Olympus Photo-Sharing Session In Bangkok, Thailand on 9th January 2019

I will be travelling to Bangkok, Thailand for the first time in my life (yes, Bangkok is near KL where I am and it is somewhat strange I have not been there yet) and I am excited for the street photography opportunity there! My street shooting friends have been raving about how they think Bangkok could be their street photography heaven. I will be there from January 6th to January 10th, 2019, and I could not ask for a better way to start the new year.

Incidentally, Olympus Thailand has also invited me to conduct a photo sharing session to Thai audience! The photo sharing will be held at Olympus Store in Central World on the 9th January 2019 at 6.30pm.


If you are in the vicinity and you have been following this blog, please do drop by and say hi, I would love to meet you in person. From my blog traffic stats, I can see that I do have a sizeable Thai audience and please do show yourself!

I am extremely thrilled for this coming adventure and I cannot wait to visit Bangkok in about a week's time (from this writing).

Bangkok, here I come!

The Quiet Christmas For Me, and I Got Myself A Present

To all you beautiful people, have a Merry Christmas! I wish you a blessed and joyous celebration, full with great food and even greater company.

After coming home from the South Africa trip 2 weeks ago I have had back to back shoots, multiple Olympus official workshops and walkabouts as well as numerous meetings that I did not really have much chance to catch my breath. Even on Christmas Eve itself, I have had an almost full day outdoor pre-wedding portrait shoot which was super fun, but exhausting at the same time. I have had an incredible plan for my Christmas Day, and the plan is to "Do Nothing" for the whole day.

Got myself overpriced cup of coffee, hipster brunch, classic horror novel and a laptop to distract me from time to time, it was the perfect day for me. The screen shows a preview of the pre-wedding portrait shoot I did yesterday!

"Do Nothing" means, not meeting anyone, not doing any work and basically just chill and relax for the whole day. I thought this would be the best time to finish up the Pet Sematary which I have had for a while now. All I needed was some good coffee (all good coffee is overpriced in KL) and I can just let the hours slip by easily. This was the much needed me time, and I I plan to slow things down toward the end of the year. 

I understand that Christmas is pretty much the family time of the year for most people in the world, but me coming from a traditional Chinese upbringing, our festive celebration Chinese New Year is when we gather with our families and relatives. Being so close to each other, Chinese New Year 2019 will be in early February 2019, hence I decided not to travel home this time around for Christmas. I do however look forward to going home for Chinese New Year very soon and spend some quality time with mum. 

Oh and to celebrate not only Christmas, but also my birthday (I am a Boxing Day child), I got myself an early present. 

I got myself the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.2 PRO lens!

I admit I have had this lens for about 2 months now, and I have been wanting to buy one for more than a year already. While my favourite of all Olympus primes would be 45mm, I acknowledge that the most used lens, both for my commercial shoots as well as personal shutter therapy sessions is the 25mm F1.8. Hence it was only natural that I would upgrade to the incredible F1.2 version. I have been using this lens a lot lately and I cannot wait to share more images with you beautiful people. Also, I will have a dedicated blog entry about the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f1.2 PRO lens. 

Did you buy anything to add into your camera bag during the holiday seasons? I hope you have had a wonderful celebration! I shall have one or two more blog entries before I wrap the blog up for 2018. 


Tau Game Lodge at Madikwe Game Reserve - A Photographer's Review

During the Olympus Visionary photography trip to South Africa, we spent about 4 days staying at Tau Game Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve. Olympus booked the whole place and we had the entire lodge for ourselves for the full duration of our stay. I had such a positive experience at Tau Game Lodge that I thought perhaps I should dedicate one full blog entry about my stay there.

One of the coolest experience was the opportunity to get so close to the wild animals!

Tau Game Lodge provided accommodation, food as well as game drives (wildlife safari drives) all inclusive in their full service package. 

B-Roll Images From South Africa Adventure

I believe in tight curation and only showing the best images. Therefore I have compiled my best images which were published on Ming Thein's site here and here. However, I do have some favourite shots for multiple reasons, which did not fit into the original editing process, hence I am throwing all of them into one single blog entry here. These are some images which could have been OK and I still quite like some of them. I thought a more extensive look to what I have shot as a whole could be interesting for those of you who do want to see the shots that made it, as well as those that I have consciously rejected. 

