Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pine Tree Trail and Chiling Waterfall

It is incredible! The fastest timing to arrive at the peak of Pine Tree Trail clocked by David Spence and Steven Yip was 50 plus minutes. While Jessen Lee, Raymond and Kenny Kwan took 1hr06min, the entire group arrived at 1hr30min. I remembered a few years ago, the timing for trekking was 2hr30min.

It was a fine weather with lots of blue sky on Saturday, 25 February 2012 at mid-day. We then continued to Twin Peak, the second peak, that require additional 20 minutes. The trail here is less prominent.  

Do click here to view photos taken by your truly (KC Leong). Hit F11 key to adjust the optimum displays size.

Front: KC Leong, Simon Goh, ChooTS, Steven Yip, Raymond Ng, Jessen Lee, Sue Teoh, Phoebe, Florence Chan, David Spence... Back: TanHB, SC Yong, Michelle Looi, Debbie Tan, Jezamine Lo, Kenny Kwan

At trail head

The icing on the cake was to put up one night in the bungalow of RHB Bank, arranged by yours truly (KC Leong). The dinner was cooked by the caretaker with a simple yet tasty meal. It was an evening of good company amid interesting and fun topics of conversation ranging from Kilian Jornet (the world’s best trail runner), Mount Kinabalu Climbathon 2011, Mount Everest Base Camp to 'do and don't of bangsai (shitting) during camping'.

On Sunday, after our breakfast, we have a fun time of photo shoots at the field outside the bungalow in the misty environment. Descending the mountain, we continued the journey to Chilling Waterfall. The journey to the main waterfall was quite an effort having to cross at least 5 rivers crossing with water as deep as waistline level.

We rewarded ourselves with a sumptuous late lunch at the famous Loh Mee at Ulu Yam Lama. Just five minutes before finishing our meal, the rain started to pour heavily at 4:00 p.m. If we were still enjoying the nature at Chiling Waterfall, we would probably get stuck there not able to cross the river when the water level had risen. Luckily, we were waiting in comfort in a restaurant. 

  At Twin Peak, the second peak of Pine Tree Trail, Fraser’s Hill

  On cloud nine ... Sue Teoh and Debbie Tan

RHB Bank Bungalow ... tastefully designed interior

RHB Bank Bungalow is well furnished and nestle within a huge compound of pleasant green and surrounded by age-old trees. With the stone exterior walls, it radiates the rustic charm of a country lifestyle.

The spacious living and dining room complemented with immaculate interior create a delightful environment to relax with friends and family members. It has a spacious lounge with sofas and chairs for a comfortable seating of at least 20 persons. There is a 33-inch Sony conventional television complete with ASTRO satellite network station; a DVD player and audio sound system.

The three spacious bedrooms, each completed with huge bathroom, are having their own colour theme: blue, yellow and white that suit a guest's preference.

The sense of peace and tranquillity prevails once we were at the bungalow. After almost five hours of trail running, it was indeed refreshing to relax there. 

 Spacious and bright

Rustic charm of a country lifestyle

Dinner is served ... the gentlemen behind are observing the conventional protocol ... Bravo !!

 Sunday, 26 February 2012 ... a misty and cool morning

Photo shoot session ... Debbie Tan, Florence Chan, Phoebe, Jezamine Lo, Michelle Looi, Sue Teoh

Chiling Waterfall (Sunday, 26 Feb 2012)
A few of us were somewhat ill-prepared for this outing. We heard that it is about one hour's walk on land to Chiling waterfall with the name that gives a chilling impression that is most appropriately describing the ice-cold water. Leaving our serious trail running gear in the cars, we were carrying bags that look like going to market on a Sunday morning. 

After making payment of RM1 each for the gate fee, the group excitedly crossed the wooden bridge over the river. We then walked along a trail that looked like a trench to me that filled with shallow and slow flowing water with overgrown shrubs on both sides. Not wanting to wet my trail running shoes, I was consciously looking for rocks or dry grounds for landing.

After walking for some time, the trail led us heading directly towards the river. The moment of realization finally unfolded before our eyes – we have to cross the river.

I was glad that Phoebe joined us in this trip. Though she was slower when running up Pine Tree Trail Mountain the day before, I was impressed that she could lead the team assertively to the Chiling waterfall. At lower ground, she could really move swiftly.

To arrive at the 2nd last waterfall, we have to cross the river 5 times wadding through water against the current, and at certain points the water almost reached waistline level. I am not worried about wetting my body; but the main concern was that the cameras that we carried should never touch even a single drop of fluid – hi-tech stuff and water don’t mix.

ChooTS and I managed to keep the cameras dry, never mind that the lower body was totally wet and the trail running shoes were filled with sands.

To arrive at the final waterfall required another 20 minutes of uphill climb which was not too tough after the workout the day before. We took about 1 hour 30 minutes to arrive at the final waterfall. The view was quite spectacular with the water gushing down in gusto for a drop of almost 50 meters.

Later, we trekked/ran further up to the upper part of the waterfall which is just a shallow pool with calm water as oppose to the rushing water caused by the fall. We took a group photo with most of us standing in the water, this time, without much hesitation about wetting the shoes.

