Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 2012

It's been a very busy month, but that's to be expected, with all the festive preparations and holidays. 

A brief respite from the busyness

Still loving the Holga very much

Long exposure with the stars, maybe not long enough?

Light leaks at the top and bottom of the Holga, but have to get used to the fact that rotating the camera sideways has no effect on a 120 film

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Holga 120GN: A Review

I've been thinking of going back to shooting 120 films for some time now. Regrettably I've sold off the Yashica Mat that I had earlier. So recently I bought the Holga 120GN from Holgadirect, took a couple of weeks and costed just RM127. Now you don't expect much from images taken from a holga, it's never going to be as sharp or technically accurate as the DSLRs, but that's the point. It's unpredictable, sometimes you get really good fun images and sometimes it's just mediocre. What I wasn't expecting when the package arrived was that it was cosmetically...well, mediocre.

I definitely got a used unit from, the hot shoe had been scratched, there was dust all over indicating that it's probably a display unit, and the sticker on the film advance knob is almost brown and peeling off. A quick check online showed that my model is older than 2009, all new models have the tripod mount more central, mine is the one that's to the side. I'm a bit peeved by this, but after some discussion with Wee Siang, decided that it's not worth taking it up with holgadirect. I decided to give it a test and if the results are ok, then keep it. But here's a warning to those who are planning to get from them, if you are particular about these kind of things, make sure you get them to confirm they are sending you a new unit and not one that is used. They're cheap, but I'll definitely think twice before getting anything from them again.

Anyway on to the review of the camera...why I've decided to try 120 film is that sometimes I feel the 36 exposures from the 135 format is a bit too much. If I have a day out with the family, 12 exposures is just nice. I can limit myself to taking just 12 meaningful shots through the whole day instead of always having the feeling to burn through 36 just to get it developed.

I've also added a mask to it, to get the jagged edges around the frames. All images are shot with the Fuji Pro 400H.
First shot I took, long exposure.

I don't really like zone focus cameras, but it's a good tool to learn how to estimate distances

You can see the distortion from this shot, look at the staircase

Again, the distortion, but I love this pic anyway

I love shooting with this camera. It's so light! But that said, I was shooting with it yesterday and the whole back fell off exposing the film...I haven't finished that roll yet so I don't know how it will turn out. The latch at the sides must have slid off when it was in my bag. Light yes, flimsy yes, but results are great! The centre is sharp and the edges blurry.

Should you get this camera? Definitely. You have to be aware of the limitations though, with the fastest aperture at f/8 you are going to need a fast film indoors coupled with a flash. That's the reason I opted for a model with a hot shoe, the CFN model has a flash but it's not very powerful. With your own flash unit, you have more options, bounce flash, off camera flash and what not. This camera comes very highly recommended from me, and will be with me on my January trip to my friend's wedding.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Exercising The FED 5C

It's been a long while since I've shot anything with the FED 5C camera, which is a shame really. It's always given me nice shots. One of the main reason is it's size and weight. With a good aim and a strong throw you can use it to knock both the snatch thief and the rider in front of him off a motorbike. The other is that ever since my son has learned to walk, autofocus cameras are the preferred choice, man can he walk fast. But during the recent public holiday, I decided to put a roll of film through the FED 5C, kinda miss shooting with it. (All images shot with FED 5C and Kodak 400UC)

Me and the FED 5C

Poor hairstylist had a bloody finger when he snipped his hand, never easy to get a baby to stay still

One second before breaking something from the shelf...and we left quickly soon after -.-"

I am reminded how much I love shooting with this camera when I look at the pics, even though it makes me look like a freaking tourist with the strap and the case I will make an effort to bring it out more often.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu

I've just finished reading Laurence Bergreen's and was totally absorbed by it.

A couple of interesting things
- Pharmacists (and by nature the retail pharmacy setting) have always been competitive all the way back to Marco Polo's time

- Thought he only mentions the island of Socotra in passing, this piqued my interest to do more research about it. This is one of the places that I must visit before my time is up.

Dragon's Blood Trees, so called for the red sap they secrete, photo by Mark W. Moffett, National Geographic

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Homemade Fruit Enzyme, Muffins And Oreo+Kit Kat Soy Ice Cream (With CUTE ANIMALS!)

On Labour Day we took the holiday as a chance to do some experiments in our kitchen. I know what you're thinking - 'is this going to be another food post?' and 'is this blog becoming a food blog now?' Yes and no. I've been writing about food as of late, because that's what we've been doing a lot recently. Judging from the analytics of this blog, most people come here to check on camera related stuff (and sometimes for the Air Asia Call Centre) and this may not be your thing. It's okay, I do appreciate your presence and as proof of that please enjoy the following pictures.

