Monthly Archives: December 2006

Albert And Cameras, 2004-2006

Yeah, I’m gonna end this year with a blog entry about more camera pr0n. I tested the Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO Macro for Konica Minolta/Sony mount; the monster was thicker at the zoom ring and had magnification scales on the outermost barrel. It also had a very nice glittery uh… ribbed finish. APO means apochromatic, for lesser chromatic aberrations (but I wasn’t in a place to get that.)

Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO Macro apertures:
70mm onwards F4.0
135mm onwards F4.5
200mm onwards F5.0
230mm onwards F5.6

This is way brighter than the Sony 75-300mm F4.5-5.6 lens on all counts. At 135mm, the Sony’s brightest aperture is already at F5.6!

It also had a macro focus switch, allowing close focus until 1:2 magnification between 200-300mm. It took almost 180 degrees of turning to get from close focus to infinity… which was a joy for manual focus, but a painfully slow auto focus. At this class, about every cheaper zoom lens will be slow (except the Sony 18-200mm, because its turn is only about 30 degrees.)

I got a steady (but not crisp) shot at 1/30s at 300mm. 4 stops! I then got a crisp shot at 1/30s at 200mm. 3.5 stops! (Of course, you must cooperate with the camera and wait for the Super SteadyShot bars in the viewfinder to go down to 1.)

At RM750 in Sg. Wang, it was much more promising than the plasticky Sony lens.

I also found an all-metal monster, the Tokina 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 for the same mount.

Tokina 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 apertures:
80mm onwards F4.5
150mm onwards F5.0
280mm onwards F5.6

It had a big throw (turning from close focus to infinity). It was RM2150 in Sg. Wang. The box was aged. However, seeing both lenses gave me new faith in the Sony Alpha mount.

Anyway, Happy New Year!

Okay, so it’s not 2007 yet, but the streets of Jalan Imbi are rife with sprayed confetti already! Okay, okay, so that was from Christmas.

Remember this?

(From this blog entry dated 7th September 2004.)

I sold it to xen0s. I’ll miss being able to fret one whole octave with one hand! (Thanks to him for taking this picture, too.)

And now, for a random list of camera-related blog entries from 2006 all the way back to 2004:

Albert gets a Fujifilm A202 digital camera
Albert gets a Canon Powershot A400 digital camera
Albert gets a Canon Powershot A520 digital camera
My first ever blogged shots with a friend’s Canon EOS 350D and 17-85mm F4-5.6 IS USM lens
Albert gets a Olympus OM-2000 film SLR camera
My first ever blogged film shots from Rock The World 7
Albert gets a Sony Alpha 100 digital SLR camera

And now, for some miscellany.

A camera-like poem

And now, here’s some tips!

How to make an infrared-pass filter using developed film negatives
How to make a infrared lamp
How to get rainbow effects on cars using polarizer filters
How to get a cheap fisheye effect on your digital camera
How to make HDR images in Adobe Photoshop 7.0/CS
How to reverse-mount a lens to get super macro!
How to use a lamp to simulate multiple exposures
How to use a strobe flash to simulate multiple exposures (and uh, capture lightning)
How to capture a traffic light with all red, yellow and green lights on
How to use a linear and circular polarizer to get a neutral-density-to-infrared filter effect
How to calculate the aperture range of your eyes
How to get closer than your SLR lens can focus

And now, for the camera hacking attempts:

Albert hacks a brandless webcam to capture infrared
Albert hacks a Fujifilm Digital Q1 to capture infrared
Albert hacks a Nikon Coolpix 2200 to capture infrared (but spoils it)
Albert tries to put glass inside a infrared-modded Fujifilm Digital Q1 to correct its focus (but it fails to make a difference)
Albert hacks a infrared-modded Fujifilm Digital Q1 to use a manual-focus webcam lens
Albert hacks a infrared-modded Fujifilm Digital Q1 to use SLR lenses
Albert hacks a Vivitar 24mm F2.0 Olympus Zuiko-mount lens

Close To You

Tech and gadgets blogger Albert Ng said he was not affected by the disruption because his weblog was in a local server.

Quoted from:

Yes yes, that’s me. And yes, my site is hosted in Malaysia, so the pictures will still load quickly.

And to live up to that uh… title, I’ll share a trick I discovered recently. 😀

How to take closer macro shots with an SLR without attaching anything in front or detaching anything

People with point-and-shoot digital cameras can always brag that their cameras can go as close as 5cm (or some, 1 or even 0cm!)

Meanwhile, SLR lenses usually only focus until 45cm on average.

You can, however, have somewhat-macro. How?

– if you have a zoom lens, set it to full wideness (to get more depth-of-field)
– change to manual focus and focus as close as possible
– choose the darkest aperture (e.g. F22)
– use the flash if needed (since at F22, your shutter speeds would be much slower)

The object may look blur so press the depth-of-field button to have a closer idea what it will look like. (This is not applicable on Nikon D40 and D50 dSLRs, heh.)

If you get a shadow from the lens, just hold out your hand above the object to reflect the light onto it. 😀

The ruler was held to the front of the lens. Shot at 20mm focal length (accidentally creeped up from 18mm), with the Sony 18-70mm kit lens which can only focus till 38cm near.

And now, for something completely different.

An acoustic gig in the best acoustic gig place there is in town – No Black Tie! That beautiful, romantic, wood-panelled place.

What: NBT Acoustic Countdown
Who: Rhapsody, Zalila Lee, Shanon Shah, The Sofa Sessions, Reza Salleh, Isaac Entry, Rizal Hefni, Hishamuddin Rias
Where: No Black Tie. Jalan Mesui, Off Jalan Nagasari, KL. ( Jalan Mesui is situated behind Istana Hotel, which is situated on Jalan Raja Chulan) Call 03 214 23737 for bookings.
When: 9:30pm, 30th December 2006
How Much: RM20

Alpha? You Bet

I bought myself the biggest birthday present ever; a Sony A100 digital SLR!

