Sunday, August 23, 2009

Plane Shooting !

It was one fine day when a friend of my, Wingz the Nobleman called me and asked me if I want to "ta fei kei" or not. Well, as a healthy man I am, sure I want, but since this is kinda private and I wouldn't do "that" to anyone else but my wife.......

Of course not "that TFK" !! LOL

Wingz got a special permission from someone in MAS so to let us get into a secret place near to KLIA where we can take photographs of plane landing and taking off without been chased by the guards. Instead, we will be protected by guards. LOL

Since this is kinda once in a lifetime experience, why not ? Hence, early in the cooling morning of Saturday, I sacrificed my lovely sleeping hours and drive all the way to KLIA to shoot aeroplanes landing and taking off.

After about 1 hour of driving, we reached at a small hill top where it's indeed a very nice place for couple to do their "thing" here. I basically can see every corner of the airport, and the scenery is so nice ! But due to security precaution, not anyone can access to this place. Without a permit from MAS, we would be locked up for sure, since we showed out with our camera gears ! LOL

Anyway, I am not sure either is our air port is not busy one, or our air port is not a popular stopping point for airplanes, I got bored of waiting for planes to land. We were chatting more than taking photographs of aeroplanes landing. LOL. Hence, we shifted to another spot, where we can see planes taking off.

To be frank, I have absolutely no idea and in-experience of shooting aeroplanes. I didn't know what to do, and the weather at that morning was so not photography-friendly: grey sky, dull lighting, and even going to rain some more. And the position where we were standing on the west side of the airport, meaning the sun is actually directly shine to us ! What could possibly we can take any good photo under this condition ?

Well, since I got this opportunity to take airplanes taking off without chasing by guards, and it's all good will from MAS, hence I must also take MAS airplanes lar. I must do that because there ain't much aeroplanes taking off from KLIA that time: almost all planes are either from Air-Asia or MAS punya airplanes ! LOL

Anyway, without much idea what to do, and without any longer zoom lens, I tried the artistic approach then. I found the MAS hanger is just directly opposite where I stand. I figure out that would be a nice back ground for any plane that takes off. Hence, I compose that way lar.

Air Asia flying over MAS hanger !

If I am not mistaken, this is an AirBus, MAS punya for sure.
This time I got it right ! LOL

Then haze coming. Everything became so dull....
I got bored....
then, when I saw this.....

Cool that he holds his cam-corder with the bread on his hand.

I like this pic, so got feeling inside, hence I add words in this photo.
Can't read chinese ? Too bad. LOL
It says :"Waiting..."

Then, few minutes before we called it a morning, and few minutes before the rain pour like cats and dogs, we saw at the far end a Boeing 747 was queuing up ready to take off. Quick quick I composed and wait for it to fly over the MAS hanger ! Quick quick press my shutter button to get some shots and I am happy to get this:

Got feel bo ?

Anyway, special thanks to Bro Wingz, who invited me to join this wonderful outing. Second of course to the MAS people who allow us to go to these place taking photos without worrying being accused as terrorist (well, we submit our IC number to them...). And of course must mention the guards.

They took very good care of us !
Basically follow us anywhere we go. :p

And the guards over the fence.
They must be freaked off to see about 20 photographers turned out with our super long zoom lenses pointing at each aeroplane that takes off ! LOL

To wrap up, this is one kind of the experience I had. Never thought of a chance to go such near to a highly secured place for a plane shooting without any worry to be chased away. Although the weather was not in the favour of photographing, but I am pretty satisfy of what I got.

Well, this indeed one kind of shiok sendiri kind of experience lar. LOL

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Radio Trigger Sony Flashes !

Finally, I had found out how to trigger the all Sony flashes with radio signal !

I always wanted to find the way to trigger my Sony flashes with radio signal. Although all Sony flashes (except the "pop-up" HVL F20AM) are WL ready, but there are limitations to the existing build in WL system. With the non-standard hot-shoe on camera and on Sony flashes, it is impossible for any 3rd party radio trigger to work with A-mount system. Although there are hot shoe adaptors for flash and camera availble in the market, but having a much lower trigger voltage (as low as 1.5v) for the flashes made the 3rd party radio trigger couldn't work at all.

Not until one China manufacturer decides to make a Sony radio flash trigger system! Unfortunately, this product is meant for non-Sony flashes; it comes with a Sony mount transmitter, but with one or many ISO mount flash trigger(s). Hence, an hotshoe adaptor is needed for my flash to mount onto the trigger.

Introducing, the YongNuo CTR-301P Radio Trigger
for Sony (iISO mount on trigger)

I am thrilled, and bought a pair of it. But no luck for me b'cause the trigger couldn't trigger any of my Sony flashes (either the F36, F42 or F58). Even though I tried to PC sync'd it, still I have no luck. After consulting my friend, and my other best friend call Google, I finally found out that the receiver for this YongNuo CTR-301P required to be modded in order to work with Sony flashes. The theory behind is because of low trigger voltage of the Sony flashes, we need to by-pass the diode of the circuit of the trigger bla bla bla which I'm not quite understand.

Ok, how to mod ? I do not need soldering, what I need is a short cable and a small screw driver.

This is how the receiver looks like when open up. The cover is the part where the hotshoe is, and the cable connecting the hot-shoe to the circuit board can be easily dismantle because it's on "plug and play" type. "Un-plug" the cable for ease of working of course. The battery was removed from the board while modding the receiver.

What needed to do is to connect the negative battery terminal to the base plate of the flash hot-shoe.

