Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I hear you

Yes yes, i know i know. Very paiseh lah putting up the Christmas header for so long. So i knew i had to do a new one real quick thus taking aside two days just to complete this simple header.

Got the idea from The Proposal movie actually. When i first watched it, or rather when i first saw the movie poster, i knew exactly how i would want it in my own version.

I didn't quite enjoy the photo shoot for this header. I had to wear my 2-inch-heels in my bedroom! Wearing it in all the 63 photo shots isn't such a pleasant thing cause i had to do every by my own. Setting the timer, walking back and forth to release the shutter, checking on the taken pictures, all in my heels. Painfully tiring man!

Anyway, I'm not gonna put any comparison here cause i don't really heart this header. Wasn't really an easy task for this one since i had to relate it to both CNY and Valentine's day. I think i only like one thing about this, which is the fact that a dSLR is in my header! *blushes. HAHA.

Alright, I'm going back to editing the next header. That can have a longer lifespan without having myself feel embarrassed.

Let me know what you think ya! Cya!

P.s. : Mini-mabels...comin' up next!

P.p.s. : Ryan Reynolds has very sexy abs! :O

Friday, January 22, 2010

Photography Assignment. Not mine.

Says who we can't do photography assignments without a dSLR camera huh? Even with a pns camera or even the phone camera also still can shoot shoot okay!

It was actually Julian's homework for his photography class and since i so love this art, i decided to tag along. We are both pns camera users by the way.

Some of you may think that i take great pictures, as if it came directly from an SLR. But that doesn't proof me to be a genius in photography. I too am still learning and it was a great opportunity to be able to explore more in this field through this homework.

Like most photography assignments, one is required to get snapshots based on a theme or a subject. In this case, we were to experiment with the types of pictures we are to produce. And oh, just a little note here; the following explanations will be done according to my own understanding on the subject. Please correct me if there is any mistakes ya!

1. Fill the frame.

It's quite obvious right. Just fill your camera frame with your object and in order to do that, shoot a close up picture.

I like the fact that when the objects are taken from a closer view, the picture turns out to sort of look like an abstract picture. It's not easy to create the abstract feel. And it's all about the object that you choose. For instance, if you shoot a close up picture on a flower, you wouldn't get an abstract.

Unless maybe you could do some zooming in and cropping in the editing zone. Plus some saturation and a mix in the colors. That would definitely give you abstract art. Not to mention that if it turns out like shit, you can still claim it to be abstract.

Still objects are always the easiest to shoot with and in my opinion, i find that the best place to start practicing your close ups, angles, macro, etc. Why? Cause they'll model for you so professionally that you sometimes wonder, why do they not substitute gorgeous models with 'em mannequins.

Snapping Julian's pet cat was no easy job. One, i had to use flash which i suck so badly in and i had no choice since it was indoors - not enough light lah. Two, thought miao miao was quite still, the flash would cause him to blink. So imagine how many attempts were made in order to get the perfect one!

2. Leading line.

You must create/capture some sort of an illusion-like line in your pictures. Maybe your object could be the railway track or your computer keyboard, anything that is aligned neatly that creates some sort of an invisible line. Okay, i made it sound so complicated.

Saw these photo frames in a restaurant while having breakfast with Julian's family. Or was it lunch? Anyway, notice the 'lines'? Or seeing it at another perspective, the frames themselves is the line.

You really gotta play with the angles in this lah. It's not just about your arms but also your wrist. Make them flexible. If possible, make use of your fingers as well. Don't just shift your camera left and right, up and down - you gotta know how to rotate it as well. Yes, rotate is the word that I'm looking for!

Usually we choose still objects to create this line lah. I mean, how can you find such straight lines in moving things right? To one can stand that straight lah!

3. Angle - low and high.

Somehow i think this is like the most important in every subject. Without angles i think pictures would have looked so boring. I also think this is the simple most task in the assignment. Basically you just need know the two basic types of angle; high angle and low angle. High angle pictures are taken from a high view, making the subject's head look big and smaller towards the feet. While the low angle shot works the other way round.

