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Food photography, or something like that…

August 23, 2009

Yet again, I am pushed to the limit.   My photo bud has beat me to the punch and he has again made an image ahead of me. On top of that, I have to watch a movie with my boy, which is mostly in Afghan language… in subtitles.  So if I  become incoherent… it is because of Kite Runner, so far it has been  quite good… but distracting to photography.

I had to scramble to do my assignment.  I had to make something simple.

Off to the fridge!

A lonely tomato.

I shot the tomato using a white plexiglass which I picked up in a signage workshop when I was still stationed in Thailand.  Got it for free and I still kept it and brought it with us here in Singapore as it is quite useful…

That plexiglass got me my Istock contributor status… it been really good.

I had cut the tomatoes and place them on top of the plexiglass put a Canon 550 ex underneath set at 1/4 power. The flash was triggered by a poorman’s wizard.

That’s pretty much it.

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the Generic Asian

p.s.  Here are his images and explanation

used available light (direct sun)

f7.1, 500s, iso100 (veg 016)
f7,1, 40s,  iso100 (veg 008)

these 2 are a staple in every refrigerator unit in the philippines.  its almost that a day will not pass that the simple onion and / or tomato will not be pulled out for use in the kitchen (in this case differently).  used most often as an ingredient to dishes, in the philippines, it extends its use as salsa or salad.  you see us pinoys can barely eat our food without having ewach and everyone’s side dish of salad (in our case its called “sawsawan”) which literally means to “dip”.

Jerico... my friend's image set upNice simple set-uplast one
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Spoon & Fork

August 16, 2009

Being Asian, by and large, you either eat with your hands or with chopsticks.

On the other hand, some come from a part of Asia which uses the spoon. I use it as part of my regular arsenal of dining artillery.   Yes I like my spoon as much as I like my fork.  Let’s say I am an equal opportunity diner.

In photography however, the spoon has been difficult to photograph side by side its beloved partner, the fork.

The shape and curves of the spoon and the fork are different.  Those westerners may have been onto something.

This is again part of a series of images we will be trying to make on a weekly basis.

I found that it was extremely difficult to include both in one image.  My agreement with my shooting buddies is that we will shoot both spoon and fork in one image.

Very challenging from a lighting and  composition point of view.

fork in chili

The thing with shiny objects is that they are a beast to light.  This was particularly difficult with the fork I used, as this was our normal everyday utensils.  They were scratched and abused and therefore not very photogenic.  I also could not polish it as my wife would probably kill me if she sees me using some form of chemical to polish them.

To overcome this, you would probably want to kill all the shadows.  I did this by using a extremely large light source, which is not so difficult if your photographing small objects.

The other thing I had to watch was the reflections.  To recall, light travels in a straight line.  Placement of the subject relative to the light and lens is critical.

I shot the above image with a Canon 550 EX on TTL, with exposure bias of + 2.  The Speedlight was fitted with a softbox.  I set the aperture at f 2.8 aperture priority.

See my setup here.

set up shot

I had to shoot at almost 90 degrees to the softbox to avoid glare and reflections.   I also used a white plate below which helped fill in some shadows.  I also brushed some oil to the chili so we can get the pickled fresh chili look.

I thought it was a pretty neat and simple setup.  No frills TTL lighting.

However, I was still spoonless!  SO in my lame attempt, here is a shot with the agreed spoon.  The chili was added to the scene to create tension.  I can here the fork whisper “Come on Ms. Spoon… spice me up!!!”

fork in chili 2I also added a yellow kicker to give the spoon some points for interest.

Anyhow, that’s it for now.  I am open to suggestions and comments so please drop me a note or two.

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the Generic Asian

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Old Speckled Hen – Beer Photography

August 10, 2009

I recently had beers with a friend and he is a big fan of this beer.

From where I sit. Its not the best tasting beer, but my friend loves it to bits.

Anyhow, the beer as long as it is not made from sewage water is great especially when your around people you like.

