If you must ask every Malaysian which local town he or she would like to stay in after retirement (that is if money wasn’t an issue), at least half of them would name Penang as one of the places to grow old in. It’s like how Americans generally view Florida as the chosen place for their golden retirement, Penang is somewhat top of the list for us Malaysians because of its old-meets-new charm that is presented in an appealing package of small town friendliness, British colonial heritage, long stretches of soft sandy beaches and gorgeous sunset.
Top that with its rich history dating back to the 1700s of being one of our three famous port cities along with Singapore and Melaka, it is then no wonder that Penang is also nicknamed the Pearl of the Orient and that’s quintessentially how charming and vital Penang is to every Malaysian.
Penang is also as famous for its quaint architectural heritage as its iconic status as the food capital of Malaysia. Every conversation and friendly debate revolving the best Char Koay Teow (a very famous fried flat noodles fried with soy sauce, chilli, prawns, cockles, egg, bean sprouts and Chinese chives) or the tastiest Mee Goreng (fried yellow noodles) among food-obsessed Malaysians ends with an uncompromised statement that so-and-so stall in Penang has the best of them all. Even the best Ice Kacang (our local version of shaved ice dessert drizzled with Gula Melaka and coconut syrup) in the whole of Malaysia just has to be found in Penang. We love our Penang food that much that it almost borders on national pride already.
I suppose I don’t need to explain much about why we ended up in Penang a month ago then. Apart from the obvious reason of embarking on a food trail, as a family who loves the great outdoor, we were throwing ourselves into the swimming pool almost every day at the Holiday Inn Resort where we had a great vacation relaxing at its gorgeous private beach and taking in the lovely scenic sunset.
I certainly think that the Penang trip was one of the best vacations we have had locally and I have every moment of us enjoying the sun and the fun all captured by my sleek-looking, smart, all-in-one compact digital camera built with DSLR functions – Panasonic Lumix GM1.
I’d like to imagine that I am a Picasso with my GM1. Its Scene Guide function which literally comes with a real sample picture on its touch screen to show you the sample picture effect you could achieve with each selection such as Clear Portrait, Silky Skin, Backlit Softness, Sweet Child’s Face, Vivid Sunset Glow, Glistening Water, Appetizing food, and etc. gives you multiple artistic possibilities and controls over the mood, visual effects and focus of your subject, like a professional photographer at work, except that achieving all of these shots do not involve carrying dozens of different filter lens or getting a diploma in photography. Although it is a compact digital camera, Lumix GM1 does not compromise its picture quality in that every detail down to the colour hues of the scenery and subject is expressed fully in every photo including its raw file. Cool!
As a busy working mom with three kids ranging from toddler to pre-teens, I can assure you that I do not have the luxury of time to pour through every photography literature and blogs to learn how to take my best shot. I also do not have much time to capture those candid moments as they happen. That is why I love that Lumix GM1 allows me to interpret how I want to capture those moments as it happens, quickly and accurately, without ever learning how to take good photos formally. Apart from time factor, these kids… they run, they make funny faces, they play and they may not relive their moment of cuteness TWICE!
Lumix GM1 gives me the power to make life artistic with its much touted intelligent creative control. This neat feature comes with more than 20 pre-set filter effects covering a wide variety of popular themes from the likes of Expressive, Retro, Old Days, Impressive Art, Cross Process, Soft Focus, Sunshine Mode, Star filter, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Toy Pop, Toy Effect makes photo-taking of scenery, portraits, active subjects, interesting scenes and actions (lots of it!) a straight no-brainer.
All I have ever learned about photography as an art is encapsulated in a five-worded golden nugget of wisdom shared by a friend of mine who once said that, “In photography, less is more.” I literally just have to find what picture mood tickles my fancy, focus on that one thing because less is more, effortlessly select the Creative Mode, and just point and snap.
I hope you enjoy my photos, especially the sunset shots in Penang. I was truly fascinated with its rich hues and how they were brilliantly captured by my Panasonic Lumix GM1. And the next time if you overheard a Malaysian mentioning about retiring into the sunset, my photos would show you that she is really referring to the charming sunset of Penang.