Tag Archives: sydney

A not so Vivid

Vivid seems to be getting duller and duller for me as the years go by. This year everything felt super spread and to me that meant a low reward to effort ratio, that is having to walk too much to see so little. Thought I would have been a little more enthusiastic as well being the first chance to stretch the legs on my new Sony A7 mk2 but that could only do so much

First up was a quick dinner at the Malaya in King St wharf, just picked a random place with Dimmi and AMEX’ $20 off deal. It was a busy place, great for groups but not ideal for a quiet dinner. Entrees were the samosas and chilli fried chicken wings.

The former were super light with good skin and full of flavour; not cheap though. The chilli fried chicken wings had heaps of sauce, too much in my opinion and a lot of batter which masked any taste of chicken.

Mains were the king prawn laksa and chicken sambol.

The laksa was delicious, a lot better than I expected; plenty of flavour, chilli and not too heavy on the coconut. A richer version of the Hunter Strett laksa (which is definitely my favourite). If it wasn’t for the price, this would be a sure favourite. The sambol was also really nice, again they don’t skimp out on flavours, it was bold and spicy; I was a bit worried that the flavours would be watered down due to location, but I was pleasantly surprised overall.

So, back to Vivid. Bangaroo was a new addition this year and the night I went it was rather quiet. A walk with sting rays turned into immersion with projections and lastly aquanauts roaming the streets. Loved the detail in the suits and the cloud hovering about their heads.

The walk to Circular Quay (behind customs house) was a decent walk with my favourite being the colourful umbrella jellyfish (not sure if that’s what they were meant to be though). A couple of projections in the laneways, a canon stand taking photos of us and a sundial type clock (where you’re the dial) were pretty cool.

All shots were taken with Sony A7 mark II with either the Sony 35mm f/2.8 and a Zenitar 16mm fisheye adapted from a Nikon mount. One thing I didn’t realise with the fisheye before it was too late is that when adapted, the distance markings were out of whack, more so than when mounted on a Nikon camera. Most of the shots are out of focus with the focus going beyond what I was intending.

The rest of my Vivid trip was simply around the harbour with my favourite being an installation at the overseas passenger terminal which almost looks like heavy rain coming down. The opera house was quite pretty this year and I thought it was pretty cool that there was an interactive station where you could control what colour the bridge and surrounding buildings were; it did mean that sometimes the colour combinations were horrible.

All in all, quite happy with the A7m2, I wish the lens was a bit faster, f/2 would have been great, but the in body stabilisation does work well allowing me to go as slow as 1/10 with the 35mm without much trouble. I’m still getting used to the RAW files from the camera, but initial impressions is that that darks and shadows don’t hold as well as the Nikon files (that, or Lightroom doesn’t handle them as well).

That’s all from Vivid, photos aren’t exciting as previous years and I didn’t even bother with a tripod this time round.

Hakata-Maru Ramen

Market City food court has always been good for cheap Asian lunch time eats, but if you didn’t know, you can find a very well priced and delicious ramen place called Hakata-Maru Ramen. It specialises in tonkotsu ramen serving a couple of differing variations yet still retains the low prices found else where in the food court.

The store is immediately to the left of the food court (second on the left) and is hard to miss with the Japanese styled decorations and large sign

The stall is quite open and behind the counter is the kitchen where the magic happens. Chefs preparing the noodles to perfection while quick and delicate hands work to put together the bowls of ramen.

The result is a moderately sized bowl of ramen with a few toppings. I opted for the red tonkotsu which is just the addition of a chilli sauce/paste.

A small condiment bar allows for some sauces and toppings like sesame and pickled ginger. A few sides are available to go with your ramen, my choice? The chicken wings with coleslaw for $4. Cool thing is that one bone is removed, allowing easy consumption like a drumstick.

Well onto the ramen, i personally think its quite delicious. The pork flavour is present and not too strong and the soup has a nice golden flavour. Its not overly thick which would appeal to those who cant handle a heavy thick broth like Gumshara’s.

