Monthly Archives: April 2007


Click here for the link to the video.


I first heard this song on The Simpsons, where Homer Simpson stumbles upon a hippie van and this song is playing. Pounding psychedelic rock!

You may also have heard this on Guitar Hero.

This video shows some things I never realized on the recorded version, like the two drum sets, in call-and-response, and saxophone and guitar harmonizing!

The basslines are also classic rock stuff. None of that root note playing. The drums are from a bygone era when they’d go tiddyboom on one drum at a time. It also seems pretty fast!

Plus, Edgar Winter (the albino) wailing on the Keytar is simply amazing, and then tweaking his ARP 2600 semi-modular synth while getting honked at.

I was having a drink with classic rockers Crosstown Traffic, and we were vocally jamming this song. And loving every moment of it. (Imagine Jack Black in School Of Rock.) It was also said that once, they vocally jammed, and this bystander got so charged up, he started pressing the button under a Keluar (Exit) lamp in rhythm.

And now, for some gig updates.

I’m going for all six!

What: Moonshine: A Homemade Music Show
When: 9:15pm, 12th April 2007
Who: Jasemaine Gan, Yuri, Plush, Lucy In The Loo
Where: Laundry Bar, The Curve
How Much: Free

What: The Artistic Series (bass)
When: 8:30pm, 14th April 2007
Who: Sujesh (of The Star newpaper’s Audiofile), Ken (Estranged), Zaim (Curtis Blues Review)
Where: KL Jamasia
How Much: RM20 (RM40 for a 3-day-pass that lets you watch all 3 Artistic Series)

What: Laundry First Anniversary
When: 19th April 2007 (not sure what time)
Who: Reza Salleh, Rhapsody, (not sure who else yet)
Where: Laundry Bar, The Curve
How Much: Free

What: Incubus Tribute gig
When: 9pm, 20th April 2007
Who: Neomedicus, Reza Salleh, Estranged, Evol
Where: KL Jamasia
How Much: RM12

Incubus’ Clean and Battlestar Scratchlactica are also great songs to vocally jam to with Incubus-loving friends.

What: The Artistic Series (drums)
When: 8:30pm, 21th April 2007
Who: Steph (of Plush), Martin (not sure who), Jimmy (Tempered Mental)
Where: KL Jamasia
How Much: RM20 (RM40 for a 3-day-pass that lets you watch all 3 Artistic Series)

What: The Artistic Series (guitars)
When: 8:30pm, 28th April 2007
Who: Wong (of Crosstown Traffic), Jack (Tempered Mental, Velvet Tones), Fadlly (from The Guitar Store)
Where: KL Jamasia
How Much: RM20 (RM40 for a 3-day-pass that lets you watch all 3 Artistic Series)

Happiness Is

Finding the browser window/tab that is playing the music…

And closing it.


And now, to a random diversion.

It’s not that I don’t blog about personal things. Of course I do! My personal collection of Transformers and cameras and various guitar accessories which make no sense because I don’t have an electric guitar. (e.g. a Jimi Hendrix Crybaby wah pedal and an eBow) and three harmonicas (2 C harps and a C chromatic). I have a metal slide, picks I don’t use, a SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 which had EAX controls that allow every regular effect known (so I had a bass, distortion, flanger, but no true wah, which is why I got one), and a ukelele I sold off.

Chicks dig this shit, yo. (Picture recycled from this post.) There are three things very notably distinct about this picture:

1) I had short hair and was proud that I looked like Neo of The Matrix whenever I put on any sunglasses
2) I’m wearing a polo shirt (I swear I had loads of these back then but the stack got misplaced)
3) The thing that appears to be a guitar strap is actually a bag. I used to carry one wherever I went, filled with a 1 liter bottle. I was a thirsty hippo then.

And this, this is an undated picture of an undisclosed location.

While at it, I won’t disclose which hot chick rabid fan took this picture, either. Yes, yes, I will have your babies, don’t worry. We’ll set an appointment okay?

Anyway, back to me getting all close and personal.

It’s not that I don’t. In fact, I do express my deepest emotions, in convulated prose and rhyme. I only write songs out of bad things.

You want to dig the dirt?

