Monday, November 24, 2008

Chasing Butterflies in Malacca

Bright and early Saturday morning, under the superbly clear blue skies of Malacca....

I regretted big time for not carrying my standard zoom lens with the circular polarizer with me on this particular trip. Every single time I ran away to Malacca, the sky would be freakingly white and blanketed with uninteresting thick murky clouds, casting a soft light over the scenery, taunting my landscape shots. I have a huge thing for landscape, though I am nowhere near good at it now, but there is just something about capturing something far away out there that soothes the soul. Honestly, landscape photography is a real challenge, and I am more than willing to take on it.

Alas, I only had my pancake (25mm, or 50mm in 35mm format equivalent field of view) and with the limited wideness of the lens, I tried my best to produce what I could with such a rare, and beautiful weather throughout the day !!

The clear dramatic blue sky somehow brought out the outstanding colours of red and green prominently across the frame. Placing the redness of the old building, the green of the background hill, and the deep blue sky together, I really like the outcome of the combination. All the primary colours coming nicely together. Of course, having a polarizer would have helped to add more depth to the colours and contrast, sue me already for not carrying one.

So it was a sunny and nice day, what did we do?

For the photocrazy people like us, me, Fred and ChunChow went to the Butterfly Park for serious macro photography, without macro lenses. Call me crazy, but I have done this so many times that I think I might just chuck the idea of getting a macro lens anything soon, in favour for flash or maybe a longer telephoto zoom lens.

I have made quite a loud complaint about how unrealistically difficult it was in using the combination of tele lens + close up filter for macro shots, especially when I was only left with a manual focus option. I am also not that keen on using the particular single coated filter, since it is very susceptible to a lot of issues such as heavy chromatic aberration, and the overall picture comes out really soft. Technical jargons aside, I believe the most challenging part would be using manual focus all the time, meaning there is no convenience of pressing the shutter halfway down, you have to do the job yourself.

For some really weird and unexplainable reasons, I have become accustomed to the tele lens + close up filter combo. I have become comfortable with the manual focus, and this attempt, I have had more hits than misses, and though troublesome, but I knew what to do, and what not to do when I come to certain circumstances. I have mentioned that using a tripod would help, but as stubborn as always, I shot everything handheld. Call me lazy, so what?

Note: Dragonfly again. I can't seem to get enough of them.

So how was the Malacca Butterfly Park? For a butterfly place, it sure has a lot of non butterfly display items. Snakes (LOTS OF THEM), tortoise, leopard, crocodile, birds, lizards, fishes... it seemed more appropriate to be called a mini zoo instead. As for the butterfly part, we were a little disappointed with the lack of varieties, especially with the colourful ones. Though you could not find so many other animals besides butterfly in KL Butterfly Park, they have more different species flying around than the Malacca one.

The weather was too harsh for taking pictures of animals, or even the butterflies being exposed directly under it. There were many overblown highlights (areas whitened out by extreme brightness and contrast) as well as shadow clippings. Of course, it was rather a welcome, in comparison to gloomy, rainy days, which I have encountered in so many of my visits before.

I am getting more and more fond of macro. Somebody please end my misery and buy me a macro lens.

So it was a fulfilling morning of deep blue skies, and cheerful butterflies scattering around the park. Of course the adventure did not end there. That, shall be for the coming entry.

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