Saturday, September 27, 2008

Singapore F1 Grand Prix

The very first night race in Formula 1 racing and it is held in Singapore. How cool is that? I am not a F1 fan (I prefer Rally racing) but it is really exciting to have such a big event right here. I was lucky to be able to watch the practice session and of course, I took photos. It was challenging to take a night race, the cars were fast, I could not get too close and the race was under lights. I had to really max out the settings on my camera and lens (EF-S 55-250mm). So on to the photos...I took over 400 photos so this is just a small sample.

These were taken during the Porsche race pratice laps:-

Ok, the highlight of the day (or night) the F1 cars:-

The cars coming out of the Pit was exciting looked like at times like near collisions:-

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jurong Bird Park

Yesterday, the family (including my parents-in-law) went to visit the Jurong Bird Park. For those who don't know what it is all about, it is basically like a Zoo but for birds only. Several species of birds are caged up but most are free ranging and stay around because of the enviroment and food.

So I was happy for 2 reasons, firstly my son got to visit the birds (especially the Penguins) and I got a chance to finally try out my Canon 450D outside the house.

For this outing, I brought along my EF-S 18-55mm and EF-S 55-250mm lenses squeezed them in the EOS bag I got for free (it was a tight fit but they all went in) and a tripod (which was useless because it was too flimsy).

So I learnt alot from this outing and have a better understanding of my camera. So here are the shots for your enjoyment.

Here is a Scarlet Macaw which was part of the bird show. There were a few on the stage and were people were allowed to photography them. I suppose they are so used to people that getting close to them was very easy although after awhile they got bored and flew around.

Here are two photos of the same Ostrich. I saw 3 of them but only 2 were really "up close and personal" the other was busy laying 2 eggs. I chose these 2 because it was looking directly at me and also each has a different DOF as you can see.

Next up is a Pelican. I am not sure which species it is but apparently, the Bird Park as all 7 species of Pelicans. This was relatively easy to shoot as there was lots of sunlight and this bird is big!

A shot of the "Wetlands waterfall". This is my first time trying the "smoky" effect of moving water. This was a little challenging because it was a very sunny day but this waterfall was in very dense shade and about 50-70meters away and I did not have a reliable tripod so I had to make use of a handrail to steady the camera and tried a few settings before getting this. for some action shots at the Bird Show. There were seveal birds performing but the Macaws were the highlight of the show with them fly through hoops around the Amphitheatre.

Here both Macaws are entering the same hoop...don't worry...they did not crash into each other.

Finally here, you see a Macaw crashing into a piece of rice paper.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

At Home with Son

After the dissapointing shoot with my chess set, I am happy again as shots of my favorite model, my son, turned out quite well with the 50mm lens.

I think I have figured it out the cause of my poor shots with the chess set, never use the EF 50mm f/1.8 lens for such shots again as the minium distance on this lens is 0.5m which is pretty far for close up shots. My EF-S 18-55m f/2.8-5.6 lens has a closer distance of 0.25m which I will try it out in the chess set again next time to see how it goes. Maybe it's time for a Macro lens?

Anway, on with the photos of my son. All shots where done indoors at home with the afternoon sun coming in from the window. The mess around his face was from his milk and cornflakes he was eating.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chess Anyone?

I've been itching to take my camera out to really get shooting but time has not been on my side just yet. So, to ease the need, I decided to look around the house to see what photos I could take.

I took out this chess set that has been collecting dust on the shelf out and started shooting. However, I soon found out that glass is not the easiest of materials to photograph. Over 60 shots to produce these 3 that were somewhat acceptable to me.

All shots were taken using the EF 50mm f/1.8 lens under warm lighting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Canon 450D First Shots

I finally kinda figured out some of the basic functions on my new camera and am playing around with it. I thought I'd give the 50mm f/1.8 lens a try at home.

These pictures of my son taking pictures of me with one of my phones were done indoors under my living room lights (white lights).

This one of my wife's hands were taken under bedroom lights (warm lights).

This is the only picture of my dog that was reasonably clear...more work needs to be done with my technique to minimise camera shake.

Next time, I will make sure that all my lenses have Image Stabilization.

New Camera - Canon 450D

Finally! The day has come and I have a new toy ... The Canon 450D with 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS kit lens. This came with lots of free goodies:-

2x4Gig Lexmark SD cards
Canon Lens Book
Canon 400D user guide (magazine) - The 450D version was not avaliable
Canon EOS bag
LCD protector
38l Dry Cabinet (traded the free dry box for this with top-up)
52mm UV filter (to fit the 50mm prime lens)

To complete the package, I also got the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens and 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS zoom lens.

I am still going through the user manual and will soon be out taking photos as soon as I get some leave time.

Of course this does not mean the the Canon S3IS is going to be left out. It will still be my primary camera for most family moments and travel (when I do get to travel). The simple reason is that the S3IS uses AA batteries and has a good 6x zoom. This makes it a really convenient camera to bring around.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Home - Punggol Pt II

Ok...Really Punggol is a like a nature reserve on its own. That is what comes with living in an area that is has not been too urban-ised...yet! This time I got up really, really early to catch the early bird(s). There was life but the only problem is that they are very easily spooked due to the low human contact.

Again, a good telephoto would have been good. So in the end, I just stuck with things that did not move.

Remember this flower? Its the same species as from part I. Only difference is the water dropplets on this one.

I have a feeling that this is an Orchid..what do you think?

There is this lonely tree I see on my way to my favorite photo site. I will be going back to it from time to time simply because I want to get a good shot of it...I think there is a potential for a good photo..any suggestions?

Notice my Banner on the top of the Blog? Notice my Profile picture on the side? Would you belive that they are essentialily the same photo. I took a few shots of the moon with the tree branch framing it. These are some of the original shots before Photoshop created my banner and profile pictures:-

Mid-Autumn Festival - Chinatown Light Up 2008

Went with the family to Chinatown for dinner on 31 August and we came across the opening of the Mid-Autumn festival light-up at Chinatown. Was just expecting to see lanterns and lighted decorations along the road but did not realise that there was a whole show and we missed most of it. Missed the fireworks, the street show and the crowds.

That was not the worst of it...It was not the time to find out that my Canon S3IS camera was not very good for night action shooting. Example was this Dragon dance:-

Anyway, I did manage to get some shots that were not moving so much. There was this Japanese troupe:-

This is another shot of the men carrying the lanterns. I had added some zooming effect to make up for the poor shot.

While the men were carrying the heavy load, the ladies were busy with the drumming:-


Monday, September 8, 2008

Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve

My first photo trip to Sungei Buloh was a real disappointment. It is a wetland reserve that is suppose to hold a lot of wildlife especially, brids. However, there was not much life there when I was there in the afternoon so it was quite a waste of time for me. Next time, I belive if I am there early in the morning, there will be heaps of wildlife getting breakfast so, I'll give it another try.

Ok, the photos that I did take, many had to be cropped like this one of a red dragonfly.

Of course there were some life but you really had to look for it. It was times like this that I wish I had a really big telephoto lens.

I saw this really big spider's web while on the boardwalk. There was no one home but I thought the web had a nice pattern and tried to get some macro shots and ended up with something like this:-

Finally, I got this monitor lizard at the entrance to the nature reserve. It was right infornt of me and no more that a metre away (3ft). Monitor lizards were in large numbers at the nature reserve and in a pond next to the coffee shop there were about another 5 more.