Sunday, December 28, 2008

Oh so beautiful, my lovely void deck

My sister have always been trying to get me to take photos of the river downstairs, but i've always been too lazy to. Until one day, the marina barrage finally was in operation, the river was never the same again.

It used to have tides, sometimes so high it is within 3 steps from the top. Now it stays at 1/2 the level.

The water used to be greenish blue, now its dirty-green.

It has changed alot, the place was much more beautiful when the tides came in, whereas now it never does.

A few days ago i decided to get off my bum to get a photo of this river (in its boring state). Since the water was never going to be nice again, i decided, taking long exposure photos at night would help hide its hideousness.

As you know, i recently got my tripod, and since long exposures help smooth out ripples in the water, i decided to give it a shot. At the same time, i decided to bring along my sis.

Its kind of weird bringing your camera around, it attracts unwanted attention. Plus setting up a tripod somewhere, it attracts lots of curiosity from passerbys(though luckily they did not stand around me). I set my tripod and camera at the bank so that the river was straight, took a few (a total of 4) shots and left. Results were ok, however it was unfortunate that it was drizziling, and my lens caught some raindrops.

the Results:
First Picture, caught water droplets in lens tho, shame. Should have also put a longer exposure, the river was not as smooth as i wanted to, also the lights were distracting.mmmmm...

Vertical shot, over exposed, can see grit in the river, also slightly slanted. (was rushing to get the shot, dint set up properly)

Well so i quickly packed up and went under the shelter. Most shots were out of focus, as i had a hard time finding the focus in the dark (the bridge was much darker in real life)(i focused on the bridge)

I thought it was a waste of time to just pack up and go home, since my tripod was already extended and my sister was downstairs, i decided to do some self-portraits with her. Ill let the pictures do the talking.

Fact is, Downstairs looks uglier than that, but thanks to blur...(i used timer for this shot)

Yellow Telephone?
well, i dont know why i shot this...

Downstairs Pawn Shop
infront of a pawn shop, there was something special about the bars and the old tiles with the red signs, but was unable to capture them properly (wasnt spactacular)

Same Shop
this shot looks like those newspaper article photos about some random sucessful business man.. haha

After that we packed up and went home. Did not think these photos were really special, but its just something to write about.

Yes, and you cannot believe pictures you see in brochures, if it looks nice in it, it probably looks worse in real-life.

Pictures are not photoshopped, just resized to 1200 x 800 at a JPEG quality of 70% of the orig

New Header!

ok, New header this time.

Looked good to me in photoshop. But after adding it to the blog, i see it does not go with the colours on the rest of my blog, ahh well.. screw that.. ill rectify it another time.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dithering ditto

I just realised how dirty my screen is...
Been Healing my pictures for hours and realised that its not only the dust on my camera sensor that is causing distracting dots on my photographs, its also my screen!
Thanks to my screen, i was wasting time "healing brush" every dot in sight, nowonder it does not come off... Sigh.

And yes im trying to rework my picture header, but the previous header i was working on turned out to be an epic fail.

And NO, im not publishing it. Blogs are made to insult another person, not let people insult the author :)

Megapixels is not everything.(Technical)

(Note before reading: This article is quite technical (according to my sis), so if you dont give a damn, just spend some time reading the conclusion at the bottom of the post (and probablly save some money the next time you get a camera).. that said, i still hope you spend the time reading thru this post, as i feel its a common misconception among people (including me at one point).. so, happy reading)

As the title says, im going to say it again. Megapixels is not everything.

Just having "graduated" to a DSLR camera from a PnS (point and shoot) camera, i still remember clearly that when i was choosing normal cameras (pns), megapixels seemed to be a big consideration for me, just like RAM was when i was new to the computer scene. It seemed that the more megapixels the camera had, the more detailed or higher quality my pictures would become, just like the misconception that the more RAM in your computer, the faster it goes.

Ehhhhh, Wrong. Dead wrong.

More RAM? The usual consumer version of Vista only supports 3GB of TOTAL RAM. That means if u have more than 3gb of ram, u are wasting your time and money as It Does Not make your computer faster.

Same "concept" goes to cameras. Yes, more megapixels means a higher quality photo. But, up to a point.

