Ralf Touby, originally from Germany, has lived in Penang for nearly eight years with his wife,Yvonne, and their four children. His day job is as Asia Pacific General Manger for a German Company,Vötsch, who make environmental test chambers. But his passion is making movies. One day he had a brainwave, what about putting a camera on a drone helicopter, or flycam, and taking pictures above Penang? Then he could combine flying and fi lmmaking.
“My first attempts with a quadracopter weren’t completely successful. Actually I crashed the machine twice, he says ruefully. “But then I invested in a more sophisticated machine, with eight revolving blades, an octocopter, which is much easier to fly and will go exactly where I tell it. It can hover and follow a course I set with GPS. I control the flycam from the ground and have produced several films which are available on YouTube.
Despite a pretty full professional schedule, Ralf is available for making the odd film to order (contact him on [email protected] for more details) but his main motivation is his love of Penang. “It’s a great place to live, it’s relaxed, and easy-going and the people are so genuinely friendly, he says. “I lived in Singapore for five years before coming here, but it felt artificial compared with Penang.
Kek Lok See
The Buddhist temple at Ayer Itam has been a popular Penang icon since it was built in the early years of the last century. It is actually still being built. Ralf s images capture the natural setting and the drama of the many buildings that make up the temple.
The great statue of the Goddess of Mercy towers above the temple complex.
During Chinese New Year the temple is lit up with a million twinkling lights.
George Town from the Air
This is George Town as only the birds see it. In the foreground are the streets of shop houses and in background, the landmark KOMTAR, which houses government offices above the slightly antiquated Prangin shopping mall. In the far distance, you can see the hills of Penang.
Mosques and Minarets
The Floating Mosque in Tanjong Bunga doesn’t actually float on the sea but it is in fact supported by stilts driven into the sandy beach.
The Kapitan Keling Mosque was built in the 19th century by Indian Muslim traders in Pitt Street (now Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling). The arched octagon under the dome of the minaret was where the muezzin would call the faithful to prayer.
Named for Sri Henry Gurney, the British governor who was assassinated on the road to Fraser’s Hill during the Emergency of the 1950’s, Gurney Drive has gone through several transformations. Once a sleepy seaside road with pleasant villas situated on it, it is now home to a large shopping mall, Gurney Plaza, and the soon to be opened new Gurney Paragon.
The seagull sculptures which adorn the Gurney Drive Roundabout look quite different from the air than they do from the ground!
Source: Penang International April 2013 – May 2013
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