Thursday, May 28, 2009

Not so pleasant deal...

I admit I'm missing my trusty little 50mm F1.4 lens. The image quality produced by this lens is superb and unquestionable and it's light weight; I can move around with this lens all day long and it was my walk-around lens even I had my ex-trusty SAL 1680 in my bag.

It's my hope that one day I would own back this germ produce by Minolta.

Hence, the searching is on going and finally I found one put on-sale in a forum I always hang in. The WTS post is super simple: one Minolta F1.4 for sale, RM XXX, deal at Puchong. And the picture posted is stock pic from google picture search. No lens cap ? No filter free ?

Well, since I'm interested, I requested the seller to show me the actual photo of the lens, so I could have a look first. Hey, guys are like that, would fall in love by first sight, right ? LOL

And to my surprise, his reply is super chuen: the lens is in new condition, period, working condition, can test the lens as long as you want provided the time fits his schedule. And he ends his reply with a picture of his wife makaning in a restaurant he claim to be in Japan and he claim this picture was taken with this lens. WOW, what a "great" reply from a seller.

I doubt a lens that is about 10 years old would "in new condition"; at least my ex-Minolta that was owned by a careful owner also didn't look new to me. Nothing would still keep "in new condition" after 10 years of usage. More over I do not know how many hands had touched that lens. A picture of his actual lens would tell if his lens is really "in new condition", and also the picture can be as a proof that he actually has the lens with him.

A simple request of showing me the lens picture is not a difficult request in my opinion. One thing I couldn't understand is if he claim himself as a photographer, he should be able to take a decent good looking or even a pro-looking picture of his lens to put on sale. Be it the picture is taken by a camera phone. What the heck I want to see the IQ from this lens? I had taken numerous nice shots from this lens and I had seen many more better pics than his one on the net if I want to look at the IQ produce by this lens.

I also did my own on-line selling, and I'll make sure my gears photos are well taken and be honest to the buyer that what he see is what he get. If he found there are extra good, then that's his bonus. I am not making any money from the selling part; just to "discard" my un-used staff so to turn the gear into money to feed my family.

Well, as conclusion, I think my money is not worth for him to keep, or my money got sting and stink and he doesn't want kua.

Anyway, it's not my duty to teach him how to do his selling, enough advices given and I don't wish him luck in his selling.

Look like I need to save up more to get myself a new SAL 50F1.4 instead. :p

Monday, May 25, 2009

Nothing stop him from his nauthyness...

Even he got a little bit fever after his injections last week. He didn't like the taste of the medication our doctor provided, we have no choice and bought this bye-bye fever sticker on his head.

First, he was like what is that ? Look like a new toy to play with. Many times the sticker fell and we had to stick it back again and again. He remained active and playful even though his body temperature was above the safe limit.

Anyway, he is ok now, and becoming very naughty. He had learned how to move around by using his belly and legs, and our nightmare is coming very very soon !

Wish us good luck ! LOL

Friday, May 22, 2009

Two Flashes Self Portrait.

After reading strobist's post on two flash portrait, I also want to try out. Again, my usual way of doing something new is put myself as the model. He never complains and he never need any payment. Ok, not no payment, just a can of beer would enough to ask him to pose for me. LOL

What was strobist said was simple: a flash with a shoot through umbrella as a "control fill", and another flash as the main light.

Shooting at indoor, with shutter speed more at 1/250s kills all the ambient. In fact, I did this shot in my room where the ambient is the tungsten light. Bad light, right ? By killing the ambient and fill the room with the controllable flash light would free me from colour problem.

Like what strobist did in his post, I set up almost the same set up as his: an F42 with shoot through umbrella about 1 feet below the lens axis. Now the problem comes: how do I "set" the ambient ? I have no light meter !

