I woke up to yet another day of fine weathered morning on Sunday, and I decided that I have not had enough of outdoor shooting yet, since the previous attempt unexpectedly turned out to be shooting through the glass indoor. No I do not love the UV radiation that much, but there is a thrill in being out there in the open, and feel the extremely polluted air of Kuala Lumpur filling up the lungs. Yeah it is fun, no?
I flew to the tourist hotspot right in the city, where the bird park, butterfly park, the orchid garden, the national monument and the orchid garden were concentrated at. Of all the places, there was one that I have deliberately missed out all these while, the hibiscus garden, for apparent reasons. How interesting can hibiscus possibly be, right? I am not exactly a nature loving guy, that would be so gay, heck, I would pour concrete all over the yard in my future home to save the costs and trouble of garden maintenance. Or even better, stay in an apartment. But stopping, and taking your time to truly look at them can bring out the wonder of creations.
By the way Yiaw Wei can have his share of laughing back at me now, since I repetitively made fun of him shooting hibiscus pictures not too long ago. Yeah, I bet he would be happy and proud of me for shooting macro photos.
First time stepping into the garden, I was not expecting much from the lame hibiscus flowers. However, the whole place was a lot larger than I have imagined. Though the varieties of hibiscus and other plants exhibited there under the bright torturing sun were rather few, but the amount of all of them together in that garden was.. enormous. Exploring further and further into the huge garden, I finally discovered something that made myself look plain silly. At one corner of the garden, I found an exit, or rather, a connecting entrance to the Orchid Garden that I have visited previously !! I felt really cheated, there were no signs indicating that both the Orchid garden and the Hibiscus Garden were joined together, and accessible from both ends. Should I have known this fact earlier, I would have covered both places during the previous visit.
As mentioned earlier, there were not that many varieties, you get mostly the stereotypical looking hibiscus plants, the ones that you are very likely to come across standing next to the trash bin along the roadside. They come in varying colours, nothing overly interesting, even insects seemed to have deserted the flowers on this particular afternoon. Probably the insecticide applied to the plants was too strong that none would dare to go near the flowers.
I tried to shoot the flowers in macro, and failed miserably without a macro lens. I suppose the reason for this would be the inability to attain the sufficient magnification factor for true macro photography. I utilised both the standard zoom lens, and telephoto lens, and even adapted a close-up +4 filter, but the results did not turn out as what I have had in mind. I dare say that the previous lens that I have lost, the pancake lens, could do a much better job handling close distance photography, with better control over the depth of field too.
The best part of shooting still subjects would be the joy of taking the sweet time playing around with the manual focus. Throw in the full time live view function previewed on a large LCD screen, with full coverage of the photo-frame, I can adjust the focus as freely as I wanted, unless the flower grew a pair of wings and flew away from me. Not that the autofocus is not reliable, it is, but fine tuning them would allow you to specifically target the exact area you want to pin-point in those picture, providing a completely different emphasis on the subject. If you think you can shoot pictures without the aid of Live View, think again. Once you have experienced the potential and possibilities it opens up for you, you may just start to look at it as a necessity.
A LITTLE DUDE
(I have read somewhere that manual focusing is not available for the Live View function in current Sony DSLR models, is this true?)
Now, if someone could kindly donate me a macro lens I would be a happier Robin. Right, I can dream sometimes.