You don't really have to go to the top most floor of a high building to finish this task. A standing position is enough. As for the low angle shot, just squat lah.

Easy right? Anyone with common sense can do it!

4. Patterns.

A picture of patterns is of a repeated subject. Like a picture with flowers of the same design scattered around the frame neatly is called patterns. You can find these on present wrappers, vintage fabrics, tiles, and so on.

It may seem easy at first, but after taking that shop from the same restaurant we found the photo frames and going outdoors, you can rarely find anything obvious for that subject.

5. Rule of thirds.

I notice many people tend to place their objects at the center of the frame, especially shots of people. It will be more interesting if the focused object is shifted slightly to the side of the frame. If your camera can provide grids on display, it will be easier.

Picture taken from here and here. Forgot to make such visuals in my draft so gotta borrow.

Just place your object on one of the intersection and you'll see the difference compared to the normal object-at-center picture. But if you don't have such display on your camera then you'll have to just roughly imagine it in your mind.

I like this coconut tree shot. The white thing that is supposed to be the focus of the picture seem like a spark, or a firework.

Oh by the way, it is also quite important that your object stands out. No point having your object seem like it's hidden in the picture right? Unless if you're a really good then yes, such pictures will turn out good.

Like the dry flower picture, i had to use the green leaves as the background to make it stand out. Otherwise it would have drowned in the dark background. Wasn't easy taking a picture of that cause one, it was small, and two, i was using the manual macro mode. So my hands had to be really still man!

6. Depth.

Depth relates with angle also, in a way. Pictures with no depth are flat, like 2D cartoons or close up pictures. You can simply take any angled picture, no matter high or low angled ones, there is always depth in it. It can be quite confusing at times but i guess browsing through google image would help a lot. Just type 'depth' in the search engine under the image tab and press search. If not, click here.

I didn't really catch it at first, so from my understandings on this, depth pictures either have a focus place on the front, center or the back. Like the picture of my phone above, the focus is placed on one part of the keypad and the other areas blurs out. So i guess the focus plays a role in this subject too.

7. Control of your background.

I've mentioned a little bit of this earlier, about playing around with your background in order to focus your subject.

I haven't got an uncontrolled background here but I'll try to describe one. From the picture above, the background is controlled since the green fills the frame. There is no distraction. Say if i tilt my angle a bit, having the buildings and other wild grass and pots to be in the picture while still maintaining my focus on the flower, what I'll get is an overloaded background. To many things in the background which causes much distractions is considered as an uncontrolled background.

8. Natural framing

Instead of using an actually picture frame and place it in front of your object, natural framing is the use of the things around you to frame your object. Like maybe your attempt in taking a picture of a chair in an empty room. Maybe you can try placing the chair opposite the room's door and take a shot of it from the keyhole on the outside of the room. The chair will be framed by the keyhole. Get it?

This picture doesn't exactly nail it lah but it is roughly like that; the leaves framing the mini waterfall.

I think whether or not you know the theory is not important. But what's important is to practice. The theory only serves as an introduction. To really store it into your memory and understand it, you really need to do some experiment.

We went to Julian's cousin's apartment to complete the tasks and boy, it was much fun! You know what, this could be a real fun group activity! You can make it like a treasure-pic-hunt quest or something.

And if the prize happens to be a dSLR, yo tag me along!!! Haha.

If there is really such contest, winning would be so easy for almost everyone. Just look around and you'll get your winning picture.

Unless if you're joining competitions like the ones in the Digital Camera Magazine, then that would require a little more creativity and skill. Not to mention, a lot of knowledge on the manual settings also (especially pns camera users)!

* * *

Actually the current header that I'm working on is almost done. Only maybe 30% more til completion. But i just realised that Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day is coming! Which means if i put that up now I'll have to take it down again and make a new one for the romanticCNY theme. Waste lah like that.

You know i don't like to reuse my old headers. Plus from the votes i receive from my poll, there wasn't anyone who agreed with using the old headers.

Anyway, i was thinking of having my upcoming header with the 'silhouette' theme.

But so far, no solid draft on it yet. So what do you think? Any suggestions??

