Archive for January, 2009

“JIAREN” Ambigram Logo

January 24, 2009

Hey, just thought I’d post something I created…idea came to me while listening to a sermon (but obviously not really listening) a couple Sundays back and I started doodling on them church handout thingiemajigs…

In case some of you don’t know, an ambigram is a graphical figure that spells out one or more words not only in its form as presented, but also in another direction or orientation (definition from Wikipedia). In other words, you can turn the word upside down and it will still spell the same thing…like the ones you’ll see in that new movie “Angels and Demons”.

I tried to create an ambigram logo of my name. I got the basic design before church finished but the hard part came when it came to digitizing it. Here is the original draft:

Mr. blurrycam strikes again. Sorry the pic is straight from the iPhones crappy camera.

Mr. blurrycam strikes again. Apologies for the crap picture. Its straight from the iPhones crappy camera.

Anyway, as I was saying, the hard part is digitizing it. You see I’ve been trying to figure out how to use the pen tool found in Adobe’s Photoshop for several months…about 6 months to be exact. The beauty of the pen tool is that it exists in a vector scale format. That means that unlike pictures which you zoom in the the picture gets pixelated and becomes worse and worse, a vector formatted image can be blow up as big a possible while retaining the original clarity and sharpness.

…and now a word to all the graphic designers out there: I know what you’re thinking. Screw Illustrator. If I wanted to learnt illustrator I would…but I’m a photographer. I loooooooooooove photoshop!

So for the past few months I’ve been trying to use the pen tool but end up not going anywhere. This “project” really helped jump start me in learning the basics of the pen tool…so I can now draw custom shapes that look pretty and are vector formatted.

After 2 days (yes – 2 days!) of working on my logo I finally completed one that mildly satisfies. By 2 days I actually mean 2 nights as I was only on it from like midnight to the wee hours of morning which is sleepy time for mua. The first day I completed it and that was version 1. The next day I made it less “edgy” and more “curvy” which took about the same amount of time to make the whole thing in the first place. That was version 2. The curves no longer went with the underline and so I played around with it and I noew present to you version 2.1 of my ambigram logo:

It reads "Jiaren" this way as well as upside-down.

It reads "Jiaren" this way as well as upside-down.

…and now for the dissapointing part:

Later on I was googling ambigram and came across an ambigram creator. This intrigued me and so I threw in my name to see what would come out…much to my surprise the created ambigram which only took a couple of seconds to recreate looked SO MUCH BETTER THAN MINE!!! I was a little bit annoyed but the experience taught me a lot.

Comments and/or critique anyone? (besides the obvious need to refine it).

Ok, straight to the point.

Steph and I took a short getaway to the Gold Coast to celebrate a special occasion. I planned a cool day of enjoying the Gold Coast and a day trip to North Stradbroke Island, an Island just off the Brisbane Coast. We didn’t take many photos in the Gold Coast as that wasn’t the purpose but we did head up to Q1, the worlds tallest residential tower. As a matter of fact, its the tallest building in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. I just found out like 10+ seconds ago that Q1 stands for Queensland Number 1. Below is the view from the Obsevation Deck creatively known as QDeck. It is on the 77 and 78th floor. You have to pay to get up there. It cost a fair bit and you get into an elevator that whisks you up to the 77th floor in 40 seconds flat.

This is the view from the Observation Deck.

view from Q1, the tallest residential tower in the world
view from Q1, the tallest residential tower in the world

It was late by the time we got down so sorry for the crap shot but here it is from the bottom up:

Having been to the pinnacle of urban Australian, we headed to Stradbroke Island the very next day.

It takes about 20 minutes to get from the mainland to Stradbroke Island by water taxi.
It takes about 20 minutes to get from the mainland to Stradbroke Island by water taxi. The wide open view of nothingness is breathtaking!

It was weird because we left the mainland at about midday…3/4 way into the water taxi trip we went straight into a fog and by the time we arrived at the port it was raining cas and dogs. I was dissapointed because I thought thr whole day would be wasted but the other half of the Island was completely dry! We got off the bus and had some lunch before heading to the nearest short walking trails…This was the first thing we saw:

how beautiful is that! wish I had more time to wait for some better lighting.
how beautiful is that! wish I had more time to wait for some better lighting. In the meantime a Grad ND will have to do.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to stay around and wait for sunset because we had to take the bus back to the port, catch the water taxi to the mainland, and drive 2hrs back to Toowoomba…

Anyway, the short time we were there we were fortunate enough to encounter some beautiful scenery and wildlife. We weren’t even expecting most of it. We just stood there bathing in awe of  God’s glorious creation when sting rays, turtles, and even dolphins just swam close enough to the shore to see!

I’ll stop blabbering now and let the pictures speak for themselves…

ok, maybe no THAT close…pictures are cropped even with my telephoto lens…The dolphins would’ve been beautiful except I had my wide angle lens on at the time and didn’t have time to change. The sting ray was close enough but was underwater and was difficult to make out.

We followed the trail which is called the North Gorge Walk which tracks around the edge of a cliff at the tip of the island. According to the sign its a 20-30 minute hike. It took us 20 minutes to walk around the cliff and we stopped all along the way to take pictures but we had to catch the next bus back to the port so we turned around and headed back where we came from which was another 20 minutes. Only when we got back did we realised that the trail was actually a CIRCUIT!!! If we walked another 100m we would have got back to the same place and save 20 minutes! In the end we didn’t even get to touch the sand on the beach!

At least we managed to get some good shots while out there:

hehe, my tilt-shift miniature fake of a lifeguard on duty at the beach.

