Friday, January 30, 2009

My lil trip to Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot Pano

Tanah Lot is probably one of the most visited attraction in Bali. It is like the place to go if you are in Bali. Went to Bali and didn't see Tanah Lot? Then, you didn't go Bali! :P

To view the large version of the pano above, go here.

Pura Tanah Lot

Then I had fun with the fish-eye lens here. Pretend you didn't see the cable streaking its way there. The cable is not there. Do not look at it. I repeat, do not look at it.

I bent Tanah Lot!

Behold my power! I bent Tanah Lot! Mwahahaha! Bow before my might! *ehem* Sorry, Chinese New Year cookies sugar rush does that to you sometimes.

My artistic skills...

I discovered my other talent, painting. How's my skills? Any good? :P

Leaving them behind..

I spotted monks leaving the temple, and well, who can resist not snapping monks? Their orange costumes against the dark, gloomy background seems to work quite well.

Next week: I am out of materials! GASP!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My lil trip to Bali

Welcome to the villa!

As you all know, I recently went to Bali for a lil holiday and of course, a lot of photo taking. Ended up not taking that many pictures but enough to blog about.

We stayed at a villa in Penatih and the view was totally awesome. Waking up to the view of paddy field stretched before you is something that I can certainly get used to. As long as I don't need to work the field :)

The view from my villa...

The above is a panoramic shot of the view I can see every morning but it is far too small to see on this blog. If you are interested in the larger version, it is here. There is unfortunately ghosting due to poor merging by yours truly :(

Mount Batur in the mist

The following day after our arrival, I arranged for a bike tour of the countryside of Ubud. It started off well enough, with breakfast overlooking Mount Batur. Quite an impressive sight even though it was very misty.

Again, the above is a panoramic shot. So large version can be found here.

Juggling acts

Of course, the cycling tour was more intensive than I thought it would be. 2.5 hours on a mountain bike and on a bumpy road was certainly not easy. But the sights more than made up for the tough exercise.

Along the way, you pass Balinese villages and you get to see the everyday people of Bali. And lots and lots of beautiful green paddy fields.

Ploughing the fields

Even on a Sunday, these people are hard at work in their farms and when you think about it, you don't get no day off for farming. Like gardening, but more intensive, since your livelihood depends on it.

Give me a smile

But no matter how hard it is for them, they never fail to flash you a friendly smile. The children run out to say hello and some even attempts to high five you. If you are more adept at riding a bike than me, you can return some of those enthusiastic high fives.

The paddy field

And when you get to see sights like this, why worry about the 2.5 hours bike ride eh? There is always the van :P

Next up: I go to Tanah Lot

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chinese Orchestra Performance!

Leading the troops

I had the opportunity to shoot or capture the moments for a Chinese orchestra performance recently at SGMS and it was quite fun. We were given a briefing by the OP and because he was a Nikon user, he even gave us some lens to use.

Lucky friend of mine got to try out the 70-200mm VR f2.8. Well, not too sure if he was lucky because he is now craving for it.

Playing the erhu

After capturing some shots based on the OP's instructions, I went around looking for shots that I want. Time to see how many angles I can explore. Of course, the standard, hands pulling er hu have to be in.

Teaching the mic?

Surprisingly, this is one of my fav. No idea why but the shot feels fun to me. As though the mic is getting lectured :P


But certainly, the level of concentration, focus and determination to perform well for a crowd was evident from the performers' faces. You can certainly feel that they have put in a lot of work into this.

All in a night's performance

So, the event was again fun to shoot, much like the Dance Fest. I am beginning to develop a liking to covering stage events. Anyone with jalan for me to get in? :)

Note: I will be away in Singapore for a long weekend. Will only be back and blogging on Thursday. So, to my Chinese friends, Happy Chinese New Year! If you are married, email me your address so I can collect angpow.

For my non-Chinese friends, have a great long weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A look back at 2008...

Flap away!

Sorry for not posting yesterday. I got a stomach flu and was down and out. It is a bit late to start a "look back" post but oh well, no harm done right?

The above picture was taken at the Singapore Zoo, after I upgraded from D40 to D300. A leap of faith and also lots of dollars spent.

Moth..or butterfly?

