Thursday, February 28, 2008

picture of the day - pray & hope

Image properties
Lens: EF 50mm F/1.8
Focal length: 50.0mm
Shutter speed: 1/200 sec
Aperture: F/4
Lighting: Natural, no flash.

Took this photo during my visit to the Green Mountain Temple (青山岩) in Muara Tebas Kuching.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

first red bomb in 2008

It's the first wedding invitation for year 2008.

I can see the trend coming along among my old classmates now, and I expect to see few more coming in within this year or next.

A friend has also announced her wedding date this year end.

Again, a heartiest congratulation to the happy couple. :-) (Now, I can use my U2 jacket in this occasion.)

On the other note, I tried shooting with the new Sto-fen Omnibounce diffuser I bought last week. I still can't get the lighting right. Just look at the shots below.

350D + 18-55mm + Speedlite 580EX II with Sto-fen. (Shutter: 1/125 sec. Aperture: F/5.6. ISO: 400. Flash Compensation: 0)

350D + 18-55mm + Speedlite 580EX II with Sto-fen. (Shutter: 1/125 sec. Aperture: F/5.6. ISO: 400. Flash Compensation: 0)

There was no adjustment on the level or curve done on the pics above, and the ones below.

Both shots were taken using 590EX II with both the diffusers I bought. Again, no adjustment were done in PS.

Also, I noticed that when shooting with Stofen, I mostly need to increase my flash compensation to +1/3 step to get better lighting exposure. While shooting with Lambency (aka Tupperware, or the Cup), it hasn't shown that kind of weakness.

I bought Stofen because there are a few photographers using Sto-fen even on outdoor night events, so I thought it could come in handy when I shoot outdoor events, where there are no ceiling to bounce off the flash. But, it isn't working that way so far. Stofen is also less bulky than Lambency, it gives you better convenience to carry it around in your gadget bag.

Has anyone had experience using Stofen before? Do drop me your share of experience here. Thanks!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

bunch of old friends

The bunch of old classmates had a gathering during CNY. Every time this year, we will have people coming back from all over the places, and continent. But the, the size of people coming to the gathering, shrinks over the time. This is understandable due to the commitment everyone has.

Everyone looks so different from last time now. Some have even stepped into parenthood already.

First picture without me, cos I was holding the camera. LOL!

Now my turn to swap a place, from behind the lens to in front of the lens.

Keep in touch my friends! :-)

what happened on valentine's day?

CNY is over now. But I still have CNY related things to post about.

It so happened that Valentine's Day falls on the 8th day of CNY this year. What happened that day? Well, I definitely didn't send any bouquet, nor I had a romantic candle-light dinner.

Instead, I....

... joined in a karaoke session with Irene, Jimmy, Frankie and Adeline. But then, I felt like the odd one out, cos I was the fifth person in the room.

After screaming and yelling in the karaoke room, we were low on energy level. So, we hit the road and head straight to get some food.

When there's food, there'll always be Annna around.

Annna taking picha with her Nokia N-series with N-speedlite.

Nana playing with food, to be more precise -- fingers. lol

Irene sui or not?

It has come to my info that someone actually claimed both these ladies look like sisters, you think?

After makan-makan, the gang wanted to take some shots for Valentine's Day post, so we set off to Padungan area.

Flowers & soft toys, the hottest selling items on Valentine's Day.

Love me.

Cuddle me.

Be my valentine.

Last bit not the least, here's another shot of couple of the night. Well, they were the only pair hanging out with us that night.

Valentine's Day 2008.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

jimmy of hornbill annna

Photo note: Pictures shot straight to JPEG, adjusted levels in PS. Flash with Omni-bounce, tilted 45degree upwards.

What the hell's wrong with the post title? Hmm.. well, that's the title of this photo. It's made of Jimmy of Hornbill Anna. LOL! Sound so wrong.

Just a random post. I'm studying for the Unit Trust (Mutual Fund) Exam. A very last minute effort. LOL!

Friday, February 22, 2008

nba trade deadline deal '08

NBA trade deadline is now over, and there were some big moves triggered by several teams in the dying seconds of the trade window in the league.

