Like a bird in a cage…

In March, when one was still able to go wherever he(she) might chose, I went on a hike in Ang Mo Kio (starting in the park across the street from the library on Ang Mo Kio Av 6 and ending up in the Mayflower neighbourhood).
 
It’s here!!Screenshot 2020-04-30 at 1.53.00 PM
 
It’s really not that long ago but it feels like ages!!!
 
Anyway… I loved that hike.
The park was really nice (and pretty much empty) but the best was our discovery of the Mayflower Kebun Baru Bird Singing Club. I’ve heard about it before, but seeing it in person was really magical (the kids adored it).
 
Imagine (well you can just look at the pictures actually :-)) a field filled with high pitched old fashioned cages, colourful clothes, and the beautiful singing of all these beautiful animals.
 
 
There is a path in the middle, with on one end the park I was talking before, and on the other end the market and Mayflower hawker center.
Like a bird in a cage © Catherine Houston
 
When you get closer to the cages, you notice all the beautiful details: the fabrics, the delicate mini-china inside to feed the birds, the old-fashioned cages…
Like a bird in a cage © Catherine Houston
 
The Bird Singing Club itself has a few shaded area where one can sit down to admire the birds, enter a singing competition of its animal, purchase or sell a bird.
 
Like a bird in a cage © Catherine Houston
Like a bird in a cage © Catherine Houston
Like a bird in a cage © Catherine Houston
 
And you can sit down around a drink at the hawker center and still enjoy the view on the birds.
 
Like a bird in a cage © Catherine Houston
Like a bird in a cage © Catherine Houston
 
By the way, anyone else but me feeling a little bit like… a bird in a cage…. lately? 🙂
Like a bird in a cage © Catherine Houston
 
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This pictures can be find more specifically here:
 

The colours of Singapore – Joo Chiat

The colours of Singapore – one of my favorite photography subjects.

It’s funny but from Europe I’ve imagined Singapore as a very modern (which comes in my mind with greyish-glassyish buildings), and while it’s partly true, the Red Little Dot is so much more.

I already talked about all the beautiful green places all around the island, but another charming trait of Singapore is all the traditional colourful Peranakan shophouses all around the city. Who can see them in Little India, Emerald Hill, Chinatown, …, and of course Joo Chiat.

Joo Chiat is a small and charming neighbourhood, toward the east coast, well worth a stroll.

I arrived there early in the morning, and was welcome by singing birds on a balcony.

Joo Chiat © Catherine Houston
Joo Chiat © Catherine Houston

And of course I admire many Peranakan shophouses. All with different facades, all colourful, all full of history and charm. Here is just a few sample.

I stopped a few minutes near a very small temple, between two condos.

 

And like I always do, I enjoyed walking around the back streets, taking pictures of bikes (another ones of my favorites subjects) and hunting colours in every corner.

and hunting colours in every corner.

 

What’s your favourite part of Singapore?

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https://www.mermozinefineart.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MermozinePhotography/

 

 

Flowers of Little India, Singapore.

As you may know by now if you stumbled upon my blog before, I love doing street photography in my free time (I’m not that rich in free time however, which probably explain the lack of regularity in my postings…).

Some of the most colourful streets of Singapore are found in Little India. I organised there a few weeks back a photography walk mostly focused on Tekka market (one of the biggest wet market in Singapore), but a short walk in the neighbouring streets gave me also the opportunity to rediscover some wall paintings, and to pay a closer attention to the flower shops.

The flowers are omnipresent in Little India.

There are sold not only in bouquets for the obvious decorative purpose, but also cut and/or organised for temple offerings. Either way passing through one of the many flower shops in Little India is overwhelming for your senses ( the colours, the smell, textures, …).

One of the many treasures of Singapore.

