Wednesday, December 30, 2009

KLCC Morning Out With Buddy Mun

My friend Mun and I went out for a little walk at the KLCC Suria shopping complex and took a few pictures. He wanted to work on composition of pictures and I laughed a lot when he was lying on the floor of the concourse to shoot some photos.

It's nice to have spent a little time just chilling with my friend.

Most of the pictures I take these days are in Program mode with the ISO settings at what I think will give sufficient shutter speed. I'm still not much into editing or touching up on the images. Apart from cropping and exporting the images in smaller sizes, there doesn't seem to be much time.

Briefly met a German lady from Berlin who was visiting the towers with her husband. Odd that he was walking way ahead not really waiting for her. Welcome to Malaysia!

Mun took a nice picture of the Mont Blanc store emblem through the Suria KLCC logo on the glass of an upper floor. Good shot!

Went back to KLCC for lunch this afternoon and found that Candy Land has already been taken apart. Goodbye to the gingerbread people.

Have a safe and Happy New Year. Hope 2010 will see the world grow up somewhat.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shots From 70s Fashion Event

I was at an event where the attendees were supposed to dress in 1970s fashion. Used my SAL1855 kit lens for a little while, but had the most fun snapping candid shots with the SAL75300. Throughout the night I only used the built-in flash twice. Until I get an external flash, I'll probably stay away from using the flash.

As the venue was rather dim, I stuck with ISO3200 all the way under Program mode, and practised using my left arm (instead of hand) to stabilize the long lens. You'll find a bit of noise under that setting, but I'd rather have a bit of noise than a lot of blur images. I'd still be glad to learn better techniques. The Sony A330 seems to perform well for me at this event.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Visit To The KL Butterfly Park

Lots of shutterbugs can be found at the KL Butterfly Park. Entry for adults is RM8 per person. Children are charged RM4 per head and cameras are allowed in at RM1 each. No tripods allowed.

The place is not so friendly for the disabled or parents with strollers as there are many steps and no ramps, but if you're looking for some pictures to shoot, you'll have lots of fluttery subjects to choose from. I used my SAL75300 for this little trip, and managed a few practice shots.

Friday, November 27, 2009

UPSI Shots - Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris

Tanjung Malim in Perak is a town up north from Kuala Lumpur, about an hour by car. Until recently, I had not much knowledge of this education institution located here called Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (Sultan Idris Education University).

Above is the Bangunan Canselori (Chancellor Building). I thought the architecture was nice, and below is the view from the ground floor of the Bangunan Canselori, facing the sports field.

With 15,000 students, this university has some nice facilities such as a sports field with floodlighting, tennis courts and lots of space in addition to 3 student hostels.

Nice puffy nimbus clouds on a bright sunny day in Tanjung Malim.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hidden Grasshopper & Bird Flower?

Grasshoppers that fly are even scarier than roaches that do. Fortunately, this one was only hiding in the bushes. I was curious as I heard some rustling of the leaves and I found this hopper clinging on the underside of a leaf.

Isn't it cute that this flower looks so much like a bird in flight? I like it :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rare Water Lily Flower

This is a rare water lily flower that my neighbour managed to have bloom in her home for the first time in a few years. It opens in the morning and closes in the evening. This happens for a few days before it eventually dies away.

Much like life on earth, is it not?

Colourful Balls For Baby Play

I just love the bright and colourful feeling these toys give. The texture, the spinning and moving parts make for good times if you're little.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Lenses! SAL75300

I made a decision to buy the SAL75300 telephoto lens as it was on a discount at Sony Style KLCC. My buddy Kok tried it out and from the ground level took this picture of some plants and flowers on the 1st floor of a building. This set of lens is long and now it seems I may have to get a new camera bag. And I'll have to get a sturdier tripod if I want to mount this.

Why is it I have so many pictures of flowers in my blog?

