

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A woman from Karo Tribe: Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Pic above: My lady from Karo tribe of Omo Valley, Ethiopia posed with my colorful shawl. We were curious about each other lol.

I smiled whenever I saw this photo. She probably has never seen a shawl as colorful as mine in her life (Malaysian women wear colorful clothing at every chance that we have and we have a whole bundle of choices to choose from hu hu hu).  And, I envied her beads collection.

So, she wanted my colorful shawl for an exchange with her photos and I ended up having a series of her photos looking satisfied with our deal ;-P .

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Omak/ Mother: Bukit Tinggi, Sumatera, Indonesia

And, I personally think that it would be more satisfying to have some sort of connection with your subject. Especially when I am taking portraiture or faces on the street, I want to have meaning to a face that I would probably keep for a very long time in my external HDD.

Pic above: A loving mother that I met while wandering at one of the morning markets at Bukit Tinggi, Sumatera, Indonesia. We had a loving chat together … talking about her children and how lucky she was to be surrounded by her loved ones.

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Chacha: Northern Pakistan

And lastly, the chacha (uncle) that we met at one of our stops on our way to Skardu, Northern Pakistan. Strangers in this part of the world are rare. I never expected that we would be treated warmly.  it is true then … “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met”. (pls ignore the salt bottle on the table … lol)

I am feeling grateful … for the soul that decided to leave me, the soul that wander together hand-in-hand with me and the newly discovered soul that decided to stay … the best word to express my gratitude is alhamdullilah.

Bye for now.

Cheers,

MM

 

 

 

 


Beyond the Fog of Mt Bromo

Mt Bromo

Morning at Mt Bromo hmmm … dreamy!

I visited Mt Bromo at Probolinggo in East Java, Indonesia for the third time last July 2016. I heard from my friends that Mt Bromo was actively coughing off smokes out of its opened crater for the last few months … and I couldn’t resist the temptation for a quick weekend gateway.

We traveled in a very small group this time around. Just the three of us … leaving behind the rest of our “Sailangers” travel mate. I began to love traveling in a small group. Less drama and less need to socialize among us … which mean more time for observing and mingling around with the locals.

Tengger people of Probolinggo was celebrating their Yadnya Kasada festival that week and we intended to observe the ceremony. The ceremony was for the Tengger Hindus to express their gratitude to their believing Gods for good harvests and fortunes bestowed upon them.

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Dramatic sunset that afternoon … the drizzling rain brought along thick fogs

It rained during the 4 days of our stay at Cemoro Lawang, Probolinggo.  The last 2 days were a bit forgiving as we managed to catch morning sunrise before the fog and the rain started to concur the area.

The drizzling rain brought along thick and unpredictable fog that comfortably snuggled  Mt Bromo alley into a deep dreamy sleep. At first, I thought that I was cursed … but rain, fogs, clouds and smoky landscape are always been my favorite moment. The reason why I still love flying with my paramotor/ PPG buddy is because of this dreamy imagination that one day I might stumble into a beautiful thick clouds formation during our flying stint.

Well …  a sure challenge for a landscape or ‘chasing the light’ photographer when the sky is dark and the rain is dancing in the air. This is what I called … a lesson of letting go. Nature is teaching us to learn to let go … nature is beyond our human control and I need to learn to let go, this is not my moment yet. Full stop!

Once I decided to accept my fate … wallah! the sun start peeking out from the thick fogs … and presented us with a dramatic landscape view of Mt Bromo. Ahhhh … blessing in disguise  alhamdulilah … couldn’t ask for more. And … clicking the camera shutter once again … is an exciting thing to do 😛

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Us … looking for the best angle 😛

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Us … doing what we always do … shooting the target 😉

My DSLR is getting heavy and heavier lately … I blamed it on my ‘aging’ 😉 process . My heart still feels young and energetic but my shoulder started to crank up, my knee started to lose its vigor too … damn!

So … I bought a new tool for this trip … a Ricoh GR2 camera, a boxy old fashion looking dude with hmmm an acceptable image making ability. Pictures shared in this post were all taken from my boxy little Ricoh GR2 camera. Not bad for a small point and shoot camera …

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Smoky dramatic Mt Bromo taken with my boxy little Ricoh Gr2 dude

Life is full of wonder … and having a curious mind could always work wonder. Ahhh … I want more and more of this.

