Monday, January 25, 2010

Cape of Monkeys

Last weekend, after the customary Mee Bandung Muar breakfast with the grandparents, we stopped by Tanjung Ketapang (Cape Ketapang) to go see the troops of monkeys there.

It was late morning and the sun in the east was shining brightly westward towards the west coast, so the faces of the monkeys were brightly lit by the golden rays of the morning sun.

Although it may be possible that feeding the monkeys is prohibited, we threw caution to the wind and decided to hand some snacks to the monkeys. My dad gave some of the groundnuts he bought at the roadside stall to some of the younger monkeys, because the larger more mature ones were more aggressive and might scratch or bite the hand that feeds them.

I noticed some mothering macaques sitting on the mangrove branches below. Early on they only looked at the other monkeys being fed, but after a while they joined in the feeding festivities.

This mother monkey had just finished eating a banana, with its newborn clinging on to her and occasionally suckling her teats. We figured that the baby monkey was newborn because the mother's bottom was wet with blood, possibly from giving birth.

A young one managed to snatch a pack of spicy chili peanuts and was opening the plastic packaging using its teeth. The monkeys here have seemed to take a liking to human food; evident from them not refusing even the spiced or processed ones.

The young macaques tend to gather together and fight over food that was thrown at them, and they gobble the food quickly and keep them in a pouch under their jaws (like chipmunks) before an adult male comes. Once an adult male approaches, the young ones disperse, either out of respect or fear.

After the young monkeys dispersed, this large male got to enjoy a large piece of sugarcane all to himself.

The female monkeys, especially the mothering ones, were not so aggressive. My sister Kim felt no hesitation taking a photo close to a mothering monkey eating a starfruit.

The young ones even know how to beg.

Either their mothers didn't teach them table manners, or they're afraid of the larger ones hogging all the food, so they stuff their faces with whatever was presented to them, not even taking the time to chew. You can see the pouch under their jaws filling up with unchewed food as they grabbed and gobbled the snack from the palm of the feeder.

As we walked to our van to go home, we passed by this large male 'drunkard' having a can of drink all to himself. The monkeys are so accustomed to the food and beverage we humans consume that I came to realize that their mannerisms have started to resemble some of our own (opening a plastic packaging, drinking from a can, etc).

I left Tanjung Ketapang with hopes that someday I'd have procured a longer lens before coming to shoot (photographically) these wonderful (not so) wild primates of the southwest mangrove beach of the Malay Peninsula.


P/S: You can go here to see all my other monkey posts.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Water Drops Like Glass and Jello (edited with a how-I-shot-it)

I was alone in the office (yet again) a few days ago so I hunted on the net for some photography ideas. Then I came across a forum that was discussing waterdrop / droplet shots, so I decided to try my hand at freezing falling drops of water.

So here they are, numbered and titled. I think that I should start titling my shots to give it more value and meaning, and also to make it easier for people to refer to.

Which ones do you like the most?

#1 - The Sinking Bowling Pin

#2 - The Young Thought Bubble

#3 - The Dying Maelstrom

#4 - The Bigheaded Chess Pawn

#5 - The Hungry Water Hole

#6 - Casper Looking for a Friend

#7 - The Suicidal Obese

#8 - William Tell's Target Practice

#9 - Nessie Comes Out to Play

#10 - Tilt Twenty-Three and a Half Degrees

#11 - Bob Wins an Award

#12 - Flaring Cold Fusion

Titling these shots was much harder than taking them!


Taking these shots require good timing and definitely a DSLR. This is because a DSLR have less to no shutter lag so you can time your shots right. Using a compact point and shoot camera is still possible, but you have to really know the timing of your camera's shutter lag and take the picture a bit earlier than the water drop.

I used small apertures (f/11, f/16, f/20) for these shots for larger depth of focus. All of them were shot at 1/200s shutter speed. Slower shutter speeds will result in blurring due to subject movement (the water drops and splashes) and camera shake (unsteady hands, unless using a tripod). Since the fastest response time for my flash is 1/200 seconds, I had to use that shutter speed to freeze the shot. A faster shutter speed will result in the flash firing after the shot was taken , which serves no purpose.

A pro would use manual focus and a tripod but I used AF (autofocus) and handheld the camera. I held a plastic spoon at the exact location where the water will drop and lock the AF, remove the spoon and timed my shot and pressed the shutter exactly when the water drop reaches the pool of water in the mug. It took quite a number of shots, and the 12 shots above are the ones I really liked.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Personal Views on the 'Allah' Issue

I suggest that, for those who have little or no idea of what the issue is about, the following articles be read first because otherwise none of what I'm about to say will make sense to you.

