Friday, June 25, 2010


Hi Everyone

We have moved to a new site Lumière Photographie

What started out on the 2nd of June 2008 as a blog to post some pictures has evolved into a slightly more elegant website. We've also refreshed things a little and called it: Lumière Photographie, paying homage to my love for all things french: film, food, Airbus and my time growing up there (albeit, a short one).

[Ella would add to that list: shopping, pastries, baguettes, crepes and Louboutins and more SHOPPING]

What's in the name?
Lumière = light
Photographie = (pronounced photogra-fee) photography

Who's part of it?
The same crew that brought you "model shoot in Singapore"... yes, alot of guys have asked about that... and wondering how they can tag along to the next model shoot....ahem, you know who you are... I won't name names... "Raymond, don't hide..." oops!! In essence, different name, but same 'gadget-Nikon-Apple-food-travel' loving clowns. We also have the occasional guest shooter and hope that more opportunities will come up for us to share what we do!

What's next?
We're quite excited to be shooting yet another destination wedding. Yup, one in North Sydney. It involves crossing water... that counts right? haha. Just kidding! On a more serious note, we're going to Krabi, Thailand to shoot a wedding. Looking forward to it!!!

Our philosophy remains the same: we shoot cos we like doing what we do (this also means we can explain to our wives why we need to buy the toys we love so much ~ FOR ALL THE GUYS OUT THERE: DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SCREEN TO READ THIS otherwise your wives will know the secret)

To our families, "merci beaucoupe" [thank you] for supporting us and giving us such a rounded upbringing. (I mean this literally: who wants to see a fat and round me, put your hands up or drop me a note!)

To our friends and everyone else, thank you for adding colour to our lives.

I am trying to say something smart to end this, but all I can think of is what APU on The Simpsons would say..."Thank you, come again!"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The gentle giant is married ~ Moey's wedding

By my estimation, Moey is 7ft something... heheh.... ok, maybe not that tall, but Moey's a tall guy. When I met him at Mervat's wedding, he stood head and shoulders above everyone at the reception. No one is taller than Moey... but big as he is, he's a gentle giant. soft spoken, genuine, a good all round guy! Oh, I forgot to mention, Moey's mervat's younger brother :)

Rain was forecast for the whole week leading up to Moey's wedding. I have never shot a wet wedding before. So I was counting on my luck to prevail. Sydney-siders would know that it's been bucketing down non stop for a week straight! I knew that if it rained abit the eve of Moey's wedding that we'd have some pockets of sunshine, awesome blue skies and crazy clouds! And rain it did the night before and the morning of Moey's wedding. Phew!

I was re-acquainted with Mervat's videographer... who is very hands on with what he does. I mean that literally! He would demonstrate what he needs done by pretending to the groom and using the groom as the 'prop'... hilarious! I think the group of bystanders at The Rocks had the most fun with his spontaneous grabbing of the groom and his boys. Both Mindy and I were safe... cos I am part-girl after all. The boys however... sighs, not so. The bride, Khadija couldn't escape... she had to do a sprawl-on-the-bed pose for the camera and even do a cat walk with the bridesmaids... all in good fun!

Oh, I had Mindy with me for this wedding! Mindy was very popular at this wedding... mums, grandma's.... young kids were all calling out for Mindy to help them with a picture.

Everybody, if you need handsome, well chiseled male for modelling, just give Mervat's husband a bell. This man, not only makes a suit look good (rather than the other way around), the camera loves him! Sal's, going to be my Arabic sidekick in the not too distant future :)



Monday, May 10, 2010

La Rochelle ~ Shibuya (Iron Chef Sakai)

Lucky last! La Rochelle was the restaurant we picked to close out our holiday to Japan for this year. Some of us who have watched Iron Chef on TV, enjoy the entertainment of the weekly 'secret ingredient', while some of us mock the english voice overs, while there are others whom I know who follow it religiously. For me, I was always amused by the theatrics that came with each episode, the costume that the Chairman Kaga puts on, the guest judges ranging from food critics to has-been TV starlets. And the iron chefs themselves: The likes of 'sakai' and 'chen'...etc, I thought, were all ficticious, despite their dramatic introductions with each, I was wrong. Turns out those Iron Chefs did have restaurants in real life! I blame my late realisation that wrestling was all staged for my scepticism. Must thank Mally for telling me to check La Rochelle out. I don't know a bigger fan of Sakai than Mally. More of this later.

