Monday, December 6, 2010

Group photo with flashes.


Shooting a group of people under bad lighting condition is a tricky job to do. I read one article about taking a group photo with 3 flashes in strobist.com, I wanted to try out the method explain by strobist. I has this golden opportunity when I and my wife were invited to attend a bloggers gathering in a local restaurant.

I used 2 flashes instead 3 as mentioned by strobist.com. Strobist explained that a cross lighting method should be adopted to provide a 3D-ish kind of group photo. Flash on camera left would positioned in such a way that the flash light would feather out so to provide a soft-box type of lighting, and the flash on camera right should be fired from behind the group for separation purpose. A third flash suppose to be fired from on camera axis with low power to provide some fill onto the crowd.

Since the flash from Sony camera's pop-up flash commander is visible under shutter speed of 1/250s (HSS speed for A700), I should make use of the flash fired from this pop-up commander, with shutter speed set at 1/200s, instead using a third flash as mentioned in strobist.com.

The result isn't that promising though. Although the flash from the pop-up acts as fill, but I feel that the flash isn't strong enough to bring up details of the shadow. Still, some faces are still in dark shadow. Perhaps I should use the third flash as advised by strobist. :p

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Gadget in the House

I didn't iPhone myself although I have a chance to do so. My old mobile phone decided to call it a day and refused to accept power charging when I do so. I was happy and sad at the same time; happy as I finally has a valid reason to get myself a new mobile phone with straight approval from Home Minister, and sad because there aren't enough money in my bank book for me to own an iPhone.

I could own an iPhone with credit cards easy payment,instead burdening myself with interest free monthly instalment, I choose not to. My first mobile phone was Nokia, it was the trusty little blue colour Nokia 3230. :D Nokia made reliable handphones, and I bet this one would serve me well.

Once again, the familiar Nokia ring tone rang again. :D

Monday, November 22, 2010

Some recent update

I knew I've been not maintaining my English blog. Blame to the work load that come to me. After moving back to Penang from KL, I lost most of my free time I used to have when I was in KL. From 5 days work per week to 6 days work per week, from nothing to do in the office back then to a practically no rest working hours, I have no much time for me to think of blogging.

Once in a blink of my mind, I wanted to stop blogging, that includes my Chinese blog.

Of course I don't wish to stop blogging. Just I might take out some time to write a post in my blogs.

So, what I am up to these days ?

I Mac myself. LOL.

Not a new one of course. I bought this 1 year old MacBook Pro from a friend of mine who he wished to upgrade to iMac. I was exited with my first ever Mac. Been using it for a month and am surprise to see how fast it turn on and turn off when compare to my brand new Dell Inspirion desktop. This Mac is just a 2 core Intel processor, where my Dell desktop is running on i5 processor.

However, Mac isn't that Godlike after all, it do hang occasionally. LOL. Look like bite an apple a day not always kick a windoz away. :p

And blogging with Mac is a headache for a windoz guy like me. I find the HTML codes from Safari browser is not understandable with extra lines and extra commands. Look like a Mac machine isn't that friendly anyway.

My son is 2 years old now, and he started to speak more words. He could already speak out a simple sentence in object-verb-subject format. He has learned lots of things from the adults by just observing what we do and what we speak. And he likes been photographed.

My soft box DIY project has been put on halt although I've drawn out the plan and the materials are ready. One word : lazy. LOL

Anything else to update? No. As my life isn't that interesting after all. LOL.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jupiter and its moons.

Jupiter Moon on 22nd Sep 2010

Jupiter is the closet to Earth from 18th September till 24th September. It can be easily been spotted by naked eye. If someone has a binoculars or a small telescope, Jupiter's 4 Galilean Moons can be seen easily.

I shouldn't missed this great opportunity to photograph Jupiter with my own camera and lens. 400mm super zoom lens is good enough to photograph this giant gaseous planet and its moons with ease. The distance between Jupiter and Earth is shortest on 21st September 2010, but the weather is not that encouraging; raining whole day long, and even when the rain stops, thin layer of cloud is still overcast the heaven. However, being the next brightness object in the sky after the Moon, the cloud could not stop the light from Jupiter creeping through.

