November 13, 2013

One of my favourite parks

Singapore Botanic Gardens 1
Singapore Botanic Gardens 2 the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The trees shut out the traffic noise and make you feel like you're in a peaceful, sprawling garden far, far away from the rush of the city.

(Nikon F-801 + Kodak Gold 400)

October 22, 2013

New Zealand: Wai-O-Tapu

Apart from a lone hot spring, which continues to stump us with its existence, Singapore doesn't have any geothermal land-forms, so I was ooh-ing and ah-ing like a suaku (i.e. person who has been living under a rock) over every bit of bubbling mud or steaming soil when I visited the Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park in Rotarua, New Zealand.

Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park 1
Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park 2
This is the Lady Knox Geyser which erupts every day at 10.15am as part of an informative mini show. I was a bit disappointed to find out that the eruption was induced, even though the staff assured us that the geyser would still naturally erupt about once every 24 hours if it were left to its own devices.

Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park 3
Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park 5
Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park 4
Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park 7
There was lots of fog that day, which made everything seem even more mysterious and magical. Some of the photos turned out a bit too foggy though - apparently film captures fog much more than the iPhone does.

Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park 6

Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park 8

I wish they'd had more explanations and diagrams showing how the geothermal features had been formed or how they "work", but it was still a really great experience. I loved how unearthly everything looked.

(Canon AE-1 & Kodak Portra 400)

September 20, 2013

Crochet 01

Crochet appeals to me because you can make something with just a hook & a ball of yarn. There are loads of complicated and advanced things that can be done with crochet of course, but at my current (newbie) level, I find it nice & simple.

My mom taught me the basics when I was a kid but I never got further than making rectangles and weirdly-shaped dolls' bags. When I decided to pick up crochet again, I didn't know where to start because the easiest beginner patterns all seemed to be for scarves which a) usually require lots of yarn and b) I don't need because we don't have winter here.

Then I found these mini projects which were useful and doable and basically perfect:

Textured Bow Tie pattern by Delia:
While making this for my boyfriend to wear to a friend's wedding, I promptly forgot that it was a kid's pattern and we ended up with a kid-sized bow and regular-sized neck tie. He wore it anyway, which was sweet of him. Moral of the story: you might need to scale up the bow if you're making this for an adult!

Crochet bow tie

Crochet bow tie

Little Treasures Envelope pattern by Shara:
I really like this pattern because it's simple (no sewing required), cute & functional. It's become my go-to handmade gift and I'm pretty sure my friends are going to get tired of receiving this as a present soon, ha.

Little Treasures Envelope

Little Treasures Envelope

(Nikon F-801 with Kodak Gold 400 & Nikon D300. I'm need to work on my digital photography & post-processing skills, shooting with digital so much tougher than shooting with film!)

Do you crochet? What's your favourite beginner pattern? :)

August 6, 2013

New Zealand: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 01

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 02

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 03

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 04
That's Mt Ngauruhoe on the left, which was used as Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies.
(Yes, I did squee a bit when I saw it.)

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 05

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 06

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 07
The gorgeous Emerald Lakes

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 08

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 09
Snow-capped Mt Ruapehu peeking out from behind Mt Doom

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 10

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 11
The rest hut suddenly seems very, very far away when you're in need of the bathroom.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 12

(Canon AE-1 with Kodak Gold 400 & Kodak Portra 400)

I've gotten really behind on blogging (again!) lately, because a lot of my free time has been channeled towards finishing a crochet gift for a friend. But I'm back with more NZ photos, so I hope you aren't tired of them yet!

It's easy to see why some people consider Tongariro Alpine Crossing the best one-day hike in New Zealand. The uphill bits were a challenge for my weak, unexercised limbs, but the gorgeous volcanic landscape made it all worth while (especially those amazing turquoise pools! I was tempted to dive right in more than once).

Looking through these photos makes me feel really thankful. I'm thankful for the friendly shuttle-bus driver who was able to make everyone smile even at 6am in the morning, for the company of new friends who made the journey even better, for the perfect sunny weather. I'm thankful that my legs didn't drop off like they threatened to :P

I'd forgotten to pack a polarising filter for this trip, which, combined with the bright NZ sunshine, meant that most of the photos turned out slightly over-exposed and hyper-saturated. I didn't like the effect at first, but now I think the extreme colours complement the alien-looking landscape perfectly.

Previously: NZ via iPhone, Lake Taupo & Taupo Town

July 2, 2013

New Zealand: Taupo Town

NZ Taupo Town 1

NZ Taupo Town 2

NZ Taupo Town 3

NZ Taupo Town 4

NZ Taupo Town 5

NZ Taupo Town 6

NZ Taupo Town 7

NZ Taupo Town 8

NZ Taupo Town 9

sheep watching me watching them

NZ Taupo Town 10

NZ Taupo Town 12

Above: Waikato River, hills & farmland, natural hot spring along the Otumuheke Stream

The hot spring was hands down my favourite attraction in Taupo. There's nothing like soaking in a super-heated river, surrounded by rocks & moss, with pebbles between your toes. No need for electricity, or a changing room, just the essentials.