Bouquet of Flowers in Little India, Singapore.
Little India Flowers © MermozinePhotography
Little India Flowers © MermozinePhotography
Little India Flowers © MermozinePhotography

 

For more images and to purchase prints, please check out my website at: https://www.mermozinefineart.com/

Thank you 🙂

 

Like a Valentine’s Rose…

 

“Mignonne, allons voir si la rose
Qui ce matin avoit desclose
Sa robe de pourpre au Soleil,
A point perdu ceste vesprée
Les plis de sa robe pourprée,
Et son teint au vostre pareil.
Las ! voyez comme en peu d’espace,
Mignonne, elle a dessus la place
Las ! las ses beautez laissé cheoir !
Ô vrayment marastre Nature,
Puis qu’une telle fleur ne dure
Que du matin jusques au soir !
Donc, si vous me croyez, mignonne,
Tandis que vostre âge fleuronne
En sa plus verte nouveauté,
Cueillez, cueillez vostre jeunesse :
Comme à ceste fleur la vieillesse
Fera ternir vostre beauté.”                                   
    – Pierre de Ronsard

Because there is no Valentine’s Day without Roses

Because I can’t think about Roses without remembering the first verses above.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!

(yes ALL of you –  singled or happily married or anything and everything in between, don’t we all need flowers and chocolates at least one day in the year??).

Valentine's Day
Valentine’s Day Ⓒ Catherine Houston

Singapore – a photowalk at the time: Chinatown

 

I started two weeks ago to organise and lead photowalks around Singapore, one per month (well actually two since I do one in French and one in English), each month being in a different part of Singapore.

A photowalk is kind of a photography class but less formal. Mine are 2 hours long, opened to all levels (with any kind of equipment) as we focus more on composition than on technique (although we talk about it too).

In any case the photowalk of January was in Chinatown.

I love this colourful part of the Red Dot. There is great street photography opportunities at every corner with lots of street shops, the market with its fair share of “exotic” food, street art on the walls, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, a mix of tourists and locals.

A street-photographer paradise.

Early in the morning you can photograph the empty streets (yes, even Pagoda Street can be empty!!), the shops opening up as the sun rises high.

A closer look at the shops  gave us a chance to play with composition and colours, to do some fun still-life and close-up shots.

We walked toward the market and stopped at a durian’s shop, because food photography is, for me at least, a huge part of travel photography.

And finally we went to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.

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Chinatown Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Chinatown 2019 Ⓒ Catherine Houston

To see the next Photowalks scheduled (next one will be held in Gardens by the Bay!!) and book your spot and/or to purchase a print, please check out my website: https://www.mermozinefineart.com/.

 

Discovering Singapore: Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru, Singapore, street photography

Hello everyone :-).

I’m excited! I’m motivated! I will go out and shoot more !!!

I don’t know about you but when I know that I’m staying for a while somewhere I get a little “lazy” about visiting my new home. I always tell myself “there is plenty of time for that….”. But  then, before I realise it, several years go by, and it’s time to move again. So this time, I will go around and visit Singapore, one neighbourhood at the time (and yes I hope I’m here for several more years!).

So last week I decided to go for a stroll in Tiong Bahru.

Tiong Bahru is a hipster neighbourhood of Singapore, in the Central region of the city-state island.

This is such a lovely neighbourhood. First of all, it’s extremely peaceful – you have the impression to have been suddenly “teleported” (yes, I’m a little bit of a nerd…) to a little village in the countryside. There are a lot of pedestrian paths, bikes, greenery…

Then you notice the art deco architecture (far from the modern high rises from the downtown area or the high rise HDBs). The buildings are small, with spiral staircases, rounded balconies and storage areas on the ground levels (holding charming old rice cookers and bikes).

The predominant color is white with some touches of green from the vegetation and some amazing wall paintings (art paintings can be found all around Singapore so I will do a different post just on that subject).

And then, maybe because I’m french, I noticed the amazing smell from the bakeries and coffee shops! :-). All of that makes it your perfect neighbourhood for a morning stroll on the week-end (and there is a nice playground just behind the market, which makes it even more perfect if you’re visiting as a family).

PS: By the way, do you know the meaning of “Tiong Bahru”??? Well, according to Wilkipedia it means “New cemetery”…(thióng 塚 – Hokkien for “cemetery”, bahru – Malay for “new”)…you’re welcome :-).

You can see more of my work at www.mermozine.com or by following me on Facebook

You can also contact me by Email if you wish to purchase prints, at Photography@Mermozine.com.