There was a small period of time when the cloud is thinnest and the rain stop at night, and the light pollution was minimal I could point my camera to the heaven to witness my very first time, to see the King of Planets of the Solar System. Quite disappointing to see through my 400mm lens that what I saw was only a small white dot, not quite I imagined as a clear picture of Jupiter with its red spot. Although disappointed, I continued my will of photographing Jupiter and let the camera do the job of capturing the light from heaven. To my surprised, not only Jupiter is enlarged in the photo from a small dot to a decent size, 4 of its 63 moons can be easily seen on LCD of my camera ! :D

What setting do I need? High ISO, big aperture and long exposure. Shutter speed less than 1 sec is ideal so not to encourage "star trail". Hence, high ISO and big aperture would compensate the limitation of the shutter speed. Closing down the aperture with provide a star flare effect.

Jupiter could still be seen by naked eye till October. This is my hope that the weather condition would be promising for astro-photography.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Baby Ver 2.0




Three years ago, we got married.

Two years ago, he came and joined us.

And she will join us in a few months.

Welcome, Baby Ver 2.0. :D

Friday, June 25, 2010

Camwhoring again....

Camwhoring again ! LOL
I think I need one extensive face-beauty treatment.
I believe only a high air pressure sander would smooth-en my face. >.<

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Universe is in my hands !

..... not quite, and not yet.


Two months ago, I discovered this interesting magazine in a book store, it's "Built A Model Solar System". I said to myself:"Wow, how cool is that! We can actually built a model of our Solar System !" With all the gears, mechanisms, calculations, moving parts etc etc and it's so engineering !

The magazine talks about our Solar system: Sun, planets, moons, asteroids etc etc. Printed in high quality glossy paper, and printed in the UK, I find this is very educational.

Without much thought, I purchased the first issue. Inside the first issue, there is a form stated if I subscribed this magazine through the publisher, I could get some free gifts and also a free next issue. With no hesitation, I faxed in the form, and waited happily for the magazine send to come.

Few weeks later, I received a parcel from them, and yes, I got one free gift (which is a holding file so I could keep all my magazines in this file) and two books with some parts of the model I am going to built.

Not bad, huh ! And the "Sun" is actually made of bronze! I can feel the weight ! :D

Months has passed, and I should be building up my model, right? No, I am not. Why ? Because I haven't receive any magazine from the publisher since last month. LOL.

I think the respond of getting the magazine is not so great and the publisher decided not to continue sending out their magazine. Even now I couldn't find the latest issue in bookstore.

I guess I have to stop dreaming building my own solar system then. :(

Or I should optimistic enough to assume that the publisher would actually accumulate some issues before sending it out to us.

Let's wait and see. I do hope I could continue this project. My hands are getting itchy, I need things to do !!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Stamps


Stamps for sale.
Anyone?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

From Macro to Infinity ~!


These two lenses occupied my almost empty drybox few weeks ago, and I am now no longer limit myself on shooting normal zoom range. Now I can go macro with Sigma 50mm F2.8 Macro, and go extreme tele with Sigma 400mm F5.6. Thanks to my 2nd elder brother who is now in UK who brought back these two lenses for me. He used to speak Minoltan, but now he speak Canonian. These lenses technically can't understand what his Canon camera body tell, hence he better send it over to M'sia and let his youngest brother's Sony body talk to them.

Sony camera speaks Minoltan, anyway.

Shooting into sky with long lens is not new to me. I've done it before, and I've shot moon pictures numerous times. But macro photography is a total new thing to me. Never try, never know that macro photography really takes out much attention and patient to do so. Again, although I had done this many many time, I salute you guys who has the patient and attention in macro photography.



