Travel Blog – Singapore 2

28 08 2009

So having arrived late and hungry in Singapore we checked into our hotel (which was very nice and we got upgraded again, just no free wifi like the ad said) and went to look for some dinner in Little India. Alyona had gone to a good place with friends from the conference so after a bit of map reading and head scratching we found it and enjoyed a nice meal of butter paneer which melted in the mouth. Alyona chose a selection of different vegetarian curry dishes traditional at Indian weddings which was really cool although a bit on the hot side…

The next day we enjoyed a well deserved sleep-in with cappuccino from the little machine downstairs then decided to walk into town to see some stuff along the way. After walking through some of the back streets and seeing random Chinese and Hindu temples nestled in amongst the huge shopping malls we walked through Fort Canning park. The only thing of note here is that the park has escalators to get up some of the hills. Yes, it is just a park but instead of stairs lazy people can take a break on the escalator.

In town we had breakfast at a Tapas restaurant with free wifi on the side and checked our email once again. Walking through the city we took in most of the huge hotels and buildings and stopped for an obligatory photo with the Merlion. Which really is a what the name suggests:

The Merlion (f22 1/100 28mm)

The Merlion (f22 1/100 28mm)

We then headed north into some of the malls hidden under the hotels and walked around for a long time checking out all the shops. Bought a good pair of shoes so I was happy but otherwise we were quite restrained.

For dinner we headed to a place that Alyona had been previously where they serve Satay Prawn skewers (Lau Pa Sat). The difference being that there was only one prawn per skewer because that is all that could possibly fit! They seemed to be about 4 inches long and when barbecued without the skin were absolutely delicious. The place was interesting too as it was one giant food hall that kind of spilled out onto the street and made Food Alley look like an ‘asian burger special’ at McDonalds. It was bustling with people most of whom were trying to hawk their particular brand of food and it was quite intense after such a long day. But very enjoyable and a great experience. And of course well worth it for the prawns and beer…

Street Scene at the Prawns (f4.0 1/80 24mm)

Street Scene at the Prawns (f4.0 1/80 24mm)

Seeing as this was our last night in Singapore we also wanted to check out the Night Safari which is a zoo that only opens after dark and came highly recommended by everyone who had talked about it. We managed to catch the last organized bus out there at 8:30pm and then the show they put on at 9:30. The show is quite cool with a few different animals coming into or over the crowd. And some very cute otters that sort trash into different recycling bins. In all not bad but because of the lighting the only decent shot that I got was of the crowd waiting while the previous lot left

Night Safari Queue (f4.0 1.3s 24mm)

Night Safari Queue (f4.0 1.3s 24mm)

We then took the tram around the zoo which is where you can see a lot of the animals in their normal night time activities whether that be prowling around or just sleeping. Some cool animals like Lions, Tigers, Elephants and Rhinoceri (sp? what the hell is the plural of Rhinoceros). I think the hight light for me were the Leopards which weren’t part of the Tram ride so you could get a lo closer to the glass and watch them. Oh – and nearly being used as a tree by a flying squirrel. Seems I took too long lining up a shot and so it tried to fly and land on me. I moved when I saw it coming and it redirected itself to the tree behind and to the side. And I missed my shot!

Well, really it was so dark that I don’t have any shots of the Night Safari. Bit too technically difficult for me and my little camera…

There was one other interesting thing though, on the way out of the park there is a fish tank with all these fish that feed off dead skin. So for $10 you can put your feet in this tank and they will clean and exfoliate for you. Looked really freaky and I think that even if we had the time I would have been hesitant about putting my feet in there!

Fish Feet (f4.0 1/50 65mm)

Fish Feet (f4.0 1/50 65mm)

Turned out, however, that the last organized bus of the night (11:30) was already full and there were still loads of people waiting in line. While they did arrange to organize one extra bus to come at midnight when they offered that people could stand on the bus that was leaving we took that and being the first to do so managed to score a spot in the stairwell down the back and sat in relative comfort for the trip home…

To bed, to sleep, to check out at 12. Then loads more shopping and slowly crawling from one air conditioned mall to the next looking for stuff. My very cool swedish wallet was on its last legs so I replaced that (although still hope to fix it) and we both bought shoes for prices a lot cheaper than what is to be found in New Zealand.