 

Bye for now

 

Cheers

MM

 

ps -“Creativity is intelligent having fun.” ~ Albert Einstein

 


A Muddy Business at Pacu Jawi, Tanah Datar

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“The journey itself is my home” ~ Lembah Anai waterfall, Jalur Padang

Pacu jawi or bull race is a popular photography event among photographers here. Pacu means the race speed and Jawi means cow.

When I told my (photographer) friend that I haven’t been to Pacu Jawi before they were puzzled. Every serious photographer that I know have been to Pacu Jawi in Tanah Datar, Pariangan, West Sumatera, Indonesia for at least once.

I need a quick short break from my routine life and rekindle with my traveling spirit lol … so, I signed up for the bull race event. I need to experience the adrenaline rush while shooting the bulls and the thrill of pressing the shutter button while on burst mode.

The subject is the same … the same group of jockey, the same bulls, the same location and the same ambience. They’ve shown me their photo version of Pacu Jawi , which by the way … look all the same to me 😛 … I can’t help but wondering on how am I to create my own unique version of Pacu Jawi photos … lol?

And … here are my version of Pacu Jawi bull race. Not bad huh … for a first timer

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A muddy business in Pacu Jawi, Tanah Datar

Bull Racing

And, this is the thrill … to capture the Jockey while he was bitting the bull’s tail

Wow … the feeling of shooting fast-moving Pacu Jawi or bull race is sensational. The bulls will run along the muddy paddy field while the jockey will do some tricks to excite the bulls, like bitting the bull’s tail or smacking the bull’s backside. Surprisingly the bull remained calm and composed, not going berserk over the crowd excitement.

And I ended up with hundreds and hundreds frame of the jockey and their bulls, I run amok with my shutter button 😛 … don’t ask me why, I got carried away by the thrilling moment.

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Pacu Jawi with its audience as a background

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A real muddy business here … yaiks!

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Mud splattered all around the place

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Side view of the muddy business

After all the running and chasing between the jockeys, the bulls and us the photographers lol, the bulls were treated with a cold shower under the sun.

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Bulls getting their cold shower under the sun

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Yaik … a pushy shower time moment

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Massage and tender loving time 😛 after the shower

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More shower time

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I’m loving it …

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Play time …

The main event for this trip was to shoot the famous Pacu Jawi and Indonesia has never failed to surprise me with its gems. The landscapes, the people, the food and the ambience has never failed to excite me. There would always be something for my curious eyes.

We started our journey at Padang, drove further up and spent a few nights in Bukit Tinggi before we proceed to Tanah Datar, Peranginan for the Pacu Jawi event. The weather when I was there was not that great for a landscaper. Occasional rain here and there created a gloomy ambience around Bukit Tinggi. I am just glad that I am a ‘rojak’ photographer … I will shoot anything that pleased my eyes … and the gloomy sky would never be a hindrance to me.

Despite the dingy mood, we had a great moment exploring Puncak Lawang, Malinjau, Bukit Tinggi while being surrounded by a thick mist … a mysterious and haunted thick mist hu hu hu.

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Misty landscape at Puncak Lawang Maninjau, Bukit Tinggi

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The afternoon light is sneaking behind the thick mist at Puncak Lawang

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I was mesmerized by the mist, lost in my own thought

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Wefie on top of Puncak Lawang

Here are some of my photos of lakes surrounding Agam, Kamang Magek, Bukit Tinggi during a cloudy and rainy afternoon.

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A buffalo looking up at me as I was enjoying my landscape

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A calm morning at the lake … my heart is at ease alhamdullilah

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Fishing activity around the lake

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Activities around the lake

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Afternoon light before the rain

And lastly, here is my video for the Pacu Jawi trip. I made this video for the fun of it … and I noticed that a good short video could be a great story-teller for my audience. I am currently learning on how to take a good video and to edit it to perfection. so, enjoy yeah …

Bye for now ….

 

Cheers

MM

 


Colors of love in Bromo

 

Cheritera Cinta Kita by Matsuda Mashimaru

Tales of Our Love Story

Me and Mt Mt Bromo

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

Prologue: It all started with me tagging along with two(2) of my childhood friends and we planned to test our friendship by joining a group of Malaysian and Singaporean photographers (total strangers). People said the best way to test the compatibility of your friendship is through surviving a tough trip together and comes out still emotionally intact.

