Four Seasons

Spring Spring

Summer Summer

Autumn Autumn

Winter Winter

Four Seasons Four Seasons

All pix processed in ACDSee from a single photo. There are no seasons where I am, so we shall have to make do.

Flying Dragons

Black/Gold Dragonfly 1 Black / Gold Dragonfly 1: ISO100, 1/125 sec, F4.4, 86.4mm

Black/Gold Dragonfly 2 Black / Gold Dragonfly 2: ISO100, 1/160 sec, F4.4, 86.4mm

Gold Dragonfly on a Flower Gold Dragonfly on a Flower: ISO100, 1/200 sec, F5.0, 86.4mm

Striped Dragonfly Posing Striped Dragonfly Posing: ISO100, 1/200 sec, F4.4, 86.4mm

Striped Dragonfly in Acrobatics Striped Dragonfly in Acrobatics: ISO100, 1/320 sec, F5.6, 86.4mm

Bronze Dragonfly in Bloom 1 Bronze Dragonfly in Bloom 1: ISO200, 1/125 sec, F4.4, 86.4mm

Bronze Dragonfly in Bloom 2 Bronze Dragonfly in Bloom 2: ISO160, 1/125 sec, F4.4, 86.4mm

All pix taken with normal FZ28 without any extra attachments or lens. All are cropped and tuned with Picasa. Surprisingly, the image quality is still rather high and it was fun. Thanks to Adelene for inspiring me to take more and better photos.

A Red Devil

Red Devil, F4.4, 1/125s, ISO250

A plant with everything in red including leaves and stalk, contrast well with the green leaves behind.


Sunflower, F2.8, 1/100s, ISO100

There are things that we do not see even though they are right in front of our face. Open your eyes, and you shall see the richness of life.

FZ28 HDR Using A Single Photo

I was waiting for my food in Macau when I saw the what seems like the typical street scene and shot the below:

Program Mode, 1/80s, F2.8, ISO100

As you can see, immediately I saw that a large part of the photo was darker than I would like, so I adjusted the exposure for more to make things a little brighter:

Program Mode, 1/40s, F2.8, ISO100, +2/3EV

You might have noticed, this was way too bright for me. This is a classic case of the camera not having enough dynamic range to really pull out a great photo, where the darker parts should be brightened up while the brighter parts should be darkened up. That's when I remember something called HDR.

I googled about how to make an HDR photo and basically found out:

  • You should shoot 3-5 photo, at 1EV step difference, preferably using RAW and a tripod.
  • You should buy the Photomatix Pro software at USD$99.

First of all, I hate RAW, it's big and unwieldy and offers too little benefits to justify it's cost. Although the FZ28 can shoot 3 bracketed photos at your determined EV steps, I didn't do that in Macau as I was looking forward to the food. I shot only the 2 photos you see above, that's it. Plus, I am an amateur, not a professional and I didn't shoot to make money, just for self entertainment. It makes no sense for me to fork out $99 bucks just to make HDR photos, to put on a blog where nobody visits and I had to force my friends to look at (you know who you are). To top it all off, you still have to put in a whole lot of hard work into the shooting and post processing.

Guessed I am too lazy for that, but then I remembered that I did play around with HDR before, using just a single photo and ACDSee Pro. Off I went, and using just the first photo in this post, I fiddled with the somewhat graphic equalizer looking controls on ACDSee, and voila:

Program Mode, 1/80s, F2.8, ISO100. Lighting adjusted in ACDSee Pro. Colors Untouched.

Look at the car, look at the paved road the car is on, look at the boxes on the right, the green leaves on the left, the brighter and better looking yellow sign board above the car...there is only one word to describe this: Amazing. Looks great, easy, lazy HDR for me. Could this be applied to some other photos too?

At long last, the food finally came and I was mighty hungry, it was good:

Program Mode, 1/10s, F2.8, ISO400.

Program Mode, 1/13s, F2.8, ISO400.

Wild Mushroom

Program Mode: F4.4, 1/160 sec., ISO160.

They grow only on specific spots, and grow extremely fast overnight and disappear in about a day or two. Catch em while you can.

Program Mode: F3.7, 1/100 sec., ISO100.

Reaching Out

Program Mode: F4.4, 1/30 sec., ISO400.

Could not resist another one, but I promise this is the last. Otherwise untouched other than slight crop and saturated in Picasa.

A Dance to Remember By

Program Mode: F4.4, 1/50 sec., ISO400.

