1. I spent the last weekend on the stunning island of Cunda, which is part of Ayvalik on the Mediterranean coast a few hours south of Istanbul. 

  2. Breathtaking in its literal sense is the best way to describe the moment of entering the Sultanamet Mosque. As monumental as the exterior is, nothing prepares you for the vastness of open space inside, with a central floor free of columns. Not only is the size impressive, but the spectacular detail of the decoration overwhelms the eye.

    A thick padded carpet hushes sounds that I have now become so accustomed to hearing in the big city. As I stood in awe of this sacred place, I watched as one young boy approached the centre of the Mosque to kneel and pray.

  3. First glimpse // Istanbul

    I’ve arrived back to the city of Istanbul, this time with sufficient time to explore and take in the sights and sounds. When I was last here in 2009, I had rushed through only a few highlights of a city filled to the brim with cultural treasures. 

    I am staying in a neighborhood called Beyoğlu, a district on the European side that is often considered to be the heart of the city. Its architecture, like many grand European cities, is dominated by beautiful beaux-arts buildings, built along winding medieval roads.

  4. Birds on a wire.

    Vancouver, 2014

    instagram:ernest_hon

  5. I took these photos around Christmas time 2009 in Montreal, and had a fun trek in the Old Port experimenting with cutout masks in front of my lens for these fun bokeh photos of Christmas lights. 
Merry Christmas! I took these photos around Christmas time 2009 in Montreal, and had a fun trek in the Old Port experimenting with cutout masks in front of my lens for these fun bokeh photos of Christmas lights. 
Merry Christmas!
    I took these photos around Christmas time 2009 in Montreal, and had a fun trek in the Old Port experimenting with cutout masks in front of my lens for these fun bokeh photos of Christmas lights. 
Merry Christmas! I took these photos around Christmas time 2009 in Montreal, and had a fun trek in the Old Port experimenting with cutout masks in front of my lens for these fun bokeh photos of Christmas lights. 
Merry Christmas!
    I took these photos around Christmas time 2009 in Montreal, and had a fun trek in the Old Port experimenting with cutout masks in front of my lens for these fun bokeh photos of Christmas lights. 
Merry Christmas! I took these photos around Christmas time 2009 in Montreal, and had a fun trek in the Old Port experimenting with cutout masks in front of my lens for these fun bokeh photos of Christmas lights. 
Merry Christmas!
    I took these photos around Christmas time 2009 in Montreal, and had a fun trek in the Old Port experimenting with cutout masks in front of my lens for these fun bokeh photos of Christmas lights. 
Merry Christmas! I took these photos around Christmas time 2009 in Montreal, and had a fun trek in the Old Port experimenting with cutout masks in front of my lens for these fun bokeh photos of Christmas lights. 
Merry Christmas!

    I took these photos around Christmas time 2009 in Montreal, and had a fun trek in the Old Port experimenting with cutout masks in front of my lens for these fun bokeh photos of Christmas lights. 

    Merry Christmas!

  6. Fresh snow.

  7. Got these classic brown Alden Indys during a Black Friday sale. Can’t wait to beat these up trekking in the mountains this winter.

  8. Wool camp blankets made in Canada by MacAusland’s Woolen Mills

  9. This week has been terrifyingly cold in Western Canada as a mass of frigid air descended from the arctic. With temperatures below -30°C, the landscape was truly a winter wonderland when the rivers and creeks began to steam as they froze.

  10. Vintage dive watch - Tudor Submariner

    After keeping my eyes open for one of these over the past year, I finally found one that I really liked at a decent price and went for it. Asking prices of vintage watches have been steadily climbing over the past few years, and especially so for vintage Tudors. In the last 12 months alone, average prices have increased by some 30-40% as the brand has been making a resurgence in popularity, coinciding with its return to the American retail market. 

    I recently wrote a post about the Tudor Pelagos, a recently released watch that has great dive features and dial/hand that I so dearly love. These hands took inspiration from this version of the Tudor Submariner, known popularly as the “Snowflake”.

    This Tudor snowflake Submariner has a wonderful set of patinated hand and dial, highly sought-after amongst vintage Rolex cognoscenti. Somehow over the past year or two the watch world has gone nuts for “tropical” dials, where the luminous indicators would go yellow over the decades and the dial develop a rusty brown tone. Perhaps it serves as a badge of authenticity and a declaration of how rugged the wearer is. I find that the patina on the hands and the super dome acrylic crystal on this watch gives it a delightful warm feeling that only vintage Rolex/Tudors have. I put the watch on a tricot NATO strap… perfect watch for the (next) summer.