If exploring all these hills & rivers makes you hungry, head to:

Replete for coffee and killer carrot cake. They also have a kitchenware and food section, with exotic teas and Orla Kiely tins that I drooled over but did not buy.

Dixie Browns for good steak & fresh scallops. If you plan to go there for dinner on a weekend, be sure to make a reservation as they're often fully booked on the day itself.

More NZ photos:
iPhone snaps
Lake Taupo


Google Reader officially shuts down today, ugh! If you're still looking for a replacement, I recommend checking out Feedly. Switching over is a breeze and its UI is very similar to Google Reader's. I've also heard good things about Bloglovin although I haven't tried using it yet.

June 26, 2013

New Zealand: Lake Taupo

New Zealand: Lake Taupo 1

New Zealand: Lake Taupo 5

New Zealand: Lake Taupo 3

New Zealand: Lake Taupo 6

More New Zealand snaps, taken with the AE-1. These are my favourite photos of the gorgeous Lake Taupo.

My trip was probably much less epic than a typical NZ vacation, because I stayed at the Lake Taupo area the whole time and visited places that were within 2 hours' drive of the town. Even so, there were many things to do and see because New Zealand is awesome like that. Can't wait to rent a camper-van and go explore the rest of NZ one day!

I did a bit of research (read: googling) beforehand and got all excited about visiting Lake Taupo, because I read that it's the same size as Singapore. When I finally got to the lake, my first thought was, Wow, our country's so small, because I could see right across to the other side from where I was. It was very cool and also very humbling.

I'm planning to share more New Zealand photos over the next few weeks, so check back soon!

May 28, 2013

New Zealand: iPhone snaps

NZ 1

NZ 2

NZ 3

NZ 4

It's always exciting to collect freshly-developed film, but it's twice as exciting to pick up scans from a trip to New Zealand, like I did today. It'll take a while for me to sort through all those film shots though, so in the mean time, here are a few iPhone photos to kick things off! Isn't New Zealand gorgeous? I'm already dreaming about going back...

May 21, 2013

Back to school: Map Making class

Back in February, I signed up for Anne Ditmeyer's online Map Making class on an impulse. That decision turned out to be a very good one because I had lots of fun and the class got me thinking about maps in new, creative ways. And because everyone had a different approach to the map tasks, I got lots of inspiration just from checking out my classmates' projects.

Here's a snippet from my treasure-hunt-food-map final project:

Map class final project

The idea was to create a series of cards with clues & a map on each of them that would lead you to my favourite spots & restaurants around the E-dae area in Seoul, South Korea.

I didn't even manage to finish designing cards for all the locations I had in mind when the class ended, so it was a nice surprise to find out that my little project had been included in Anne's 'Best of Maps!' roundup. Thanks, Anne!

She'll be teaching the class again, starting on 28 May, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in travel, design, or maps! This post isn't sponsored, I just really enjoyed taking this class :) I'm sure it'll be a bit different this time around, but if you want to have a rough idea of what it will be like, have a look at my project page.

Happy mapping!

May 2, 2013

Local Tourist: Chinatown (and a bit of VivoCity)

Sanna and I have been friends since we were wee kids, but it's been ages since we last met. Back in March, we finally had a chance to hang out and since she loves taking photos and I wanted to finish up some film, we decided to do a mini photo-walk around Chinatown. All these photos were taken with the Olympus XA.

Chinatown 1

Chinatown 2

Chinatown 3

Chinatown 4

Chinatown 5

Chinatown 6

HarbourFront 1

HarbourFront 2

We had guo tie & zha jiang mian at Tian Jin Fong Kee, explored Pagoda Street & Temple Street, ate mediocre shaved ice and hid from a thunderstorm. I didn't expect anything much shopping-wise from kitschy Pagoda Street, so it was a nice surprise to discover a Tintin shop tucked among all the souvenirs.

Later, we headed to VivoCity for some errand-running. It's just a regular shopping centre, but there's a nice boardwalk that runs between the sea and the shops, and we managed to catch some golden light while we were there. I really like the shot of Sanna by the sea - her amazing hair & that blue water make me think of Ariel from The Little Mermaid!

Head over here to see Sanna's photos from our day out. You should definitely check out her blog if you like wonderfully droll and/or thoughtful words about teaching 13 year-olds and other adventures. Her posts never fail to make me smile.

(more Local Tourist posts can be found here)
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