Yet Another Birthday Dinner

It is coming to the year end already, and I shall refrain from my usual lengthily written blog ramblings. I shall just post photographs, and let them speak. I have just turned 27, and boy, what an adventurous year it has been for me. Lots of ups and downs, as usual, but development on the photography side of things have been very exciting and optimistic. Looking back now, there are more reasons to be thankful for, and celebrate the occasion. Dear friends, Chun Chow and Wendy brought me out for a nice dinner in Chilli’s, Mid Valley. Considering my birthday being so close to Christmas, it was more of a combined birthday and Christmas dinner. Since all of us are away from our hometown Kuching, having each other on this auspicious occasion is the closest thing to being with family that we can get in this giant city of Kuala Lumpur.

All images in this entry were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Sigma 30mm F1.4
Note: food descriptions taken off the official Chilli's website.

A combo of three favorite starters. Generous portions of our Chicken Crispers mouth watering Wings Over Buffalo and Southwestern Eggrolls with sauces for dipping.

Wings over Bufallo

Chun Chow and his Nikon D7000

Wendy and her Panasonic G3

Snapping away

Topped with beef bacon, aged cheddar cheese, mayo,shredded lettuce, tomato & pickle.

Spicy jalapeƱo steak, melted pepper Jack cheese, jalapeƱos and fajita onions in tortillas. Served with sour cream, house-made pico de gallo and ancho-ranch dressing.

10 oz. ribeye steak with our own special seasonings and topped with seasoned butter. Served with loaded mashed potatoes, seasonal veggies & garlic toast.

Working the Nikon.

Me, and Iced Cappuccino. Shooting at ISO1600, being underexposed (before post-processing), spells disaster.

My test subjects for the day.

Close up, rendering even blurrier background.

Shooting is fun !! Do it at all times.

A very powerful and capable camera, D7000 !!

Chun Chow and me !!

This was also another session of “getting to know” the Sigma 30mm F1.4. Recently I have discovered another issue with the lens. Whenever I shoot below F2, the metering tends to go hair wire. Well, to be exact, the metering biased to underexposure, sometimes by more than one stop, which can be very annoying. The problem persists in both center weighted and Matrix (multi-pattern) metering modes. I ended up having to tweak the EV compensation, dialing it up to at least +0.7EV, to sometimes +1.0EV, and even so, on few occasions I still ended up with slightly underexposed images. Perhaps, Olympus has been right all along for capping the aperture limit to F2 only on all their DSLR Zuiko lenses. Anything below F2 is deemed inconsistent and irrelevant, especially when it comes to exposure accuracy, which is technically difficult to achieve. There is no such thing as a real F1.4 lens out there, since it will suffer loss of light, which has been very evident in the case of the underexposure.

Shooting with smaller sensors in Olympus bodies, underexposing the images is a big no-no. Post-processing to lift up the exposure undesirably added plenty of noise to the images, especially those shot above ISO1000.

Nonetheless, all was good, when I saw the bokeh that the lens produced.

My goodness, heaven has nothing sweeter than creamy, smooth, beautifully rendered bokeh.

It was a simple, great dinner, that I have spent with wonderful friends. We ate till we could not eat anymore, and we had coffee afterwards. I would not ask for any other way to spend my Christmas, especially being away from home. Thanks Chun Chow and Wendy for being there for me !!