Read through strobist post again: he mentioned the fill should be 2 stops lower than the main light on the face. So, I use my grey card as my manual light meter, set my flash to level 1/4, and took a test shot:

And my setting is 1/250s, f/2.8, ISO 400. So, this is the "ambient" reading. In order to drop this "ambient" two stops, I close my aperture to f/5.6 and ISO to 200, same flash level at 1/4 = about 2 stops lar, and I got this:

Dark, right ? Yeah, it's about 2 stops down. Ok, I have my "ambient" and I tested my main light. Off my F42 with umbrella, set up another F42 on camera left, high, with my DIY grid, level at 1/2 (if I recall), camera same setting at 1/250s, f/5.6, ISO 200 and test shot :

Well, this is the "head floating" pic as strobist talk about. LOL. The light is pretty ok, right ? So, I turn on my F42 with umbrella, re-pose myself a bit and take a shot with two flashes, and walla, I got my own self-portrait as shown in the first pic of this post.

Easy right ? Everyone can do also. :D

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My first footstep in Bali.....

The workshop started at 3pm, and I had nothing much to do in the hotel. The hotel was kinda empty and I was no where near a beach. Hence, no hot babes to see.... *ahem*

Well, there is a village nearby the resort, and there is a nice paddy field just outside the resort. Why not I just took a "morning" walk to refresh myself after soooo many days sitting in the office without any exercise; I need to stretch my body, and I regretted doing that. LOL. Why ? Well, wait till the end of this post lar. LOL

It was the harvesting session. The villagers were busying harvesting the paddy and they don't seem to camera and tourist shy. Everyone smiled to me and said :"Jalan-jalan ?" And I just smiled back said:"Ya, jalan-jalan."

Sound nice, right?

Of course I did not "jalan - jalan" in the paddy field only. From the brochure of the hotel, there is a temple somewhere further into the village after the paddy field, and it is a 5km walk. I saw I still had time, so, I just walked lar. It was 9.30am in the morning, and the weather was nice and cooling. Before departed to the village, a friendly resort PR advised me to apply some sunscreen lotion so not to get myself burned up. Well, it's 9.30am in the morning, do I need one ?

Yes, I did. LOL. The sun was super friendly to me and I regretted not to apply the sunscreen. And by the time I regretted, I was almost half way to the temple. Going back empty handed was not my type, so I continue my journey lar.

Along the way there were the locals minding their own business. The girls were preparing to go to school, and one of their younger brother (I think) was bathing in the man-made channel just on the camera right, out of the frame. Simple life and happy life...... The girls thought I am a Japanese. *fainted* Hmm... do I look like a Japanese ?

Then I came to a dam made to irrigate the paddy field. What I saw shocked me: a man was squatting in the water doing his "business"!! And the water flows to the same channel as the bathing boy I mentioned earlier.....

After the dam, turned left to a small path, and I reached this temple.

It was a 30 minutes walk from the resort. I entered my very first Balinese temple. It's the Empul Kuning temple if I recalled the name correctly. I had read much about Balinese religion, and I do understand Balinese practices Hindusm. But what I saw in front of me is not a typical Hindu temple as I see in Malaysia. I started to question myself: am I sure I'm entering a temple ?

It's so "un-Hindu" so to put. Nothing look familiar to my eyes, and I was kinda lost in the house of Gods.....

And I do not recognise the feature of this statue. It doesn't look "Hindu" to me. Only after 2 days trip in Bali, I understand that the Balinese has assimilated the Hindusm religion into their culture.

Kite flying ! I never had a chance to fly a kite. Shame of me......
Indeed the life in Bali is relaxing.

I didn't stay long. I left the temple so to catch the bus that would bring us to our lunch in the town. And yes, it's a 30 minutes walk again.

After the lunch, our workshop started 3 pm sharp in the resort. A round table introduction was carried out, and I'm the one who has the least photographic experience. LOL.

Then a short introduction from Abbas, and he shared with us some of his experience on making a story from a series of photos.

Sneak peek workshop in progress.

Yup, that's my super old laptop in the foreground of the pic above. And I was installing the Sony software. LOL. We needed to shoot our photos in RAW format, and I didn't install the software in my laptop. And I was worry; my old laptop may not able process the raw files fast enough for the workshop. I prayed hard hard hope everything will be ok.....

Then we need to show our portfolio. Spontanously, I quickly downloaded some of my photos from my blog as portfolio lah.

And Abbas comment was: everyone takes nice pictures, and all of us are photographers. LOL. Well, quite a diplomatic comment I would say.

Then followed by a Q&A session before our dinner.

