May 28, 2017

crossing paradise - the cormorant fisherman of Li river

the cormorant fisherman
li river, yangshuo
guangxi, china
september 2016

perhaps, this is the main highlight of the trip. the cormorant fisherman has been nothing less than iconic image that depicts the tradition of the Li river, hence Guangxi itself. our trip to meet the fishermen was scheduled on the fourth day of our trip. after a gloomy morning to memo-graph the wonder of Yangshuo landscape, we were hoping this trip could spice up back our mood. 

we left the hotel around 3pm, after had our lunch and rest. the journey to the bank of Li river, to meet the fishermen took a while. we passed the small town outside Yangshuo, and even a small bridge that could only pass by one car/bus at a time. a lady greeted us as we arrived at the car park, and talked to our guide, Mike. Andy was no longer with us as we left Longji. the job as tour guide now has been passed to a new no-less talkative guy. 

a thing that ponder me for a while. apparently, the session to memo-graph the fishermen apparently now has been commercialized by the local agent, where we have to book them for a price. how much? well..i don't know as everything has been included in our rarecation package.

we left the car park, then walked passing the bushes down to the river bank. we took a raft to cross the shallow water and arrived at the sandbar in the middle of the river. we saw two fishermen, complete with the boat, the birds etc. waiting for us. 
and the session began. these old fishermen were too familiar with the scenario, hence had nothing to object when being requested to pose from any angle. and the session lasted till the last light of the day. and when was about 3-hours, and i did feel pity with these men as had to entertain to our request etc. , but then again..they were used to it.

scenes happened few times, due to the fact the they both were booked by our group. there was a group of oriental tourist came to wander and wanted to join us taking the pictures, but was shooed away but these fishermen. the old lady had to explain to the tourists on such etc.  even there was a double booking thingy, as apparently a spanish guy with his set of cameras came in the middle of our photoshoot to shoot. another small commotion as we had to tolerate with the incident, and again..the old lady came as big momma, explaining things, hence shooed other group away from our scene.

anyway, the water was too shallow for us to ask for both fishermen to show us the act of having the birds catching the fishes.

enjoy the pics.

we left the bank when it was dark already. it was a good experience, but then the whole set up thing, the incident with other tourists and photographers group etc. just made me feel uncomfortable to stomach the idea of commercialism, especially on this such unique tradition. i thought the cormorant fishermen was a common sights, a tradition that still being part of the life of people at the bank of Li river.

so...lesson learnt and a note.
the original image of this tradition perhaps captured genuinely way back in early 2000's, when nat-geo featured them in their prints. along the way...i believe it has been a commercialism set up like what i experienced. and i believe it has been the main reason, why none of the cormorant fishermen images made to the top photography awards for the past few years.

we made a stop at the west street of Yangshuo and had our dinner at the halal indian restaurant there. then we spent sometime enjoying the night at the west street, before made our way back to the hotel.


Mar 28, 2017

crossing paradise - a gloomy day in Yangshuo

a gloomy day 
yangshuo, guangxi, china
september 2016

perhaps, it was my least favourite part of the journey. despite our effort waking up that early, preparing the breakfast etc. and the early morning ride to this part of yangshuo, the day turned out to be a gloomy one. it was raining and there was no moment of golden sunset to be memograph. the rain finally stopped, but it was still cloudy.

we had our breakfast at the river bank, and then wandered around, crossing the old bridge, trying to find the best angle and light to at least make our trip worth. we got bored, and then decided to leave the place and proceed with our next plan - the bicycle ride around the village.

honestly, my memory of these moments is as gloomy as the day. i barely shoot, but just enjoying the ride while listening to the dramas and jokes of my travel buddies.


