low-light photography

Abstract Light Streaks #419, Edit D, aka, Ganesha and My Thoughts on doing Photography Everyday

Title: “Abstract Light Streaks #419, Edit D, aka, Ganesha”.

Creation Date: 13 August 2019.

By: Nawfal Johnson.

Copyright 2019 Nawfal Johnson
All Rights Reserved
Penang, Malaysia
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☆ Here’s how You can Help Me Now! Click on the Following Link and Buy my Fine Art Photography in Gallery-Quality Prints and Canvas:

https://www.imagekind.com/Abstract-Light-Streaks-419-Edit-D-aka-Ganesha_art?imid=cf94931d-f103-4392-84ef-06266d80149c

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Photography Everyday?

“One question I get asked sometimes is, “Do I do photography everyday?””

“The simple answer is, ‘No’, I don’t photograph subjects everyday.

In fact, sometimes, one, two, or even three weeks may roll by between the actual process of photographing things.

I know, that is ‘BLASPHEMOUS’, some other Photographers may exclaim!

Well, here is my reasoning: IF, I photographed everyday, I would never get to the actual creation of Art Photographs that I do, and my photographic art pieces do take (considerable) time to complete.

I already have a backlog of RAW images that I need to edit and work with. Maybe other Photographers need to be photographing everyday, but I don’t! I already have enough RAW images I need to work with, and I can only do that if I am at my desk, working with those images on my TAB (or a computer) and doing the ACTUAL creative work to design images for my various series.

So, ‘No’ is the answer to that question. When I run low on RAW image files, or, if I just want to go take pictures, then, I grab my camera and hit the streets to find new subject matter. Nevertheless, I am always composing images in my mind, and photographing images in my mind as I walk around: It is a habit for me.

☆ I do always carry my camera with me, as that is PHOTOGRAPHY’S FIRST CARDINAL RULE: ‘ALWAYS HAVE YOUR CAMERA WITH YOU’!

However, that does not mean that I always take my camera out and capture photographs for nothing. In my opinion, a subject REALLY needs to POP-OUT at me and grab my attention, or look VERY interesting for me to compose a picture with my camera. It is just the way I am now, with my photography.


Subject:

#Poetry of Moving Lights

Photography Categories:

#Long-Exposure Photography, #Nighttime Photography, #Dancing Lights, #Ambidextrous Photography.

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Tags:
#chaotic, #abstruse, #action, #AMBIDEXTROUS, #black, #complex, #conceptual, #deep, #entangled, #explosively, #expressionism, #galaxy, #horror, #hypothetical, #ideal, #illuminati, #indefinite, #infinite, #intellectual, #lightstreaks666, #longexposure, #lowlight, #Malaysia, #mirrored, #Multidimensional, #MultiUniverse, #NawfalJohnson, #NIGHTMARE, #nighttimephotography, #nonconcrete, #orange, #OrderChaosControl, #outerspace, #Penang, #philosophical, #Physics, #Pollock, #Quantum, #quasars, #recondite, #red, #RorschachLightStreaksArt, #Serpentine, #Serpentis, #StarGate, #StephenKing, #Streetlights, #StringTheory, #symmetry, #theoretical, #transcendent, #transcendental, #unreal, #UrbanLightatNightPhotography, #urbantraffic, #white, #XXX, #yellow, #Poetry, #MasterofLight, #other, #theworldistotallyfuckedupbeyondallrepair, #Rorschach, #psychedelic, #DarthPlagueis, #Photography, #Poetry, #Dancing, #Dance, #Photography, photography, #diabolus, #devil, #evil, #Ganesha,

My BEST Advice for Nighttime – Low-Light Photography

"My BEST Advice for Nighttime – Low-Light Photography"

