A Decade Of Creature Portraits (2008-2018)

First, a little backstory.

My Chinese ancestors were teachers from Guangxi, but when my paternal grandfather came to Malaysia almost a century ago, he started up a small photo studio on Jalan Rahmat in Batu Pahat, Johor.

I’m told the shop did not survive hard times, but I do have a few older cousins who grew up to become exceptional photographers.

As for me, I have zero technical skills. The relationship between ISO, shutter speed and aperture are still very much a mystery to me. Not saying I can’t or won’t learn and slowly improve my skills; there are plans for that in the future.

But as of today, all the images you’re about to see are point and shoot photos. Most of them were taken during my travels with Lea, and I’ve compiled the ones I think are the best.

I took this photo in Taiwan in 2012 near some hot springs near Beitou. This crane (?) was hunting fish and I spent some time following it around and got lucky.
In 2011, Lea and I visited Zermatt, Switzerland for 2 days when we traveled on the Glacier Express. Winter had almost ended so there was hardly any snow, the mountain resort was sunny and cheery in the daytime. Fewer tourists too, since it was off season. There were 2 cats that lived in the hostel, Kika and Chitta. This is Chitta. She managed to persuade me to let her outdoors and I followed her around for her stroll just before the sun went down.
It was 2013, and I was at work on site in my previous job. A new Philips store in PJ was getting ready for their grand opening. Two colleagues were with me. Philip, who is an avid photographer and Sebastiaan, our Dutch intern. The interior design was being completed when this sparrow accidentally flew in. When he tried to fly out again, he smashed right into the large glass window. We thought he was dead but gently put it on the ground outside. A couple of minutes later, he was fine again and ready to fly. Fortunately I had my camera with me because I was taking pics of the shop. Later, I printed this out for my colleagues who were with me and Sebastiaan actually wrote me a farewell note on my copy before he returned to the Netherlands.
Lea and I stayed at the Bon-Ton in Langkawi in 2017 over a long weekend. The villas are actual kampung houses in Kedah that were brought over and reconstructed piece by piece. They have an animal shelter on-site funded by the resort’s profits. There are always cats roaming around the grounds. It was off-season and they upgraded us to a larger villa for free. We had a great time.
I think it was our second day in Amsterdam in 2011. We had just had dinner at the incredible and hard to find Castell which a friend of Lea had recommended. It was near Leidsplein and as we were strolling home along the main canal, I saw this cute fellow having an evening nap underneath a car, right beside the water. Most of the street cats in Amsterdam look very well cared for.
Duckie was adopted from PAWS (a shelter in Subang Jaya) when she was quite young. This 2008 picture was taken shortly after she came home with us. Recently she had some serious kidney issues related to aging and lost a lot of weight but she’s now recovering well after being treated by our vet. I’m giving her a daily subcutaneous drip and a bunch of medication, and she looks like she’s going to be fine. Still can’t believe how young she looked in 2008.
Saw this freaky caterpillar in Beitou (Taiwan) in 2012. It was pretty big and constantly crawling towards me as I tried to get the shot. Doesn’t look like the type that morphs into butterflies.
Amsterdam, 2011. We were walking back to the hotel from the city center when we saw this majestic cat looking at us through a window. It was a pretty common sight when we were there. So many pets hanging out in the windows while their owners are away at work. Someone could publish a book on it. Maybe someone already has.
The same cat from the previous picture. Really good looking fellow, probably descended from cat royalty.
In 2010, it was just Lea, me and our 2 cats in a 700 sqft one room condo in Kuala Lumpur. Lea might have been the one to take this shot of Dolce doing a Batman on our refrigerator. About a year after moving in, we found a small sick Siamese kitten mewing outside one evening after dinner. We took her in and Lea named her Coco. Until today, Lea has the only good photo of Coco and I haven’t seen it in years. Must dig it up again.
It was our final day in Europe during our 2011 vacation there, and we were thinking of going to Keukenhof despite it being the wrong season. Someone suggested we make a trip to the fishing village of Volendam instead and we decided to give it a shot. We had a really enjoyable sunny lazy day walking around the town and lake. With few tourists (mostly middle-aged locals), seafood chowder and lots of broodje haring (something like sashimi) it was a fine final day before we returned to KL. We saw this cat on the roof near the restaurant where we had our lunch.

*I used Lightroom CC on my mobile phone for all images.
*Gear – 2008-2012: Canon Powershot G7, 2013-2018: Fujifilm X20

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