La Rochelle has 3 locations in Japan. I went to the one in Shibuya.... a location that is always a delight! The famed 'shibuya crossing' where masses of people converge at a busy pedestrian crossing with one common goal: to get to the other side of the road. Oddly enough, when Ella and I were last there, it was considerably less crowded at the crossing. Check the crowd out. Kewpie says hello too!

Before we left the hotel that morning, we made sure to get directions on how to get to the restaurant.
We made note of which subway exit to take and which building to head for... when we got to Shibuya station, that plan didn't quite pan out... but after a few short moments and finding our bearings, we got to La Rochelle right on time for our lunch reservation. Along the way, we probably picked up a dozen packets of promotional tissue. Love it!

We took the lift up to the 32F of the Shibuya Cross Tower. When the lift doors opened, we were immediately greeted by someone from La Rochelle. As we were being ushered to our tables, someone from the reception desk calls out "chotto matte..." ~ I stop and turn... at this time I think to myself, "Oh crap they are going to kick me out cos I am not dressed up to spec....instead, I am greeted by, no, not Chef Sakai, but (who turns out to be their Director of Sales and Marketing) an impeccably dressed gentleman who asks me, "Would you like a private room so that we can set everything up for you and talk you through the menu?" Confused? Well, at the time of making the reservation I informed the restaurant that I was coming from Sydney and wanted to take some pictures during my meal.  My stomach has a quick word to my brain and I politely decline. I explain that I am very happy sitting with everyone else.  I had also decided to leave the scary camera in the hotel and use Ella's camera for today's lunch. It didn't seem right to have them go through all that trouble and for me to whip out a little point and shoot. I was very impressed with their hospitality though.

First impressions of the restaurant: bright and 'quietly' buzzy. Fancy, elegant but no tacky. Not as 'serious' as Joel Robuchon which made me relax a little more (remember my shabby dressing?).... and a great expansive view of the city from level 32. Ooh, Hermes crockery. Nice!

We have a look at the menu and quickly decide to go with the 'Maestro' menu (yes, it's the degustation that offers the most courses) ~ 6 courses including dessert. I won't go into too much detail about the food. Suffice to say, the Japanese maintain a very high standard of french cuisine at all levels. La Rochelle is one example of making french cuisine accessible to everyone without burning a hole in your wallet.

amuse bouche - 9 kinds of small appetisers

sauteed scallop, fish, steak with foie gras and truffle sauce. it is worth mentioning that the foie gras was totally devine. yes. there is alot of chatter about the unethical way in which foie gras comes to the table, but I make no excuse of liking it.

BULL DOG MOMENT: Here's a funny story that happened during service. I have to admit, that it's hard to understand some of the verbal descriptions that come presented with the food. After all, I did mistake "LAMB" for "RUMP" at Joel Robuchon... so I resolved just to smile and nod when  presented with food. I wasn't going to probe and ask if I didn't understand. Anway, we were up to the 'soup of the day'.... the waiter tells us it's "vegetable soup....with BOO DOG" ~ I look up, turn to him and repeat with eye brows raised like a curtain at a concert "BULL DOG??" And the waiter replies, "Hai, hai... bull dog! Chotto, I get pictures to show you" he says. I try very hard not to laugh right away... and as soon as he turned around, I burst out laughing... as quietly as I could... (again, you see why no one asks me out to fancy restaurants? *sighs*)

Soup of the day "vegetable with boo dog"

Dessert came in the form of a wagon which got Ella very excited. We had the choice of 1 of each if we wanted. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so I opted for things which I liked: panacotta, sorbet, green tea pound cake and a lovely jelly. *Click into image to enlarge*

At some point during service, the Director of Sales and Marketing (Chiharu-san) comes over for a chat. We talk about the food and Sakai... he then comes back with a laminated A3 sheet and says to me "I hope you don't mind, this is Sakai's handwritten notes of the menu." I was like "Wow, thank you..." and I bow profusely whilst sitting in my seat (probably should have gotten up to thank him). Chiharu-san goes on to explain that Sakai's in Sydney at the time, checking on produce. He also mentions that Sakai's got a good friend, Chef Harunobo Inukai, who own Blancharu in Elizabeth Bay. We chat some more and Chiharu-san leaves me his business card and even prints out details of Blancharu! Take a guess who was the lucky recipient of Sakai's menu?

