Blast from the Past

I was browsing through some photos yesterday while writing about my cat and I found some interesting photos that I took a while ago.

IMG_1123

House warming present: a roll of tissue paper. Bet that lasted a long time. Can’t even remember when this was taken.

IMG_0157

Our very own Oktoberfest a few years back.

Image735

Breaking fast at Flamming BBQ Sunway with colleagues.

I was really into photography when I acquired my first DSLR. I had the time then to experiment with a lot of things, and organize outings with friends. I might need to put more time into it.

DSC_3505

DSC_0109

Experimenting with lighting.

pdsunset1

I was also into filters, especially the graduated neutral density type.

IMG_0207

This was during a break from shooting at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM). House of the dead.

And for a while I was into HDR:

DSC_4007_5_6_1

Kuching International Airport

hdr5_4_1

@tmosphere at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Will be digging up more old photos in the future.

DSLR Mirror and Shutter Mechanism

This is what happens when a photo is taken on a Nikon D3.

A series of events happen:

  1. The mirror is raised, and at the same time the aperture of the lens is adjusted according to the camera’s settings (f/16).
  2. The shutter moves across the image sensor. At 1/4000, you can see that the shutter moves to expose a small slit of light to the sensor only. A slit is produced because at such high speeds (1/4000), the rear curtain must start moving before the front curtain completely exposes the image sensor. This is why normal flash sync will not work. If you use normal flash sync at such speeds, you will get photos like these.
  3. After the rear curtain has traveled across the image sensor, the mirror starts to go down, and at the same time the aperture of the lens is opened up to maximum (f/1.4 in this case).
  4. The camera is now ready for another shot.

At normal speeds the mirror and shutter action is almost impossible to study. Also because of the high speed operation, the shutter and mirror mechanism must be well engineered to last long. A high end camera’s shutter can usually last for about 100,000-150,000 actuations.

Nikon D7000

Nikon announced the D7000 today. Seen as a replacement for the D90, it has a higher resolution sensor (16.2MP), 1080p video recording and more autofocus points (39 to be exact). The D7000 also has a magnesium alloy body which is usually only found in higher end cameras.

eng10091480002

The D7000 will come with the AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, which is the same kit lens offered with the D90. The kit lens is a well-rounded and nice walkabout lens. It has a nice zoom range which will easily cover all your photography needs on a holiday. An upgrade from this would be the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR II Telephoto Zoom Lens. Nothing else beats the Nikon 18-200mm in terms of coverage. It’s the only lens you will need to bring on a holiday.

D7000_2_L

Button layouts are very similar to the D90, except for the extra drive mode select dial on the left and a dedicated video recording button. The D7000 sports the same 3 inch high-resolution LCD as the D90, with up to 170 deg viewing angle.

A list of new features are as follows:

  • Higher resolution sensor (16.2MP vs. 12.3MP)
  • Choice of 12-bit or 14-bit NEF (RAW)
  • 1080p HD movie mode
  • Limited movie editing functionality
  • AF possible during video shooting (but we’re not over-optimistic on this score)
  • Live View switch (basically the same as D3100)
  • Faster AF in live view mode.
  • Twin SD card slots
  • Non-CPU lens data function (allows registration of up to 9 non-G lenses with manual apertures)
  • Magnesium alloy body shell
  • Wider ISO span (100-25,600 including ‘H1′ and ‘H2′)
  • Newly developed 39-point AF system
  • ‘Quiet’ single frame advance mode
  • ‘Proper’ mirror lock-up (as distinct from ‘exposure delay mode’)
  • Lockable drive mode dial
  • Higher maximum frame rate (6fps) with a Continuous Lo shooting option (1-5fps)
  • 100% viewfinder
  • Choice of 12-bit or 14-bit NEF (RAW) recording in compressed or lossless compressed formats
  • Up to 9 ‘non-CPU’ lenses can be registered (same as D300s/D3s/D3X)
  • New EN-EL15 lithium-ion battery
  • New MB-D11 battery pack (magnesium alloy construction)

D7000_3_L

Notable features include the ability to shoot up to ISO25,600, in-camera video editing, twin SD card slots, support for non-CPU lenses, and the higher continuous shooting speed (6fps). Personally I would love to be able to shoot at a higher ISO for those low light conditions. Other new features such as the 39-point AF is useless to me. With 11-AF points on my D90, I only use 3 of them; center, left and right. For subjects that are not within those focus points, I just do a focus-lock and recompose.

Also I won’t feel the difference between 12-bit and 14-bit RAW because I never shot RAW. RAW are for people who have too much time in the studio and can’t spend a little more time on the field to get the exposure and white balance right. And it takes up too much space and processing time. I only shoot JPEG Large, Normal or Fine.

