h1

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!

——————————

the Generic Asian

h1

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.

——————-

 

the Generic Asian

h1

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!

——————————-

the Generic Asian

h1

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.

————————

the Generic Asian

h1

Channeling Creativity

November 6, 2008

There have been many things that I always wanted to do but never really knew how to do it.

I recieved a message from The Drunken Blog and I am writing this post because of him/her.  The Drunken Blogger is working his/her way up to buying a digital camera as soon as possible.  But in the meantime the Drunken Blogger mentions he/she will try to live photography through me and possibly others.

In many situations, I have many ideas, but had not the skill nor the creative mojo to bring these ideas to fruition.

So in line with that let’s try to channel creativity through each other.  

What I propose is that we post a few ideas and concepts and let each one of us here to try to interpret them in photography terms. Anyone can propose a theme.  (Please keep it as clean as possible… you know what I mean)

For now… to kick things off, I always liked the idea of connection hopefully someone can interpret this in photo terms.

Please spread the word that we are doing this little experiment.

So I am crowd sourcing my creativity. : )

For now, here are the “rules”

1. The photographer will continue to own the rights to the photographs and where possible mention who shared the idea and/or concept for the photograph.

2. Each photo should have a title.

3. The photo creations must be your original creations

You can link your creations from the comment page on my blog or email me directly.   You can also give me sugegstions on how / where we can upload photos for sharing purposes.

I especially like it when I recieve feedback on my blog.  So please leave a comment or two if you can.  Even just to say hello.

———————-

the Generic Asian

p.s.

This is a big leap for me and a possible ego buster… given that i only have about 3,000 hits on my blog, so please help me spread the word!!!

h1

Why I like the Canon G10

October 29, 2008
Canon G10

Canon G10

First of all, this is not a technical review of the Canon G10, but more of a user experience review with some non-technical review of the technical aspects of the camera.

One of the many challenges I have in having photography as a hobby is you would always want to be ready and you had to lug a bunch of stuff around.

In the past,  my primary gear was my Olympus OM1, the legendary Zuiko Prime Lenses (all 7 of the primes), my analog sekonic Light meter (no battries needed) and bag full of film.

Forward a little bit to the future in 2001.  I had my first endevour to the digital age with the Fuji 6900Z.  It had many issues as I began my move to digital age, but as a whole I loved this camera for what it can do.   It was small, it was light, it had all the bells and whistle and most of all it produced great images even printed well at A3 sized prints.   The main issue I had was that it was slow and it used lousy batteries.

The glorious Fuji 6900Z

The glorious Fuji 6900Z

I loved the Fuji for what it can do, but it still was lacking in many ways.

However, from then on, I was hooked in the digital era.  I got the Fuji S2, then the Canon 10d – 30D and now I use the 40D. 

Ok some of you probably know that in my real life work, I do travel.  A lot less these days, but when I did in the past I would lug around whatever DSLR I had at the time and then I would go about my business.  There were times that I would bring the camera around, but would never get a chance to even shoot a single frame.

It was either I was too rushed to bring the DSLR out or it was too dangerous for me to bring out a DSLR as it would just stick out too much.

I have been hearing a lot about the great new cameras such as the Canon G10 and The Panasonic Lumix L3.

Beautifully designed and highly regarded camera from Panasonic

Beautifully designed and highly regarded camera from Panasonic

A full review from 60 HZ productions was made comparing the Canon G10 and the Lumix LX3 was made on their website.  Please click link here for the article.

Furthermore, I follow a podcast called This Week in Photography or TWIP where one of the more interesting hosts had purchased both the LX3 and the G10 for his review and had said he had returned the G10 because the LX3 was much better.

On other, websites like Luminous Landscapes, they also had some mind boggling reviews of the Canon G10 and had great reviews on it.  Click here for the article.

Heck I was more confused than ever!

So, I did whatever sane person would do is for me to find out for myself.  I currently live in Bangkok and in Bangkok, there are very few places where you can buy cameras, let alone newly launched ones.