  11. Sony A7R

    My camera finally arrived last friday. I put an order in a month or two ago, as this camera has gotten me more excited than any in the past few years. I’ve been in the Canon ecosystem for the past 5 years, mostly because of its somewhat-wide adaptability of non-native mount lenses - especially Contax, of which I have several. However, while I was quite pleased with the image quality of the Canon 5D, 5Dii, and 6D that I’ve owned, I was never really that happy about the handling of those cameras. They were all too bulky, too heavy, and I felt that they distanced me from the photos I took. 

    The Sony A7R is exciting because its tiny and it’s full frame with a 36 megapixel sensor. What’s more is that the lens mount is very close to the sensor, opening up opportunities to use a myriad of lenses, including the Leica M-mount. The Leica M9 was the first non-SLR full frame, but after using one, I’ve realized that Leica has never really been able to catch up on the technology game that Sony, Nikon, and Canon really excel at. I’m finally ready for some of the innovations such as live-view, focus-peaking, and a more sophisticated metering system than the Leica M’s can offer (at 1/3 the price).

    After playing around with it for a weekend, I am quite pleased with the handling and feel of the camera. It doesn’t feel as solid or well-crafted as the Leica, but certainly better than the Canons and Nikons that I’ve used. A Voigtlander M-mount to E-mount adapter has allowed me to use it with a Leica 50mm Summicron and 35mm Summicron ASPH. Both feel at home on the camera in terms of size and balance. The front and rear dials are intuitive and ergonomically placed, and the grip is compact but comfortable. I find that the menu and video buttons somewhat awkwardly placed, but otherwise the layout of the back is easy to use. I really like having the convenience of the exposure compensation dial on the top plate, as I find it very useful with adapted lenses. I think the camera would be improved with a touch screen, which would probably be useful for setting a focus point (which could be anywhere on the frame as it uses contrast-focusing technology) or to set live-view magnification to assist with manual focusing. I’ve programmed the C1 customizable button next to the shutter as a focus magnifier so that I can reliably use manual focus lenses. One other thing that would be nice would be a way to turn off the back screen completely when using the camera, such that only the EVF is active.

    With 36 megapixels of resolution, I’m excited to see what the M-mount lenses that I have are capable of. The native lens lineup is short at the moment, though I’m looking forward on getting a Zeiss 24-70/4 Vario-Tessar which would be an extremely versatile lens that would be great for traveling. The Voigtlander 28/3.5 has a bit of red fringing, and the Voightlander 15/4.5 has heavy fringing, vignetting, and blurring in the corners. Hopefully the next lens that Sony announces would be a wide angle prime to fill in this gap in its lineup.

  12. Spicy, cozy, winter Laksa.

    While I was in Vancouver last week a dear friend of mine brought me to her favorite Malaysian restaurant in the city for a quick dinner. Luckily she ordered for me a Laksa, which is a well known Malaysian dish of rice noodles and a creamy coconut milk soup. After I got home, I just had to try and make it myself; the spicy and fragrant broth is the perfect thing to chase away the winter blues. 

    Though lacking exotic fresh ingredients or Laksa paste, I knew I could try to improvise. In a mortar and pestle, I mashed up some garlic, ginger, and a few chili peppers. In a pan, I fried it with diced chicken thigh which would be the primary protein in my meal. Then I mixed in a spoonful of curry powder, tom yum paste, diced onion, sriracha, and a can of coconut milk and let simmer until the flavors were melded and onions soft. I then watered the soup down to the right consistency and added fish sauce to the right level of saltiness. Finally, I added the broth on top of the cooked the rice noodles, then garnished with bean sprouts, fresh lime, mint leaves, cilantro, and cooked shrimp.

    yum!

  13. Dreamscapes. - Vancouver, November 2013.

    I spent a lovely and warm(ish) week in Vancouver and captured this shot from the Seawall in Stanley park using my phone.

  14. Succulents - 

    Seems like succulents are some of the most popular plants this year, as I’ve been seeing them all over the place, in magazines, in hotels. I got on the bandwagon and potted myself a set (along with a cactus set and a orchid) in a couple of these clean-lined glass vases from IKEA. I now see the attraction of planting a succulent… they are some of the hardiest plants that require watering only every 2-3 weeks. Most of them are desert plants and have thick and juicy leaves and stems. They are an easy way to add foliage for those without green thumbs!

  15. Just 15 minutes up a winding road from famous and always-busy Lake Louise is Moraine Lake. There is a small summertime lodge at one end of the lake and a very pleasant walking trail that winds around to the other end, usual completely devoid of tourist activity. It’s a delightful place to find solitude, as well as being a great place for a lake-side picnic on a warm day. An interesting fact about the lakes in the Rockies is that each lake has its own unique shade and intensity, varying from deep emerald green to bright turquoise blue. Depending on the geology and the source of the glacial meltwater, each of these lakes are fed with a varying amount of, fineness of, and type of rock powder which gives the water a distinct milky look and color.