Sunday, August 31, 2008

On Assignment : Shooting Stream + Flash

This is my winning pic:

Exif: f/16, 1.0 sec, ISO 100, 16mm

It's a photo I shot with a flash from camera left. It is possible to add flash with long exposure photography. The fraction of the second of a flash does not effect the end result of the photo. The burst from the flash will be capture first, and long exposure will allow the ambient to take place. With the camera mounted on a tripod, cover the pop up flash with an exposed film and hold the flash at any location I wish to light.

This photo show how it look if without a flash is being used:

Exif: f/16, 1.0 sec, ISO 100, 16mm

Pretty well lit and everything seem to be fine. However, I still do find this pic is lack of something. I wish to make the rock at the foreground look more stand out from the surrounding area. Some test shoots with off camera flash were done, but somehow the ambient is too bright and it kills the effect of the flash. I even tried 1/3th of a second to see if the ambient is bright enough to bring out the scene, but this is what I got:

Exif: f/16, 1/3s, ISO 100, 16mm

It's too dark. Well, I was pretty satisfy with the second photo of this post, and I was ready to go. But before I could ever pull up my tripod, the ambient light dropped in a sudden. I quickly did a shot with 1.0 sec exposure plus an off camera flash. My F42 flash setting was at 1/4 level (if I remember), zoom at 105mm, and I got this :

Exif: f/16, 1.0 sec, ISO 100, 16mm

I like this shot, but somehow I do not like the flash spill on foreground and the rock doesn't look good. I figured out that my angle of attack from my flash, and the extra spill on to the ground had caused the unwanted flash spill behind the rock group. I didn't bring my snoot with me, but I have a lens cover. Hence, with the ambient still low, I quickly set my camera to 10s timer, changed my angle of attack of my flash, with the lens cover covering the lower part of my flash head, and pop and I got the first photo shown in this post.

Why cover lower part the the flash head? The cover has acted like a gobo that prevent the flash from spilling to the down side of the flash. Hence, it prevents the flash light from spilling to the water below the rock.

Combining off camera flash with long exposure is simple and easy to be done. We can make use of our build-in wireless flash function to do this kind of photography. What we need to know is to understand how the light "see" the subject, and how the subject to be "seen" by the camera. Besides, photography is all about light, correct ?

Learn all about strobist here at

Sungai Congkak Revisit !

That was my 2nd time I stepped into this forest reserved area. I was there on November 2007 where I did a swim suit model shot with a friend of mine. This time, I joined the Sony Sungai Congkak outing that was held on 30th August 2008. It was a nice outing, and I am honoured to meet in person with Stockie, a well known nature photographer. His works are such of breath taking. He is active in all local photography forum, and had gained his highly respect reputation through his breath taking pictures.

The nature sifu, Stockie (right) scouting for nice scene

This round, we were separated into 5 groups, where each group will be lead by an experienced photographer. The teacher provided their valuable experience and knowledge about nature photography, as well as the technical skill on how to capture the stream flow aka Dragon Beard.

f/16, 1 sec, ISO 100, 16mm

Well, without any ND or CPL filters, small aperture with long shutter speed and low light condition would create the Dragon Beard effect. We used f/16 for the sharpness, and the exposure vary from 1 sec to 2 sec depends on the lighting condition.

Some Alphanatics member in action !

I have seen quite a number of great pictures with rocks. I always like the harmony bond between the rocks and water. And also I would like to break a rule of photography : plan my scene. Hence, for this pic, I actually placed the stone my self to make an interesting subject.

f/16, 1 sec, ISO 100, 50mm

Well, it turned out not what what I wanted. Somehow, it doesn't bring out the "feeling" I wanted. Quote from Stockie:"Spend some time watching the scene. You should get the feel, and your picture will have the feel you are experiencing."

Ok, after some walk around, finally, I got some "feel", and took some Dragon Beard pictures....

f/16, 1.6sec, ISO 100, 16mm with pop up flash.

