Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spirit Of The Rain

Before anyone gets the title wrong, no, the word 'spirit' there do not refer to a living entity or deity. Rather, the ambiance. And somehow, I would like to think that many would share my sentiment about rainy days - I find the sound of raindrops as well as the cool air, comforting, especially towards the end part of a heavy rain. But mind you, heavy here does not include storms or anything where the gale touches 20mph or more!

Anyway, I did not get much chance to 'play' with Manan's camera today as it rained for the good part of the afternoon. Stuck in the house, it suddenly dawned on me to try and capture the mood of the day in pictures. And, it began with the picture of the tree below.

Nothing extraordinary about the picture above. But with the rain falling to wash off the dust and what not, the leaves look greener and more beautiful. Still, whether rain or shine, there is beauty everywhere; its just a matter of how one look at it. So, kindly excuse the music in the background ( a cliche as it may be to some).

Surprisingly, for someone who had to restrict this day's 'photography adventure', I found myself taking something like 149 shots on a space that measured something like 24 by 40ft! Off course, many were repetitive shots in either wanting a better angle, or to get as near as the perfect shot as I could. On this blog here, I will be uploading something like 8 of the shots I like best here, while putting several more in Pictures-Only; do have a peek there as well.

When I followed Manan into the camera shop in Subang Jaya, the first question the owner asked me was what kind of shots I like best. I replied nature, naturally, but not necessarily landscape. He then asked, birds or trees. I was stumped momentarily as I thought that the question was getting too scientific for my liking. Still, I replied I like birds.

The reply I gave for the second question was not well thought off, and triggered by what I perceive to be barraging. Now, while I would like to shoot birds on camera, I neither have the experience nor the necessary equipment, bearing in mind that the camera Manan loaned to me was the very basic and nothing more. As for now, my shots will be of trees and plants that strike me, with a landscape shot or two thrown in.

Undeniably, the picture above is not a landscape shot. I mean, stuck on the porch of the house in the middle of a city (fringe, actually) what landscape can I shoot? Fluke shot, actually, what the above is. The larger picture of this shot is at Pictures-Only.

Then, somehow during the course of my shooting session, I changed the camera mode to black and white for a particular shot. Having done that, I totally forgot all about it and just clicked away, resulting in several black and white shots such as the below.

By the time I was done, I felt like a junkie who was high. I might have kept on shooting had Emak not told me the time. Do give your critic without fear or favour. Only then, would I be able to learn and hone whatever skills I have in photography.

What Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Old Flame Rekindled

I was at a friend's place earlier today, having been invited to view his new camera, a Nikon D90, which cost him more than RM10,000 together with a few accessories like 2 lenses and 2 other gadgets which I hardly know they existed prior to this.

Manan, an old primary schoolmate, has retired from the hustle and bustle of city life. Formerly attached to a bank in KL, he went into construction after grabbing the first Voluntary Separation offer that came his way, and laboured for a decade or so before deciding to call it quits, and is now into photography. For someone whose kids are all grown-up and wife still in middle management somewhere, I guess he can take it easy now. In contrast to him, I have not even started! (The family part is). The funny thing is, while my love for photography began at 12 (abandoned at 14), his started only some 3 years back. Back then in primary school when several friends and I pestered a teacher, Mr Tang, who was also the school's official photographer, to start a photography club, Manan opted out, for then, he thought picture taking is a stupid thing altogether and is only meant for sissies. Guess now, he outgrew that thought.

Anyway, the D90 is his 2nd camera with a Canon EOS 1000D being the first. Seeing the latter seem to have fallen out of favour with him, I managed to get him to lend it to me for a couple of days, just to get a feel of it, and found out that there's a mighty big difference between when I was in primary school and now.

Back then, my friends and I had to learn to use the old Yashica (top-view), which had 2 lenses built into it. We also learnt to develop the negatives into film, a process which is now outdated as the camera mentioned itself. But we had fun, both in the darkroom, as well as the camera, and learnt to appreciate certain shots which the technique I scarcely remember now. And when we entered secondary school, everything we learnt during the few short months with Mr Tang, faded away from memory, and in its stead, new adventures and hobbies discovered....till lately, off course. (Now, I would be lying to say that I've not had a camera in between then and now, but they were nothing fancy and were always the auto-focus kind. Then, there was the cheap RM5 Diana camera which is good only for 50shots or so; once used, it becomes disposable, literally).

Back to the present, the camera I am supposed to return in a couple of days time, well, I had some fun with it just now, experimenting with several shots, and off course, dreaming that I can be a good at it. Below, are 2 of the shots.