ANSON ROAD AT NIGHTTIME, Edit B, 10 Dec 2011, Copyright Nawfal Johnson Nur

"Anson Road at Nighttime, Edit B"
10 Dec 2011
Copyright 2011 Nawfal Johnson Nur

MOTIVATION:
Sometimes, I study the search terms that people use to get to my blog, "Behind the Lens," and then I attempt to write something useful to help out people who are searching for specific bits of advice.  In this particular case, someone had searched for "how to photograph at night".  Thus, I will mention my BEST advice for nighttime / low-light photography:  My advice to anyone wanting to photograph in near dark conditions, with only nighttime lighting (e.g. street lights, vehicle lights, etc.), is to use a tripod.  Nothing will mess with you more than unintentional movement of the camera during long exposures.  By ‘long exposures,’ I mean any shutter speed that is more than 1/15th second.  Maybe I’m not the steadiest shooter in the world, but I know that my heartbeat will certainly move the camera as blood pumps through my arms and hands.  Any movement during extended shutter times will create nice blurry photos.  A good, heavy, sturdy tripod will help create a steady platform for your camera.  So there you have it – Use a tripod is my BEST advice for nighttime and low-light photography.  My second best advice is experiment a lot.  My third best advice is shoot a lot.  My fourth best advice is try NOT to get hit by cars when taking photographs of traffic at nighttime.  I tend to set up shop in the street which has its own hazards. 

This is BEST Tree

This is BEST Tree, Copyright 2011 Nawfal Johnson Nur

"This is BEST Tree"

10 Dec 2011
Copyright 2011 Nawfal Johnson Nur

MOTIVATION:
It was nighttime.  I had my camera.  There was my favorite Penang tree.  I needed no other motivation.  This is a long exposure, about 20 seconds worth of time.

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RELAXING UNDER THE NIGHT SKY

Relaxing under the night sky

"Relaxing Under the Night Sky"

6 Dec 2011
Nighttime long-exposure photograph.
Copyright 2011 Nawfal Johnson Nur 

Motivations:
I was outside already shooting the nighttime sky, and my assistants were ‘busy’ helping out, as you can see.  So, I thought I would capture about 30-seconds of their busy-ness.  The bright rectangular items in the photo are cell phone screens.

Seriously Impressed with NIKON D3100 Low-Light Capabilities

AVICENNA & ELISAR

AVICENNA & ELISAR

Photo Details:

LOW Light capabilities of the NIKON D3100.
1/15 sec. @ f/2.8 @ ISO3200, and taken inside with shades closed on cloudy day, in a dark room – NO Flash.

I have not written much lately – just haven’t felt like it.

However, I wanted to share this photo with you (whoever is so kind to visit my blog), to show how capable the NIKON D3100 camera is.

I have never been one to buy into the price of a camera equals the “Photography Skill Level” marketing B%&^-Sh%$ that the camera companies have forced down consumers’s throats.

Not very many things irk me too much, but when I hear this such-and-such camera model is ‘entry-level’ and that one is ‘pro-level’, I kind of want to write notes to people at the camera companies and give my 2-cents worth.  WHEN did the price of a camera designate the skill level of a particular photographer?  I must have missed something…somewhere…

In my mind, someone with a Canon 5D Mark II or Nikon D3x can take ‘crap-photos’ just as easily as someone with a lower cost camera.  The photograph quality is based on the skill of the photographer behind the camera, not exclusively the camera.  In fact, a Pro or Pro/Am Photographer should respectively be able to make a really decent photograph with almost any camera that is placed in their hands.

The biggest differences between the various levels of cameras, based on price, are probably better durability, sometimes weight, and a few extra bells-and-whistles.  Of course, if you plan to shoot in really rough terrain or a war-zone, then by all means, go for something with a metal body.

If photographers are labeled based on the type of camera they like, or wish to use, then damn-it-all:  I guess after taking photographs since I was 12 years old (approx), which has been 33 years now, I guess I have demoted myself to an ‘entry-level’ photographer.  That kind of sucks!  Oh Well.  I don’t mind it too much:  I know who I am and what I am capable of (skill-wise) as a photographer.

I like my NIKON D3100 a lot – Most of the time I shoot in the MIGHTY-‘M’ Mode anyway.  I also use a CANON 420EX Speedlite triggered remotely with my NIKON – AND I KNOW THAT HAS GOT TO BE SOME KIND OF MAJOR SIN!

And, I still use my CANON POWERSHOT A620 for candid street photography.  It’s old, 6 or 7 years old, but it still works GREAT!