Five faces, 2 new teams.

Most notable ones are the moves made by Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls, both teams are looking to progress with better roster into the playoff in couple months' time.

Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes find themselves in new uniform soon.

I'll just highlight the players which the teams are getting from the trade.

Chicago Bulls get:
Drew Gooden (from Cleveland Cavaliers)
Larry Hughs ( from Cleveland Cavaliers)
Shannon Brown ( from Cleveland Cavaliers)
Cedric Simmons (from Cleveland Cavaliers)

Cleveland Cavaliers get:
Ben Wallace (from Chicago Bulls)
Joe Smith (from Chicago Bulls)
Dolente West (from Seattle Supersonics)
Wally Szczerbiak (from Seattle Supersonics)

Seattle Supersonics get:
Ira Newble (from Cleveland Cavaliers)
Donyell Marshall (from Cleveland Cavaliers)
Adrian Griffin (from Chicago Bulls)

and read the rest of the transaction here.

Ben Wallace and Drew Gooden will be trading uniforms.

Both Chicago and Cleveland could benefit from the deadline trade running into the playoff. Chicago Bulls have acquired younger frontcourt in Drew Gooden, and with better offensive option (if compared to aging Ben Wallace). Larry Hughes, if healthy, provides one of the best defensive prowess in the league. He's one of the better perimeter defender in the league, which Chicago lacks. Ben Gordon and Luol Deng are probably Bulls' best players, but they aren't known for their defense.

As for Cleveland, Lebron James just found himself surrounded with an upgraded supporting cast, with improved perimeter offense. Both Wally and West are excellent outside shooter. On top of that Joe Smith and Ben Wallace are experienced warhorse, who can provide the inside presence Cleveland needs.

On paper, Cleveland could even field a fearsome lineup in Wallace, Ilgauskas, Lebron, and the ever energetic Varejao. These 'beasts' can throw their bodies on court and dominate the paint. This could be useful against Western Teams like Spurs and Suns, probably Magic too.

Let's see how the story progresses from here onwards. You can read the full trade analysis by here.

End note: Sorry, couldn't resist to write another sports review. :-) Happy weekend!

chap goh mei firework

It was Chap Goh Mei yesterday, it was the last time (fingers crossed) people showcase their arsenal depth. The skies were lit up by interesting firework displays, though the number was far too little if compared to the previous year's.

Went over to Friendship Park (马中公园) toshoot some firework display. I went there late, went there after family dinner at grandma's. It seems the epic/peak was over as I arrived.

So, I had to try my luck, see if there are people light up nice ones or not. I guess most of the people there went to sleep early last night.

Anyways, here are two of the shots I had last night.

Zoomed this composition too wide. The firework seemed so small. It doesn't provide any dramatic effect. (KIT 18-55mm 5" F/10 ISO 100).

I had the focal length set at 45mm, it provides better composition. It almost looked as though Cheng Ho statue was showcasing some magic out from his sleeves. (KIT 18-55mm 5" F/10 ISO 100).

And last but not the least, I shot this during Valentine's Day. It became a personal favorite. I kinda like the picture as a whole.

Lens: EF 50mm

What do you think? (Note: The photos weren't taken in RAW format. All were written straight to JPEG.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

shop at

Since I've gotten the new flash unit -- Speedlite 580EX II, I need to get myself a new diffuser, aka the Tupperware, or the Cup. For those you have seen it before, you should know which one I'm referring to.

The reason is I need to increase the 'cup' size after switching to 580EX II. The size is slightly bigger than of 430EX, hence, the cup I had for 430EX won't fit in. These diffusers are considered rare items, not every camera/photography shop has them on the shelves. So, I decided to do a bit of online shopping.

I browsed through, that is where I bought my previous diffuser too -- Lambency Flash Diffuser. After placing my order yesterday, 19 February 2008, I got my orders delivered today via Poslaju!

Pos-laju has a bit pos-lambat syndrome today (note: Laju means fast in Malay language, while Lambat means slow).

I actually had to wait till almost 6pm before the Pos Malaysia van reached my front gate. Taking that away, it's quite fast actually. To have the order delivered the next 24 hour, it's quite satisfying.