All images were shot with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko PRO lenses 300mm F4 IS PRO, 40-150mm F2.8 PRO and sometimes MC14 1.4x teleconverter was used. 

The trip was organized by Olympus for their Olympus Visionary photographers from Asia Pacific regions. The location of shoot was Madikwe Game Reserve. I shall be blogging about the lodge we stayed in, the Tau Game Lodge in the coming blog post. 

I like the mother and child theme in this shot but somehow it seems a little empty. Not sure how to describe it, but I guess it does work better in black and white, drawing more attention to the zebra stripes. 

I wanted to capture the misty morning scene, which was quite interesting to witness in the desert like terrain of Madikwe Game Reserve. That morning must have been a little more humid than usual for the mist to happen. 

I have taken so many of the "backlit" shots of the cheetahs.

Not even sure what this animal is, but it is so cute!

Oh yes, more lions

This was one of my failed attempt to shoot a bird in flight, as the shutter speed was accidentally set too low. Not having sufficient experience shooting birds, I thought 1/500 sec was sufficient to freeze motion. I learned quickly I needed must faster shutter speed. 

There were so many colorful birds! I could do one whole blog entry on birds alone. 

More birds

This was probably the most beautiful bird I have seen in my whole life. That long red tail flows gentry as the bird flies. 

Symbiotic relationship. 

I wished the first zebra did not walk that far ahead leaving that much empty space between him and the next zebra. 

I even have this idea of making everything black and white for my blog entry here. You know, just for the fun of it. 

A rhinoceros. Can't believe they are being endangered. Such gentle beasts. 

More shots of the misty morning

That place has this unique beauty

Lion in the bush



An edible looking rabbit


An edible looking chicken 

Cheetah

Waiting patiently. 


Gorgeous sunset over the horizon

Lenovo Yoga C930 - A Photographer's Experience Review

I received the loaner Lenovo Yoga C930 from Lenovo Malaysia one day before my flight out to South Africa, and I have used the laptop for the entire duration of my travel. I have watched Tv shows and movies on it during my 11 hours flight from Singapore to Johannesburg, I have downloaded and backed up my photographs taken at Madikwe Game Reserve daily and also post-processed my images using Capture One Pro and Olympus Viewer 3 software. Furthermore, I have written 4 blog articles on the Lenovo C930 including my two main articles published on Ming Thein's site. In this particular blog review, I shall share my experience using the Lenovo Yoga C930 during my travel and how it performed for a photographer.

This blog review is a continuation from my first impression update of the Lenovo Yoga C930 which I have posted here. Please do read that entry before continuing if you have not done so. I shall not repeat the feature highlights of the laptop and my initial thoughts on it.

IMPORTANT NOTES: The Lenovo Yoga C930 was on loan from Lenovo Malaysia, and will be returned after the use for review. I am not associated to Lenovo Malaysia and this blog article and my subsequent review articles pertaining to Lenovo products are done independently. I am not a tech or gadget writer, hence I will not be doing the usual laptop reviews found elsewhere online. I used the laptop as a practicing photographer - for image post-processing and also blog article writing. 


The Lenovo Yoga C930 was so slim that it can be easily fitted into any bag without taking much precious space, allowing me to pack more items 

South Africa Travel Updates on Ming Thein Site Published! Go Check Them Out Now

In case you have not seen these articles on Ming Thein's site, I have published two articles about my recent travel to South Africa there. In Part 1, I shared wide angle scenery and environmental animal shots while in Part 2, I went close up with the animals, zooming in tightly in my framing.

These are the better shots I have taken during my trip. Go visit these articles now!
Robin Visits South Africa Part 1
Robin Visits South Africa Part 2



However, if you have not have enough, I will soon also share more shots, taken from my B-Roll (shots that did not make it to the final curation on MT) here, some include my own personal favourites. I shall also share my very brief experience in Soweto, Johannesburg and my quick review of our stay in Tau Game Lodge at Madikwe Game Reserve. More and more images from my trip will be shown here, so do stay tuned!