By this stage it was getting on towards sunset and as a finale for our trip we wanted to check out the Swissotel which has bars and restaurants on the 71st floor with an amazing view out over the city. We were there and enjoying cocktails during the sunset although given how the sun sets here it was more a matter of waiting till the lights came on and city begain to glow…

Me at the Swissotel (f5.6 1/25 24mm)

Me at the Swissotel (f5.6 1/25 24mm)

And an arty shot that some of you will be familiar with me always trying to take:

Reflection in Glasses (f5.6 1s 105mm)

Reflection in Glasses (f5.6 1s 105mm)

We then caught the subway home and a taxi to the airport to check in on time and enjoy the 12 hour flight to Frankfurt and the European portion of our trip :-)

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Travel Blog – Malaysia 2

21 08 2009

On our second morning on the island we decided to try this whole diving thing so arranged for myself to do a PADI refresher and Alyona to try the ‘Discover Scuba Dive’ which is supposed to be an intro for people who have never tried it before.

Unfortunately it seems that the dive station that was attached to our accommodation doesn’t really care about leisure divers (the place is filled with people doing reef checks) so the introduction was very rudimentary and lacking. It was ok for me as I had gone through this all before but looking back at it, it was a terrible introduction for Alyona where they basically just threw her in a wet suit and scuba gear and said ‘ok now we go in the water and do the 3 exercises needed for the DSD’. No explanation of breathing, what the experience would be like, easing into it or anything. In short: don’t go to ‘Tioman Dive Center’ if you ever find yourself on the island.

So diving is freaky, and without a proper introduction it proved a little too much for Alyona who decided to stop it and went back to shore. As she said, the most surprising thing is the noise: when you snorkel or swim it is almost silent, but when you dive there is a huge amount of noise from the breathing and bubbles streaming past your face.

After the exercises I got a place on the dive boat which was going out to Rengis island which was just off the coast of the large resort next door. It was a bit funny seeing all these snorkelers wearing life jackets that had been ferried out from the resort and were being babysat.

So the dive was ok, max depth 12m but the visibility wasn’t fantastic. Did get to see a turtle and a few cuttlefish (they change colour to blend with their enviornment). Also a few clown fish and other reef dwelling fish. But honestly not as good as even the snorkelling in Samoa…

For the afternoon we decided to do a bit of snorkelling and Alyona was keen on trying to get to the same spot I was diving at earlier that day to have the same experience. So, after applying a liberal amount of sunscreen and taking a little money we headed along the beach with the intent to climb around the rocks to where the resort was. We also had the fins and snorkel from the dive center as the hireage was for the day.

The rocks themselves were a bit of a mission but great fun. Reminded me a lot of clambering up the river back home as a kid. And on the other side we walked along the beach beside the resort. Hadn’t really realized how big the place was, and it kept going after we stopped opposite the island.

The first place we tried going in had way too many sea urchins so we tried right beside the jetty. This got deeper a lot quicker and there was a lot if interesting coral on the bottom. Saw a couple of baby sting rays, some clams, and a few different fish species I didn’t see earlier.

We then swam the 300m or so out to the island and then around it a bit looking at the sea life. While we might not have seen everything that was on the dive it was still really cool and was a lot more relaxing, especially given I reckon we had less than an hour before sunset. It was an amazingly beautiful scene with the setting sun over the ocean and the amazing coral underneath. No photos for the obvious reason that we were a bit wet. After resting a bit we headed back with a bit of speed to try to beat the sun.

When we finally reached shore, maybe 15 min before sunset we were greeted by a pack of about 20 monkeys going through the resort’s garbage. We picked up our stuff again and walked along the path through the resort. After sneaking a shower by their pool we stopped at one of the beach bars for a well earned cocktail. And while not exactly in singapore we did try the sling (and for NZ8 instead of NZ40). At the other end of the resort we bargained for a taxi and took the easy route home…

For dinner we tried a BBQ place down the road. Only difference from home us that instead of ordering BBQ squid, prawns and a whole fish you pick them out raw from a selection of buckets and the man on the grill will cook to order. Some tiger and wine later we headed back for the night.