Now, anybody who knows digital SLRs will immediately jump and ask, “Why this brand? Why this model? Why not this model? Are you stupid?

I think it’s dumb that I’ve to justify why to everybody, but hey, I know what I want and what I use it for. What I use the camera for is different from other people (which is why I get different shots, aha!)

First, a long rant for those of you who are Nikon fanboys. (Since Canon fans seem to be more… docile.)

I am not a Nikon fanboy. Every damn fanboy I know rushes out to get a 50mm F1.8D. They also have this typical craving for a Nikon SB-800.

I don’t care about that. I am not a flasher.

I shoot in low light without flash, and Super SteadyShot is needed for that.

Similiarly, if you were a macro shooter, the Olympus E330 with Live View and swiveling LCD is a great, great help.

I do greatly admire the Nikon D80, though, and Nikon’s huge array of lenses. Nikons feel sturdier, though I’ve met a Nikon D50 with a cracked viewfinder LCD screen, like so:

(Red line indicates where a fault line moved; white box drawn in to show viewfinder. Please pardon the camera shake.)

I have no idea how you can cause impact to the insides like that. The shutter count was supposedly 300.

The fanboys are annoying, though; they can’t seem to acknowledge what other brands have.

So, since the Nikon D80 and Sony A100 are at similiar price points, I’ll compare these two.

Things that the Nikon D80 has that the Sony A100 has, as well:

AF-A (Auto-focus Auto) – when the subject moves it changes from Single-AF to Continuous-AF.

Focus Priority/Release Priority option – in Focus Priority the camera will NOT take a picture until it is in focus. I find it annoying so I’m in release priority all the time.

Color profiles – this was in Vivid, +2 Saturation.

Spot the not-so-hidden Mickey!

Yes, I’m discovering the joys of 18mm (27mm equivalent.)


The Nikon D80 does not have a center joystick button, so you can’t jump to the center AF point. The Sony A100 and Nikon D200 have this. (The Sony A100 allows you to choose diagonal points in the 9-point AF. Top-left arrow corresponds to top-left point, so it’s one press to get to any AF point.)

I don’t bother with multiple AF points, really; I’m on Direct Manual Focus by default. Half-press, focus; if it focuses on the wrong thing I turn the focus ring!

Alternatively, I could use AF-A, and whip the AF/MF switch to manually focus it. Much faster than pressing left, left, down, aiming the AF point at the object, and shooting.

With multi-segment metering, the camera tended to underexpose by 2/3rds of a stop (quite the opposite of the overexposing D80); easily adjusted when you know your subject is dark. It could be said that it keeps the blacks black, when you look at the scene and go “Yeah, it IS black.” Thankfully, pulling the shadows up in Photoshop shows detail.

Tight dials
I love how quickly I can flick Canon dSLR dials; they’re light but accurate. Nikon dSLRs have this heavy rubberized tension I have to overcome, which is worse on the Nikon D200. Sony takes the sweet in-between.

I saw no ISO?

One major gripe about the Sony A100 is how they don’t have an ISO button. However, when the left dial is in ISO mode, holding down (or tapping) the Fn button and rolling the dial changes the ISO! You can even see the ISO change in the viewfinder, like the Nikon D200! You can tap the custom button on the Nikon D80, but that only shows the ISO and doesn’t let you change it! I know the ISO is low, duh; I wanna increase it!

This is great when you’ve moved from a sunny ISO 100 area, to some sneaky indoors spying, and you half-press and find “Aye captain, we need more sensitivity!” How? Tap Fn and roll, without taking your eye off the viewfinder! (Of course, you’d use your left hand to tap Fn, and the right hand to roll, not as shown in the picture.)

The view inside the Sony A100’s viewfinder as you change ISO. Going from ISO 100 to ISO 1600 is exactly 4 clicks in either direction.

With the Nikon D80, you’d have to look at the status LCD screen on the top-right (or tap the custom button if it’s programmed to show ISO in the viewfinder… but you can’t change it). With the Canon 350D, you’d have to move your head back a bit to see the ISO on the status LCD screen above the main LCD screen. (So that’s why Canon put it there instead!)

I have to give credit to Nikon’s press-and-roll system; holding down the Flash button, then rolling one dial, changes the flash exposure; the other dial changes the flash mode. Like I said, I’m not a flasher by habit so I don’t need that button. 😀 I set my slow-sync mode to rear-sync/second-curtain by default, and flash compensation to 0 (never needing to change it) so I don’t ever go there.

That controversial control dial

Yes, to change some settings, you need to roll the dial and press Fn. Going clockwise:
– Metering: always multi-segment metering
– Flash: always rear flash, EV 0 compensation (slow sync off by default)
– Focus: Spot AF (I always thought selecting an AF point was slower than just pointing at the object then framing it), Direct Manual Focus (once you know what you like, you’ll hardly change it)
– ISO: Auto ISO (it goes up to 800)
– WB: Auto White Balance (except when using a grey card in studio lighting, which affords me time to roll the dial)
– D-R: Dynamic Range Optimizer Advanced mode
– Color: Vivid color

The supposedly relevant ones are ISO and White Balance, but I trust my WB and the dial’s always on ISO. In the dark, I can flick the dial quickly to DEC (to change to Black-and-white color), then count three clicks back to ISO. ISO is smack center, 3 clicks from either end, so it’s easy to locate.

But it does not suck as much as going through a custom menu

If you thought having a function dial was bad, wait till you see the Nikon D40; the Fn button changes from self-timer (default), shooting mode (drive), image quality, ISO or white balance. You can’t roll a dial; you have to go to Custom Function 11 for this! Yeah, I think the Nikon D40 sucks bad, being a shame to previous Nikons. With no in-body focus drive, it forces you to use that Nikkor 50mm F1.8D in manual focus, which is going to be hard for most people.

I don’t know how Ken Rockwell can love it, when the exact reasons why he won’t try a Sony A100 is for the same reasons the D40 sucks.

It’s like Ken Rockwell’s site is a site Nikon fanboys go to, to feel better about themselves.