A play on depth of field, with max zoom. Slightly cropped in Picasa and slight enhancement in saturation, otherwise untouched. I would like to think this pix gives different people different feelings. Enjoy.


Program Mode: F4.4, 1/400 sec., ISO100.

Went out and shot this on a bright day. Not supposed to be the best of lighting conditions. Am amazed at the amount of details captured, if you look below, which is a crop of the same pix.

Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.

Shutter Priority Mode: F3.6, 2 sec., ISO100.

A place of dread and a place of hope, where so much rest on the shoulders of so few. Ordinary people just like you and me, rendering services to their fellow men irrespective of race and religion, choosing to make a difference, with dedication and without recognition. Nurses who have to smile for their husbands, children, colleagues and patients, and still find the courage to launder their blood tainted uniforms. Untold stories of generosity among those who can least afford to be generous. Here, you get to see what it means to be human.

Shutter Priority Mode: F3.0, 2 sec., ISO100.

Half Moon

Half Moon.

Could not resist giving this another shot, on a beautiful night with clear skies. This is the same moon all of us, on this earth are looking at, no matter where we are. For friends that's far away, look up and know that I am also looking.

Night Portraits with the FZ28.

Your's truly with the Mrs. F3.0, 1.0s, ISO100. Disclaimer: No professional models were used in this shoot :)

Here's how I did it:

  • Use a tripod, asking someone to hand held your camera and shoot would NOT do at all.
  • I used Program mode and ask the camera to decide on the settings.
  • I set max ISO to ISO400 but the camera decides ISO100 is good with F3.0 and a shutter time of 1 second.
  • I opened up my flash on the FZ28, and set it to slow sync / red eye mode. This effectively tells the camera that I want a slow shutter to absorb the natural lights but still want the flash to fire a short burst anyway. Auto or Forced Flash would fire flash but would not have a slow shutter to absorb the natural night scenery.
  • Because the flash is used, and it has an effective range, meaning if you stand too far it won't illuminate your face well, my experience says you must stand about less than 10 feet away. On paper, the FZ28 flash has a range of 8.5 meters at wide angle and 5.4 meters at telephoto, but you'll need to experiment with this to get your subject well illuminated.
  • I also used the timer set at 10 seconds. The auto focus assist lamp (orange) will blink and on steady when the timer is about to be reached. Be SURE to tell your subject (people) to stay still for 1 or 2 seconds even after the camera has fired it's flash. This is because the camera has decided to open the shutter for 1 second to absorb the night scenery after firing the flash, and if you moved during this time, your subject will be blurred.
  • Sometimes if I set the camera auto focus mode to face detection, it will not be able to recognize faces during night portraits as the scene is dark. This may cause the camera to focus on other parts of the scene and have your faces out of focus. Therefore, I used 1 area focusing. The default when using 1 area focusing is to focus in the middle of the scene, but if you press the AF/Focus button near the shutter button for a second or two, you'll be able to use the joystick to move the focus rectangle to anywhere you choose. Move this focus rectangle to your subject's faces and the camera should be able to focus properly on your subject's face.

Happy shooting!

Picasa Tuning Magic.

I took this pix and thought it's too dark.

After Picasa automatic tuning, it look OK to me.

What I've learned:

  • Set your FZ28 to max ISO400.
  • Use either Program mode or Shutter mode.
  • Try using ISO100 and if it's too dark, increase the shutter time or increase ISO.
  • Always us a tripod and always use the timer. When you press the shutter on the camera, you'll induce camera shake, and the pix will be blurred, but after the timer, the camera will stable down and the pix will be sharp.
  • Taking a good pix takes time, so don't be in a hurry.

Camera gear shopping in Hong Kong.

If you ever visit this place ...

Avenue of the Stars, Hong Kong, F3.0, 1/8s, ISO100.

... and you don't have much time for gear shopping, then you must visit this place ...

Sim City, Hong Kong, F3.2, 1/30s, ISO125

... it's called Sim City and it has one of the densest camera shop concentration in Hong Kong. Located within short walking distance from MongKok MTR (you should be looking for Sai Yeung Choi Street South), Tin Cheung, Wing Shing, DC Fever and many other shops are all here.

Shop in peace as these shops are not likely to rip you off compared to those on Nathan Road. Because of the financial crisis a few years back, the shopping experience is extremely pleasant with very friendly sales personnel throughout. Although the shops are a bit small compared to elsewhere, but that's to be expected in a place where land is scarce and population density is extremely high. Nonetheless, they are extremely well stocked, and do remember to ask if there is a discount.