P.s. : No, I'm not going to reveal my minimabel header until after CNY. Oopps... spilled some beans there. HAHA.

P.p.s. :By the way, i have almost fully recover already (:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ice Kacang Open House

Looks like I'm coping pretty well with my new timetable (cause I'm working now). Thus am able to update with this post.


Have you seen one of these gadgets before? I believe it was invented very long ago, excluding the motor that runs by electricity. Any idea what it is?

Clue : Used for ice.

Still no idea yet? Alright more clues related to the dish from this gadget.

Some side ingredients for that dish.

Okay lah, maybe you still haven't got the answer but never mind. It's an ice kacang machine my dad bought about a year ago. Took him quite some time to fix the thing. Some of you may not have seen or tasted an ice kacang before so I'll show you what it is.

If translated directly, ice kacang would mean ice bean (kacang is the Malay word for bean, which also makes Encik Kacang to be Mr. Bean). This dish is a dessert that, based on wikipedia, is served in Malaysia and Singapore. You can also call it ABC in short, otherwise in Malay it will be air batu campur. So why call it ice kacang if there's so many other ingredients in it? Formerly the dish was just made of shaved ice and beans. But now, people improvise the recipe and added in syrups of different flavours such as durian, chocolate; palm seeds, sweetcorn, ice cream, grass jelly, agar agar, cendol, etc. etc.

The open house was unintended actually. It only seem like an open house because the invitations weren't given by the host. It was one fine day that my dad suddenly received a message that a whole lot of people from K.L. will be coming over to rob some ice kacang.

All waiting for the dessert when the cook is also seated there. I dunno why they were waiting in the first place. Lol.

Until my dad rang the bell that it was time to prepare the feast. Funny thing was, not everyone knew the real purpose of their visit. They thought they were just visiting. So when an uncle announced the so-called ice kacang feast to begin, everyone was really really puzzled.

All looking towards the kitchen.

I guess they were really surprised. I mean, how would you expect someone who isn't selling drinks or beverages to have this sort of machine in their household?? Plus of all desserts it had to be the most wonderful ice kacang!

So of course people will get excited and started rushing through they're way in.

Dad doing the honors. Aunty Ling making sure no one slipped while the youngsters got ahead.

Dad had experience in this cause it used to be a family business. A small one. That's why he's pretty good at this. It's not just hitting the switch and letting it run, it's also about the knife that churns the ice - what angle gives the finest ice but yet not too fine that may make it melt too fast.

Look at the ice spin!

Last time when there was no motor attached to the machine, people had to manually churn the ice by control a handle by the side that is attached to a small wheel and it will spin the ice. I'm sure if you're a faithful audience of the Phua Chu Kang comedy show you would have seen how his mother handled her ice kacang machine. Not easy y'know.

Usually the ice will churned out directly on your bowl but since there were so many people, dad decided to put it all in a big bowl. Scoop from there is easier.

Like this it lightens the queue a bit and allows the machine to have some break while the ice was distributed.

You have a choice. To freeze more or to not freeze more.

I'm no fan of most syrups. In fact, i hate them. So does the others. We prefer the genuine gula melaka syrup. It is some sort of a palm sugar (again from wikipedia) that is also made from the sap of the sago and coconut palms and may be sold as "coconut sugar". Go find the details yourself lah if you want to learn more about it.

It is a must!

Believe me, despite the ugly picture i took of the dessert earlier, it doesn't look as awful. Plus, it is deliciously freezin' good!

Just look at them! They're blushing! Haha.

No, seriously! It's sometimes quite nostalgic too (for people like my dad).

Julian who is really feelin' it! Haha.

There's always a good thing about home made stuff, which is you can ALWAYS have enough!

I was amazed at where the camera focused on.

Time for some re-fills!

Otherwise, if you still think that wasn't enough then you can just be a smart ass like me and get shocked while trying to refill yourself.

Yeah, i seriously did get electrified on my index finger cause it was wet when i hit the switch.

There.... a cleaner picture. But unfinished.

Nah, i didn't really like this combination either.

