Monthly Archives: March 2008

Em Prompt Too

I got a phone call one night from dear-Rubik-cubing Emily.

Emily: Hey man, do you have any pictures of me? Could you send them to me? I’m going for a casting tomorrow and need some pictures…
Me: Okay I’ll try, don’t remember if I have anything decent without a Laughter-Of-Emily look.

Fortunately, I found these, taken at a McDonalds in Ampang.

I don’t even remember why she started posing on the sofa.

Often, I prefer the serious look. It complements her Oriental features. Why the tight crop? I didn’t change from my 50mm F1.4, heh.

I sent it off later, and got this message the next day:

Hey, thanks for the picture man! I nailed the gig!

Ah, what joy!

Of course, I think there are a few hundred other people who take better portraits than I do, but it’s nice to know your picture helped someone get a job.

This is not Emily, but this shot got her in for something. I don’t remember what though. Ironically, this was totally casual and impromptu, too!

Gestalt Entry

Alright time for some pictures. Though this picture is still very geeky in nature as it shows a combination of several hacks:

Minolta Dynax 7 with transplanted Vivitar 24mm F2.0 tilt-shift and Seagull iISO to ISO hotshoe adapter, and optical slave trigger, and Nikon SB-28 with externally wired battery pack.

The ISO adapter, optical slave trigger and Sony strap were from Digicolor, Mutiara Complex, Mile 4, Jalan Ipoh, for very cheap! Go there for some great bargains.

This is how I lit it. RM5 silver-inside umbrella from Masjid Jamek, clipped with wire rope clips (RM6.50) on RM40 tripod. Sony HVL-F56AM pointed at center of umbrella in Manual Power, which triggered the SB-28 on the camera… which bounced into the cardboard standing on the right. That way you get the highlights on the right.

Note that I had to shield my camera’s pop up flash from the SB-28 using my hand… but making sure it still is seen by the F56 flash.

So how did I put the SB-28 on my Dynax 7, which has a different flash mount? I used this:

It’s a Minolta/Sony iISO hotshoe to standard ISO hotshoe adapter with PC Sync port on the side.

This makes your Minolta/Sony bodies compatible with the ISO hotshoe everybody uses… and it adds PC Sync port support for studio lights. * note that the Sony A700 and Minolta pro/advanced amateur series have this already.

It said RM29 but I got it for cheaper. 😉

This is a Remote Shutter Cable, RM65. Good for tripod shooters and people who want to do HDR.

Note that A700 users don’t need this, as the A700 already comes with a remote control that does Bulb mode.

And now for the new Sony HVL-F42AM GN42 (105mm at ISO100) flash:

Note the very bright, vibrant, shadow-less light? It’s because I was taking a picture and forgot that wireless was on, so it fired a very powerful blast at the wall, which formed a very big surface area, making a very, very soft light.

Knowing how to bounce your light onto HUGE surfaces is far more important than buying any diffuser for your camera, trust me. That’s why people always point their flashes to the ceiling.

Rear panel, greatly improved – manual power and a fully articulate flash head added to the F36, built-in wide-angle diffuser, plus a zoom of up to 105mm instead of 85mm on the F36. Oh and the Test button, for whatever reason you’d need it for… 🙂

Same retail price as the F36. Street price would be cheaper in Sg. Wang!

Nope, still using 4 AA batteries, no funky Sony Lithiums yet. It would be interesting though. Oh and for some reason, the F42 looks like a black version of Transformers character Blurr.

A proud owner of a new Sony A200. Wireless flash from his 12 o’ clock and one more flash at about his 8 o’ clock (spot an Ian holding a flash in the mirror!)

Dynamic Range Optimizer, Level 5

All Sony Alpha digital SLRs have a Dynamic Range Optimizer feature which helps to bring out details in shadows and highlights. The default settings are Off, DRO Standard and DRO Advanced.

However, on the A700, there are 5 more levels, for manual customization, and often, at Level 3, you get a stronger effect than with DRO Advanced.

Aperture Priority, 17mm F5.6 1/800s ISO200, DRO off.

Aperture Priority, 17mm F5.6 1/800s ISO200, DRO Level 5.

Aperture Priority, 17mm F8.0 1/250s ISO200, DRO off.

Aperture Priority, 17mm F8.0 1/250s ISO200, DRO Level 5.

What it does simply, is change the ISO for certain areas of the image, brightening it smarter than most Photoshopping can or will do. This saved me from hours of dodging and burning! (Though I enjoy that activity, heh!)

Of course, there are limitations – having DRO on slows down your burst shot framerate slightly as the camera has to process the pictures. Also, if you’re shooting at ISO1600, the darker spots that get brightened by say DRO Level 5 will have its noise become very, very obvious. However, DRO Level 5 is awesome in bright daylight and contrasty conditions.

Many Eyes

There is a kit lens, a Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye, a Sony Carl Zeiss 16-80mm F3.5-4.5, a Sony 70-200mm F2.8G SSM (on Nic‘s A700 + VG-C70AM, look at the number of buttons on the grip), a Sony Carl Zeiss 135mm F1.8 on an A100, a Minolta 70-210mm F4 “beercan” on a Sony A350 and a Tamron 200-400mm + 1.4x + 2x teleconverters on a Sony A200.

This was before we went to Putrajaya for something which I will not document in full geekiness just yet.

KJ the invisible tripod-mounted man.

I can do the moonwalk!

And now, for some real cool shit.

No wait, in slow motion.

Stuntman 101: Escaping the explosion.

KJ does the remix.

Nic jumps.

DIY Tilt-Shift!

