Earth Hour 2009 at KLCC

I was at KLCC during Earth Hour 2009 when they switched off the lights. Switching off KLCC’s lights wasn’t such a big deal because they do that every night at 1am. However, the act of doing it during Earth Hour was significant. People might say it’s a publicity stunt, or that we could save more if we changed our wasteful habits. But in a way it did create awareness among the thousands of people who were there and also the millions of people who participated during Earth Hour 2009. It is with this awareness that will slowly but surely make us realize that each and everyone of us need to do our part to preserve our Earth.

I brought film lenses so I didn’t have the angle on digital to cover both the towers. More photos to come after I develop and scan the negatives. This was taken on Friday night after the rain.

I didn’t bring a camera along so the video above was shot with my iPhone.

Tip of the day: switch off unused lights or work in the darkness (where applicable)! Continue reading

Nikon D3X Test Shot

I was at DCIM at Midvalley on Saturday and I managed to try out Nikon’s flagship dSLR, the Nikon D3X.

Image courtesy of Nikon Malaysia.

Mounted with a massive Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 AFS VR lens, the whole setup cost the same as a Proton Waja. Here’s a photo taken with this RM50k setup:

Click on the photo to get to the flickr page for a bigger version. 24.5 megapixels big to be exact. And also check out the EXIF data.

Extremely fast focusing, extremely sharp photos and extremely responsive camera. Reminds me of the Nikon D2X that I had before. I also tried Live view but focusing during Live view was very slow. So slow in fact that I don’t know when you’ll ever need to use that. The continuous shooting of the D3X at 5fps wasn’t even near the machine-gun rate of the D3 which churns out 9 frames per second.

I also tried the Nikon D3 at ISO 25600 but I couldn’t show the result here because it ran out of battery when I was going to pop my card in. But the image was still pretty much usable, something you would expect from a full frame sensor.

The Nikon D3X retails at RM 29,988.00 Continue reading

Improper Flash Usage 1

Note: this is not a post to poke fun at people who do not use their flashes correctly. I’m merely using them as examples so we can all learn from them.

When shooting outdoors, there is NO REASON to bounce your flash upwards. Since there is no ceiling, bouncing your flash upwards is effectively wasting it. Putting a stofen diffuser to create a barebulb effect is also wasting flash power because light is directed to places where it is not needed and it greatly reduces the flash output.

In this example, the subject is in front and the lens can only capture whatever that is in front so why direct light to the sides (red arrows) where it will not affect the lighting of the subject and the outcome of the photo? The correct way is to shoot without the diffuser.

Bouncing outdoors is futile because there’s nothing except the clouds to bounce at. And your flash will not have enough power to bounce off the clouds.

When the flash head is tilted forwards, take off the diffuser because your main intention now is to illuminate the subject in front so there is no reason to throw light in other directions where it will not affect the outcome of the photo.

Same goes here. Take off the diffuser.

And same goes here too.

When bouncing your flash, first you must know what you are using to bounce the light off. In the following examples, there were nothing nearby that can bounce back the light from the flash to illuminate the subject. So effectively the flash is wasted.

Here majority of the light will be lost to the surrounding. Effectively there will be no difference if flash was used or not. And on such a bright day, flash will be pretty useless.

Again, there’s nothing to bounce this flash against so all light output from the flash will be wasted. In this case, it is better not to use a flash or you can use direct flash to fill in the shadows.

In conclusion, when outdoors, don’t bounce against the sky. It’s useless. You can bounce your flash off a wall, off an object, or off a person. But make sure that your flash is powerful enough for the bounced light to effectively illuminate your subject. If not, just use direct flash to fill in the shadows. Meter for ambient and dial down flash compensation to around -1.3. It should bring out the details and colors of your subject.

More on proper flash usage soon. Continue reading

Putrajaya Shoot March 2009

Fact: The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is not getting out of bed. I check my emails first.

After the balloons left we went around Putrajaya to shoot. I used a Cokin P121S filter for most of the shots below.

Looking down from Putrajaya International Convention Center (PICC).

Afiq preparing the self-timer for a group shot.

On the PICC helipad. Thanks Afiq for the photo.

PICC as viewed from the helipad. I had a night shot of the PICC during the MIFC event.

Afiq and Alvin. The classic 300 pose from Kellie’s Castle.

Putrajaya Mosque.

Another view.

Afiq shooting the mosque.

It started getting really hot at noon so we decided to call it a day and went home and sleep. Continue reading