31 July 2008

The Colour of Summer

A warm, bright morning, a light breeze, the start of a fresh new day... Hope this still life conveys the feeling.

K20D Sigma 90mm f/2.8 Macro

Flowers Galore Part II

Finally found the time to go through the images captured on the memory card. More orchids from the Singapore Garden Festival. Just love the bokeh from the lens. All images taken with the K20D and FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited.

29 July 2008

Flowers Galore

Went down to the Singapore Garden Festival last week with a friend. Didn't really have enough time to go through the lovely exhibits but managed to take a couple of nice shots of some of the loveliest orchids around.

Set in the Suntec Convention Centre, the show covers two levels of floral and gardening concepts. Taking inspiration from the world renowned RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the exhibits were very innovative aesthetically. Set indoors it certainly offers a welcome break from our warm and tropical weather.

Being indoors, the lighting was a serious challenge. Overall light intensity was low and there were lots of mixed lighting which made white balance selection all the more difficult. Fortunately the K20D's WB control was pretty good and I didn't need to fine-tune anything. All the more amazing considering the shots were all in jpeg.

There were lots of photographers who used flash and/or used a tripod. I hate using on board flash which my opinion would have given an unnatural rendition of the actual colors and result in a flower shot with little modelling. The high ISO ability of the K20D and the use of a fast prime in the guise of the FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited plus built-in Shake Reduction allowed for hand held available light images. To me that's a unique and telling advantage. Overall, I'm quite happy with the results.

24 July 2008

Stormy Weather

Lately I've noticed the weather patterns have been going a little cranky. Really don't know if it is due to the effects of global warming or not, but we've been having some unexpected morning showers which is a little unusual at this time of the year.

K20D Tokina AT-X 28-85mm

But as they say, stormy weather also means the opportunity to take dramatic pictures. I took these fast moving storm clouds with my old Tokina manual focus zoom lens. Before I knew it the clouds had completely obscured the morning sun. Within a few minutes, everything was a dull grey and it was raining cats and dogs.

K20D Tokina AT-X 28-85mm

David in Pink

Went to the National Museum with my son and took this pink replica of Michaelangelo's David. The centrepiece as one enters the building, this large sculpture is so recognizable because of its representation of strength and youthful human beauty. This work is by Indonesian artist Titarubi and made of fibreglass with textile ornaments.

K20D DA 50-200mm

23 July 2008

Yellow & Orange

Liked the play of colours of the flowers. I shot this when I walked past a small restaurant in the city. The 28mm is such an easy focal length for unplanned shots like this.

K20D FA 28mm

20 July 2008

A Good Friend Wins With A Pentax

I'm quite happy that a good friend and fellow Pentax user here in Singapore recently clinched the Singapore Young Photographer Award 2008. Going by the nickname night86mare on the Clubsnap photographic forum, WK is an intelligent and talented young photographer who takes some amazing landscapes, IR and abstract images with his trusty Pentax K100D and ultra-wide lens; though he has recently switched over to the wonderful K20D.

K20D FA 28mm

The fact that he's clinched the top prize and tidy sum of prize money while I can only write about this in my blog speaks volumes of the wealth of talent he has. The Pentax user base here may not be as big as those from other makes but we're a pretty friendly and a close knit bunch, and I'm happy to say we're very happy for our guy. I took the above photo of WK at the National Museum when a few of us decided to catch up with him at the exhibition of the winning entries.

16 July 2008

City Skyline

Went to a friend's apartment that offered a lovely view of the Singapore skyline. Could see the traffic coming out along the Central Expressway to the tall buildings of the Central Business District.

K20D FA 20-35mm

14 July 2008


I was drawn to the rich colour and texture of a kimono that a young lady was wearing. A quick snap without too much thought to the composition. Happy that the K20D's white balance was pretty spot-on.

DA 50-200mm

12 July 2008

Dark Reflection

Was out very late in the city and shot this lonely bus stop which had this dare I say arresting anti-drug poster displayed. Even though the light level was pretty low and I didn't have a very fast lens aperture wise, the camera's Shake Reduction and high ISO performance allowed me to shoot hand held very easily.

K20D with DA 21mm Limited.


Close-up of a friend's new Nissan GT-R. Seriously fast looking even when stationary.

DFA 100mm

10 July 2008

More with the DFA 100mm Macro

As much as I sometimes lament over Pentax's current version of the 100mm macro, the DFA 100mm has, I have to admit, proven to be a versatile lens in capturing a wide range of subjects.

The lens build quality uses a lot of plastic and has a tendency to hunt in low light. Pentax has slimmed it down in size and weight compared to the preceding FA and F versions and added the ability to focus manually in what is known as Quick Shift. It's not a lens I readily take an immediate liking to for the reasons above, but it does somehow give me the images that I like.

Case in point are the three images that I shot very recently. The first one was that of a rain cloud rolling in early in the morning and managed to capture this lovely image of sun rays peeking through the dark clouds. As the clouds were moving pretty fast, used aperture priority and dialled in some quick exposure compensation.

The image of the tiny fern was shot on a terribly overcast day. Had just a few moments to shoot before the heavens opened up with torrential rain. It was so dark I had problems focusing manually.

The last shot was a low key image that I was tinkering. Needed a dark metallic object and I remembered my carbon fiber monopod had a Manfrotto head that fit the bill perfectly. Decided to convert it to black and white as I felt it looked a little better than the pretty similar looking colored version. All images shot with the K20D.

09 July 2008

Small & Big

Drove past the east coast sailing centre mid- morning when I caught a glimpse of teens learning the ropes of sailing putting out to sea. Nice contrast against the backdrop of the large commercial vessels dotting the horizon. K20D with the DFA 100mm Macro.

08 July 2008

Macro for the day

Brought some kids out to the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden. Amidst trying to keep track of three excited kids, I managed to snag this dragonfly. Decided to do a crop the sides to make it a square composition. K20D with the DFA 100mm Macro.

06 July 2008

Some K20D Images

Low key still life of a small lime.
The lime plant I have seems to be dying,
and this was perhaps a last attempt to fruit.

DFA 100mm Macro

Front grille of a Nissan.
Liked the abstract shapes.
Tricky lighting but the K20D got it right.

DA 21mm Limited

04 July 2008

Small Wonder: the DA 21mm Limited Pancake

Water's Edge

Just recently I chanced upon a used DA 21mm Limited that another photographer had put up for sale. Even though I've had the DA 16-45mm f/4 and more recently the FA 20-35mm f/4, I have always been somewhat intrigued about the DA 21mm Limited. Good build quality yet compact and small, and good optical performance all add up to a lens that is quite special. The lens is tiny and comes with a unique bayonet lens hood that has a window cutout.


Well, now that I got the new K20D, I thought it was time to reconsider this lens. The lens gives the angle of view of a moderate wide angle and the 0.2 metre minimum focusing distance is sufficiently close for the kind of shots that I like to take.


I'm pleased to say the lens hasn't disappointed me one bit. It's been on the K20D a lot. The quick AF is definitely a big plus because focusing manually can be a bit tricky at this focal length and at a maximum aperture of f/3.2. Nonetheless I've been kicking myself for not getting this pancake sooner. It's just a versatile lens that delivers.


Here a series of images that I'm doing for a personal photo book that I'm planning to self publish later in the year. All were shot with the DA 21mm Limited on the K20D.