Towards the end of dessert, we get given some macarons as well. I am a big fan of them. Am just intrigued by the colours, combinations of fillings and textures that macarons come in. And so I spend the next 30mins just taking pictures of the macarons.... all this while Ella goes "can i eat them yet? can i eat them yet?"

Definitely an enjoyable dining experience! I looked at my watch and we've been here for more than 3 hours, yet it doesn't feel like it. Ella and I walk out of La Rochelle feeling very full and happy. As we descend down in the lift, we debate what we liked in each of the 3 restaurants we tried on this holiday, but we decided in the end (in a very short space of time, with the fast descend down from level 32), each was unique in itself! Doors open: shopping time!

Just for abit of fun: this was the store we visited on our last night in Tokyo! It has 11 floors of shopping. 5 for boys and 5 for girls. There's a half naked buff dude that greets people at the entrance (come on ladies, you know this place). What you see in this picture below is winding stairs from about Level 8 towards the ground. 

If you know the name of this chain store... just leave a blog comment. DOE-MOE-A-REE-GER-TO

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Autumn in the park with Emma

I had the perfect start to the weekend. Caught up with Sam and Matt for a session with their little daughter, Emma. I love weekends... what's not to love when I get to do what I enjoy ~ taking pictures, eating, getting some sun, flying... don't get me wrong, I love weekdays too, cos it's what pays the bills. I am still undecided whether I love Thursday or Friday more ~ Thursdays cos it's one day before the weekend, and Fridays, for the obvious reason. A childhood friend once reminded me that I shouldn't countdown the days in the week, cos it's no different to wishing your life away! She said, "one day you will wish that time stood still"... she is right of cos.

And so after some weeks of planning and one aborted attempt due to Sydney's increasingly weird '4- seasons-in-one-day' weather, we finally got to take some pictures with little Emma. When I met up with Sam, she told me that Emma was a little unsettled. I replied calmly saying, "Don't worry, we'd be ok" ~ and we got thru the morning just in time before Emma decided to call it a day. Phew!

I was going to pass the images to Sam and Matt early next week. BUT, an idiot decided to drive his over-height truck into the M5, causing a complete shut down and ruined my pre-mother's day catch up with mum. Plan B took a very hungry and traffic-jam-weary Ella and I to Nha Tranh, to satisfy our craving for Vietnamese food (deep fried soft shell crabs....yum)... it also gave me the perfect reason to drop the pictures off early!

Here are some pictures and a quick slideshow. And to all the mother's out there, especially mine, Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Malinda & Lan ~ their wedding

I remember the night as though it was just yesterday! No, it's not when I first met Ella, but it was when Mally made the announcement. I was almost ready to go to bed... and my phone buzzes and ooh, message from Mally announcing their engagement!!! I have to admit, I was somewhat emotional when I read the text. Sad huh. And here I am bagging out masterchef contestants for being cry babies! And yes folks, these days everything is done via the mobile! I was so excited I just couldn't hit the right buttons on the phone to type a reply! On ya, Lan! Good proposal and an equally superb ring to match the occasion!

Here's something you might not know. I first met Mally when she was 21. Yeah, a long time ago it seems. She shared a birthday venue with a friend of mine (RayRay de Dog), just because they had mutual friends. Back in those days, Mally was quite funky... not that she's any less funky now of cos. Well, if you were at the wedding, Marissa would have explained it all in detail! "Fly-Girl", yup... that's Mally! It's all true, what Marissa said! Cos I was there and I have pictures to prove it. Don't you just love Mally's shoes for the day!