Whuha?? you say

Ok, to start off, ill give you an example:

Nowadays, you always hear this "Full HD TV at ......" Right? Full HD, what does it actually mean?

It means that the television has 1920 x 1080 pixels on it.

Then you feel like buying it, because the TVs on display have very sharp and vivid images. The shapes shown have a defined edge, not like your previous old junk at home. Sharp images, even at the common 42inch size of the television, where 1920 x 1080 are stretched to 42inches, it still looks gorgeous.

So to conclude, 1920 x 1080 pixels still looks sharp stretched to 42inches. ok?

So now we come to the cameras. Now that technology have advanced, anything below 8megapixels is considered old. The norm now is >10megapixels for small pocket cameras.

So what does 10 megapixels come out to? 3648 x 2736 pixels, FIVE times more than the full HD resolution. And how many megapixels does the "full HD" standard actually come to? 2.1mp.

Surprised? Well to give you more food for thought, my dslr (pro camera to normal ppl), only has 8mp, however it still gives me enough room to crop and photoshop pictures. In fact, a higher resolution would not really help me as i do not require such large photos.

If 2.1 mp is enough for the "Full HD" standard, why do you need more?
8mp is enough to produce a picture 21.8inch by 16.3inch large. essentially as big as a banner.
Do you need to print your friends faces the size of a banner? well maybe once or twice.. not ever likely.

So why do you need 10mp? why 14mp? No. you dont ever need this type of resolution, its just a marketing gimmick. Since the term is so widely used and so easy to "understand", manufactures just boost the number of pixels and sell it for a higher price.

Need more convincing so as to disregard megapixels?
-Manufacturers cram more megapixels into a small sensor, this causes more "noise" (the grainy effect)
-More megapixel means larger files to handle, which means your memory card would run out faster.
-More MP means cropping or resizing the photos to be able to fit it in image hosting sites, thus more post processing done, waste of time.

Plus some photos to convince you. These are taken from my camera at a block some 150m away. My camera is only 8MP.

Random Shot
Condo, taken on a nice december day at 8MP. Red Box Marks the crop, shown below. (Yes im sloppy)

Cropped photo of Random shot
Crop of Above Photo, Notice the Quality is still perfect, plus it can fit on your screen with no problems at all.

Now imagine this, if the cropped photo can fit your screen fully without any quality issues, tell me who has a screen big enough to see the whole picture, without downsizing it to his/her screen.

To conclude this post, (and to add more)
-Weigh your needs when choosing a compact camera
-megapixels higher than 8 are a waste of your time, you dont need it
-MP is mostly very standard now, ignore it (though not completely)
-Check the cameras sensor size (larger=less noise)(more mp on small sensor=lots of noise)
-Check the cameras focusing speed in dark (indoor lighting, dusk lighting)
-Check the cameras Shutter Lag (time where you press the button and time where it actually takes the picture)
-Check cameras Interface, less cluttered means faster deployment
-Check Cameras Startup time, so that you can just take out of pocket and immediately snap.
-Others (your own needs)
-Pardon the sales person trying to get you to believe in higher megapixels, I guess hes as bought into the concept of "more is good" also.

Well yea, thats all for this post. Hope you have understood what i tried to explain.
Oh yeah and on a side note, i've started to host my pictures on flickr, so no more need to preview the images!

And Yes, this post is somewhat like a random thought that came out of know where, just felt like writing it.. its what blogs are for what...

My New Tripod

The Gitzo GT1541T Carbon Fiber Tripod plus some heavy ball head..


I love it. Thats it. Full stop.

Its carbon fiber, light, simple and easy to use leg locking system , stable , good quality, short when folded.

Carbon Fiber makes it light and strong with some degree of vibration damping, plus, its carbon fiber!

Short when folded, how short? take a look at this photo:

extends to this tall, (taller than me if central stem extends):

Small enough to fit in my bag, (the red one that i always bring to school) such that i do not need to sling it over my shoulder (which attract lots of attention, as if camera hanging around neck attract enough attention liao)

Light, 1kg! Even lighter than a normal laptop even with the heavy ball head on.