As I mentioned earlier one of the activities available here is a 7km hike across the center of the island to the town of juara. Alyona’s foot was feeling much better so we decided ro risk it. The idea being that we could always turn around again if it becomes too strenuous. The turn off is about 1km north of the jetty (we being 0.5km south of it) and that walk alone in the blazing sun is a fair amount of effort. The path is a bit hard to find and turns out to be quite small and overgrown. At times the only way to figure out the direction is to look for the power lines overhead that follow it all the way. Once in the jungle (and yes, it really is tropical jungle) it is a lot cooler but gets steep very quickly. On the way up Alyona makes an interesting observation that Malaysia is the “same as the Ukraine except with palm trees, monkeys, and Asian people”.

The jungle (f8.0 1/25 24mm)

The jungle (f8.0 1/25 24mm)

The walk up is accompanied by various small lizards scurrying out of our way, a few squirrels in the tree tops and a 4 foot monitor lizard that got a bit spooked (but not before we took a few photos). The insects were interesting too and we found both huge colonies of normal ants that seemed to be migrating across the path and some solitary and huge ants that were an easy 3-4cm long.

It was a bit hard to pick between the nature shots but I think this one is the best, no cropping or anything…

Dragonfly (f4.0 1/160 105mm)

Dragonfly (f4.0 1/160 105mm)

Near the top is a small waterfall that we were looking forward to having read the guide book but it turns out really is small and a water catchment area for Tekek with signs saying keep out. Well, we didn’t, but did walk down a bit to below the catchment to refresh a bit.

At the top of the pass it flattened out and became very pleasant. With butterflies flitting about and cicadas that sounded like buzz-saws (neither of which would sit still long enough for a portrait) there was heaps to look at and before long we came to the long 4wd road down the other side.

Many jarring steps later we came to the coast on the other side for a well deserved beer and lunch. The atmosphere in Juara is very different and a lot nicer than Tekek. There are far fewer people and the focus is more on the beach than shops. We both thought that if we came back this would be a nicer area to stay in.

Juara Beach (f5.6 1/1600 105mm)

Juara Beach (f5.6 1/1600 105mm)

Fried rice being eaten we decided on going for a swim off the pier. what we didn’t think about was how we were going to get back up. Lots of trying to pull ourselves up on the ropes and being foiled by the sharp barnacles. Started getting worried for our stuff when a boat started to come in and would tie up alongside.

Of course some very intensive swimming later it turned out to be a police boat so we probably had nothing to worry about. Still, good to get a little exercise after such sedentary day I guess :-)

Some time later we negotiated for a 4wd taxi back to the other side. So for ~$15 each we got to sit on the back of a ute as it made its way up and over the very steep road. Interestingly the road was in great shape being poured concrete the whole way so it was really quite comfortable. Great fun going up the road which, while very well maintained was still definitely 4wd because of the incline.

Back of the 4WD (f4.0 1/250 24mm)

Back of the 4WD (f4.0 1/250 24mm)

Neither of us was really feeling like dinner so instead we had one last walk along the beach and swim at sunset. Got some really cool pics and there were no issues with marine life so we were safe for another day!

Sunset on the beach (f10 1/125 24mm)

Sunset on the beach (f10 1/125 24mm)

So after our last mozzy bitten night we woke up, had a quick breakfast and then caught a ‘taxi’ to the ferry. And I say ‘taxi’ even though it was more like an unorganized bus route with a few stops to pick up and drop off people along the way. The ferry trip was easy and once we were back on the mainland it was simple enough to look around at the bus companies and get a trip all the way back to Singapore for $5 each.

Travel baggage (f10 1/30 24mm)

Travel baggage (f10 1/30 24mm)

We had enough time to look around Mersing a bit and have one last Malaysian meal of crab and prawns before getting on the bus and enjoying the bumpy 4 hour ride. No complications and we arrived in Singapore after dark.





Travel Blog – Malaysia 1

20 08 2009

So having got up much earlier than would be the norm for me and checking out we headed to the bus station to get a bus to Mersing, Malaysia, the closest point on the mainland to where we were going. Unfortunately despite being on time there were no more seats so we had to settle for a bus to Johor Bahru just over the border where we were told we would be able to find many buses to continue on our way. Time was of the essence however as the ferries to the island leave at particular times and if you miss them you’ll need to find alternative accommodation and wait for the next morning. Which isn’t exactly part of an ideal Island holiday.

So $10 each, a 1 hour ride and 2 immigration checkpoints later we found ourselves in a hot, humid bus yard filled with the exhaust of a constant stream of buses coming and going. Interestingly despite the dirty conditions and shops selling food seemingly protected from the flies only by a wave of the proprietors hand there was also a 24 hour McDonalds and a Dunkin Donuts. Go figure.