In this picture, I tried to create an 'aura' of the subject which is actually a pink rose. Shot against the streetlamp at its back, I was hoping that the colour of the flower would come to life. I failed. Evidently, I needed to use a macro lens to focus on the subject, as well as another which would blur out the background. Both, off course, was not loaned to me as they each cost more than the camera itself. Well, perhaps, in the next life I'll get to use the necessary. Till then, I do think this picture - were the equipment available to me - would look equally great in black and white.

With the light at my back thowing shadows of the plant of the same pink rose above on to wall of the mailbox, this was considerably an easy shot (I think), which perhaps, can be better with more knowledge and experience. The picture however, was cropped to the desired view and enlarged, which makes it rather grainy, or noisy, as I think the term or lingo is.

InsyAllah, tomorrow and the day after, I ought to be able to get more fun from this camera. Only that, I'll feel sad to return it back to Manan.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ship Shaping My Neverland

Well, now that My Neverland has begun pulling anchor, I think its time to check the charts. Hang on! Think I got it wrong there somewhere. Oops! Yup, I should have checked the charts first before pulling the anchor! Shoot! But I think that's a OK as the sails have not been casted...yet. So, while My Neverland floats like a cork in a turbulent sea - the monsoon's here now - I'll just take my time and try to spruce up the deck. And since I'm not good at visuals or decoration, do expect a havoc of a time while I am it.

I do admit feeling a wee bit of envy looking at some of those newer blogs, where the template used are nowhere to be found in blogspot. Was told, that those templates were created by those blog owners themselves. But since I am as blind as a bat in daytime as I am with anything IT, I guess I'll never be able to get My Neverland to look attractive as theirs. Still, being the spartan kind of person I am, should I be worried? Heck no! Just envy.

One thing for certain (and I should add insyAllah, but for now, it is my resolve), now that I'm slowly inching myself into the world of photography, I will add some of the beautiful shots later. And who knows, perhaps I would even be bold enough to record myself playing the pinano for my friend's entertainment. And I do mean to entertain, as it might be a comedy of errors on the keyboard, just like my spelling of the musical instrument in the previous sentence. Should I become good at it later, perhaps a producer or 2 might just want to cast me in their film, even if it be just a 2second filler. But for the present moment, and I mean now, I'm off to Hulu Tamu, taking my Emak for a dip into the hot spring there; lovely place, I tell you. Will blog about it later.

Saturday, February 14, 2009



Been going crazy for sometime now. Then I realise, I need to go back to where I was. And since talkonly is no longer a private place for me to blog my personal thoughts and matter, it would then be wiser for be to get this new one up and running. Er....I mean, blogging. This, would be much preferable than talking to the walls surrounding me. Or, the standing fan. Or, looking blank at the pc screen, and seeing my reflections only. It can get scarry, you know. If you don't believe me, then take a look at that Garfield strip down there.

See what I mean?

Well, off course I am not Odie nor anywhere like him. But I do know of one or 2 friends who may be quite like, not to mention certain goons who recently, upon making news the wrong way, are very much in more ways than one, quite like that Odie fellow up there. While one may well undertand the simplicity of Odie's mind and forgive and even love him for it, one certainly cannot find an ounce of neither sympathy nor empathy for those goons mentioned.

Hmm...I do dislike having to write about these goons. They are, if one would quite remember, equivalent to my entry 'Story About Jackasses' in Talkonly. And since Talkonly has, somehow, due to reasons which is most baffling to me, been featured in 2 or 3 political blog referrers leaving me with very little chance to the privacy I very much am fond of, and off course, taking into consideration that I am, quite inexplicably, still a shy person deep inside (one would have to use a 300ft rope to reach there, provided the intestine's gastic juices does not dissolve one into amino or whatever acid first), I did or do find difficulties in putting my thoughts across. But now that this new blog is up and very few people are in the know, I'm letting those thoughts run wild. Yeeeha!

But mind you, they'd still have to wait for my fingers, where after almost a decade of not having a proper place to run the scales of those black and white ivory laid out beautifully in a straight line and lovingly placed at a height which is most easily accessed by one as clumsy as that cakapaje bloke, who, by the way, now have fingers as fat as any finger that has been sitting idle for any period period longer than a month. Man, I do wish some rich lady with the heart of gold would give me a piano to thump my fingers with. But off course, some wise arse would then say that if ever there were such a lady, my time would be better spent doing something else. To that, I cannot but sit coyly in a corner of the bedroom and feeling guilty as accused. But for heaven's sake, please don't go telling the world about it!

Now, where was I?

Oh, never mind. To my friends and regular visitors of Talkonly who do find it in their heart to visit Gila-Aje, welcome to my new blog.