Unfortunately the toppings are a little lacking from the stock menu with only half an egg and few bits of pork. To help fill you up though, kaedama (or an extra serve of noodles) is available for $1. Be careful to ensure the cleaning saff don’t take away your bowl.

Overall its a great place,good food and staff with smiles in their faces makes for a good meal. You also cant beat a genuine bowl of tonkotsu for less than $9.

Armin Only and Cafe Del Mar announced!

Two very exciting announcements out today for Sydney today which has got me pretty stoked. The first? World’s number 1 DJ Armin van Buuren has announced his Armin Only world tour for his artist album ‘Intense’. The second? World famous beach front bar in Ibiza known for its chill out music and amazing sunsets.

Continue reading Armin Only and Cafe Del Mar announced!

Timelapse/video of Vivid Sydney 2013

Since getting a video capable DSLR and my Sony NEX, I’ve been a lot more fascinated with video and filming. As part of Vivid this year, I felt like I could put something together and the video below is the result of that. Continue reading Timelapse/video of Vivid Sydney 2013

Vivid 2013 – a few photos

Being more focussed on the video and timelapses this year, this means the number of photos I have from Vivid has suffered. Rather lazy so most (if not all) of these shots are hand held without a tripod. The super fast aperture of 1.4 from the Sigma 35mm lens proved to be extremely handy. Its sharpness meant there was no hesitation to shoot wide open. Continue reading Vivid 2013 – a few photos

Chophouse – H1M

Tonight I was at Chophouse for some delicious steak with the missus – it’s only been a month, but it’s simply been amazing. Both as lovers of steak, it felt appropriate to visit Chophouse, I’ve heard good things about the steak here and it was time for a visit.

The entree was a different take on your regular kingfish sashimi with the addition of basil, apple and a chilli lime coconut cream dressing. Personally I think it’s a winner and dressed sashimi leaves a lot of room for creativity and chophouse does this very well.

photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

Mains were a difficult choice between the differing varieties of steak, while the menu is rather compact, there is enough cuts and meat grades to keep everyone happy. I opted for a wagyu ‘striploin’ with a bacon mayonnaise. Interestingly enough, it had come out with a slice of lemon and while I generally like a good steak pretty bare, the lemon did add an extra dimension to the taste. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare with the fat on the rim cooked to perfection to add to the rich taste.

photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

For the missus, a grass fed fillet on the bone was also excellently cooked and the meat was super tender. A small side of Chutney was included which I think complimented the steak extremely well and very different do your usual sauces, which I think is never required with a good steak.

photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

Both came with a little bit of red wine jus to give a bit of extra flavour without sacrificing the meat’s natural flavours. You can see how evenly the meat is cooked.

photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

Shoe string fries were orded as a side however they were nothing special.

photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

For dessert, I had opted for a dark chocolate ice cream sandwich, I personally found the taste of it to be too heavy and the biscuit a too dense for a plated dessert. Personally I’d rather a maxibon.

photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

For the missus, it would be a white chocolate and ricotta mouse topped with cherries and biscotti on the side. I thought the mousse was delicious and the cherry compliments the sweetness of the mousse well and makes sure it doesn’t over power your taste buds. Forget the biscotti, I don’t think it adds much value to the dish.

photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

Overall I loved the ambience of Chophouse, it has a rustic, slightly raw and aged feel and I’d definitely recommend giving it a visit and definitely a great place to take that special someone if you’re after something more substantial.

It’s located at 25 Bligh Street in Sydney (a little further north from Martin Place). It’s a tad pricey, but I think it’s worth it, our date ended with a $190 bill which included the entree, two mains, a side of fries, two cocktails and two desserts.

