Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thaipusam 2010

According to the Wikipedia, “Thaipusam is a major Hindu religious festival that is only celebrated in Singapore and Malaysia, since it was banned in India. As part of a penance to Lord Murugan, participants carry 'kavadis' along a processional route. Some of the adult male participants carry kavadis that are attached to their bodies via metal hooks and small spears that pierce their skin. This annual festival is the only time in contemporary Singapore when major roads in the city, including the parts of the prime Orchard Road area, are closed for a religious procession. The procession starts at the Sri Srinivasa Permal Temple in Serangoon Road, and winds through Orchard Road and Penang Road before ending at the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple at Tank Road, off Clemenceau Avenue. The festival is a major religious and urban event, which draws large numbers of participants, devotees, supportive family and friends as well as curious onlookers, photography enthusiasts and tourists.”
I’m a member of ANZA Click – a photography group linked to ANZA in Singapore. The group were meeting at the starting temple on Serangoon Road at 1pm to shoot the festival from there. As I was in Jurong for the morning (see previous post) I wasn’t able to meet up with the group, so I decided to go much later in the day and get some shots of the dismantling of the Kavadi’s at the Tank Road temple. Below are the pics…
Hindu devotee at Thaipusam in Singapore

This next guy was particularly striking – he also left in the tongue piercing until the end:
Thaipusam 2010   Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010   Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
This next guy was very young looking – his eyes may be closed in the shot, but he showed no signs of pain when he was having his spears removed:
Young guy having his cheek piercing removed at Thaipusam 2010 in Singapore
Even the young guys carrying the ash were pierced in many ways:
Young ash-bearer's pierced arm at Thaipusam 2010 in Singapore
Many of the men are pierced in multiple places – the face seemed to be mainly limited to the cheeks, tongue and eyebrows:
Thaipusam 2010
This guy, like most of them, seemed to bear no pain when having the piercings removed:
Thaipusam 2010
This fellow was smiling and chatting even around his piercings:
Thaipusam 2010   Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
Many of the devotees used braces around their waists to help bear the weight of the massive Kavadis. This next guy was full-on hardcore, though – his kavadi was supported by spikes through his flesh at waist height:
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
He was also the only guy I actually saw any blood on, albeit a tiny amount:
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
After such a long walk, in the Singapore heat, carrying all that weight, most of the walkers were exhausted:
Thaipusam 2010Thaipusam 2010
And a little dehydrated:
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010   Thaipusam 2010
And here’s one guy after being his kavadi has been fully removed:
Thaipusam 2010
and a few “people” shots:
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010   Young indian girl at Thaipusam 2010 in Singapore
It’s a really fascinating festival, and makes for some interesting photographs.

Jurong Bird Park

Today we went to Jurong Bird park with a couple of Lily’s friends. Robert is in Lily’s class at school, and his sister, Izzy, is a couple of classes above them. Their mum, Sandy, mentioned to me last year that there was a dinosaur exhibit at the bird park, so we decided to go this weekend.

The dinosaur exhibit was a little disappointing, but the kids seemed to enjoy it. Pics below:

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This next one shows the girls and gives a sense of scale for the T-Rex:

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Of course there was a mini-carousel, so all the kids wanted a ride:

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Then it was off to feed the birds:

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Then it was onto the train for a quick trip to the Parrots before heading back (via the fish tank and pelicans) to the exit:

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Grabbed this shot of the flamingos whilst waiting for the kids to use the toilet near the exit…

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Another fun day. Went out to shoot Thaipusam later in the day – blog post to follow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bali Weekend – January 2010

Although this doesn’t qualify as a “photowalk” – I did walk around a fair bit, and I did take several photographs, so I’m going to allow it.

My wife’s Father and his Wife came over to visit us in mid-January. This coincided with a visit from my Mum (who arrived on 23rd Jan). Last year, when we looked at all the dates that everyone had booked, we realised that there was a 4-day overlap in their visits. As we only have one spare room, with one double bed in it, we decided to all take a trip to Bali, to avoid the discomfort of someone having to sleep on the sofa. (Let’s face it, it would probably have been me, anyway!).

When we told our friend, Narelle, that we were going to be in Bali in January, she thought it would be a great first trip for her boyfriend Jason (he’d never left Australia before this trip), so she decided to come. She told her Niece, who also wanted to bring her boyfriend, and her mum wanted to come too (Narelle’s sister). Then a couple of friends of Narelle’s said they wanted to join us too, so it ended up being a large group affair (which was great fun).

Here are a couple of shots of the Hotel environment, the sky in these shots has been slightly post-processed to remove the over-exposure:

Novotel

Novotel

And a couple of shots taken of us having fun with Lily in the pool-side bar:

Me, Lily and Grandma   Mummy, Lily and Grandma

After which, she was completely tuckered out:

Tuckered out

The next day, we went to Jimbaran Beach, a place famous for its’ freshly cooked seafood dishes – the evening view was pretty spectacular too:

Jimbaran at Sunset

I love the two guys in the bottom left of this next shot (you can just make them out against the surf) – they look like they’re having a lot of fun:

Monochrome Sunset

Before the sun completely set (and our food arrived) we grabbed some “typical” Bali beach shots:

Me and my mum   Friends on the bench

Friends on the bench   Friends on the bench

Family on the bench   Friends on the bench

Then I managed to get this truly spectacular sunset pic:

Bali Sunset

We were eating for the next hour or so, and the food was truly terrific. I took a quick shot as we began eating, but I didn’t shoot anything else until we were heading out, when I grabbed a shot of the dancers:

Dinner at Jimbaran Beach   Jimbaran Dancers

More pics to follow as I go through them all and do any required touch-ups, processing or noise-reduction.