Also, the Sony does not automatically pop up the flash. I always found auto-flash annoying. Often, when you let a friend play with your camera, they might return it in Auto mode. Next time you need to make a quick shot, you whip it out, turn it on, shoot, and find that you’ve blown your cover! The A100 however doesn’t flash unless you flip it up.

Tapping the AEL button while the flash is up turns on slow sync fill flash. You get to see AEL in the viewfinder, so I rarely have to wander to the function dial and muck around flash settings. (I changed the AEL button to Toggle, not Hold, so I don’t have to hold it down.)

I almost miss how Nikon dSLRs can delete pictures by double-tapping the Delete button. I have to press Delete then Set, quite like my Canon Powershot A520. (By default, I’d have to press Delete, Left, Set.) The Sony A100 also has a Marked Images deletion.

Yet another picture break.

Barrel distortion at 18mm.

Mirror Lockup

There’s an interesting way to use mirror lockup; when you choose 2 second timer, it locks up first, and opens the shutter after 2 seconds, then releases the mirror after that. The 10 second timer, however, works like every other dSLR, locking up only right before the exposure. I’m not sure if Super SteadyShot counters this, since the mirror locking up should always provide the same amount of vibration, and thus the sensor could be moved exactly the same way to counter this same vibration.


An interesting way to shoot people inconspiciously is with the 10-second countdown timer. Set your exposure and focus. Activate the timer and hang it around your neck… while lingering, pointing to the subject until the picture is taken. Eureka!


Anti-dust shake activates when you turn the camera off (instead of holding you back when you turn it on.) I panicked when a speck of dust wouldn’t go away after turning it on and off 5 times, even with the camera facing down with no lens attached. Strangely, later that night, the speck disappeared!

While I do admit I have paid allegiance to Sony’s dSLR system, I do credit and cherish the following brands:

Canon: Vibrant colors, cleaner noise, full-frame dSLRs (for wide shots and smaller depth-of-field), electro-focus lenses (a Canon 50mm F1.8 II will have a focus motor inside, unlike a Nikkor 50mm F1.8D), faster AF at the long long professional range.
Nikon: Compatibility with ancient lenses (the temptation to go ape buying lenses is worse since you can, and shops here seem to have more old Nikkors), a button for everything (almost), Creative Lighting System (mastering flash however isn’t simple).
Pentax: Innovative modes (the Pentax K10D has Sensitivity Priority, among other things), kickass Limited lenses (77mm F1.8 limited), kickass pancake lenses, brighter viewfinders, and seems to be the third most common lens mount for third-party lenses (it’s hard to find Pentax lenses, so ask for a Sigma catalogue)
Olympus: Four-thirds system means smaller, brighter lenses (40-150mm F3.5-4.5 gives a 300mm equivalent at F4.5 where others are F5.6), Live View (Olympus E330, for macro photography), anti-dust (but where’s anti-shake on body or lens?), is the fourth most common lens mount for third-party lenses.
Panasonic: Aperture rings and shutter speed dials! Live View, too.

And finally, Sony:

Anti-dust (I changed lenses often on the Olympus OM-2000, pictured on left.) Anti-shake. Low-light usage. Playing with a Nikkor 50mm F1.8D I found that often, I was in too dark a situation, e.g. a roadside bistro, or a mamak. Yes, even with ISO1600. I even contemplated getting the body only, with the Sony 50mm F1.4 lens, but the 50mm was rare then, so I went for the body and kit lens for RM2799 at Boeing, Sungei Wang.

The lady there asked if I wanted to add a camera bag and spare battery for RM200.

I didn’t expect it to be so big! It’s a blimp. Major major bargain, that was.

I also got a Transcend 2GB 120x Compact Flash card for RM185 at Low Yat Plaza. Note the Lowepro Mini AW; that was RM190 originally! Compare that to the size of the blimp, and remember that it comes with a spare battery!

Two days later, I stumbled upon a Minolta 600si sitting in a camera shop in BB Plaza… with a Minolta 50mm F1.4! Thankfully they recognized me and let me buy the lens alone for RM800. The lens focused very fast compared to a Nikkor 50mm F1.8 on a Nikon D80, but in field usage I found it stupid at close range and dark places; I’d often whip it to manual focus, which is great because it takes a 135 degree turn to go from 45cm to infinity.

Note how objects you focus on are soft, because very little of that is in focus at F1.4.

However, the further away the subject, the greater the depth of field. This was at F1.4.

Decent portrait lens.

It does show some interesting artifacts with bokeh, though, notably where the flowers intersect with the bokeh circles.

I’ve always been shooting in low light situations, so Super SteadyShot is great on my Minolta 50mm F1.4 lens. 1/4th of a second has never looked so possible, and 1/15th of a second is great when you do a quick snap without bothering to hold it steady with both hands and nose.

The brightest, widest prime that Sony had was the Sony 20mm F2.8 lens (other than the Sony 16mm F2.8 fisheye). However, in the same dark situation, the 50mm F1.4 would be more stable (needing the same shutter speed as a theoretical 12.5mm F2.8.)

The lens that would give the biggest bokeh and smallest depth of field would be the Sony 500mm F8 Reflex with auto-focus. A close second would be the Carl Zeiss 85mm F1.4.

(Nope, still a 50mm F1.4.)

How do I know who has bigger bokeh?

Divide the focal length by the aperture. The bigger the number, the bigger the bokeh if you are framing the subject to fill up the same space in the frame. (Edited)

Sony 500mm F8 Reflex = 500/8 = 62.5
Carl Zeiss 85mm F1.4 = 60.71
Cosina 100-400mm F4.5-6.7 at 400mm = 59.70
Sony 75-300 F4.5-5.6 at 300mm = 53.57
Sony 50mm F1.4 = 35.71
Sony 75-300 F4.5-5.6 at 200mm (brightest aperture F5.6) = 35.71
Nikkor 18-200 F3.5-5.6 at 200mm = 35.71
Sony 18-200 F3.5-6.3 at 200mm = 31.75
Nikkor 50mm F1.8D = 27.77
Cosina 100-400mm F4.5-6.7 at 100mm = 22.22
Sony 75-300 F4.5-5.6 at 75mm = 16.66
Sony 18-200 F3.5-6.3 at 70mm (brightest aperture F5.6) = 12.5

A F1.4 has 29% bigger bokeh than a F1.8 lens for the same focal length.