If you hang out with me, you know where to dig the dirt – in person.

(stim-girl I miss you!)

But hey, I’m going to put up more text. Apparently, I get more comments that way. Ironically, this was not the case back when I had no pictures. So it might just be a I-miss-the-old-Albert response.

I worry about readability too; often I read a blog full of text which isn’t paragraphed properly, or with capitalized nouns for easier reading (yes, it does help). Stop randomly coloring your text! Your blog is not your History textbook.

I worry also if I repeat myself (on my blog), writing about something I’ve written before.

I worry about telling stories that have no point or entertainment value. If you blogged that you were brushing your teeth, that would be boring; however, if you blogged that you were brushing your teeth and then heard a voice narrating that you were brushing your teeth, that would be interesting.

I also see green and red zigzag lines under text all the time ala Microsoft Word.

Notice a missing word? It should be “taste so the different” dammit!

I worry that when I write text, it is often as a personal message to someone. I worry also that I write in such reverse order that the person often does not get it.

Best friends we are, you and me

Yes, that’s a line from a song some very few people have heard.

I find that best friends are a transient concept to me; I do not have a best friend, and believe the concept died after high school. Such alarming emotional dependence on one person is not healthy!

My friends waver in closeness; a close friend and I may fade into contactless oblivion. I may make a new friend on the LRT or at a gig. All it takes is that one magic question, that “meet cute“, that causes an arched eyebrow on either side, and wham!

I hate how it is, that I admire certain traits in people, seeing how it brings them such success… and I adapt them… much, much later. For example, if somebody starts saying a catchphrase, everybody else will start doing it before I do.

Heart, I Must, Music

Groovejunction, a new jazz bar opened on the 15th of March 2007. I came on the 16th, featuring the same launching lineup:

Lewis Prasagam, Yamaha endorsee and virtuoso drummer. 210mm F4 on the beercan. (Exposure data shall tread the fine line of informativeness without being geek just yet, because I say so.)

I forgot the bassist’s name.

Jose Thomas! Yeah he owns the bar, yo.

Shutter Priority, 1/6th of a second, ISO1600 with flash, to get trails of color!

Drum solo!

Jose also did a teeth solo as is customary, and I didn’t catch it on camera. 🙁 It’s otherwise hard to catch these veterans anywhere else than the Mont Kiara Sunrise Jazz Fest and say Alexis Bar, Ampang.

I then hopped over to JamAsia, to find a ruckus going on.

Reza Salleh‘s other gig series – Feedback!

Ziel, mathematical metal or math-tal, I’d say.

Happy headbangers.

For once, a healthy ratio between female and male headbangers. Heh.

21st March 2007 – College Night in JamAsia, with Hotscotch, a funky soulful rock band. I think.

This particular gig shoot would be a bit different, because I was showing Xian Jin some shots at KLPAC, which got me thinking about shooting from such a position to get a balance of different colored stage light. The right angles would decrease dramatic shadows.

Andrea can sing. She also always has a smile on her face. Good showmusicianship!

Collin Nunis, blues shredder. Intentionally shot at an angle so that he would be lit evenly by both colors. I also waited for him to step under the light so his hair would be lit!

He has a most kickass funk vibe, despite having a tiny wah pedal. If you can call that a pedal.

The drummer looks a bit like Asyraf Sinclair.

I went to watch Kingsley rock out.

Again, I forgot the bassist’s name.

Shoes, for you girls.

Guest vocalist.

Irotori, this other thrash/power metal band was supposed to play, but they pulled out, so Hotscotch was made to become a pub band and entertain everybody for the rest of the night.

I screamed, “FREEBIRD!

The bassist then went, “Freebird? Did somebody say Freebird?” annoyedly.

I later found out that the rest of the band loved Lynyrd Skynyrd, but the bassist hated the song. I won’t stop shouting “FREEBIRD!” until somebody plays it!

The tradition is that at every rock concert (in America, at least), whenever there is a silence in the performance between songs, a bunch of drunken guys would call for Freebird. Even if it’s a punk rock band on stage.

The more sporting ones would attempt to cover the 9-minute classic rock triple-guitar-solo fest.

