Monday, December 20, 2010

Hot and Heavy Techlust UPDATE: Olympus E5

I was walking around the mall today after work (forgetting to do what I needed to, which was do actual shopping VS window shopping) when I happened across the Olympus promo booth in the 5th level of SM Annex. It seems like the newest in the E series of camera bodies has recently been launched. It's chunky, it's solid, and let me tell you, it's what I want! True, I said the same about the E3 way back when (about 2 years ago), but when technology moves forward, your tech-lust must move along with it.

I've only just read the preview at, and while the E-5 isn't leaps and bounds different than its predecessor, like the E-3 was with the E-1, it's a sensible enough upgrade. Key differences include a newer sensor (12.3MP vs. 10MP), a wider flip and swivel rear LCD, SD card storage instead of the harder to find XD, and movie mode (720p 30fps). You could say they took the advancements and changes that they made in the lower end models and applied it to the leader of the pack.

I want one. Anyone who loves me more than life itself can get me one of those for 85k pesosesoses, body only. However, if the E-3 suffers a drop in price because of its newer brother, I'd be happy with that too. Hahahahaha.
   The unit that they had for folks to handle had a 50-200 lens attached to it. I was surprised with the quality and the fact that it had an SD card instead of the usual Olympus XD option. I thought that the image quality was a bit dirty, and attributed it to the smudgy lens. When they demoed the video mode for me, I was like "why is it choppy?" but through my fiddling I discovered that the soft-focus quality and choppy vid was due to the art filters feature it has (a feature they took from the E-620 if I remember correctly). Art mode off, the video was decent.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Hardware Update plus Store Name-drop: Yong Nuo 560 via Tay Hua Trading

It's arrived! It's here!

I ordered a YN-560 from Tay Hua trading corporation the other day. Used their order form, paid through the bank in the morning, then they shipped it same day. It arrived Friday afternoon.

Some back-story for the interested:

I've fiddled with Yong Nuo flashes before, though mostly with YN-462 (which is a fully manual guess-what-intensity-I'm-on kind of flash) which I either bought for my friends, or for myself which I eventually sold to friends and/or relatives.While the YN-462 basically satisfies a person's need for off-camera lighting, it's lack of zooming capability, and the guesswork nature of its intensity input leaves much to be desired. I personally think it gives you bang for the buck though.

Having sold all of my YN-462s, and being stuck with a burnt out Sunpak and a vivitar with a broken shoe, lighting-wise I was left with my FL-36R. A flash is a flash is a flash mind you, but I'd rather that I keep the TTL-capable flash close at hand instead of mounted on a stand where I can't use said capability (since I'm using PT-04 flash triggers). Earlier this week though I decided to give myself an early Christmas present and order me a new, more powerful flash. Here's where the YN-560 comes in.

David Hobby, the man behind Strobist, was able to do a semi-review of the YN-560 in comparison to the LumoPro LP-160 (which, to the best of my knowledge, is not available in the Philippines, and is easily twice as expensive). Unfortunately the unit he was given had two faults: broken zoom motor and no ready-beep. Mine, however, have both working. :) Sorry Dave. 
   Not only that, the folks at Tay Hua also packaged it with a set of 5 diffusers of different colors, where the usual package from Yong Nuo for their other flashes only has one.

I've tested it a couple of times, on the camera and with the PT-04. Seems to be working. Beeps and Zooms and everything. I'm excited to put it to work. And it looks and feels professional. Hahaha.

You can get one from either of 3 sources in the Philippines that I know of: Tay Hua, Filters Exchange on multiply, or The Echo Store. I opted for Tay Hua because I'm a repeat customer of theirs, and while they're the most expensive of the three (4000 VS. Filters Exchange is currently on sale and selling theirs for 3,500, and I've only just found out that The Echo Store is selling theirs for 3,900), Tay Hua is offering 6 months warranty, VS Filter Exchange's 1 month, and I have no idea if The Echo Store will honor any.