Petaling St – Sydney

More cheap Malaysian food brings me to Petaling Street on George Street in Haymarket. Touted as Malaysian Hawker food, this place offers a lot of variety with good sized portions and decent prices.

image

Today I opted for a Nasi Pattaya which is a fried rice wrapped in an omelette.

image

Good portion size and only $11.80. Inside is rice, onions, shallots and prawns fried together with a nice char to it. Sweet chilli sauce gives it that extra flavour boost.

image

Beverage wise, I couldn’t go past a ‘Michael Jackson’.

image

It’s just soya milk and grass jelly, nothing too fancy but a little pricey for what it is. I’d probably  prefer a teh tarik.
Entering the shop for lunch, it’s pretty busy and you’re immediately greeted with the aroma of the kitchen and busy staff whipping up an immense variety of dishes.

image

Definitely rate this place and this is my second visit, heaps of items on the menu and everything that comes out looks and smells fantastic.

Vivid 2012

Winter every year is always exciting for any photographer as Sydney comes to life with a colourful display of light displays and installations. This year I was quite lazy (despite giving it a few visits) and went without a tripod, a rather rare sight for anyone carrying an SLR.

The unexpected rain didn’t help either as I generally like to scout first and then come back with a tripod for some long exposure action. This year had some very nice art works, the first being the tunnel at the Rocks, lit up with colourful flowers.

Coming through to Circular Quay from the rocks leads to an array of various smaller installations, one which was rather interesting from afar and upclose/inside was this tunnel of EL lights. Walking through the tunnel gives a strange sense of distortion as the lines of lighting skew and play with your peripheral vision.

The Opera House was a bit of a disappointment, going for a more artsy and perhaps meaningful display was a stark contrast from the colourful patterns of previous years. Instead of random and colour patters, we have a guy and a girl rolling around with a few shuffles of the ’tiles’ in between.

Continuing on further towards Circular Quay was the Museum of Contemporary arts with two installations. The first being an interactive experience where a set of Kinect cameras capture your body and allow you to grab ‘bites of sound’ and move them around, changing the song. Was bit hard to use at first, but quite cool at the same time.

The other part of the MCA was a large architectural projection with plenty of colourful patterns and colour (and in my opinion, what Vivid really represents)

Customs house was another winner in my books with a colour cartoon movie showing on the entire building, colourful colours with accurate mapping to the architectural features made it look very well done. The only disappointment from me is that it’s only a single clip which runs over and over (rather than a bunch of random pieces that change over time).

 

Other notable mentions were a group of ‘holographic headed’ dogs which would respond to a whistle (triggered by a red button) and turn out, kinda cute.

Another cool installation was a light covered by 25 individual moving flaps which would respond to a sound. The coolness of this installation was compounded by a rather talented man making some sounds (not the screams and yells most people do). He was sorta doing scales with his voice and strange tones and the flaps would and change.

The rest of the images can be seen by viewing the rest of the gallery (click the pic).

Click here for more Vivid 2012 images

Above & Beyond play at Marquee Sydney – photos and review

Soon after their Creamfields gig in Sydney, a few days later was a surprise announcement that Above & Beyond will be playing a club gig (cue the cheer and fanfare) especially after the woeful performance at Creamfields (terrible audio quality and production). However it was not long before more details sifted in and we find out that it  would be Marquee that will be hosting these legends in Trance. I think the whole Sydney-based trance family let a collective sigh as they pondered whether or not to make the trek to Marquee, or alternatively whether or not they’d even be able to get in to see Jonno and Paavo (whether that be long queues or “selective” security and door policies).

Marquee Sydney

I have been to Marquee before, and it’s no doubt a very nice venue, but the strange combination of a shiny new venue combined with an attempt to appeal to the rich creates an interesting scene when true music fans clash with this idea. It would be interesting to see the crowd that would turn up (or should I say, be allowed in), club gigs are usually best to hear what a DJ is truly capable of, there’s usually no pressure to ‘play for the masses’ and tunes which are out of the ordinary can be played.

Marquee

Had a quick squizz in the Boombox and for a RnB-esque room, it’s quite nice.

The BoomBox

Inside the BoomBox

Last Friday though? Despite being in a club, there was no club gig feel, first trance DJs to be on the decks were Binary Finary (big name in trance themselves) and from the crowd I hear a shout, “what is this? play more vocal trance”, this was early in the night and I already felt how bad this crowd was going to be. Not long after (with Binary Finary still playing) there is another confused punter not even realising who is playing, ignorantly there are requests for ‘Sun and Moon’ and I give myself a mental facepalm (maybe a few).

