12 December 2007

Kuala Lumpur: A Shopping & Shooting Bonanza

This is a somewhat belated post in part due to my very hectic year end work.

Although I've spent the largest part of my life here in Singapore, I always have a soft spot for my hometown Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. In the midst of a very hectic year end work schedule to oversee print and design jobs from my clients, I decided I needed a short weekend break and travel the 350 km or so road trip to KL with my family and some freinds. Lots to see and do. The food in KL is so much better in terms of variety, taste and very affordable at that. All images on the K100D with the DA 16-45mm.

Shot at The Gardens, which is a beautiful shopping mall.

20 November 2007

Yippee! I got My Lensbaby 2.0

For the longest time I've been on the lookout for a Lensbaby in Pentax K mount. The local agent here simply doesn't bring in the Pentax mount versions for reasons best known to themselves. Well I happened to chance upon one online and in just under a week to was sitting on my desk. Thrilled to bits as I imagined all that wonderful Lensbaby images that many have posted online were now for the making.

The Lensbaby represents the antithesis of the modern method of taking pictures: with the emphasis on razor sharp definition, AF, autoexposure... in short to just aim and shoot. Using the Lensbaby calls for a healthy dose of deliberation, especially when we've become accustomed to auto everything photography. A quick familiarisation and I couldn't wait to try it out.

Well the first thing I noticed was that Shake Reduction didn't immediately work. OK no problem, a quick check with the camera manual and I had to set "FI with S lens used" to "available" in the custom menu.

The next thing was that Aperture Priority Auto Exposure was frequently inaccurate. Only later did I discover that I had to dial-in an additional +2 stops of exposure compensation to get the exposure right. This was confirmed when I later checked the Lensbaby web forum. That out of the way, the Lensbaby has been an absolute blast of fun. Definitely recommended.

I just discovered that I I have an add-on telephoto and wide angle supplementary lenses that fit the 37mm filter thread of the Lensbaby.Originally for portable camcorder use, they work perfectly. And my Pentax extension tubes work perfectly as well. So that should keep me busy in the coming days.

08 November 2007

Some B&W On The Run

With the year is coming to a close, I have had little time to shoot with the many work projects in hand. However I was fortunate enough to squeeze in some snaps during a recent client visit. The camera's handy size definitely allowed me to shoot unnoticed. All taken within a space of a few minutes. K100D with Pentax AF 35-70mm

Shot in the late afternoon, the bright golden light made for some nice silhouettes as people were rushing to leave the office blocks.

05 November 2007

From The Botanic Gardens

Went through a folder of images from a memory card that I have somehow forgotten about.
These were all taken at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. I've got fond memories of this place because I used to live very near to it and frequently jogged or took long walks on its grounds. Founded in 1859 by a horticultural society as a leisure garden, it's pretty near the city and I'll often drop in to take quick snaps whenever I get the chance.

Gazebo in falling light

K100D 70-210mm


K100D 70-210mm

Green moss

K100D 70-210mm

Wild Orchid

K100D 70-210mm


K100D 50mm Macro


K100D 50mm Macro

31 October 2007

Some Housekeeping Gems

Recently, I've been going through a couple of folders of images on my desktop in an effort to do a bit of housekeeping. Well revisiting shots taken a while back is a useful exercise in my opinion as the passage of time allows for a fresh new perspective. I've selected a couple of images which I thought deserved another look. Hope you like them as much as I do.

Clubhouse Verandah

K100D 24mm

Standing Watch

K100D 24mm

Against The Light

K100D 125mm


K100D 100mm

After The Rain

K100D 50mm

25 October 2007

"Anyone Can Cook"

Met some friends at a pretty dimly lit restaurant just a few days ago. While we were tucking away on the pizza and discussing on the wedding preparations of another friend, I was intrigued by the mural they had painted in the restaurant. Reminds me of that wonderful movie Ratatouille where master chef Auguste Gusteau's motto kept ringing in my mind.

K100D M 40mm

The next picture is where reality hits home. My feeble and passable attempt at cooking pasta. Maybe if I was a little rat with a name like Rémy, things might be different.... ha, ha, talk about cashing in on a Hollywood movie hit as an excuse for a post.

K100D DA 18-55mm

20 October 2007

Some B&W conversions

Decided to convert to B&W some of my recent shots. Here's my food loving pet chihuahua. I've been trying to get a nice tonal gradation with channel mixer without having to do extensive layer masking and burning or dodging.

A bench at the club that I'm a member of. Liked the shape of the wrought iron which I think is nicer in B&W. Both shot with the DA18-55mm.