Simple Leg locking system, SIMPLE. Grab all 3 locks, twist 1/2 turn, has a slight soft "click" when unlocked (dunno how to describe properly), as shown in the picture:

Once unlocked, Pull the bottom to desired length, and twist another 1/2 turn to lock!
Really fast and efficient, good for when you go exploring with impatient friends who cannot care less about photography! Packing it is the reverse of the above process.

Ball head is heavy but very smooth with quick release. Has a leveling gauge, can shoot portrait (sideways), big tightening nob so that u can tighten the head without looking away from your viewfinder.

Stable? Stable! At the bottom also got hook to hook weight to stabilize tripod.

Of course, then comes the gripes i have with it:
- ballhead is heavy(negate weight gain from light tripod)
- Tripod not high enough, need bend slightly (w/o central stem extended)
- Ballhead too big, den cannot fold tripod into smallest lenght (which involves folding it upsidedown)
- Top of tripod and bottom of ball head dont have locking system, sometimes nv screw properly den it will spin.
- Carbon fiber against nails produce nails on chalkboard effect
- damn expensive

Well but that said, this is one of the best tripods you can get, very good especially for travelling in other country during holiday, where you would not want to be lugging a long and heavy tripod around the whole day right?

one last picture, my camera on top of ball head, on top of tripod.

Even though the price is steep (1.2K total package), i feel that its worth it, instead of buying a cheapo one then wait you not satisfied with it then upgrade again. For this, buy liao den don ever need upgrade. Plus, you would not want your 1K plus camera and lens hitting the floor if the cheapo tripod legs give way right...

the things to come

Well first off, i really have a backlog of things i want to write about, but have been unable
to overcome my couch potatoness and self procrastination (or procrastinating to yourself, you know, when u walk here and there talking to yourself trying to decide on something)

Yup, too many other things to do, or what seemed more fun to me at that time.

Anyway, there's lots of things to write up on, as i said before, and im going to spend the next few hours typing these past events out for your reading pleasure.

Not in any order, im going to write up on the following:

-My new tripod
-Shopping for lenses with clement
-Night out downstairs
-Night photography
-Game review* (pending my writing content)
-Songs*(pending my embarrassment)
-Recent packing of my house*(pending more embarrassment)
-Bintan trip*(pending lack of photos,YES, I KNOW, IRRITATING)

Of course these will be backed up with photos, well most of these,
Though what u see above is just my thoughts on what to write up on at the moment of writing this post,
so current enthusiasm levels might not be the same when i actually BEGIN to write them.

Stars mean pending, more pondering, halfhearted attempts at more blog posts.

Anyway, im not keen at all in writing up bout the bintan trip as i do not have enough photos to back it up, so it
will be difficult to tell you about the experience i had.

As for the game review, im intend to "review" a mod for this particular racing game.
Rfactor is the game, MMG 2007 v2.1 is the mod. If you prefer arcade racing game, then you would
most likely not share the same opinion that i have on the game.

Well thats it i guess, time to begin more typing...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First time out with the 30D

I'm a big fan of the Formula 1 Racing series. (now you know). I have followed F1 since the middle of 2006, and have been following it closely till now. (Yes even in the off season).

Now i know thats not long to call me a Big fan, but hey, i embrace the technical side of the series, especially in the area of aerodynamics. Ever since i was young i have had a thing for machines (no not the fresh thing), particularly machines that have to do with aerodynamics.

First it was trains, i remember how i always wondered why the mrt were flat faced and not areodynamically efficient. Then onto cars, planes, then now this.

I love the aerodynamic components whos gentle, eye pleasing curves carefully pushes the air around a vehicle so that it slices through the air, not just barrel through it. Furthermore, it achieves this aerodynamic efficiency while also portraying beauty at the same time.

Well that is, until 2009.

Due to a regulation change in F1, the cars look...ugh
ahhh.. ill just bitch about it in another post.

Anyway, back on topic.

As you know, F1 came to singapore during october. I was phyced for it, grabbing walkabout tickets.

As the day drew closer, i somehow got interested in photography. So I had some discussion with my mom and with the help of Clement,(classmate which is also into photography), decided to get a DSLR.(camera)

I eventually got a Canon 30D from a camera shop in funan and an expensive lens to go with it.