Let's see what's inside the PosLaju package.

Unpacked the goods from PosLaju bag. (L-R: Bubble wrap, Lambency dome (on top of box) and Lambency Flash diffuser). carefully packed the ordered items with the bubble wrap, protecting the fragile items. On the left, there's the blue box, where the Lambency Flash diffuser (aka the Tupperware) is. The domes (4 colors) are place on top of the box, they're also bubble wrapped.

Lambency for 580EX, fits for mark II too.

On the left of the picture, the bubble wrap looks bit messy because I have unwrapped it earlier. But when I realised I forgot about snapping photos, I just simply place them back, so that I can snap this photo. Hehe.

Colorful dome was packed in the bubble wrap.

When I bought this diffuser for 430EX, it cost me around RM 85. But this time, has slashed the price to only RM 70.00. It's really a bargain. The diffuser produces amazing, satisfying lighting effect.

It's a bargain! If you're looking for a diffuser, give this a serious consideration. The only drawback is it's quite bulky. That's why me and Pazuzu, both Canon user, sometimes left the diffuser at home, or in the car.

There are three items in the bubble wrap:
- Stofen Omni-bounce
- Battery holder (8xAA)
- Memory card storage (holder)

Items in the bubble wrap.

Item #1: Sto-fen Omni-bounce

Note the original 'stamp' on top of the label there. It's an original Stofen Omni-Bounce.

The label at the back indicates stofen's official website, and it's originated from CA, USA.

I didn't take the picture of that diffuser itself, will show next time la. Next, the battery holder.

Item #2: PowerRex Battery Holder (8xAA)

The battery compartment.

8 of them in total.

A battery holder sure comes in handy for you to get your camera bag organized. You need these batteries for either your flash, or your battery grip. Fit in just nice to your camera bag.

The last item -- Matin Multi-card storage.

The memory card compartments.

This storage/holder helps you with getting your camera bag organized. You don't have to worry where you placed or misplaced your storage card. You don't have to leave your memory cards, be it CF or SD, or even Memory Sticks, scattered unorganized in your bag.

A CF fitting into one of the compartments.

This box can hold multiple types of memory cards! It can hold up to 4 CFs. I wish I had gotten this earlier, before I lost my 2GB CF in one of my wedding assignments last year. =(

Click to read, oh, and it's made in Korea.

This useful tool comes with quite a reasonable price too.

Last but not the least, another example of shooting with pop-up flash on 350D, and with Canon Speedlite 580EX II.

The picture on top is shot with the pop-up flash on Canon EOS 350D. You can see a shadow cast on the photography subject. However, with the swivel head of Speedlite 580EX II, you can do bounce light of your ceiling, distributing the flash onto your object. That should give you a better coloring on your pictures.

Now, I'm pretty much geared up for my next shoot. I feel good!

kidd to mavs deal finalized

It's done.

Photo source:

The most speculated trade is finally penned. Jason Kidd is back to where he started his NBA career -- Dallas Maverick.

There has been a string of blockbuster trade recently, when the Lakers started with acquiring center/forward Pau Gasol from Memphis Grizzlies. Phoenix Suns followed the trend by swapping Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks with Miami Heat center Shaquille O'neal. Mike Bibby will be donning Atlanta Hawks jersey after spending several years in Sacramento Kings.

It is reported that both team had to come up with a unique proposal to make this transaction happen, which involves bringing Keith Van Horn, who hasn't played since 2006 Playoff, to fulfill the financial requirement in this deal.

Whatever that deal is, this sums up the latest blockbuster trade, which involves eight players in total.

The Mavericks get:
Jason Kidd, PG, 35 yrs old
Malik Allen, PF, 29 yrs old
Antoine Wright, F-G, 24 yrs old

The Nets get:
Devin Harris, PG, 24 yrs old
Gana Diop, C, 26 yrs old
Trenton Hassell, SF, 28 yrs old
Moe Ager, F-G, 24 yrs old
Keith Van Horn, F, 32 yrs old

Kidd is one of the best point guard in the game, all-time, will surely be seeking the elusive NBA title in his illustrious NBA career.

