Jul 29, 2011

Pulau Aman - Island of Peace

Pulau Aman is a small island in Penang, Malaysia. Famously known as the "Island of Peace", it is a home to a traditional Malay village. There are many interesting places to visit in Pulau Aman such as Jalan Telaga Emas, Batu Perompak and the nearby island of Pulau Gedung. (Source from Wikipedia)

Floating Restaurant (Restaurant Terapung)
There is a popular restaurant in Pulau Aman, and it was built on the sea, called as Floating restaurant. This restaurant is a must-go place in Pulau Aman for having meal. They sell Mee(Noodle) Kuah, Mee Goreng, Kuay Teow Kuah, Kuay Teow Goreng, Bihun and so on. Normal price for those Mee& Kuay Teow Kuah is RM6.00 and RM10.00 for extra prawn.

Seafood Meal
There are plenty of seafoods and the prices are cheap. They are really fresh from the sea around Pulau Aman. Crab & mantis shrimp are always people’s favorite. There is a fishmonger stall selling these seafoods. And, you have to go earlier to grab to seafoods from them, else you gonna wait for a long queue.
After got the seafoods, you gonna send it to Floating Restaurant to cook it with “the only” steam method.

Other Sport Activities
Besides eating, there are sport activities such as sport fishing, jungle trekking and even home stay. However, these activities seem like not really being promoted and not many people know about it.
Pulau Aman has potential to become a popular tourism destination in Penang, however, it needs more creativity and innovation for the development.

Jul 14, 2011

Camera ISO - Sensitivity Towards Light

Camera ISO refers to the camera sensor’s sensitivity towards the light. Normally, we can see ISO100, ISO200, ISO400, ISO640, ISO800 and so on. Light sensitivity increase when the number increase. The higher the sensitivity, the less light is needed to make an exposure. It is very helpful if we are able to control the ISO setting especially during indoor or night shot without flash.

ISO Values For Different Atmosphere
ISO 100 and lower - Excellent quality for brightly lit places, such as in bright sunlight outside. Allows for lots of detail and great image quality.
ISO 200 - Should be generally be used on dull days such as overcast and cloudy, only a tiny bit of noise.
ISO 400 - Great for indoor photography for flash and no flash – best use for high speed photography – but noise can be seen.
ISO 800+ Only really used effectively on high quality digital SLR cameras, most shots taken like this with a small compact camera will look extremely noisy.

How ISO Helps?
i. Increasing Shutter Speed
Higher ISO settings are generally used in darker situations to get faster shutter speeds. The higher the sensitivity, the less light is needed to make an exposure. Hence, the shutter speed can be increased through increasing ISO value. Appropriate shutter speed allows you to capture the specific moment at the right time without affecting much the image quality.

ii. Reducing Blur For Indoor or Night Shots
We always face insufficient light problem when taking indoor or night shots (without external flash support). Blur occurs in the picture due to the slow shutter speed under low ISO value. Through increasing ISO value, we can get faster shutter speed, and this will directly reduce the probability of image blur.

Disadvantage of High ISO – Creating Noise (Little White Dots)
If we are using very high ISO such as ISO3200 during indoor or night, it helps to increase shutter speed, however the picture quality will be affected because of the noise even though there is noise reduction function in the camera. Hence, ISO value shouldn’t exceed ISO1600 under active noise reduction function.
Noise (White Dots) Occurs When Using Very High ISO Value

* Please note that light painting or car trail photography use lowest ISO in order to create long exposure (slow shutter speed) to capture the long moment and star effect from the light.

Jul 11, 2011

Gunung Jerai - 1,217m Height Mountain

Gunung Jerai, also known as Mount Jerai, formerly Kedah Peak is the highest mountain in Kedah with the height of 1,217 meters. Within Kedah itself, the mountain stands at the border of Kuala Muda and Yan districts. The mountain is a massive limestone outcrop and is a lone feature from the surrounding geography of the area.

I went there with Tiffany last few months, to explore the highest mountain in Kedah. The environment is clean and beautiful, however more creativity and innovation needed to make it even better tourism destination. We had coffee in Kedah Peak restaurant, enjoying the view of Kedah state. There are full of paddy field. If you are there, then you will understand why Kedah is the biggest paddy supplier in Malaysia.

What You Can Do?
Sight-seeing is a must-do activity, standing on the top and viewing the beauty of Kedah Paddy fields. It is a good place for relaxing, suitable family vacation, friends gathering and team building activities. You don’t have to worry about the hot whether there, it is high and cold. Besides that, you can enjoy jungle trekking, trekking from the bottom to the top of the mountain and even camping there.

The Regency Jerai Hill Resort
It is a resort on Gunung Jerai, offering pretty good accommodation service for the guests. There is a restaurant manage by the resort, called Kedah Peak restaurant. They offer buffet lunch. If you are staying in the resort, you can organize a BBQ parties at night. You can organize conference or seminar too, in their conference room, but I think it is not suitable due to the transportation issue. (Tel: 04-466777)

According to Wikipedia, the height of Mount Jerai relative to its surroundings allowed Indian traders and seafarers to use the mountain as a navigational point more than 1500 years ago. The mountain was considered sacred by the ancient Malays so they built temples from the foothills up to the summit. Hindu-Buddhist priests would pray at these stupas for the safety of Bujang Valley, the richest archaeological site in Malaysia located on the southern reaches of the mountain.

Getting There?
If you have GPS device, then you should use it. Using the North South Highway,take the Gurun exit. From Gurun town, turn towards Alor Star. After paying the Toll fees, turn left at the T-junction and drive to the end with another T-junction. Then, turn right to the main road. You can see many homestay ads along the way; find the road sign to The Regency Jerai Hill Resort.
There are 3 major ways to go to the top of the mountain. You can drive (own transport) to the top or request for transportation service from The Regency Jerai Hill Resort. If you love jungle trekking, you may explore the Gunung Jerai Forest with a group of friends and reach to the top.

Map (Gurun Exit - Gunung Jerai)

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