Wednesday, November 25, 2009

CLS Camwhoring

To be very frank, I am not a seasoned camwhorist, nor do I indulge in the narcissistic enjoyment of adoring one's own physical attributes. I usually stray away from having myself photographed, especially by myself; for one reason I do not consider myself physically attractive, for another I most of the time end up being behind the lens than in front of it. A few nights ago, I had the chance of being alone in a hotel room with nothing better to do and a camera with accessories that permit me to capture photos using off-camera flash. There was a mirror in the room and seeing that I wanted to test my newly procured camera accessory (and having the newly-acquired ability to trigger an off-camera flash) and found no other subject of interest beside yours truly, I proceeded to my first official self-in-mirror CLS camwhoring session. 


That's generally how I look in the mirror (flip the picture horizontally and you'll see my real self). And that's how I took the photo --- camera towards the mirror, eyes looking at camera in the mirror (to establish proper eye contact with the viewer). You can see where my shadow is at the back --- from the position of the shadow you'll know that the flash was positioned at the lower left side, aimed to the upper right.  


I wanted more shadow contrast on my shirt so I changed to a stronger flash setting.  


Changed pose and angle of the flash. I lost detail in this shot, there was little shadow contrast to communicate shape and depth. 


Harder shadow on the neck. Notice that since I have black hair, the dark background made my hair lose its detail. For this reason, I need a second off-camera flash aimed at the back of my head for backlighting.


Held the flash pointed upwards from below the face. Some harsh shadows communicate shape, but the angle of the flash needs improvement I think.  


My favorite photo of the set. Some shadows on the shirt and face, although the flash direction could be improved. As with previous photos, the hair seems blended into the background, therefore a backlight is needed. For this reason alone, I might consider purchasing a second smaller (cheaper) speedlight.  

Creating the above pictures would not be possible without my latest procured camera accessory, the Phottix Tetra wireless flash remote trigger


Looking forward to more CLS (not necessarily camwhoring) photos with this gadget! 

By the way, which of my camwhoring photos above do you like best?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Abu Silhouettes

This is my youngest brother Abu. He is currently six years old.

It seems that he shares my interest in photography. I remember the day the above photo was taken. It was at a family gathering, and I was happily snapping pictures of the family younglings before I realized that Abu was doing the exact same thing using my sister Kim's camera. I guess we are more alike than I previously thought.

He has his mood swings when it comes to being photographed though. There'd be times when he absolutely refuses to have his picture taken and would make a scene if he discovers that somebody just snapped a picture of him without his consent. Other times he'd be super excited to be photographed and would do funny and interesting poses and demand to see the photos immediately after they were snapped. And during such times I would take the chance of exploring photography with Abu as my subject; the most recent results of which can be see in the following pictures.

It was one fine Sunday morning at the pavilion in Putrajaya Wetlands that I saw Abu climbing up and jumping down some terraces. I noticed that the bright morning sun in the sky has caused my eyes to adjust to the brightness, thus rendering everything into dark silhouettes. I immediately took out my camera and snapped up some silhouette photos of my brother.

He saw that I was taking photos of him and alhamdulillah, he's in the mood for pictures. So I had him jump a few more times...

... and let him strike a few poses of his own.

I love it when he uses his own creativity to pose. It makes the photo more honest and sincere and more reflective of his own identity. When I look at the photos, I would remember his energy and excitement and the innocence of his youth. And it's the sincerity and frankness in these photos that make them all the more memorable and priceless.

I would surely miss moments like these when Abu grows up...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Attempt at Capturing the Leonid Meteor Shower

I am planning to wake up early tomorrow morning (or possibly not go to sleep at all) at around 2.30 - 3.00 am to head outside for my first attempt at astrophotography. The Leonid meteor shower is expected to happen in the night sky above Malaysia around 3.00 am to 4.00 am and I am planning to find a place where the sky is clear with less light pollution to point my camera up towards the constellation of Leo and/or the North Star to try to capture some of the light streaks from the meteor.

I have read some tips online on how to photograph meteor showers and it seems like it's not as simple as I thought it would be. Based on my readings, I'm going to try the following setup:

Setup 1:
Exposure: 30 seconds
ISO: 800

Setup 2:
Exposure: 10 seconds
ISO: 1600

Setup 3:
Exposure: 1 minute or more.
ISO: 400

All the above will be done using my kitlens set at 18mm and f/3.5. I will try at least five consecutive shots using Setup 1 and ten consecutive shots using Setup 2. These will be shot in NEF and possibly be blended together in post-processing.

Setup 3 will be used if the sky is really clear with minimal light pollution, but seeing as I will be attempting to make these shots in Putrajaya, Setup 3 might probably be used just for experimental purpose.

If  I can secure a 50mm f/1.8 lens from my friend, then I'm going to try the following setup:

Setup 4:
Exposure: 20 seconds
ISO: 400

Setup 5:
Exposure: 10 seconds
ISO: 800

Setup 6:
Exposure: 5 minutes
ISO: 400

I will try to do at least five consecutive shots using Setup 4 and ten consecutive shots using Setup 5. Setup 6 if the sky is really clear.

I'm really hoping to get some good shots tonight. If I get any I will definitely put them up here.

Wish me luck ok!

(More photos added) The Judicial Affairs Division Building

This is the building for the Judicial Affairs Division, Prime Minister's Department Malaysia in Putrajaya. I went walking about Precinct 3 of Putrajaya on a Sunday afternoon, so there was almost nobody in sight --- Putrajaya is the administrative capital of the country, so all government workers are at home or away for the weekend.

I wanted to go up to the roof of this building, because I feel like the top of this building would provide me with a better view of the Sultan Mizan Mosque right in front of it. But, as with most government buildings, access to non-patron areas of the building are restricted, especially on a non-working day, so I went home disappointed.

EDIT: Here is the picture of the Sultan Mizan Mosque that I managed to take. I am not satisfied with the angle and point of view here. I still am convinced that the best point of view would be from the top of the Judicial Affairs Division building.

EDIT 2: More photos of the Judicial Affairs Division building added.

I like the tree/plant-based motifs on the windows and underneath the arches. I don't know why, but they somehow remind me of Lord of the Rings. Weird, huh?

I do realize that I might need a wider lens for these building shots. I might consider getting a wide converter for starters. That depends on my financial situation, as usual.

Hope you liked the photos!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just a Minor Update

Lots of stuff coming within the next few days and in the coming weeks. So much stuff to handle.

Especially the possibility of working 4 part-time jobs. That'll keep me busy for a while (as if I haven't been busy all this time).

Wish me luck, y'all!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Sole Lavender - My First Digital Painting

My dear, I dedicate my first ever digital painting to you.

A Sole Lavender


Now and forever.

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