It cost a painful $2000. And i paid in cash.

$2000 in $50 notes is thick enough to prevent you from folding your wallet... mmm.. fun fact

Fun, until you part with that neat bundle and hand it over the counter.

Yup, so i got the 30D on the day right before F1. That was on Thursday.

As for Friday, Clement and I skipped school for no good reason other than to sleep. (of course, the "reason" was because we were going to watch F1, but the session starts at a good 6+pm). We met somewhere i cant remember and entered the circuit at around 3pm.

First pictures i took at the circuit were these:

Picture of 2 Safety cars Practicing
(again, the preview sucks, click on the picture to view the proper thing)

The composition of the shot wasnt great, its a boring picture to me. But still, as first shots i was quite happy with it. Notice i was focusing on the fence though, i was using autofocus...

Well then we walked about for quite a while, tried to get over to the other side of the road but had to walk very far just to find a crossing bridge. Complicating the task further i had to find my uncle in the mess...

While doing all that, i took more average pictures, though one has some composition in it:
i overexposed the sky on this one, too bad tho. At that time i did not know what was Bracketing..
with that i could have properly exposed the sky, leading to a better looking pictures.

By the way, most of my pictures are cropped or resized, and their quality reduced slightly. I aim to upload pictures below 500kb so that the blog loads faster. Exceptions are when the picture is really nice, i just might upload the huge file (talking about 8+mb size)

I found my uncle, and we (clement, my uncle and me) went to turn 14 of the circuit, where i thought was the best place to watch F1. It is just outside the esplanade, where i took more photos:
Lower quality image again..

Another one,cropped and resized.

Yup, then the support races starts and it was pretty darn loud. Yes, even i welcome earplugs, considering i loved the engine sounds. First to go was the BMW fsomething cup or something, with the cars looking like A1GP cars, or the old F1 cars (1999 era). Then the aston martins, then the porches.

Did not have good pictures of the BMW cup race cuz i was constantly focused on the fence..

Then the Astons:

Yes the fence is irritating, Cropped..Cropped a lot due to ugly fence and lack of telephoto lens.

more astons..

Here with my uncle, thanks to clement for helping take this photo.

Maybe i should stop using blogspot to upload photos, they preview like crap...

anyways, then the porches:



End of session, tho looks as if they are racing..

Managed a few pictures of BMW Cup later in the afternoon..and its getting dark.(grainy pictures)Beautiful sky, unfortunate for the dead tree to be in the shot though. Earlier in the afternoon, picture of the people around us..(and no.. thats not clement in the picture.. too old don't u think)

As the sky got darker, the photographing got more and more difficult. Aggravating the issue was that the cars got faster and faster. I was already shooting the earlier cars at a shutter speed of 1/2500 sec to prevent blur, and had to bump it up to 1/5000sec to capture the F1 cars.

Mind you, we were situated about 100m from a tight corner, and yet the cars were still travelling too fast. To tell u how far, consider this, i had to press the button of my camera just before the car enters the viewfinder. Considering that DSLRs has a really small lag between pressing the button and the camera taking the shot, and considering that the cars were already slowing down for the corner, that was still really fast.

Notheless i manage to get pictures of the cars, though sacrificing shutter speed for noise(Grainyness of the picture). First few pictures were out of focus, as the view finder was small and it was hard to find a proper focus.

Redbull car with sparks at the back..
BMW...The red glow of the brakes..The lighted buildings..

Then inbetween the 2 practice sessions we changed position to get better pictures.

Most of the pictures are cropped and slightly lower quality, again the preview sucks so click on the picture to get the full picture.

Anyway, it was a good first day out with my Canon 30D, learnt quite alot about the different modes in a day, also learnt that focus is really hard to achieve on the small, dark view finders of DSLRs. And also, post processing photos is a pain in the ass, i ended up with 400++ photos of the cars..

Well thats it for this post, and yes, i still have not gotten the bintan trip photos, so more past events post next..

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Not Yet, mate..

I'm Back!

Though the sentence above does not deserve the exclamation mark... i've been back for 6 days already.