But, what do I know…

Do I sound a wee tad-bit cranky today?

Well, here is another shot I took with my D3100 – a tricky photograph to say the least.  Sometimes, the shots that seem straightforward are nothing but difficult to make.  To get this shot so that the flames (which are blue) to show up properly, you really need to have a near exact combination of ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, White Balance, Color Gel and acceptable Background Material.  And, a steady hand to hold the lighter.

HONEST Brand Lighter - Double Flame Still Life

HONEST Brand Lighter - Double Flame Still Life

KLCC FOUNTAIN, No.62, Edit B

KLCC FOUNTAIN, No.62, Edit B

Title: KLCC FOUNTAIN, No.62, Edit B
What is it? Urban Fountain between the SURIA KLCC and the PETRONAS Park, just at twilight, when the lights are turned on in the pool.
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Uploaded by BEHIND the LENS with Nawfal Nur on 27 Dec 08, 3.52PM MYT.

Old Wood House at Night, v.2c, & Original

The bottom image is the original shot. The top image is the edited version. The top version is also the one the B&W image came from.

Photographed by Nawfal Nur

It is like Day & Night. Sometimes, you just have to work with the original to get something that you can be happy with.

You go out at nighttime, let’s say, and you see a scene, and it may not be ideal, or the circumstances may not be ideal, but you see potential. You grab your camera, you set it on your tripod, and you take the photograph. With limited time and working with the existing lighting, you take the shot: The “original photograph” is like the clay a potter works with to create a piece of art that is previsualized in the artist’s mind.

As a photographer and artist, you start working with the original image making the artwork come to life; it starts becoming the image you saw in your minds eye.

For me, I like this process, working with the original and then molding and shaping it until it becomes the image I saw in my minds eye, as I said, a work that I can be really happy with.

If I have a choice, I prefer to get the photograph as close to my vision as possible, with the original. However, this is not possible all the time.

This scene was photographed at around 11PM, and the only lighting was a single HPS (high pressure sodium lamp) street light, which for photographic purposes, is a very weak illumination source. Various other urban light pollution was around, but definitely not helping the photographic situation. What drew my attention to this scene was the texture of the materials in the house, the spookiness of the environment, and the possibilities I saw in my minds eye. That was enough for me to take the effort, and make the exposure.

Old Wood House in the Dark, v.3

Time Taken: About 11PM.
Location: Jelutong, Penang.
Available Light: One Street Light.
Long Exposure.

Photographed by Nawfal Nur

An example of what you can do with nighttime photography, with minimal equipment, and working with the assistance on only a single street light.

The Aperture was set at f/5.6.
The Shutter Speed was at 6 Seconds.
Time Photo was Taken: Around 11PM.
Location of Shot: In Jelutong, Penang, Malaysia.

And the most important piece of equipment…

My SLIK: ABLE 300DX Tripod.

Happy New Year – 2008!

Well, it’s 2008! How was it…ah, I mean 2007? Time for a postmortem, or shall we just let 2007 be? I am so, so positive that 2008 is already great – and it rhymes too! So it’s got to be great!

Just wanting to wish all my readers and visitors to my Photo-Journals, a VERY Happy and Prosperous New Years – Make it Great because no one else will for you! Right!

OK then…Now the photo below (if it shows up…LOLOL). Just as in the previous entry, I said, “give shooting in the rain a try”…so, “give shooting at nighttime a try too.” What’s the worst that can happen? Well, OK, let’s back up the truck…lots could happen, so bring someone you trust to “Watch Yer 6!” That will allow you to concentrate on photographing.

Door & Window at Nighttime, v.1, Jalan Kajang

Be Safe! Have Fun! Enjoy 2008! Door & Window, Exterior Photograph taken at nighttime, along Jalan Kajang, Penang, by Nawfal Nur

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TIME EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY

Hi People!

Just me checking out if FLOCK has improved on it’s blogging capabilities. I guess I will find out.

Here is a photo I took just outside of Island Plaza, oh, a couple weeks ago I think. The goal was to get light streaks so no tripod was used, but I did want to get lettering readable, as seen here in the photo. The exposure was in the 15 to 30 second range at f/8.0. I was really happy with the results.