A week ago … in Chinatown …

About a week ago, after days of non-stop rain, I finally managed to step foot (and camera) in Chinatown to photograph the final preparations for the Chinese New Year (“CNY”) Celebrations, a not-to-be missed festive season, right here in Singapore.

As usual, I arrived at Pagoda street “early” in the morning to enjoy the still almost empty streets, and the setting up of the first stalls, witnessing the calm before the storm.

Just an hour later, a mix of tourists and locals – and their cameras and grocery carts – started to fill up this very colourful part of the Red Dot, the former group looking for new experiences (discovering and sometimes tasting exotic food or enjoying a rich cultural experience) and the latter doing some last-minute shopping for CNY celebrations.

 

Suddenly, I saw it … a rooster was getting ready to crow!! 🙂

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cny-2017-7052
CNY2017 © Catherine Houston
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CNY2017 © Catherine Houston

Happy Chinese New Year!!

My Paris (in Black and White)

Paris in Black and White

 

Paris in Black and White
My Paris © Catherine Houston

 

Paris,

Just a name, just a city,

But which has made for a long time such an impression on people, even the ones who just dream about it…

It’s a tourist destination, symbol of romanticism and love.

It’s a concentrated of History, with not only museums but walls, houses, neighbourhoods filled with histories.

It’s a big city hosting millions of people studying, working, living.

For me it was first a big, loud (way too much in the North) city were I spent a summer a long time ago working as a research student in a lab in a well-known hospital. I felt crushed by the city at the time, feeling only the monotonous rythmes “metro-boulot-dodo” (train commute – job – bed time, and repeat).

Then years (a life time??) later I came back and spend a year with my family in the center of the city and I learned to love it. I discovered Paris by foot (I admit sometimes quite painful with a stroller!!).

My Paris, became my paradise for Street Photography.

 

“Orange” – or the Color of Buddhism

Orange is predominant in Buddhism.

From the saffron colour of the monks’ robes (mainly due to the available dye centuries ago ), to the golden of the statues, the yellow and the red of the decorations…

Between the powerful scents of incense and the bouquet of colours chances are that a visit inside a Buddhist Temple  will not leave your senses indifferent.

Buddhism-0035
Orange and Buddhism Ⓒ Catherine Houston
Buddhism-0072
Orange and Buddhism Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Orange and Buddhism Ⓒ Catherine Houston
Buddhism-8078
Orange and Buddhism Ⓒ Catherine Houston
Buddhism-8082
Orange and Buddhism Ⓒ Catherine Houston
Buddhism-8086
Orange and Buddhism Ⓒ Catherine Houston
Buddhism-8099
Orange and Buddhism Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

And yes, I can’t help it, even on a blog post focusing on colours I HAVE to put at least one Black and White ;-).

Chinatown-8093

  • All the pics were taken in Singapore.

Express Road Trip – Bali

Bali…

This short name alone brings dreams to a lot of people.

One may think island, exotic, Asia, flowers, colours, beach, diving, volcanoes, rice fields, yummy food …

The best way to discover this Indonesian island would probably involve staying at least a couple of weeks with a good pair of hiking shoes. Meeting people, discovering villages, hiking in the middle of rice fields away from the tourists’ paths, climbing a volcano, going all the way to the adjacent island of Lombok, scuba diving, …

But what if you had only a handful number of days to spend there? (and/or if like me you were traveling there with 3 little ones!!). Then your best bet is probably to hire a taxi-driver for a day on the road…

Well welcome to my express road-trip to Bali!!

There is a few things that you can expect to see in Bali even on a very short trip:

1- Temples

You are going to see lots of temples and sculptures. Big ones, small ones. You will see some even on the side of the road on your way from the airport to your hotel.

 

2- Offerings and Flowers

Offerings are everywhere: on the side walk, in your hotel, on the beach, and of course in the temples.

Bali temples-5304

Ubud 2015-5088

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

3- Small markets and yummy looking fruits

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

4- Rice fields (within a short driving distance from Ubud)

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

5- Hard working people

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

6- Awesome gas stations

7- Dancers (in Ubud)

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

8- You may even come across a village’s celebration

9- And make sure to relax a little on the beach (a massage?) before catching you plane!

Enjoy!!!