What I did today

26 03 2009

This was taken right in front of our apartment.

We were feeling lazy today, so we decided to stay in, and explore the neighbourhood.

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23 02 2009

These days I feel a lot like a giant sluggish cat. I spend most of my waking hours eating and lounging around, so much so that I’m beginning to expand and flow over all the horizontal surfaces at home. Picture cat-shaped oobleck.

And my daylight hours seem to have slipped away in the form of long afternoon naps on the floor. I guess I’ll miss waking up to find that someone has covered me with my favourite fuzzy blanket.

The most interesting happenings in my life nowadays can be summed up in the HDR pictures that I take. T_T

Just a day ago I went out with my maid to Little India and Vivocity. The sunset over Vivocity was so beautiful I couldn’t resist pimping making a HDR picture out of it.

The cable cars are a dead giveaway as to the location of this shot.

Check out the rest of my pictures at http://steelkokoro.shutterfly.com

I love shutterfly – what’s not to love about unlimited upload capacity! I don’t mind slow upload speeds as long as I can upload full-res versions of my pictures online.

I like Indian food.

As usual, I splurged on weird snacks at Mustafa before having a nice lunch of Indian food – Paneer Mutter and a butter Naan. The yellow liquid in the tall glass is almond milk, which was too sweet for me to consume more than 20ml without risking severe tooth decay. Oh and, sugar consumption does not cause diabetes. Diabetes results in the inability to process sugars, not the other way round.

I wonder if more people will start buying their magazines and watching their channel.

The National Geographic booth thing at Vivocity seemed somewhat semi-permanent so we (me and my newly camera-toting maid) waltzed in for a nice bout of phototaking.

Where NGC has its roots - 18th century cartographers.

Some things were rather typical of NGC.

The yin-yang balance upset.

Others were more…..exotic.

Equus....woodus?! Horse anatomy fail.

My maid spent quite some time trying to get a nice shot of this driftwood horse from Bali no thanks to all the inconsiderate people who kept blocking her way.

I need more interesting places to visit in Singapore before I leave.

My first experience with 35mm film photography

18 02 2009
Nothing quite says "film" like monochrome

Nothing quite says "film" like monochrome

The days are long and boring, and so are the nights. With nothing much to do at home, extreme ennui forced me to look for more interesting diversions beyond my usual netsurfing and cooking.

Maybe it’s the ego – being able to take decent shots with a camera that lacks any auto mode and that can run without batteries is a statement to one’s 1337ness, but I felt oddly drawn to the quaint Nikon FM2 that has been sitting in my father’s cupboard since forever. Not to mention the edge that film has over digital in terms of dynamic range (ratio between the maximum and minimum measurable light intensities) and resolution.

So last week when we were out, I pestered my father to pick up a couple of rolls of 35mm film for me to play with. The rest is history 🙂

Getting used to the Nikon FM2 is no joke though, for someone who is reliant on the immediate feedback via LCD that a digital camera offers. The FM2 is bereft of any mode besides manual, which means no aperture/shutter priority, or worse still, auto/programmed modes for those used to them. While I shoot mostly in manual mode with my Nikon D90 DSLR, I have by no means memorised any exposure table and thus depend on checking my shots right after taking them to see if they are properly exposed.

For film, there is no such convenience. Complete trust in the camera and one’s own skills is required. Fortunately though, the FM2 has a nifty light meter which doesn’t show much except for 3 symbols – +, O, -. + would mean overexposure, whilst – is the exact opposite. It helped me a lot in keeping my shots properly exposed.

Here’s a rough diagram of how the viewfinder looks like:


Rear size, front size....any air weapon shooters here? 😛

On the other hand, the complete lack of autofocus support meant that I had to focus each and every single shot manually >.< I’ll never ever take autofocus for granted again.  Please be nice to your autofocus systems folks, they make life a heckload easier.

This is an underwater-capable camera. It's from the same era as the FM2 I think.

This is an underwater-capable camera. It's from the same era as the FM2 I think.

Also, scanning films at home is A PAIN. My dad and I spent more than an hour just scanning a few photos with our photoscanner, at some low resolution of 1200DPI (dots per inch) And considering that there are 36 exposures in one roll of film….

Well here are the results of my blood, sweat and tears:

When life gives you lemons...take pictures of them!

When life gives you lemons...take pictures of them!

And do the same with bananas :)

And do the same with bananas 🙂

Fruits are good for health.

Fruits are good for health.

At least this one's older than the camera.

At least this one's older than the camera.

My hand.

My hand.

While I won’t be ditching my shiny new D90 for a prosumer film camera anytime soon, it has been love at first sight for me and the wonderfully vivid tones and highlights that are possible with film. There’s another roll of 35mm film sitting on the table and I intend to use it fully.

Film cameras, especially functionless ones like the FM2, while reliable and all in cold temperatures yadda yadda, cannot replace the speed and convenience of autofocus and digital photography. Exposure bracketing for HDR would be a pain if not impossible with the FM2, and so would sport or wildlife photography. Though the light meter has proven to be accurate so far, I wouldn’t dare to waste a whole roll of film on light-meter-cheaters such as snowscape shots. In such cases, I’ll go with the security of instant feedback.

And how could I forget camwhoring! It’s practically impractical to camwhore with a film SLR considering the high ratio of botched shots XD A rusty shutter button doesn’t help to make one-handed photography easier either..