A cultural show entertained us while we were having our dinner. Nice dinner, nice show, happy day, although I sweated like hell in the morning..... LOL

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It's all start from a phone call...

On one very fine day, when I was super busy with my work, my handphone rang. The screen identified the caller as George.

Hmm.... He who-I-kinda-"hate" and he-who-the-least-expected-to-call-me called me. Hmm.... what wind blew him to call me? Let me picked up his call and see what he wanted to say.

George: Yo bro ! I'm sending you to Bali. You will leave for Bali in 1 week time. Give me your full name and passport number.
Me : What ? What the heck ! What is this all about ?!?!
George : Never read the forum ar you? The Assignment with Abbas from Magnum one !
Me : Huh ? But the website says for A900 owner only wor. Me not A900 owner what....
George : Never mind lar, just go. It's FOC, full sponsored by Sony ! FREE !!
Me : Free ? Hmm.... that sounds good ! But let me talk to my wife first.
George : Ok, give me your answer as soon as possible !

Bali ? Assignment with Abbas from Magnum ? Wow ! That's really something for me ! Never in my dream would have a chance to work with a Magnum Photos' photographer !

Talked to my wife through MSN, and she granted her agreement for me to go. Though I'm quite heavy hearted of leaving her alone with my son.

"Don't worry. My friend lives nearby, I can call her in case I need anything." My lovely wife told me. Visa approved !

Then, half day before departure to Bali, George the-man-who-I-quite-"hate" send me the workshop schedule. The schedule says: the participants are required to share their portfolio. OMG ! How the heck I have time to prepare my portfolio ?!?! Then I read next line: the participants are expected to bring their own laptop for editing. OMG again ! Laptop ?!?! Editing ?? Quickly I go and check my already been covered by half inch dust laptop and see if it's still function or not.

Thanks God my old Compaq laptop was booting. LOL. Portfolio ? I have no time for that. Editing ? That would be post-processing of photos? What I have in my old Compag is Picasa ! Don't care lar, I was in hurry, I re-pack my luggage to include my 3kg laptop, kiss good bye to my lovely wife and cute son Ee Young and headed to LCCT...

Yup, that's the plane that fly me to Bali.

My flight from KL was 7.00 pm and reached Bali at 10.00pm. No delay, how good !

And once I was in Bali it's a pitch dark night ahead me. I was hoping to stay at one hotel that has a nice long beach with hot babes sun-bathing *ahem*, that would be nice.

But I was wrong. I waited for the next morning, and what I see is this:

Paddy field !!!! *fainted*

I was in Bali, and I was staying in a resort that has a paddy field within resort area and surrounded by paddy field !!!!!
Why ??? Why ??? WHY ?????????? MySpace

Anyway, not bad lar this resort. It's the Kamandalu Resort and Spa in Ubud, north from Denpasar, the capital of Bali. Very Balinese, very serene, very nice and very comfortable to stay in.

I was expecting to share a room with one foriegner, but to my surprise I was staying alone in a villa. If I knew I have my own room, I might as well called my wife to come with me, no ? :p

Such a big bed, and I was sleeping there, alone !
A hut at the balcony area.

Did I mentioned here there is an outdoor shower bathroom ??

And the TV program was such a bored.
Blomberg, BizTV, satellite TV that speaks German and French....

Anyway, I was there for the workshop, not to relax myself. I wouldn't mind staying at a cheaper hostel because most our time during the workshop will be away from the resort. So, why should we stay at this so luxurious one ? Hmm....

Hmm... the resort was quite empty, could be due to the bad world economy. Of course lar, because you need about USD 400 to spend a night here in a normal room, and about USD 600 a night for a villa that I stayed at. MySpace

"Take a rest first, because hard work awaits you for the next 2 days !" Warned Abbas when we reached the resort on the first night. *Gulp*

Well, a good rest ensure a longer journey. So, enjoy the stay and sleep first. Then worry about the tiredness later. LOL

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Trip That Wasn't Been Planned ....

That was a trip that wasn't been planned. It was a surprise for me, a real surprise with almost everything to be prepared in a last minute basis. I returned home exhausted but with full of knowledge and that was an eye opening trip for me as well.

This trip tells me at which level I am.

Full detail report will be out, soon.....