The Sony 75-300 is brighter at most focal lengths compared to the 18-200. It has a big throw, which is a joy for manual focus, but is slow with auto-focus. The 18-200 however is quite zippy, with a tiny 30 degree throw.

I haven’t tried the Cosina 100-400mm so I don’t know if it gives soft images at all focal lengths. The 75-300mm, in theory, should be better at 200mm than the 18-200mm at its end. The 18-200mm apparently has soft corners… but who frames the subject at the corners, especially at 200mm? As long as my rule-of-thirds lines are still crisp I’m fine with it.

Sony 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 apertures:
18mm onwards F3.5
26mm onwards F4.0
35mm onwards F4.5
50mm onwards F5.0
70mm onwards F5.6
135mm onwards F6.3

Sony 75-300mm F4.5-5.6 apertures:
75mm onwards F4.5
90mm onwards F5.0
120mm onwards F5.6

More 18mm-loving.

The 18-200mm and 75-300mm only share a F5.6 aperture between 120 and 135mm. The 70-200mm F2.8 is beyond me, sorry. 😛

…like a chocolate tower caged in glass.

I also tried the Sony 11-18mm F4.5-5.6:
11mm onwards F4.5
12mm onwards F5.0
16mm onwards F5.6

What about the Sony 18-70mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens?
18mm onwards F3.5
20mm onwards F4.0
24mm onwards F4.5
28mm onwards F5.0
35mm onwards F5.6

50mm at F1.4.

2/3rds of a stop might not sound like much (that’s the distance from a F1.8 to F1.4 lens) but 1 stop, people pay a lot for! (Like F4 to F2.8).

50mm at F2.0.

50mm at F4.0.

I LOVE how the old 49mm-filter-threaded Minolta 50mm F1.4 lenses do not have circular aperture blades. This means that out-of-focus points will only look like circles at F1.4; at F2 they start to look angular; at F2.8 there is a slight shape, and at F4 it makes beautiful heptagons! (The newer 55mm-filter-threaded Minolta and Sony versions have circular aperture blades.)

I loved that effect in Casino Royale (noticed the octagonal bokeh, anyone?) and I’m glad I can replicate that.

However, the Minolta 50mm F1.4 lens has a retractable lens hood, which is real cool.

The Sony 16mm Fisheye was rather interesting, as it had built-in graduated color filters (since you can’t screw on filters). I had to pull on the front and turn to adjust the intensity of each filter; it would work quite like my two-polarizer white-balance setup. The darkest is the 056 black-and-white-contrast filter, 180 degrees from the normal mode, which gives a 1 and 1/3 stop drop in speed, while the A12 (removes blues) and B12 (removes reds) make the lens 1 stop slower.

It also focuses to 20 cm, which is camwhoringly awesome!

So why don’t they make their fisheye a 8mm one? A 16mm fisheye has smaller depth of field but retains the 180 degree view (okay, 110 degrees cropped.) Makes for better flower macro shots.

In other branding issues, I wish Konica Minolta didn’t recall their stock; if those lenses were still out Sony would seem more viable with lens availability.

Infrared photography performance:

These shots were at 24mm:

F8 1/80 ISO 100

F4.5 1 ISO 1600 (not sharpened or auto-leveled, but you should load this in Photoshop to see what it could become)

The infrared-cut hot-mirror filter inside the A100 cuts away 12 stops of infrared.

My Canon Powershot A520 shot this equivalent crop at F2.8 1/3 ISO 200. In this case, it’s 3 stops faster.

The Minolta 50mm F1.4 is so sharp at F4, it’s almost 3D-like, especially when separating the object and background. Please click on the bigger version.

Super macro shooters: The Sony A100 with Minolta 50mm F1.4 lens with Fujinon 50mm F1.4 lens reversed; the Olympus OM-2000 with Olympus 70-210mm F4.5-5.6 lens with Vivitar 24mm F2.0 lens reversed.

Oh, and finally, Merry Christmas!

Last Moonshine

I brought the Olympus OM-2000 for Moonshine, 14th December 2006, but didn’t lock the film properly. Fortunately, I also took shots with my Canon Powershot A520 and infrared-modded Fujifilm Digital Q1 (using the Olympus 35-70mm F3.5-4.8 lens, which is best used on the Q1 to keep it in the telephoto range of 210-420mm, or 6-12x zoom of a point-and-shoot).

But first, a random muscle-looking car in my neighborhood! I wish my dad didn’t throw away the Datsun 120Y. Come to think of it, it looks like a rounded muscle car. Heck, despite being a 1.2 liter car, its engine had a roar that was unmistakeable. No other car had that sound, and you could pick out the sound amongst a jam. Being rear-wheel-drive, it is suited for drifting (though my dad did none of that. I think.)

Naked Breed, hard rockers, and hot chick photographer with hot tattoo.

Whatchoo looking at?

Flatline, alternative rock.


Ferns, dreamy pop.

Adlin (playing guitar for Ferns) looks so cute shaven!

Ojie of Stonebay, grunge rockers.

Open mike; rock band!

Zach Tay.

These funky tattoos belong to Ziel‘s vocalist.

Raffique of Ziel. This shot was taken by Rachel (Ian‘s friend) with the Seagull 50mm F1.8 lens on the Q1. Amazing! Everybody else who tried to shoot with that 300mm-equivalent-crop camera would either take out-of-focus pictures or pictures with handshake (according to the rule of thumb, you’d need 1/300th of a second to get a steady shot.) She focused spot on, and didn’t shake at 1/60th of a second. Plus the composition and moment was captured, too!

