Bon Odori 2009 Penang


You know I only go to bon odori for one reason, to indulge myself and hopefully for a brief while, to induced my mind to temporary escape the fact that the body that it is housed in is not trapped in Malaysia; and if that fails there’s always the wonderful joy of taking photos of cute girls in Kimono regardless whether they are real Japanese or local girls.

Although in previous years my attempts have only be medicore but still that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying as I found myself again in Penang last weekend to attend it’s annual Bon odori festival 2009 at Esplanade.

Seriously, I know the image on the left it going to draw a lot of people to click on the “Read more” button for this article. -_-;; Oh well give the people what they want.

This year’s bon odori while filled with the same fun atmosphere as last year’s bon odori, turned out to be the hottest ever as temperature made it hard to enjoy it although it didn’t seem to have reduce the size of the crowd, in fact the crowd was double than what was last year.

I had arrived rought at 6pm to meet up with CrossChannel so we could trade some DVDs and I could look at his Japanese vacation photos.

There were a lot of performances but I didn’t take that many shots mainly because I felt too tired and I wanted to relax and soak in the event rather than treat it like an obligation also the fact I couldn’t find that many cute girls. I’ll be honest here, I’m pretty picky with what I shoot rather than shoot endlessly like everyone else since we’re using D-SLRs.








The first few performances were quite good but for me, nothing was notetable. This trend had dangerously continued mainly because of the heat but around 8:00 pm it was dark and temperature was cooling down. I then decided to take some photos.

Truth be told I was rather feeling down and wasn’t in much of a mood to take photos but still I pressed on so here they are!!!

This would also be the first time I shoot my D700 at ISO between 3200 to 6400 and in some situations at 128,000.

















You may notice that I am not getting any good front profile shots, that is because those on stage would be dancing in a circle which make it difficult from a front shot and even if I do, it wouldn’t be so clear.

One of the few front profile shots I could get of the ladies dancing on the stage.

Yes, you’ve guessed it. This lady was the main target of every photographer there then. As she was the prettiest girl in the outer ring on stage (the stage dancing consist of 2 rings, an inner ring and then an outer rings. Getting shots of the inner ring is rather hard but the outer has less obstacle)


















I never had so much fun shooting at such high ISO levels before! Usually the S5 pro would fall flat on its face.

Although not all my shots were perfect, this is due to the multitude of color lights that were used on stage which made getting the correct balance very hard.

Luckily there is a way to beat this problem although you need to time your shots just right. I determined that when the blue light was shining on the dancers, the white balance would just be right, so I only clicked the shutter whenever the stage light had switched to blue. Although there would be times I would get it wrong but then no one is perfect. Consider that a photographer tip!


This is my fav shot, the lighting is just right, the bokeh is sweet, the look on the girl’s face is just perfect!

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2 thoughts on “Bon Odori 2009 Penang

  1. tired again? whoa.. after gulping like 100 litres of water! hahaha. nway, i also waited for the blue lights to come one den i'll snap coz the red lights reli not nice – like snapping in hell. GREAT JOB on the full body shots..

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