I understand from my mom that Kuala Lumpur was also one of my grandfather’s favorite cities. He used to work for Exxon, back in the middle of the 20th century. It’s hard for me to imagine what it looked like back then. It’s too bad I wasn’t ever able to show him this photo to see his reaction. KL is called one of the Asian “small tigers” because of its booming economy in the last 20 years or so. Many Asian cities are very pretty with unique architecture. Since many of them are so “new”, the architecture is often much more modern than their Western counterparts. In this one, you can see the gargantuan twin Petronas towers looming high over the city, poking up into some clouds.
I found this guy in the Batu Caves just outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Batu Caves are enormous caverns that hold various Hindu temples and plenty of fruit for monkeys. This was shot after a quarter-mile spelunk through the cave and an emergence into a geological oddity – a shaft of sunlight shining downwards through an open chamber that had been carved through the limestone after centuries of rainfall.
The day was bright and sunny, and the monkey sat alone in front of the inky blackness of the cave entrance. This was shot as a single RAW photo. It only had minor HDR adjustments, to get the texture in the wall and the details in his fur.
While we were in Langkawi, each of us had our own pool for our rooms. How cool is that? We would always have arguments… like he said, why don’t you come to my pool. And I was like no way man. I’m not getting in your filthy pool. Get your skinny ass over to my pool and get it all dirty with your dirty dirty body and then Tane was like, okay.
While in KL, we visited a few different mosques. One of the ladies from the Ritz-Carlton was with me and all women need to wear these cloak things. It’s one of those strange religious things that never make sense to me. I know Islam is a fairly patriarchal system, so I think little subtle requirements like this keep females a bit more subservient and less by forcing them cover themselves.
These sorts of situations are perfect for a strong HDR treatment. I am always impressed by the way some interior designers choose to decorate and light their interior spaces. When you really crank up the HDR, it gives it a bit of a “fantasy” feel where you are not sure if it is real or make-believe. I like the tension between what is real and what is not real.
Daily Photo – Visiting the Floating Markets in Langkawi
One day, we jumped out on a boat to go through the archipelago to visit some floating markets. These places are totally unique and they sell a wide variety of things, only half of which I can identify. Some of the veggies and fruits and stuff look a little sketchy, so they are definitely the sorts of things you need to prep and cook well when you get home.
Machine Elf – We Are Made From Stars | Trey Ratcliff & Joshua Ryan
Welcome to a very different Machine Elf creation! All my latest ones seem to be my favorite, but this one definitely gives a new perspective on the cinematic quality and storytelling of fractals. This creation was incredibly complex and took about a month for the visuals and another month for the music from Joshua Ryan. We’ve been collaborating on this one forever and now it is finally ready for release!
This creation explores how incredible complexity and the fabric of the universe could possibly be boiled down to a few combined fractal equations. I’ve always been fascinated by the fabric of the reality around us. Maybe it’s just math, or a higher order of mathematical formulas that collide with different sorts of energies. It’s really hard to say, eh? All these Machine Elf creations explore different facets from the same jewel of the reality that is being built around us all the time.
Also, we’ve put a few of these Machine Elf creations in 360 for a cool VR app called TRIPP. If you have an Oculus Quest, Go, Rift or Playstation VR you can download TRIPP which features guiding experiences to make you happier, calmer and more focused. Grab that here.
What an amazing place to watch the sunset. Malaysia is a brutally hot and humid place, so any chance for a swim is welcome. This is the pool there at the Ritz-Carlton and, even better, we jumped in the pool right after a fun cocktail-making class. Some of those bartenders seem to have such a good time. I think it would be an awesome job, but I don’t think I could do it and keep all the drink recipes straight in my mind…
While we were on the tour across Asia, we ended up in Langkawi at the Ritz-Carlton where they put on a sunset mixology class for us. Man, bartenders really get into all this mixology stuff, and I have no idea what the heck is going on. They explain these esoteric mixes with such authority… I have no idea if it is total BS or if there is actually something to it. I think it’s probably a lot like healers or people like this… there are a lot of charlatans, but there are actually a few people that know what they are doing. I think this was one of those occasions!
It was fun to hang out with my friend Liz in Malaysia! We visited this mosque and they force women to cover their hair and other parts that may be enticing to men. I suppose that is the reason. I’m not a Muslim or anything, but it does seem a bit weird to suppress the human form to reinforce a mutually agreed-upon fiction. Anyway, after this, we went out with the team and had an amazing meal, sans silky self-sheeting.