Nagano (part 1)

With my stay in Japan only days left, I keep hearing the words ‘why not make a trip in Japan while you’re hear’ that some people put in there last week. A few pieces of idea linked together, and I was on the morning train next day. Is this the first time I come to Nagano in the summer?

2016-07-12_13 Nagano 長野

It’s been pretty hot in Tokyo on those days in between monsoon’s rain coverage. Somehow imagining it would be cooler up here in the hills, but the truth was, the city of Nagano is as hot, if not hotter, than the city by the bay. It is only in the high altitude resorts that you get the cool breeze. Oh well…
Continue reading “Nagano (part 1)”

Advertisements

Heat hit Melbourne

forest in the city

The most recent heat wave kept the city hot for a whole week. I have never seen Melbourne’s top temperature hitting 40 degrees every day for 5 days straight! It was pretty tough. We kept indoors as much as possible, went home later when it was cooler (well, some people have air-con unlike me, I suppose…).

How did you handle the heat?

hot afternoon

Those people made the best of it by watching the Australian Open Tennis on the big screen in Federation Square. Skin cancer? You live only once! Well, good luck with your fighting the illness in your middle age, boys and girls.

afternoon

hot afternoon

untitled

hot afternoon

Everything seems to have lost their colours; there was the bright and there was the shadow.

Reading in the dusk

Reading by the water at sunset was probably the best way to enjoy the summer in Melbourne. During the sunny hours, stay in the shade, take a nap, and then when the sun goes down and breeze starts to move the air a bit, head out, walk slow, and enjoy the colours that finally fill the world.

sunset cruise

Melbourne is back to cool again this week. We pulled on wind jacket again, and walked on the sunny side of the street again. But it seems there will be a few more days of warm ones to come. Probably not as hot as it was last week. But the summer is not yet over in Melbourne this year.

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

The city streets in the CBD were closed off of all cars, trams and bikes, and the massive flow of people filled the tram path and laneways. It was a very unusual sight in Melbourne. But first, some food. Fortunately, a table was just vacated at the French crepe restaurant off the crowded Flinders Lane. We sat down to watch the typical French ways of the waiter and enjoyed the good food.

We were just going around the block, and avoiding the main streets that are way too crowded, we managed to check out some of the recent additions of graffitis on the laneways.

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

I’d picked up the brochrue for the event so I was relatively aware of the rich list of street, open to public free performances, including jazz by some well-known local performers, light art on the building walls, galleries were also going to open its door all night to host special exhibitions. But I had no idea how massive it was going to be. I got on a train and saw lots of people filling it, and yet I still thought they were all going to some music concert or sporting event. Little did I know the streets of Melbourne were full of people like New Year’s Eve!

Tired of walking, many people found a place to sit down inside galleries and, like us, ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Images http://www.acmi.net.au/ ). I wonder if ACMI has ever seen so many people filling its permanent display down stairs! My faint hope of seeing some of Andy Warhol’s 16mm footages were quickly scratched off, when we saw the queue building up at the stairs (little did we know, again, it would be almost 5 times longer by the time we had enough rest downstairs and came back up!).

White Night Melbourne 2013

Stepping outside, the crowd was going through the Bollywood dancing sequence with dancers demonstrating on the main stage and the big TV above it. We stepped across the crowd to go down towards the river, when the music changed to Latino. Our friend was just talking about how she wished they put on Salsa a minute ago, so I yelled them back and went back up to find a spot in the square. Her friend, who just got off the plane from UK for a holiday earlier today, has never danced salsa, and found himself learning the steps with everyone in the crowd. I managed to find a group of 3 girls and asked one of them to dance with me. It had been ages since I (tried to) lead a girl to the tunes of salsa. But it was fun dancing for a good half an hour, thanked her good bye, and then we tried the African dance that followed.

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

Up on the Princess Bridge, artists were working on the illuminated letters of WHITE NIGHT. It always amazes me how those visual artists can come up with such designs that fill that space and bring about such interesting experiences.

White Night Melbourne 2013

Well past 2am in the morning, again, feeling a bit hungry and in need for a place to sit down, we headed down Southbank.

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

3am, the cafes at Southgate are all closed. Same goes for the river-side cafes at Crown. We settled for the coffeeshop at the foyer leading into the casino entrance. At least they had cake and drinks we needed.

White Night Melbourne 2013

Bidding good night to friends, I walked solo back the southbank towards NGV. Almost 5am, still got a couple of hours to check out the two photography exhibitions that are on concession entry fee tonight. Upon turning up the steps back up towards Arts Centre I now recall the art exhibitions on tonight. The music was playing loud in that tent in front of Arts Centre, which we so should have checked out, but I personally preferred the NGV. And then I saw that installation – the one that gives you the sensation of touching the cloud.