Special thanks to Phoebe for being the lady mountain guide for that special occasion.

The Chiling Waterfall

Posted by KC Leong

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fooling Your White Balance

When I see a guy in long hairs talking confidently about photography in Nikonian Academy, that must be the workshop facilitator, Andrew. While greeting him, I quipped that with the rugged long hairs, he now looks like a famous rock star. Examining my face for a moment, he said that I look like another rock star, Steven Tyler, one of the judges in American Idol. I quipped that if only I could keep long hair too.

I was at Nikonian Academy to attend a snappy workshop called "Fooling Your White Balance" in the evening of 15 February 2012 (Wednesday) at The Strand, Kota Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. The last time I came, I was attending a full-day workshop on flash photography also conducted by Andrew – exactly two years ago.

Cooler colour temperature (Kelvin)

Warmer colour temperature

Andrew is an outstanding orator who is passionate in photography. He is able to present the topics clearly with lots of witty expression that is entertaining to the participants amidst his high-energy presentation.

In this White Balance workshop, according to sifu Andrew, the important skill is to shoot at the correct Kelvin – colour temperature – overriding the commonly used "Auto White Balance" to ensure optimum colour casts for the end results.

Apparatus for the workshop

Half way into his workshop, it was related to flash photography; I was surprised that Andrew could remember what I wrote two years ago about taking photos with flash during daytime; flash guns pointing in all directions other than at the main subject; about eating "yea chok" (in Cantonese, the direct translation is eating porridge at night; the actual meaning is one has undergone pro training or excel in practical situations). Yeah, excellent memory!

 Cooler colour temperature (bluish)

Warmer colour temperature (yellowish)

White balance (WB) is the process of setting realistic color casts, so that the colour of the objects appears as close to what we see minus the unsightly blue or yellow casts. Proper camera white balance has to take into account the "color temperature" of a light source, which refers to the relative warmth or coolness of white light. [This paragraph is fine-tuned from internet]

Karen Ho, staff of Nikonian Acadamy, who was attending the workshop and double-up as model for the evening. 

In most of the situations, we just set it to Auto White Balance and let the camera chooses the best colour temperature to handle in a diverse range of lighting conditions. Other than the pre-set colour temperature represented by the various icons in cameras, another method is to pre-set the colour temperature manually using a White Balance card which is taught in this workshop.

The workshop facilitator, Andrew. The blue background in this photo is actually white by fooling the white balance.

A check in my blogsite about eating “yea chok” ... do click here.

Check out the happenings in Nikonian Acadamy ... do click here

Posted by KC Leong

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bukit Kiara Trail Running

Trail running at Bukit Kiara on Saturday, 18 February 2012 ... Led by Jessen Lee, the group avoided Lung Buster trail (near to the trail head) as more bikers were stung by the bees there. Connecting via tarmac somewhere near to the white reservoir, the group detoured into Flying Carpet. Since we have a few beginners in this trail running, they could not catch up with the pace. It was quite a difficult situation for them to run faster with the unfamiliar and uneven ground; after a while, we were disconnected with the main group.

Do click here to view photos taken by yours truly (KC). Hit F11 key to adjust the appropriate size of displays.

Yours truly (left); Jessen Lee (R3) with the other trail runners ...
(Back, left): KC Leong, SC Yong, ChongYF, Jeff Lau, David Spence, Ralph Dixon, Shang Leong, Lee Yu Kit, Jessen Lee, Deweil Tan
(Front): Gilian Toh, Ivy Hong, Karen Siah, Jezamine Lo, Sue Teoh ...

After trying hard to run faster but to no avail, they decided to back-track. So I started to chase the main group. At one point, there was a split trail and I have a tough time deciding which way that they have taken. After exiting the Flying Carpet route, I was trying to find the group ahead of me by running up and down the tarmac for a while. Since they were no sign of the group, I entered into the trail via the demolished shrine and heading towards the View Point area.

Shang is showing the mark cuased by bee stung at the Lung Buster trail

 Sue (L2), Jezamine (R2) and friends

Sue (Triathlete), Jessen Lee (Ironman), David Spence (Ironman)

Quite interestingly, on the same day we went trail running at Bukit Kiara on Sat 18 Feb 2012, there is an article in Star 2 page 4 on trail running in Bukit Kiara that mentions Jessen, Dave, Shang ... written by Lee Yu Kit. All the names appear in the group photo above.

Click here to read the article in The Star.

After admiring the view (at View Point) for a while – alone - I decided to return via Colorado Rocky Trail. While running alone, I was surprise to see a lady in white attire running towards me (somewhere near here; photo above). After exchanging brief pleasantry, she asked me whether I was okay (seeing me alone) ... :-) According to her, she has been running here for years.

While running along Colorado Rocky trail, the slight drizzles increased in intensity. Nevertheless, with the leaves, it took a while for the rain drops to have the effect of making one wet. Running alone and running with the group is totally of different feel. One would be very alert and conscious with the surrounding in order to find the way out within a network of trails.

