Saturday, 27 April 2013

Natural Cooling System

Yes, I watched the evening sky again yesterday, as I had done the day before.

At this time of the year, whenever I wanted to get good photos of the evening sky, I would sit on the wall on the front stoop and rest my feet on the roof tiles.  And, often, my feet would be placed apart with one foot braced on either side of the roof ridge to get good leverage for photos. 


If I am using a tripod, it would be placed on this ridge as well.

 My place has a North-South alignment.
Because of that, I do not get a full frontal view of the morning or evening skies.
Hence, I would sit on the wall right at the edge of the roof ridge in order to face westward where the sun would be setting.  I would have loved to go all the way out onto the ridge of the porch roof but I don't suppose it would be worth taking that risk at all!

Don't get me wrong.
I really am not complaining.

This North-South alignment is truly great for ventilation and this place would almost always be quite cool and airy because of that.


Here in Langkawi, there are two main seasons - the North-East monsoon from November till April and the South-West monsoon from May till October.  As such, the prevailing winds in this area come from two main directions - from the North-East or North and from the South-West or South, depending on the time of the year.  Having doors and windows in this North-South alignment is therefore perfect for natural ventilation throughout the house and this in itself is a very effective passive cooling system in place.  There are days when I could sit at my dining table or in the living room without putting on the ceiling fan and not even feel warm at all.

Besides that, if you do know me, you would know I am not exactly a conventional person.  So I really do not mind sitting on the wall to get good photos or just to watch the evening skies.  In fact, I quite like it and enjoy doing that when I can.

And I do love it that I get to see the setting sun from this very spot at certain times of the year, without having to leave home and go somewhere else!  That happens in March and September when the sun is making its way North or South respectively and will set behind those hills in horizon.

This next photo was taken in March. 
You can just see the edge of the setting sun before it had completely dipped behind those hills.

A stranger may think I'm loony sitting there on the wall but I am just enjoying life in a way I can!

 The evening sky yesterday was totally awesome!
All those splashes of vivid colours!
It's like something you would only see in a painting!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Sky At Dusk

Had just started preparing dinner when I took a glimpse out the kitchen window.  Saw the golden orangy-yellow hues and knew that evening sky would probably be beautiful.

It would be great just to watch the sky even though I won't see the setting sun!

Took me a few seconds to decide to abandon the idea of having dinner at my usual time, then grabbed my camera and went outside.  I sat perched on the porch wall, with my feet resting and braced on the roofing tiles and started snapping.  Initially, a few mosquitoes came out to bug me and I had to keep slapping them away but after a while, they disappeared altogether.  


I took nearly fifty photos in the half hour that I sat there.  That's almost a photo each minute!
Of course, some had to be discarded as they were blurry but I actually had quite a lot of good ones.

The colours of the dusk sky change every few minutes and that in itself was just amazing!

The first photo of the evening, taken at 7:41pm.
The light orangy-yellow sky is a good indication that the evening sky will be gorgeous!

At 7:43pm.  
Zoomed in towards the Mat Chinchang mountain in the background.  
This mountain is on the north-western part of the island, where the cable car ride goes up to.  
I am at the south-eastern corner of the island.  
And, yes, this is how small Langkawi is! 

Back to looking at the sky over the south of Kuah.
The orangy colours on the horizon is now deeper and richer but still a lot of grays in the sky.

 A minute later, at 7:47pm.  
You can get such a different picture when you zoom in onto Kuah Bay.

At 7:49pm, the swirl of clouds above me had turned a shade deeper......

It is nice to watch the changing colours in the sky.
And it is always nice to look out onto that little strip of water that is Kuah Bay.

 8:00pm now.
I have been sitting here watching the sky for about 15 minutes.  
All the bits of blue have become more intense as it gets a little darker.....

The lights on the viewing platforms on the Mat Chinchang mountain can now be clearly seen glittering against the dusk sky. 

Just before it became a little too dark to see the rich colours of the sky.
The night will be upon us soon.......

Totally worth it to brave the mosquitoes and take the time to enjoy watching the sky at dusk and then have dinner a little late.  Definitely totally worth it!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Aroid: Amorphophallus haematospadix Hook. f.

While out kayaking a few days ago, these 'Aroid' flowers caught my eye.  

After all, how often would you see anything of that colour in this landscape?  

That plum-fuschia coloured spadix with the white spathe certainly stood out against the slaty gray of the limestone in the background.  

I asked my guests to give me a few minutes to take a few photos for species identification, then steered my kayak alongside the limestone wall.

These flowers were growing on a rocky ledge.  And with the tide at that time that day, this ledge was about 2 metres above the water level. To ensure I get good photos, I stood up on my kayak and my right hand that was holding the camera was all stretched out overhead.  Meantime, I had several fingers on my left hand pinching onto a tiny root to stay balanced and to keep my kayak from drifting away from the wall.  

And that was how I snapped these photos.

Thanks to Marek Argent of IAS for confirming this plant species to be Amorphophallus haematospadix Hook. f.  

The Amorphophallus is a large genus of subtropical tuberous herbaceous plants from the Arum family (Araceae).  Anyway, according to the IAS website, this species is found in East Malaysia, Peninsular Thailand and possibly in North Sumatra.  

And now we do know that it is also found in Langkawi, on North-West Peninsular Malaysia.

The larger inflorescence in the above photo is about 16-18cm from the base of the spathe to the top of the spadix appendage.  This is only an estimate based on a comparison to the palm of my hand.  And it looks like there's another tuber or stalk sticking out at the bottom right so another flower will be blooming soon!


Friday, 19 April 2013

An Evening On The Beach

Sunset yesterday.  
It did not have all the stunning colours.
Yet it still was great to be out there for an evening stroll on the beach.
To feel the sand under your bare feet.
To feel serenity when you look up at the evening sky at dusk.
To see beauty in all its simplicity.
To appreciate all these gifts from Mother Nature.
To count our blessings.
To love life!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A Tryst In The Mangroves

If I may say so, I do think this is the best photo I've taken so far of the Mangrove Pit Viper.  
 And this is with my compact camera with 5x Optical Zoom.

Yes, I'm probably too close to this venomous snake.
No, I am not as close to the snake as you would perceive it to be in this photo.
It is still over a metre away from where the camera was held.
And, yes, I was hiding behind a small mangrove tree, which perhaps gave me a false perception of safety even if it still did provide a barrier between the viper and I.  So I had my hand that was holding the camera, around to the other side of the tree to take aim at the viper and snap a few photos.  

Almost blindly and quite at random.

Took a total of five shots and had to delete all but this one.  

My 'photo of the year', maybe?

These vipers are really cool creatures.  To me, anyway.  
Don't I fear these vipers?  
I would be lying if I say I don't.
At the same time, I am not exactly afraid of them.
One thing for certain, I am definitely fascinated by these vipers.
And I do maintain total respect for these snakes and any animals that I encounter.  
After all, every one of us do need our own personal space too, don't we?

I wouldn't say the same if it had been a Cobra.  
For some reason, looking at a slithering Cobra would send a tingle up my spine and my toes would be cringing!

But, each time I am out kayaking, I look forward to a tryst with these vipers in the mangroves.  
It's just that with these wildlife, they don't make appointments........