Shifting gears, as part of an ongoing project with another friend of mine, we agreed to take photos using our available portable flashes and this time photograph beer.

This time he submitted earlier than me so I had to rush.

I basically used coffee to simulate the Old Speckled Hen Beer look and used soap as my foam.

I did use one light the Sunpak 120 J bounced off the white wall.  The flash is triggered with a cheap wireless trigger bought from Ruby Photo from Singapore.

I used a Canon 40D hand held set between f11 to f 20 @ 1/250th of a sec.

Hope you like it!

all photos are photos by the Generic Asian except where indicated otherwise.

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the Generic Asian

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Studio tabletop lighting on the cheap

July 26, 2009

I have been working with a friend on possibly doing something photography related.  I won’t go on specifics, but I must say its not been that easy.

Things get complicated rather quickly and because its complicated things just fizzle out.

Anyhow, this was actually the theme of my post today and its about lighting done simple and on the cheap. Actually, the general idea is we will try our best to photograph something as mundane as pencils and see how we can make it look “professional”.

So with that theme in mind, I needed to start on something simple everyday items you find everywhere and I decided with a friend that we were going to photograph pencils!

Ordinary everyday used pencils shot with available light

With the theme of simplicity in mind, I took a bunch of old pencils sharpened them and then bound them together with a rubber band.

Again, in keeping with the theme of simple & cheap, I decided to use available light and a simple torch light which anyone can buy for a few bucks in any decent store or grocery. I decided to use an led torch from Osram.IMG_0661

Simple setup in my "home studio"

The whole set up is simple.  I needed to mount the pencils so they stay still.  (very easy, pencils never complain, even when you tie them up).

Then, I set the camera at f11 for 25 secs. closed all the lights, put the camera on timer then push the button.  Actually the time was not much of a factor, I think, all I needed was about 8 – 10 seconds of “lighting time”.  Because it was completely dark, my eyes needed a few seconds to adjust, thus the 25 seconds shutter speed.

I “lit” the background first, then the pencils in the foreground paying attention to the highlights on the pencil.   I had to make a few trials, but overall, this was a pretty simple technique and a cheap one at that.

All photos were shot with a Canon 40D using a 100 f 2.8 lens

KISS “Keep It Simple Stupid” approach also works in photography lighting!

That’s it for now… see ya!

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the Generic Asian

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Social networks and all that jazz

April 11, 2009

I always wondered what this whole internet social network thing is all about.   I am not sure exactly what it is all about or what it is supposed to do or what its good for.

As I write this though, I am playing poker in facebook.  I just called a 384 bet with an ace and jack and I lost!  Back to the post…

I am also in twitter, linked in and flickr.  By the way, I am still playing poker.  Pair 6s now!  Lost again…

I must say my favourite social web 2.0 blah blah blah is flickr by an ocean.

If you click on the link to flickr, you will see a photo I uploaded and it has benn my most viewed photo sets I have uploaded.  I am amazed how much response I have recieved from the photos of these series.

My original intent on having flickr was to share photos to family… keep connected.  But I think I was expecting too much from family… They were not as connected as me I soon found out.

Well look me up at flickr…  you’ll wee what it has become.  A graveyard of my photographic junk.

TTFN… LOL, OMG… just learned this recently from FB. : )

Let me know where you are in the WWW of social networking…  I am keen to learn.

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the Generic Asian

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back on the saddle

March 4, 2009

I have not been a victim of the current economic turmoil.  I am however in a situation and I expect will be in this situation for at least another month or so…

This move is a lot more difficult than I expected.

I moved countries yet again… from Bangkok now in Singapore…

I will be back with regular updates…  but bye bye for now!

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the Generic Asian

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Penguin Adventures

November 21, 2008

I love gadgets.  In fact, I am a sucker for gadgets.  You guys should see the “junk” I have in the house.