I had to squish the photo a bit using the handles on the image (in wordpress) and that does not produce lossless resizing at all.  Bummer.  Therefore, I’ve added a link to the image to go to my Flickr version, which is much better – just click on the image below to go to my Flickr Gallery.

Time Exposure Photograph by Nawfal Nur - All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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A Few Images Added to My “35mm Photo” Set.

“Walking into the Light” by Nawfal Nur

Well, it’s been awhile since I first made my “35mm Photography” Page.

I think, and I must admit, I’ve been busy and a little absentminded…I forgot to add images to the page. My apologies for anyone who has gone to my 35mm Photo Page and found not much there.

I have improved it a little, and now you can see a few images that I took using my 1960’s, Nikon F camera. The photographs were taken in March, for the “This Planet” Project. 146 photographs (from about the same number of Photographers I would guess) covering subjects from around the world, were taken at approximately the same time. For me, in Penang, I think it was around 10:05pm when I shot most of the images for this project.

I still love shooting with film, no doubt about it. I must also admit, it is difficult to not love digital too. And, in this part of the world, getting specialty films, like the ones I used to love shooting with, B&W Ilford, KODAK HC, Kodachrome, IR, etc., is just not so possible. Many of these films may not be made anymore, and some are just plain not available in some areas.

Basic film…yes…can get.

Specialty film, not that I know of…very tough to get.

Well, as I locate older 35mm shots, or shoot new ones (which may not be too often), I’ll send them to my 35mm Photography Page. Thanks for looking!

The 50th Merdeka, Vespa Scooter Convoy from Terengganu: A Photo-Essay of their Stop in Penang.

“The 50th Merdeka, Vespa Scooter Convoy from Terengganu: A Photo-Essay of their Stop in Penang.”

 

Story & Photos by Nawfal Nur

Copyright 2007

All Rights Reserved

 

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KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 94-BTL

Photo One: Yellow Scooter – Close-up of “vespa”, chrome trim and red light. The yellow paint was fairly dirty, so I took a tissue and wiped it down, and no one seemed to mind.  After all, the group had already traveled several hundred kilometers and a little dirt on the scooters would be natural.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 79-BTL

Photo Two: Orange Vespa with stormy sky in the background, Malaysian flag hanging down into the frame of this shot.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 83-BTL

Photo Three: KSK Member sitting on his Vespa and an array of other scooters around him.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 87-BTL

Photo Four: An elaborate eagle decoration on the front bumper of a Vespa scooter.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 112-BTL

Photo Five: A decorative hand-stamped chrome visor: The design is of a Vespa scooter.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 97-BTL

Photo Six: An Abstract shot of a pink Vespa’s front bumper and chrome horn covering.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 109-BTL

Photo Seven: An intimidating fixture of a Viking Warrior – Maybe it’s Thor!

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 96-BTL

Photo Eight: This is the oldest Vespa in the group: It is a circa., 1964 Vespa scooter, in almost perfect condition.

KSK, Vespa Club, Frame 101-BTL

Photo Nine: Just me adding a little “bling” to the shot, by using a ‘lens’ effect to highlight the Malaysian flag. The light falloff was expected; and this shot I took from standing in the first lane of traffic between short pauses in the zooming by of vehicles.

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© 2007 Nawfal Nur, All Rights Reserved

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Little did I know that my wife would be coming home with an interesting photography challenge for me. However, proved to be a much needed break from the monotony of the day, and an educational-cultural experience that I had not expected.

KSK (Kelab Skuter Klasik), from Kuala Terengganu, is a branch of the Classic Vespa Scooter Club, here in Malaysia. This group was on a Vespa Scooter Convoy, in honor of the 50th year of Malaysian Independence (Merdeka).

Their ride started on the 22nd of August and would finish up on the 31st of August. They traveled from Kuala Terengganu to various stops, and ended up in Penang on the 27th of August, I had the opportunity to take some photographs of their classic, Italian Vespas. Their next destination was somewhere in Kedah.