Good shot, Kok!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flowery Neighbourhood

It was after some rain that I decided to go out for a walk with my camera. I was happy to notice how fresh the flowers appear to be when water drops are present. I really have no idea what these flowers are but they sure are pleasing to the eyes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Probably The Last Time

This is the 3rd post about the wasp/hornet (please tell me what it is!) nest that's been progressively built at the rear of my home.

I tried to get an even closer shot and selected Large, Fine & 2x Telephoto settings on my Sony A330 dSLR. Looks like the details are more pronounced this time around and the nest texture looks simply amazing. I'm sure more could be done with a macro lens (and a higher resolution sensor), but I'll have to settle with what the kit lens has to offer.

For uploading to this blog, I'm trying a maximum height of 800 pixels, which matches my laptop's display resolution of 1280 x 800. See if it's a good size to post.

Not wanting to encourage further nest building (I've cut them down twice), I resorted to using bug spray on them and totally removed this nest. Will this be the last of them around here for some time?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Not A Botanist

I have a neighbour who loves gardening. She's got pots and pots of all sorts of plants and she spends time at least twice a day trimming, pruning, watering, fertilizing and caring for her plants in the early morning and evening.

For me, I have a patch of grass with some leafy greens near a wall plus a tiny pot of mint plant that's neither growing or dying. It's odd that the grass is a bit spongy, but that seems to be the way it grows.

After some time taking pictures in RAW, I think I'll switch to Fine and Small for now, unless it's a special occasion or shot. Even loading the RAW images are taking too long. So, it's iPhoto for now for easy viewing and management of images.

It's been said (and I agree) that perhaps blogspot is not the best place to post your pictures as you can't really see close-up details unless you click on the images for the actual size. That's just one click too many.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

At It Again

Days after I used a grass shear to trim this nest off, the stinging bugs (no, they haven't stung me yet) are back at it again at the same site. This time there were four of them and they didn't seem as docile as the other two I shot earlier.

Oddly I had been having less and less space available on my 2Gb card although I deleted all the images. I figure it's got something to do with the Apple/Microsoft Fat16 file formatting and I used Disk Utility to wipe the card clean. That was After.

However, before that, all I could muster was a Large image setting for Jpeg on the camera in Program mode with ISO800 instead of RAW. I was a little apprehensive about going near the insects as they might have gotten agitated and give me a sting or two. The nest is stuck on a sort of old phone cable and the breeze gives it a little sway from time to time, so that doesn't really help.

Makes me hanker for a SAL75300, so I've got to restrain myself. Maybe if there's a good sale going on...

In the meantime, the grass shears came out again and I snipped at the top and quickly went for cover. I'll have to watch this spot again soon as they're probably going to try building the nest at the same spot, and the next time, they might actually remember me...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Some pictures may be worth a thousand words, but in some cases a picture may lead to many questions. For example:
Is the baby a boy or a girl?
Is the baby asleep or awake?
How old is the baby?
What's the baby's name?
Does the baby have siblings?
Is the baby on formula or mother's milk or both?
Did the parents forget to trim the baby's fingernails?
Are there any birthmarks on the baby?
Who is caring for the baby? The mother, grandmother, a helper?

Images may mean different things to different people. The ones to cherish are those which need no words to describe. You just know and feel IT.

Ping your blog

Too Close For Comfort

If you're not into insects, then the sight of bees, wasps or hornets building a nest in the vicinity of your home might send a chill down your spine.

I had to go close in order to take this shot, with the sting of the lower wasp rather visible. I particularly like the detail on the yellow band on the bug.

Could have done better with a RAW shot and perhaps a SAL75300, but the latter translates into more investments to this very new Sony A330 dSLR which has been fantastic so far.

Needless to say our two friends here were evicted shortly thereafter.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sony Alpha Basic Photography Workshop

Learned quite a bit on photography at the recent Sony Alpha Basic Photography Workshop held on 12th September 2009 at The Grand Continental Hotel, Jalan Raja Laut.