Kingsley, master of mini percussive units.

I don’t know who these people are or how to send them the picture so here goes. Someone out there might know them and direct them here.

Fisheye, Hi!

Fun with the Pro Tama 0.45x wide-angle converter is when I have time to stroll about downtown KL! Masjid Jamek, this is.

I have never seen such a magnificent, beautiful, ripe, perfect ass. I had never felt such a strong urge to just… take a picture of it. This picture does not do justice to it, or the lucky monorail seat that it graced.

It must be my innate Ass Man talking.

Pardon the overexposure, my Vivitar 24mm F2.0’s aperture lever was misaligned.

Berjaya Times Square.

Shaz Da Coffee Ladies Man.

YS Camera, SS2, where I bought ASA 1600 film.

What, are you calling me a chicken?

When the cars stop, I will leap over the road!

All this and more, in Petaling Street. Note the sharp flare caused by the wide-angle converter.

I was just walking about with my camera, and this guy asked me to take his picture. I did point out that there was no way for me to give him a picture straight away.

Rames. When I remove the macro part of the wide-angle converter, it becomes a fish-eye! All shots at F22 for maximum apparent focus because it needs the lens to focus to like 5cm near.

Spot the shoes!

Flash and a long exposure.

Bounced flash. Yes, your nose can touch it and you’d still have a view of what’s around you.

smashpOp jumps, fish-eye style.

CK and Cherrie.


Damn my shoes!

Designer versus designer.

Remember, no touching the face!

Insert your own action sound bubble here.

Lens Shootout

Alright, so I posted a lengthy entry about my excessive camera geeking out. Thanks y’all for all the comments!

Guess what? I’ve still got a buffer of camera geeking posts to clear! So here’s a shitload of text that most of you won’t understand. But heck.

I recently acquired a Minolta 35-105mm F3.5-4.5 lens for my Sony A100. It has a tiny neglible amount of fungus. However, I’ve tried a heavily fungused Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan lens and a Minolta 50mm F1.7 lens and the glass itself was already so contrasty. I set contrast to -2 by default, shot with my beercan, and found that +1 contrast gave an equivalent result on the fungused beercan. I prefer less contrast, which is easier to work with in Photoshop.

My Minoltas!

From left: Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan lens, Minolta 35-105mm F3.5-4.5 (N) lens, Minolta 50mm F1.4 (pre-RS) lens.

The 35-105mm is a newer version; the older version looked like a short beercan (whose looks I so love). The 50mm F1.4 is the older version with built-in retractable lens hood, without circular aperture blades (which I like, really.)

The 35-105mm focus is very zippy. It is great fun. It actually thumps at you when focusing! Zip zap zip zap. About 60 degrees to turn from close focus to infinity. The Sony 18-70mm kit lens has about 30 degrees but doesn’t feel quite as nice. wkcheang reckons that this is because the 35-105mm’s closest focus range is 85cm and thus it doesn’t have to bother with macro.

I like how the beercan looks like a slender cannon. Internal zoom is awesome.

I also like how the 50mm F1.4 has a stumpy look.

I went down to Sony Wings, KLCC to try some lenses. They’re real friendly and will let you try everything!

Super Steady Shot (SSS)

I used a different method of testing stabilization; how many shots does it take to get a crisp, sharp, motion-blur-less one?

I first shoot at 1/10th of the inverse of the focal length (200mm would be 1/20s). Add in the crop factor of 1.5x and this is 15x slower than the rule of thumb, or about 4 stops. I hold the camera with both hands and shoot casually. If it is blur, I shoot again, watching to see the SSS meter go down to 1-2 bars.

If it is blur again, then I know I probably cannot shoot at that speed with that lens and focal length consistently.

Most lenses at longer focal lengths are safe and easy up to 4 stops. I don’t have to think of holding still. Wider focal lengths are a bit harder, as I rarely get super crisp 1 second exposures.

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA
I could shoot at 1/8 seconds, for 4.66 stops of SSS.

Carl Zeiss 135mm F1.8 at F1.8.

Carl Zeiss lenses, as we’ve all heard, are excellent. Crispy wide open? Most definitely. No fuzzing up of hair or lack of detail. No softness, no dreamy spherical aberration.

