I know this photo looks rather fake and “dramatised”, but really the scene did look rather like this.
Penang is a curious place. Despite being a small island off the Malaysian peninsula, the weather could vary widely, even if you were only a couple of miles away. Here you can see a tropical storm brewing, presumably about to descend on Straits Quay. Sudden storms, with very heavy rain are a feature of Penang life.
Once upon a time, Penang was a hub beween the UK and Hong Kong. During the war, various battles were fought in the Straits of Malacca and later it was a submarine base for the Japanese. These days, the harbour mostly handles cruiseships and ferries carrying holidaymakers to Langkawi (which I will probably write about another time).
When I lived there, once a week, I would try to walk from my home to the ferry terrinal. Some days, it would be fiercely bright, making the sea look a light blue and on other occasions, thick clouds would appear and the sea would take on a greener hue (like here).
Sometimes, when you take a picture you are recording history without knowing it.
In this case, the seafront by Gurney Drive has been drained for development.
When I first came to Penang, walking along Gurney Drive into Georgetown was a favourite Saturday morning thing to do. Early on, it was cool and quiet and I would often see other people starting their day.
I always try to keep a camera with me, so that I can take pictures of things I see everyday. In this case, I was riding the bus into town, when a man sat down infront of me. And he held onto the seat handle in an unusual way, which made me notice his hand. It is what it is. So I took a quick picture.
I used to live in Penang. Street traders are a feature of life there, selling sweets and snacks from the back of a motorcycle. I am told the Roti Man delicacy is an ice-cream sandwich. I wish I had tried it.
Canon EOS 650D and 24mm STM lens. A really good combination for this kind of photography, just right for walking down fairly narrow roads. Nice and sharp into the corners. I did consider posting a black and white conversion, but it felt like I was pushing an “olde worlde” view – which I’m not.
It amazes me how changing a photograph to black and white, can completely change its atmosphere. It was a lovely sunny day, with a blue sky, but here, with the trees cutting the frame into boxes, it feels rather menacing.