This is my very first macro photos from a true 1:1 macro lens. These ants basically stay there, hence I could able to go near them without disturbing their routine life. A flash was placed on camera left slightly behind the ends at level 1/32, triggered via Sony on-body flash commander.

Although it's a 1:1 macro lens, still I need to crop my photos. Is that normal?

I admit I got hooked by macro-ing now. I am really a little late to do macro-ing, but hey, is there a age limit for learning? No, right ?


I have no idea what is this thing, but it's motionless while I was taking its photos. Some body told me it's a larvae of a ladybird.....

Anyway, plant portrait is much much much easier than insects!! At least they don't move, if there is no air movement. :D

I think I like macro-ing as well. :D

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's been awhile ....

Since my last update to this blog. Well, since I'd change my life completely, I don't have the "free time" luxurious as I used to be.....

The biggest shift of my life so far is to move back to Penang from KL. 9 years ago I went down South to KL alone, hoping to be a modern city boy with happening life. 9 long years had gone, and I couldn't enjoy this so call "modern city boy" living style; all I went through was rather a poor little guy struggling to get a space in this big city.

I came back to Penang not empty handed. At least I brought back a wife and a son. :)

This photo make me proud. And because of this photo being featured during the recent Sony Expo in Mid Valley, KL, we had a pretty crazy 24 hours KL trip! Ee Young's photo is printed into a poster size and framed with high quality Aluminium frame and been feature as a photo in Sony photography workshop ! How cool is that !

Too bad my current work load had taken much of my time. I could feel spider had found its place in my dry box. I think it's time for me to take out my camera for UV screening under the sun. :p

I'd taken moon's photos for many many times, but this is my very first time shooting moon with a 400mm lens ! Cool lens it is ! Too bad it's AF is malfunction, but who needs AF function when shooting a moon ? :p

I finally found a very good advantage of owning a high mega-pixel camera: I could crop my photo for zooming effect without losing much detail ! The lizard was having its sun-bath while I was in my room about 3 metres away. With only 70mm "tele-zoom" lens I have, I took this shot, then I post-zoom again by cropping my photo. Not bad, huh. :p

So, what am I up to now? This photo tells it all:

Something to do with furniture, and I finally got to put my gears into very useful manner. LOL

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Reunion Dinner

The reunion dinner on the CNY eve is a very important dinner for a family. All family member will have to make their way back to home to re-unite with the rest of the family member. It is the time where everyone update their latest happening in their life; from work to love, from health to wealth.

It's our tradition to have steam boat for our re-union dinner. Why steam boat? Since we are living in such a hot and humid country? The reason why steam boat is chosen is beyond my understanding, but I reckon that preparing steamboat is much easier, and of course it's healthier. :D

This dinner is so important so I wish to keep a photo record of such reunion dinner. Photographing a dinner event under yellowish bulb condition would be a nightmare to me. The only light source available in the room is a ceiling hanging yellowish bulb. Low light means I have to bump up my ISO and shooting at very low shutter speed. Yellowish bulb means I have to custom set my WB.

Slow shutter speed means I have big chance to capture ghosting effect. Wrong setting means I'd have a very yellowish skin tone and everything would look "hot"!

I've read how to light in a big room in strobist's Christmas Game Plan. I was sceptical about Dave's way of lighting his living room with two flashes. Since I have a reunion dinner event to shoot, why not give it a try.

I was depending on my memory about the settings and where to set my flashes. All I remember was to position my flashes across the area where I was shooting the event.

With my light stand, I mounted my two F42 flashes position in such a way that the flashes are aiming to each other, but slightly pointed upward toward the ceiling.

A test shot as can be seen in the photo on the left, you can see a single flash could actually light up the whole dinning room ! With the flash at the same position, I could have "side lightings". Cool, eh ?

I adopt how strobist explained where to position his flashes. During the dinner event, I put my flashes as shown in the sketch on the left. Flash A was set to a corner near our dining table, and another flash B, position almost opposite to flash A as shown. Both flashes were pointing upward onto the ceiling.

Both flashes were fired wirelessly using my A700's onboard WL function.

