A Random Opportunity!

Have you ever wondered what impact a single random photo can make?

During the year-end school holidays last year, I was keeping my four year old nephew entertained by doing some colouring with him. Most of his colour pencils needed sharpening, so I took a newspaper and started sharpening all the coloured pencils. I remember as a child, I always enjoyed colouring with finely sharpened colour pencils. We started sharpening the blues and the reds and the greens and before we knew it, we had rainbow coloured pencil shavings. It was such a pretty sight and I couldn’t help but whip out my camera to take some shots. I selected my favourite shot and used it as my cover picture on Facebook.

The next day, an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in about a year, saw the picture and messaged to ask if I would be interested to do some photo shoots for his and his wife’s new business venture. Of course, I said yes!

We met  and discussed about their business. Their business is about neuroeducation based pottery. I asked them to explain to me what exactly it meant, so I could better understand their business and ensure we captured the style of photography which would suitable. After an elaborate discussion, we worked out our dates and started a series of shoots. If you’re interested in finding out more, you may check out their website and Facebook pages.

Website: http://www.davincisg.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dvgsingapore?fref=ts

I did my third shoot with them today and it only gets more exciting. It’s quite fascinating the kind of imagination kids have and the stories they come up with! I never fail to giggle during my shoots with Da Vinci Group!

Below are some picture from my 3 sessions with them thus far!

Enjoy!

IMG_8236a

My first shoot with DVG- This piece of clay awaits it’s little potter.

IMG_8308a

Little potter about to create her masterpiece.

IMG_8327a

That’s Amutha, one of the founders of DVG, teaching this little potter how to decorate her pot.

IMG_8911a

Isn’t it amazing what our hands can create?

IMG_8843a

That’s my nephew totally engrossed in creating his masterpiece.

IMG_9672a

These 2 sisters from today’s session helping one another out.

IMG_9766a

These masterpieces will have to wait to dry out first, after which they will be glazed.

Cappadocia made me question my existence.

Have you ever had a moment in life, where it literally took your breath away, and all you could think is how beautiful this planet is, what is the reason for the existence of the human race, and what is the purpose of your existence? One such moment in my life was a when I took a trip to Cappadocia, Turkey, in Spring 2012.

I was doing a Greece-Turkey- Dubai trip with a good friend of mine. Due to our hectic work schedules, we had only 11 days including 2 travel days for Turkey and Greece before she would go back home and I would move on to Dubai. It was my first trip to all of the above countries and I was super excited. We knew we had to do the capitals for both countries, but we really also wanted to do Santorini (I always wanted to go there with a romantic partner, but since it hadn’t happened yet and looked like it wasn’t going to happen anytime soon back then, I decided to go ahead with my girlfriend!) and I also wanted to do Cappadocia and Pamukkale in Turkey.

Since our schedule was so tight, we could only fit in 4 places out of these 5, so we planned out this itinerary: Singapore—> Athens (3nights)—> Santorini (2nights)—> Cappadocia (1 night)—> Istanbul (3nights). My friend headed back to Singapore due to her work schedule while I headed to Dubai for 5 days before I headed back to Singapore. We made all our flight and accommodation bookings online while in Singapore.

While planning, I realised that there was no direct flight between Santorini and Cappodoccia. So this is how we went about it:

  • We left our Santorini hotel at 9am and headed to the airport. 
  • We took a flight from Santorini to Athens.
  • We then had to take a flight from Athens to Istanbuls Atatürk airport.
  • From Atatürk airport we had to take a 1.5 hr van journey to Istanbuls Sabiha Gökçen airport. (I was told it usually takes an hour but because there was midday traffic, we took longer.)
  • From Istanbuls Sabiha Gökçen airport we took a flight to Cappadocia. 
  • From Cappadocia airport we took a 1hr van journey to the town of Goreme where our hotel was located. 
  • We finally checked in at 11pm!

That’s 3 take offs, 3 landings, and 2 hour-long van journeys. 14hrs later, we arrived to an after-dark Cappadocia. There aren’t many street lamps, so hardly anything is visible at that hour. We checked in to our beautiful cave room. Since the hotel wasn’t full for the night, we were thankfully upgraded to a bigger room that accommodates 4 people. Our plan was to go to the rooftop and chill out with some wine, but we were too exhausted and hit the sack once we showered.

We had booked to go for the hot air balloon ride for the next morning. The arrangement was done via email through the hotel prior to our arrival. The balloon company was Royal Balloons. Pickup was at 5am, so we had to be up at 4am. The next morning, we quickly showered and munched on some biscuits before our pickup arrived. We picked up other tourists doing the hot air balloon ride. It was still dark so we didn’t see the beauty of Cappadocia yet. We drove to the Royal Balloons base and had a light breakfast with hot beverages there. We were then divided into groups and took the van to site of ‘take off’.

