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?

– To purchase images or see more of my work please check out my website and my Facebook Page:

https://www.mermozinefineart.com/

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

 

 

Green green Singapore – Thomson Nature Park

Thomson Nature Park - Singapore

From Europe, my first thoughts of Singapore were of lots of buildings, very high skyscrapers and a modern, urban jungle… for me, a green nature person, the thought of moving there was a little scary.

But just out of the airport, I was relieved to realise how wrong I had been. Yes, there is a lot of urbanisation, but the green is everywhere, and the jungle is far from being only an urban one.

You have giant parks like the Botanical Gardens, Gardens by the Bay and MacRitchie Reservoir, but there are also plenty of smaller ones.

Today, I went for a stroll (literally, since a stroller was involved!) in a newly opened park, Thomson Nature Park, just off of Upper Thomson Road. If you have not discovered it yet, it’s the perfect place for a quiet stroll in nature (we were alone almost the whole time).

To give you a little preview of what to expect there…

– nice clean trails, lots of gorgeous lavish nature,

Thomson Nature Park © Catherine Houston
Thomson Nature Park © Catherine Houston
Thomson Nature Park - Singapore
Thomson Nature Park © Catherine Houston
Thomson Nature Park - Singapore
Thomson Nature Park © Catherine Houston

… monkeys

Thomson Nature Park © Catherine Houston
Thomson Nature Park © Catherine Houston

… “ruins trails” (quite fun for kids)Thomson Nature Park - Singapore

… beware of random falling durians… 🙂

and spoiler alert… quite an handful of hungry mosquitoes (I guess it’s the price to pay to experience a “jungle-like” hike).

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 Bird in Paradise…

“Like a bird in paradise…”
I often go to the Botanic Gardens, here in Singapore.

It’s beautiful.

But most of the time I just go there with a purpose: being on time, meeting with clients, doing a photoshoot, being on time to my next appointment, … I know pretty well the park by now (I still get lost sometimes though ), so I’m on autopilot-photographer-mode, taking my clients to my “usual” places to get the best shots.

 

But once in a while I need to pause, take a deep breath, and really open my eyes to my surroundings… the only way to really appreciate and see the beauty all around…

 

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.

The King of the Market!!

Last week I spent a few days in Bangkok and just had time to wander around a little bit and do some major tourist attractions: mainly The Great Palace, Wat Pho and the Flower market (blog posts coming soon…).

I was exciting about seeing some grilled scorpions, terrified of spotting some grilled giant tarantulas and dreaming about the floating markets…

Unfortunately (except for number 2, for which it was quite a relief…) I did not have enough time to do that, but I still made it to an adjacent small street market.

Bangkok-8351
Bangkok © Catherine Houston

 

Bangkok-8339
Bangkok © Catherine Houston

 

And the obvious King of that market was…. the Red Pepper!!!

red… small… strong…. it was everywhere….

Spicy food anyone ??? 🙂

 

Singapore – Sea Side

This morning I discovered a nice low-key nature reserve park in Singapore .

– The Labrador Park Nature Reserve –

If you’re looking for a nice walk near the seashore, far for the crowd, that would be a good option for you.

 

labrador-park-8145
LabradorPark © Catherine Houston
labrador-park-8143
LabradorPark © Catherine Houston

The park itself is quite small, and to really appreciate it at its best I should probably have been there at sunrise, but it was nonetheless a very pleasant walk on the coast. Easily accessible from LabradorPark MRT station (although finding the way from the station toward the park was trickier than expected… but then again my orientation skills are not very sharp!!), you can then walk you way along the coast toward the Harbourfront MRT station, passing on the way the very nice Keppel Bay area and it’s peaceful marina.

Enjoy your walk  :-).

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!! 🙂

cny-2017-7042cny-2017-7047

cny-2017-7052
CNY2017 © Catherine Houston
cny-2017-6967
CNY2017 © Catherine Houston

Happy Chinese New Year!!

“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
Buddhism-7522
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

Bali-5061
Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

3- Small markets and yummy looking fruits

Bali-5214
Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
Bali-5056
Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

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

Bali-5289
Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
Bali-5275
Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
Bali-5233
Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

5- Hard working people

Bali-5295
Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
Bali-5294b
Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

6- Awesome gas stations

7- Dancers (in Ubud)

Bali-5148
Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
Bali-5122
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!!!