Megapixels and video functions are not too important unless you shoot for a magazine or if you’re a video producer.

MB_D11_back_l

It is interesting to note that the D7000 uses a new battery and a new battery grip, different from the D90. The battery grip is of magnesium alloy construction too.

eng10091480006

Twin SD card slots gives you the flexibility on how you want to store your photos and videos.

While the D7000 may look similar to the D90, but that’s where the similarity ends. The D7000 has been cleverly designed to sit in between the D90 and the D300s. Now comes the dilemma in choosing between the D90 or the D7000.

If the D7000 is within your budget, the choice is obvious. A newer camera incorporates newer technologies and newer features which is almost always better than its predecessor.

However if you are budget-conscious, the D90 is certain to drop in price and it will serve you well for many years to come.

Ice skating

After being in KL for more than a year, I’ve been to Sunway Piramid many times. But this time (last Saturday), four of us decided to give skating a try (3 of us have never skated on ice before). My friend who has 4 skating sessions under his belt told us that it would be easy if we had played roller-blades before because it’s based on the same concept. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to rollerblade in my entire life so you can imagine my fear.


Looks easy from the top, but when you actually try skating on ice, you’ll know how difficult it is.

But since we have made the decision to try, we cannot back out. Even if it means falling down countless times and making a fool out of ourselves, we got to start somewhere right? So after lunch, we went.


First we have to have proper skates. Faces have been removed to protect privacy.

During weekends, it’s RM16 for one day, unlimited time. We paid, got our skates and got ready to get on the ice. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures here because cameras aren’t allowed.

Stepping on the ice for the very first time, I was actually wondering if it was possible to skate on ice. There is totally NO CONTROL. I couldn’t move forwards, I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t turn. In short, I can’t do anything because everything I try to do, I have the feeling that I was going to fall.

For the first 10 minutes, I just stood by the side, trying to get used to everything. I can’t describe how hard it is to stand still and not slide around. It’s like you’re walking on ice. Every move you make, you feel like slipping down.


Resurfacing the ice. This car actually drifts around the corner. haha a bit la

Lucky for me, my friend who had skated before advised me what to do. Keep your legs apart, and try to move forwards by pushing your skates outward at an angle. Simple instructions, but seemingly impossible to follow. I was afraid of falling everytime I try to do that.

Sometime later (half and hour maybe?), I conquered my fear and I started moving forwards. It was easy once you get used to it. All you need is practice, practice and practice. In the next hour, I could comfortably skate around the place. 3 hours later, I had no problems with turning and accelerating. In the forth hour, I can go without falling down for almost 30 minutes!


Falling down is something you WILL experience when trying to skate.

I lost count of how many times I fell down. Some were minor slips, some were major tumbles. But it was okay. Learned many things from those falls. Some good, some bad.


Looks like it was a “washed out” day for people at sunway lagoon.

Went to hartz for dinner after 5 hours of skating. I went home unable to shower properly because my arms refuse to move. My ankles hurt and my legs were killing me. But overall it was a great and exciting day for me. Tried out something totally new to me, and I’m hooked. Going again next Saturday! Continue reading

How to use Midvalley MPH's internet for free

For this hack, you just need yourself! Okay, on with the hack.

Ever found yourself at Midvalley with nothing to do? Then suddenly, you had the urge to check your mail or update your blog or just kill time? Have no fear, head over to MPH (bottom floor, opposite Cititel). Now, follow the following steps carefully and you will get what you want:

Step 1:
Go find the computer nearest to the cashier. On the computer monitor will be a “warning”, saying that if you want to surf other sites other than “mph.com.my”, you should go over to use the paid internet service that they offer. But this tutorial is entitled “How to use Midvalley MPH’s internet for free”, not “How to use Midvalley MPH’s internet for a fee”. So on with step 2. Oh, by the way, make sure no one’s acting suspicious around you.

Step 2:
You will see IE opened up to www.mph.com.my already. Ignore this. BUT WAIT! The address bar has been removed! So how do you go to other sites? This is where this hack comes in. On the keyboard (with IE in focus), press CTRL-E and this will bring up the search bar.

Step 3:
Type in “google” in the search field. Press “ENTER”.

Step 4:
You will be directed to MSN’s search site. Choose google.com from there. You will then be redirected to google.com. You can get to virtually any site from here.

Step 5:
Wow, I’m surprised you’re still reading this. Go Midvalley now!! Be sure to surf back to mph.com.my when you are done with it.

What MPH should do: Use firefox in the kisok mode.

Disclaimer: I’m not responsible for whatever that happens to you.

ps: This doesn’t even qualify as a hack if you think about it. Anyways, this hack was discovered 3 years ago. Wonder when they will start noticing people surfing using that computer. Continue reading