Now, take into consideration that my Penang dialect of the Malay language is kind of atrocious, so I was trying to communicate badly with my Penang dialect, with dudes who were speaking perfectly great Terengganu-Malay dialect – what a fantastic interaction we had!

Here’s how this whole photo-shoot came about: My wife was coming home from work and noticed a group of about 20 guys, milling around a colorful array of vintage Vespa motor scooters. She naturally knew that I would want to photograph their bikes, and get a story out of it – that’s just the way I am!

The group of riders were resting near our home, about a 10-minute walk away. They had all gathered in an empty parking lot, out front of an unscrupulous night club: It gets shut down about every year for violations of various laws – that scummy place is a true ‘Menace To Society!’ However, where there’s scum, there is filth, and the two seem to exist in a symbiosis that benefits both sides, and leaves the neighborhood in disgust, but that’s another story.

My wife arrived home and told me the story of the scooter riders from Terengganu. After hearing her ‘CLIFFS NOTES’ version, I knew I needed to drop what I was doing, grab a camera and race over to the gathering.

It was 7:00PM when I left the house and the light outside was transforming into a light tobacco color. I knew I had little time to take some shots with available light, which is naturally my preference for this type of work. Artificial light coming from the camera, when shooting objects that range in distance from near to far, it tends to wash out the nearby objects and leaves the distant subjects in a fog of darkness. With limited time and no way to gather additional lighting equipment, I had to make due with my camera with a built in flash.

When I approached the riders, they seemed a bit perplexed: I can imagine some were thinking, “Why is this Mat Salleh (White Guy), coming up to us and checking out our rides?

I noticed that there were more scooters than riders, so some people were missing from their group of some 20 bikes. Maybe some had already gone for a bite to eat. Nevertheless, about 12 members had stayed behind with their rides.

I started by giving the group, the traditional Muslim “Salaam”, and no matter where you go, no matter what your ethnicity, or color of skin, a Muslim can break the ice with another Muslim by giving a heart-felt “Assalaam’mualaikum!” (Meaning: “Peace Be Upon You!”)

After that, I began the conversation with “Apa Khabar?” (How are you?), and then things went from there. I ran into some bumps and hills along the conversational journey, but I was generally making “heads & tails” of what was being said.

I asked them if I could take some photographs, and they were obliging. It didn’t appear that they had made any announcements to the Press, or had any Public Relations Plan for their trip. I assumed their long trip from Kuala Terengganu to Penang, and then Kedah, was simply out of patriotism for Malaysia’s special 50th birthday celebration, and for comradery with other Vespa club members.

The club members comprised of a mixture of seasoned, older riders, and very enthusiastic younger men; I would estimate their ages from 25 to 60 years old. Not that “fine lines” or “deep crevices” in the facial skin is a major concern of most men, you can still get a general estimate of a man’s age by their degree of “face linage.”

The younger club members were riding their father’s motor scooters. And, I imagine, the fathers had made similar trips for previous Merdeka Day celebrations. The scooters they were riding, were from the years 1964 to 1979. I’m sure that some of the club members were considerably younger than the older Vespas in their convoy.

Each bike had some elaborate decoration on it, along with one or more Malaysian flags (Jalur Gemilang), and were fastened somewhere on the handlebars or the back ends of the scooters. Each scooter, I noticed, was equipped with a spare tire, a few tools, bottles of water and odds & ends that may be necessary for a long trip.

By the time the chit-chat was over, and I had received their permission to take the shots, the sun was dropping behind the hills and it was already 7:10PM. I knew I was dangerously close to running out of usable ambient light, and I had to quickly pick a theme for this photo-essay, and then shoot as many shots as possible to cover the theme. If that wasn’t enough, to do it all in less than 30-minutes was a chore, but a pleasant one.

I chose to concentrate on the details of the antique Vespa scooters. And, coming from a Fine Art background and preferring that style, I decided to shoot this story in that way. Daylight was burning away fast and I didn’t want to depend too much on the flash in my camera, a very trusty and dependable Canon A620, that works fantastically in the studio for my Fine Art work, but not ideal for photojournalism. Nevertheless, it was the camera I had in my hands, and I was adjusting and adapting as I lost light.