That is when the magic started. The Royal Balloon guys were preparing the balloon. They were very friendly and were showing us around and telling us what was happening. When the balloon is laid flat on the floor, you realise it is huge. I’ve seen them in movies and pictures, but you never really realise how big they are, until they’re laying there flat on the ground next to you! The guys started the fire and soon the balloon was ready to take its flight. We had opted for a 14 pax balloon as compared to the 24 pax balloon, as we preferred to have more space and less people so we could have a good spot to admire the beautiful view and capture these memories on camera. The cost difference at that time was 30E more per pax, which I thought was worth it, cos I really didn’t want to be pushed around and fight with other  passengers to have a good view.

IMG_5661a

Prepping the balloon.

IMG_5665a

Almost ready for take-off.

We hopped into the balloon basket, and up up away we went. The sun had just started to rise, and that is when Cappadocia finally revealed itself to us. That view, that landscape, that feeling, that air, that warm sunlight, EVERYTHING was magical. Words cannot describe that moment. Hundreds or more balloons were also taking their flight and the sky was filled with these colourful balloons.

IMG_5669a

We couldn’t wait to go up, up, and away!

IMG_0767a

Such beauty. 

It’s a surreal feeling. You are overlooking such a beautiful view in the most beautiful light; it’s simply mesmerising. My friend and I were just in awe, and the 2 of us were unusually quiet. No, it wasn’t because we were tired from the travelling the day before or the little sleep we had, it was because we were overwhelmed by such a breath-taking moment, we were just taking it all in. I turned to look at her a few times, and she just had her head rested in her hands on the basket, glowing with the warm light falling on her face; she looked beautiful and at peace. That moment is so magical, you can’t imagine that such beauty exists, and your mind starts to wonder and drift away…

It made me question how these rock formations developed. It made me question how people in the past lived. It made me question how the human race is connected. It made me question if the other 12 people in the balloon with me were feeling the same warm feeling I felt. It made me question our balloon riders feelings- if he has done this so many times that he doesn’t have any feelings, or does it still take his breath away everyday. It made me question the different cultures in the world. It made me question the existence of the human race. But more importantly, it made me question my life’s existence. It made me question how little I am compared to this planet, and what I mean to the world. It made me question who I really am, and who I really want to be.It was at that moment when I knew that the life I was living was good for me for then, but it wasn’t what I wanted in about 5 years. I knew in that moment that I had given away more control over my life to other factors (particularly my job) than I would have liked to. I knew that things had to change, slowly, but surely.

The balloon guys were haggling and pulling the rope below me so that we could land safely. We were welcomed back to land with champagne and a medal each for having completed the balloon ride. I loved that we had landed in a very quiet spot and it was only our group in sight. It was a vast land with just 1 tree in view. Champagne flutes clicked and everyone was in high spirits. We took pictures and helped ourselves to more bubbly. We were all laughing and joking around and I had that feeling of pure happiness from within. That happiness can’t be described with words, one can only feel it.

IMG_0874a

The guys below ensuring we had a safe landing.

IMG_5813a

Setting up for our lil champagne party at 7am!

IMG_5838a

Getting my medal!

The Royal Balloon guys started rolling up the balloon on ground. One of them came up to my friend and I and said something in Turkish but were signalling taking pictures. I figured he wanted to help us take a picture. As I passed my camera to the guy to take a picture for us, the rest carried my friend and I and threw us in the rolled up balloon basket. It was such a random surprise. It totally made our hot air balloon ride experience a lot more complete. Everyone can experience the balloon ride, but not many have that experience of suddenly being lifted up by some strong, young, good looking Turkish men and then thrown onto a nice soft basket!

IMG_5853a

After we both got thrown onto the rolled up balloon.

Next up for the day was a Green Tour that we had booked. I’ll leave that post to later, but for now, more pics below from our hot air balloon experience. Enjoy!

IMG_0814a

It was such a surreal feeling to be there and see this.

IMG_0852a

A Turkish flag kinda balloon.

IMG_5775a

Hard to imagine but people once lived here.

IMG_5729a

Nope, not getting paid to promote them, just so happens I like this shot.

IMG_5811a

Laid flat, ready to get rolled up before it sets flight again the next day.

IMG_5835a

Just a wilted tree through my bubbles.

IMG_0762a

I can’t wait to go back again!

ScrubGuru Photo Shoot

About a month ago, I saw pretty jars of homemade body scrubs on an old friends Facebook wall. Being a body scrub freak, I contacted her immediately and found out she started this business of handmade body scrubs. You may check out ScrubGuru on https://www.facebook.com/scrubguru?fref=ts . We met up so I could sample her 6 heavenly concoctions before I put in my order. I was so spoilt for choice and I thought they would make perfect Christmas pressies for my family and friends!