A quick word about Lan: who incidentally, looked almost as hot as Mally on his wedding day in his Hugo Boss suit and shoes....and that smile! Thanks for turning it on for the camera, Lan...although I do know that your electric smile comes natural to you... gotta give me lessons... cos everyone knows I can't smile to save my life and am contemplating attending night school to "Learn how to smile properly for photos".  Note to all the boys that are planning their wedding: a well fitted suit makes a huge difference! And of cos, if you have the muscles to back it up, that helps too once the suit comes off...see example below :)

The reception was held at Simmer on The Bay. Mally's friend, the lovely Yu-Ching who is happens to be an amazing (professional) chef and well-known Sydney food blogger Lemonpi, deserves a special mention: she baked the wedding cake and also the cupcakes for the guests... massive effort Yu-Ching. You can read all about it here too.

So folks, some of you have waited 9 years for this day... may I present, Mally and Lan....or as I like to call them, 'SchMally & Vin Diesel'.

** link to the Photobooth pictures ** 

Malinda & Lan's wedding ~ a sneak peek

Mally and Lan have been together for awhile now... just a tad close to 9 years AND they finally got married on the 2 May 2010!

For those who are friends with Mally, you would find phrases like "Oh my god... yeah's going off..." which Mally uses alot. And for those who know Lan, you'd prob all know him as a gentle person with a killer smile. I often describe him as the 'asian Vin Diesel'. In Mally eyes, he's the asian Ian Thorpe (more on that when I write up a full account)...funny that, Ian Thorpe announced a possible comeback this morning! I used to call Lan 'muscles'...(no prizes for guessing why). Anyway, it's not fair, cos Lan not only has the muscles, he's also very easy to shoot (as is Mally) and comes from a family where all his siblings are good looking!

Anyways, this is just a short teaser..... I should have more in the next day or so! Well done to Marissa for the co-emceeing of the wedding along with the talented Wayne (you guys should do this professionally) and also to my precious, Ella.

Congratulations again, Mally and Lan!

Monday, April 26, 2010

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (Tokyo)

The last time we were in Tokyo, the fanciest meal was probably sushi at the Tsujiki Fish Markets and
Gonpachi - with thanks to Carrie, who despite a crazy, fully hectic, work schedule,  took time to take us out to sample some of Roppongi's many restaurants. That was quite a delightful experience. Kill Bill fans will immediately recognise the restaurant.

Fast forward some 3 years since our last trip to Japan... amongst some changes: all the kids in our family got married. In this time, I also took up new hobbies: baking, flying, candle making and did more with my passion for photography. Perhaps the most dramatic change taste wise, is that I've gone from disliking sparking water to actually enjoying it ~ it all strangely came together when we spent 4 weeks in Europe last year where I also discovered confit of duck! ooh lah lah!

OK, so this time in Tokyo, having heard so much about the quality of french cuisine in Japan, we knew we had to sample what was on offer. After Iggy's in Singapore, the natural choice was Joel Robuchon's L'Atelier ~ ranked #20 in the Miele Food Guide. Incidentally, it was Joel Robuchon's restaurant of the same name in Hong Kong that knocked Iggy's off the top spot and took top honours for 2009/2010.

So in the lead up to our trip, I made a lunch reservation via email. The staff at L'Atelier were very professional. You could already feel that the experience was going to be something special!

We decided to head to Roppongi Hills for a wander before our lunch time reservation. I love Roppongi Hills. I don't know why exactly, but I just do! 'Midtown' is a very swish mall. I won't call it a shopping centre, but that just doesn't do it justice. It was super cool 3 years ago.... and it's still cool today!

Ella with some cherry blossoms

 Midtown ~ they have a dude that adjust the frequency of the droplets every morning before opening hours

One of the fancy supermarkets in Midtown: Y$85 to A$1 (today's rates)
Melon: A$82
Cherries: A$176
Mango: A$70

more of Midtown

Where's Wally?

Lunch beckons... 2 stops to Ebisu from Roppongi
After a short scenic walk from Ebisu station towards Yebisu Gardens:
The entrance to Joel Robuchon's castle is not up front. I told Ella she needs to say "open sesame"... that didn't work. In the end, we found the entrance and was greeted by someone from the restaurant in typical japanese politeness and ushered to the foyer of the 'castle'. L'Atelier is located on the 2nd level of the castle and a short flight of stairs later reveals the restaurant. 