The bikes were parked haphazardly in the parking lot, so I weaved in and out of the bikes looking for outstanding examples of Vespa craftsmanship, and handmade scooter accessories. There was a decorative eagle gracing the front bumper of one bike. A metal viking decoration on the front plate of another, and a hand stamped chrome visor with an outline of a scooter gracing the headlamp of another bike. It was a treasure trove of photographic goodies.

It wasn’t the most organized photo shoot I’ve been involved in, I have to admit that. All that I knew was that I had about 20 minutes to photograph. Plus, these guys weren’t paid models, so I didn’t want to take too much of their time; they were tired after a long, hot day’s ride and were still looking for a hotel where they could rest for the night.

Before it was time to “call the game due to darkness,” (See Note 1, below), I thought it may be nice to get a group shot of a few of the members with their scooters. The only suitable spot to line them up was on the sidewalk. That also meant that the only suitable spot to take photographs was from the middle of a very busy metropolitan roadway! It wasn’t the safest spot to plant myself for taking photographs, but I’m a bit crazy, and thought…”Why Not!

By this time, my wife had come back to observe the shoot: So, I put her to work!

She became the translator for me, to explain what I wanted from the members, and where to place the bikes. She also helped with the art direction: She’s multi-talented!

Yeah, OK! Technically, at this point, I should have been setting up some extra lighting: I’m a disgrace to “Strobists” everywhere! (See Note 2, below).

I knew that I should have a couple remote speedlights to get a decent group shot. But Hey! I was just trying to time traffic properly, to “safely” jump into the middle of the speedway for a few seconds; grab a shot, and then leap out of the way before getting run over by lunatic drivers. Attempting to set up strobes in the middle of the road seemed like lunacy to me, so I ditched that idea and just took a few shots with the tiny internal flash, and hoping for the best.

By 7:40PM, the sun had dropped out of sight behind the hills and the shooting was over.

We said our goodbyes to the members and wished them luck and safe journey for the rest of their convoy around North Malaysia. At that point, my wife and I were about to head home. It was sort of funny, as we were about to leave, one of the guys asked my wife, who I am in relationship to her. She explained that I was her husband. I guess, I just assumed they knew she was married to the crazy white-dude!

I spent the remainder of the evening getting the shots reviewed, edited, and then re-edited. I drafted a letter to a local newspaper, believing that this story would be a good Merdeka, local interest item. Links to the images were provided in the email to the Editor, so it would be easy for them to view the shots online, and at their leisure. I made it clear that if they did not reply to my correspondence, then I would be publishing the story and photographs to my Photography Journals (“Behind the Lens“). Sad to say….I didn’t hear anything from the Newspaper.

Well, their loss, I guess. I suppose if another newspaper or magazine wants to pick up this story, then that would be great – just contact me with details.

Otherwise, I’m just happy to know that I fulfilled what I felt was a “mission” to get this dedicated group of Vespa Club Members, some exposure about their historic, 50th Merdeka celebration, scooter convoy.

Note 1: An old Baseball ruling [started around 1930’s], where during doubleheaders, a daylight game could be stopped by the Umpire due to darkness, because the stadium lights weren’t allowed to be turned on during the daylight game. In the 1950’s, this ruling was relaxed.

Note 2: “Strobist” is a photography blog on professional lighting with Speedlites and other small flash units.

Photography Details:
Camera
: Canon A620
Place: Penang
Time: I only had about an half hour with them, from 7:10PM to 7:40PM. It started getting quite dark, so shooting conditions were NOT ideal. I had to use higher ISO settings and weak flash caused some problems (ARGH! ) However, under the circumstances, I did my best!
Software: Some retouching (reduce digital noise ) with Noiseware, and Lighting/Contrast adjustments with PhotoImpact 10.

Lanterns, Flowers and Fountain – Nighttime Botanical Gardens Image

Lanterns, Flowers and Fountain photograph by Nawfal Nur

 

The image above was taken at the Penang Botanical Gardens during the Annual Flower Festival (2006), and I felt this was maybe a better image for the Dreamscapes category. Please have a look and vote for my image if you like it – thank you!