It had been forever since I last met her, so we ended up talking about everything we’ve been doing over the last few years.  We both spoke about living our dreams and starting our own startups and the amount of effort that goes into it. She needed someone to do her marketing campaign photo shoot, and yes, that’s when we decided that we should work on it together.

She has photography knowledge and can do product shots herself, but she also needed someone to take photos of her while she was making the scrubs. We worked out our schedules and we have done 2 shoots thus far. I ended up taking some product shots as well since I couldn’t resist not taking them! We shot 2 locations on the first day- a tent setup in a friends office and a rooftop with an old abandoned bath tub.

I’m sharing some photos from Day 1 of the photo shoot below.

Enjoy!

IMG_8800a

1st setup: Tent for product shots.

IMG_8486a

6 delightful concoctions.

IMG_8580a

Since the scrubs are made from natural ingredients, we decided to use them as props.

IMG_8555a

IMG_8601a

2nd setup: An abandoned bathtub on a rooftop.

IMG_8606a

The Scrub Guru in action!

IMG_8636a

One of my personal favourites, scrub and shot.

IMG_8628a

Indonesian Islands

I’m sorting out my travel wish list for 2015 and I really am not sure how I am going to check each one off my list! But I also believe when there is a will, there is a way! I will put up another post with the places I’d like to visit this year in a week or two, once I figure it all out.

One of the travel escapades on the wish list is to explore the Indonesian islands. It is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I have been to Bali 5 times now, and I have done all the main touristy stuff, visited some of the best beach bars, lazed on the beaches and trawled through all the shopping streets for countless hours. However, this time around, I’d like to explore further out from the main hustle and bustle of the island.

After some researching, I came across some really beautiful islands around Bali. I’ve heard from a few friends who have been there that these islands have some gorgeous beaches and are less commercialised, hence less crowded. The plan is to travel to Bali—> Nusa Lembongan—> Gili Islands—> Lombok or vice versa. The good thing is these places are very easily accessible by ferries that operate daily to and from most of these islands. They are reasonably priced so that’s great, but the downside is the journey might take a couple of hours. Sometimes, the weather may be bad which means bumpy waters which means chances of getting sea sick are high! Alternatively, there is a flight between Bali and Lombok which might be a better option if you aren’t too tight on budget.

The plan is to enjoy these places and at the same time do some photography work. I can’t imagine being in these beautiful places without my camera! My fingers start to itch and my mind gets all inspired to get creative and compose beautiful shots! Do you get that too? It’s like my mind is in an overdrive mode and my fingers follow suit.

I’m planning out my travel calendar for the next 6 months and am trying to figure out when is the best time to get there. If you have any suggestions, pls feel free to drop a comment. 🙂 In the meantime, below are some pictures I took in Oct 2013 on a trip to Bali. I took them at Kuta Beach, famous for its sunsets.

Enjoy!

IMG_3559

Locals and tourists taking a stroll on Kuta Beach as the sun starts to set.

IMG_3590

Everyone enjoying this fierce sunset.

IMG_3593

Some local kids play football as the sun sets over the horizon.

IMG_3591a

IMG_3611

I love how colourful the sky is.

IMG_3615

The kids drinking some water from a little water fountain after their game of football.

Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger Photo Shoot in Paris.

One of my first photography assignments in Paris was shooting Travel & Lifestyle blogger Virginia Anne. Virginia is originally from Denver, Colorado, and moved to Paris in late 2013.

I met Virginia in French language school and we hit it off immediately. I’m sharing pictures of the very first photo shoot I did with her below. Her focus was on her dress, sunnies, earrings and shoes. You may check out her post on this outfit at http://revivaldreamsparis.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/tuesday-paris-street-fashion-15/ .

We decided to take the photos in Champs de Mars, the huge park across from the very famous Eiffel Tower. We agreed that the mood should be very typical Paris for her first fashion post, and of course, there is no place better than right in front of the Eiffel Tower. Very cliche, but then again it’s as Paris as Paris can be!

Enjoy!

Xx,

V.

 

IMG_5200

Virginia is in focus while the background is out of focus, to give a bit of the dreamy Parisian summer effect. Her main focus in this shot were her sunnies and earrings.

IMG_5240

Long shot to show her full outfit.

IMG_5230

This shot was candidly taken. She was walking in front of me so we could get closer to the Eiffel Tower. I composed the shot and called out to her. She turned and flashed me her million dollar smile. Voila!

IMG_5303

Shoes! Shoes! Shoes! An outfit is not complete without the right pair of shoes!