Traffic going into the city was pretty bad, with the Hari Raya holidays just next weekend, many were in town shopping and clogging up the roads.

Our trainer, John Shum, talked about all sort of photography tips and tools. It was interesting to know more about how to use the Shutter speed, Aperture settings, Manual mode, ISO, flash, exposure and so on. The attendance was at about 35 and there were 2 young lady models also present for practice shooting.

In addition, invited guest Ms. Denise Chan, who has been into photography for 2 years and shoots every weekend, shared her work with the participants.

I guess this is one of the advantages of being a Sony Alpha dSLR user. There will be another workshop on using Flash planned for 18th October 2009. The next lens I might look to get is the recommended SAL75300 which retails at RM899/US$257.

Did I mention the workshops are free?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What Clicking Fun Is LaQ About?

It's a sort of building block cum puzzle kind of plaything. It's a little difficult to describe, but you can call it an Art & Hobby Construction Kit for fun creativity in the genre of 3D puzzles & Lego

LaQ does not come cheap, but after spending some time with it you will appreciate the Made-In-Japan quality of the material being used, as well as the brain juice that has gone into developing the system. The people at LaQ provide design sheets for various shapes like spectacles, birds (as pictured above), trains, crowns and so on.

Pressing the joints of these vibrantly-coloured pieces together make a clicking sound. Great for younger children for hours of clicking fun!

Available at Jigsaw Puzzle World stores.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Philips HTS 3366 Home Theater System

DVD Player

Side Speaker

The Tall Boy (I don't mean me)

Centre Speaker, where all the voices mainly come from.

The Philips HTS 3366 Home Theater System is an affordable out-of-the-box system with a 5.1 surround sound configuration for pleasurable listening. This model and the similar systems within it's range currently retails at approximately RM800/US$228 with the ability to play anything from DVDs and below. At this point, the most affordable Bluray player would still be the Sony Playstation 3 (PS3). In Malaysia, however, Bluray discs are generally too expensive to be for most consumers and DVDs would be the next best option.

I like the way the connectors are color-coded and easily designed for quick and simple setup.

The system looks sleek and attractive and for a first-time HTS owner, I've learned to appreciate the extra richness of the sound, especially coming from the subwoofer. Boom Boom Boom!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Noddy Idea For A Birthday Party Theme

The pleasure of seeing a little child at his 1st birthday party. Most of the time he/she would be too young to understand the fuss of a birthday, and that is why a well-themed birthday party and lots of pictures will allow one to appreciate the occasion at an older age.

I recently attended a Noddy cartoon character themed birthday party. The e-invitations had Noddy featuring prominently. At the venue, the backdrop made up of the words "Happy Birthday William" was also printed with Noddy-themed letters. And of course, the cake was a Noddy cake and a pretty one at that. A nice Noddy cake and the likes can be found at

Thanks for the invite, MG!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Alternative Cake

Most times one might be thinking about what type of cake to get for a birthday, anniversary, farewell or some occasion of that sort. Typically the mind wanders over the options of black forest, chocolate, banana chocolate, sponge, fruit, blueberry, cheese or even coffee flavoured cake.

A departure from the norm would come in the form of Jelly cakes. What? Jelly cakes? Well, why not? After the usual heavy meal and free-flow of drinks, most would not have much room for a rich and heavy slice of cake (or two) for dessert. A Jelly cake is simple, colourful, light and very much pleasing to the eye.

A friend of the family recently celebrated the daughter's full moon (one month old) and gave us a pretty jelly cake from Qjelly. More information about the establishment that produces this cake can be found at

Sunday, August 30, 2009

EPL Crunch Match: Manchester United vs. Arsenal

Arsenal go into the game on a back of a good run of goal-scoring.

