Tag Archives: landscape

Land of the soothing wind

“There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.”

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I have been home bound for months now. My last trip outside Malaysia was to Mongolia and Lake Baikal, Russia in March early this year. I am still not sure where is my next destination yet. I am ok with just anything …

Yeah … I do miss my traveling moment for sure.

The quietness, the feeling of being lost, the discovering, the learning and breathing the air of strangers land but I do believe in not exaggerating or over indulging upon something. Maybe because I get bored easily, too much of anything could kill my interest.

Well … I was not basically just sitting at home for this past few months. That travel addiction still stings me badly and I have a ‘secret’ way to sooth it down before I turned mental. I tagged along with my other adventurous soul group … my paramotor friends of course.

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At Kuala Selangor … enjoying the morning light

Of late they are into cross-country flying aka XC flying with paramotors.

I didn’t expect to experience such a rich and raw exploration moments while hovering low in the airspace. The landscape from high above is dreamy and mesmerizing, the air smells differently … it felt as if I am physically not here in Malaysia but somewhere traveling across different continental within 1.5 to 2 hours of each flight.

We would be in a deep forest for 10 minutes, in urban cities in another few minutes, on acres of acres of orchard, on some mysterious island, in a blue looking lake and sometimes just hover around a small town around Antara Gapi for maybe 10 minutes.

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From Kundang to Bukit Beruntung, Kuala Selangor on 2017.07.23

We flew in a small group … most of the time with well-experienced pilots, around 4 to 7 of them. As usual … I would be in charge of capturing the moments of us, flying. We started very early in the morning before the morning light is out, took-off from our flying base around 7:00 to 7:30 am so that we could catch the early morning light from the horizon … morning light is always our favorite.

For me …. the best way to end a hectic week is not through snuggling on your bed for the whole morning on the weekend but to do all this lol … mental? Yes …

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Inside a cloud at Tekah Airfield on 2017.04.15

 Unlike paragliding, thermals are not our best friend. The wind tends to be calmer early in the morning and we would experience the heat around 10 am when the sun is fully out. The heat created thermal heat on the airspace and our wings would swing according to the heat flow which is not good (dangerous too) for flying low.

So, by 10 am we are expected to land safely at our starting takeoff base.

And yeah … sometimes we drove out of Kuala Lumpur to the east and west part of peninsular Malaysia with our engines and wings and join our local flying friends from those areas.

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Kuala Besut, Terengganu from up on the air on 2017.07.16

Is it dangerous? Hmmm …

As I mentioned earlier in my previous post about paramotor, any extreme sport requires you to have a certain level of skill to ensure safety. And that skill is acquired from hours and hours of flying training or flying experience. And planning is very important.

Apart from making sure that the engines and wings are in its best condition … we tried to minimize our risk by ensuring proper planning before and during each flight with the help of technology.

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Is it scary?

Honestly yes … sometimes lol … but when you are already up there on air, your thought mostly would be on how to ensure that we are well prepared for the worst. I call it the survivor instinct …

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The shoreline of Kuala Besut, Terengganu on 2017.07.16

Flying cross-country gives us the opportunity to see the world in a way that most people would never will and it is a privilege for me to be a part of it.

And, sharing the beauty version of layers and layers of landscapes from up above through my lens with my viewers is very self-fulfilling. Some might get personal seeing me mingled around comfortably among my ppg friends … get it over with, after experiencing life I believe that there is more to it than getting hitched, In Sha Allah kot ha ha ha.

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From Kuala Besut to Perhentian Island, Terengganu on 2017.07.17

I might appear bias or might have inhaled too much dust while flying but I think it is a privilege for a human being to be able to fly at will either with a light-aircraft or a wing and glide on air doing paragliding or with an engine attached to a wing like a paramotor.

And I am not sure when this flying privilege could last as air regulation might change according to technological change or cost hike on flying kill enthusiast or in an extreme case, political change – so I believe that it is very fortunate for us to be able to fly at our own will today.

Sharing some snapshots from our GoPros during a few of our XCs here in today’s post as an inspiration and motivation for ourselves … fly high peeps! create your own moment.