Also didn't think 4000 was too big of a deal because if you buy it direct from the manufacturer from ebay, they sell at roughly the same price, though with a 1 year warranty, however if you happen to get a lemon like Dave did, you'll have to send it back to HongKong.

Total damage: 4000 pesos for the unit, 250 php for shipping via LBC.

EXCITED to put it to good use.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Lights, MORE POWER! > Dave Black and his 8 SB-900s

I've previously written about some sites that I wish I authored, or sites that I feel are great resources for anyone who's into photography. I try to regularly read the entries. While I tend to gloss over some entries because they may not apply to me or my situation or my preferred line of photography, I try to glean as much info as I can and apply them, when possible, to my photographic life.

I was reading through Strobist's Monday entry and I was blown away by the videos of this guy, Dave Black, who's using 8 sets of SB-900s, an SU-800 commander, one RadioPopper transmitter, two receivers, two FourSquares and two sets of Michael Bass fiber optic bundles (it'll be the first time I've encountered all of the names of those things save the SB-900s so I won't blame you for thinking "HUH??"). He uses those 8 speedlights as fill lights for action shots at distance. WOW. You can read the actual article, entitled "Hangin' Eight, with David Black" or watch the video below.

All I can say is WOW. And where the heck can I get a FourSquare and everything else??

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bar Photography: Dong Abay at Votre

My cousin and I met up last night. Checked out Votre, this bar at the corner of Sergeant Esguerra and Eugenio Lopez. They were featuring Dong Abay last night. Was able to catch him and Coffeebreak Island, the band that opened and backed him, perform several new songs as well as some Yano classics. He sang "Perpekto", "Senti", "Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo" and "Kamusta Na".



I gotta say I'm not a big fan, or at least I never took the time or made the effort to follow him or his bands, but there's just something about a live performance that really gets you, viscerally.

Was armed with my e410, and 28mm manual OM lens. Due to the spectacular lighting at the venue, I opted to go up to ASA 1600, making my shots grainy. Eventually I opted for pop-up flash use since I didn't bother to bring my hot shoe flash, but then better for you to be able to see what I heard yeah?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Long time no blog

Good lord. It's been months since my last post. It seems getting assigned to the newest branch of The Picture Company really got me busy. And no photos to show for it. :) Well, maybe I ought to ask... until then, we'll see.

For now, random lights.

Out of focus Christmas lights, Granada Street

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fun with (animated) GIF

Hi folks, I know I haven't been posting much of anything lately. My bad. I should really get back on the horse. But not right now at least.

This pseudo post would like to disguise itself as an example of how much fun someone can have with a couple of bits of headgear, a camera, a plain background, a very steady-handed friend (or camera on tripod with remote), and almost any photo editing software you might have available (downloaded a freeware gif maker for this exercise). But really, it's just me making faces with different, um, things on my head. Enjoy!

jace hats

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Travel + Food Photography: My Gustatory Life in KL

I promised a friend I'd blog about the food I encountered while I was away, and to try and tell her what's in each dish. Honestly though I don't think I'll be much help with deciphering the ingredients or how they were prepared, and I wasn't exactly comfortable with taking my camera out at the local Mamak stall, but I've taken photos of some of what I ate, some of which were my own preparation. Basically this is a peek at what I was eating while in KL. Click to enlarge photos.

On one of my first evenings in KL, Michelle and Reza took me out for dinner at one of the Chinese restaurants close to the condo. I forget the name, but we had the following.
Deep Fried Sotong and chili pork
*Deep Fried Sotong
Chinese Dinner
*Chili pork, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Kangkong. 
I realize that, save for the chilli pork, we repeated that meal in Petaling Street.

