Friday, March 30, 2007

Senyum Trip Updates are the new dates for the senyum trip

Dates: 20th, 21st and 22nd April 2007

i am trying to book a small hall/kampung hut, so we dont have to camp outside. But if you do have a tent please get it ready just incase the hall is not available.


Kampung Bangsar

Last Monday i went to Bangsar to run a few errants and i found myself in the new wing of Bangsar Village... yet another expansion of a shopping Mall... Everyone is doing it so why not us.. there are more and more shops to choose from.... nope that's not true either... because you can find the same things in 1U or how about Mid Valley which is not that far from Bangsar..... The only refreshing thing i found in the new wing of Bangsar Village is the red and black pots outside(as seen above) and of cos the parking.... yup... more parking spaces for the already congested Bangsar. nice spacious parking with friendly parking attendants.... so friendly they even wanted to give me a buggy ride to my car which was only 30 feet away... keke ...thanks, buggy rides are cool but no thanks...

How many of you are watching the latest American Idol. Come on i know you watch. Anyway I am hoping that Melinda Doolittle wins it cos she has the best vocals and control then any of them including Lakisha. And i love her personality....... But to be honest, Haley Scarnato is my American Idol... who cares if she doesn't win.... and to all you Sanjaya Malakar fans... I hope you all die a horrible horrible death.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Who doesnt love a fantastic Sunset...

Did anyone catch the sunset yesterday? I was lazing around after a very hectic day at the income tax office and the better part of the afternoon in the blistering heat somewhere in Kajang. (I dont know if its me or are those BE,B,AE or whatever Forms are just plain confusing)... Anyways yah... as i was saying ... the Sunset yesterday was really nice ... and i seriously believe you dont have to be at a tropical island or some exotic or historic location to appreciate a good sunset or even a sunrise. The photos here were taken yesterday just out side my house. it only lasted a few minutes so i had to work fast. As usual i took about 3 million shots and it was hard selecting the once i liked. The first pic on top was just a plain point and shoot while the one on the right was an experiment with reflective surfaces. In my case..... i included the reflection on my car roof, then turned the picture upside down. What do you think? ok ah?

I read a photo technique the other day and thought i'd try it out... it was about giving lighting that star like flare without additional filters. All you have to do is set the smallest aperture settings your camera allows. In my case it was F9. (pls note the bigger the F number the smaller the aperture) Below is an example to explain this technique.
(1/2o sec F3.2)...........................(set at F9 camera compensate 1/4 sec)

As for the LHDN well, it took half a day but it was all ironed out...but it seems that i still owe them some money...BAH!!!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A bunch of Water Vapour sticking together

I like taking photos of clouds. And i am not talking about sunsets and sunrise... i am talking about normal clouds. When taking pictures of clouds sometimes you will find that the whites are washed out or not as white and the blue sky is not blue enough. This is because there is too much light and glare which causes the camera to overexpose the shot.

This can be easily solved with a PL or CPL (Circular Polarizing Lens), but if you are playing around with a compact camera then maybe you could change the white balance or take the picture with a lower exposure (-) which you can find in your menu as 'E' or '+/-' sign. Depending on you camera there would be a 2 to 3 step up or down which you cld adjust either in quarter steps of 1 step from normal exposure (0). Now please take note that i am an amateur here... so the terms and methods are based on what i pick up or experiment on my own.

Please also note that when setting the exposure to a negative value, (lets say exposure at -1) the objects in the foreground will be underexposed. for example if you take a photo of clouds but there is a roof structure in the frame... the roof would be underexposed. And if lets say you have a valley of mountains in the background.... it would be seriously underexposed which means it will be silhouetted. The best thing to do is not have anthing else in the frame. Beside.... we are talking about taking pictures of clouds what... so why have other things in it. But if you seriously want to include an object in the foreground then take the shot with Filler-Flash

There is of cos an easier way..... Go into the camera's Auto Focus Settings. Set to Auto Exposure (AE). This will assist you in setting the right exposure and also the Focus of the shot. Once you set (AE) all you have to do is point to the brightest part of the sky in the frame of your shot and press the shutter halve way to lock focus. Then recompose the shot and press the shutter release fully to take the picture.