For those of you who don’t know – when swimming at a beach in Australia, lifeguards patrol the areas between the red and yellow flags.

This is perhaps my favourite picture of the day. Click to go the the flickr page where I put a more fitting description.
This is perhaps my favourite picture of the day. Click to go the the flickr page where I put a more fitting description.

Til next time, peace out!

…and by the way, this site is NOT dying. I’m just lazy.

Hey everyone, Merry Christmas and Happy NEW YEAR!!!

I’m late again (whats new eh?) and have decided to stop apologizing everytime it takes me so long to update…coz its only gonna make it worse, lol..

I’ve been busy and have been extremely enjoying this holiday…unfortunately, my brother went back to school today and my sister went back to Scotland so I’ve got plenty of time now…btw, this is going to be a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong post.

“why?”

“…well, because I have to update on everything that happened in December so I can hurry up and start on this new year…this post is playing catch up.”

The Queen Mary Falls will be the main thingie but I’ll also throw in some pictures of our pre-christmas party (long overdue) and whatever I find in my December folder.

Queen Mary Falls

Ok, so Queen Mary Falls is located in South East Queensland – very very close to the border between QLD and NSW. The story goes something like this:

Queen Mary of England herself rode a horse through the waterfalls and loved the place. This was long ago when she was still a child. Well…either it was her or Queen Elizabeth but its called Queen Mary Falls so I guess the former would be correct. I’m about 10% sure.

I actually went twice. The first was to scout the place out as all good photogs do. The second was to pinpoint the good spots. (By first I meant my friendship parent took me there and by second, I meant I told my friends about it ad ended up planning another trip there!

Didn’t take many pics the first time as there were just the three of us: Me, Steph, and Mark (friednship parent). The upside is that I can some good pictures with steph!

look how long and gay my hair looks...!
look how long and gay my hair looks…!

by the way, for those of you who don't know: This is my friendship parent. Meet Mark Evans!
by the way, for those of you who don’t know this is my friendship parent: Meet Mark Evans!

Yes, I’ve cut my hair since then…

Oh, one thing cool about the first trip was that I got to test out my ND and ND grad filters…but me being me I forgot to bring my tripod AND filter holder that day!. Darn. For those of you who don’t know (which I’m guessing are most of you) an ND is a Neutral Density filter. Basically its like sunglasses for your camera so you can take slower shots in broad daylight. A graduated ND filter is the same thing but only the top half is darkened…anyway, you get this sort of effect:

One of my first shots with an ND grad filter. I can't remember if this was the Tian Ya or the HiTech one.
One of my first shots with an ND grad filter. I can’t remember if this was with the Tian Ya or the Hitech one.
This is with both ND grads stacked so thats why it looks so crap.
This is with both ND grads stacked so thats why it looks so crap.

You can see my finger holding the filter on the bottom right hand corner there! Anyway, the second time around the clouds weren’t as beautiful but I brought my tripod so got some nice shots.

Steph and Mark. My fave pic of the day.
Steph and Mark. My fave pic of the day.

Now I’m gonna stop blabbering and throw a bunch of photos so I can get to the next topic. The following pictures were taken on the second trip:

The bunch of us who were there.
The bunch of us who were there.
Queen Mary Falls (The main waterfall)
Queen Mary Falls (The main waterfall). Apologize for the vignetting…lens too wide. Taken with Hitech ND4 Grad hard edge.
There are also parrots.
There are also parrots.
Pretty parrots.
Pretty parrots.
Friendly parrots. btw, this is Koh Doh Ming. We call him Kodomo.
Friendly parrots. btw, this is Koh Doh Ming. We call him Kodomo. See how happy he is?
Credits to Steph for taking the picture
Kodomo, Edna, Ben, Sabrina, and Wilson.
Kodomo, Edna, Ben, Sabrina, and Wilson.
This is now the backgroud wallpaper for my iPhone.
This is now the backgroud wallpaper for my iPhone.
Elsey, Andrea, Edna, Ben, Wilson, Sabrina at Daggs Falls.
Elsey, Andrea, Edna, Ben, Wilson, Sabrina at Daggs Falls.

Perhaps this is a good time to explain that the Queen Mary Falls National Park is a nature reserve that consists of three main waterfalls and small streams. The main one is of course Queen Mary Falls followed by Brown Falls and the smallest one being Daggs Falls.

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Behold Daggs Falls. Apologize for crap photo. Still learning how to use Ultra Wide Angles.

One of my 2 fave shots of the day

By the way, the pictures that have my watermark and border link to my flickr page. I edit them for impact. The others are straight from camera.
By the way, the pictures that have my watermark and border link to my flickr page. I edit them for impact. The others are straight from camera.
The walk to Daggs falls is amazing. Stop and appreciate Gods work.

The walk to Daggs falls is amazing. Stop and appreciate Gods work.

Derrick and Steph...dont you love the backlit leaves!!!
Derrick and Steph…dont you love the backlit leaves!!!
Group photo!
Group photo! Back row: Jiaren, Derrick, Patrick, Ben, Wilson, Kodomo. Front row: Steph, Andrea, Elsey, Edna, Sabrina.
Fun shot!
Fun shot!

this is a bit scary...
this is a bit scary…
Sweet couple.
Sweet couple.

...and my last shot of the day. (so cute, isnt she?)
…and my last shot of the day. (so cute, isnt she?) gosh I miss her… :(

…and its 1am…forget it, I’m done for the night…Will continue later…below is a gallery of the shots above and more. 91 pics altogether. Click for a 640×480 picture and feel free to request the pics u want forwarded to you. See ya soon!