21 March 2017 – It was the sight of the lone palm tree that drew me in from a distance…
Photographing a sunrise at Batu Ferringhi on the island of Penang has long been on my wish list of things to do, so I was very thankful for the recent opportunity to revisit the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ (as the island is sometimes known) – although for this particular trip photography was very much a low priority, with family matters as well as our planned excursions to sample the city’s local cuisine taking higher precedence.
I did however have time one afternoon for a drive out west from George Town along the narrow, winding main road to Batu Ferringhi. While on the drive, the many beaches along the coast were a constant distraction, all looking like potential spots for a sunrise/sunset shoot.
Stopping the car at a random location, I decided to head out to do a little scouting. There were many rocks dotted along this section of the beach, though my eyes were soon drawn to the sight of a palm tree in the distance (photo above). Making my way to the tree, I passed by a large rock with a painting of the Malaysian flag, which I figured would make for an interesting subject to photograph.
The test shots from this location however all turned out a little flat due to the heavily overcast day, as can be seen in the long exposure below.
Having to leave before sunset, I decided to file this under ‘potential sunrise spot’, with the hope of returning the following morning. The reality though was that it was to be my last day in Penang, and would have to come down to a choice between this location and my original plan to shoot the clan jetties in George Town.
It was a last minute decision, but I found myself returning west to Batu Ferringhi the next morning. Thankfully, the start of the day was blessed with better light, giving some much needed depth to the photo above of the painted batu (‘batu’ meaning rock in Malay).
After the shoot had ended, I made a quick stop at the Floating Mosque a short distance away. To the left of the mosque were some fishing boats; being so early in the morning and with not too many people around (save for the caretaker in the pictures below) there was quite a sense of peace and serenity, so I spent a little time just taking it all in.