I returned to the car park at 9:25 a.m. and it was raining quite heavy then. After waiting for 15 minutes, the main group emerged from the trail.

A trekker enquired, "Lady in white attire? Were u in Twilight Zone?" So I responded, "Sure I am not talking to the latex in the white plastic bags (or they talked to me)" ... :-)

Do click here to view previous postings at Bukit Kiara.

Posted by KC Leong

Sunday, February 12, 2012

MotoGP Sepang Test 2012

The premier class of 1000cc superbikes in action for the official test in Sepang F1 Circuit, Malaysia from 31 Jan to 2 Feb 2012.

Shukri, a photography friend and the sifu of fast-moving objects (F1 cars, superbikes, fighter-jets, etc), was there to capture the season opening test at Sepang F1 Circuit.

The celebrities in superbikes were all there: Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, etc.

The manufacturers of superbikes participating in this test event were Honda, Yamaha, Ducati (Suziki and Kawasaki did not participate).

Do click here to view photos courtesy of Shukri.

 Casey Stoner completed the season opening Sepang test in record-breaking fashion. The defending MotoGP champion piloted his RC213V to the fastest ever lap on the Malaysian circuit, his 1’59.607 time the first under the two minute mark (extract from internet).

 The mighty kap chai

Do click here to view other photos taken by Shukri (this posting is repeated; scroll down the pages).

Posted by KC Leong

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Chap Goh Mei Trail Run

It was an impromptu decision between ChongYF and yours truly to stage another trail running at Apek Hill (or Apeh Hill) on Chap Goh Mei, the 15th day of this Chinese New Year on 6 February 2012. Many of the trail runners were not able to come due to the short notice. We actually have three hoi kung (start work) CNY trail running within a short span of entering the Year of the Dragon.

While reading my third outings at Bukit Kiara click here, my primary classmate, Emmy Coble who is residing in Melbourne, already commented that I am really hard working.

Do click here to view photos taken by yours truly (KC Leong). Do hit F11 key to adjust the display of photos.

Lady Su, KC Leong, George Siew and Chong YF

Quite coincidently, it was raining the day before -- for both the trail running events; but when we went up Apek Hill, other than the pleasant weather, the ground was dry that showed no sign of rain the previous days.

Lady Su came with her two doggies – they are the most happy ones running around excitedly accompanying their owner having undivided attention in guarding her. The doggies were running with us; at times, after overtaking us, they would stopped right in front of our path and looked at us. Of course, we would have to be alert not to step on them.

Station 6 and also the water station for the doggies. Theese playful yet obedient doggies were running with us; at times, after overtaking us, they would stop right in front of our path and look at us. Of course, we would have to be alert not to step on them.

We took almost three hours for the round trip run with stop-over at the various stations built by the locals who would spend time in the shady hills in respite of the hot afternoon. We ended the run by having a nice, fresh and fragrant-tasted coconut juice from the stall located at the trail head.

 High-tech equipment at the outdoor gym of Saga Station ... free membership fees ... :-)

 Chong YF trying out the all weather-condition dump bells

Having a dip in the pond; fast way of cooling down ... the brown one is more daring

Posted by KC Leong

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Bukit Kiara hoi kung Trail Running

The Chinese New Year mood is still lingering in the air; so the group went for the third hoi kung (start work) trail running – at Bukit Kiara on Saturday, 4 February 2012. The team lead this time is Tri Stupe as Kenny Kwan is not available.

The weather was cool and the air was fresh after the previous day's rain which is just superb for a trail running. A big surprise this time: there were bees at the start of the trail. A few of the runners were stung on the hands, legs, and heads. Nevertheless, that did not dampen the spirit and deterred the group from continuing the run.

We started off with the Lung Buster Trail and connected to Twin Peaks, 2K, 4K, Magic Carpet, etc. Tri Stupe did a great job of leading the pack running in and out of the many trails of Bukit Kiara.

Do click here to view photos taken by yours truly (KC). Hit F11 key to adjust the optimum size of display.

 Group photo at the entrance of Bukit Kiara Park ... Tri Stupe (left), yours truly (right) with Jit Yen, Min Junn, Jason Van, Kenneth Teh, Irwan Anuar, George Siew, ChongYF, Simon Goh, Bunny Tan, Phuitin Kong, Aileen Har, Agnes Yew, TanWL
 TanWL and the rest running through the jungle

 At the opposite side of the View Point area

 Ingeniously designed in incorporating mosquito coil to ward off mosquitoes while trekking ... Roland Cheah

 Agnes Yew ... looks like emerging from an organization opens for business ... out of no where

 A cheerful group photo in the wood

 It says: "Do Not Trust This Hasher! Approach with Extreme Caution!" Is he a bad guy in the hill or just self-advertisement (with a unique approach)?

 Another group photo in the cross-road junction of Kiara Hill

The ray of light shinning through ... TanWL and Agnes Yew

Do click here for the second 2012 CNY hoi kung trail running at FRIM.

Do click here for the first 2012 CNY hoi kung trail running at Kota Damansara.

Posted by KC Leong