Starters for Arsenal:
Almunia, Vermaelen, Gallas, Clichy, Sagna, Song, Denilson, Diaby, Arshavin, Eboue & van Persie

Everyone is talking about the Eduardo dive, and frankly it has left a sour taste in the mouth. Eduardo is on the bench today.

1) 7' Valencia elbows (looks deliberate) Vermaelen during a challenge for an aerial ball. Looks like it hurt (Vermaelen, I mean)
2) Feeling like an early goal from Man Utd. would really crush the Gunners' spirit and I hope it doesn't happen. It's a familiar emotion felt by gooners.
3) Man Utd. seem to be more dominant in the opening 10 minutes.
4) Red Devils are marking the Gunners tightly, so play is not as open as it will be when legs begin to tire.
5) The Man Utd jersey doesn't look so right with the black "V".
6) Giggs has been around forever.
7) Valencia's a dirty player, but at least he's good at being a little discreet.
8) Crucial tackle by Sagna on Nani in the penalty box. Red Devils are pushing hard
9) Arsenal need to compose themselves more
10) 19' Arsenal enjoying a little bit more possession the past few minutes
11) 20' Gunners push up for a free kick by van Persie. Nothing. I'm anticipating something will happen soon.
12) Not much space to move about but Arsenal have more possession.
13) Song earns a yellow card for bringing down Valencia who was weaving down the right flank.
14) van Persie almost scores save for a deflection to a corner. Arshavin can't keep down a shot that was almost going into the top right corner (of the goal, that is)
15) 26' We need a goal soon to make this game an exciting one. Hopefully it's an Arsenal goal (and I don't mean an own goal)
16) 30' Great ball-stelaing actin between the two teams. Free kick to Man Utd. in a dangerous area just outside the penalty box. Thanks, Gallas. Thanks to Rooney for putting it rather wide.
17) The Gunners have to work on those stray passes. Less of that, please.
18) 34' Things begin to heat up and Patrice Evra gets a yellow card for a tackle from behind. Nobody's hurt, though.
19) Arsenal seem to be more composed and have more possession. Now to spend more time in the Man Utd. half and get some shots on target.
20) Kumho Tires are advertising in Old Trafford. They must be a big company not from Malaysia.
21) 38' Can we see an Arsenal goal before the break?
22) 40' Goal!!! Arshavin strikes a super shot from distance and scores at the top left corner. So pretty! Man Utd. 0-1 Arsenal
23) 45' van Persie earns a shiny yellow card for a harsh tackle. Man Utd. have another free kick in a dangerous area but nothing comes of it. Still Man Utd. pile on more pressure
24) The whistle blows for the break. Arsenal lead by 1-nil but United have looked threatening.
25) 2nd half begins and it should be more interesting than the 1st.
26) 47' van Persie alsmost scores. Foster just about saves it. Great action!
27) 50' Eboue misses a golden opportunity to make it 2 up.
28) Man Utd. seem a little uncertain about themselves, but I'm sure they could score anytime. Hope not!
29) 53' Clichy displays great speed to put the ball out of touch. Corner to United, followed by another corner that leads to naught.
30) 55' Eboue gets a little overzealous and just escapes a yellow
31) 57' Penalty to Man Utd. as Almunia brings Rooney down. Rooney converts. Man Utd 1-1 Arsenal. This game is exciting and I really hope Arsenal win!
32) Wes Brown gets a yellow card for bringing down Diaby who made a really good run. Arsenal free kick taken by van Persie. It hits the crossbar!
33) 62' Valencia comes off for Park
34) Diaby scores an own goal. Man Utd. 2-1 Arsenal. I've got that sinking feeling.
35) 65' I think it's time for a substitution or two for the Gunners.
36) 69' Arsenal need to recompose themselves as Man Utd. start to get a grip of the game. Evra almost scores.
37) Eboue gets a yellow for diving.
38) 70' Bendtner comes on for Eboue. I like to imagine that Bendtner tends to score late goals.
39) This would be the time I would settle for a draw...
40) 74' Sagna gets a yellow for not agreeing with the referree
41) Six yellow cards for Arsenal so far
42) 76' Arsenal on the attack
43) 78' Eduardo comes on for Denilson. Can I feel a goal coming soon for the Gunners?
44) 80' Corner for Arsenal. 10 minutes left in the game. Aaron Ramsey comes on for Arshavin
45) Clichy skies one. There's a reason he doesn't score many goals for the Gunners
46) 84' Corner for Arsenal. Not much time left. Vermaelen heads high over the bar.
47) 85' Giggs comes off for Berbatov.
48) 88' Corner for United.
49) Five minutes of injury time announced.
50) 90+2' Berbatov misses the goal with only Almunia to beat.
51) 90+4' Nani loses the chance to bring United 3 goals
52) The ball goes into the net but the linesman says offside.
Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger is sent off into the stands.

