It was the second Chinese New Year since the passing of my grandmother. I am still getting used to not having her around. She was the anchor of the family and it was an annual custom for my relatives to congregate at my uncle’s home where she stayed. I am glad that we continued the tradition this year by making the trip to Batu Pahat.
Another change that made its presence felt was my baby niece. She has become the focal point that my family revolves around, being the first grandchild in the family. This meant that we could no longer fit the whole family into a car. So we drove two cars up north.
Chinese New Year in Malaysia involves a lot of travelling if your extended family is scattered across the different states. I guess I am lucky because I only need to drive to Batu Pahat and Alor Gajah. Batu Pahat is still within the state of Johor and Alor Gajah is in Malacca, which is beside Johor. So I have it easy compared to others who have to drive across several states to visit their relatives.
Still, driving long distance is mind-sapping. We started our journey from Johor Bahru and travelled to Batu Pahat. The drive took twice the usual time due to heavy traffic. To worsen things, a car crash brought traffic on the highway to a standstill. After lunch and some catching up with my paternal relatives, we had to rush to Alor Gajah to visit my maternal relatives. By the time we reached Malacca, my brother and I were drained from our driving duties and took a nap to recharge.
We had to leave for home early in the evening so that we did not have to drive for long after the sun sets. The exhaustion from having to concentrate while driving was noticeable. I found it hard to focus and get in the zone to take photos. My mind just wanted to relax.
Instead of making such a hurried and tiring trip, I think I would rather stay a night in a hotel so I get to spend more time with my relatives and also to take photos.
My niece loves to take selfies.
The lines were due to the high ISO of 1,250. I usually keep to a maximum of ISO 640. But that is with the faster lens speed of the Voigtlander 35 mm f/1.4 SC. I was using my recently acquired Voigtlander 21 mm f/4 Color-Skopar so I had to bump the ISO up to compensate for it.
This is another shot at ISO 1,250. It is a lot cleaner as the scene is brighter with less shadows.
I rushed home from Singapore after work. The longest part of the journey was the 45 minute wait for the express bus. Otherwise, there was very little traffic. There was once I took six hours just to get home due to the massive crowd. In recent years, people tend to travel back to Malaysia a few days earlier to avoid the congestion. So it has been relatively less crowded.
Remember what they say about handing your models some props to make them relax. It’s working.
I really miss using my Fujifilm X100. We took the same shot last year and I used the live view to line up the shot. With the Leica M8, I have to guess. I only had that few moments to nail it before the baby lost interest in staring at the mirror.
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