It was one fine Sunday that I caught up with Syazwan, a photographer in Kuala Lumpur whom I have not seen for several years. He asked for a photowalk so of course, as always I said yes! We went around town, Petaling Street area which is very central to Kuala Lumpur. I did have something in mind to do, I wanted to do a POV style street photography video for my main YouTube channel. However I woke up at the wrong side of the bed and feeling a little cranky, so I decided to scrap the idea of doing a video for the main channel and made it into a vlog instead. Instead of doing a POV style video, I vlogged about where we went, a bit of our conversations, and pieces of the shutter therapy session. 

You can find the vlog of this photowalk session here (click for video)

Image by Syazwan Basri (IG @syazbasri) used with permission
It was one beautiful Sunday that I looked forward to hanging out with some friends, but one of them got into close contact with a Covid positive patient, so she had to self-isolate and the plan got cancelled. My Sunday was suddenly free and I decided I wanted to do something with my camera. It has been a while since I last did insect macro so I decided to bring out the Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro lens for a spin and revisited the Butterfly Park, which I have not been to for possibly over 2 years, since before the pandemic/multiple lockdown started. I am glad the place is still alive, though they are only open in the weekends. So it became a Sunday macro adventure, and I wanted to share some shots I have taken here in this blog. 

I have a made a video to show you around Butterfly Park and also behind the scenes of me in action, capturing some of the shots. You can find the video here (click). 

The gear setup was the usual combination that I have used all this time, and there was nothing new or different. I used the Olympus 60mm macro on OM-D E-M1 Mark III, with FL-LM3 flash attached to trigger wireless flash. Off camera external flash was my old, old FL-50R which refuses to die, and I diffused the light with a small square softbox. Nothing fancy really, I have been using this setup for years and it has gotten me some pretty good results. 

Camera setting wise, things were quite straightforward. ISO was set and fixed at 200 at all times for best dynamic range and detail retrieval, since I am using flash, there could be unwanted highlights. The camera was set to full manual, with shutter speeds at 1/200 to 1/250, aperture varying from F4-F10, depending on how much depth of field I needed in my frame. I can't just shoot F2.8 and have only one small part of the eye in focus and everything else blur, we want to see as much in focus and sharp as possible. Flash was fired off camera, left to TTL, and sometimes full manual when I know exactly what I wanted in my exposure outcome. The difficult part was to nail focus - any slight movement, even just millimeters away, you get soft or out of focus output. 

I always have plenty of fun doing insect macro, these little critters are so fun to work with. It was a Sunday well spent, I must say!

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I am a city boy and I don't go into the wild or out of the city often, but when opportunities come I will grab them when I can. Bihzhu asked if I wanted to join her to a relaxing dip in the waters of Sungai Kedondong, which is about an hour plus drive out of Kuala Lumpur, and of course I said yes! This was a much needed time out and short break away from my usual routine, to just immerse myself in nature and not think of YouTube comment trolls, or any other current worries and issues in life that I have to deal with. The timing was just right, and I documented this short trip in vlog format, you can check out my video here (click). 

My friend Jason gifted me the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO 250 Ohms version for my birthday back in December 2021, and I thought it would be awesome to bring it out and get some shots, for no good reasons. I take photos of things just for fun, and sometimes I don't have to justify it. Sometimes it is the act of shooting, the whole process of making the images happen that I enjoy the most. I don't need to travel to some exotic location or do anything crazy for a photoshoot, I am a simple man, and simple every day things I find a lot of joy in shooting them. 

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO 250 Ohms
Not sponsored by the way

About half a year ago I was stuck in my tiny room during the lockdown and there was only so much I could do or shoot to create content. I saw the bright, round moon outside my window, and I decided to grab some shots. I then realized I have not made any videos or shared any tips on shooting high res moon shots, so I made a video demonstrating step by step on how to achieve a 50MP moon image. The video was never published until now, because I was not so keen on sharing content talking about a rock floating aimlessly in the sky, as honestly that is not my usual photography as well. I decided to start the ROBINSPEAKS podcast series which was short-lived, but I enjoyed making tremendously. Now revisitng this old content of the high res moon shot, I guess it would be a waste if I never put it out there. So here goes!

The video can be found here (click). 

Image shot with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III and M.Zuiko 100-400mm F5-6.3
Of course this image was heavily cropped

Exact same image as the one above, but this was uncropped

LEFT: High Res Shot
RIGHT: Normal Shot

I used the hand-held high res shot to get the 50MP output. With just one click of the shutter button, the camera takes 16 images and then merges them all into a high res 50MP file, resulting in a highly detailed and sharp final output. The processing does take a bit of time but it is so worth the wait. And the fact that this can all the done hand-held without the aid of any support (tripod, monopod, etc), I find it quite amazing. This is one situation where resolution does matter, and the fact that Olympus has the lens that is powerful enough to resolve the details, is also quite an accomplishment on its own. 

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One of my favourite locations to do shutter therapy is Pudu in Kuala Lumpur. There is an open air wet market which is constantly full of people, bustling with activities in the morning and photography opportunities are just endless. It was my playground, until the pandemic came, and I decided not to shoot there. My reason was simple and logical, since I was not selling anything or buying anything from the market, I did not want to unnecessarily add to the crowd count considering social distancing in a market place is already quite impossible to begin with. Now that things are getting better, vaccination rate improved and daily cases are manageable, I thought going in was quite safe, and I explored the market again after 2 years or more last Sunday, with a small group of friends. 

Image by Azul Adnan, used with permission