I Am Back From South Africa, And More Updates Are Coming Soon

I have just arrived at Kuala Lumpur a few hours ago, and I cannot wait to share my photographs from my South Africa trip with all you beautiful people. The past 5 days in Madikwe Game Drive was nothing short of incredible, the experience of shooting alongside such talented and skillful photographers from all around Asia Pacific countries was nothing short of eye-opening. I have learned so much over the span of few days and was deeply inspired to further grow myself as a photographer.

Do allow me some time to go through heaps of photographs I have taken and I shall compile them into my coming articles. I shall be working as fast as I can, so do stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here is a sneak peak of some snapshots of the trip taken with my Motorola G5S Plus smartphone, as well as some behind the scene images. South Africa is such a beautiful country, and I cannot wait to return again some day. I miss it already!

Sunrise view right in front of the restaurant balcony at the lodge I was staying at - Tau Game Lodge

The African Bush - such a wonderful scenery

An Olympus Visionary shooting the sunset


Game Drive vehicle

Everyone was shooting with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko 300mm F4 IS PRO lens. 

Look how close the cats were!

My first time riding a Private Charter Plane. 

It was so small inside the plane, we were all cramped!

Sunsets were always dramatic here!

Stay tuned for the coming updates!

Packing for A South Africa Photography Adventure

Important note: In case you guys missed the big announcement, I have just recently joined the Olympus Visionary program. Thanks to everyone who gave congratulatory notes and kind remarks. I am still overwhelmed by the incredibly positive response. I will continue to do my best as a photographer and blogger, rest assured!

I will be travelling with a group of Asia-Pacific based Olympus Visionary photographers to South Africa from 7th to 14th December 2018. This photography-centric trip is fully organized and sponsored by Olympus, and I am privileged to be invited along other bigger names in the industry to this trip. I was informed that this trip was an annual event to connect and engage with the Olympus Asia Pacific community.

I was also fore-warned that during the duration of travel, there will be locations with extremely limited internet coverage, hence there is a high possibility I will not be able to answer emails or reply messages via any social media platforms. Do bear with me and I shall get back to everyone as soon as I can.


The flight hand-carry luggage weight limit is a strict 7kg, and in this blog entry, I will show you what I pack into my camera bag which will be my carry-on bag to my flights.

CAMERA BODY AND ACCESSORIES
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II - 574g (with battery)
Olympus BLH-1 spare battery - 74g
4 x 64GB SD cards and a small memory card hard case (weight negligible)

LENSES
M.Zuiko 300mm F4 IS PRO - 1270g (without tripod collar)
M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO -  760g (without tripod collar)
MC-14 1.4x tele-converter, compatible with the above two lenses - 170g
M.Zuiko 7-14mm F2.8 PRO - 534g
M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 - 136g
M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 - 116g

CAMERA BAG
Caden K11 camera messenger bag - 1360g
Oh yes, I got a new camera bag to fit in a lot more items. I found myself bringing more gear with me to actual paid shoots these days, my older bags just cannot fit everything anymore. 

LAPTOP
Lenovo Yoga C930 - 1380g

OTHER ITEMS
Olympus limited edition Moleskine small notepad - 90g
Writing pens - weight negligible
Microfibre cloth - weight negligible
Fiio M3 High Resolution Audio Player - 40g
JBL Earphones - weight negligible
Memory Card Reader (not pictured) - weight negligible

TOTAL WEIGHT = 6.5KG

Here are some tips on travelling light, packing as much as possible and optimizing the luggage weight limit. It helps if you use smaller and lighter camera system.

I cannot imagine packing the equivalent 600mm, 70-200mm and 14-28mm lenses using full frame camera system into a bag with a 7kg limit! How do you guys manage? The lightest 600mm full frame lens is close to 4kg already.

Having a laptop that is ultra light and slim also helps in ensuring minimal load as well as easy packing without taking too much space of the bag.

Pack the laptop charger, camera battery charger, all cables and accessories separately and put them into the main check-in luggage.

Leave the tripod collars behind if you do not need them. If you must use tripod, you can store the collars in your check in luggage.

If you need to bring a tripod, opt for a lightweight version, but also sturdy enough for travel purposes. I am stowing away the tripod into my main check in luggage bag.

To save space so that you can fit more items in your hand-carry bag, leave all the hoods behind. The Olympus 40-150mm PRO lens hood is huge, taking it out will free up precious space for other smaller items, such as the tiny prime lenses.