Another crop.

Even at decent distances, you can get nifty bokeh. (Of course, the Sony 135mm F2.8 (T4.5) Smooth Transition Focus has even better adjustable bokeh levels but that’s manual focus only.)

Sony 70-200mm F2.8G
Easy and safe to get crisp 1/13s shots at 200mm (4.66 stops of SSS). Soft at 1/10s but still apparently clear especially when downsized. At 1/10s you need to hold still and keep the SSS meter down.

I can also brace this lens with the tripod mount on my left hand comfortably.

Pardon the lousy quick snap of this. I was in awe. Okay, my hands were just tired after shooting with it.

The lens hood is cool! It has a sliding door which lets you rotate polarizer filters without removing the hood.

Sony 70-200mm F2.8G, at 200mm F2.8 1/60s.

The Sony price of RM10

My Greatest Fear

…is becoming someone with no soul.

My definition of soul is different; my soul relates to passion; and passion is something you do out of love and not for money.

My great fear is becoming a person so one-dimensional. You know those friends from long time ago who have become multi-level marketers? Yes. They have no soul. They speak of nothing else.

(That may also apply to some otakus, or people obsessed with Japanese culture, most specifically anime.)

I fear that I have become obsessed. About cameras (not the art of photography, mind you.) Before I sleep, I use Opera on my Nokia N70 to Google something camera-related. Yes, something just pops out of nowhere on my inquisitive mind.

My friends, whom I used to talk about anything with (except politics and current affairs), when I find out they have an interest in photography… I end up always falling back on the topic of it. I’m throttling through new things at warp speed.

I scare myself.

I am glad when I have close friends or colleagues who do not share interest in cameras. We then speak of other things, but I’m still appalled at myself at how shallow I get. We gossip about real people (gossipping about celebrities is passe) and talk about girls and sex.

Sometimes, with my camera geek-out buddies, I wonder what we used to talk about.

I used to pride myself in being able to converse of the abstract. Social constructs. Music. Life or the lack thereof. Random theories. However, the older I get, and the older the crowd gets, I find myself trying hard to catch up. I never liked being asked about my academic plan back when I was in school or college. Only after all that was over could I ask, “So, what do you do?” and understand how to proceed accordingly.

I used to think I was interesting and funny, too.

Okay, honestly, I still think I have it. I still think I kept it real. However, I fear one day the obsession will go overboard. I mean, it was still cute when this photography geek dude went “WHOOOAAA the skies are so blue! So saturated!” and proceed to stop and snap skies in the middle of KL. I just hope I won’t carry a wireless flash around and assign friends to hold them in position while I shoot something.

(Yes, I am not completely against the idea of buying a wireless flash; you know the geek in me is hankering for the Sony HVL-F56AM.)

Which gets to my gripe on, well, destructive photography.

I’ve always been of the opinion that I should respect the natural or artificial lighting the sun or moon or lighting crew has given us. I shall not blind a subject. I don’t like taking pictures of performers looking at me and smiling because I, well, I am supposed to be an observer capturing a moment in life’s movie, not in the picture (though technically behind it.)

I also would not pick up a snail to put it on a rock so it would look more artsy. I’d wait for the snail to get into a position that would make better composition.

I still don’t have a car.

I’m trying to save up… but I’m also trying to save up to geek out.

Even after getting a car, I’ll still walk around town, around the ghetto, because that’s where I got my street walking shots from. Back before I had a camera, I’d walk in the streets, downtown KL, and see something and wish I had a camera. I could imagine the catchy captions for them already.

I don’t like going out for the sole purpose of being on a photoshoot. (Also because I have shitloads of pictures and blog entries to clear!) I like carrying my camera around in case I saw something.

So, I’ve gotta walk. If I didn’t wait at the Segambut KTM station, I would not have shot goats. If I didn’t walk home from the bus stop after the rain, I would not have spotted many many snails coming out to play. (I haven’t blogged about those.)

I feel like a hippie walking around with long hair, looking like a scraggy youth myself, blending in. Save the environment! Quit congesting the roads! Quit adding smog to the city!

