Thursday, February 28, 2013

I Miss My Fisheye

I used to have a Zuiko Digital 8mm F3.5 fisheye lens for my Olympus DSLR, but I decided to sell it off some time ago, due to the lack of usage, and not that much variety of shots I can come up with it. It was a great lens to give that few extra unusual perspective for some shooting conditions, but it rarely worked if too many fisheye effects were presented in a series of photographs. Not using it as often as I liked, I felt that the lens was not worth keeping, and I sold it off to fund other lenses which I did use more frequently, both for my own shutter therapy needs as well as paid assignment/jobs. Nonetheless, I do admit I miss the fisheye lens a lot. 

Recently I had a chance to meet up with a dear friend Ananda, and I saw his newly purchased Samyang 7.5mm Fisheye lens for Micro 4/3 camera. That Samyang Fisheye looks really gorgeous !! It was reasonably priced for rather impressive optical performance it brings, the only drawback was the absence of autofocus, which was not a main issue since wide angle lenses are less demanding when it comes to focusing, even manually. 

Ronnie trying out Ananda's spanking new Samyang Fisheye. 

Now suddenly I wish I still have my old fisheye lens ! Ahhh... we always want what we do not have. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Amber Chia

I remember the moment I just got my Olympus E-520, one of the first few things I shot with it was Amber Chia on a fashion show by Kipling at Mid Valley Center Court. That was in 2008. I used the humble Zuiko Digital 40-150mm F3.5-4.5, shot everything in JPEG at ISO800. She looked stunning on stage. 

They say that what you shoot in the beginning of your photography journey is all rubbish. 

Well, sometimes, we should not listen to everything "they" say. As I looked at the Amber Chia images again, I find myself loving the shots even more now, than years ago when I first shot her. 

All images taken with Olympus DSLR E-520 and ZD 40-150mm F3.5-4.5




Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Morning Walk

Woke up early in the morning, took an early train down to the city center as the sun rose. As I arrived, I walked along the streets already full of people with various activities. Did I have anything specific in mind? Not really, all I wanted to do was click the shutter button, there was that itch you know. With the Sony A350 and the 50mm mounted in hand, I strolled along the familiar streets. I found birds, cats and friendly people. I snapped them all. I then came across a lion dance, and I also took a few photographs. As the morning started to give way to afternoon, I found a nice coffee shop, sat myself down and ordered a nice glass of iced tea. I had a bowl of noodles to kill my hunger from all that walk. 

So what have I done in the morning? I met a few strangers, talked to them, witnessed an enjoyable lion dance performance, saw some really cute cats and actually stopped to play with them for a bit (the cats on the streets are surprisingly friendly) and finally had something to eat. Somehow, photography was not even the priority, but the camera kept clicking of course, and this is what I call, shutter therapy. It is not just taking photographs, you have to be out there enjoying yourself, immersing yourself into your surroundings and blend in. Take part. And connect !!

All images were taken with Sony A350 and DT 50mm F1.8 lens

Feeding time

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Street Photo in Local Magazine

If you by any chance stop by a magazine rack somewhere, and if you do find an Advanced Images magazine Feb/Mar 2013 Issue 65, do turn to page 72 & 73 !! One of my street photos I have taken last year in Chow Kit was featured, in two page spread. 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

I'm Back !!

I have just landed in Kuala Lumpur LCC Terminal about a few hours ago on an evening flight out from Kuching, my hometown. Finally, my beautiful, peaceful, lazy, blissful holidays have come to an end, and time to gear up and come to face reality. That also means, I am finally back to my main workstation with proper PC and a reliable LCD monitor to work with, and boy, how I survived over a week with merely that horrible Android tablet and just PEN... was beyond me. Priority: travel light, worry about everything else later. 

It has been a blast, catching up with family, relatives and friends. I think I ate more food than I should, but to be fair those were really great food. Throughout my time in Kuching, I did bring my PEN and the CCTV lens everywhere I went to. Whenever something caught my attention, I did snap a photo or two. Whenever that CCTV lens was not wide enough (at 25mm) I would whip out my HTC phone, and it covered all my wide angle needs. Under good lighting condition, which was usually the harsh, tropical Malaysian sun, the phone did rather acceptably well. 