Now.... the finished one. My ideal ice kacang that i usually expect every time i order from the stalls.

Looks good right? The machine is still here til today but because we had so much of it all at once, now it's like no one's using it. Temporarily lah (since I'm sick also right.....).

So, after i recover, wanna hop in and order some? I don't accept PayPal cause it would be pure stupidity to order this dessert online. Idiotism.

Come before i finish it all!!! Hehe.

Whoops.... looks like i did finish it all. Haha!

P.s. : Well, the ingredients can always be re-stocked.

P.p.s. : I'm still sick, but no more fever. Alright, off to work i go!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Night With D80!

Hello hello! Haven't been updating for awhile cause i haven't got used to my new daily timetable ever since i started working part time. Dunno how I'd manage next month since i will be having a second job coming. *gulps*

Come to think of it, my third job (as a freelance graphic designer) is also coming. Aik!! Don't think don't think...!

Anyway, today is Cassandra Chong's birthday and on this special day of hers, i shall dedicate this post to her. But then right, I'm not featuring her lah.

PuiYi & Eunice.

What I'm featuring is my date that i had a crush on about two years ago.

And 'he' belongs to Cassandra.

She calls 'him' her baby so does that make me her.......... ??? Never mind. I'm not married yet.

I got to go dating with this handsome because 'his' mother has got a date with another 'guy'. Haha. She had to fiddle with the video camera so offered me the golden opportunity of using her gei D80. I was assigned to just take pictures with it lah for the Christmas event and she didn't need it that night since she had the D300 with her. (Don't know what I'm talking about? Just bear with me.)

There's really a big big difference between the pns and a dSLR. I mean, look at the quality between 'em! There is almost no similarity at all especially the indoor shots!

Julian playing with it. Waseh... can zoom so dang much man. (This picture is shot with a pns)

If I'm not mistaken the 50mm lens is attached to it. So far range objects is a no-no. Have to make use of your feet to get close.

Super nice to be able to play with the different modes; the aperture, ISO, white balance, etc.

I was lazy to run all the way down to take pictures of the stage so i just looked around and took simple shots. Even simple silhouettes turn out nice... at least nice to me.

And then i got bored, and i killed all laziness to get my feet movin'. Went to the back stage to do some snap snap.

Sometimes i found it difficult to control the clarity; in other words, its focus on the object. So i guess i need more practice lah.

Even reflections turn out so clear man. Make my pns shots so paiseh....

And sometimes, with much determination you just can't block its focus. It knows its target.

And usually when you use a pns camera to shoot screens of phones or of video cameras, they'll turn out very blurry and highly contrasted unless you know how to control the modes. The picture will usually turn out highly contrasted on the screen which is supposed to be the focus of the picture. But a dSLR just did it so neatly. Look!

I'm sure my pns is beginning to feel jealous. Haha. I just don't understand one thing, why do they capture what i do not want in a picture?? (Don't worry, nothing very scary in the next picture).

See that extra light bouncing in front of the spot light? It was unintended.

Anyhow, i still believe i am able to keep up the spirit of being a jolly photographer even though I'm just a pns camera user.

SzeWei & Me. We are both happy happy photographers.

The only road to perfection in a picture, be it with a pns camera or a dSLR, is to keep practicing.

First shot not perfect?

Keep trying at different places with different lighting and stuff.

Trying the second time at a different location.

You will see improvement!

And then came the final shot.

By the way, the picture was taken by Cassandra with her D80.

The team of jolly photographers.

But then right, despite the weight and the price... to have a dSLR can really make you jollier. HAHA.

And i have experienced it FIRST HAND ! ! !

Taken from Thomas's dSLR.

* * *
I'm currently sick for the third day now but am still very much alive. Do hope i can get well soon so my mood will come back.
A spider was on my monitor screen and it seemed to be so fond of the cursor. Haha.
Lastly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Cassandra Chong Yoke Lin!
* * *
Yesh! I got to watch Bedtime Stories again! And Yesh! One design rpoject done. One more to go before i go on with my blog header. Bear with this Christmas header's long lifespan ya. HEHE.


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