Monday, September 30, 2013

4-hour memories

Last week I was blessed with a brief but memorable encounter with my good friend, Mr.Rynn. We used to work at the same company and have been good friends since then. While he is a very outgoing and enjoyable person, I respect his character the most.

Figure 1: Handsome guy.
My first job was a very challenging job, where I work 12 hours and only have 4 rest days per month. Since then I have moved to a normal 5-day job, but my friend is still there and going strong. He is a very patient and humble guy. Those are his strong characters.

Figure 2: An excellent bowl.
When I arrived around 9am in the morning, we had a simple Sarawakian mee for breakfast. We exchanged quite a long conversation, especially regarding his recent travel to Ho Chi Minh city at Vietnam which he recommended me to go if I have the chance.

Figure 3: Two to strike.
Rynn, is a very frugal person and always keeps a healthy lifestyle. He also gave me tips on how to be healthy and I believe for someone with an unhealthy lifestyle it is quite tough to change it. I will try my best to shift from unhealthy food to healthier alternatives.

Figure 4: Lost to Rynn by one point.
After breakfast, we went for a bowl, Rynn got some free tickets and we have just enough time to play a game. I never played bowling before and today I decided to try it out. Picking the right bowl and the correct stance to bowl is quite tough. A few bowl of mine went straight into the gutter.

Figure 5: Typical japanese conveyor style servings.
One of Rynn's specialties is that he organizes events very well, especially travel events. His friends are very lucky as from the tickets, guides, places to go until the hotels is researched and organized by himself. So, they only have to apply for leave, pay and attend. I'm signing up for next year's travel if he organizes.

Figure 6: Attentively choosing wisely.
We share a lot of similar way for thinking and ideas. He is a very smart person and a graduate from a reputable university. About an hour left, we decide to get lunch and we chose this healthy looking steam-boat based restaurant where you can eat all you want for an hour.

Figure 7: Eating a lot of greens won't make you too full.
The tips to not getting full is to not consume too much, rice, flour or fried items. So, I take as much vegetables, mushrooms and fish as I could. I have discovered that I have problems with my liver due to high intake of carbohydrate. I reduce my intake ever since and take liver tonic.

Figure 8: Sushi King.
I can't resist eating the sushi though, but I limit it due to its starchy carbohydrate nature. It is important to learn to eat wasabi with sushi if you can stand the heat. The taste of wasabi is like an explosion of heat in your mouth. Not recommended to chew until wasabi fully dilute in the mouth.

Figure 9: Chicken and tom-yam sides.
I had memorable times during the short four hours with my friend and I hope to meet up again. I am supposed to meet up with a few Indonesian friends but they aren't able to make it due to the security tightening at the township.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Creative release

I do my work best when I don't think too much. My mind lags whenever issues or any matters arises. If overloaded I can't think clearly and my decisions aren't the best. Thus, I need to always vent out these matters. 
Figure 1: A new but tough stringed guitar.
Even a pressure cooker has a safety relief valve to release the tension of the steam, thus I need a kind of relief too, a type of release to vent out the thinks that tinker inside my mind. My preferred type of release is the creative release.

Figure 2: Dusty guitar.
I used to draw pictures, however I haven't been drawing for a long time and my hand seems to lost its touch. So, I decide to pick up photography as a form of creative release. It is only when I got a job that I do photography as a creative release as it is expensive.

Figure 3: The faded colorful strings.
My other form of creative release is by playing the guitar. I struggled learning the guitar when I was younger as I have no master to teach me. So, I have to learn piece by piece and by looking at the way other people played the guitar. It has been sometime since I played the guitar.

Figure 4: The body of a 30 year old guitar.
I enjoyed singing too, it is also one of my creative release. I believe each and everyone of us has their own form of releases which allows you to free yourself from unnecessary stress. It is a need for us to vent out that stress and turn it into something creative.

I preferred the feel and the sound of the older guitar. Pressing the frets feels like home. Peace be with you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Silent rocks

Figure 1: Waves beating against the rocks.
There are times to be with love ones, times to be with friends and around people. However, it is also important for me, to have time to be alone. I need space to think, meditate and at times relieve myself from unnecessary stress. There's time for everything, it is important to spend time wisely.