We were pointed in the general direction of the ticketing offices by a not too helpful driver and so with Alyona looking after the bags I went in search of tickets. Luckily there was another Italian couple looking for the same fare so we joined efforts to find a good deal. The whole way along the line of possible ticketing agents there are hawkers trying to sell for the various agencies and one particularly insistent man said that he could get us on a bus leaving in 30min for $15 each (which didn’t seem to bad as it is a 3-4 hour journey compared to just getting over the border). But thanks to the lonely planet it seemed a bit steep and on further inspection he was trying to sell us a ticket for the last stop of the buses route which was a further 6 hours or so. We found the real ticketer for the line we had taken to get to Johor Bahru and was told that the bus left in 15min and would be $5 each … much more reasonable.

Of course this is Malaysia so the ’15min’ bus was really the ’50min’ bus and we were despairing of getting to Mersing in time. But it did eventually arrive and the most surprising thing?It turns out the dick that was trying to rip us off works for the bus company and was helping with the organization of our departure! Well, we made it ok and it turns out there were enough buses delayed that they had pushed back one of the ferries to a later time and so we got to the island alright. The ferry trip was pleasant through flat seas and past little islands that look like they are from the set of some ‘Survivor’ series and we got to Tioman island and settled in before dark.

Ferry to Tioman (f8.0 1/200 24mm)

Ferry to Tioman (f8.0 1/200 24mm)

Pulau Tioman (where pulau means island) is quite famous for having been discovered by Hollywood in the 70s and thus being the set for many a movie. It is off the east coast of Malaysia and one of the more famous tourist destinations. As we were looking for a beach holiday it seemed ideal and so that is where we were heading. But it isn’t just beaches with dozens of dive stations, jungle, monkeys and other wildlife, and small hikes available through the jungle. We were staying in Tekek which is the largest village on the island…

So after a long days traveling we decided to go for a quick dip which is when the fun really started. It was low tide and despite asking if it was suitable to swim directly in front of the chalets we certainly weren’t warned about the giant sea urchins with 20cm long spikes that live on the bottom. Which at low tide is just below the surface. In an unfortunate accident Alyona didn’t see the first of these and stepped backwards onto a small rock housing not 1 but 3 of these bastards and got severly punctured. After carrying her back to shore we asked what the appropriate treatment was and after seeing how bad it was we were taken to the local clinic on the back of a scooter while I rode in a rickety, homemade side car ( it was both feet including the side of one of them and at least 15 punctures on the bottom of one of the feet).

Now it turns out that the ends of each of these spikes is barbed so you can’t use tweezers to get them out, and they are poisonous so one needs to drain the blood surrounding the puncture. The local remedy for this is to beat the effected area with a heavy stick to break up the barbs. This lets them slowly come out of their own accord and creates room so that one can squeeze the blood out. As I’m sure you can all imagine this is hardly a pleasant experience but Alyona was amazing and stayed calm the whole time. We were assured that she would be able to walk again soon so went back to the chalets, had a dinner of prawns and crabs next door at the chinese place then went to bed.

So our first real day on the island dawned and like the sun-starved NZers we were the first thing we did was rush down to the beach to catch some rays. This made for a very pleasant morning moving in and out of the shade and dipping our toes in the water. Unfortunately that which follows sun bathing is sun burn and we did have that in spades but it was still good!

Later in the afternoon we rented a motorbike to go explore the island … not realizing that the road only went 2km. But we did have fun zooming up and down this road and seeing what Tekek had to offer.

Biker (f13 1/20 24mm)

Biker (f13 1/20 24mm)

In the south is the Berjaya resort which is absolutely huge. It is exactly what one might expect from an American orientated resort. Huge restaurants, groomed beaches and palm trees and hundreds of identical little chalet rooms. It did look comfortable but also looked just a tad soulless. In the north the road ended and turned into a set of stairs and a footpath that followed the coast. We couldn’t go too far along this but we did walk to the next bay where there was a small resort and beach-goers enjoying cocktails in the sun. Oh – and 6 foot monitor lizards eating out of garbage bins.