This is my 2nd visit to Mt Bromo and I knew the fact that a photography trip is a tough trip for non photographers. Chasing sunset and sunrise at some odd places for 7 continuos days can really suck off your energy. We woke up as early as 2.30 am and battled for a comfortable sleeping spot inside the cramp van while still hilariously teasing at each other like children.

I am happy to announce that not only the three(3) of us passed the best friend forever (bff) test but … we fall “head over heal” in love with the rest of team too. Now I am part of the “Gang Penghambur Tegar Bromo” team. My lil sister Ruth Agatha wanted a drama  out of our photos during this trip but I want to make it clear that I am a tough girl and lovey dovey drama has never been in my element. But heck … I just give it a try. So, Geng Penghambur … this is session 1 of our “Cheritera Cinta Kita” and session 2 will continue during our Maiga Island trip next year.


 

There are all sort of love in this world. Every each of us seek different kind of love. Some found their true love, some still looking for their soulmate and some being traumatized and judged for the love that they have. We explored love for 7 days and found love among us.

Common Love: The Romeo and Juliet version of love. The lovey dreamy kind of love … yeah right! when we were so naive and immature 🙂 .

But at our adult age now, Romeo almost always seeks for new love and Juliet still seeks for the everlasting love oppps! I better just stick to the script. And, Romeo found his Juliet and they live happily ever after …. the end ZZzzzzZZzzzz.

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Common Love: This is where they met

And, their love confession looks like this

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And, their cat fight look like this … again and again … repeat this for 1001 times

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at 1002 times they made up again …

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And, they got married … they live happily ever after

Us having our brotherhood moment

And, they got seven(7) hyper active, noisy and chatty children

Us Having our brotherhood moment

Who love to explore the world to the core!!! ….. the End

Freedom to Love: Some seek for greater love … the love for Freedom.

Freedom to love God the Creator,  the ultimate owner of love and this whole universe. And, being able to express the act of devotion and love towards God publicly without being oppressed and judged.

Freedom to love other soul of your choice regardless of who and how they look like.  And, being able to express those love openly between each other without expectation, pride and ego attached.

Freedom to express our love towards ourselves without fear of being labelled. Free to be “IAmWhoIAM” ….

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Freedom to love life

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Freedom to love our creative self

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Freedom to love ‘time’ on our own

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Freedom to love yourself as a unique individual

And, lastly the Patriotic love, endless love for our country. Despite the nasty words thrown by those “toooot’ keyboard warriors, I still can feel the love towards our country in us. We celebrated Malaysian Day together on top of Mt Bromo. We had a few dedicated teachers in our group, they surely knew how to educate and spark the patriotic spirit among us.

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Patriotic Love

Patriotic Love

Patriotic Love

Patriotic Love

Patriotic Love

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Patriotic Love

Patriotic Love

Patriotic Love

Patriotic Love

Patriotic Love

Our love story ended with us yearning for more ‘love’ time together. And, till we meet again next year … stay cool and remain down to earth yeah my travel buddies … “Spread love every where you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier”- Mother Theresa

My childhood buddies

My childhood buddies

 

Cheers,

MM

p/s

  1. ZZZzzzZZzz I can’t believe that I am writing a post about ‘love’. It doesn’t feel right 😉 . Rasa nak muntah pun ada …. but since I already make my promise then I dedicated this post to Ruth Agatha.
  2. I will be in my hibernating mode again until my next trip. Gang Menghambur yang memory card tu corrupted, sabar lah menanti bila-bila I am in the right mood to sort out the photos and upload it to google drive. Sabar itu sebahagian dari iman 😉 and you can’t rush art he he he

 


Golden Hours in Lake Toba

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Hunting for early morning light in Lake Toba

During those days when my traveling mission was just to hunt for beaches, waterfalls or for just another gorgeous camp sites, I had a minimalist dream vacation. It was to have a simple holiday (me and my OJ aka orange juice 😉 ) in a secluded island (maybe around Mauritius, Maldives or Sipadan Island), in a hut located in the middle of an ocean where I can jump straight down to the sea from my hut’s  window and snorkel around the sea bed anytime that I want 24×7.  A total freedom …

I traveled to other places too but I noticed that I can see MORE when I traveled with fellow photographer buddies.  Photography taught me to spot,  stop and appreciate moment better than before. Like when I decided to join them for a weekend photography gateway to Lake Toba, I never thought that I could see more of Indonesia comparing to what I have already seen.