Figure 2: Smoky horizons.
The places that I prefer is the beach, seasides where not much people are lurking around. These are the few places where it isn't busy and noisy. I would sit on a rock for hours just relaxing my mind. I sometimes whistle a tune or just keep quiet and hear the wind whistling into my ears.

Figure 3: The never-ending waves.
When I am alone, I will pray and ask for forgiveness from God. I am a sinner and a good one at it, but I want to stop sinning. Only through God, can I have the power to overcome myself. These are times of sadness. Sadness lurks around me even as I pray. It will not be for long.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Own definition

Figure 1: My heart is so far away.
How often do you think of life on Earth? If there is a possibility for the next life or is it just the end of it once your last breath leaves your body. Of all the things we want in this life, we want success. That is the ultimate satisfaction, but what is it anyway?

Failure is a disappointment to us and gives a bad impression of people around us. So what is success? Is it about becoming rich? Or is it about following the footsteps of great people or what the great motivator just said in his awesome speech?

If that is the definition of success, I would be the most failed person in this world. I hate to live up to one's unreasonable and sky-high expectations. So I believe that success is within each and one of us. Success is about moderation.

These are a few points which shows how successful we are,

i. Successfully born into this world, around 1 million babies die the day they were born.

ii. Success that we have no infirmities or abnormalities. Imagine, Nick Vujicic, a great motivator, who has no arms or legs, is currently motivation people around the world who have perfect body.

iii. Successfully completing our studies, while people around, this was stated that, nearly 1 billion people in this world entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.

iv. Successfully get work, according to statistics almost 300 million youths are unemployed in the whole world, this doesn't include the adults yet.

v. Successfully eat three times a day, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) states that 870million people go hungry and one in eight suffer from chronic undernourishment.

vi. Succesfully be one as a family, we have our loved ones, to be able to be together with them and even though far away we still be able to communicate via phone and have air travel to meet up with them.

vii. Success in able to wake up early in the morning to pray and give thanks to God. I am thankful everyday I wake up and see the beautiful sunrise as well as the sunsets.

viii. Success to freely go and worship God. I am thankful that I can go to church on a Sabbath day and praise God while people in oppressed countries are unable to do that and are struggling to do it in hiding with risk of capture and torture.

My point is, we are all successful people in our own ways, not everyone is good regarding academics but that is not an excuse not to do your best because who knows? Never discourage anyone attempting to better himself or herself in any type of skills or knowledge.

Success is everyday but we never realize it. Be thankful and always give thanks, but most of all always pray. Success has been twisted by book writers so that their books can be bestseller because people buy it over and over again due to never achieving it. Success is never about material things.

Success is about doing our very best. When sad times comes, be sad. When we are happy, be the happiest. There is always time for everything. Remember one day has only 24 hours, live it with a kind, honest and humble heart.

Success is not asking for riches when in poverty nor asking for health when in illness. Success is to be able to praise God in whatever condition we are in. Just like Job in the Holy books. Never measure success in the form of money.

Money is a form of exchange. Money has its value as our time spent in doing work. So we are buying our assets using our time. Remember how many years it takes to work our asses out to finally buy a house. That is life and also life's fatamorgana.

Last but not least, always remember, to never exchange your precious time for these material things, but do spend your time with the people you love, your family. Life is so short. Life is so valuable. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A few little things

Figure 1: Tripod replacement.
My name day is coming, I am getting older and time seems to pass-by so fast. I am afraid that I will miss a lot more shots if I don't get a replacement soon. I need support which has better built quality and last longer. Due to my frequency of use I need to get one of the best.

I choose the brand Manfrotto as I have did a thorough product research and I want the best stability and flexibility in terms of cost too. My experience with my previous tripod was Weifeng, Made in China, I didn't have that great solid build quality and it wobbles so much. 