And then, the macro bug bit me. I tell you, macro thread at ShutterAsia is a poisonous place to be. This was my first ever macro outing with the Tamron SP90. And it still remains my favourite macro shot up till today.

I have since left the macro scene so I guess there won't be any more picture to trump this.

Train on the tracks

Then I went to Thailand with Sharon and I wanted to well, try a wide lens. Went hunting around and someone said, "Why go ultra wide when you can go extreme wide?" And the 10.5mm went into my bag.

Its a fun and fun and fun lens! I sold it once due to financial crunch and I am still trying to scrape money to get it back.

China Town Street Shoot Series

Then came the financial crunch and also a little soul searching for me. Out went the D300 and every single lens I owned. Even the dry cabinet was not spared.

In came the Powershot G9. Canon! Eep! :P What happened to the Nikon fanboy? Well, Nikon make pretty sucky PNS, to tell the truth. With the G9, came an interest in street shooting.

Haven't really been on a street shoot ever since I got back a DSLR.

Fly fly fly...

But the G9 couldn't satisfy my passion for macro then. So, the D40 came in together with a full blown macro kit - the R1C1 and Nikkor 105mm VR.

Halong Bay - A Dreamy Bay

Armed with G9 and D40, off I went to Hanoi and realised, at the peak of a UNESCO Heritage Site, that photography is truly rewarding. One wonders why I never got into it earlier.

Entering the home..

And then, a new interest. Thanks to Tim who got me started. I never knew I was into wedding photography. But it was so fun, so rewarding, so tiring at times :) But I got hooked and Through Our Eyes Photography was born.


After shooting primarily with the 105mm for almost everything, I developed a love for primes. And when I found a 35mm for cheap, I couldn't resist burning a hole in my wallet to get it.

It is now my favourite lens and one that I will never tire off (I hope).


The year end also brought a flurry of events and one of them was a dancing event. Had fun shooting it and I am now trying to get more opportunities to shoot events! :)

Got to preen!

And all things must end in a circle :P so, the last shot is naturally, the subject I love most, animals.

So, there you have it. My 2008 which has been one exciting ride, filled with ups and downs. But at least I am still shooting eh?

Tomorrow: Last post before the long CNY break!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Went fullframe for RM200!

Well, the choice was either:

1. Jump brand to Canon and go with 5D
2. Rob a bank and go D700
3. Find a cheapass film camera

Obviously, I went with option #3. Since, it is cheaper and it satisfies my curiosity in experimenting shooting film.

Zoo Melaka - Conclusion!

All alone

Random shots to wrap up the series of the awesome Zoo Melaka. We have first the Lar Gibbon. While the rest were busy snapping monkeys that were affectionate with each other, I got tired and wandered off to check the surrounding area.

Lo and behold, the Lar Gibbon was there for me to shoot. He was missing previously from his enclosure.

Watcha looking at

But before we actually reached the monkey area, we were running around with crocs. Tripods, monopods and big lenses were pointed at the crocodiles with lots of curious onlookers.

Waiting for prey

These creatures were not moving much so it gave way to some compositional skills (which I have none) and so I just merrily clicked away. As they say, shoot and pray.

And there you have it, the Zoo Melaka.

Tomorrow: I go with The Best of 2008 (some repeated shots)

Monday, January 19, 2009

A new mini toy...

Well, got myself a new toy yesterday but have yet to try it out. Managed to get myself a very well-kept used AF-D 24mm f2.8 :)

I can't wait to see what new perspective I can get with this piece of glass. I might also be adding a new toy later tonight. Will see how it goes :)

Zoo Melaka - Part 4

Yawn #1

As promised, we take a look at some big cats in Zoo Melaka. First we have the lioness, because the lion was unfortunately sleeping. She wasn't too awake either and yawned a couple of times.

This was the first, you could hear our shutters going crazy.

Yawn #2

Then, she decided to yawn a second time and more shutter counts were wasted :P I think I will stop taking yawning shots for the moment. Time to explore other ways to capture these cats.


And of course, we can't forget the other big cat. The tiger yawned too. Yes, it was a yawning day for all of us.