All images were taken with Olympus PEN E-PL1 and CCTV lens 25mm F1.2, or the HTC One V's camera.

Astana

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hometown Shuttter Therapy

I was catching up with old college mates, that we suddenly decided to shoot on Kuching streets. Trust me when I say it was not me who came up with the idea this time, but when such nice idea was mentioned, how can I resist?

Only having the Olympus PEN E-PL1 and CCTV Lens 25mm F1.2 did not stop me from attacking Kuching streets. I shot everything in JPEG, with aspect ratio of 16:9, just for the fun of it. All images were processed in my China no brand cheapo Android Tablet with a lousy screen display, hence the exposure balance may appear inconsistent and unreliable.

Breakfast was none other than Laksa. We strolled along Carpenter Street, Open Air Market area, Gambir Street, Main Bazaar and the Waterfront.

Here are the photos !!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sarawakian Delight

Gong Xi Fa Cai, and Happy Chinese New Year to all you beautiful readers who celebrate !! May you all have a joyous celebration and a wonderful, prosperous and blessed year ahead.

I have been rather busy myself, hence the lack of updates here. For the first 2 days of Chinese New Year celebrations, much time was spent visiting close relatives. I also made sure I spent as much time as I can with beloved mum, and I did take some time showing her some of my street photographs. Her reaction was simple and direct, she asked a question: "So... you went up to a perfect stranger and took their photographs... and they did not mind at all?" Ahhhh... then the conversation started and she learned a thing or two about my not so secret activities in the weekends.

One of the many joys of being back in my hometown Kuching is of course the plentiful local dishes that are only available here. The one favourite dish I must have is none other than the famous Sarawak Kolo Mee. Joining me for supper was Frederick.

Sarawak Kolo Mee is yellow noodles served dry with oil base made of pork lard, onion, garlic and vinegar. It is accompanied with strips of char siew (BBQ pork) and 'bak cho' (minced meat). One of the must have Sarawakian food, I must say. To wash the noodles down, a glass of Teh C Peng was perfect.

Oh, and that CCTV lens 25mm F1.2 on E-PL1 did well in shooting food!! I have Libby to thank for this.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Sampan

Kuching (main city in Sarawak) is my beloved hometown, and the small city center is situated just by the magnificent Sarawak River. Local folks use Sampan (motorized small boats) as their main means of transportation across the river. The river separates the city from the residential villages.

I had my Olympus E-PL1 and the CCTV lens, but as I saw the beautiful cloud formation in the sky, I knew I needed a wide angle lens and the 25mm coverage was not good enough. What did I do? There was another camera with me of course, and it was the humble smartphone HTC One V. The camera has a 28mm lens, which was just nice for this scene.


Friday, February 08, 2013

The Sarawakian Breakfast

Rising up early to a rainy morning, nothing beats a hot bowl of Sarawak Laksa,  rice vermicilli with the prawn based thick soup served alongside shredded chicken and fresh, really, really fresh steamed prawns. In the company of great friends, this is the best breakfast any Sarawakian would ever have. Joining me were Akiraceo and Pekchekkia, both rather well established Malaysian comic bloggers.

The Sarawak Laksa

Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Alternative Blogging Workflow

I have just arrived in my hometown, Kuching this morning, and I brought very little with me this time. For photography gear I only have the Olympus PEN E-PL1 and CCTV lens 25mm F1.2, and instead of lugging the old, dying laptop, I brought along the mere China brand al-cheapo Android based tablet that any Ipad users think of it as nothing better than a paperweight. I have also stated that my blogging activities will slow down significantly for the coming one or two weeks, as I intend to spend most of my time with family. If you know me well, my fingers do get itchy and when they do, photographs happen. I found an interesting way to blog through that Android tablet.