The legs doesn't stretch well and to my dismay, the plastic locks snapped off. I couldn't find a replacement anywhere. Without my tripod and for my type of photography I am totally crippled. Due to that, I missed a lot of chances to capture moments.

I am a fan of books, and for my name day, I decide to buy a book for my own reading. I love to read fiction and fantasy books as they take me away from my mundane life. My imaginations know no limit when it comes to books. 
Figure 2: The Songs of Wind and Fire.
So these are the few little things that I get for me self. If you have a passion, then, it is very important that you invest some time and money to do it and enjoy it. There should be no age limits nor compatibility limits as long as that passion stays with you, it will be passed on for generations to come.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sandy wishes

Figure 1: The mini-canyon.
I was out and about town and I decide that my day wouldn't be complete if my legs cannot feel the sand. I set out and pack my bag with my camera but I didn't have a tripod. Without a tripod I felt crippled as it is my most needed tool for landscaping.

I left for the beach at about five thirty in the evening, to my shock, the beach is crowded with people. I haven't seen so much people these few days. As I walk and bask on the beach, the day was cloudy and inopportune to watch the sunset.

I felt so crippled but i decide to walk-around the problem and set the camera on the ground. Took a few pictures, some people are really curious as to what I was doing and I showed them. They smiled at my efforts to take the waves. It was a good day despite the cloudiness.

Water splashed into my camera, which resulted in ER99, which means that the water ingress causes the contact between the camera and the lens is lost. I wiped the contacts clean and cleaned up the camera. All is well. It is important that when attempting to shoot in adverse conditions, weather-sealing is considered.

Figure 2: As the water rushed at me.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rest in peace

When the work gets tough and everyday seems like an eternity, or have been working for a week non-stop, you need to stop and take a break. A day a week is more than enough to re-energize yourself. Resting is a means to relieve yourself from work stress and take time to do what you enjoy.

It can be watching cartoon, going out to exercise, sleeping or even cooking your favorite meal. It is so subjective but very important to at-least rest for a day. My day of rest is on Saturday and this day is very important and significant to me. 

There are times when I ignored the need to rest and went on a working spree, but I ended up tired and stressed out like a zombie. There's no life when you work 26 days straight for a whole month just to get 4 off days. Thus, a need to rest every week is important.

I find that my performance at work is better and I am more cheerful when handling work stress. I can cope with anything if I fully rested. Every-time Friday ends, I would say to myself, Thank God it's Friday. With that as usual I will take time to capture the beauty of sunset.

Figure 1: Take time to relax, it is worth it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My confessions

Figure 1: The best pictures are those without filters.
I am a self-confessed photography addict who is especially stingy on gears. 

Whenever my mind is into the work, I would blank out just to find myself reading about photography.

I always tried my best to make time to take a photograph despite the challenging weather.

Whenever I go, I always try to frame something and kept noticing small elements and details.

I always stare at something/someone until focused and the background turn into bokeh.

Whenever I have to go for chores or other activities, I always find an excuse to cheat a photo.

I love to separate the subject from the background, it is a special type of photography.

Whenever I saw someone using pro gear, I get GAS, Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

I always think so much about my gear and so far, most of my gear & camera are secondhand.

Whenever I see a great image, I will stare at it for hours.

I get stressed if I don't take pictures for more than 3 days.

These are some of my confessions, yet there are sweeter confessions from people around me who are really passionate about photography, and as always, I would like to remind you that pro-gear doesn't mean you will get pro-images. It is all up to you to include the soul into the pictures.

Figure 2: My D70, wish I can repair it.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Deep inside, far away

Figure 1: An engulfing darkness.
These days are very famous with war, political issues and upcoming economy crisis. The tough days are still yet to come, but a self-discipline intervention need to arise in myself. To be more controlled and frugal on my resources and to always plan for the worst case scenario in the near future.

People all around the globe are having a tougher time, coping with the fear of losing their lives, hunger and stress of oppression by their own kind. While here we complain so much about something which increases but doesn't give such a huge impact to us. 

We can still afford to eat, drive and live our lives normally despite the economy set-back. We still need to change, to improve for better and steer our path to counter this situation. It is workable and isn't the worst case scenario yet.