Monitor Lizard (f4.0 1/160 47mm)

Monitor Lizard (f4.0 1/160 47mm)

Other than that, Tekek really is more of a working town with a few small places to stay and lots of locals going about their business. It does mean it isn’t set up for tourists and there aren’t any cocktail bars or beach umbrellas which is a shame if you are a on a beach holiday but it is still a very pleasant area.

View of Tekek (f13 1/50 47mm)

View of Tekek (f13 1/50 47mm)

After dropping the bike back we went for a short walk to explore a bit and look for a good place to watch the sun set. At the local marina we rested for a while and I went and got a couple of beers from the supermarket (interesting tidbit: Tioman is a duty-free zone so while most things are more expensive than the mainland, alcohol is not). We then sat in the plushly manicured grounds of the marina and were joined by the security guard who obviously didn’t mind us being there. She was definitely a local matriarch as almost everyone who passed stopped to say hello and pay their respects.

A new friend (f4.0 1/20 50mm)

A new friend (f4.0 1/20 50mm)

The day ended much more pleasantly than the one before and while the sun doesn’t really set so much as disappear in the haze surrounding the Malaysian mainland it is still very pretty.

Sunset at Tekek (f4.5 1/6 35mm)

Sunset at Tekek (f4.5 1/6 35mm)





Travel Blog – Singapore 1

17 08 2009

(NB: Click on the images for bigger versions)

So, for those that don’t know I’ve just left on a 1 month holiday to Singapore, Malaysia, Germany and Holland. And there might be a couple other countries along the way depending on how things go. Alyona has been at a conference in Singapore for the past week so I went to join her and spend 2 nights there. Then off to Malaysia for a beach holiday.

Got in in the evening after a long flight. And longer than expected given it went Auckland->Sydney->Adelaide->Singapore which is one stopover more than I was expecting. Alyona picked me up at the airport and after settling in at our very nice hotel (Park Royal on Kitchner for those who might be interested) we went out and explored a bit of Little India. There were loads of great stalls and restaurants reminiscent of parts of Hong Kong but with an indian flair and population. We had a dinner of dosai at a tiny little place on one of the side roads filled with lorries and people.

The next day I tried to get in touch with Matt and after wrangling a Vodafone prepay top-up online we managed to arrange to meet at some point during the day. Vivi, a friend of Alyona’s, was staying not too far away so we wandered through Arab town to her hotel. On the way we stopped at a very nice Mosque and had a peek inside. We couldn’t go fully in as it wouldn’t have been appropriate but it was impressive.

Arab St Mosque (f4.0 1/2000 24mm)

Arab St Mosque (f4.0 1/2000 24mm)

Further down the road we had an iced coffee and I took lots of shots of the interesting buildings in the area. One such colourful example is below:

Colourful buildings (f4.0 1/1250 24mm)

Colourful buildings (f4.0 1/1250 24mm)

Vivi was keen to check out Pulau Ubin which is an island in the North East so after checking the schedules we took a bus all the way out to the coast. We were lucky to get the very front seat in the top of the double-decker bus so pretty much had a free tour of the city, including its prisons and military bases. While waiting for the ferry to the island we enjoyed ice cream sandwiches from a roadside vendor. Rather ingenious idea, he would cut slices off one of those big blocks of ice cream that come in cardboard cartons, slap a couple of wafers on them and that was your sandwich.

Once we got there we negotiated for a few bikes and cycled out to the wetland reserve. The cycle was nice and cool but it wasn’t until you stopped that you realized that you had indeed been expending effort and ended up sweating profusely. Lucky we had taken a couple of cans of beer with us then. The wetlands were interesting although the water was so murky that you couldn’t see anything below the surface despite the nice informative plaques telling you where you should try to look. In the mangrove swamp we ventured up a lookout tower and Vivi kindly took a photo of Alyona and I together with the forest and water in the background.

Together on Pulau Ubin (f10 1/800 24mm)

Together on Pulau Ubin (f10 1/800 24mm)

All this time I had been txting backwards and forth with Matt and had failed to catch up. He was on the island and heading our way when there was a bit of miscommunication and he turned around thinking we were back at the beginning again. Eventually we caught up and had beer & garlic prawns by the sea.