4 watts of pure joy

4 watts of pure joy

 

 

 

 

From my IPOD to my affinity to cheapo watches (I have about 30 watches now) to the Heathkit 4 watt vintage amp, I just can’t get enough of this stuff.  I consider myself a typical gadget freak.

With two kids and mortgage payments, I am also a cheapskate gadget freak.  

I have, like any respectable geek, set aside a “slush” fund for my gadget addiction habit.   First of all It is not a lot of money and I can choose to save for months and blow it all of on the latest, newest greatest, or buy small buy lots of it.

I actually have not bought anything for the past couple of months and my slush fund was aching to be spent.

Enter Headphone Amp…  : )

I was always intrigued by headphone amps.  I always wondered why one would want or ever need a headphone amp.

Many of the audiophiles and the purist suggest that in products like the IPOD and other portable MP3 devices, suffer from being under powered.  They say it is like driving a Hummer which was fitted with a Honda Civic engine.

I had searched online and given my massive shopping budget, I was drawn to the CMOY headphone amp.

Quote From Wikipedia.org

(some technical jargon… bring out the aspirin)

A CMoy is a pocket headphone amplifier originally designed by Chu Moy on the headwize.com Headphone Resource Site and public discussion Forums.

 

The headphone amplifier is designed around single or dual-channel op-amps such as Burr-Brown‘s OPA2134 or OPA2132PA, however, a wide variety of op-amps have been successfully implemented.

The amplifier’s design is quite simple. It consists of only a few components, can be assembled on a small section of protoboard, has a lower parts cost than other headphone amplifiers, and can run for many hours on a single 9 volt battery.

Inspite of this, a well-made CMoy amplifier can drive even demanding headphones, like Sennheiser’s HD600 or low impedance Grados quite well. These characteristics have made it very popular among DIY hobbyists, especially those who have not built an amplifier before. The CMoy headphone amplifier can be fit into Altoids tins and can often be found for sale on eBay (search CMoy).

 

That intrigued me.  I can on the cheap, get my curiosity for headphone amps satisfied and spend some time at home doing this, therefore making the wife and kids happier.

But….  I have not held a solder in years and my soldering skills is less than stellar.

Enter the Penguin

penguin-tin

 

There are actually quite a few reviews of this headphone amp.  But I really did like the one done by the Headphone Addict from http://www.head-fi.org

Apart from the really cool designation of Headphoneus Supremus, his avatar was what convinced me.  It was a turntable wielding yoda…

 

headphone addict

headphone addict

 

Seriously, the Headphone Addict had the most comprehensive review of the Penguin Caffeine Amp.  Check it out here at this address http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/review-penguinamp-caffeine-portable-headphone-amp-w-bass-boost-aka-headstage-lyrix-262751/

My curiosity had turned into lust… I just had to get one.  Checked online and looked for other options and finally found that www.ebay.com was my best bet to get my hands on these puppies.

I just got to have it.

Many of you know I live in Bangkok… Bangkok is a place that never ceases to surprise me.  On my lunch break, I had wandered off to Panthip Plaza yet again and surprise.  A small hole in the wall shop was actually selling The Caffeine Ultra Amp!!!

 

p-ampp2p3

The shop was also selling a range of great fun and fantastic headphone related gadgets.  The shop is located on the ground floor of Panthip Plaza towards the back as you enter.

The shop owner / keeper hardly spoke any English, but despite this he was extremely, extremely helpful.  He had let me try stuff and to his best ability, answer my headphone newbie questions.

Needless to say.  I bought my headphone amp right there and then.

Everything was which was written by the Headphone Addict is true.   I will not rewrite what he has written so just head on over to his site here http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/review-penguinamp-caffeine-portable-headphone-amp-w-bass-boost-aka-headstage-lyrix-262751/

 All I can add to his review is.  It is worth getting a headphone amp be it the Caffeine or any other headphone amp as it really improves the listening experience way beyond a mere swtiching of a loud button.

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the Generic Asian