Monday, 31 March 2014

NZ Photo Tour : Day 02 - Twizel To Mount Cook : There And Back Again Part 1

Assalamualaikum wbt.

Sept 2nd, 2013

Our very first night in night New Zealand was spent on the road. We drove well into the night, finally stopping at roadside somewhere between at Tekapo-Twizel Rd. Our campervan's gas heater didn't function, and without external power source, the electric heater was useless too. At first we thought of letting the engine run so we can have some heat from the front heater. However, seeing that we were already low in fuel, we quickly banished the thought.

We woke up cold and shivering. The first touch of my stockinged feet to the icy-cold floor brought out a quick yelp. Everything was covered in thin frost. Heavy layer of warm clothing (plus thick blanket) helped a bit, but trust me, it's no joke sleeping in the campervan without heater! If you are going to NZ in winter (or early spring, like we did), make sure the heater's works!

NB : I reviewed the behind-the-scene videos by Fakrul. There is one clip that shows Rosie telling us NOT to twist the heater dial all the way to the left. Perhaps somebody did, and that may explain why the heater worked at the depot but not after. Perhaps. I don't know. Anyway, that's in the past. Long gone and dusted :D

But that did not dampen our adventurous spirit, apparently. And the engine started at the first twist of the key. After the morning rituals and breakfast, we were ready to go.

Next destination : Mount Cook Village, approximately 60km away.

After about 10 minutes, we came across an intersection. Turn right to Mount Cook, or continue straight to go to Twizel.

when we forgot to take pictures, Google Street View comes to the rescue! LoL

We decided to make a right turn to press ahead to Mount Cook, and fill up the diesel tank at Mount Cook Village. Surely there's a station there, right? Only later, we learned that this was a mistake. One that would costs us valuable time (and diesel too).

Anyway, we drove ahead and the view was magnificent! With the Lake Pukaki on the right, slowly the majestic Aoraki started to reveal itself. Well, I'll just let the picture do the talking. I was lucky it was not my turn driving :)

Of course, an unscheduled road-stop was mandatory! Here's some images shot during the stop :)

cool Born Amin with Aoraki
fancy a walk, Danial?

perfecting my levitating skill.. :D

Mindful of the time, we did not tarry long. Few quick snaps and we drove again until we reached Glentanner Holiday Park, our campsite for tonight. For NZD20 per person, this place offered a powered campsite, complete with kitchen, rest area, bath, laundromat (self-service, of course) and also wi-fi (NZD5 per day). The reception was very friendly, too. From them we learned that it was cheaper to fuel at Twizel, plus the station at Mount Cook was not attended (i.e. no cash transaction) and only take NZ-issued credit card.

By then we were very anxious about our fuel level so after registering at Glentanner (we were the only campervan there), we hastened back to Twizel to refuel. Unfortunately that's an approximately 100++km return journey, from Glentanner to Twizel to Mount Cook Village.

Looking back at this route, I certainly would do it differently next time (November 2014, anyone?). I would go to Twizel first for refueling before doubling back to Mount Cook. Or maybe we would refuel at Tekapo before going up to Mount Cook. That way we'll save a lot of time and kilometers. But heck, everybody is wiser in hindsight!

Anyway, back to the story. We may lost some time and kilometers, but we certainly gained more pictures! On the way to Twizel, the light started to take a golden hues. It was only 2pm but it was already golden hour! Again we were  presented with lovely views of the lakeside and finally after hearing a lot of "ooh-ing" and "aargh-ing" from the back of the campervan, I could no longer resist..had to find a place to stop for a quick snap!

Lake Pukaki Panorama. I can't recall the exact location, but I'm glad that we did stop here

would love to shoot from down the cliff, someday

Another Panorama of Lake Pukaki. This is one big whopper in original resolution!

After we passed the Tekapo-Twizel junction, the view started to change. Trees lining up the road replaced the lakeview.

We reached Twizel Town at around 3.30pm. Filled up the diesel tank and then visit the dumping station to discharge both grey and black water, and to top-up our fresh water. Previous night one of us had a bit of diarrhea, necessitating a frequent visit to the campervan's toilet. He practically filled up the tank with his *ahem*. Needless to say, the task of dumping and cleaning the tank fell on him! :D

Fuel station at Twizel. Friendly service throughout ...

... and a dump station right next to it. How convenient!

... topping up the water tank ...

...a few quick snaps around...

Inside the campervan after day 2. How would it be after day 8??

All set! Let's get going!

Finally, all grey and black waters were discharged. Fuel and fresh waters were topped-up. And we were raring to go. It's 4pm, and the plan was for sunset shots at Mount Cook Village, about 60km away. Would we reached there in time?

Until my next post, Wassalam :)

<< Day 01 - Tekapo To Twizel : A Night Full Of Stars 

 HDR/DRI/Timelapse personal / group workshop is available upon request. PM me for details :) 
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- contact me at for information on licensing of my images and timelapse clips -
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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Putra Hait Sunset

Assalamualaikum wbt.

This timelapse sequence was shot last January but processed only yesterday. I was too lazy to go out, but the urge to do timelapse was ever there. So I just setup my tripod at my lawn, set the interval, connect my camera to my handphone via Wu1b wifi adapter. I configured the apps DSLR Dashboard to monitor the exposure and make necessary adjustments and shoot away hehe.

384 images sequence at 7 seconds interval, rendered at 24fps
Nikon d600 | Tamron 17-35mm | Phottix Intervalometer | Dslr Dashboard

Exif :
Aperture : f/8
Shutter Speed : 1/200s (start) - 5s (end)
ISO : 50 (start) - 80 (end)
WB : Auto WB
Pic Style : Customised Standard
Active D-Lighting : Very High

Learn timelapse with me! Join our workshop this April at Tip of Borneo, Sabah.