I wasn’t quite looking forward to the lineup though; I’d seen each band a dozen times before, and Stonebay has gotta get out of their same old four chords. I came anyway because out of the blue, old friends called, asking to hang out, so I invited them all.

Rock The World 7, Part 3

For the first time ever, film shots on my blog! I developed and scanned to CD at Leos Trading, first floor, Ampang Park, at RM10 per roll.

I love my Vivitar 24mm F2.0 lens on the Olympus OM-2000. It’s wide, it’s a prime, anything beyond 2 meters and you just focus on infinity at F2.0!

All these pictures were shot on either Kodak or Fujifilm ISO 400 film. Gotta love that film color tone. (This is the only shot in this whole series using the Olympus 35-70mm F3.5-4.8 lens.)

Long exposure on a tripod at night. I calculated 24 seconds on bulb mode, F2.0 (the slowest shutter speed the OM-2000 had was 1 second.)

I also set the 10-second timer; the mirror flips up at the beginning of the countdown, not after, so there’s no vibration from the mirror flip-up. Yay for film SLRs!


Anyway, on to the inaugural use of film – Rock The World 7! Ean’s looking sharp. And damn, when you view your pictures that you manually focused and see spot-on focus, you go, “I did this.” This used the Olympus 70-210mm F4.5-5.6 lens.

With the Vivitar 24mm F2.0 it was hard to get close focus. I don’t know how I managed to get the security guard to pop out with the crowd out of focus.

Jimmy of Tempered Mental! (The orange streak below is an out-of-focus sheet.)

Film. No washed out whites.

Spot the Vignes.

Jason Lo, we owe this rocking show to you, yo.

Izuan Shah of Auburn.


Hiro of Throne Away. Crazy Japanese tapping bassist!

Emir of Throne Away, rabid frenetic dancy frontman. The way they should be, twirling and jumping about.

…maybe even climbing props.

Ian Koren: Where’d Emir go?

Broken Scar! Since I was more than 2 meters from the stage, I never had change the Vivitar 24mm F2.0’s focus. It stayed at infinity.

Jeremy of Prana. Flare! (I actually like flare being artifacts on my shots.)

I shot mostly at 1/30th of a second at night; the meter said it was underexposed, but I wanted to avoid too much motion blur. I could only choose shutter speeds in full stops on the Olympus OM-2000, so 1/15th of a second was the next option! When I saw how well the negatives responded to pulling shadows, I wish I took them at 1/60th of a second instead. Although there were bright white specks of noise, they were very easily obliterated in Photoshop (hence the clean look of all these ISO 400 shots.)

Aru of Koffin Kanser. Yep, even at 210mm I shot at 1/30. Most of the shots at such distances were more not-so-razor-sharp-focus; none had camera shake! 😀

Whoa, since when did I have 4 fingers?

Infectious Maggots and badass red hair.

OAG guitarist.

Sil Khannaz.

Click for Part 1 in color and Part 2 in infrared.

As it turns out, regular ISO 400 negative film is quite a viable option for low-light photography to be scanned digitally. I don’t know what the shop does when scanning but the noise is easy to get rid of.

Oh, and before I forget, some pimpage!

Second single from C.Loco, Jong Jong Inai(Yeah) and Jong Jong Inai(Ewah) has been launched online at C.Loco’s MySpace page.

Radio release coming soon!!! To those who have not seen me perform this song before, this is your first chance to hear my second single right here before anyone else or the radio hearing masses!!

Single : Jong Jong Inai(Ewah)
Artiste : C.Loco feat Suria, Encik Tech & Suarasakthy
Producer : C.Loco
Lyrics by : C.Loco, Encik Tech & Suarasakthy
Recorded in Fame Studio by Boy Radge and Studio 21:05 by JD Wong
Published by : A-Range Publishing

Single : Jong Jong Inai(Yeah)
Artiste : C.Loco feat Suria & K Town Klan
Producer : C.Loco
Lyrics by : C.Loco & K Town Klan
Recorded in Fame Studio by Boy Radge and Studio 21:05 by JD Wong
Published by : A-Range Publishing

Oh, and then there’s yet more pimpage:

What: Project Bazooka
Who: Azmyl Yunor & The Sigarettes, Lucy In The Loo, IG Collective
Where: Laundry Bar, The Curve
When: 10pm, Thursday 21st December, 2006
How Much: Free! You can buy me a drink for my birthday.

Rock The World 7, Part 2

Thank you all for the birthday wishes. It’s obvious that you guys didn’t read that I wanted belated birthday wishes in my previous post. 😛 However, it’s still cool. 😀

Pigeons, zoomed in with the infrared-modded Fujifilm Digital Q1 and an Olympus 70-210mm F4.5-5.6 lens at the 210mm position, to give an effective 1260mm crop. 😀

Let’s give that man down there some flavor in his soup!” The monorail then came, and the pigeons flew off the track. I then headed to…

Rock The World 7! Now in infrared! Melina of Tempered Mental.

Irotori (surprisingly, this thrash/death metal band had quite a few Chinese people in the crowd.)

This is why I don’t like taking pictures of drummers. (Alang of Men Under Zero Effort.)

Jason Lo‘s bassist goes wild.

Old beauty. Rickenbacker bass.


Oh as it turns out, I did see the happy Bittersweet! That makes 84% coverage.

Soft Touch. Old and rocking. The crowd went wild!

Adlin of Lied looks so adorable in his new clean-cut look.

Guitarist for Lied.

Infectious Maggots. Check out his hair!

Another shot of Jeremy Little, CLEO Bachelor, playing for Prana.

His brother, Jeffrey Little.

John of Nervewreck.

Doll-like keyboardist for Electrico.

Guitarist for Electrico.

More shots, in film, after this! Boy oh boy I can’t wait. Part 1, in color, here.

Rock The World 7, Part 1

I’m back from Rock The World 7, and I finished the 6 rolls I got for my birthday.