I headed for a mall called Panthip Plaza where everything from copy DVDs to rack servers are sold.  I had gone to the 4 or 5 shops that sell cameras. 

The best price I could get for the Canon G10 was around Baht 16,000 or around US$ 460.  Comes with the standard set with 2 gig SD card.  The Panasonic LX3 was also around US$ 460.   These products are most likely gray market products and would probably not have the usual warranties.

In terms of form factor, I liked the G10 better.  It just felt better on my hands.  The LX3 was just a bit too glossy for me.  And I also did not like the idea of having a lens cap which I can and will most probably lose in a heartbeat. 

There were many reasons and it took me about 3-4 hours of looking, playing around with the camera in various shops and to cut a long story short, I went with the Canon G10.

The main reasons are as follows:

1. It felt great on my Asian sized hands.  Not too small, not too big;

2. It was made by Canon.  And I have never had any issues with Canon and I trust them.  My consumer experience with Canon and their service is 1 billion percent positive;

3. It had a viewfinder and the LX3 did not have it.  From experience on shooting outdoors with just using an LCD screen as you main feedback I can tell you its not the easiest thing to use.  Or maybe its just me.

4. Nice video capture.

5. The layout of the dials and controls seem to be logical and felt like a photographers camera

6. My Canon flash works with it.  I have 3 Canon 550 EX.

7. Shoots raw

Great logical layout and I really like the exposure compensation dial

Great logical layout and I really like the exposure compensation dial

Big LCD screen with nice colors.

Big LCD screen with nice colors.

 

The main thing I disliked about the G10 was that the dial to move either the aperture or the shutter speed was too small for my taste.  I guess I am just used to the way it was layed out in the traditonal DSLR.

I chose the Canon G10 simply because I like Canon.  I like the workflow I have with the DSLR and I can use the same workflow with the  Canon G10.

I was thinking of doing a side by side comparison of the images, but really there are many of these out there who would be more competent than me.  Websites like DPReview, Ken Rockwell and many others would provide a more technical and a more comprehensive review of this camera.  I have linked them here for you to see.

Having said that I did a side by side vs. the 40D used the 28-80 F2.8 L lens. I had set up my studio strobes and did a quick setup.  Downloaded the files and did my pixel peeping….  and I really can’t tell the difference.   If at all the G10 was bit on the warm side but not much.

At the end of the day for me, the reason for my choice was simple.  It felt good on the hand and it is made by Canon.  I guess for normal consumers like me. 

My experience with the Canon brand has really won me over. 

——————–

the Generic Asian

h1

Khun Am folio

October 23, 2008

I was listening to a podcast by Brooks Jensen called Lenswork.  He is probably one of the most insightful photographers I have come across on.

In one of his podcasts, he did mention that he was working on what he called a folio.  A folio, as far as I can remember,  is a body of work without it necessarily having tied up to a theme.

So this week, I would like to share with you a folio I shot for a model who wanted to build her book.

I shot the sequence of photos entirely using one or two canon 550 ex off camera.

You can see the rest of the photographs I made of her here  http://www.flickr.com/photos/thegenericasian/sets/72157608168640812/

——————–

the Generic Asian

h1

Strobist prelims….

September 16, 2008

Hello Folks! I am a bit busy these days so I just decided to post a few lines and just to say hello.

By now you all know I am not a professional photographer, so like you boys and girls, I am surfing the net for information.

I had recently come across a fantastic you tube post http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKAD7leNOVY

The whole post is all about the basics of gear and jargons used in artificial lighting photography.

This is the sort of information I wish I had when I started… So here you go and enjoy.

—————

the Generic Asian

h1

Photographers I respect

August 29, 2008

Last night, I masqueraded as a press photographer in a for trade only show.  I signed up armed with 70 – 200 mm L 2.8, a monopod, a Canon 550 EX, a couple of extra batteries, 3 extra CF cards, my trusty Canon 30D and and extra 28-70 2.8 L lens.

All of the above attached to me while wearing the customary photographers vest.. a bit cliche i know.. for whatever its worth.. I felt a bit strange.