These technics are only applicable if the light in the frame is overexposing your shot. So have fun and experiment... tc

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Jungle Fever Annual Dinner

My company had their 7th annual dinner last friday. The theme was Jungle Fever but some of us got ahead of ourselves and made it a costume party. Overall the event was a runaway success... we all had a blast... and i managed to win an iPod Shuffler through the lucky draw.
(The social commettee that organised the event .....before and after shot)

(Indy vs The Grimreaper) .................................(The Commandos)

(Mr Cow....................................Lucy Lawless............and the Grimreaper strikes again)


(the view from the ballroom)

(As usual Gentings watches over Klang Valley)



Friday, March 16, 2007

Senyum Trip Posponed!!

@@@@@@ Yes, the trip to Gunung Senyum has been posponed. We havent come up with the new dates yet so look out for it soon!..@@@@@@@@@


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Indian in red, a cat that isnt really a cat and the really roasted chickens.

Friday night was spent hunting for new sneakers for my wife.... it struck me that they make women’s sneakers so small and frail looking…. Why?… and it almost always has pink in its colour scheme…. Why?... anyway the hunt is still on…

Andrew had a show last Friday and Saturday night at Pampas Restaurant and Bar in KL (it’s near Little Havana). Most of the APMs went on Friday but Dono and I went for the show on Saturday.

(andrew is the one in red)

Andrew as usual brought down the house with his stand up attics. He’s a good Standup Comedian who has opened to the likes of Harith Iskandar, who happened to be there in the crowd that day too. The standup comedy scene here in Malaysia is booming and with acts like The Comeback Kings (Who are hilarious btw), I believe it will flourish and become as good as international acts like Jerry Seinfeld. Who knows?....

Before going for the show I had a Civet Cat sighting. I had gone to pick Dono for the show and was waiting outside, when his dad pointed up to the electrical pole lines. The little feller (Ok maybe not so little) was acrobatically walking on the telephone wire. I have seen this feller a number of times here in Section 4 PJ. It came into my room a few years ago once when I was staying in Section 4 and scared the gejibers out of my sister’s cat. kekeke

If you don’t know what a Civet Cat is google it lah…. It is more like a mongoose or weasel then a cat. In Malay I think they call it musang. Its really cute, intelligent… and amazingly agile.

After the show in Pampas, Dono and I decided to go watch 300. We headed over to Amcorp and saw a fire truck parked outside. On the third floor where the cinema is located we saw that there where a number of firemen at Kenny Rogers. I jokingly told Dono that the Chicken Grill which they leave on, with chicken rotating in must have caught fire, but it turned out to be true. When we got closer they where dousing that whole area. Apparently there wasn’t an actual fire but there was some amount of smoke. So it wasnt too serious.

Well after some busy bodying … we went over to the cinema and got the tickets for the midnight show. The movie was excellent. They have managed to make a very good movie rendition of the graphic novel 300… really really good, 9/10 for me. Every scene looked like an oil or air-brush painting…the fight scene where Stelios and Astinos take on a few ‘Immortals’ was so well executed…man!! Woah!! ….excellent!! actually… im going to give it a 10/10……. who cares if its historically incorrect.....


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Gunung Senyum Caving Expedition 4

My mates and I are planing to go to Gunung Senyum this April. Anybody who is interested in joining us please contact me for details.

I am sure some of you are wondering what is so great lah in 'Smiling Mountain' until I want to go there for a fourth time. Nestled about 45 minutes 'kampung' drive from Temerloh Town, Pahang... Gunung Senyum has the most interesting caves i have ever seen in Malaysia... and the best part is is so accessible and easy to explore. You dont need any climbing equipment but you do need to do some hiking. The land is relatively flat so the hike isnt too tough.

The camping grounds might put some hardcore camping fellers off because it has basic utilities like clean showers and toilets and about 3 years ago proper electricity. The first few times when i was there they only had a generator which they used from 7pm to 11pm. There are chalets and small halls for rent too. Everyone will have to register at the ranger's office and nobody is allowed to camp at the caves ....but the Gunung Senyum cave massives are very close to the campsite. This however makes it busy with visitors .......but not as bad as the caves in Perak lah.