Hmm.. I just can't help but to put on all these sports and movie reviews, and also some updates/news on the entertainment industry lately. They just draw my attention a bit, so I'm just gonna share it with you all here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

obituary: lydia shum 沈殿霞 (1947 - 2008)

Hong Kong entertainment industry has just lost an iconic figure in Lydia Shum (沈殿霞), as she passed away at 08:38 a.m. (HK Time) this morning.

Lydia Shum (沈殿霞), 21 July 1947 - 19 February 2008

I remembered watching her comedies and movies when I was young. It was sad to learn about her departure.

She has been struggling with chronic ailments throughout the years, and only had the illness worsened in recent years. That was when her health development became main concern in the local media.

Lydia Shum & her worrying health condition.

She was 60, (21 July 1847 - 19 February 2008). You can read more about her Wikipedia write up here.

May she rest in peace.

my new toys

Updated and Edited: Scroll down to read the updates.

I bought new toys last Saturday, and they are...

A replacement to my old and entry-level tripod, which served for its last time on the late night of CNY Day 3.

Since my previous tripod was consider entry-level, which I got it about half a decade ago along with my first digital camera -- Canon Powershot A70, it was very light-weighted, and very unstable. It was even prone to shock wave from a concern stage a yard away.

So, I decided to get a serious replacement. Manfrotto is the leading brand for professional tripods and lighting stand, and its price range lies way out from my budget. -_- So I have to forget about getting that, at least for now.

So, I got a recommendation from the taukeh on this Digipod.

Somehow I feel that I've seen that Digipod logo somewhere. Don't you think so? (scroll up)

Good thing about this tripod is, it's using a ball to rotate. With that, it gives you more room and space for rotation. Hence, giving you flexibility and angles to compose your shots, especially when you're into wildlife macro. Furthermore, there is no 'stick', which you can find in the normal tripod, gets in your way. That stick, however, is more useful if you mount a video cam on it. It is need when you pan your cam.

Hmm.. I got rid of the box on the spot, and it doesn't come with other form of technical specification. So, I don't know how tall this tripod can stand at its maximum height, and how much it weighs. Dang, should have kept that box myself, but one thing for sure it exceeds 5 ft. This piece is heavier than my entry-level tripod, but it is still considered light, so it eases your convenience to bring it around for traveling. It has a S-hook at the bottom of the tripod, you can add on weight to the hook to stabilize the tripod in windy condition.

That was the first of two toys I got.

The second toy is..

Hmm.. let's just say photos look much nicer with the aid of the presence of flash. It gives better lighting to the photographs we take. All my previous photos were taken with an on-loan Speedlite EX430. I appreciate the generosity for that Speedlite owner to loan the flashgun to me for such a lengthy period of time. Thanks man!

So, I have decided it's time for me to get my own gun..

.. and I chose Canon Speedlite 580EX II.

Updated photo.

The flashgun shown above doesn't belong to me, I googled it somewhere. Hehe.

Needless to say, photos look better with flashgun.

It's a worthy buy I must say. :-)

I didn't take the picture of my flashgun, because I was using it to take pictures of my tripod. Haha. The lighting shows the presence of the speedlite already. LOL. I can only upload that Speedlite sign above there.

Updated: Since Irene lodged a feedback, here's the response to that. (click for larger view)

Both picture in the set are taken with the same camera setting, i.e. shutter speed, apertures, WB, ISO.. etc. Just that the one on left is taken with pop-up flash on the camera, while the right one is with Speedlite 580EX II. The one on right was taken with the flash bounce off my ceiling here, and the picture is bit yellowish, because I have a yellow wall here. LOL.

The example here is not that clear though, LOL my bad. The one on left should show harsher flash hit, but because I have reduced the Flash Exp Com setting within the camera menu, it's bit softer. And the one on the right shows softer flash hit, because it bounced off the ceiling here, the ceiling is already a huge piece of reflector cum diffuser.

LOL. Oops.. I just burnt a hole in my pocket! But I guess it's all good, as I have just expanded my photography inventory.