Star Wars, Stars and Fire in Malacca

Recently, I had the chance to tag along with some photographers and explorers to head out to Pantai Klebang situated in Malacca, Malaysia.

We departed from Tuas Checkpoint after breakfast in Jurong West, Singapore.(near Pioneer MRT station).

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Road trip!

The amazing thing about this place is that it resembles a desert.

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You can see that the part we went to is called Unnamed Rd.

Headed by Yusof Noor, we made our way in a rented van from Singapore in the morning and arrived in the early afternoon.

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We took the highway mostly and went through some tolls. It is advisable to take a quick stopover for a bio break or lunch en route at Pagoh by the side of the highway.

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Better still, there’s Ramly burger to die for! You just can’t go wrong with the authentic flavour here. Once we hit the Klebang district, we had some amazing coconut shake before hitting the beach for some photography.

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Heaven in a cup tastes like this.

For this trip, I packed the following items:

  • Sony A7RII with battery grip
  • Metabones Mark IV
  • 3x Z96 LED lamps
  • 3x knock-off gorilla pods (they are cheap but sturdy and I got them off from Courts for $19.90 a piece, though I am pretty sure you can get them for cheaper online)
  • Canon EF 100mm f2.8L IS USM
  • Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L USM
  • Manfrotto carbon-fibre tripod (190CXPRO4 legs with the 496RC2 ballhead)
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III (back-up) – I didn’t use it at all in the end

The Canon EF 100mm f2.8L IS USM Macro was used primarily for toy photography and the Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L II USM handled the landscape shots for composite stock photos.

I also used the Manfrotto carbon-fibre 190CXPRO4 legs with the 496RC2 ballhead as my tripod of choice since it was light and sturdy for the travelling and for placement on the sand.

All of these items were packed snugly into my trusty Think Tank Photo Airport Takeoff bag.

I also carried another backpack for all my other essentials – a sweater (just in case it gets cold at night as we planned to do steelwool photography), 2x 1.5 litre water bottles filled to the brim, some Hasbro Star Wars (The Black Series) toys.

The walk-in (estimated 1km) was tough though as the sand sank beneath my feet with all the weight of my gear on my back and front. It did not help that the weather took a sudden change for the worse by bringing in the rain.

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The rain was pouring!

Good thing we packed something huge to keep us dry. Trust Yusof to keep a huge plastic sheet that could keep us all safe from the rain!

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After half an hour, the weather got better but the surface of the sand was all clumpy.

When the weather got dry again, I had to take extra care whenever I changed lenses as the winds tend to carry with it sand and dust and that’s especially bad for mirrorless cameras whose sensors are exposed when you remove your lens.

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A mat is good for lying down. You won’t want sand on your clothes!

I used Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 6.1.1 extensively for the post-processing.

These are the shots I managed to get that day.

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“Come on, BB-8.”

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Rey tears through Jakku on her speeder.

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“No more adventures!” – C-3PO

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“Where did all the trees go?”

I also took some stock shots of the “desert”.

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Before

I did a composite of the above image with a previously taken image of my Millennium Falcon toy and produced this.

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After

Before dinner, we headed out to the Straits Malacca mosque where I took this image of this beautiful place of worship.

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Straits Mosque, Malacca

The variable ND filter I have by Pixel proved to be really useful. In order to get the smooth water surface, I had to go for long exposure in daylight.

Of course, an exploring trip won’t be complete without something for my Instagram account.

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Instagram-friendly photo. Everyone’s doing it.

Dinner was amazing. We had fresh seafood by one of the kelongs there. Prices were really affordable and the service was fast. You get to select what you want to eat, and how you want it prepared and get it served by the friendly locals.

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Yusof Noor (in red) inspecting the seafood.

By the time we were done with dinner, it was already past 10.15pm. Pantai Klebang wasn’t anywhere near the kelong so we had to hurry.

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Arm sleeves are good for protecting your elbows form the sand. Oh, and look at the time. Time to go!

After such a sumptuous dinner, we made our way back to Pantai Klebang for some star trails and steelwool photography. Walking in the day was already a challenge, walking in the night to the same location was another thing altogether. Temperature was way cooler and it was really windy!

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Time to walk.

Again, we had to trek all the way in on foot as our van couldn’t get pass a deep canal that spanned across the entire beachhead.

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It’s no lightsaber but it will have to do.

It was important to bring some lights along as you wouldn’t want to step on anything… undesirable. The moonlight was bright enough though but I had my torchlights on with me for extra precaution.

Plus, I needed to find my equipment!

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No trip is complete without a selfie.

A headlamp is especially useful when you need to find things from your point of view.

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Hairi sets off the steelwool for some epic fire show.

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Spinning!

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Yusof Noor does the spirals.

Right after steelwool photography, we had the opportunity to take other shots which I enjoyed doing composites with.

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I have always wanted something like this for my wallpaper.

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We almost had the Milky Way but due to the moon, it was hidden from view. I had to make my own using Photoshop CS6.

The above image was made possible with Sony’s wireless remote app. I used my iPhone to trigger my camera to take these photos of myself.

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“The stars come to my aid.”

So how did I find Pantai Klebang? A brilliant place! You guys should totally make your way there before it’s gone.

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I need another trip like this soon.

What’s even cooler about this trip is that I got featured on two portals as of today.

DIYPhotography  and Photo News HK picked up what I did that day and did interviews with me on what I did. That’s pretty cool. Thanks, guys!

 

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