A small length (about 1 inch) of cable will do. Trim out the both end part for about 1 cm length or so to expose the wire inside.

Unscrew the bottom plate of the hot-shoe. The plate will be loosen up. This is where the cable to be slotted in like the photo below:

Once the cable is slotted, put back the screws and tighten them. At the other end of the cable will be slotted onto the plat of the negative terminal of the battery. Upon closely examine the battery compartment, I found out that the cable is actually can be slotted onto the gap between the terminal plate and the battery holder. Once the battery is installed, the battery actually help to secure the cable on the plate itself !

The mod is done. Connect the red-black cable, close the cover, tighten up the screws, put in the battery, and I am ready to radio'd my flash !

I was happily mount my F42 on the trigger and test fired ! Nothing happened.
I mount my F58 on the trigger and test fired, it fired !
Tested on F42 again, the F42 seems doesn't want to fire. It doesn't like the trigger, I think....

Again, after some googling, finally I got my answer: the F42 needs to be sync with the camera body first before it can be radio trigger'd. The reason why need to do this is beyond my understanding. Hence, mounting my F42 onto the camera, half press the shutter button, take out the F42 without turning it off, mount it to the receiver, and walla, my flash fired under radio signal !

So, does this set-up syn with my camera at the highest syn speed ? Well, it syn at 1/250s !

At 1/200s.
(Exif intact.)

At 1/250s !
(Exif intact.)

Faster than that, I capture a curtain closing half way on my pictures. LOL

So, a question is raised : since our Sony cameras and flashes (except F20) are WL ready, why do I need to radio trigger'd ?

Simple : with radio signal, I do not need the line of sight for the off-camera flash to work.

However, there are some other pros about this radio-trigger, such as:
1) The flash can turn off the HSS mode !
2) The flash GN no longer depends on shutter speed. (Under HSS mode, GN of the flash reduce like hell.)
3) The delay between the signal fired till the flash fired reduce tremendously ! (There is a delay on Sony on-board WL system).
4) Flash can trigger at long distance. (Sony WL only at 6m or so.)
5) Flash can trigger under hot-sunny day. (Sony WL may not fired under sunny day).

Of course, I couldn't do high shutter speed shooting with this radio trigger. Under Sony's on-board WL system, the flash could even syn at 1/12,000s ! But the GN at that speed is super low. When on-earth I would use that speed under WL ??

And for sure I couldn't do TTL under radio trigger flash. Well, off camera shooting is all about manual setting, no ?

Anyway, the trigger fit very nice onto my camera because of its Sony mount. We no longer need another adaptor to mount the standard ISO hot-shoe trigger back then. It look nicer, and I like it very much ! :D

By the way, I found this Sony iISO mount Optical Trigger in the camera shop ! Couple with my radio trigger, it completes the whole radio trigger off camera system. I just need a radio trigger'd Sony flash as a "starter" to trigger the other optical slave'd Sony flashes ! Cool, right ? :)

Total cost on these set up (radio + 2 opticals) is about RM 220, a lot cheaper than a PW !! LOL

Can't wait to put this system into field test !

Update !
My flash merely fell from the trigger. No thanks to the SC-6 adaptor. How to prevent it? Read here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Went to the Flora Festival in Putrajaya on the last day. LOL

Well, it's a typical Malaysian government run event: very good at the beginning, and after been officially open ceremony by someone in the high post in the government, the event basically became auto-cruise with no maintenance.

Anyway, I did not manage to get a great shot of flowers, because I don't know how to take one. LOL. Though I still capture some lar, which I like.

Then I got bored. Hence, I concentrated on individual flower shot instead. I didn't bring my flash with me, hence I use the pop-up flash from my camera to illuminate the flower. It was about 6pm in the evening and the ambient dropped very fast.

The principal of using the pop-up flash is still the same : meter the ambient, drop 1 stop, and let the camera do the calculation for the pop-up flash. Hey, my pop-up can do ADI also one !

Anyway, to my surprise, I like the pictures produce by the pop-up flash ! It's not bad also mar, right ? :p

Boh-keh Part II

I did my first boh-keh test from different lens and it is shown here. My Sony DSC H1 was no where near my sight back then and I didn't make the boh-keh test from this camera.

I basically search every corner of my apartment, still I couldn't find it. Until I have a desire to get a compact camera and start looking for one, my H1 all sudden appear in my laptop bag. How dramatic.

Anyway, I found my H1. Hence, I wish to test how the boh-keh produce by this pre-CZ super zoom lens from Sony.

Same set-up as my previous boh-keh test: set my Yellow Lego man on the edge of my window, set up my tripod, mount my camera on it, focus and shoot.

Initially I thought the round bokeh can only be achieved from its macro mode. Hence, first test: aiming my camera as near to the Legoman as possible, with its widest aperture, which is f2.8. And I got this:

Well, no bad, huh ? Got orbs.

Then I tried another method of bringing the far object comes near by zooming to the max of the lens. Since my H1 is a 12x zoom, I just try and see lar.

I wasn't that sure what I'll get, since the sensor of this H1 is so minute.... I was stunt to see the result when I zoom to 12x and at macro mode of this camera :

Wow ! That's a huge orbs ! Almost the similar size of my blue label lens ! And also there are cat-eyes bokeh too ! LOL

So, no need a big hole lens to get orbs bokeh: what you need is a long zoom lens and you will get this kind of circular bokeh thingy. Even from a super zoom compact camera will do. ;)