Game Over

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal, and the Gunners come back to reality.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Champions League 2nd Leg Qualifier: Arsenal 3-1 Celtic

UEFA Champions League Qualifier: Arsenal vs. Celtic at The Emirates Stadium, London

Arsenal starters:
Clichy, Gallas, Vermaelen, Sagna, Bendtner, Denilson, Diaby, Song, Eboue, Eduardo.

Arsenal go into the game with a 2 goal aggregate lead and are expected to comfortably qualify for the group stages of the Champions League.

Random comments:
1) Diaby chewing gum. Can one do that and still concentrate on playing the game? Could you accidentally choke on gum while running?
2) Bendtner made one stray pass so far. I'm watching you, Niklas...
3) 28' Penalty for Arsenal. But come on, Eduardo, there was no contact. Shame, shame (my Twitter friends agree). Eduardo converts penalty, 1-nil.
4) Denilson is an improved player this season
5) Half-time, it's Arsenal 1-0 Celtic
6) 53' Excellent play by the Gunners. A clever flick from Bendtner leads to an eventual goal by a weaving Eboue. Great stuff! Arsenal 2-0 Celtic
7) Celtic jerseys blend in too well with the green pitch
8) Aaron Ramsey comes on for Abou Diaby
9) I should be sleeping
10) Eduardo & Eboue come off for Russian Andrei Arshavin & Jack Wilshire (17 years old, youngest Arsenal league player to feature)
11) 74' Brilliant passing and teamwork lead to another goal, this time from Arshavin, who just came on to the pitch
12) Possession at 50:50
13) Aaron Ramsey is off injured?
14) Donati scores a superb volleyed consolation goal before the final whistle. Arsenal 5-1 Celtic on aggregate.

Coming up this weekend (Saturday late) is the game against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Exciting!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Merdeka! Malaysia Independence Day

It was 31st August 1957, 52 years ago, that Malaya achieved independence from British colonial rule. In Stadium Negara, Kuala Lumpur, the first Prime Minister, Tuanku Abdul Rahman, led in the famous proclamation, "Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!", which means freedom/independence. Since then, this multi-ethnic country in South East Asia was renamed Malaysia with the addition of Borneo states Sabah & Sarawak in 1963.

Today, Malaysia has a population of under 30 million mainly of Malay, Chinese & Indian ethnicity, with the major market centres in the Klang Valley (which includes the capital Kuala Lumpur & Petaling Jaya), Penang (Dell's factory is located here) in the north & Johor in the south. It enjoys good diplomatic relationships with neighbouring countries Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

For tourists, among the places to visit would be the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur (until recently the tallest building in the world) and Melaka (our historical state). The main attraction to our country, apart from the diverse cultures, would be the food. This is the place to be if you enjoy exploring different types of cuisine. The currency exchange rate also makes Malaysia an attractive and affordable tourist destination for many.

To Malaysians, I wish you a Happy Merdeka! We have a long way to go, but let's strive for a better Malaysia for all Malaysians (and visitors, too!).