It is also said that riding a bicycle for a kilometer requires the energy of one egg. Walking requires two eggs. A bus engine takes 7 eggs to carry you. Driving takes 35 (the engine, not you… so you won’t lose weight driving). Or something like that, I really don’t remember and can’t seem to Google it.

I don’t live within 5 minutes to an LRT station, oh dear spoilt brats.

I remember meeting a chick with a Canon EOS 400D. I popped my Hoya R72 infrared pass filter on her Canon 50mm F1.8 MkII, laid it on a table, pointed to a sunny garden and shot a test shot to see how infrared would turn out.

The mirror locked up… and waited… and went back down.

I think the shutter speed is a bit too long.

She didn’t know I put an IR filter in front. I don’t know why, but that was a turn on. Knowing that she could tell without looking.

When camwhoring in noisy places, I can tell by how far the focusing ring is whether it is focused close or accidentally focusing on the background. I think I am cool, that way.

There, see, I’m talking about photography again.

I’m still a bit shy around the term ‘photographer’. I am, in all essence, a camera geek primarily, photographer second. I don’t get nice shots all the time. I only start getting them once I shoot one magic shot, look at my shot (also known as chimping) and find that it was a great shot. From then on, I feel encouraged and inspired to shoot more such shots after that.

I quite hate the suffix Photography, (or Through The Lens or any photography cliche) especially when I’m reading a blog and seeing all soul-less, badly composed pictures.

If a picture has bad composition, but has soul (in my definition, it captures the emotion and moment or shows an expression) then it passes by my book.

Heck, I find such suffixes to almost certainly jinx it for me. Too many people adding Photography to their namecards.

My name is Albert, and I have an obsession with cameras.

(This blog entry was somewhat sparked off by Yee Hou’s rant.)

Beyond Infinity!

First, I must thank Wai Fon for pimping me!

She spoke of my Spidey senses. I’ll relate the same story.

I was shooting a starry sky with my Olympus OM-2000 and Vivitar 24mm F2.0 and a second-hand shutter release cable. The button on the cable unscrewed itself and rolled outside my house gate!

I wanted to get my house keys, but the camera and tripod got in the way.

I collapsed the tripod slightly, and leaned it against the wall that separates me and my neighbor. I walked past it.

Usually, in the world of Albert, many things can be precariously balanced and defy gravity.

This night however, everything came crashing down.

My OM-2000 took a nosedive!

Usually, if I saw something fall, I’d be able to catch it. I have such Spidey sense.

This time however, I didn’t even look. I took for granted my warped gravitational fields (the same ones that attract chicks for no logical reason, I reckon.)

It was… beheaded. 🙁

The impact was so powerful, the tripod head left a mark on my camera’s base!

It also caused a crack near the film winder, and the film winder can pop off. Fortunately, there was no light leakage as the film transport area is sealed.

Fortunately, too, that it wasn’t my Sony A100 and any of my beloved Minolta lenses.

However, it misaligned something in the Vivitar 24mm F2.0, causing it to be unable to focus to infinity, somewhat permanently macro; fortunately, it was the same lens I had opened many times before so I was somewhat familiar with it.

It also would not stop down to F8 or darker. A major debilitation for a wide-angle lens whose primary objective could be landscapes.

Aperture ring and ball-bearing used to give you that nice clicking feeling when you turn the aperture ring.

There was a disc that wasn’t flat; I used pliers to violently bang it to flatness.

Alas, I had to open it a few times, each time getting closer to infinity.

Finally, I opened an area I had not opened before! Hidden screws on the focusing ring, painted over in black.

The focusing ring. Note the focus limiter screw on the right, and a hole in front. Yes, I removed the focus limiter screw there! With that removed, I could focus beyond infinity! (About a 60 degree turn.)

Of course, once reassembled, the lens wouldn’t let me go that far beyond infinity. Just a little bit. But still enough to optically get beyond infinity!

I also misaligned the aperture ring, so the aperture is 1 stop darker than reported. 🙁

Another side effect I recently discovered? Mirror Lock Up! When there was no lens, I could shoot, and the mirror would stay up. It was held up by the aperture lever (near the red dot). Moving the aperture lever clockwise tells the camera that the lens has a brighter aperture, so it can adjust the meter accordingly.

