Gawai Festival with Ricoh GXR & Sigma Lenses.

Gawai Festival or Harvest Festival is celebrated by the Dayaks tribes of East Malaysia. During Gawai, every household prepares a feast and open their doors to anyone who might visit – yes, anyone – even strangers. This is the spirit of Gawai & sharing of harvest. Do read up more on Gawai on Wiki. Today, I am not exactly sharing about Gawai, but a project commissioned by APDS, the Singapore’s appointed Ricoh-Sigma distributor. Instead of lugging our DSLRs to Kuching, Sarawak at East Malaysia on Borneo island for Gawai, I have with me a Ricoh GXR with GR A12 50mm F2.5 Macro & GR A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5 while Ling were issued with Sony-Mount Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG Macro & Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG APO Macro to be used with her Sony Alpha A850 DSLR.

Playing Host to us was none other than Sheladina Joseph, an acclaimed travel photographer whom we had previously featured on this site. She has Dayak blood in her as her Dad is Indian & her mum a Dayak. So naturally, she celebrates the Gawai Festival and this time, have us in tailing along.


Ricoh GXR with GR A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5

Flying over Borneo prior to landing, I decided to take out the GXR and try out the camera. I meddle a bit with the settings and I can easily find what I need easily (shutter speed, aperture control & ISO menu) and I started shooting what’s outside the plane window. The GXR’s colors amazed me. Although I will not call it “rich colors” like how I would describe other cameras, I will describe it as well sorted as from what I can see on the LCD screen on the GXR, the colors are pretty accurate to my eyes saw and the metering of the camera is comparable to most DSLRs of today.


Ricoh GXR with GR A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5


Ricoh GXR with GR A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5


Ricoh GXR with GR A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5

Satisfied, I kept the cam and started thinking what I can do with the GXR for this trip. Then I decided that I shall use it as an “everyday snap shot camera” and see what will be the photos that I might possibly get, while Ling already has this very same plan in her mind.

After we landed at Kuching International Airport, the journey to Gawai Festival begins for us. We drove to the Dayak villages, where Gawai Festival is celebrated in an elaborated fashion.


Ricoh GXR with GR A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5


Ricoh GXR with  GR A12 50mm F2.5 Macro

Food greeted us everywhere we went. Gawai Festival is Harvest Festival, as mentioned in the intro, everyone is free to enter any house and every house welcomes everyone, anyone to enter and to feast on the delicious delicacies. A celebration of abundance, I was told by our host Sheladina that usually everyone starts eating from house to house, and at every house you enter, you have to honor the host by eating what was prepared for the guest. Sounds really good isn’t?


Sony A850 with Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG Macro


Sony A850 with Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG Macro


Sony A850 with Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG Macro


Sony A850 with Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG Macro


Ricoh GXR with  GR A12 50mm F2.5 Macro


Ricoh GXR with  GR A12 50mm F2.5 Macro


Ricoh GXR with  GR A12 50mm F2.5 Macro


Ricoh GXR with  GR A12 50mm F2.5 Macro

After all that eating, we decided to explore the surroundings of the houses and we found a vast variety of flowers and trees growing in full bloom. So there goes our shutters again.


Ricoh GXR with  GR A12 50mm F2.5 Macro


Ricoh GXR with  GR A12 50mm F2.5 Macro


Ricoh GXR with  GR A12 50mm F2.5 Macro


Ricoh GXR with  GR A12 50mm F2.5 Macro

We ended the day after eating at 4 houses and we decided that we have had enough. More senseless eating will end the trip earlier than expected. So we call it a day – for the day.

Next day, we had a chance to drive around and our host Sheladina’s Dad, Uncle Joseph brought us out for a little drive before hitting the supermarket as we had planned to BBQ at Sheladina’s house the same night. We stopped over at a Chinese Temple.


Ricoh GXR with GR A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5


Ricoh GXR with GR A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5


Sony A850 with Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG Macro


Sony A850 with Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG Macro


Sony A850 with Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG Macro

Shortly after, we left the temple and picked up everything that we need for the BBQ and headed back to Sheladina’s house to prepare the food for the night. As expected, we ate ourselves silly and after flushing down with enough Moscato & Grills, we hit the bed.


Sony A850 with Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG APO Macro


Sony A850 with Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG APO Macro

The next day – also the last day of this short trip, we went to a local food joint for (yes –another) lunch. Food seems to thrill us every time, anywhere. Lunch was simple affair with local favorites and certainly enjoyable. Like all good times that comes to an abrupt end, after lunch, and reluctantly, we headed back to the airport for our return flight to Singapore.


Sony A850 with Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG Macro


Ricoh GXR with  GR A12 50mm F2.5 Macro

We had experienced Gawai Festival & the Dayaks’ hospitality, food & culture, took a deserving break from our daily mambo jumbo at Kuching, Sarawak. Tested some really great photography gears and learn a lot for this trip.


Ricoh GXR with GR A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5


Ricoh GXR with GR A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5

Thank you Sheladina, Uncle & Auntie for making this trip possible.
Thank you APDS Singapore (Sigma Ricoh Singapore) for sponsoring the Ricoh GXR, GR Lenses & Sigma Lenses.

To view the Full Album produced by Ricoh GXR for this trip, please visit link.
To view the Full Album produced by the Sigma Lenses for this trip, please visit link

Here’s some behind the scene photos for your enjoyment.

About Editor AL

About The Web Editor: http://about.me/shutterjourney
This entry was posted in Brand: Others (Cosina, Carl Zeiss, Leica, Mamiya, Samyang, Vivitar, Zenitar,etc), Brand: Sigma, Brand: Sony, Group Test & Reviews, Photography Articles & Videos, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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