White Night Melbourne 2013

It’s this big pile of what looks like the bubble that build up on the surface of water in washing machine. It seems the stuff keeps bubbling out so some pieces may fall, or stretch out close enough to people, who would then grab some piece off (yes, you can touch the cloud!), and gently lift it up to float above our heads. Like cloud, really. It was pretty cool sight. Expression on people’s faces said it all.

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

By the time I’d seen enough of this, I decided I was just too tired to properly appreciate photography exhibitions right now. There is still the exterior wall light paint that I wanted to photograph, and there are more on the street, I was sure. Picking up the heavy gear and tripod reluctantly from cloak room again, I stepped outside again.

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

6am – the morning was approaching. Everyone was looking forward to the first light of the day, leaning against the Eastern side of the Princess Bridge.

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

Big crowd was building on the other side of the bridge, though, with the band and a large group of chorus singing what sounded like Big Band marching and funky music. Some people cannot hold themselves down and start dancing, clapping hands, cheering to the music. Then the band moved on to under the roof of the station, where I could hear their sound much better. But the time was up. With the last tune of the Saints Are Marching In, they wrapped up their performance, and with the happy exhaustion on their face, the band pushed through people back towards the bridge.

White Night Melbourne 2013

And then, all of a sudden, the another day was already here.

White Night Melbourne 2013

How did you enjoy your White Night?

thunder storm

dusk Thursday 21 February 2013

I’ve been missing the rain. That sound, that smell, the calm look on people’s face as they walk on the street, their shadows and reflections. My ‘The Other’ project is still unfinished and I am waiting for the return of the colder season with its changing weather and early sundown. But then again, I have been enjoying this summer. Drove down to the beach the other day just to cool down at the end of the hot day. Lie down with a paperback and bottle of water. Not bad at all… On a day like this, I drop the camera and just focus on relaxing. We all need to rest our mind.

Coming back to the working week, the weather forecast started to look a bit more interesting. There seem to be some rains on the way. So I swapped the small camera that currently has only a wide angle street lens, with the old trusted Canon, and grabbed the zoom lens as well.

Despite the warning of decent rain and thunders, it did not really come down. I decided to head back home a bit early before the sun was down, when the sky began to look rather interesting. Arriving at the station near home, the light on the storm clouds just caught my eyes, with its graceful moves, the shade of orange to dark blue and purple, under the layer of the blanket in front.

dusk Thursday 21 February 2013

dusk Thursday 21 February 2013

I was lucky enough to find this spot in the middle of an oval (cricket/footie field – for those from other part of the world, those are the two favourite sports played in this part of the planet). After walking around it and looking at it from many different angles, leaving a lady jogger staring at me from the end of the oval behind me for a good few minutes deciding what this weird guy was doing, I was down on my knees, then onto elbows to find the frame I was after. The elbows of my black button-down shirt were wet as I walked home, but I was pretty happy with that.

dusk Thursday 21 February 2013

The lights dramatically change on a stormy day. Only a minute later, before leaving the oval, I looked up and the last orange light is no longer reaching the sky above me and I saw the gloomy cloud but somehow peaceful, transparent blue of the sky still visible in the gaps.

As I resumed my 10-minute walk home, I saw flashes on a regular intervals from the direction I was heading. I’m in luck. As I got home, I went straight through the room to the balcony, as a lightening just flashed in the sky right in front of me. I watched for a few minutes to see where the thunder clouds are moving and went back in to grab a tripod and remote cable.

To my disappointment, it was not a full orchestra of thunder and rains. It was happening somewhere else. I heard it even hailed in some suburb during the day. But here I was, at the edge of the weak thunder system, clicking through on long exposures staring at the sky in the frame. Then I ended up with this.

It was a total surprise to me that the light should go up and across to the side like that. I was expecting straight up, in a series of lines. But people seem to like it, as it gained a lot of Likes in the Facebook album. So here it is for you, if you are not following my Facebook page.

dusk Thursday 21 February 2013

On a day like this, you can believe there is something more than just us in this place. How can this beauty be just an accident of chemicals and pressue and light and what not? To me this was given to me, to us, by somebody. Could that be the spirit of my friend’s grandmother who just passed away the day before? Is she dancing around in the sky, telling us, everything is going to be okay, we all live in such a beautiful place. Someday, when I close the door to this life, I join those who walk on ‘The Other’ side (as my project is focusing on). What show shall I put on? That is an intriguing thought!

The end of summer is near.

Summer is approaching

them

Late afternoon, 25 degrees and rising. Shadow is strong, rays hurt the eyes without shades. Summer is coming.

approach

Summer on Lonsdale

untitled

And I came down Swanston to find Hung Wei in action again. Check out photos of his works on Facebook page and leave a comment. If you are one of the people painted by the talented street artist, do tag yourself and message to Hung Wei, too.

Hung Wei