I fear that it will be soon, but at the same time I am glad. I am quite sick of living such an easy life, while other people around the world is struggling just to get a spoon of rice. Life is so easy that we complain, focus too much on the little negative which in turn makes us seem more miserable.

Exaggeration of a small matter is such a commonplace when, life gets so easy and words said are more than action taken.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

My first trip to KT

Figure 1: Sunset on the first day.
I have been away from the island since early September and have been busy attending training. It is my first time going for training since I joined the organization and it is also my first time to the place which is situated North-east side of the Peninsular.

Figure 2: My friend's hometown.
I haven't have the chance to travel much around the area as I said, my time is occupied with training. I still make the best of my time to go and explore. The first place I ventured is predictable and most probable place I would explore, which is the beach.

Figure 3: KT's old street still alive. 
The beach is different from the island I came from, it is rough, deep and filled with bits and pieces of white crustaceans and corals. The water of the South China sea is warm and the beach goes deep into the sea by just going 4-5 meters from the shore.

Figure 4: The incense pot for prayers.
The Chinatown area is a very old area situated in the township. It has a small temple which has interesting artifacts of history about this area. The sculpture and age of the engravings seems old to me even though there are a lot of new renovated structures there.

Figure 5: The Shaolin temple.
Everyday, I went to the beach, for the sunrise and sunsets. As it is facing the Eastern direction, I can only see the sunrise. During the whole week, the horizon is cloudy and only the reddish and yellowish light escapes through the sides. 

Figure 6: Me at the Chinese village.
The people here, speak their dialect which sounds foreign to me but understandable. They are very friendly people and they love the beach. It is hard not to see people going around the beach during evenings, flying their kites or known as "Wau". 

Figure 7: My friend, Ray at the old Chinatown.
The food is also unique, there is the Lekor, which I consumed everyday when I was there. It is made of fish and it is either fried or boiled. I enjoy the fried version and don't hesitate to recommend it to anyone interested to go there.  

Figure 8: Premium silks and woven songkets.
I wanted to go to the islands but there isn't sufficient time, my friend, Ray, who is a local at the area, manage to spend some time with me and bring me around. There's so much to explore yet so less time. In this post I share some pictures of the places located in town.

Figure 9: Sunrise from the balcony.
The sunset on figure 1, shows the mouth of the river, where an old man was fixing his fishing net for a night's catch. Accompanying him is his wife, sitting on a matt while watching her husband work. The old folks are very friendly and when met with the right topic they talk a lot about their personal thoughts.

Figure 10: A cloudy sunrise every morn.
This place is a must go and I thoroughly enjoy it, I will go there for the islands next time.

Large opening

As much as I love taking pictures, gear-wise I enjoy using a variety of lenses. I also have a certain dislike to certain type of lenses. However, I enjoy using large aperture lenses. Especially those primes that would open up their aperture diaphragm which lets in lots amount of light in.

Figure 1: Street lights bokeh I.
The downside is, these large aperture lenses are very costly, especially those which can auto-focus. The cheaper ones can live with no auto-focus. I recently have great interest in these line of lenses which are manual focus yet have good build and produce great image quality.

I do not have much experience with manual focus, but I am willing to learn due to my great interest in large aperture lenses and decided to go to that path and went ahead to purchase a second hand Samyang 85mm f1.4 lens. This focal length is suitable for portraiture and image isolation.

Figure 2: Street lights bokeh II.

The largest aperture lens with auto-focus is the Nikkor 50mm f1.8G which is great for object isolation too. I almost never use manual focus on this lens and always rely on the speedy AF-S motor. While it may be a hassle to manually focus your lens, there are some good points too for manual focusing.

Manual focusing in low light where the AF sensor of your camera fails is one of the great points of using manual focus. I don't intend to use this lens for fast moving objects though. So included in this post are a few shots of the bokeh or blurri-ness produce by the 85mm f1.4 on my crop-sensor camera.

Figure 3: Street lights bokeh III.