As we are seated, I note that everyone is impeccably dressed, as is Ella for the occasion (note, I was in my usual, ie, looking like a bum in Japan). When we made the reservation I did make a purposeful mention that I would be taking photographs of our meals, just so they could put me where the 'light' is. However, once we were seated (Ella's bag got a little velvet chair to 'sit on' and my camera too got a little chair), amongst the grandeur of our surroundings, I quickly summised that the dining patrons wouldn't appreciate the shutter of my camera going off. Bugger, I didn't really want to use the point and shoot.

And here it goes. We order the lunch degustation. There were a couple of options, but we chose the one with the most food (hey, don't judge me...I was a fat kid growing up). Apologies for the photos, as it turns out, my point and shoot was flashing "RECHARGE"....oops...I swear it had full bars when I checked in the morning. Ella reminds me at this time that between waking up and getting to L'Atelier that I did my usual... happy snapping!

 amuse bouche ~ grapefruit, champagne, mint jelly


seiche de printempts confite aux aromates avec une salade de haricots vert aux amandes et "espuma" de poivron rouge ~ baby squid marinated with rosemary (ella)

foie gras de canard en duo de boudin noir avec un fondant de abricot (dexter)


 laitue en fin veloute sur un flan trembolant a l'oignon doux ~ cream of lettuce (dexter)
radis noir en bouillon au gingembre, crabe et champignon ~ ginger broth, crab, mushroom, radish (ella)

Funny story: the waiter was trying to explain that for mains we had a choice of fish and meat. After opting for our choice of fish, he went on to explain. For meat: we have "rum" or "beef" - makes sense! For some reason, Ella couldn't make out what the waiter was saying.... I just repeated, "rump, Ella... you know... beef..." OR SO WE THOUGHT! As it turns out, it was lamb, not rump.... Ella and I burst out laughing.... wait till you hear about what went down at Iron Chef Sakai's La Rochelle.


daurade servie avec une creme et huile de citronnelle et des poireaux etuves ~ sea bream with lemongrass (ella). Point and Shoot on last legs. I muster the courage to whip out, a proper camera.

"akaisaki" au bambou et avec une puree de pomme de terre citronnee ~ japanese fish


agneau en cannelloni fondant d'aubergine epice ~ lamb wrapped with eggplant


Pre dessert ~ sorbet to cleanse the palatte

fruits exotiques en gelee de citronnelle et vervine avec une creme vanillee et graines de basillic ~ this is really cool! see the ball that Ella has on her spoon? it's a tiny film of jelly with really intense fruit flavours inside

pomme en fine tarte tiede avec un sorbet au gout d'une tatin ~ mine is not so cool....but still really good

selection of cheese ~ this was Ella's pick

Pre tea / coffee dessert ~ pistachio 'something'...very good!
Inside L'Atelier: sugar, the window, the table setting
the dining room
As we rise from our seats to leave the restaurant, we are escorted from the restaurant, directed to the lift (I wanted to take the stairs, but didn't know how to tell the dude). Our friendly waiter/host person rides the lift with us and as the lift door shuts, the maitre'd bows in thanks and appreciation... very nice! Did you know that in Japan, when a plane starts to taxi off from the parking bay, the ground handlers actually stand together, bow and wave 'goodbye' to the departing plane? We could use some of that friendliness around the world! 

Anyway, we find ourselves back in the foyer area. I collect my 'designer' hoodie. Ahem.... and are handed a goodie bag. We are too polite to look inside, but bow and thank our host.
au revoir, merci beaucoup Joel Robuchon...even though you are never in Tokyo...

It was a lovely experience. Ella and I enjoyed every minute of the 3 hour experience. From the castle, to the service, to the interior decor, the choice of bread (sorry, I didn't do it justice), the cheese wagon and of cos, the various courses that we had.

The stand out has to be Ella's soup, my fish and Ella's dessert ~ those were my all time favourites. Everything else was top notch! I felt more relaxed eating at L'Atelier compared to Iggy's even though the decor was way more formal here than in Iggy's. Service was first class and the food, amazing.