Thanks for dwopping by

Too cute!
Alright then, on with the food.
Grape and pear fruit enzymes, will have to wait 3 weeks before harvesting this.Check back later!
The Mrs made banana muffins, half of them with red bean paste as filling
The Oreo+Kit Kat Soy Ice Cream

I'm pleased that the ice cream turned out so well. It is not that difficult to make, and given that we eat quite a lot of ice cream, I think we'll be doing this more.

Recipe List
1 Cup Cream
1 Cup Milk ( we used soy, that's all we had in the fridge)
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
Oreo, Kit kat or whatever you want the ice cream to taste like

Add the cream and milk together and bring it to boil.

Separate the yolks and beat them together with the sugar.

Remove the cream/milk mixture from the fire and pour in the yolks, a little bit at a time while stirring. Put this in the fridge to cool.

Get a big pot and fill it with ice and salt.

Put the pot with the ice cream to be inside the bigger pot and put in the freezer. Check on it every 20 - 30 mins and break up any ice crystals you find at the side. Do this 4-5 times. The purpose of doing this is to make the ice cream 'creamy' instead of having them turned out like popsicles.

Add whatever you want to the ice cream. We used oreo and kit kats here. If it's not sweet enough for your liking you can add honey or more sugar. After half a day, transfer it to a container for keeping and enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gone Bananas: Home Made Yogurt

It was a very rainy Sunday yesterday and it didn't affect our plans to have a day in at all. I had a very interesting chat with Wee Siang about his experiences in making yogurt and I was intrigued enough to give it a go!

Making Yogurt
The only thing that I needed to buy was milk and yogurt.

I poured the milk into a pot and heated it till it frothed and then left it to cool.

After it has cooled sufficiently, add in the yogurt and stir. I read that you're supposed to add it when it's around 110 ºF. I used a thermometer and added the yogurt it when it was around 40+ ºC.

Next, I covered it and left it for about 6-7 hours, giving time for it to ferment.

The result? Instead of a cup of yogurt I got a whole pot full of it.

Keep a small batch to re-use in future yogurt making sessions and keep it in the fridge. I used approximately 700+ml of milk and I got the above bounty. Not too bad I think.

With honey and banana

The taste is very plain and the texture surprisingly nice. You can add honey, sugar or anything to it as you like. It's very easy to do and we will definitely be doing more in the future. To top it off, we made banana cookies as well to go with the yogurt.

Next time we'll be using chocolate milk.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting Six Packs

I made it my aim to get a six pack for 2010 and by October that year, I claimed partial victory. The problem was that the six pack showed up on a part time basis - that is, I have to stand in a certain position while flexing them and they tend to disappear after a heavy meal.

Throughout 2011, almost everything took a back seat as we prepared for the birth of my son. After CNY 2012, I've decided to overhaul my entire life, taking a look at what my priorities were and how I can change my life to fit that. There were many motivations, and one of the things that we started doing was focus on health and how we can eat better. That added with exercise and I'm pleased to say that I've finally offered my abs a full time position (with off days for long weekends and festivities).

I want to share a few pointers with all who are aspiring to get theirs as well.

Abs are made in the kitchen. 
I've been exercising pretty hard and all for 2 years but still the 6 packs weren't showing up. The biggest change I made was changing the food I consumed. We cut down on processed foods as much as we could and focused on eating wholesome foods. Instead of eating out we brought our lunch box to work. We allowed ourselves to eat out once or twice a week though. Foods that we ate more of included a variety of vegetables, lean meat (fish, chicken), sweet potatoes, etc.

Salmon + Spinach + Cheese + Garlic Bread
Interestingly, before we started out on this, my weight was hovering around 64-65 and now it's 62-63. I didn't lose much weight, which wasn't my goal in the first place, but lost just enough for the six pack to appear. Make time also to eat the sinful foods that you crave, don't totally cut it out but work around it. I've mentioned about ego depletion before and forcing your body to an extreme may cause a backlash.

Another thing to note is don't eat too heavy a supper. The main meal should be dinner and then maybe a light snack an hour before bed, overeating at night is very bad for your abs.

As for workout routine. I do both cardio and strength training with every session with more emphasis on strength (30%-70%), but this depends a lot on the individual.

Honestly I don't think there's one magic thing you can do to get a six pack, but rather it's the combination of habits, diet and exercise. So just keep at it, don't give up and let me know how it goes for you.