Took these candid shots of famous Singapore food reviewer K F Seetoh of Makansutra fame with a A 50mm. This ex-newspaper photographer is now a media celebrity in-front of the camera and I have no doubt has become richer for it. A nice affable guy who unfortunately had bad press for a number of legal suits at people using the Makansutra name.

He's got this tough guy look but is really quite friendly. His words to me were "Don't worry I won't sue" Ha, ha. Actually these images were shot with the wrong WB. Fortunately Photoshop is a lifesaver.

18 October 2007

Some Snippets

A few test shots that I had done recently.

A simple brown leather bag.

K100D Vivitar 35-70mm AF

This was a sample shot for a friend's clothing business.

K100D Voigtlander Macro Apo Lanthar 125mm

10 October 2007

Industrial Discoveries

Many times, photography is a matter of chance. A combination of factors like finding the right subject at the right time of the day is something that is often unplanned. Yesterday was just such a day.

Drove to an industrial area after meeting a client when lo and behold, I saw an old aircraft radial engine with the prop still in place. Quite rare and unusual to see this in Singapore, so I stopped and took a short walk to photograph it.
K100D Vivitar AF 35-70mm.

A little while later, spotted these exhaust vents. Somehow it kind of reminds me of the kid's show the Teletubbies where the speaker sticks out from the landscape.
K100D Sigma 90mm Macro

08 October 2007

IR & Hot Spots

Just a few days ago, I decided to try out a IR filter that I had ordered off the internet from a Chinese seller a while back. At about S$23 inclusive of postage for a 52mm size, I figured it was a small enough amount and I was curious to find out how it would compare with the Hoya R72 filter I already had.

After a visit to a client and having some time available, I decided to drive to the Upper Pierce Reservoir to try out the new filter in combination with my Pentax FA 50mm f/2.8 Macro and Sigma 28mm f/2.8, both sharing a 52mm filter thread.

One thing that I noticed when compared to the Hoya R72 is that the quality isn't half bad. The filter ring is pretty solid and actually heavier than the Hoya and the filter itself is made of glass. Looking through it, it isn't as red as the Hoya and honestly I have no idea whether the markings match the cutoff frequency. Oh well, time to give it a test.

Most of my shots were taken with the 50mm Macro. To my disappointment, the lens exhibited quite a tell tale hot spot when I post processed them later. This is yet another Pentax lens that showed hot spot, the other being the Pentax DA 16-45mm. Fortunately, I also carried an older Sigma 28mm and it helped salvage the session (last three images).

Hot spots become more distinct as the lens is stopped down. This makes it kind of useless when one needs to take scenics where maximum depth-of-field is needed. As for the effect of the made in China filter, it works. Images after a channel swap are quite similar to the Hoya R72 but where the Hoya has more prominent yellow/browns, this one is a little bluer.

04 October 2007

A Nice Cat and Hangers

These are some unplanned images that I took recently. The small size and light weight makes the K100D a perfect camera to tote around. While many will gravitate towards the slightly more expensive and higher spec K10D, I find the K100D has more than enough features to deliver excellent images. The smaller size also makes it a little more unobstrusive.

Shot of a neighbourhood cat using my Tokina AF 70-210mm f/4.5. For some reason this cat walked towards me and struck this majestic pose.

Here's a still life of hangers that was taken in incandescent lighting. Really like the warm tones and creamy out of focus quality of the shot. Sigma 90mm f/2.8 Macro.

27 September 2007

In Praise of Carbon Fibre

Over the years I've tried many tripods, finally settling on an aluminium Manfrotto 190Pro for a period of time. Not too heavy and not too big and having owned several Manfrottos at one time or another, I was pretty much satisfied with the build quality.

Just recently however, I made the switch to a Gitzo 6X carbon fibre tripod because I was offered a good deal for it. What a difference in weight and err, price wise! The Gitzo G1157 is pretty compact but I dare say matches the features of the Manfrotto with a substantial weight saving. This model has recently been replaced by the newer G1540 with the newer G-Lock design which increases load capacity quite a bit. If price is a consideration, the more affordable Basalt models (carbon basalt mix) is an option. These models weigh-in somewhere between the full carbon and aluminium. Whichever the model, Gitzo is unmatched quality wise.

I've kind of resisted buying Gitzo in the past because I felt the twist locks seemed slower to setup. Well the new models lock quicker and a tad faster than the flip locks of the Manfrotto. I've matched my Gitzo with a Manfrotto 486RC2 ball head and it's a perfect combination that's pretty light and sturdy. Thumbs up for a great tripod.