To view photos from this post in better resolution … please click here

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Sunset flight from our takeoff base at Pulau Indah to Jugra Hill on 2017.08.13

Gotta run … tc and bye

MM

ps- some of our flying videos on youtube at here:

XC Kuala Besut- Perhentian Island

Exploring Antara Gapi, Kuala Selangor

Exploring Bukit Tabur, Klang Gate, Selangor

Tekah Airfield Taiping, Perak at 10,000 Feet MBOR challenge

 

 


Chasing The Monsoon

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My article in ‘NST bots click!’ on what to shoot during monsoon season. Google to read in details

It’s the end of February yet the monsoon season still refused to leave our shore. We still experienced occasional rain and thunderstorm here and there. I am not complaining … I love rain, rain reminds me of home … of my bed and my blanket to be precise.

I was with 26 Paramotor PPG pilot friends last weekend covering their story on XC Pantai Timur Feb 11-12, 2017 together with my Janjifly team. We planned to fly together along the shoreline from Sri 7 beach, Tumpat, Kelantan to Cherating beach, Pahang covering 3 states (Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang) for 2 days but mother nature seemed to have its own plan.

Strong wind and heavy rain for the whole weekend during our XC event last weekend. We were basically chased away by the strong wind and the rain. Most of us failed to take-off from all 9 of our take-off points along the shoreline. And … moral of the story is … I have no thrilling ppg flying photos to show off for you peeps 🙂

Well … me and my camera … we go everywhere, we explore anything, rain or shine. Jom … sharing my monsoon photos taken during our ‘chasing the monsoon’ moment.

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Batu Buruk beach, Terengganu with the dark dramatic sky

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Strong wind approx 40 knots with thick clouds and slight drizzled … not complaining!

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A ppg pilot preparing to brave the wild wind at Semerak beach, Tok Bali, Kelantan

I am packing up for my next adventure … a trip exploring Mongolia and Southeastern Siberia. Preparing for a winter adventure … this would be my first experience exploring a strange land at -14’c … am not sure how am I gonna deal with it but I’ll figure it out once I am there.

It’ll be a 15 days trip from Beijing to Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia and to Irkutsk then straight to Lake Baikal via Trans-Siberian train. Uhhh … I am curious to the max now! Gotta go … bye

Cheers,

MM

ps – google for Salliza Salleh to read the NST article clip mentioned above yeah.

 

 


Beautiful lie

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Jugra Hill, Selangor, Malaysia: Paraglider TO base. The view before the storm strike

This year is going to be my third year flying and photographing Malaysian paramotor (ppg) pilots, with JanjiFly Aviation Club Malaysia. 2 solid years of experiencing the joy of flying and hovering around Malaysia’s airspace with our wings. Traveling with our gliders …
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SSP Cyberjaya, Malaysia: A view down from my paramotor ride

Yeah … I realized that here in Malaysia, this sport is still dominated by men, unlike paragliding. The heavy engine, the tendency for the engine to create drama and the expensive cost of this sport are probably the major hindrance for just any woman to adopt this hobby.

Me … I have my camera and we go everywhere. No boundaries …

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SSP Cyberjaya, Malaysia: A fishing trip up there on the cloud

How do I see all this? Well, I have the ‘explorer’ character in me that had been there for as long as I can remember. Being able to constantly fly with them allow me to explore and experience moments that are different from the ordinary.

Was it easy? Doing all this in my ‘conservative and judgemental’ Malay society? Nope … it has never been easy since my day one. My poyoness aka numbness attitude saved me from all those nasty words thrown at me lol. It has never been easy to be different.

Sharing another unexpected moment while flying at SSP Cyberjaya with beautiful morning light at zero wind and the subject was perfectly fit in. And we have a

And we have a ‘fishing trip with friends in the cloud’ moment.

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SSP Cyberjaya, Malaysia: Beautiful reflection

Photos were taken from my paramotor tandem ride at SSP Cyberjaya, Malaysia with my 70-200mm f/4 lens. For a moment like this, my advice is …be extra cautious with your camera shutter speed.
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SSP Cyberjaya, Malaysia: Beautiful lie

Gotta run …. bye

 

Cheers,

MM

 

ps:

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
~Lord Byron

 

 


The Art of Seeing

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Shangri-La Resort at Skardu, Northern Pakistan against the mountains

Yes … I am still digging into my collections of external HD, hunting for hidden treasure. A continuous quest for me or for every photographer out there … a never ending chore to filter thousands of photograph  for just one or two killing images.

