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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Zuiko and the Wasp

There is this wasp that always flies over my little flower patch. I always notice this happening around 11am. It was during one of those weekend that I actually waited for it to come; waited anxiously with my long telephoto lens.

E-3, HLD-4, ED50-200mm F2.8-3.5, EC-14

I was waiting under the porch, with a distance of about 15 feet to the flower patch. Then, after about 30 minutes, it came. I quickly setup for shooting, and waited for the perfect moment for the wasp to get into the frame that I wanted.

This shot was a sequence of shots, at about 4-5 frames, which turned out to be the best. The composition was just perfect! With a focal length of 283mm on the 4/3 system, the angle-of-view was similar to 566mm on a Full-Frame 135 system. Just imagine!

Oh ya! I shot this handheld, where the E-3's IS was just perfect, to stabilize my hands after long minutes of framing.
A little butterfly flew over before the wasp came, so I managed to make this shot.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Zuiko and Kuala Lumpur City Center

Kuala Lumpur City Center, or more popularly known as KLCC, is one of Malaysia's magnificent landmarks. The Petronas Twin Towers is the pinnacle landmark of KLCC, with its unique skybridge linking both towers. KLCC is not complete without its key park, with a beautiful spread of luscious greens and ponds, children's playground and water park, and jogging pathways outlining the park's perimeter.

E-3 & ZD14-54mm F2.8-3.5

The beauty of the scenery, with the centerpiece being the KLCC Park and KL Convention Center, was captured from the 17th floor of Menara Maxis.

Menara Maxis is just adjacent to the Petronas Twin Towers, along Jalan Ampang.

E-3 & ZD ED14-35mm F2.0 SWD

Storm clouds warned the coming of rain.

The oval lawn at the park added new dimension to this image as if the Petronas Twin Towers is actually situated in a vast flat area. The lack of perspective convergence did not help either to hide the sheer smallness of the lawn. In fact, this oval is just a tiny patch of opening a few hundred yards from the towers.

E-3 & ZD 14-54mm F2.8-3.5

Misty morning, a scene of Petronas Twin Towers and KL Towers, was captured from my old apartment located some 30 kilometers away!

E-500 & ZD 11-22mm F2.8-3.5

The park's fountain is the main showcase, and is rightly located at the center of KLCC.

E-510 & 14-54mm F2.8-3.5

This night shot was made simply with the help of modern camera technology. I framed the scene, and I shot the scene handheld. That was all it took.

KLCC is simply beautiful.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Zuiko and a Baby

Shooting babies is fun; because they don't move much. It's much easier than toddlers.

One requirement, though. Please switch off the flash!

35mm, F2.0, 1/60s, ISO1600

Looking at babies when you are in solace is relaxing, and puts delight to your soul.

14mm, F2.0, 1/60s, ISO1600

In this shot, my grandma was cradling her youngest great-grandson with the other 3 great-grandchildren hustle around. The drama of this shot entailed me to change it to monochrome. And I boosted the contrast to excite the situation.

35mm, F2.0, 1/60s, ISO1600

After a nice feed, the baby needed burping. Who else to give it other than mama.
The split of color and sepia incited the idea of different generations captured in a brief moment of time.

More images here:

*** A little technical here ***

With the E-3 and ED14-35mm F2.0 SWD lens, I used A-priority and I set the ISO to Auto with maximum limit to 1600. All of the shots were at F2.0 and about 1/60s shutter speed. The ISO ranged from 800 to 1600 depending on lighting.
All shots were originally in Vivid mode, and other settings was at default. Auto White Balance was superbly accurate.
I used Flickr's Picnik for post processing, and mostly used the softner filter to add the soothing mood to the images.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Zuiko and Facial/Body Expressions

I was asked by my friend, who was commissioned by our HR Dept. to create a video for our new hirings. My friend, whilst in charge of producing the video, had asked my help to set up a photo shoot for portraiture. The goal was to capture facial expressions that will make up part of the vidoe clip.