Perhaps I can opt for a lighter bag, but this particular bag has extra thick padding and sturdy partitions to ensure proper separation and storage of all the items. The bag has to be strong enough to carry the camera, lenses and laptop.


I am good to go for my South Africa adventure! I shall see you guys again in about a week. My hands are getting unbearably itchy for some shutter clicking action!!

Special Update: I Have Joined The OLYMPUS VISIONARY

I am super happy to announce that I am now an Olympus Visionary! Olympus Malaysia has started their Olympus Visionary program and I was privileged to be invited to join. I would like to thank everyone who visited this blog and followed me over the years, I appreciate every single once of your presence! Moving forward, there will be some changes to my writing approach, and I have written an update statement at Ming Thein's site (click here), so please hop over to find out the story behind me joining the Olympus Visionary, as well as what changes from now on.


All I can say is, Shutter Therapy lives on!

Lenovo Yoga C930 - First Impressions

SURPRISE! I got myself a loaned review unit of a 2 in 1 tablet/laptop device from Lenovo Malaysia, the Lenovo Yoga C930. The timing could not be better, as I have an upcoming photography trip to South Africa, departing from KL in the following few days! I shall be packing in the Yoga C930 and use it during my travel to South Africa. More information about the South Africa trip in my coming blog entry. I have been to Cape Town before, you may check my previous blog entry here and here. 

IMPORTANT NOTES: The Lenovo Yoga C930 is on loan from Lenovo Malaysia, and will be returned after the use for review. I am not associated to Lenovo Malaysia and this blog article and my subsequent review articles pertaining to Lenovo products are done independently. I am not a tech or gadget writer, hence I will not be doing the usual laptop reviews found elsewhere online. I will be using the laptop as a practising photographer - for image post-processing and also blog article writing. 

This is a hands on preview blog entry, and I will have a follow up full review on how the Lenovo Yoga C930 performed as a photographer's tool after I come back from my travel to South Africa.

Lenovo Yoga C930

So what on earth happened and how I got myself involved with Lenovo Malaysia in the first place?

In case you do not know, I have been using a Lenovo Miix 510 (a Surface-like clone) for almost two years now. All my blog articles here as well as the ones I published on Ming Thein's site are written on the Lenovo Miix and it is currently my daily driver, as I work from location to location away from home. When I am at home, I have my much more powerful desktop PC for all my photo post-processing and gaming needs, so I do very basic and quick touch up on photos when I use the Lenovo Miix 510 on the go. It has been a faithful companion and has accompanied me to many of my travel. I am very happy with the performance of the Lenovo Miix 510 though I do not mention much about it in this blog.

I have always wanted an actual high performing laptop that is lightweight and compact enough to carry around everyday that I can actually perform heavy-duty post-processing on it too. I am not looking to replace my desktop, but being able to take my work with me everywhere I go to makes sense as I am a full time photographer now. I got the Lenovo Miix 510 when I was still working for Olympus Malaysia (almost 2 years ago) and since then my life has changed a lot. And then the thought of contacting Lenovo came to mind!

I reached out to a Lenovo contact (found the email on their official site) and to my surprise my email was answered! I was seeking for something extremely light and portable, yet powerful enough to handle photography heavy tasks. The Lenovo people suggested the Yoga C930, which features the latest 8th generation Core i7 processor and ultra slim design. I immediately said yes and I just collected this review unit this morning!

Though Lenovo Yoga C930 has full unibody metal chasis, it is still super light - 1.38kg only. And look at how slim it is!

It is either the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is huge, or that is a small laptop. 

I was provided the Iron Gray variant for review purposes. I think it matches all my other gadgets and items. 

After collecting my review unit of the Lenovo Yoga C930, I went to a nearby cafe to unbox and set it up immediately. I also planned to take some lifestyle and casual product shots of the Yoga C930 so that I can do a quick hands on preview blog article about it (as you are reading now). I initially wanted to just have 2 to 3 usable shots, but as usual, I was too enthusiastic when clicking the shutter button and got carried away. I think I enjoyed shooting a laptop because lets face it, I have been doing too many camera and lens reviews over the years, hence it was nice to review something else for once.