CNN Article --- Malaysia: Churches firebombed amid Allah dispute
AFP Article --- Malaysia defends Allah stance amid new church attack
BBC Article --- More Malaysian churches attacked in Allah dispute

Or you can google 'Malaysia' and 'Allah' and look at the news results if you have several hours to spare.

Below is a verbatim copy of what I wrote in an online forum with regards to the issue. Please bear in mind that this was written in the usual communicative form of Malay and may not be understood immediately by some who are new to the language, or have mastery of Bahasa Indonesia. Since what I have to say here mostly applies to Malays and Malaysians, I shall have it remain untranslated, unless I receive requests to have it translated.



pendapat peribadi saya je la ya...

1. byk lagi perkara lain yang boleh melumpuhkan akidah umat islam selain penggunaan kalimah Allah dalam penerbitan Katolik, malah perkara2 lain ini lebih teruk lagi (bomoh, khurafat, judi, arak, tenung nasib, nombor ekor, hedonisme, dsb)

2. masalah penggunaan kalimah Allah ini lebih bersifat lokal di mana ia cuma memberi masalah bagi kaum melayu sahaja. bagi umat islam secara keseluruhannya di dunia ini, tiada masalah kerana 'Allah' adalah bermaksud 'God' dalam bahasa arab. di serata dunia perkataan ini digunakan untuk merujuk kepada 'tuhan' tak kira agama apa sekalipun. Tetapi biasanya digunakaan untuk Tuhan Yang Esa (yakni yg dirujuk oleh agama2 samawi seperti yahudi, islam dan kristian)

3. maka ancaman ini bukan satu ancaman terhadap islam secara keseluruhannya, tetapi adalah sesuatu yang boleh menjadi punca kekeliruan bagi kaum melayu. ini kerana bagi kaum Melayu, perkataan 'Allah' hanya digunakan dalam konteks Islam sahaja.

4. bagi saya, adalah perlu untuk diwujudkan garis panduan atau undang2 yang menetapkan secara mutlak bagaimana penggunaan kalimah 'Allah' ini dibenarkan dalam negara Malaysia (spt yg saya katakan sebelum ini, ini adalah masalah lokal bukan global)

5. segelintir orang terlalu cepat melatah dgn isu seperti ini sehingga terjadinya perkara2 yang ditegah dalam islam seperti merosakkan rumah2 ibadat. bagi saya, isu ini bukan ancaman yang sebesar ancaman2 lain terhadap akidah umat islam khususnya melayu (seperti yang dinyatakan di no. 1). ini sama juga seperti yang berlaku sewaktu penerbitan gambar2 kartun yang merujuk kepada Rasulullah s.a.w.

6. adalah penting bagi kita umat islam untuk mempersiapkan akidah masing2 supaya tidak tergugat dengan perkara2 yang seperti ini. jgnlah kita terlalu jahil sehingga tidak dapat membezakan Allah, tuhan sekelian alam yang kita sembah dengan 'Allah' dalam penerbitan katolik. sekiranya kita terkeliru, itu menunjukkan kelemahan akidah kita sendiri.

7. bagi saya, penyelesaian yang baik adalah supaya digubal undang2 yang menetapkan bahawa kalimah Allah adalah untuk merujuk kepada tuhan sekelian alam seperti yang dirujuk dalam agama Islam, dan tidak boleh merujuk kepada entiti ketuhanan lain dalam agama2 lain. ini untuk mengelakkan kekeliruan serta kekacauan dalam keharmonian masyarakat majmuk di Malaysia.

8. juga kita jgn terlalu 'bara' sgt nak bela islam dgn menimbulkan kekacauan antara kaum, sedangkan ibadah khusus serta persiapan akidah kita masing2 sendiri masih lagi tak terbela. perlu diingat, jihad yang paling utama adalah jihad melawan hawa nafsu.

9. perlu ingat juga bahawa tiada yang milik kita di dunia ini, segala2nya adalah hak allah semata2.

semoga kita semua dilimpahi hidayahNya serta diberi petunjuk ke jalan yang benar. maaf kalau ada pendapat saya yang menyentuh sensitiviti sesiapa.


I am interested to hear what you have to say regarding this matter (and for those who understood my post, regarding what I said in this matter).

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Mac OS X - Hisham

Looking at the photos in my previous post (CLS at the Beach), I realized that this photo of Hisham jumping...

reminds me of the logo on the packaging of Mac OS X Tiger!

Image courtesy of

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