My workflow that I shall use for my holidays in Kuching:
1) Photographs were taken with the Olympus PEN E-PL1 and CCTV lens 25mm F1.2, all in JPEG for simplicity sake.
2) Photographs were transferred to the Android Tablet via camera's original USB cable, adapted to the mini-USB port by a converter. 
3) Snapseed and PhotoEditor were used to process the JPEG files if necessary, and subsequently resized for blog use. 
4) Blogger App was used to compose the blog writing as well as uploading the selected images



Small things that make life easier:
1) That physical keyboard helps a great deal in long typing!
2) For Internet connection, I used my HTC phone as a "Wi-Fi Hotspot", thus the tablet connects to the Internet via my phone.
3) The free mini speakers  that came along were actually not bad !!
4) Everything is so small and light !!



Some problems/foreseen issues:
1) The display of my cheap Android tablet is only 9 inch, hence limiting flexibility and speed. I will surely miss the comfort and ease of my usual workstation
2) The display of the tablet is not consistent with my PC monitor or laptop. I cannot verify the final image output, hence the color accuracy, exposure balance may be inconsistent, and "OFF" from my usual style and presentation.


My humble blogging machine for now

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Chinese New Year Holidays

I shall be flying home to Kuching, my beloved hometown in a day's time for my long holiday in conjunction with the coming Chinese New Year (also known as the Lunar New Year) celebrations. I fully intend to spend as much time as possible with families, close relatives and friends during my time there. Therefore, this blog will be rather inactive for one or two weeks from now. For the first time, I have also decided to leave my dying laptop behind and just make do with a China branded al-cheapo Android based tablet PC for my Internet needs. 

Live performance at Tom, Dick & Harry's


Who knows, if my fingers get unforgiving itchy I shall bring out the camera for short shutter therapy sessions, and find a way to blog through the Android tablet. Even so, the updates here will be sporadic. Hey, cut me some slack, I have been well disciplined in keeping my blog alive and frequently updated with new photographs for more than half a year since my last long break. Trust me, when I return from my break, I will be recharged and refreshed, and I shall run this blog in full swing.

I look forward to this 2013 Chinese New Year celebrations, as I will be united with some friends and relatives that have been away for quite some time. Plenty of catching up to do. And I have not even bought a present for dearest mum yet. So much to do, so little time left. And yes, I am getting very, very efficient at last minute packing. 

Until then, feel free to browse through the links connections I have included at my sidebar, some are friends who shoot regularly with me, and some are inspirations from real great photographers I have found online.

I will return !!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Reasons Why I Love the 50mm Equivalent Lens

Within a month since I purchased the Sony A350 alongside two lenses that came with the package I was offered, 18-70mm and 50mm F1.8, I have acquired an additional lens which was the 35mm F1.8. I knew that I would not be happy with the kit lens alone, knowing the old Sony 18-70mm was probably one of the lesser preferred kit lenses in the market. While I adore the 50mm F1.8, at that focal length being used on an APS-C sensor, I found myself needed something wider in some occasions. The Sony 35mm F1.8 was cheap, and very, very versatile for my street shooting needs. In this blog entry I shall describe how the 35mm F1.8 has become my favourite focal length, providing an equivalent 52.5mm (for goodness' sake Robin forget the number accuracy and just stick with 50mm) which has been proven in photography history to be one of the most popularly used focal lengths of all time. 

All images in this entry were taken with Sony Alpha A350 and DT 35mm F1.8 lens

Religious

Friday, February 01, 2013

Some Mobile Phone Stuff

I should be shooting more with my mobile phone, the HTC One V. It does not have the best camera in its class, but it is still a camera, and it does its job when it counts. Here are some random shots I have taken earlier today, when I was strolling around KLCC and KL Pavilion area. 

All images were taken with HTC One V's camera.

This shot was taken during my outing with friends last Thaipusam (Sunday). I was supposed to include this in my Thaipusam post but I forgot. As I ran through my phone storage I found this, I thought it was quite interesting seeing how everyone has different choice when it comes to gear.