Yeah, it’s probably unceremonious to open and use your presents before your birthday. So yeah, you all only need to wish me “Happy belated birthday!” after the 19th. 😀

Heck, I might start the trend. Don’t spam me at midnight, 19th December. Spam me at midnight, 20th December. Let’s see who pays attention.

Anyway, I found that 24mm at F2.0 is an amazing focal length to be at; next to the infinity mark is 7 feet or 2 meters, which means that anything somewhat beyond there doesn’t need focusing; I’d just set it on infinity. Such convenient, deep depth of field with great handheld shutter speeds and bright exposures!

Also, since I’d seen or heard of most of the bands, I could afford to go from stage to stage since the songs were familiar (and some bands appear on a regular basis on my blog.) It just comes with… otai-ness. (Otai is slang for old-timer.) After going to a lot of gigs, you start wondering if there is anything to do other than pay close attention to the band. In a way, I occupied myself by taking pictures. And maybe, if the band was boring, I’d take more pictures and pay less attention? I might also experiment with different methods. (Though it could just be the case that the band has great stage presence and has photogenic members.)

Plus, getting pushed around a moshpit circle gets tiresome after a while, so this round, Broken Scar got me in; originally as roadie photographer, but with all access. The camera bag that housed the Olympus OM-2000 SLR was a great uh… excuse not to mosh with my friends. (Well, previous years were with friends who didn’t like moshing anyway. Boo you stim-girl! Like Jolin, who I met at Rock The World 6, and left a lasting impression when we all sat in a circle on the rubber track, far from the crowd, and said, “Let’s talk about philosophy!“)

Ambitiously, I decided to wander from stage to stage, attempting to cover every band. 51 bands over 3 stages. I missed Media Puppets, Republic Of Brickfields, Force Vomit, 2SidesToAStory, Love Me Butch, X-Cited Screamers, Couple, Bittersweet and Rosewood. 82% coverage! Yay.

There was also a band slut competition, with;
Alda Tan, playing for Broken Scar, Soft Touch and Isaac Entry (could be maxed out to 5 bands; he once played for Estranged and Dragon Red.)
Melina William, playing bass for Tempered Mental, Reza Salleh and Dragon Red (could be upped to 4 bands if she played for Soft Touch.)
Alex Ang, drumming for Broken Scar, Soft Touch and Isaac Entry (he drummed for Jason Lo back when he was on the West Side, yo.)
Hanafi, playing guitar for Estranged, Auburn and Reza Salleh (could play for Tempered Mental too, heh.)
Izuan Shah, playing guitar for Auburn, The Deserters and Stonebay (I didn’t see The Deserters so I cannot confirm this.)
Bakri, drumming for Gerhana Ska Cinta, Republic Of Brickfields and Koffin Kanser
Justin and Aru, both playing for Republic Of Brickfields and Koffin Kanser
Hana, playing guitar for Lucy In The Loo and Couple
Edy, playing guitar for Gerhana Ska Cinta and The A.C.A.B.
Mono, playing bass for The Times and The A.C.A.B.

Consolation prizes:
Adam screams and sings for Dragon Red (but could play bass for Lied)
Natalie plays bass for Lied (but played bass for Dragon Red before)

And now, for pictures from my Canon Powershot A520! (There will be more with the infrared-modded Fujifilm Digital Q1, mostly using the Olympus 35-70mm G3.5-4.8 Zuiko lens, and the Olympus OM-2000, once the film has been processed.)

The hills are alive with the sound of music! (Maharajalela monorail station is right next to Stadium Merdeka)

Tempered Mental, alt-prog-metal heavies are thunderstruck.

Hermano Grande of Y2K, punk rockers.

You’d never know it, but this is Khai, who made Ciplak the movie.

Hana of Lucy In The Loo, indie-pop darlings.

And I play bass.

And now, to save bandwidth, here’s a collage of shots!

Left to right, top to bottom: Emcee Haaarooon!: Are you all enjoy?; Ariff Akhir of the funky Sofa Sessions; Sarah of The Official; a man under zero effort (of M.U.Z.E.); Jerome Kugan reaches for cosmic bliss with trippy electronica; M.U.Z.E., somewhat progressive rock; Ian of Throne Away, great emo rockers with a dancy frontman (not in pictures yet). Click on the collage for a bigger view!

Left to right, top to bottom: Moots of rap-rockers Pop Shuvit; the chillout lounge (with air-conditioning!); all that is thanks to Jason Lo, who started that with the Force Of Nature concert; his bass player gets on down; every time I passed the Discovery Stage I’d see Steeltoe Solutions still waiting for the power to be restored to their stage; Din of funk-metal Estranged; “Tak Nak” Andy (spot the hidden Mickey!) Click on the collage for a bigger view!

I also bumped into Hsin, who’d seen me around the office and gigs but never said hi. I quote her:

In fact, I pretty much saw the entire contingent of bloggers – faces which I know I’ve seen on someone’s blog, or someone linked from some other one’s blog at some point…. you know. Albert, for one, I’ve been seeing at almost every other event I was at – rock gigs, jazz fest, Laundry, my intern stint in ASTRO. =.= Wait lah one day I’ll just step up to him and block his way and go HELLO ALBERT DO YOU NOT RECOGNIZE ME FROM THE BAZILLION TIMES WE’VE BUMPED INTO EACH OTHER? AND BTW YOU TAKE DAMN NICE PHOTOS. It kinda bugs me that someone I see so often hasn’t become smile/nod/wave buddy yet – like how it took me one whole term before this leng chai in my marketing class and I started acknowledging each other. And by then it was already the end of my only class with him, pfft.

Therefore, the rest of you should make effort to become smile/nod/wave buddies. Especially if he is a leng chai. 😀

And uh, I don’t go around telling people that they look familiar anymore, even if I’ve sat at the same table for an hour. I’ll let the conversation lead to such hints as to where I’d seen them from. I really do think people look familiar! Why must all of you think it’s a pickup line?

I hereby dedicate this blog entry to Hsin, who is of the habit of flooding her blog with pictures.

Jangan tak rock beb!