With the spirit of using everything in-house, my friend got hold of a staff who was keen to be the model of the shoot. She was able to illustrate what my friend had in mind, and the shoot was all done within 2 hours.

The make-shift studio was simple. We went to the HR training center, and used one of the presentation rooms. The white background was actually a "typical" white board, and to my delight, the surface was matte! What this meant was that my flash setup will be just perfect, without the worry of distracting reflections from the background.

Within minutes, I had setup the location shoot with the E-3 as the main camera, with the Zuiko ED35-100mm F2.0 lens. For the lighting, I used 2 E-system flashes; FL-50R on my left and FL-36R on my right. And I also switched on all the ambient lighting available in the room. There were also windows along the room to my right to allow some sunlight to irradiate into the room.

For the shoot, it was a team effort. My friend directed what he wanted the model to do, and all I did was to capture the facial and body expressions instanteneously. The E-system was up to the task, as I was able to setup continuous shooting with both flash. I set it to the E-3 maximum, which was 5 frames-per-second.

*** A little technical here ***

I set the E-3 to High ISO about 640, with 5FPS continuous shooting. Camera setting was at Manual Mode, with the Aperture at F2.8 and shutter speed at 1/125s. As for the ED35-100mm F2.0 lens, I set the Focus Limiter to 1.4m-3m setting to ensure minimal focus-refocus on the lens.
For the creative lighting, I programmed the on-board flash commander to communicate at full TTL with both flash using different channels. This was ensure the communication for each flash is independent.
For the main flash on my left, FL-50R, I set on Channel 1A with TTL -2.7EV. For the fill-flashon my right, FL-36R, I set on Channel 1B with TTL -1.7EV. Both these flashes were at about 6-10 distance to the model. Both flash head was pointed up 30 degree to ensure the ample illumination from the model's head to stomach.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Zuiko Wide Open into the Sun

There was this pot that perched on the window sill of the Level 17 Breakout area. Although it was the typical PVC pot that you could find in your local Giant, Tesco or Carrefour outlets, what struck me was the rattan weaving pattern. With the small leafy plant, and bright sunlight coming through the window, I saw a beautiful compositional shot.

The bright sun, blue sky, shadow details, backlit leaves, and a single flare. To me this image was quite melancholic, with a touch of hope. It felt silent, yet loud. The thin depth-of-field adds a surreal aura to the background, whilst maintaining the whole pot in focus. The added vigneting through editing in completed the mood of the image.

The details of the rattan weaves could be clearly seen, although the sunlight at the background should have rendered it totally black. The ability of the Zuiko ED14-35mm F2.0 SWD lens to minimize flare and E-3 Shadow Adjustment Technology made it possible. Simply, the combination was able to cope with such a demanding image parameters. I could have used the fill-flash method to capture the details, but it would have killed the impact that I was looking for!

This is the same composition, but I used the monotone touch to represent the shot in a different manner.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Zuiko at Night on Putrajaya Lake

It was not often that you get a chance to cruise on a special occasion under the moolight with the lake's breeze billowing your hair. I had this chance, and I can say, once in a lifetime. It was on the 8th of August 2008, or 08.08.08, and the Putrajaya Lake Cruise had a special dining experience on offer. To top this, I also took the chance to arrange for a birthday celebration for my beloved wife.

The cruise started at the ferry pier, just near the Putra Mosque. By 7.45pm we arrived and were ushered to a nice reception lobby with refreshments. The cruise started at 8pm.

It was actually a full cruise through the lake, and we were dining with cuisine from Hilton Putrajaya. I had chicken, my wife had salmon. All I can say was, the experience was breathtaking as we were cruising down the lake with the moonlight and city lights lining the lake's rim. It was purely romantic!!

Some beautiful scenic shots to savor the beautiful experience of the cruise.