The first thought that came to mind - how incredibly slim the laptop was! I know technology has advanced so much and this was nothing unbelievable by today's standards, but I was still in awe at the sheer slimness of the Lenovo Yoga C930. Although this was technically a 14 inch (13.9 inch to be exact) screen laptop, it felt smaller due to the extra thin bezels (though not quite bezel-less). I was concerned about the size because I wanted a 13 inch or smaller laptop to better fit into my camera bag, but it turned out that the Yoga C930 fitted perfectly! The 1.38kg weight was also a plus point for Lenovo, as I have tight baggage restrictions.

I shall be sharing how I pack for my coming photography trip in the next coming blog entry. Yes that includes all the camera gear that I will bring along for the ride.

I need to comment on the build quality. The laptop body is constructed from aluminum and is reassuringly solid. I am worried about handling such a slim device, as I am a rough user and may accidentally bend the laptop body. Thankfully, the body is robustly built and can withstand good amount of daily use pressure and handling. Since this is a full metal body, there is the smooth feel to the touch and the Yoga C930 feels really premium.

All metal body laptop and all metal body camera

Having used Lenovo extensively, I have come to expect high quality built in keyboard. 

The Lenovo Yoga C930 comes in a few variations of specifications. My review unit has:
8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550u processor
8GB DDR4 RAM memory (running on dual channel)
512GB PCIe SSD Hard Disk
13.9 Inch Full HD IPS Touch Screen (there is also a 4K screen variant on the market)
2 x USB C ports (charging via USB C) and 1 x full sized USB 3.1 port
Up to 14.5 hours battery life (claimed by Lenovo)

For full specifications and feature highlights, go to the official product page here (click). 

In terms of specifications alone, I am expecting the Yoga C930 to be able to run everything I throw at it smoothly, and I will put it to torture during the coming photography trip. I shall come back with full report in my coming review blog entry. 

The Lenovo Yoga C930 is also a tablet convertible, meaning the screen can be turned 360 degrees and become a tablet for entertainment focused activities, such as gaming or watching movie. Furthermore, there are a host of cool features which I have yet to test - Lenovo did something really smart by having a soundbar built directly into the hinge between the keyboard and screen. Another thing that Lenovo got right, they managed to securely tuck away the stylus pen at the back of the laptop, making it carrying around the pen such a convenience without worrying about losing it accidentally. 

I was secretly hoping to get the 4K screen variant of the Lenovo Yoga C930, but I guess the Full HD screen will have to suffice for now. To be fair the screen is bright and crisp, and I'd prefer to work with much larger 4K screen (22 inch or larger). Viewing my own images on the Yoga C930 so far, I have no issues with the color and contrast. There is however a very slight green cast, which is easily remedied by proper color calibration, which I have not done yet. 

Lenovo Yoga line of products is known to be able to bend to weird positions. 

Super smart decision by Lenovo to securely and discreetly tuck away the stylus pen at the back of the laptop! You will never lose the pen again and carrying it around is no fuss at all. 

When I powered on the Lenovo Yoga C930, it has only 15% power left, so I naturally drained the battery so I can estimate the time needed for a full charge. The charging was faster than anticipated, the laptop went from 5% to 100% within 1 hour and 15 minutes being plugged to a wall socket. If the device truly can last as much as 14 hours (I was expecting maybe 10-12 hours of normal use) then I will be impressed. I shall find this out very soon. 

Things that I intend to test - screen quality in multiple viewing scenarios, the use of keyboard for typing several full articles, to be published both here and Ming Thein's site, the performance of the laptop during post-processing with software such as Olympus Viewer 3 and Capture One Pro, and maybe a little bit of gaming. I am an active DotA 2 player. 



I understand that many photographers tend to lean toward Apple line of products. I was probably one of the few who stayed with non-Apple ecosystem. For those of you who use PC environment, do share with me what your requirements and must-have features you seek for in a laptop. Do you need 4K screen? How much RAM do you think is sufficient for heavy image editing work? What is the best screen size (13, 14 or even larger screens?) you are working with? What are the priorities, do you think portable and slim design are more important than sheer performance of the device? 

Do share your thoughts! Oh and this article was written on the Lenovo Yoga C930. 

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