Mar 11, 2017

crossing paradise - Longji ... faces

what's auntie cad cooking?
longji rice terraces,
longsheng, guangxi, china
august 2016

one of our days at longji was spent with memo-graphing the locals in their daily life. it was a great experience to get up close and personal like this, rather than the typical paid-visit, watching performances etc.

our guest house's host family happened to be our subject of the day.

we waited for a while at the common area of the guest house, after had a big breakfast prepared by izz and the group - nasi goreng, mee goreng, telur dadar etc. then came the kids, woke up and wandering around the house, happily waiting to be fed by their elders for the first meal of the day.

syu-ha, as we were told to call the little girl, was a friendly little girl that not afraid of us, stranger. probably the family business - running the guest house, exposed her to the world of strangers.
it was time for the photoshoot, as the grandmother done feeding the little ones for breakfast. we were brought to the building behind our guest house. the session began!
the grandmother was the first subject for the session. she dressed up in the traditional yao's women costume and began doing her work - weaving on the wooden loom. well...coming from terengganu, i've seen this a lot..the local ladies weaving songket, hence i didn't feel that it was that engaging to see the work completed. #i'veseenbetter eh? hehe.

we had the ladies of the house from 3 generations - the grandmother, the mother and the daughter, in their traditional Yao's women costume, ready for the memo-graph. every single corners of the house became our spot, to have them posed for us for the photo-shoot.

it took about more than an hour. the time that we spent memo-graphing the ladies of Yao in that house. it was  good session, in my opinion. it took me to engage back with the lessons learnt about playing with the composition and light, to get a good environmental portrait. 
we had another session in the afternoon. well...the actual plan was to get one of the local old man that we met to be in his costume, but apparently he unable to bought the idea of the request. we walked and wandered around the village and met and old lady at one of the grocery shops, and asked our guide to ask her if she was ok to be photographed. she was delighted and took us back to her house and we spent time that late afternoon memo-graphing her. of course, everything has to come with tips. no free lunch eh!..
we left the old lady, and walked back towards our hotel and met an old man, that was enjoying his pipe with his buddy. well..another subject for us. we asked andy to ask him, and he was ok and not hesitate to pose for us. i mean we asked him to move around, stand etc. not and objection came from him. and the tip? well...cigarette from one of our guys. hehehe.

it was a long day, but well spent. we had another photo-review session after we had dinner, like the night before.

Jan 23, 2017

crossing paradise - Longji ... music from paradise

music from paradise
longji rice terraces
longsheng, guangxi, china
august 2016

one of the days when we were at Longji. we woke up early morning, when it was still dark, and had our morning hike to the view point to see these iconic 'music from paradise' of this rice terraces. the trail, wasn't that hard as we were actually just passing the locals houses, and there was a bit here and there steep trail that we had to deal.

there was sort of a platform, built next to trail that we walked. i wasn't that sure whether as part of the on-going construction, or as the place for visitors to view the place. we stopped there, and then start to set up our tripod and gear as the earliest light of the day started to shine.

i couldn't recall how much frames that i took, but it was plenty, as i felt that every seconds there worth to memo-graph.

i was shooting raw, and i am impressed with the amount of details that my a7ii managed to captured despite a wide range of light latitude you had to deal with, when sunrise, especially when you don't have any filter etc.the image above, by default, was almost 80% dark as the sun was dominating the camera metering, but it was all beautifully preserved and revealed as i opened the raw file and pull around the setting.
well...honestly, i can't get enough with this place. and i wish to come back, memo-graph it again at different time etc.

try google 'music from paradise of  longji' and you'll know why! :)

Jan 22, 2017

crossing paradise - Longji ... the nine dragons and five tigers

morning at longji
longsheng, guangxi, china
august 2016

the night ended early for most of us. other than lina being the only girl, all the boys stayed up for the photo-critics session. it was a good session for me personally, as listening to jimmy explaining the elements of AOS in our photos. well...most of us like me, didn't aware that by understanding the basics, we'd bring out the best of the moment that we were trying to capture. we bid farewell to the night, after more than an hour, discussing about the photo.

it was cold up there and we had a good sleep, hence able to recover our energy that drained by the long day, especially the hiking to our hotel. a deep good sleep, didn't need a longer hour, as i was able to wake up as my alarm rang, without any effort...other than freezing to touch the water for cleaning up myself and wudhu. 
i heard the boys' voices as the first light of the day appeared from the east. i went out at the balcony and saw zuky's and dudu already at setting up their gear to capture the sunrise, while abg fathul and abg man decided to photograph the moment from their balcony. i took my gear, as decided to join zuky and dudu.

the tripod was now set, and we began the day with shooting the sunrise from our hotel.
the later part of the day was spent wandering around the village, after we done with our photo-shoot session with the locals.

enjoy the pics!