Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Lifelist

I attended a local photographer's workshop yesterday at Sentosa and one of the topics that was raised was the motivation behind her photographs. One of the major triggers was the creation of a lifelist containing things that a person wants to achieve in life. I was inspired enough to start one of my own, so here goes.. hopefully I will be able to achieve some of them this year!

Personal Development Comments
  • Learn to play the piano
  • Learn a third language
  • Learn to drive a car.......... Done
  • Drive a stick shift (properly)                      
  • Learn how to ride a motorbike
  • Race on a real racetrack
  • Ride a horse
Family & Relationships
  • Get Married :)............. Done
  • Become a Parent............. Done
  • Go to a Premier League match with Dad

  • Do volunteer work towards an important cause

Sports & Adventure
  • Master tennis............. Done, fitness is another matter
  • Break 100 in golf At Horizon Hills in Nov 2009
  • Break 90 in golf                                                                    
  • Learn to swim.............. Done
  • Catch a rainbow trout/Fly fishing
  • Learn to dive
  • Live in a new country for a few years........... Done
  • Work in a new country
  • Own an iconic car...................Done VW GTI                                                              
  • Own a Porsche
  • Own a convertible
Career & Finance
  • Be Financially independent
  • Start my own business............... In progress
  • Work in your dream job...............Is there such a thing?
  • Work for the fun of it and not for money
  • Visit all the countries in South East Asia.................... Thailand, West Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines done so far
  • Visit all countries in North Asia........................ Japan, China, Korea done so far
  • Visit all 7 continents
  • Visit a major city in Europe ............................. Been to Paris, London
  • Visit a major city in the US................................... Been to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle
  • Visit a major city in China................................. Been to Shanghai

  • Shoot the Northern Lights
  • Shoot the Grand canyon................................ Done
  • Shoot the Eiffel tower.................................. Done
  • Shoot the Sydney Opera House....................... Done
  • Shoot the Lourve Pyramid in Paris...................... Done
  • Shoot Big Ben in London............................. Done
  • Shoot the Taj Mahal                                              
  • Shoot the Pyramids of Egypt
  • Shoot the Niagara Falls............................. Done
  • A polar bear in the wild
  • A killer whale
  • A great white shark breaching
  • A Crocodile in the wild........................... Done

Monday, July 26, 2010

Panasonic Lumix GF1 Tips

More of a reminder to myself rather than a blog, might be useful to other GF1 owners as well:


Aspect Ratio - set to 4:3 as it retains the most pixels (the aspect ratio of the GF1 sensor is 4:3), other modes e.g. 3:2 and 16:9 crop pixels.

Auto ISO - set to max ISO800 or in a pinch ISO1600 (really pushing the boundaries)

AF Mode - call it habit or whatever, I tend to use the GF1 in single AF mode (the rectangle with a large black square). The most predictable mode in terms of locking on a subject.

Film Mode - typically have this set to DYNAMIC for both colour and also B&W as a personal preference.

Mode Dial - primarily use the A mode (aperture priority). Flick the thumbwheel right and left to set the aperture to control depth of field.

Shoot w/o Lens - as I sometimes use Nikon lenses on the GF1 (with an adapter), set to ON.

Video - since I only have the 20mm lens right now, I have CONTINUOUS AF set as OFF and if I want to AF, I would set the AF target and half press the shutter release button. As most users of the GF1 would know, you can activate video recording using the "motion picture button" or using the "Motion Picture P mode". I would recommend the latter method most of the time as you would have full control of aperture and exposure compensation. Preferred focussing mode is MF.


Carrying the GF1 - my personal preference is to use a wrist strap vs a shoulder strap for the GF1 and treat the camera more like a large point and shoot (since it doesnt have a builtin viewfinder anyway), makes the grip that much more secure.

GF1 Grip - I dont have large hands but the GF1 grip seems small and slippery for me - what I did was to gaffer most of the grippable areas of the camera to enhance the grip. About a 8inch roll of gaffer table should suffice. I cant understand pp who pay good money for ready made "leatherette" stickers when good ol gaffer tape would do..

GF1 Flash - I didnt want to buy too many accessories for the GF1, therefore I reused my Nikon flashes for the camera e.g. if you decide to use flash using a SB-22s, just set to M mode on the GF1 and use the setting of  1/125 and an aperture of f.6 and set the flash accordingly. Works for me. One tip if you use the onboard flash - set the ISO a bit higher e.g. ISO 400-800 to boost the flash range.

GF1 Bag - The GF1 with a 20mm is small enough and light enough (442g) that it fits in a small backpack or a ladies handbag without any problems. I think if you want a dedicated bag for just the GF1 and the 20mm, a Lowepro Apex 60AW would be a good choice. Due to the fact that I cant find this bag around in stores, I decided to use an old Hedgren shoulder bag that I had lying around. Slightly padded and very non-descript. You get the picture.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home camera bag

Not a good month for me, so decided to engage in some retail therapy and get a replacement for my old Lowepro Stealth Reporter 200AW.

Crumpler had recently updated their range of bags to incorporate what they call a "silencer" which fixed one of my pet peeves - the sound of velcro riiipping when I opened their bags (one of the reasons why I sold off my Budgie Smuggler years back. The silencer design uses a piece of ballistic nylon to cover the velcro when moments of silence are required.. e.g. when you are sneaking in the forest to take a shot of a bird and need to pull out your camera.

After much agonizing about whether to get the smaller 5 Million Dollar bag or the larger 6 Million, I decided to get the Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home bag since it came with a shoulder pad AND it allowed me to fit in a netbook if I chose to to. In terms of color, I was deliberating between the dark brown bag or the black one.. in the end I went with black as I thought the cool green inserts looked better than the traditional Crumpler powder blue.

So, what are my thoughts about the bag.. well, nothing bad to say actually. It allows me to carry the two main configurations that I use - the street shooter/travelling configuration of a DSLR body and a small prime plus a wide angle on the side and a small tabletop tripod and flash in the other pouch or the birder configuration of a DSLR body and my 80-400mm lens. In my opinion, it is too large for rangefinder style micro 4/3s cameras like the Panasonic GF1 and the Oly EP series - the 4 or 5 million dollar home would be better bets. However, it is a pretty good fit for a GH1 with a couple of lenses.

The padding is adequate, and typical of many other good camera bags out there, there are many handy pockets to store a small notepad and memory cards. It is missing some features I like on my SR200 - namely, the belt loop, tripod straps and the waterproof cover - I have to say so that I have never used any of these features on my SR200. Practicality, however, isnt the reason why people buy Crumplers, there are other bags out in the market that have more fetaures, have better weatherproofing, better strap.... people buy Crumpler bags because of the coolness factor and I think that this bag looks way cooler than my old Lowepro...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Burmese food at Peninsula Plaza

Since my 2 cube mates in the office are Burmese, we often make a trip to the Burmese food capital of Singapore, namely, Peninsula Plaza once in a while during lunch. One of my favorite foods is Shan noodles. Apparently, the Shan people stay near the border of Myanmar and Vietnam so the noodles taste similar to dry Vietnamese rice noodles. The major difference as far as I can tell is the type of fish sauce that is used and the fact that Shan noodles don't taste as bland. Worthy of a try next time you are in the area.