I present to you my finest work of camera modification – the Vivitar 24mm F2.0 Olympus OM-mount lens, adapted to the Minolta/Sony Alpha mount!

My beloved Vivitar 24mm F2.0 wasn’t stopping down properly, after a few operations in the past year, so it was time to change its mount from the Olympus Zuiko OM mount to the Alpha mount which I use. It was a favorite on my Olympus OM-2000, and will continue living a well-used life!

So, I unscrewed the back of the Vivitar and placed the spacer on my Sony body cap to get the alignment right, then drilled. I intended to just replace the rear mounting with the body cap, using the same screws… but found that the body cap was too thick, so it could not focus to infinity.

Hence, I had to remove another layer, including the aperture ring, off the lens. Now it could focus to infinity, but the screw holes did not match anymore! Then, I found, the lens could shift about in place, and tilt about… I had made a 24mm F2.0 tilt-shift lens!

Yeah, eat that, Canon and Nikon, which only offer a 24mm F3.5 tilt-shift. 😀

The red tape is used to hold it in place; if not, it would pop out too easily. Another layer of red tape was applied underneath the main layer so there are no exposed sticky surfaces.

My sad OM-2000 with the leftover parts from the lens.

So what does a tilt look like? Like this, yo!

Happy (belated) Birthday Rames! Note just where is in focus… there’s another point in focus near the corner of the table, defying normal focus rules.

Note where is in focus – the railing near me, and the railing in the middle of the train!

Shoe and distorted focus plane.

Extreme shifting, with the body cap removed, can cause trippy effects and excessive light leakage.

A sideways tilt can narrow the field of focus, with pleasant effects to lights.

Tilting changes the shape of bokeh! The lens is quite notorious for bright-line bokeh, but nothing too unpleasing.

Ted took this.

Justin with his Sony Alpha 100, doing the tilt-shift. Note the left-hand grip allows for minute adjustment in angle.

George explaining something. Oh and Happy Birthday smashpOp!

Same distance, different blurring.

Ramli burger stall. I think this is without the body cap.

Yes, one can camwhore with it without adjusting focus, as it hangs out just enough for close focus. I was on a custom WB for this one, and got this by accident.

24mm on APS-C crop gives a very nice, natural 36mm angle of view on 35mm film. This is the same as on handphone cameras and standard digital cameras. Only slightly wide.

With extreme tilting without the body cap, flare can and will intrude.

The radial blurring is probably one of the qualities of this lens that I’d want to get more often. Shifting required to get the center of the radial blurring off the center.

From up at Masjid Jamek STAR LRT station.

Extreme tilting, for toy-like effect.

Bent On Part 2

Chamang waterfalls, Bentong, part 2. (Part 1 here.) Again, Dynamic Range Optimizer cranked up to Level 5 on the Sony Alpha 700.

17mm F3.5 ISO6400 1.6 seconds with a RM90-equivalent pure infrared-pass filter.

KJ decides that carrying a tripod above his head is the best way to lower the center of gravity. Perhaps, in the world of fisheyes…

And this is how you estimate exposure…” No, he doesn’t have a built-in lightmeter. Learn the Sunny F16 rule folks!


Like a mushroom.


Somewhere up, above the rocks, was a sight to behold.

Fresh, fresh water!

I am no abseiler.

There is another shot with XJ sitting on this rock, but that was so wrong, too.

KJ the adventurous.

I owe Asyraf this picture.

This is what happens when two photographers meet…

…they chimp.

Of course, older screens did badly in sunlight… which is when I realized how good the transreflective screen on the A700 is. You can clearly see the picture (and settings) even in scorching bright sunlight!

Moments like these, you’d wish you had a 10 FPS camera to have twice more frames and a higher likelihood of catching the impact of the frisbee upon his head. Still, you can see the effect of the frisbee. What a classic series of 3 pictures, though!

My Lovely Man

You know you’re screwed when you can relate to love songs written by gay men.

Elton John – I Want Love

I want love, but it’s impossible
A man like me, so irresponsible
A man like me is dead in places
Other men feel liberated

I can’t love, shot full of holes
Don’t feel nothing, I just feel cold
Don’t feel nothing, just old scars
Toughening up around my heart

But I want love, just a different kind
I want love, won’t break me down
Won’t brick me up, won’t fence me in
I want a love, that don’t mean a thing
That’s the love I want, I want love

I want love on my own terms
After everything I’ve ever learned
Me, I carry too much baggage
Oh man I’ve seen so much traffic

So bring it on, I’ve been bruised
Don’t give me love that’s clean and smooth
I’m ready for the rougher stuff
No sweet romance, I’ve had enough

Other gay men who write such beautiful songs are Freddie Mercury and Rufus Wainwright.


Ooo what futuristic car is that?

Who would’ve guessed. What a weird sight – an asslift but not a facelift.

Yeah, this is a filler post. Better something than nothing, helps with the backlog… somewhat.

Izzi Your Birthday?

Somebody give them a pitchfork.

It was a big birthday bash one November 10th 2007 at Izzi, Bintang Walk! Mikel, Steven, Kok Jen, Ken, Xian Jin.

The usual face-dunking thing.

Velociraptor KJ.

Penny‘s tattoo.

Fisheye crowd shot gone wrong.

Vegetables are good for your complexion – they add color!

Emily gets mistaken for a pillow.

Fazri has a craving for donuts. Yes, that’s the second T-shirt with a catchy phrase.

Yeah, 12 Glazzy Donuts from J. Co. Mmm-mmm!

The king and I Xian Jin.

Shawn featuring my Sony HVL-F56AM flash on wireless, and his Nikon SB-800 on SU-4 mode. Yes, it’s compatible!


KJ, you think?