Have you ever woke up to a nightmare?
No, not wake up from a nightmare. Wake up to a nightmare.
I was supposed to be at KL Performing Arts Centre for the Sony Click! Ron Yue photography workshop at 10am, 19th May 2007. I set a few alarms on my Nokia N70 from 7:20am onwards.
That morning, I woke up without the help of an alarm, and looked at my phone. 7:23am, it said. Not bad, I thought to myself. I pressed the Stop button to disable the alarm that showed on screen. (It had stopped ringing.)
It didn’t stop.
I pressed every other button; it was not working.
I pressed the Power button. It would not turn off.
I opened the back, removed the battery, put it back in, turned it on and entered my PIN number.
It said 10:34am!
My phone had never froze on me before. I could drop it from waist level and it would be intact. It would only ever hang if I tried to play certain Symbian games. I would have to do something to get it to hang.
I rushed, grabbed a cab, and got there by 11:10am. I was too late to register for the Click! outdoor session (which was also a photo contest) and missed a big chunk of Ron Yue’s talk. He is one of the National Geographic freelance photographers.
Fortunately, some participants in the outdoor session went missing so I could enter. If not, I’d probably idle my time away in Ted Adnan’s flash workshop (which I had already gone for and won a prize while at it.)
We were to go around and shoot KLPAC, and submit 5 pictures of each category. All unedited, unlike this picture, of course.
I stuck my Peleng 8mm F3.5 fisheye inside an exhaust fan.
Hmmm, which wide-angle lens should I use?
Believe it or not, the fisheye did nothing to the curviness of the lake.
The further away the object, the less distorted. Pointing it into a pond would give more distance and make it seem normal. Now, if only there was a netting on it, to show the combination of distorted and barely-distorted objects.
See the forest for the trees.
Oh, and of course, some mandatory geeking. I met a guy with the Minolta 85mm F1.4!
It didn’t have the same 3D pop and near-out-of-focus sharp rendition the Carl Zeiss 85mm F1.4 had. I would prefer the Carl Zeiss look, though this is good too.
I also saw the DiCain vertical grip. It looks a lot better in real life! A lot of people bemoan the fact that the Sony A100 does not have a vertical grip as an accessory. This is a third-party one. It does not come with the standard right-hand interface (knobs, buttons) but has a shutter button.
I wasn’t used to the shape though. Maybe I was holding it wrongly, but I felt it was mildly nudging into my hand. I put my Tamron 1.4x teleconverter, Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan and Sony HVL-F56AM on for maximum load. It felt comfortable.
But really, a vertical grip is only used to:
– impress others with how big your camera looks
– add extra batteries
– support the weight of lenses more than 1 kilogram (the beercan and all Sony Carl Zeiss lenses are light in comparison)
I always carry two batteries with me so I don’t need a vertical grip.
The Sony A100 does feel heavy whenever the HVL-F56AM flash is attached, so I usually disconnect it and hold it up with my left hand like the Statue Of Liberty. This makes it very convenient to go from landscape to portrait orientation. Plus I can turn leftwards or rightwards without worrying about realigning the flash head to point up.
As for using the left hand, well… I zoom using my right-hand pinky finger. Fortunately, all Minolta and Sony lenses have the zoom ring nearer to the body. My kit lens is particularly light and easy to pinky-zoom.
In the rare occasion that I need to use my left hand, I just slide the flash back on its mount on the camera. The quick-release system Minolta invented works wonders!
It was probably the biggest gathering of Sony Alpha users! (And some Konica Minolta 5D users, too.) We quickly tried to flood Pentas 2 of KLPAC with our Sony HVL-F56AM wireless flashes! At one point I think there were six out.
I saw the same guy who bought the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 A-mount at Pudu Plaza (that’s Alpha mount) at the workshop. He won something.
There was a dude with a huge bag with wheels, and in it, the old-school Minolta 28-135mm F3.5-4.5, with manual focus macro switch on the 28mm end of it. I saw 2 beercans. I saw the Minolta 50mm F1.7.