Flash was used for the above picture to bring out some texture detail of the rock in the foreground. However, the ambient light was too strong and caused the background a bit that over exposed. I have to get into the middle stream of water, crossing the slippery rock to get that picture. Without my knowledge, I actually cut my leg palm. But it's just a small wound, no big deal.

f/16, 1.6sec, ISO 100, 16mm.

I even put my shoe as the foreground subject to make the scene more interesting, but somehow my wet shoe had blended into the green algae rock... I should have pop a flash on it....

Anyway, Sungai Congkak is not all about stream. It has quite a number of natural fauna in this forest reserved. We found this nice looking wild mushroom growing on a trunk of the falling tree.

Too bad I have no macro lens. What I could do was to zoom my lens to the max for the 1:4 magnification factor. I was thinking, what happen if I pop a flash from below? This is what I got:

Crop pic.

It turns out to something like an alien buildings on an alien planet !! Cool !

At the end of the outing, we were asked to submit the 3 best pictures we took during the photography session. The theme was Dragon Beard, the greenery and a miscellaneous (oh dear, I always can't spell this word properly. Thanks to the spelling add-on from Firefox ! haha) photos. Here are my submitted pics:

#1 The Unknown Flower

#2 Tranquillity

#3 Untitled
(My Winning Pic !)

Yes, I won the photo competition. The #3 is my winning pic, and I shot that with an off camera flash from camera left. I got a Alpha DSLR pouch which fits pretty well for my A700! I wanted this pouch for a long time, and now it has become my 3 carrying case "collection". haha :D

Anyway, we had good outing and we had good food with satay. But the only thing I want to complaint is : why no chair for us to sit one ? haha

Photo sharing session in progress.

Finally, we have a group photo for all participant who attended this outing.

For more photos on the Sungai Congkak outing, please click here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A photoshoot with Kit

Kit is a friend of my wife. I got a call from her as she needed to update her profile. I did a profile shot of her before, and this time I have no reason to say no to her.

She brought her friend, Ms Yip along. I was worried that I couldn't handle the "situation", hence I called my Uni friend, Jacky to join me. Actually, I was poisoned by Jacky to get into DSLR world. However, he is a Canon guy, and I end up with Sony. Haha...

We had our photoshoot at Taman Tasik Permaisuri, very near to my place, and we had fun there.

How forgetful I am; I brought all my flashes, but I brought only 1 set of batteries. So, I ended up using one flash instead of 3 flashes.

The ambient light was kinda strong at the time around 3.30pm. I don't think my little flash would over-power the sun light, hence I positioned Kit under the tree shade. There were sun light coming down between the leafs, but the light is not strong enough to lit her face. Hence, I put my flash on camera left high, aiming at her face.

This is how the available sun light look like. Kinda harsh and produce very bright highlight on her face and strong shadow on her back.

Then I moved her to another place where more shade to cool down; it was hot out there with bright sun light. This was the time where I found out I forgot to bring my other batteries with me. So, I had to work with only one flash. The above pic could be better if there was another flash light coming from her left to separate her head from blending into the dark background.

Without my knowledge, there is a hanging bridge inside the park ! That would become a nice place for portraiture. But too bad that day there was too many people playing at the playground next to the bridge. The pic above was shot using my trusty Minolta 50mm F1.4 lens. Big aperture was used to blur out the back ground.

I shot this using my 50mm lens. To get her 3/4 body shot, I have to stand quite a distance away ! haha.

If you do notice, her poses are quite stiff. Well, being new to model world, she has still a long way to go. A good advise to her: do more exercise to "soften" her body. So do I, I have to read more fashion magazine and study how a model pose. That would definitely help me in guiding the model how to pose.

Anyway, it was a nice photoshoot session with Kit and friend, as well as with my fellow Uni-mate, Jacky. That was the time too that I poisoned him all about strobisting. I think he might got his e-bay trigger pretty soon. Heh !

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Simply a Rose

A rose we got when we were shopping in Mid Valley last Sunday. It was raining cats and dogs when we got back home from the shopping mall. I planned to have an outdoor photoshoot with my wife, but looked like the nature didn't want me to do that. So, I stuck in my small "studio" of mine, capturing this rose.