Wait a minute, don't we need the sight of light to trigger the flashes? Strangely I do not need so. I could able to trigger the flash even it's behind me. Well, I guess the flash pulse from A700 is strong enough to fill up the whole dinning room.

So, how's the result ?

That's my mother hugging my son, Ee Young with my father in the foreground munching a shrimp. Base on my father's expression, I am sure that the shrimp must be pretty tough to chew.

Well, pretty good for my own standard. With two flashes nuking the dinning room, I could capture everything with high shutter speed at 1/250th of a sec without worrying of blur image because of hand shaking.

In the photo on the left, flash B has become the main light where flash A has become the hair light. Cool, eh !

A very important aspect to look into would be the colour of the ceiling that I am going to bounce. I do find the due to some yellowish ceiling colour, all my photos are hotter that it should be. However, it's easily corrected in post processing.

Later on, after the dinner, we hang out in the living room. Similar lighting set-up for the living room with different flash location as shown in the sketch on the left.

I moved my flash A to the new location as shown. This time, the flash was pointing to the nearest wall so the flash could bounce from the wall hence creating a wide broad directional light coming from side. A soft box effect so to speak.

Flash B was a main fill flash during the dinner event, but it became a back fill light in the living room. This is because most of the time our activity happened in the living room where our face were facing to the wall where flash A would bounce from.

My father and his two grand sons, David and Ee Young. David is my elder brother's and the little fella with red chinese costume is my son. Flash A was position at their front right and flash B was at their back left. I was in the middle of the flashes where flash A was on my left and flash B was on my right.

Flash A bounce from the wall, hence creating a soft box effect falling onto their faces. You can see from the shadow of my father's leg. Flash B bounce from the ceiling above to cast a soft light falling onto their hair.

This method proven work to me. At least I have no worry of shooting at low shutter speed. I guess this method could be very useful for a wedding shoot as most of the great action would happen inside the house. By placing two flashes, or may be three, on strategic locations, shooting a chaotic in-door event with fast shutter speed no longer a mission impossible.

Oh, by the way, Happy Chinese New Year to all. :D

Monday, January 18, 2010

Solar Eclipse !

Solar Eclipse !!!

Yes, I got my very first astronomical photograph! It is the 2010 Jan 15th's solar eclipse!

I knew the eclipse will happen on 15th Jan 2010 and marked my calendar and got my camera ready for this. The eclipse started at around 3.02pm and ended at around 5 pm. It was the longest eclipse ever happened, and if I missed it, I’ll have to find a way to keep me alive until the next millennia. Because it will only happen once in a thousand years!

How I photograph eclipse? Simple, with proper filter and a digital camera will do the job pretty good. I used two layers of the floppy disk’s magnetic disk as my filter. However, I found I was able to view the eclipse by using one layer of the magnetic disk.

Before I continue to describe how I did it, I must state down the warnings:

WARNINGS !
1) Do not stare at the sun with naked eyes without a proper filter. Your eye(s) could be damaged!!
2) Do not point your camera to the sun without a proper filter. Your camera will be damaged!!
3) Do not look through your camera viewfinder without any filter!!!!!

And finally, you shall perform the steps I mentioned here with your own risk.

Ok, what I did was to cover my lens with these magnetic disks as shown below:



I have some numbers of un-wanted 3 ½ in floppy disks. A little force applied to the disk and the magnetic disk can be easily taken out from the thin cover. Due to the lens diameter is huge, I use a magnetic disk to cover the lens to prevent any light leakage, and cover the middle hole with another magnetic disk as shown above.

Because I have only 70mm zoom lens, the size of the sun capture in my original file is just a peanut size. I have to crop 100% in PP in order for me to obtain a viewable picture of the eclipse.

I followed the whole eclipse event from the beginning till the end, and I am amazed by the wonder of the nature.

I captured a total of about 100 pics of the eclipse and made it into a stop-motion movie as shown below:

video


Now I know the moon circulate around Earth. :p