Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Water Creatures

The series of doing outdoor photography continues on. I am not quite done exposing my skin to the harmful sun ray just yet. Being down the whole day, skipping work, and trying to recuperate and recover as much as I can by trapping myself inside the room for the entire day can get really depressing somehow. It was late afternoon, and I was feeling much better already, as I looked to the sky, it was covered with soft white clouds, cooling down the temperature drastically. The strong wind blowing into the windows of my room compelled me to just go out for a walk, and breathe in some polluted city air. That was just what I did precisely.

Obviously I was not leaving Ollie behind. Previously, I have utilized the standard kit lens with the close up filter to squeeze out whatever possible out of the lens + filter combination to obtain some decent macro shots, thus for this time, I was keeping those two equipments untouched in the bag. Instead, for this particular session, I just used the tele-zoom lens for all shots.



The place I was mentioning about was a park, located really close to where I am currently staying. I used to come here for a round of jog or two, after work in the evening until it came to a point that I had to work until ungodly hours that I have decided to stop jogging completely. It is quite impossible to keep up with fitness routines these days, seriously, sitting in front of the computer for the entire day, and coming home feeling completely drained off energy and all lethargic somehow contributed to the ever-expanding tummy of mine. Nevertheless, I do love this park a lot, though it does not have blue waters, or nice hills overlooking breathtaking sceneries.

But it does have a lake. With living things in it. No fishes, none. Just tortoises, lots and lots of them.

For those of you who live in the fairy tales and children bedtime stories telling you that the tortoise is very slow on land, once you have encountered these creatures in this particular park, you will be stunned by how fast they can MOVE. One second you see them laying on the rocks, sun-bathing like nobody's business, as you stepped in closer 5 meters radius from where it was, it would be gone splashing into the waters the next second. I kid you not. They have very fast reaction times. Of course they will never be as fast as rabbits, but they are nowhere as slow as snails either.




And so they all ran away even before I took out my camera and turn it on. Therefore that left me no choice, but to employ the stealth mode. Yeah, stealth like a ninja, I became. I quietly sat my huge heavy ass onto the grass very close to the lake, and positioned myself as I was getting my equipments set up. I believe lowering down the body (angle of view) is an important move in this session, since getting yourself close to the eye level of your subjects can improve your picture compositions dramatically. Hence, I have achieved the first step, and I did it as slow, and as quietly as I could. The next challenge was being as frosty as I could, and avoid any unnecessary sudden movement to startle the sensitive creatures.

It did not take me long remained under the stealth mode, portraying my invisibility aura all around me, before the shy tortoises come out from the water, onto the rocks, and started to pose for my camera. A few minutes more, a few more joined in the fun, and I was happily snapping away. My position was around 2-3 meters away from where the tortoises were, and it was the comfortable working distance with the tele lens being attached on my camera at the moment. Everything was working well.

Until an ant bit my leg and I moved my hand to kill that miserable little monster. There and then, all the tortoises disappeared all at once !! Stupid ant, now I had to redo the whole stealth mode positioning thing again before I am within good shooting distance with the water creatures.




Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

There were times they came really close to me, less than 1.5 meter away from me, and my tele lens could not focus beyond anything closer than 1.5 meters. I hear that tortoises are dangerous, since their jaws are so strong that they could bite off your itchy fingers. That fact aside, seeing them upclose and personal, I do think the tortoises are really cool creatures. The best part of this all, they were out in the open, and not confined in a cage of any sort, and they can move freely as they please.

I was quite proud of the stealth mode that I successfully pulled off. I was so motionless that a dragonfly and a bird came along really close to where I was. Yeah, can't help it, another dragonfly shot, but this one was pink/purple in colour, and by using my telephoto lens, I could throw the entire background completely out of focus. Check out the superbly rendered creamy bokeh, do not underestimate what an Olympus lens can do. And we all know this particular bird, which is very common everywhere in Malaysia, is very sensitive, and would just flew away lightning fast even with a slight movement of your fingers.



Although I was complimenting on the lens, I must say that, I was not entirely satisfied with the coverage. I felt the need for much longer reach, being restricted to only 300mm (in 35mm equivalent field of view, approximately 10 times zoom in normal compact digital camera) it was quite difficult to frame the subjects without startling them by going too close. Any extra zoom power would definitely help to bring me closer without threatening them.

I guess that is all for now folks. I am still not fully recovered from my not-feeling-so-well symptoms, so yeah, I shall save some stories for coming entries. The walk around the park, and the shooting session did wonders in making me feel heaps better.

To all my Muslim friends, and readers, I wish you all Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri !!


  1. the 50mm wont be able to produce those shots lar, they are too far away !!

  2. then get 150mm f/2 or 300 f/2.8..


  3. Wow...

    Wu kui wu kui!!! Why none of those wu kui smile at your lens while you are taking those shots ar..

    Perhaps they did try to smile when you take those shots, just that the smiles are a little slow-moving compare to your shooting.

    That's why it's called "wu kui.." right?

    lol... lame, i know.

  4. mmmmmm...turtle soup...


  5. hey allen,
    u crazy !!!

    hey johnson,
    aaaahaah... maybe they were waiting for some food from me !!! LOL... but all they got was shutter clicks instead.

    hey marcus..
    WTF !! LOL

  6. phew, mos of us got to raise our std of photography to come up to yr level. magnificent

  7. hey bengbeng,
    thanks !! Some of the really good shots are just lucky ones, ahahah..

  8. humble robin.. hehe..
    selamat hari raya.. LOL

  9. hey allen,
    aaaahaah. selamat hari raya !!! I wanna go visiting in kuching lar... miss all the food man...