Tuesday, December 29, 2009

CLS at the Beach

Last week a few friends of mine from back in college decided to have a small picnic together by the beach in Bagan Lalang.

Of course, for me it's another excuse to take more pictures.

The evening sky that day was not too bright with lots of thick clouds and the sun peering in through random patches of sky. Occasionally some sprinkles of rain came down, no more than mere 5 to 10 minutes of light sprays, and the weather was nice again. Perfect for an evening picnic.

The tide was ebbing that day so there were no waves or deep water for almost half a mile out. Close to sunset we walked out to the water to get our feet wet and take some pics. I was more interested in the silhouette figure I saw standing in the shallow water just looking at people, as if he was guarding something precious in between his feet.

Later when it got a bit darker I set my camera for CLS shots. I took a couple shots of my friends just talking and drinking before Zul asked me to take a picture of him being the 'model' for Seasons' canned soy drink.

Hisham was our guest of the day. He flew back to Malaysia from the States for three weeks just to visit family and friends. It's been a while since we hung out with him so any chance we got to chill out together with him was indeed treasured.

And of course, Hisham was ecstatic to get to see us too!

We decided to do some jumping shots before it got too dark. Being an amateur, it wasn't easy for me to set up the shot with off-camera flash synchronized with ten people jumping at the same time. This shot was taken with the flash not firing, resulting in a very dark underexposed photo. Using Adobe Lightroom, I turned it into a black-and-white photo with grains not removed to get that 'vintage' feel. There are advantages to not delete failed shots. There are certainly ways to salvage them and turn them into something wonderful.

Finally after quite a few tries, the flash fired in-synch, and I was able to capture this photo of everyone having a wonderful time, albeit some shadows falling on some of their faces.

We finally separated and went our own ways after having some ghost stories and lame jokes told around an imaginary (read: non-existant) campfire.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


So many friends and family tying the knot this month. If I were to go to all the weddings I'm invited to, I'd have four or five free buffet lunches every weekend for the whole month.

Just this last week, I went to three out of four friends' weddings, the one I missed was because the reception was too far away and going there meant that I'd have to miss the other three. Sorry Ayu, I know you had a wonderful time anyways!

Speaking of tying the knot, here I'd like to share with you a (not so) recent photo I took of a knot.

Care to guess what that is?

An electrical cord?

A wire cable?

A fishing line?

Actually, it's a strand of hair.

A strand of hair, knotted in the middle.

No it's not my hair, because it's quite long in its entirety. I found it on a white tiled floor, so I used an off-camera flash and reversed my lens to get a closeup shot of the knot on the hair.

It was my first time getting a closeup shot of a strand of hair, so getting it in focus manually wasn't that easy. I had to make sure no wind was blowing so that the hair wouldn't move, so I had to turn the fan off. The room was small and cramped and the windows face east so it was hot without the fan blowing. I only took a few shots until I was satisfied with the results, and then turned the fan on, causing the strand of hair to be blown away and disappear.


On another note, it feels great to be back to blogging again; I haven't been blogging for a week and felt so at unease that I had to resume my regular postings today, even though I still have much to do work-wise.

Are you glad that I'm back blogging? I hope you do. Because I'm looking forward to hearing from you all again!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Wedding Road Trip (Updated with some photos)

This is a quick and short pictureless update.  

Right now I am still feeling tired from yesterday's wedding road trip. 

For one whole day I drove alone to three different weddings in three different districts.  

In the morning, Norbaya and Sharifuddin's solemnization in Segamat, Johor.  

Noon, Zulfadhly and Lily's reception in Sungai Mati, Muar.  

Evening, Lailatul Nadia's reception in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. 

I had to cancel going to Faizal Tahir and Siti Munirah's reception in Batu Pahat, because it was too far away and I would've taken two hours to get there, and another two to get to the next wedding venue.  

Also had to forgo the intention of going to Sarah and Shamin's reception in Bangi because I was too tired.  


My well wishes and congratulations to all my friends who recently tied the knot. May your lives be blessed by Allah always.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Caterpillar Closeup

I am glad that I discovered my interests in photography. Ever since I started picking up the camera, especially so since I got my Nikon D60, I realized that I paid more attention to the oft missed world of the minuscule. Those of you who have been with my blog for a while would know how much I like taking pictures of small creepy crawlies (to the delight and also dismay of some). My hobby has opened my eyes to the almost invisible, mostly ignored, and largely unnoticed minute details in the world around us. Sometimes I feel sad that most of us would miss seeing the beauty in the small things. We can discover a lot from viewing the most mundane things up close. And sometimes, creatures we regard as creepy or ugly can reveal their true beauties when we scale ourselves down to their size and try to see them eye to eye.

I was walking around in my apartment when I almost stepped on this little green caterpillar. It wasn't a big squishy caterpillar that one might find featured as a grub delicacy in some foreign place. It was pretty small, less than an inch long and definitely thinner than a satay stick. I picked it up from the white tile floor and set it on a thin stack of white paper. And of course, I ran over to the trusty ol' camera bag and grabbed my arsenal to shoot this little bug.

The little bugger was hard to photograph. It kept moving and wriggling and turning its head to different directions (probably trying to find its way to the edge of the paper). Because I used the reverse lens technique, the caterpillar's movement meant that it gets out of focus easily, and I had difficulty keeping it in focus. Out of the many, some are pretty decent and shareable. One of them is this side profile of the caterpillar. To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure where the eyes of this caterpillar were. What I noticed is that it's got some strands of hair sticking out from various parts of its body including the head. The hair strands were sparsely distributed, unlike other hairy caterpillars. Maybe this was a youngin', soon it'll grow a full body of hair and closeup fanatics like me would keep away from it for a change.

Here's one where you can see the 'face' of the caterpillar. I still am not sure where its eyes were.

Another perspective on how small this caterpillar was: you can actually see the thin side of the white paper for size reference. The white paper was a normal printing paper. Grab a printing paper and look at its thickness. Now look at the picture. You'll get a rough sense of the size of the caterpillar and how small it was.


I suddenly am reminded of the story where King Solomon's (Sulaymaan A.S.) troops were passing through the Wadi Naml (the valley of the ants, if I'm not mistaken) and how the King made sure his troops would avoid stepping on the small insects. This story tells us to appreciate the lives of Allah's creatures no matter how small. And that collateral deaths, no matter how insignificant the people/creatures killed may seem to be, should be avoided to our best efforts.


Have a wonderful day, everyone! Hope you liked the pics. And sorry to those who don't.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Lone Mushroom

It was a few weeks ago during a family day in Putrajaya that I stumbled upon this peculiar lone mushroom on the ground.

There were no other mushrooms within visual distance.

For a mushroom to be growing here solo, there could be several possibilities: a) One single spore managed to be carried by the wind all the way to this place while the rest were carried elsewhere, b) Neighboring mushrooms were already picked or disposed of, c) The rest of the spores did not manage to grow into a mushroom except this one.

Whatever backstory that the mushroom must have had, it managed to tell me one thing: Life goes on, even when you have to face it all alone.

But, indeed, as a Muslim, I need not fear facing the harsh dealings of this world all alone, for I know when everything else turn their backs on me, I can always turn to Allah for guidance.

I believe in the power of prayers. I have had several answered, both instantly and eventually. And for this I am thankful.

And I believe there are hidden blessings in every thing that most of the time escape our senses and our thoughts.

The lone mushroom did not escape me. It captured me and managed to make me think, and that in itself is another blessing.

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