Tomorrow: The conclusion!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Zoo Melaka - Part 3

Black and White

After walking out of the enclosure with the lemurs and the mandarin ducks, we took a stroll through the Safari Park. As we walked, nothing spectacular came to our sights but we were finally bowled over when we reached the end.

Giraffes and zebras and we could get quite close to them. This is quite an amazing zoo! As usual, the idea of a close-up on the zebra is too good to resist.

Bonding session

And then, there was a baby giraffe trying to fight its way in to nibble on some leaves. I decided that it was more a bonding moment. Though the lil fella got chased away after a while :P

Ol' Wrinkle Face

And finally, got a shot of Ol' Wrinkle Face. Really cute fella, wrinkly in a cute way :)

Next week: The Big Cats Yawn!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Zoo Melaka - Part 2

Its King Julian!

After the Mandarin Ducks, I was about to walk out when I noticed the lemurs were out of their windowed room and was running about freely. Picture opportunity!!

Such cute creatures and it was great being able to shoot them up close. One even came so near to me that I had to move back so that I can fit him within the 70-300mm range.

Watching over one's shoulders

And then we noticed there were more than lemurs in the same area. There were bats, which I couldn't get a decent picture of and there were owls. The owls were a hoot to shoot, pardon the pun.

We left the enclosure after that, leaving Liew to shoot the mandarin ducks as he arrived later and haven't spent any time with the ducks.

Tomorrow: The African adventure!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Zoo Melaka - Part 1

Got to preen!

Zoos are fun. They are even more fun when they are well maintained and the animals are well taken care of. I knew Zoo Melaka was a nice zoo since I went to the Night Zoo before but it looks even better in daytime.

The Blue and Yellow Macaw greeted us when we entered (we being LordMint, Macropixman and I with liewwk joining us later) and we spent a good couple of minutes there trying to capture their shots.

Double dose of colours

We then, walked into some cagey thing, which had iguana, some birds and things I couldn't shoot unless I shot at ISO3200. But the discovery of the day was the Mandarin Ducks.

I took a left turn in the cagey thing and we stumbled upon a pond of mandarin ducks.

One or two?

Needless to say, if we can spend 1.5 hours waiting for a hippo to yawn, the beautiful mandarin ducks were no exception. I think we were there for more than an hour, trying to get the best shot.

It was challenging, natural light were not exactly in abundance and we had to pump up to ISO1600 and still shoot at very slow shutter speed. Thank goodness for monopod. So, in the end, I had two shots that I am really happy with :)

Tomorrow: King Julian makes his appearance!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dance Fest 2008 - Conclusion

More funky light trails

After the girl flew yesterday, the next dance took me by surprise. The whole hall went dark and I went "uh oh". At least I had the stage lights previously, but this is complete darkness.

Out came coloured flash lights and the dance begun. And what you see above is my attempt to at least show some elements of that dance.

Light trails

Switched to slow shutter, and then realised that my camera can't AF in the dark :P So had to switch to MF and pray that some pictures will turn out at least "artistically" alright :P

In line

And then, there was light! And we could see the performers. I breathed a sigh of relief. Any more of that dark stuff and I'll be scratching my head what to do next. Some photographers were using flash and I wonder how that turned out.

Final pose

And so, tada! And we have reached the end of Dance Fest 2008. It was fun covering the event and I think it has been my longest series here :P

I will be going away to Bali and be back on Tuesday so this blog will be quiet. So, don't miss me yah! :P

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dance Fest 2008 - Part 8

Getting ready

After the "Lost" dance, it was time for a dance that symbolises hope. It was a slow start to the dance and it didn't take long for them to introduce the props.

Hoops and hoops

First we had hoops. Lots of hoops. They were throwing them, going through them, twirling them, rolling them. Anything you can do with a hoop, they did.

Flag bearers

After hoops, the flags came out. Waving them, tossing them and once again, anything you can do with a flag, they did.

Preparing her take off

Then I got lucky. Standing at one side of the stage, I saw this girl running towards me. Big smile on her face, arms waving the flags around. I knew it. Something is going to happen. And she...

And jump she did!

She flew!!! :P Well, she jumped up la. But it was nice to capture that moment. Shutter speed didn't allow me to freeze it entirely though.

Coming up: The end, the conclusion, you can now say finally! :P