A 45 minute hike from Gunung Senyum will bring you to Jebak Puyuh, another cave massive which has even more interesting caves which are less frequented by people. It would take about a day to explore Jebak Puyuh. The land surrounding Senyum and Jebak Puyuh is relatively flat so I am guessing if you clear all the vegetation and kampungs', both these cave massives would stick out like Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia.
(in the back ground of the first photo Senyum is on the left and Jebak Puyuh on the right)

Dates: 6th to 8th April 2007
Confirm with me by: 26th March 2007 latest by 31st March

If you would like to join us in exploring these caves please contact me for details

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Chap Go Mai Moon

Chap Go Mai... is that how you spell it ... hmm anyway Chap Go Mai marks the end of Chinese New Year. For some it marks the end of CNY gambling and for others it starts their search for another reason to party and drink..... wait a minute ... i thought you didnt need a reason for that.... anyway ...for some it brings about the Luna Eclipse.
Thats when the moon goes thru all of its phases in one night. I believe this time it was a partial luna eclipse. It was to happen between 5am to 6am on sunday... I wanted to sit up for it but I like most of use... i was fast asleep. Took a few pictures of the moon yesterday though. If you are trying to do the same with your compact digital or otherwise, Try using a faster shutter speed instead of night mode or automatic mode. Zoom-in as much as you can. In my case my camera can zoom up to 10x optical zoom. But if you dont have a big zoom, you can try setting to the highest capturing size your camera has. If you have interpolated... go for it.

So lets say you take a shoot in 6 megapixel, After taking the shoot use the play/view mode. Zoom into the picture that you just took. Your LCD screen would show a 'trim' option to crop the picture using the zoom button (this is digital zooming). Although it is not as clean or crisp as optical is usually good enuff. Usually you can trim till the picture is 1 megapixels and save it, but some cameras have the option of keeping in to 6 megapixel after you have cropped it. But using this method will resultin too much noise in the picture.

Of cos you will need a tripod to take a good clean shoot. I did not have a tripod so what i did was i rested the camera on my car roof and tilted it up with my fingers. I zoomed in maximum and also used the trimming function in my camera to get a closeup of the moon as seen below.

(This is what happens when its in automatic mode; 1/10th of a sec F3.2 )

(at 1/250th of a secF3.2 )

(this is what i mean when i say a picture is too noisy. BTW toke this shot on CNY )



Monday, March 05, 2007

Filler-Flash Indian Grasshopper

It was a lazy saturday and sunday. I burnt a few photos and playing around with the camera. Also went and bought a few DVDs so i managed to watch Snakes On A Plane and Little Miss Sunshine. Snakes was enjoyable if you left your brain in the next room and Sunshine was interestingly funny. Snakes 4/10 and Miss Sunshine 7/10.

The two pictures below is to illustrate the need for filler flash. As you can see the first photo is underexposed. Sometimes even when you select automatic, the camera will not be able to decide when to use flash and when not too. This occurs when you are faced with a back lite object or when you are under a shade in the freaking sun. The camera detects that there is enough light in the area, so it will not activate the flash. This can be easily fixed using Filler-Flash or by changing the flash settings in your camera. (usually has a lightning logo in your camera).
(Backlite by sunlight coming thru the door)(Me in the lastest head wear from KIOKS)

If you are wondering whats that plastic bag doing on my head, well my wife was going to put it away and i exclaimed that it was 'my' plastic bag. So she came over and put it on my head and said "then dont leave it laying around the kitchen". I looked in the mirror and thought hey! it kinda looks good.... 100% rain protection and 68.3% UV protection for my head.

We decided to have the Mcdonalds Breafast yesterday. We had one Big Breakfast set each and it was the first time i had eaten it. It was really good. I dont know why they even call it sausages when it looks like a little burger but i loved it. The Hashbrowns were good too. The scabbled eggs were ok only lah. They werent kidding when they called it Big Breakfast because I felt full the whole day after that ...and it did not help that Daisy was celebrating her birthday that afternoon. After Mass we headed over to Daisy's place and had a vegetarian meal ....Idly and mee hoon, saambar and vege. There was chicken curry too but i refrained cos i was still full from breakfast... no nothing to do with lent.... but i did have cake :) ... i am such a pundi!! BTW Happy Birthday Daisy!!!

That everning I looked around the garden to check on my curry leaf plant. You see ... i found that a lot of the leaves were being eaten but there were no caterpillars on it. So i suspected a grasshopper... and true enuff i found one munching on the curry leafs. Took a macro shot of it where you can see its guilty face looking at me like saying ..."oh-o, i am busted"..... just before i sprayed it to dead. Felt guilty afterwards :( .... but hey you mess with my curry leaf you as good as dead! Strange thing is that it did not eat any other leaf from my garden. It only ate the curry leaf. was it Indian? Anyway..... Rest In Peace, Grasshopper....