While digging … I found a few interesting photos that related to ‘reflection’ that I wanted to share here.  Sharing some photos of the landscape surrounding Shangri-La Resort in Skardu, Northern Pakistan (please excuse my watermark).

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View of Shangri-La Resort at Skardu, Northern Pakistan from a different angle

Capturing reflection either on a puddle of water, on a lake or on some mirrors have a satisfyingly calming effect. The sense of calmness came from my need to be super quiet and totally immersed in the moment, to be able me to notice details in my surrounding such as reflection.

The camera setting to capture reflection is the same setting as capturing photos of any landscape. But our eyes need to be more cautious though, aiming at various angles and at the same time maintaining the best composition. And don’t forget to wait for the right light and the moment when the wind decided to stop meddling with the water surface.

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View of Shangri-La Resort at Skardu, Northern Pakistan with an interesting foreground

Looking back at these photos brought back sweet memories of us in Skardu, Northern Pakistan, we were hanging out at the edge of the lake while waiting for the wind to stay idle for us to capture a perfect reflection of this place.

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Me … enjoying my moment

I think I am more of a traveler than a photographer. Photography is just another reason for me to pack my bag and travel.

So it is kind of annoying when some ‘real’ photographer judging my photography skill based on whatever that I posted on FB after each trip. They’ll ask to see my winning photos of each place that I went … and questioned on why were I still travel to such places when I knew for sure that I can’t even shoot people on the street.

Hmmm. Speechless …

I need to remind myself that I am a traveler first before a photographer.

Having a good photography skill helped me to sharpen my eyes towards details around my surrounding. So … when I traveled … I can see more. The more I see the more I learn. And, if traveling with my camera could turn me into a ‘real’ professional photographer … then I am truly blessed.

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Me … looking down to make sure that my feet still sit on the ground

The world of photography has no boundary … you can be as unique and as creative as wish you could be.

Bye for now

 

Cheers,

MM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Beyond the Fog of Mt Bromo

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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

 


Street walk in Skardu, Pakistan

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A sundry store located behind the main road of Skardu town. 

Morning start late at most places that we stopped in Northern Pakistan. Business venues and markets started around 10am. The time where morning lights were at the most unforgivably harsh.

Not the best moment for a street photographer who love to chase morning ‘dramatic’ lights. But the opportunity to be here … and to witness the  uniqueness and authenticity of this place overcame all my “chasing the light” needs.

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The shop where restaurants or street stalls get their roti supply from.

Everything looked brown, old and rustic here. It felt as if I was in an old movie set.

It was 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon when we decided to stroll along the street and watch life around this small town. The sky turned brown and dusty as a sand stormed has just passed through the town leaving behind a trail of thick lingering dusty air on the street … a normal occurrence around here I guess.

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Old and rustic looking sundry shops 

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Life goes on as always

Fine dusty sands laid everywhere here. My face was dusty and same goes with the rest of the people on the street. I bet I looked rustic too like my environment … I blend well lol.

But … we still looked ‘obviously’ foreign here. This town seldom sees tourist or foreign traveller walking on the street. In fact we were the second group of foreign visitors that stayed in the hotel (that we stayed in) for this year.

I like to walk like an invisible soul when I am on the street. I always imagine that I am invisible … when I am in public 😉 . But the four (4) of us caught too much attention while we were here … maybe because everybody knows everybody in this small little town.

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A fruit seller at the street side

Honestly, I am used to being stared at while I am on a strange or foreign land. Most of the time people would be curious seeing me maybe because of my head cover or my shawl … but I could overcome their curiosity with a sincere smile and a brief greeting.

But here in Pakistan is different.

In a male dominated society, women does not walk on the street without their men. We don’t see women wandering around restaurant or markets too. I saw one or two short glimpse of women on the street but most were fully covered by their long shawls.

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We attracted attention

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The curious crowd circling us

It does felt weird in the beginning of the trip to experience an intensive stares came from the male crowd but as always I learnt a few tricks to get around as I went along.

Maybe next time I should wear a cotton Kurta when I am on the street.

The morning before we catch our flight out of Skardu to Islamabad… we climbed up on our hotel’s rooftop to catch the full view of this town. Mesmerising view we got up there … this place is surrounded by gigantic mountains.

The thing that I like about travelling is … when I have zero expectation about a place and decided to take a risk … and I ended up falling in love with it. It taught me to be open … to stay receptive regardless of whatever condition that I am in … as the end matters the most.