Left to right, top to bottom: Justin, on percussions for Republic Of Brickfields (I can see a cute smile form on someone‘s face); Aru of Koffin Republic Of Brickfields; Hanafi for Auburn (note that everyone in this row is a band slut!); Izuan Shah wonders what song his band will play next; his bassist waits; Brainhead; Reza Salleh and the Fumakillas play 90’s rock (featuring band sluts Melina and Hanafi). Click on the collage for a bigger view!

Left to right, top to bottom: Muck, old-school emo punk; Rickenbacker bass (damn old-school!); their other guitarist is also on a Fender Jaguar; Kluk Kluk Adventure calls you to ska; Silent Scream is Christian rock. Click on the collage for a bigger view!

Left to right, top to bottom: Alex Ang: “Somebody hollered for band sluts?“; Alda Tan: “Oh thank goodness you stood up instead, heh.“; Paul of Qings & Kueens couldn’t make it so they got a mad-shredder replacement; it started to rain, but the cameraman was prepared; you can tell this collage is for Broken Scar the rock band, who got me in! Click on the collage for a bigger view!

I then ran over to the main stage, but Love Me Butch had ended. 🙁

Left to right, top to bottom: Peter Hassan Brown of hippie rockers Soft Touch, going “How many band sluts you got huh?“; Alda’s one of them (Alex Ang too); Insecure, metalcore; Natalie of “angry rock” Lied; Mono plays indie-rock-bass for The Times (as well as The A.C.A.B.); Infectious Maggots is grindcore. Click on the collage for a bigger view!

Left to right, top to bottom: Isaac Entry and friends (including band sluts Alda and Alex); They Will Kill Us All; Rahul of One Buck Short (who seems to have a new life in Malay punk rock); Izal casts a funky silhoutte; Koffin Kanser; Justin again, for Koffin Kanser; Aru again, for Koffin Kanser. Click on the collage for a bigger view!

Left to right, top to bottom: The smallest member of Dragon Red waves to the crowd; the crowd waves back; Melina-band-slut and DJ Naz-T (also a major film star, Goodbye Boys anyone?); guest percussionist; Adam the screamer; Amil the expression-ful shredder; Slyde looks taller in these jeans. Click on the collage for a bigger view!

This long exposure looks lomo-esque.

Left to right, top to bottom: A cloud of smoke; Stonebay, tried-and-tested grunge; spot the Izuan lurking eeriely; Curtis Blues Review; he croons; these guys do the blues like nobody’s business; Electrico, indie from Singapore; Pete Teo, acoustic folk rock from Malaysia. Click on the collage for a bigger view!

Left to right, top to bottom: Prana, funk-metal-reggae (missing the rapper vocalist, what a pity); I don’t know who this bass player is; hot groupies; percussionist. Click on the collage for a bigger view!

However, I’m pretty sure that the groupies are here to see this masked terrorist work the turntables. I wondered how long he’d keep the disguise. He took it off after a while, to reveal:

Cleo Bachelor Jeremy Little! I told you so. Those who only read the magazine know of his aeronautical engineer tendencies, and not as long-time DJ for Prana (his brother Jeffrey plays drums and doesn’t quite look like him. Sorry girls.) This picture’s for you, Fireangel!

John of Nervewreck, a most powerful screamer (he screamed on Prana – Away From Another.)

Left to right, top to bottom: Mono for (formerly skinhead Oi!) indie-rockers The A.C.A.B.; Radhi-jadi-Statue-Of-Liberty for O.A.G.; Pedram for Damn Dirty Apes, superb instrumental post-rock/space-rock which turned reggae for a bit; feedback (dammit, I came too late, to catch their last two songs; previous Rock The World instalments had them entrancing the crowd in shoegazing bliss, like that enveloping Feedbach); I headed back into the band tent, where obviously bored people shredded paper cups; more post-rock with KL Post-Harmonic Quintet. Click on the collage for a bigger view!

The last band I caught was Sil Khannaz.

An Ibanez Iceman guitar never looked so good.

This is death metal! (He’s probably growling about how tight his leather pants are.)

By 11:50pm, the Maharajalela monorail station was closed, so we all walked to Bintang Walk and passed the Hang Tuah police station. The lower sign (in red) says “Lindungilah harta-benda anda” or “Protect your valuables“. Funny thing is, the sign’s flipped over vertically!

Surprise In Film

This blog post will have no pictures, and you will find out why later.

Many surprise birthday parties have been thrown for friends; often, out of unsuspecting dinner invites a few days before the actual date, to avoid suspicion.

And so, I knew damn well that the days before my birthday were those I should be most aware of, so I don’t sound as hysterical or dumbfounded as any of these friends. (But I certainly avoided “Throw me a surprise birthday party will you guys? As many celebrations as my age?“)

Probably the only person I know who didn’t get majorly surprised (or had a hunch) was stim-girl. Boohoo.


I sat at my office workstation, cursing the slow Internet connection, when the lights tripped and a cake came out. I turned back and sung along, “Happy birthday…” thinking it was Aaron or Rizal’s birthday or something.

Oh, right. Me!

There it was, a… smaller-sized cheesecake. (Thank my diabetic tendencies that it’s tiny; finishing cakes is hardly in fashion.)

I got 6 rolls of ISO 400 film as a present from colleagues. Thanks dudes!

Now, what was sublime and ethereal about these 6 rolls was that it was not a want. It was almost a need. I was going to buy two 3-packs of ISO 400 film anyway, for Rock The World 7.

They could’ve given me that to find out that I’d already gotten film. But no! Such perfect, perfect timing! God bless them, and God blessed my wallet!

Very practical, too! (I don’t know what to do with functionless memorabilia. Damn pink elephants.)

Jenifur, if you masterminded such a gift suggestion, I salute you. You’ve had a track record of choosing the most matching gifts for friends. Go start a service and charge people, yo.

After work, I got off at KL Sentral. Walking past a camera shop, I figured I might as well develop the two rolls of film I had, and get them to burn it to CD.