I went there to get a light travel tripod, and had wanted to buy a Triopo MT-128C. I emailed Grace from Triopo, and the reply came back quick with a contact to the distributor in Hong Kong. I called and asked for availability and pricing, also where to buy them, and they refered me to DC Power in Sim City. I called up DC Power in Sim City to confirm availability and pricing, but when I reached there, the tripod I wanted was nowhere to be found. They had 1 or 2 other Triopo models which is neither light nor fit for travel. Obviously, they had distribution problems and I ended up with a SLIK, which I'm termendously happy with. More about that later.

Using Maths To Get A Picture.

If you have doubted that the megapixel race is over, doubt no more. has a piece about a breakthrough in maths that'll take a low megapixel image, remove all the noise and possible even give you a high res picture with a high megapixel count. Check that out.

Why the New Canon 550D/T2i won't be my next camera.

The New Canon 550D is an 18 megapixel beast, but like Shania Twain said, that does not impress me much. It has a sensor size of 22.3 x 14.9 mm, and at full resolution, each pixel on the sensor resolves to around 4.3 µm. Compare that to Pentax's K-x which resolves to 5.5 µm, more than a full micrometer larger. It may not sounds like much until you do the math and find that each pixel on Pentax's K-x is about 29% larger than the new Canon 550D.

More megapixels deos not mean a better image. Go check out both camera's sample images from sites like and see for yourselves. It's time to stop the megapixel madness.

Strongly recommended read: Petavoxel's Megapixel Madness.

The Hunt for a Light Travel Tripod.

I wanted a new tripod to replace the el-cheapo which is starting to break down. I also want to be able to travel with this tripod, and by that I mean it must be able to fit into my hand carry luggage. Yes, I know that I can check it in, but sometimes I travel light and doesn't check in any bags, so it'll have to fit. On the left is the maximum dimensions of a hand carry luggage, and assuming the tripod is 100-150mm wide, the maximum folded length must not be more than 520mm.

The minimum height must be 1350mm and above, and since my height is about 1790mm, this height plus ball head, plus my camera would be just about eye level. With ball head, minimum height must be 1400mm and above.

If I'm going to use it, it must not weigh more than 2kg max, otherwise it's too heavy to bring along. The maximum tube Dia. must not exceed 28mm, otherwise it'll be too large and cumbersome. Because of "the bald guy", the tripod must also be able to handle my "next" camera, and that needs a minimum load of 2.5kg. That's why fancy tripods with light loads are not included in this list.

It's about time I get a ball head with my tripod, so no tripods with 3 way pan head are listed, only ball heads or just tripod legs. I've tried to purchase one from a local shop, but they have no idea about max loads nor maximum height. You'll have to open them up to see how high they go, one by one. I'm going to Hong Kong soon, so this list would come in handy when I do my purchase there. I'm hoping that I'm gonna get more choices. There are cases where the specifications of a tripod has exceeded my limits, but I've included them only if it exceeds minimally.

Thanks to Steven Scharf, Christopher Bulen and Wohlberg for sharing their list.

  1. Click on the "[+]" to expand and [-] to collapse. [∞] to go to manufacturer website.
  2. Some material, section, lock and 180° Fold information are approximates.
  3. Tripods with unavailable information is not listed.
  4. Some manufacturer information may not be accurate.
  5. Alu. = Aluminium, Al. = Alloy, Cb. = Carbon, Fb. = Fiber, Mg. = Magnesium, Ti. = Titanium.
  6. Prices are approximates.
                / Sell1 1,2
[+] Adorama / Flashpoint (USA)[∞]
[+] Amvona (USA)[∞]
[+] Benro (China)[∞]
[+] Cullmann (Germany)[∞]
[+] Digipod (China)[∞]
[+] Feisol (Taiwan)[∞]
[+] Fotopro (China)[∞]
[+] Giottos (Taiwan)[∞]
[+] Gitai / Yong Nuo (China)[∞]
[+] Gitzo (France / UK)[∞]
[+] HorusBennu (Korea)[∞]
[+] Induro (USA / China)[∞]
[+] Jusino (China)[∞]
[+] ManBily (China)[∞]
[+] Manfrotto (Italy / UK)[∞]
[+] Sirui (China)[∞]
[+] Slik (Japan)[∞]
[+] Triopo (China)[∞]
[+] Vanguard (USA)[∞]
[+] Velbon (Japan)[∞]
[+] Weifeng / Fancier (China)[∞]

I intend to update this list with review links, but tripod reviews, especially detailed user reviews are hard to come by, so feel free to contact me through the comments section. Thanks.