To return the mirror, I just needed to move the aperture lever a tiny bit.

You can tell that the mirror was locked up because if I was doing a bulb exposure, the shutter curtain would be up (and you’d see the film back of the camera.)

The aperture lever only ever holds the mirror up when it’s all the way down, so if a lens is mounted at even F22 it would not cause mirror lock up.

I could, however, exploit this; the Olympus Zuiko 50mm F1.8 here is mounted but not yet clicked into place. (Note the red dot should be upwards.) Fully stopped down at F16 it will not nudge the aperture lever and thus release the mirror.

Because the lens wasn’t correctly mounted, I’d have to stop down while shooting by pressing on the DOF preview button on the lens.

A major benefit of mirror lock up is that you wouldn’t have mirror slap, and in theory could shoot at slower shutter speeds without handshake. You won’t hear the mirror slap either. I have not tested this with a roll of film.

The downside is that with the mirror locked up, you would not be able to see anything through the viewfinder, so it would be wise to focus beforehand and use your other eye to shoot. Or shoot like a rangefinder!

It also does not meter because the mirror is up. So, the shot must be set up beforehand with lens on normally, before dismounting the lens and locking up the mirror.

Before I got my Pentax P30t, I tried to swap the mount from the 2x teleconverter from my Vivitar 75-205mm F3.5-4.5 Pentax K-mount lens with the mount from my Vivitar OM-mount 2x teleconverter. The OM one had 3 screws, not 4 so only one screw would go in. 🙁

Auto Chinon 135mm F2.8 Pentax K-mount on Vivitar 2x teleconverter (OM-mount front, K-mount back) on Olympus OM-2000.

Yes, I am promoting the interracial, intermountal marriage of different mounts.

Of course, because the lens wasn’t aligned, it had a slight tilt/shift tilt effect, and it would not focus on infinity.

Unless, of course, you get negative diopter lenses to restore infinity focus; thanks Shaz for your contribution to science!

It’s a -200 power (or -20 lens) so that should give me plenty of space to muck around with making a proper adapter.

Professor Albert Frankenstein. (Thanks to the interesting specimen for shooting this!)

I found this in an old-timer camera shop on the ground floor of Ampang Park; a Ricoh AF 50mm F2.0 lens! This was one of the first implementations of auto-focus; focus detection was done on the box stuck to it instead of the camera!

It required batteries and looked uncool. I think you can figure out why it never caught on. Ricoh lenses use the K-mount too.

Speaking of which, I must plug Albert Cheah of Cheah Camera Repair, Mutiara Complex, Jalan Ipoh. He does excellent defungusing and lens fixing. I just wished his shop didn’t close before I could get there after working hours. Saturday afternoons, between 12-3pm are a safe time to visit; he has loads of rangefinders and other camera pr0n.

I sent my Vivitar 75-205mm F3.5-4.5 and matched 2x teleconverter for defungusing. Xian Jin (formerly known as The Pink Frog) helped me collect it. I was amazed how shiny and black it was! It was almost spotless minus one bit he couldn’t clean. However, I’ve seen a Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan that he cleaned, and it has better contrast than mine! Another Minolta 50mm F1.7 he cleaned had higher contrast than my Minolta 50mm F1.4 even!

I excitedly put my Auto Chinon 135mm F2.8 K-mount lens on the Vivitar K-mount matched 2x teleconverter meant for the 75-205mm F3.5-4.5… and it got stuck!

I tried to open it there and then, at McDonalds.

I got this far; removing the front element!

Which looks cool, but alas, I could not get any deeper. (Credit to Xian Jin for the last 4 pictures.)

I got home, and jammed a key on the aperture lever of the teleconverter, while forcefully dislodging the lens. It worked at last!

Sadly, the teleconverter had something inside misalign, and it does not stop down all the way sometimes. This would not be a problem given that I’d use it on the 75-205mm F3.5-4.5 and I wouldn’t want to stop down on a long zoom lens anyway, as I’d need all the shutter speed I can get (The Pentax P30t film SLR comes from a time before image stabilization.)