When it was time to collect, I saw two strands of blank film hanging from their machine. “Uh sorry sir, your film didn’t advance.” When I loaded the film, I put it over the notches and under the uh… advancer, but I didn’t make sure that the film was stuck firmly in. Sure, the film advance lever would crank and make a sound, and the film counter would increase, but the film didn’t move.

There goes my Moonshine-in-film shots. 🙁 (Of course, there’s always Moonshine-in-infrared, Moonshine-in-slow-shutter-flash…)

I got them to show me how to load the film and lock it in place. When advanced properly, the film rewind lever would turn together with each crank. Oh, and I got the Olympus OM-2000 back, and the shutter-clicking-after-advancing-film bug was fixed. However, a new one came – even when the film advance lever was in the lock position, I could still press the shutter and take a picture! (So now I don’t advance the film until I intend to take a picture.)

Well, at least I learnt it then, rather than after 6 blank rolls at Rock The World 7. 😀

It’s A Bug’s Life

I am no anthropologist, so these insects will go largely unlabelled.

Ooo, the light.

Yep, from ages ago, the reversed-lens super macro method! Continued from this and this.

With flash.

Again, with flash.

Without flash. Running insects are hard to keep in focus and in view; you’d tend to focus on the floor instead.

In the beginning… (picture downsized so as to not draw focus to possibly deappetizing subject.)

This is a crop from before.


Uh, what? (Even at F8.0, darkest aperture for my Canon Powershot A520, it was out of focus.)

This critter ran all over the leaf.

This one was oblivious.

Where’s my stash?

Most insects can be approached from above slowly; they are very sensitive to motion from the side.


A primitive pentapod.

Hibiscus. I think.

Escape pod.


Now it’s really eating its home.

He’s In Fashion

I was walking around Subang Parade once, and I bumped into April and Jaymee.

Hey Albert! We weren’t sure it was you! We were like looking from afar and wondering, ‘Is that him? I don’t remember him looking that scruffy…’

Well excuuuse me, I’m in fashion. No, literally. In fashion! In “In Fashion“!

From left to right: Nadya, me, Diane

Needless to say, I bought it. First time I was in a magazine! (Well okay, that’s not true.)

However, the rest of the magazine seemed to be a Sungei Wang catalogue. Which reminds me of this conversation:

Ahbert: Su Zhen aaa! Come to Moonshine on Thursday aaa! I dowan to look like the only Sungei Wang representative wor.
Su Zhen: But hor, Thursday hor, I’ve got plans already hor. 😛
Ahbert: Ya, lain kali je la beb. 😉
Su Zhen: Haha ewww, poyo giler! LOL ok bye. 🙂
Ahbert: Eleh sombong dah, lepak dengan Siti-Siti dan Anuar-Anuar yang femes dan sewaktu dengannya. Aku pun nak bla! Issh. Ambik kau.
Su Zhen: Oh my god laa aku ni masih ingat kampungku, bumi yang aku pijak ok. 🙂 Haha kidding la aiyo it’s not a big deal. 😛 Silly. Hey this weekend the ASTRO show is at Klang. Come come if you want? 🙂 Teehee.
Ahbert: KLANG?!? Alamak katak! Kau tau tak, kat sana mereka semua MAKAN BABI! Tak halal tu beb!!! Berdosa tau! Aku tak boleh la, aku jadi roadie Broken Scar kat Rock The World 7. Dapat crew tag tau, boleh lepak backstage. Fuwaa!
Su Zhen: FOCKER!! Oh macam tu laaa, kawan kawan dengan Brokenscar tu tak nak kawan dengan I la nih… Funkysocks pun bagus tau… ok la you pergi dengan kawan kawan you yang Berbrokenscar itu, lagi glamour. Hmph. Bye! LOL.
Ahbert: Memang pun. 😛 Jangan tak rock beb. Bai!!!
Su Zhen: Cis! Cheebye! 😛
Ahbert: You nii kan, lepak dengan budak Klang semua makan babi, tak baik tau! Baik ko bertaubat. Kalau sudah sesat jalan, baik kau tanya Mawi. Itu dia budak yang baik.
Su Zhen: Eh, kita semua lepak kat hotel ok, tak dibenarkan pergi keluar, I think so, don’t worry, takde babi kat hotel. 😛 Haha ok bye!
Ahbert: Fuhh lega aku. Orait cik manis! Gudnait!

* Su Zhen’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.

It always cracks me up when a non-Muslim says “Maaakan baaabi“. 😀 You gotta say it in a most exaggerated manner.

In the meantime, more event pimping:

What: Moonshine: a homemade acoustic show
Where: Laundry Bar, The Curve
When: 9:45pm, Thursday 14th December 2006
How Much: Free entry, but if you see a hottie buy him/her a drink and maybe, write him/her a message on tissue paper. Just remember to get the waiter/waitress to point out who you are.
Who: Ferns, Flatline, Naked Breed, Stonebay

More details here.

What: Rock The World 7
Where: Stadium Merdeka
When: 3pm, Saturday 16th December 2006
How Much: RM25 per entry; first 5000 entries get a free Rock The World 7 T-shirt
Who: 50 artists over 3 stages

The full list and timetable is at If one act is not your thing, walk to another stage! If that’s not your thing either, walk to another! How great is that?

I’ve had the Rock The World 4 shirt from long time ago, and it’s still good and bright. (I didn’t get to win the 5th and 6th shirt. 🙁 )

I’m going for Moonshine and Rock The World 7.

Oh, and if rock is not your thing, but you want to see local artistes (and if you think Funky Socks are hot):

What: Gegak Gemilang Astro
Where: Padang Pandamaran, Klang, Selangor
When: 9am-11:30pm, Saturday 16th December 2006
How Much: I think it’s free. Just say you’re a fan of Funky Socks. 😀
Who: Anuar Zain, Erra Fazira, Adibah Noor, Aznil Hj. Nawawi, Mawi, Zahid, Faizal, Vince, Farhan, Farah, Marsha, Idayu, annnd Funky Socks!