Happy Birthday Singapore! I am on the cover of Bokehman! Yay! :P

Helix Bridge to IR Marina Bay Sands

Helix Bridge to IR Marina Bay Sands
Nikon 24-85mm F3.5-4.5 AFD


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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Prime Time

The story behind what happened during the taking of this half face portrait in Chinatown Area is quite hilarious! As some people may know, Chinatown has its Red light districts and some freelance hookers roam the streets there trying to seduce lonely and usually older men with too much time in their hands, hehe! I took this picture of her along a busy and crowded bridge there, knowing that the freelancers usually come out during the evening time along that area, but I didnt care, as it is a public area.

We both soon realised that there were quite a number of Dirty Old Men pausing in their tracks along the bridge to stare and ogle at her, haha! It was so abrupt and the way they stared was like they have never seen a young lady before, the desire in their eyes full of perversity! Haha! There was even one TeeKo Peh(Dirty Old Man) who literally stepped forward quite close to us with his eyes almost popping out and mouth open, as if he wanted to eat her there and then! I joked with her that maybe he should take out his hanky to wipe his drool... I kept an eye on him and the rest in case they tried to do anything funny, haha! It was quite an eye-opening experience for both of us with all these unwanted attention on a crowded Friday evening.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Beach Party Pic with Sigma Lens

I seldom take event photography, but there was quite a spectacular fire dance performance that day at Sentosa, hence I decided to try out for a few photos. I used my first nikon mount telephoto zoom lens, the cheap but versatile, sharp and contrasty Sigma 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 APO for these shots to isolate the performers and not get too close to the flaming performers. Sharpness is a little bit off at the extreme telephoto zoom end, and corner sharpness could be better, but I do not think you can get much better at this price range, hehe! Excellent value for its price.

More pictures by this lens to be added soon... Stay tuned...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Nikon 50mm F1.4 AFD

I used my fastest lens in my arsenal, the nikon 50mm F1.4 AFD yesterday. Cloudy weather was the order of the day as usual. Many a times the decision to choose between the 50mm F1.4 or F1.8 had tormented me, but I bit the bullet and went all out for the bigger aperture lens, since I use the 50mm focal length relatively frequently. I have never looked back since. It has better built. It is slightly prone to flare wide open but reasonable sharp. DOF at that aperture is almost paper thin so focussing accuracy is very critical. It is sharp and contrasty at F2.0 onwards and for F2.8 onwards, it is just faultless. The picture of this cute girl with the sweet smile was taken at f1.4 and the bokeh at this distance and aperture turns the background and even anything behind her face plane to turn to smooth buttery cream, without sacrificing usable sharpness! Bokeh Heaven! These two frisky and leggy gals are seen here leaping into the air, and it might not have been possible to do this in natural light during the cloudy weather without a fast lens! The 50mm F1.4 does the job well at f2 and shutter speed of 1/1000th second. They are fast and nimble, but nothing the 50mm f1.4 cannot catch! Special thanks to these two gals for their spontaneous energy in helping to create these images. More pics taken with this lens can be found here...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Nikon 85mm F1.8 AFD Casual Field Test

After a brief hiatus, I am back with some more Nikon 85mm F1.8 pictures from yesterday's casual photoshoot. As they say "A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words", so maybe I have a few thousand words to say today! Haha! Jokes aside, we had dreary drizzly weather that day, but that did not dampen the spirits of my online friend, who showed great patience and enthusiasm to model for me. From my experience, I feel the single most important element in a portrait photoshoot would be Chemistry between the Photographer and the Model. Since we have only recently just met, I believe we can only get better as time comes along. Selecting the correct tool for the photoshoot for today's gloomy weather is also important, and of course the 85mm F1.8 is a fast prime lens that is suited to low light environmental portraits. You can opt for a little fill-flash to open up the shadows a little, or use a reflector for softer fill in effects, but I did not have an assistant to help me out.

I am always a sucker for greenery because maybe I like nature in flora and fauna. The lens performed very well at F2.8 for half body shots, giving a very nice bokeh effect for both foreground and background interest. No evidence of the harsh bokeh effects as stated by some internet reviews. I have heard about a redesigned 9 bladed rounded aperture version. Maybe that makes for smoother bokeh. Whatever, judging from my current real world samples, I am pleased because I find my lens bokeh okay! Hehe!

As mentioned before earlier, the 85mm focal length provides sufficient isolation of the environment for full body shots, but leaves enough clues to make out what the background is like, rather than blur out the background beyond recognition, which I feel defeats the purpose of environmental portraits. Here I dialed in a touch of flash from my built in flash, set at minimum output manually, to counter the backlit subject. I did not use any external flash or reflector cause yes, I tend to be rather lazy at times, haha! Aperture was set at F2 since the full body shot requires me to stand futher from the subject, making me compensate for a bigger aperture to still achieve sufficient degree of bokeh. You won't believe the difficulty we had in getting this shot on a friday evening when everybody is starting to knock off from work!

Here is a picture taken wide open at F1.8 with highlights in the background to test for the rendition of bokeh highlights. ISO was bumped up to 800 and like above, a touch of fill-flash was added to lift her face up a little from the shadows. The bokeh is quite neutral in this image, and the circular highlights were rendered beautifully as expected. Its Bokeh may not be as beautiful as a specialised portrait lens, but at least it is still quite pleasing and not at all offensive as compared to some lens. Its a big thumbs up for me!

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