Armed with photographic equipment that will rival a typical Swiss knife in function, I head off and registered.  I was quickly pointed to the press photographers reception where I got my very own press photographers badge complete with a cool clip on button with a cute drawing of a camera.

I had become official!  or at least it felt like that for two minutes.

Fortunately there was a fashion show scheduled.. (I really already knew that)…  and I proceeded to the venue.  Quickly jostled my place and in 3 minutes, the show started…

shot it at iso 1600 by mistake!  well a good mistake...

shot it at iso 1600 by mistake! well a good mistake...

The show was about 30 minutes.. but it felt like 5 minutes…   it was terrible.  To me, it felt like I was shooting the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt in the 100 meter dash in the Olympics.  It was fast and furious.

The lights kept on changing, the models kept on moving, the guy beside you kept on bumping onto you…. it was just frenzy and mayhem.  It felt similar to being ambushed by 10 guys in paintball except less painful.

Before I knew it, I had taken 148, mostly crappy, photos of the event.I felt tired, my wrist was numb and I had a funny feeling in my belly.   I have never, ever shot this much in such a short time.  In fact I can do a photo walk for 4 hours and only be able to shoot 36 shots.  This was new to me.

After the show, I finally had a chance to sit down and think about the experience and the only thing ringing in my head over and over was…  thank goodness I am not doing this for a living!

Photographing events for editorial purposes is not easy.   But it was fun.. You learn to think fast, you do not have time to think about the shot… you just need to nail it… it surely helped make my heart to beat faster.

I have so much more respect for photographers who do this type of work…

It was a great experience and I will do it again…  and I do like the idea of getting another official press badge.

—————————-

the Generic Asian

h1

the “new” IPOD & Itunes 8

August 26, 2008
New Ipod as posted in www.kevinrose.com

New Ipod as posted in http://www.kevinrose.com

If you have been miserably been following my blog pre-wordpress, you may recall that I love my IPOD.  It has been with me in many trips, everyday, anywhere and it has not disappointed me any bit. blha blah blah…

I still have the IPOD photo 40gig and it refuses to die.   Its great!!!

Yet again, I see a “new” version, albeit rumored version, of the ipod.  It reportedly will retail below US$  199.  The photo is from Digg founder’s new blog www.kevinrose.com  as discussed in Leo Laporte’s show This Week In Tech (TWIT) (will he sue me if I use the above photo.. hope not.. I only have 28 Thai baht in my bank account)

Despite having my IPOD since 2004, I still have not seen any compelling reason on why I should ugrade.  In MP3 years, yes my IPOD is about 110 years old, but.. it still works and works well.

What does not work is Itunes…  I think Apples seems to be brewing a corporate storm by not allowing… people like me who llive outside of the USA to download podcasts via ITUNES for free on a new machine.  

This was a surprise to me as I thought it was just all a glitch.  I recently purchased a new laptop here in Bangkok and it would not allow me to access the Itunes store…  The error messages say, this feature is not available in Thailand…

Although, in my older XP machines, I can download the Podcasts, like TWIT, Buzz Out Loud, etc… I can’t seem to get it running on my new machine.

I though it was just me until a friend of mine.. who is not in Bangkok, but is based in Manila… had purchased a new Macbook and a new IPOD touch.  I told him how wonderful the world of PODCASTING is and that it was free.

He then tried to download a few select podcasts as per my suggestion and he said… dude this service in not available in the Philippines…

Being a new machine and a tech idiot that he is, I suggested he goes to the nearest Apple store… and guess what!!!

The guys said that in the Apple store in the Philippines said, if you want access to PODCASTS you have to pay US$39( not sure about the amount here ok).   When I lived in Singapore, it was free to download podcasts…

Hey I have nothing against paying, but hey, these podcasts content as far as i can tell is free to Apple. 

I guess someone has to pay for these things, but Itunes and podcasting has kept me locked in with Apple.  Heck the IPOD  even convinced me to buy a Mac over teh PC.   But looks like the fun is over and the bean counters are starting to take over.

And by the way, if the new IPOD photo is true…  maybe its time to say goodbye?

See ya!

——————————

the Generic Asian