Clearing Time!

Ferns Album Launch, 2nd of February 2007, at KL Jamasia. Finally, I’m updating within the same month!

Keng of Furniture, shredding the blues for folk-rocker Azmyl Yunor. Shanon Shah was on keyboards!

Azmyl, ganas wei.

One half of Couple, lo-fi indie pop darlings. Quite a massive following.

…even if Hana wasn’t playing with them. Eh?

Happy music!

Warren Chan of Ferns, dreamy indie pop of the softer, frail variety.

Abigail blows the… uh… keyboard.

Adlin gets a KLue (speaking of which, where the heck is this month’s issue?) and sits down.

Fast forward to 8th February 2007, Moonshine, A Homemade Music Show.

The first thing people would notice about Laundry Bar is how the stage had shifted.

The second is that the comfy Laundry Bar plushies have disappeared.

The third would be the carpets, left to hang dry on the walls.

The first and third help to make the sound better, by reducing sound reflections. Okay, maybe it was for Chinese New Year too. 😀

The sound engineer gets a more glamorous deck.

Melina (who I shall no longer identify by her main band because she has become a band slut) performing with…

Reza Salleh, sexy alternative/modern/grunge/R&B rocker.

Guess which band Rahul (only of One Buck Short, heh) is playing for!

I let my friends play with my camera, and they set the white balance for me. I went up and took this shot with flash. Gee, thanks! (Your standard uninnovative photographer-wannabe would say, “Next time, shoot in RAW, stupid!“)

Aye, but he/she is forgetting the days of point-and-shoot and intensive Photoshop post-processing (and how proud he/she was of it.)

Don’t be lazy, even Levels can fix it. I went further and made it look like a cheap digicam. Anyway, that’s Alex Ang, yet another band slut. Guessed which band this is yet? (There’s also Zaim of Curtis Blues Review on bass.)

Ash Nair! Best known for his stint in Malaysian Idol and as one of those CLEO Bachelors.

I might’ve just discovered an interesting effect; using the wrong white balance with controlled flash power to isolate subjects.

I’m not sure if I’ve seen him before.

And now, for a rant.

An out-of-focus picture of Kimberly and Tan Yee Hou‘s friend, shot at 50mm F2.0. Shot by a friend who I won’t identify.

And this is why the Nikon D40 sucks. (No, this was taken with my Sony A100 with Minolta 50mm F1.4 lens… in manual focus.)

The D40 cannot use auto-focus on Nikkor lenses that do not have motors inside them. Thus, you’d need to get an AF-S or AF-I lens. However, Nikon does not make AF-S versions of their bright primes (at least F1.8), like the popular Nikkor 50mm F1.8D lens! (And when they do announce it, it takes ages to arrive and goes out of stock.)

Ironically, a bright prime which has narrow depth of field needs auto-focus the most.

Tan Yee Hou. Shot at 50mm F2.0, which is enough for someone sitting at the same table to be reasonably in focus. Identity of shooter withheld.

I’ve discovered is that most people can’t do manual focus, even in restaurant lighting! (Or haven’t a clue how to see if something is critically in focus.)

Yes, I’ve been asking people to try to manual focus, doing random samplings. (I didn’t ask them to half-press and spot the focus-assist dot, though… that would tell them if it’s in focus, which defeats the purpose of the experiment.)

There was once I met Fazri and his friend, Brian, and I asked him to manual focus and he got a sharp, in-focus shot.

Later in conversation, I found out that his father had an Olympus OM-2. Yep, one of those legendary, very quiet fabric-shutter manual exposure manual focus film SLRs. Manual focusing must be in his blood!

(Okay, so later he whipped out a digital SLR, so he already knew what in focus looked like.)

Imagine, there could be a generation of budget-strapped people getting D40 units with the cheapest first-hand Nikkor lens, the 50mm F1.8D, and taking loads of out-of-focus shots… and not knowing it.

A D40 could be retrofitted with a manual focusing screen, but because of the matte area, metering would be screwed, overexposing out-of-focus areas. Teehee.

Xian Jin nails the focus on this shot of Matthew. This was on the 50mm at F1.4! F1.4 is much more challenging, but done correctly, the right parts of the picture are in focus, with the bonus of soft focus in the other areas.