Yep, all the time i've been too lazy to update my blog, u would think.

Well, yes and no.

You see, in the previous blog post i promised pictures of sunsets and whatnot in Bintan right, however the place turned out to be not what i expected (lol), and the "resort" *cough*, was facing the wrong directions.

Example: Sun sets inland, sun rises out to sea.

Since most beautiful skies come from sunsets, and since the sun sets behind some relatively tall land (as in hills). I was not able to take pictures of sunsets there.

The next obvious thing to do is take the sunrise...

Well the sun rises about 6am Bintan time, i woke at 5.30am, and saw some spattering of colours in the skies. In my tuckered out state, i thought that i had somehow missed the sunrise, and had sauntered back to the cozy bed.

The second morning, i woke up to find that the sky looked the same as the previous morning, however, seeing my neighbours in their lawn chairs with cameras, i decided to stick around until the sun really rises.
However, due to the cloudy conditions there, the sun was fully hidden by clouds and as a result i looked like a really stupid fool sitting in the lawn chair with a Big Camera trying to take pictures of a non-existent sunrise while shivering wildly in the morning chill.

Well so, no pictures of the sun in Bintan.

Then is the deal with pictures of the resort and what we did and other random stuff. Well that will come later once i am able to get permission from my friend, to go to his house, and collect the pictures from his camera.

Yup, pictures from His camera.

I have to admit, that i'm way too choosy with my shots. Problem is i expect every shot to be a shot that has potential to be a desktop wall paper, or something perfect. Perfect angle, exposure, depth of field, etc. Furthermore my settings for my camera are not on the auto mode. That means that its not a Point and Shoot camera, i still have to tweak the settings.

Thus i miss lots of shots as I'm too busy tweaking stuff, make my subjects irritated for taking too long to take a photograph and more. Mind you i am a noob at photography still, it doesn't mean that i am as good as those pro photographers when i get a pro camera, i start off at the same level as any other random yahoo on the street.

I have to change my mentality then, i have a tendency of not taking photos if the picture would not turn out nice, thus losing lots of pictures that would have otherwise contributed to my recount of the whole trip. I must learn to take candid shots.

So because of my fastidiousness, i have to borrow my friends photographs to help aid the holes in the absence of my camera and shit.

Thus ill have to wait for a time where he is free to be able to post a full story, which i cant tell u when cuz i dunno when he is free.

So since theres nothing on Bintan yet, i guess i should tell u about my other wanderings...

Ok not really, im too shagged to recount another story with you so ill just post a picture that i took during that trip to satisfy yr needs.

note: this photo's quality is dumbed down to 50% of the original. Original .RAW file size is 7mb
Oh and the preview on blogspot does not do this picture justice, click on it to view it full size unless you have an ancient internet connection, which would take centuries to load.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The "first" post.

Why the inverted commas around first, you would ask.


The truly first post starts somthing like this:"Lorem ipsum dolor sit..."

Gibberish, just a place holder while i tweaked the horrific mess of words some call "HTML".

Talking about tweaking, i spent about 3 hrs of figuring out how to change the various colours of the blog thru CSS codes, when all i had to do was click the layout button and set the colours.

ahhh well.

So to hell with the editing of colours, width and height of squares and borders, and screw the jelly like words that took too much of my time, im going to do what i had created this blog for:


Simple, post a picture, type out a writeout for it.

"So... Any first post pictures?"


Unfortunatly, due to time consuming, useless efforts aimed at making the blog look nicer, (not to mention the ever present factor of lazyness), this blog has been published at a time where the author (me... for those who were wondering..) is going to Bintan for a holiday. In fact, tomorrow. So the [javascript=$NumberofVisitors; disp=0] faithful visitors that have been so kindly visiting my blog since 1999, please be patient and i promise that you will be rewarded with the following:
  • photos from bintan
  • pictures of sunsets without the use of tripod
  • blurry pictures signifying chronic hand wobble
  • and more unintelligible gibberish as placeholders!
Now isnt that a Deal!

Ahh thats all for now, hopefully i would remember to come back and carry out the promises that i made above, (pending perennial laziness) and get back to you soon.

Original Design ' by, edited By Yang

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