Binary Finary

Time came and Paavo and Jonno from Above & Beyond arrive, as they step on the decks, it’s clear how many actually know what’s going on. It becomes even clearer when a few of their older tunes are dropped, like ‘On a good day’ and ‘Sirens of the Sea’, I kid you not, less than 10% of the crowd would know the words and sing-a-long. 10 fucking percent, it wasn’t too bad being front and centre, but as you step back, there’s nothing from the crowd at all.

Speaking of moving back, the majority of the crowd were the biggest wankers I have ever seen! Trying to move around with a big fuck-off DSLR and flash is usually an easy affair, either they’ll spot you and move, or a quick tap and a gap is quickly opened for you to pass, but not this time, not this venue. Everyone wants to be where they are (or closer to the front) and it takes a good shove to get through. Seriously, I’m not here to take your spot. Another time a guy behind me holds onto my back as he attempts to get on a mate’s shoulder, man, I was tempted to just give him a knock with the magnesium alloy body of my camera.

Above & Beyond

Back to A&B though, they know how to work the crowd, but this by no means made up for the lacklustre set at Creamfields. To me it’s still the same predictable cheesy Group Therapy set we’ve all heard a million times. It’s almost become a formula, Sun & Moon, Thing Called Love, Prelude, Love is not Enough, Prelude and so forth. It’s not that they’re such bad tunes, but they’ve just been overplayed and in a way that when you’ve heard one Group Therapy set, you’ve pretty much heard them all.

Slippy Future

The highlight of the night would have been Oceanlab’s Siren by the Sea, despite the lack of knowledge from the crowd, it’s just one of them amazing songs.

Other thoughts for the night? The table service is a rather nice thing (if you’ve got the exorbant amounts of money to get one), someone appeared to have a birthday and were greeted with a girl carrying a CO2 tank and two guns to blast CO2 fog everywhere, pretty damn awesome way. There’s no doubt Marquee is a lavish place, plenty of hot girls dancing on stage in a variety of outfits, from little bras to swimsuit-esque outfits and even space-women! Interesting but over-the-top.

Girls and CO2 guns

Dancers

To be honest, I’ve been hoping for a nice club to open up in Sydney that would have their own music policy, but after this second visit two months after opening, I don’t see the place lasting at all. Lovely venue, ruined by terrible management. A good club only needs a few things, good venue and production (appropriate for the music genres you’ll support), clearly defined nights and music policy so punters know exactly what’s going on and when and finally having staff and security that aren’t there to play God.

That’s it from me, enjoy the rest of the photos by clicking below, you probably won’t see me step foot in Marquee again 😉 and my 2c, if you haven’t been, you’re not missing out on much.

Click here for the rest
Click here for the rest

Older photos – part 1

So I have a whole bunch of photos in the backlog that I never went through and figured I should put them up before touching the photos from my Asia trip. These were from back in October of last year, quite a few months ago, this is part 1 of 2, I’ll have a couple of more galleries for November as well.

First up we have some photos from Jimmy and Winnie’s 23rd at Encasa where we delighted ourselves a raft of various Tapas and Spanish dishes. Quite liked this restaurant and the food was pretty amazing, so good I attempted at making my own. That dish was the potatas bravas, basically fried potato cubes with a spicy tomato salsa and garlic sauce/mayonnaise.

Jimmy and Winnie's 23rd Birthday Gallery
Click for Jimmy and Winnie's 23rd B'day pics

Second is some photos from out little night out at the night noodle markets. It was a fun night involving a whole variety of Asian foods from noodles to seafood, buns and even Japanese pancakes! Mix in a little wine and good company and it was a lovely evening. To top it off, we did a sugar hit at Spiedo inside Westfield Sydney, quite tasty :D.

Night Noodle Markets 2011

That’s it for now, check back soon for part 2 and hopefully some photos from my Asia trip.