In general, with a small depth-of-field, one should focus one-thirds into the subject. For a face, the eyes are most critical; focus that and the nose and ears will be reasonably in focus.

13 thoughts on “Clearing Time!

  1. Asyraf Lee Post author

    "Next time, shoot in RAW, stupid!"

    So I understand that by this I dont have to bother with WB settings on my camera?

    Interesting concept, here mine btw to whomever said that line above.

    Setting the WB on the camera:
    1. press the WB button and select the desired setting.
    2. shoot

    Fixing it back on RAW converter:
    1. upload 1 photo
    2. wait for the thumbnailing
    3. fix the WB to desired temp
    4. readjust the exposure as the WB changes, maybe as much as 1stop over or .3 under.

    Now who’s the idiot?

    Btw, shoot in RAW+Large Fine, you can give your client a sample on the spot and post processed one a week later.

    Happy shooting, if you know how 🙂

  2. Albert Ng Post author

    Haha yeah man! I’d rather Levels/HSL in Photoshop; RAW converters always take ages to show change. Or maybe I’m more used to Photoshop, and lowering the resolution before color tweaking… so I don’t shoot RAW unless it’s a highly detailed cherishable picture.

  3. nORmAN Post author

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. Alpha rocks! but i need a tele. Alpha got any problems with the sigma 70-300mm Apo? and i need a flash gun too. ahaha.


  4. wkcheang Post author

    As usual, the colorful high contrast low light indoor shots just takes the breath out of me.

    It’ll be a while before I reach that level.

    Great stuff.

  5. nORmAN Post author

    ya i was afraid that the sigma will go "–" coz the sigma 70-200mm has that problem. "beercan" aye? hard to find that in kch. I found the minolta 28-105mm f3.5-4.5. was wanting to get that. What you think?i know the flash is good stuff. ahaha. bout the 50mm lenses, i totaly cant find it here. ahaha

  6. Albert Ng Post author

    Hmmm, I guess you have to test the lens before buying, it might just be a QC slip. You can try:

    They might ship to you. Sony definitely has the 50mm F1.4 (around KL that is). I’m not sure how Kuching is, but you might wanna keep a look out for old-timer shops around; there’s a chance they might have it.

    If the 28-105 is real cheap, why not? 😀

  7. Albert Ng Post author

    nORmAN: Nope, no problems; I tried it out and it works wonderfully. It’s a great cheap tele which is very solid and becomes F5.6 at 230mm. The Tamron version is plasticky and only becomes F5.6 at 300mm (which sounds better) but make sure it’s not loose at the contacts. You will know if the lens is loose if the aperture suddenly becomes "–", which I experienced while randomly zooming the Tamron.

    Of course, you may have luck and stumble upon the Minolta 70-210mm F4 "beercan" lens. It is very worth the price.

    wkcheang: Thanks! I always shoot with low contrast settings though, so I can max out the contrast where necessary. I also have to admit, I try to clip the shadows at my home CRT to avoid the shadows from looking like grays on my office LCD.

  8. Albert Ng Post author

    nORmAN: Oh and for the flash gun, the HVL56AM is pretty advanced, though I believe very few people are qualified to speak of that subject. It’s also the cheapest among the brands of big flashes. 😀

  9. Asyraf Lee Post author

    For concerts, my recommendation is 85mm 1.4 or 1.8, or 50mm 1.8. Something in the wide side also is acceptable.

    I don’t bother using the 70-200 unless I am 5metres away or more to the subject

  10. Jil Post author

    nice photos dude! my first time to this site. the jam asia gig was great! got to chat with azmyl after his set (who was digging into alda’s snickers milkshake AND a beer at the bar). correction: keng doesn’t play with furniture anymore, he plays full-time with azmyl now. the singapore band etc was damn loud and couple has quite a following eh? i think furniture and azmyl & the sigarettes were the bands of the night though. pity the mic got in the way of fern’s singing, otherwise they are solid as a band

  11. Albert Ng Post author

    Hi Jil! Thanks!

    The Snickers Milkshake is dope. 😀

    I only arrived during Azmyl’s set, as I came from a birthday party, so I missed quite a bit I think.


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