The main event for the evening was the Singapore Flyer as we had booked tickets for the 7pm flight. By bumming around a little we managed to push it out a little and timed it perfectly so we had the sunset on the way up and the city lights on the way down. The sunset wasn’t much due to the vast amounts of smog and haze making the sun simply disappear slowly. But the city lights were amazing and so, as an example:

City lights (f6.3 1/4 24mm)

City lights (f6.3 1/4 24mm)

Turns out that Sunday was Singapore’s 44th anniversary of independence so there were big celebrations, flags on every building and a parade put on by the military. While we did get to see an F-16 flyby and one by a Chinook and a few Apache gunships there wasn’t much to see of the ground parade. As such it turned out to be a lot of waiting around for the fireworks, which we did. Weirdly there were a few false starts where a few starbursts were fired and everyone started getting excited only to calm down again when nothing else happened. Maybe there was something to see in the stadium but that didn’t really help the rest of us. Eventually the real fireworks started and everyone got snap happy (myself included).

Fireworks at night (f11 0.4 35mm)

Fireworks at night (f11 0.4 35mm)

The finale was a very cool continued series of golden bursts so the sky was full for a long time. We waited for a while to try and let some of the crowds disperse before going for some dinner. The food court we ended up at had a really weird decor that made it look like the inside of a library as I’m sure everyone associates noisy food courts and quiet book-orientated environs. The food was good and the beer better and the wait let most people leave the city center. We parted ways with Matt at the MTR station and headed back ourselves.

We got back to the hotel very tired and went to sleep almost immediately. After getting up early and packing we headed to the bus station to catch one to Mersing, Malaysia. The direct one was full so we had to take on to Johor on the other side of the border with the hope of getting transport further. And that is a story for the next update…





Photo Blog 84

7 08 2009

So Snapfish have another special on canvas printing and the 3 I already have are hanging in the hallway (not my room) so I decided to make another few for my room (potentially, depends on how the turn out). And because 2 of the 3 were from before this blog I thought I’d post them here :-)

Without further ado:

Canvas 1 - Wanaka (f3.5 1.6s 50mm)

Canvas 1 - Wanaka (f3.5 1.6s 50mm)

Canvas 2 - LA (f5.6 1/4000 55mm)

Canvas 2 - LA (f5.6 1/4000 55mm)

Canvas 3 - Waikato (f4.0 3 exposures 47mm)

Canvas 3 - Waikato (f4.0 3 exposures 47mm)





Photo Blog 83 – Samoa 6

6 08 2009

Samoa 6 and Samoa the last I swear. And I think I have kept the best till last too.

On our last day in Samoa we had a flight leacing very late at night and the Hotel we has stayed at the night previous was nice enough to let us stick around. Even better it was their grand opening so there was a *cow* on a spit (pigs are for weaklings with small stomachs) lots of free beer, the Prime Minister of Samoa and a faifai that featured fire dancing (something we missed out on the first time).

So I had heaps of fun taking shots of the fire dancing and had a prime position with only the swimming pool between me and the action. So a couple of the best shots (tweaked for exposure and noise but thats all):

Fire dancer 1 (f4.0 1/160 47mm)

Fire dancer 1 (f4.0 1/160 47mm)

With some of the shots I tried to capture the reflection on the water too which looks quite cool.

Fire dancer 2 (f4.0 1/80 70mm)

Fire dancer 2 (f4.0 1/80 70mm)

Of course if you play with fire accidents will happen and the new wing of the building was almost burnt down by an over-zealous dancer:

Accidents will happen (f5.6 1/15 105mm)

Accidents will happen (f5.6 1/15 105mm)





Photo Blog 82

5 08 2009

Just a quick update with some shots I took a week or so ago with the intent of putting them up here (but then never got around to it). Went out to brunch with Victor and Alyona and managed to get a portrait of each of them. I was playing with the 50mm again which really is a fun lens, even if it isn’t as flexible as my zoom lens. In both cases I had to get up and step away from the table to be able to frame everything.

First Victor (cause that is the one I took first). Did a bit of contrast adjustment in Photoshop but not much else.

Victor (f1.8 1/2000 50mm)

Victor (f1.8 1/2000 50mm)

The second shot is a candid one of Alyona I managed to catch when she wasn’t looking. I do have some nice ones of her looking straight at the camera but they didn’t seem as good as this one. I tried playing with it in Photoshop but found it looked much nicer without any changes. I especially like the soft light and the contrast with the background.

Alyona (f1.8 1/1250 50mm)

Alyona (f1.8 1/1250 50mm)