My first Friday in KL involved being at work early for a staff meeting, though my shift was from 2 to 10 that night. I had some time to explore the mall and that I did, wandering into the Arena food court under Jusco, LG level. Looked around and ordered Dried Pan Mee from Penang Noodle and Lam Mee. Just on impulse. 5.25 RM.
Dried Pan Mee Dried Pan Mee
*dried pan mee

My first real meal in KL was at around 130 to 2 AM. Kim had picked me up from KL Sentral and offered to buy me a meal. We promptly drove to one of the Mamak stalls close to the condo and had my first Nasi Lemak Ayam. However I didn't take photos then. Eventually though I ordered it again in several different locations, and purchased a couple of take-away ones from Jusco. The photos here are of the Nasi Lemak Biasa from Jusco. It's fattening rice (basically rice cooked in or with coconut milk), chili paste, with egg, peanuts and fish. I also ordered Nasi Goreng, though I have no pics of that though. Fail.
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*Nasi Lemak

Also bought Sambal Mee Goreng from Jusco just to make it a bigger meal. All carbs, I know.
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*Sambal Mee Goreng

I know I could opt to eat at any of the Mamak stalls walking distance away, makes for a hot meal and all that.  I guess the fact that this would cost less (there's a 20-30% discount for these things after 7pm, La Boheme), and that I wouldn't have to walk to and back from the stalls made it a more obvious choice.

One of the perks / challenges of living alone is preparing your food yourself. Due to the state of certain appliances at my host's pad, I made do with what I had. One of the things that I actually managed to cook was pasta using the rice cooker. Only took photos of my first try, successfully done without mess. I bought some fish snacks from 711 for my protein, that's why that's in the photo. I mixed it in with the pasta.
   My successive ones also involved a white sauce made from cream of mushroom soup, mixed with squeezy cheese. :P
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The evening after my pasta adventure, some of the girls took me to SS2 for my first Lok lok experience. The set-up is basically that there is a rack, well, a van in this case, with several different kinds of foodstuffs on skewer, with different prices, on ice on each side of the van. Each side of said van also has 2 vats of boiling water or Tom Yam for you to stick your skewer of choice into to cook. You get a little box in which to combine your choice of sauces (mild, medium spicy, spicy spicy) to dip your foodstuff in. At the end of your meal, based on the color and number of sticks, proprietor will charge you accordingly.
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   Aside from boiling the stuff, you can opt to have them grilled
*Lok Lok. Alright. That last pic probably isn't the most appetizing to look at, but I swear, it's good food.
On the opposite side of this guy's van, another person was selling taho and soymilk. Good eats.
   *Lok Lok side note. Every Monday in 1Utama, there is a stall in the LG level called Lok Lok Fun that offers eat all you can for 11.95 RM. I made it a point to go there for lunch on one of those days. Eeleen accompanied me. :) Sulit.

I'm not sure where Bubbletea originated, but I'd seen a store dedicated to it in SM Megamall before, but we had it so it counts. After the Loklok, we went and had Bubbletea a block away. Just a few pics of me and Jo.
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The one time I actually took a photo of what I ate at the Mamak Corner under the bridge was when I ordered Kuay Teow Goreng. It's basically flat noodles cooked goreng style, which is to say pan fried with a bit of soy sauce (is my guess) and peppers and vegetables.
*Kuayteow goreng

One of the last things I did on one of my last off days (third of three) in KL was go to Chinatown, where we walked around, checking stuff out. Mostly though, it kinda reminded me of Greenhills. Had Air Mata Kucing, and Tiger beer while we had dinner.
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*Air Mata Kucing   
"Water of the Cats Eyes"  longgan fruit based drink. Kind of tastes like sago gulaman to me.
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*Tiger beer.
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*Spicy deep fried Sotong, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Buttered fried chicken.

On the way out Inga treated us to Apam Balik, a local dessert which is like a peanut paste pancake sandwich.
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*Apam Balik. Michelle was, by far, the best model of us 3.

There you have it folks. My gustatory adventure in Kuala Lumpur. I'm sure there are other things that I wasn't able to explore or eat. That will have to wait until next time. :)