To be frank, this is my ever first flower portrait to be done.

Well, due to there is no sun light coming from the window (it was raining like there is a hole in the sky), I would try something strobist like. Of course mar, I have 3 flashes mar. LOL

So, first thing first, kill the ambient light.

Stupid Sony A700 build-in WL pop-up commander really could spoil my picture if I have not turn my shutter speed to 1/250s. This is consistent with the highest syn speed for the build-in flash. So, no much choice, I have to choice 1/250s.

Then my working aperture. Tried out f/5.0 and f/4.5. F/5.0 works fine for me for the flash at level 1/8 and 1/16 for close range flashing. I dial my ISO to 100 for best quality. I have my in-camera setting, the next thing is position my lighting.

First, my "main" lighting from left:

My main light from left, snooted. High shutter speed at 1/250s do kill all the ambient light, hence it gives an extremely black back ground I want. No need black cloth or black card what so ever, all done by just dialing up the shutter speed.

So, I have my main light from left, looks ok. Snooted, positioned it such a way that the flash gives enough light to create some nice shadow to draw out the lines of the flower. Next, my second "side" light from camera right:

Generally, this flash add some light touching to the flower side so to separate it from the black back ground. I don't need high power flash, so I dial the flash at 1/16th level. Combine the two flashes, I have this shot:

Actually, I could stop here. But I think the flower is not separated enough from the black surrounding. A ring of flash from behind of the flower could add some magic to it. Hence, I set up my 3rd flash, cover the flash head with a small black card board with a circular hole on it to limit the spill of flash. Without the flashes from left and right, I have this:

You can see it actually do bring out the flower from the black surrounding.

Adding these three flashes in action, I got the first picture as shown above.

Well, this is how I come out with this picture. Something to share out lar. :D

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Everything will come to the end....

So does the Beijing Olympic.

Well, we'll see the Olympic game again
in 2012 London Olympic !

How did tiramisu invented ?

Once upon a time, one fella, he had too much time to kill.
One day, he took his tuala and he played with it.
He whispered to himself :"How good if this tuala can turn into a cake."
He started to crank his brain and tried to figured out something from his tuala.

He tried and tried and tried and tried.
One day, he accidentally drop a tissue on his tuala. He was excited to see the end result !
This was what he got :

So, he called his "invention" as Tualatissue !
He called his wife, and his wife were fascinated by his invention.
"I'll bake a cake with your invention as the prototype." She said.

But, his wife didn't like the name Tualatissue! It sounds so cheapskate !
"We must give it a good name. It looks so Japanese, so, we need a Japanese-is type of name." She said.

She crank her head and think and think and think.
Tuala, tuala, tuala, tuala.... .... .... tira. Hmm... tira sounds good !

Tissue sounds ok, but the spelling is not good. Restructuring is needed. Hence, she restructured the tissue and she got misu.

Hence, tualatissue had became tiramisu !
And she baked the cake, and she called it Tiramisu !

So, here is the evolution story of the changing from a tualatissue

and become a tiramisu !

Thank you thank you.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My English Blog

Finally, I decided to start an English blog for myself.

Why today ? Well, today is a special day for me, and all of us who live in Malaysia. Because, starting 12.00 mid night, our petrol price will reduce 15 cents!

Petrol Price Drop !

This kind of news were never happened before in the history; this is the first ever time in my known history that the petrol price is going down !

Well, I can't stop relate this to the Permatang Pauh by-election. Okok, maybe I'd politicized the this issue; but lowering the price 5 days before the 826 by election day is a coincedence? Well, you judge yourself.

Ok, back to my English blog. What am I going to tell? Anything. Actually, I have a chinese blog titled as 《俺是男人·這是俺的故事》.

If you do happen to read chinese words, feel free to browse through my chinese blog here:

What else? Oh yes, I write bad English. I speak broken English, and I do 100% rely on Firefox spelling check to ensure my spelling is correct. I wonder, when will the grammar check plug-in available for download??

All the photos in this blog are taken by me and will be taken by me. No sharing hotlink, sorry.

Anyway, welcome to my blog. :D