Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I just picked up my Canon wide angle zoom lens EF17-40mm F4.0L yesterday.With some help from my lovely wife, I was able to procure to premium L-series
lenses from Canon.It took more than a month for the lens to land on my lap.Fit, finish and quality wise, I have nothing to complain about the L-series lens.Its a notch above the rest as far as reliability and quality is concerned.Best of all, its also weather-sealed from the elements.This means I can lug it into the jungle without worrying much about the high
humidity levels there.Right now, I am waiting for the EF70-200 F2.8L lens to arrive. With the zooms, there's opportunity to earn some extra cash as freelance event
photographers are in demand.But the main focus right now, are some walkabout shoots.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Etowah Edge Cruiser M-1

As the day drew to an end, the office helper had surprised me with a package
inbound from the US.Its my first knife for the year and it also held a very special meaning to me as I celebrate my 41st birthday tomorrow.The knife, made by James Sanders of Etowah Edge in Georgia, USA, was a much anticipated edged tool which I have ordered in November last year.I was amazed with the fit, finish and overall construction of this awesome blade.Not only the thickness of the knife had blown me away, its kydex sheath was so
well made, I can only say that there will be more projects with the maker.To me, the appeal on Mr Sander's Cruiser M-1 is its simplicity and functionality.I am very impressed with the quality in terms of fit and finish on this blade. The pricing too was awesome as the knife was entirely handmade by the maker.In the months to come, the Cruiser will see some action. So, stay tuned for some in-depth review...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I hate birthdays.

And to rub salt onto the wound, I keep hearing stories about how wonderful
birthdays are.

Guys getting their dream presents from their girlfriends, wife, siblings and so on
made such an auspicious day a very happy moment.
Over the years, I was tormented with the fact that I have to work on my birthdays.
And I never did get any cool stuff as presents too.
I worked my ass off for my share of the good times when it comes to toys and stuff.
As for the giving part, I never had any problems getting other people their birthday
To me, its a formality and a courtesy gesture.In the years that I gave, I never did get back.
This situation suck even bigger time when guys brag about getting some super birthday gifts like watches, knives, cameras and some cool gadgets.
Of course I don't envy them cos some of them deserve what they get.
Way I see it, the only joyous moment I cherish is the good life, excellent food outings, the wonderful crowd that I have as friends, my fabulous wife and my kidz.

Year end projects

My Digital SLR camera is barely a month old and I am loving every single minute
of utilising it.I guess that it was a good move as I had two of my close-up photography work
published.One was a feature article on macro photography and the other was a backpage
photo on the 'Thousand Words' page on Star Metro.Working with the lenses, I also realised the shortcomings of a 50mm compact
macro lens.With a 1.6x crop factor on my EOS7D's APS-C image sensor, the focal length that
I am getting is roughly about 80mm.This works well with medium and large sized insects.Anything smaller than 10mm would be harder to capture on the camera.That said, I have placed an order for an EF lifesize extender.This would take some time to deliver as the accessory is expected to arrive in late
February.Over on the horizon, I can forsee an upgrade to the full-frame EOS5DmkII and a
100mm f2.8L macro lens.So, there's plenty of saving up to do as well as money to be made from publishing
travel and photo journals on the Star.

The new car

My wife and I had visited a Toyota dealership over the weekend.She ordered a new car which was allocated to her by her company.Every three years, she is entitled to an upgrade and this time, she is getting the
Toyota Corolla Altis.The street price for this vehicle is RM120k. Of the entire sum, almost half is paid in tax to the Government.I think that is stupid. But here in Malaysia, we have no choice.Getting the new car itself, is an adventure.She had to endure the snobbish attitude of the salesmen at the dealership.I experienced this when we approached a counter at the Toyota showroom in
Subang Jaya.The guy who sat behind the counter couldn't give a rat's ass.Then, a manager came and we were referred to another salesman.When we closed the deal, the earlier guy who sat behind the counter walked past
us and gave my wife a dirty look.So, fuck him!The car won't be due till late February or early March.My wife deserves every bit of her effort in managing her company for the past
eight years.The only hurdle, is the majority shareholder in the business which has been
causing her much anxiety and frustration.I can share her pain because the guy is a true retard.That said, the road is long and winding and I can only wish her further success in
her venture.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jumping spiders!