 HDR/DRI/Timelapse personal / group workshop is available upon request. PM me for details :) 
- all rights reserved - do not use without permission -
- contact me at for information on licensing of my images and timelapse clips -
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Monday, 24 March 2014

KLCC Under Construction

Assalamualaikum wbt.
Timelapse of sunset from KLCC new parking complex. Shot with  Fadzly Zainuddin & Hafiz Ismail, some time ago.

You can view one of the still image at Flickr .
The techs yada-spechs :
522 images @ 5s interval, rendered at 30fps
Aperture : f/7.1
Shutter : 1/50s (start) - 3s (end)
ISO : 50 (start) - 100 (end)
WB : Auto WB during shooting, adjusted in post-processing
Gear : Nikon d600 | Tamron 17-35mm | Phottix Intervalometer | Dslr Dashboard

join our timelapse workshop this April! More info here :

and here's another timelapse (hyperlapse) that I shot that night :

 HDR/DRI/Timelapse personal / group workshop is available upon request. PM me for details :) 
- all rights reserved - do not use without permission -
- contact me at for information on licensing of my images and timelapse clips - Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5 Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5

Thursday, 20 March 2014

NZ Photo Tour : Day 01 - Tekapo To Twizel : A Night Full Of Stars

Assalamualaikum wbt.

Sept 1st - Sept 2nd, 2013

The Church of the Good Shepherd was built in 1935. It was the first church built in the Mackenzie Basin. Perhaps I am not  exaggerating if I say the church is  one of the most photographed in New Zealand, and it is very much synonym with the name Lake Tekapo itself.

When we reached there, the church was closed and its door locked, so I was unable to take any interior pictures. But I've seen its interior images, in particular one windows framing the lake and the mountain range in the distance.  

We decided to stay well past sunset and wait for the stars to come out. And it was a worthy wait! Just after blue hour, the stars came out in full glory, and the milky way stretch vertically across the night sky. I could not adequately describe in words, nor my shots could do proper justice. You simply have to be there and experience for yourself. Trust me, you won't regret it!


The blue hour had just barely ended and the stars already came out in full glory

count the meteors!

The Aoraki MacKenzie is a "gold rated" Dark Sky Reserve. This reserve span the whole Mackenzie Basin and includes Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, Lake Tekapo, Twizel and Mt Cook itself, covering an area of 4300square kilometres.

What this status means is that a light-pollution free night sky is guaranteed. True enough, what light pollution there was came from infrequently passing vehicles, and the occasional (annoying, but hey, it's a public area) glare of torchlight from the tourist.

The night sky was full of stars, and the milky way band across the sky was so colourful! Really, I'm lost for words to describe the feeling.

There used to be this beautiful night sky in Malaysia. I remember during my early twenties (yes I'm old :p) I went night fishing at my hometown Kuala Terengganu...we just laid back on the sandy beach while waiting for the fish to take the bait..and just enjoy the stars. Sadly this is no longer the case.. *sigh*

would love to get inside and take a picture of the stars framed by the church's window!

And here's the timelapse that I managed to shoot that night :

 Tekapo Milky Way Part 1


Tekapo Milky Way Part II


 Tekapo Milky Way Part III   

Our original plan was to stay one night at Tekapo. However we were so engrossed with our shooting that we decided to look for lodging after the shooting sessions. BAD NEWS : all business closed early. By the time we finished shooting around 10.00 pm, all shops, campsite/motel receptions, were all closed. Even the fuel station was closed. We were so used to the 24hrs availability of shops and eateries in Malaysia, it never crossed our mind that it would be different in New Zealand.

After a brief dinner of scrambled eggs + bread and instant "bubur nasi" by Danial, our designated chef, we unsuccessfully tried to find any campervan site or motel that were still open. Overnight parking in town open area/public parking ("freedom camping") was prohibited so after our very first dump (discharging grey water) at the public dumpsite we decided to press ahead to Mount Cook as far as we could that night. It's approximately 100 kilometers from Tekapo so we hoped to cover maybe half the distance before stopping at any suitable place for the night's sleep.

Whether right or wrong decision, I for one do not regret it. Our campervan's gas heater failed to function (we were given a electric heater, but to use it we need to hook up to external power source) so it was a very cold night sleep in the campervan that night, but looking at the following images, I think it was worth it.

I was driving, and Jemang keeping me awake with his endless chatter and jokes while everyone else succumbed to the cold night. And about one hour into the journey, (somewhere on Tekapo-Twizel Road) Jemang excitedly pointed out that the Milky Way was right ahead!

Well, what else to do but stop and shoot? :D

The straight road was literally empty that we could lay down in the middle of the road without any worry. Of course we didn't do that but we certainly couldn't pass up the chance to strike a pose or two :)


We proceeded and a further ahead stopped again for another shot

the compulsory Light Saber post

the stars was so bright it was even reflected on the campervan

We moved ahead and about 1 hour later both of us started to feel sleepy, so we decided to stop for the night at any convenient location. We found a clear area by the roadside so we parked there for the night. But surprise, surprise, we were not so sleepy after all! Time for some more shots :)


Milky Way Over Lake Pukaki

unfortunately, no live Lupins, only dry ones. imagine the scene here during the summer!

Before finally climbing onto the bunk bed atop the driver's cab, I even managed to record a timelapse here :)


 HDR/DRI/Timelapse personal / group workshop is available upon request. PM me for details :) 
- all rights reserved - do not use without permission -
- contact me at for information on licensing of my images and timelapse clips -
Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5 Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5