Actuall, the cruise U-turn point was at PICC. There, the captain had the ferry to a halt for about 5 minutes. I went up the top of the ferry, for open view of the scene. It was beautiful!!!
** A bit technical here **
For the moon over PICC shot, I used my E-3 with the Zuiko Digital 14-54mm F2.8-3.5. This lens was a pocket rocket. With fast aperture and 4x zoom, the size is still small with less than 0.5kg.
I framed at 14mm, with the aperture at F3.5, shutter speed 1/4s and ISO2000. To ensure proper metering, I offset the exposure compensation to -1EV.
Thanks to in-body Image Stabilization (IS) feature, I was able to capture the image without blur, although the ferry was rocking its way on the lake's wake. It was truly amazing.

Also, throughout the cruise, we passed the bridges of Putrajaya. the following images are some that I managed to capture. The ferry was cruising at about 10-15knots, and I had to be quick to capture the bridges while the ferry was passing by. It was fast!

** A bit technical here **
The ferry was passing under the bridge. Quickly, I framed at 14mm at A-priority, with the aperture at F4, shutter speed 1/20s and ISO2000. To ensure proper metering, I offset the exposure compensation to -1EV.
Again the IS did the job for me to get blur-free images.

Not to be missed was to definitely have some beautiful portrait shots with the Putrajaya cityscape. Although the situation for photography was very difficult, I managed to pull it off.

** A bit technical here **
The biggest trick was to capture portrait with a dark background with the ferry moving and rocking. I used my E-3 with the Zuiko Digital 14-54mm F2.8-3.5.
I framed at 14mm, with the aperture at F2.8, shutter speed 1/15s and ISO2000. To ensure proper metering, I offset the exposure compensation to -1EV. Flash was used to illuminate my wife, at TTL -1.3EV.
With 4/3 system, the F2.8 actually provide a similar Depth-of-Field of F5.6 on a full-frame 135 system. Thus, the portrait is already at optimum setting.

One thing I can say about the experience; It was out of this world!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Zuiko at a Rugby Tourney

Rugby has always been my passion sport. Although I follow the Barclays Premier League religiously, it is more of watching quality matches; i.e. whenever the Big Four meet. But for rugby, it is different. I will watch if the basic skills are mastered by the players for a very fast flowing game. Even at local club level, I am intrigued. For example, the latest COBRA 10s tournament. The level may not be as high as the 7s game, but to see locals compete for the cup level is very heartening, indeed.

And the thing was, I only knew about it on Saturday morning 8am when I was having breakfast at Syed's Section 3 Shah Alam. I saw the news at the back of a newspaper while someone was reading it. Straight away, I finished my breakfast and went to Stadium MBPJ at Kelana Jaya.

On Saturday, the matches were the preliminaries, and the games were not very fast and engaging. The crowd was poor too. Around 20-30 paying supporters. Yeah, the ticket was RM10 for 2 days, with an RM5 meal voucher. On Sunday, the mood picked up, as the paying supporters reached the thousands. The atmosphere was good, a bit short of electrifying, though!

While enjoying the game, I snapped the action. One thing for sure, this enabled me to get closer to the action as the pictures recorded the gritty moments of the matches. And the weather was just superb for both good old-fashioned rough rugby and great action high quality photographs.

More pictures can be viewed here:

Scenes off the field.

Action on the field.

Some stadium images.

*** Some technical info ***
All action images were captured with the E-3, HLD-4, ED35-100mm F2.0 lens & EC-14 teleconverter for further reach. In the morning, the sunlight was shining from behind; thus providing great illumination for my shots. I used A-priority mode to emphasize shallow depth-of-field to isolate the action from the background. Shutter speed was very high, at 1/1000s although ISO was ramped down to 100. White balance was set to "daylight", and color set to Natural with Contrast -1 (the sunlight provides very high contrast).
To my amazement, all of the images were very crisps (other than user error), and no post-process was done except for cropping and resizing.
The stadium scenes were captured by the ED14-35mm F2.0 SWD lens.