“The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart.”~ Rumi

I am signing off right now … 🙂 . Bye …

 

Cheers

MM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Judgemental Mind of Mine

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A victory toss (with mango and pineapple juice) to celebrate the end of our Pakistan journey

Being human … a normal human being, I admit that I am too quick on judging things. My excuse is that I need to take a good care of ME … my physical, my mental and my heart. I need to safe guard ME. As I grow wise (and aging lol) … an achy breaky me is not easy to recover from either physical or mental torture.

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A stop on our way to Besham, Northern Pakistan

So, I refused (at first) to join my travelling friends on their quest to explore Pakistan. My concerned was upon my safety but towards the last minute I changed my mind. With a good travel companions, a full trust on my ultimate protector (my Creator) and my survival instinct … so I thought the rough Pakistan journey won’t be that bad.

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This is a common view along the road. Most men I saw on the street were wearing kurta (long cotton shirt) instead of T-shirt and jeans. 

I was telling my girlfriend that “if we could survive this trip babe, it would turned out to be our most valuable experience .. ever” and true enough, the journey was tough to the bone but it was worth every second of it. You need to be physically and mentally  strong to truly see the beauty of Pakistan.

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The road was not crowded at all … occasionally you would see decorated lorries, buses and a few private cars.

We travelled from Islamabad-Gilgit-Karimabad-Hunza-Skardu via road and travelled back to Islamabad from Skardu via flight. Driving to Gilgit via the  Islamabad-Mansehra-Nahran-Chilas-Gilgit  would be around 10-11 hours drive but we were unlucky that day as that road was closed for a few months due to landslides. And, we have to travel via alternative road that took us approximately 19 hours to reach Gilgit. Yes … and 19 hours on a rough road felt like a week lol.

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What a view …

Half of the journey was tolerable as we passed through Masya-Allah … the most beautiful and unique landscape view along the way and we drove through small towns after another … a very memorable journey. But after Besham, the roads and the geographical area turned rocky and rough. We were surrounded by rocky gigantic mountains and the road conditions were really bad. As the day turned night … the tough journey became very challenging.

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A quick snap shoot along the road to Gilgit, Northen Pakistan

Police security roadblocks were at every km away and we … the “tourist” have to be safely escorted by the appointed police personnel upon entering Bersham and straight to our hotel in Gilgit.

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At one of the small town after Besham. I didn’t shoot much here as we were rushing through and this was taken from my jeep’s window. 

Tough journey in 10 days either can be a disastrous experience or a rich moment for your soul. I am glad that I made the decision to step out of my comfort zone … alhamdullilah I am a step richer in experience.

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The Eagle’s Nest of Hunza valley, Northern Pakistan

We travelled further up from Gilgit to hunza valley via the famous Karakoram Highway (KKH). The KKH connected Gilgit-Baltisan region, Pakistan to Xinjiang region, China. The highway is listed as the Eighth Wonder of the world due to its high elevation (4,693m) and the difficult geographical conditions in which it was constructed.

The view …. Subhanaallah, I am glad I have eyes to witness how beautiful our earth is. I’ll share some photos in my IG and 500px when I have the time to dig out all of my Pakistan images.

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The Eagle’s Nest of Hunza valley, Northern Pakistan

And here are a few photos taken from my favourite spot in Northern Pakistan … the Hunza Eagle’s Nest. I seriously will come back to this spot for a night camp, just to watch the stars and capture the milkyway crossing over the glaciers … uh tak sabar nya tunggu /uh I can’t wait for our next Pakistan trip.

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The self acclaimed Queen of Eagle’s Nest of Hunza valley at her throne he he he

Hmmm … this photo (above) remind me of the people that I met along the road here in Pakistan. The 10 years old girl, Misbah from Hunza valley. The girl opened up her story about her so called normal life that bring tears to our eyes. Another 10 years old boy, Abdullah from Rawalpindi. A curiously intelligent boy that followed us around the market (near his home). Both are lacking in education and materials but well brougt up with proper manners … a proud and beautiful people, Pakistan ….. I will be back! lol

Uhhh … I need to stop typing words here or else I might sound like an old immobilised ‘makcik’ or aunty that kept on reminiscing on old memories hu hu hu gotta run 🙂 .

Bye for now

Cheers,

MM

 

ps- “Be selective with you battles. Sometimes peace is better than being right.”