Jumping spiders are objects of fascination to a child who is growing up in the 60s
and 70s.Back when I was a kid, I used catch them and place them on a wrestling match.These lil eight-legged creatures became pets to the poor kids and each time the
spider season approaches, preparations were made to get the baddest,meanest
and fastest arachnid.Spotting them in their natural environment requires some skills and I acquired this
by following some local boys on their spider adventures.That was 30 years ago and today, the new generation hardly speak about this.Till now, the jumping arachnids are still an object of fascination.I found a small patch of foliage area in my office and spotted a few jumpers lurking
in their lair.This became a perfect oppurtunity to capture them on my EF 50mm compact
macro lens.Well, so far so good, I hope to improve my shots from time to time..

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weaver ants..

HAVING captured some weaver ants (kerengga) in action, I have gained the
respect of this little creature.Its also nature's architect and a deterrent to pests that are harmful to tropical fruit
trees. The ants will devour almost anything that gets along their path and over the years,
I have witnessed how efficient the weaver ants are in getting the job done like
building a nest out of leaves and gathering food.That said, taking pictures of them is a true challenge. Now that there is a healthy population in my backyard, I have found a purpose in
capturing them as a series of macrography photojournal.Since the autofocusing feature on my EOS7D could not work well, the only way to
freeze them in action is by manual focusing.Well, lucky for me, I haven't lost it all.Its been more than 18 years since I last played with manual focusing. So, in a series of 50 shots, I managed to squeeze at least two shots that are
worthy of any mention.And the focal length of my EF 50mm f2.5 macro didn't help either.To get a lifesize 1:1 shot, I have to get the EF life-size converter and that would
take another two months since I am ordering this accessory directly from Canon
Marketing Malaysia.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


My finest work to date: a dragonfly

This cricket is as small as a 20sen coin

A weaver ant photographed at my backyard...

I had a field day snapping close-up shots of bugs on a recce trip to the Batu Dam with my buddy Stanley.
We were there to scout the place for a camp and cut outing for the Malaysia Knife Forums.
I found a lot of Dragonflies on the lakeshore of the dam and started working on them with my Canon EF 50mm f2.5 compact macro lens.
Having heard about its limitations, I tried not to be too invasive of my subjects and found working with close-ups truly fun.
The only drawback was the lens' inability to focus up close in autofocus mode.
Maybe this is the apparent problem with the EOS7D's front focusing feature.
Well, yesterday, I had a blast of a time at the backyard of my house taking pictures of weaver ants.
And these lil critters are extremely hard to photograph because they move and the swaying branches where they forage for food didn't help either.
From a series of 50 photographs, I managed to select only two shots that stands out from the rest.
I guess its time to go back to the drawing board and see if an EF life-size converter can do the job.

But there is a lot left to be desired and with the months ahead, I can surely look forward to more bug shots.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fun working with close-ups

I've always love working with macro settings on the camera.
With my compact digital camera, there were limitations.
On the EOS7D, well, it opened an entirely new world.
My EF-S 18-135mm kit lens can only focus up close at a distance of 1.5 feet, which is a disadvantage in capturing details..

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The kidz at play

I am having lots of fun snapping shots of the kidz with the new photography rig.Seems like I am not getting enough.
So, each day, I spare at least a coupla minutes taking shots of the dogs at play and rest.
What made it fun, is the fact that my new Speedlite 430EXII is versatile enough to produced some evenly lit bounce flash shots.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back in the game..

Some flowers I shot yesterday

My lunch

Sir Naughty

My Gurl

The kidz at play

I made the move to equip myself with a Canon Digital-SLR camera in late
December. Why? Because I want to take advantage of their 3-year warranty offer.After much research, I landed myself with the Canon EOS7D digital-SLR and after
a week of using this awesome photographic tool, I'd say things are picking up a bit.I found the 7D to be very responsive and even with a kit lens, I am able to snap
some decent shots of the kids.To get the most of it, I've added a BG-E7 battery grip and a spare LP-E6 battery.These are bundled into the pricing which was excellent compared to what most
retail stores have to offer.Quality wise, the 7D is top-notched!Its built solid and with the EF-S18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS kit lens, much of the photos
are crisp and clear.The one thing that I have yet to master is digital post processing.I am rather hesitant in doctoring my shots because I like to see things the way
they are.Yet, there is much to be learned and I hope that in the months to come, I'll be able
to fully utilise the 7D photographic system.