A brief fact about Lake Toba, Indonesia. It is the largest volcanic lake in the world. Located in the middle of Sumatera Island, Indonesia

We did our usual street photography around Lake Toba covering a few villages and markets. But, what struck me the most during this trip was the opportunity to witness and capture a lot of golden hour moments around the lake. It was a ‘priceless moment’ to witness. Sitting on top of the hill surrounded by endless space enjoying magic hours watching the light changes from daylight to night and from night to daylight again … just Subhanallah.

I managed to capture some good moments during that hour. Some I posted here and the rest of it you can view from my Zenfolio Toba Lake gallery (in high resolutions minus those big ugly watermark across my photos). To safe myself from any future headache, pictures posted here in my blog were all in low resolutions and stamped with ugly big watermark across it.

We drove further up from Tongging Village, stopped at the end of the road to nowhere and start trekking up and down a few hills to reach at this beautiful mesmerizing spot.  I don’t enjoy trekking that much especially if I need to carry along my camera equipment … but this spot worth all the efforts.

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Now, tell me who doesn’t want to be here?

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And, here?

Sunset sky around Lake Toba

And, the color of the sky during sunset was mesmerizing

Another side of the Lake during sunset

I didn’t manage to capture the ‘egg yolk’ sunset during that day but the golden yellow light at the end of the horizon was so beautiful … Subhanallah

It was at the end of a raining season when we were there, so we had a few drizzling during the days and some thunderstorm at nights … just perfect for a dramatic sunsets and sunrises.

I was not good at landscape photography then and I am still not mastering it well now. I am not aiming for being a perfectly “mastered” sifu in photography anyway but if through out my journey and experience I become good at it … then why not, it will be a blessed 🙂 alhamdullilah.  I will be joining a different group of photographer tomorrow for a 7 days photography trip to Bromo and Bali, Indonesia. Some of them are hardcore landscape photographers, maybe I can learn a thing or two from them on how to capture the perfect sunset, sunrise and milky way. Non stop learning … my kinda journey and loving it

And, my sunrise at Lake Toba for that day looked like these … 🙂

The first light peeping out from the horizon

The first light peeping out from the horizon

More lights started to emerge from the horizon. The cloud was a bit dramatic that day because of the expected thunder storm later that day

More lights started to emerge from the horizon. The cloud was a bit dramatic that day because of the expected thunder storm later of the day

We witnessed a dramatic sunrise for that day. Black and thick clouds with yellow filtered light

We witnessed a dramatic sunrise for that day. Black and thick clouds with yellow filtered light

HD like landscape view from the observation deck during morning golden hours

HD like landscape view from the observation deck during morning golden hours

The golden light emerged out of the dramatic clouds created a HD like landscape view. This image is totally original. I don't do extensive post processing for my photos reason being I don't have PS software (saving my money to buy lens) and I am too LAZY to do complex post processing ;-)

The golden light emerged out of the dramatic clouds created a HD like landscape view. This image is totally original. I don’t do extensive post processing for my photos reason being I don’t have PS software (saving my money to buy lens) and I am too LAZY to do complex post processing 😉 (I choose my pillow than sitting long hours in front of my Mac)

Us capturing US after the morning sunrise shooting

Us capturing us after the morning sunrise shooting

 

What did I buy for myself during this trip? I bought a few simple bracelets (as souvenirs) from a market nearby Tomok jetty in Samosir Island. Sadly I didn’t get any ‘keeper” jewelry for my Treasure Chest during this trip maybe because I was not looking hard enough. I will be visiting Bali Island next week, hope that I can spot some unique jewelry there that I can share it here. Hope for the best …

 

Cheers,

MM

 

p/s What do dreamers do? … they dreams 🙂


2-cats and a family

I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells - Dr Seuss

studio matsuda

I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells - Dr Seuss