Archive for the ‘Outings’ Category

So a little while ago I lent Brandon my macro lens. I didn’t need it so I said he could return it whenever he wanted. However, last week he made some last minute plans to go back to Malaysia. I figured I might need to lens for the wedding I’m shooting next week so we dropped it off at my place before he left. Yesterday, we got bored at home so we wanted to look for a park to visit…my housemate, Warren, recommended we head to Newtown Park. I’ve never been there before so I thought why not.

In the true spirit of “Macro Madness” there won’t be any pictures of the park itself…not because I don’t want to…but because I only brought the macro lens that day…and not a measly 55mm macro but a 180mm one…which is pretty much a dedicated macro lens and nothing else.   Now I can also go back to take some macros of the sunflower field:-)

Of course the Brow needed to stretch her lil leggies so she came along for an impromptu portrait session.

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By the way those are her legs…shes so furry her hands (as in front legs) tuck into it and dissapear when she sits like that. Her hands looks like this:

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If you leave her on the ground long enough she’ll start planning her escape route…

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…so we put her somewhere where she can’t run :-)

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Just kidding, haha…shes awesome…doesn’t run away unless shes at home where shes familiar with the floor…ask Linzhi, every few minutes we give a a good tickle under the chin…

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Oh, right…Macro Madness Day!

Sorry…

Sorry…

I tend to digress when I ramble…

In all honesty the park was pretty down in the dumps. It wasn’t dirty or anything it just wasn’t maintained very well. However, the flowers were absolutely perfect and down at a macro level its easy to ignore the rest of the place.

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Isn’t that just beautiful rose? Hows this next one for a good contrast?

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Same flower, different colour…but it just says something different…the red one has that classy, elegant feel where as this one sort of brings words like “natural” and “pure” to mind…or am I crazy?

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Don’t know what flower this is…any tips? I reckon I should’ve shot this closer though.

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I didn’t really care for this one…but its a little weird. It looks like they are four smaller flowers inside the large outside petals…theres actually a picture that I shot dead on center which shows it in focus but composition wise this one looks better so deal with it.

Need to go shower now. Have to sleep early, tomorrows my driving test! *Eek!* Wish me luck!

I don’t exactly know where to classify this place as. Some call it the Toowoomba Sunflower Field, some call it the Cambooya Sunflower patch, Either one is fine by me. Technically, we (as in Steph and I) found the sunflower field in a little place called Nobby, which is further down the road from Cambooya. There used to be loads in Cambooya but I was told by a friend who has to travel via that area to go to work that they didn’t plant them this year.

Bummer.

No fret, we just thought we’d take a drive and see what else we could find…we thought of turning back over five times but God must’ve been driving because I just followed the road until we got to a railway crossing. Across the road way up in the countryside was something yellow.

“It couldn’t be”, I thought…”Let’s check it out anyway!”. Steph also didn’t think that it could’ve been a sunflower field. We turned the car around and tried to find a way in that direction. We hit a couple of dead ends but eventually we were greeted with a huge sunflower field!

I’m talking BIG. It extends all the way to the horizon. Here’s a couple of pictures to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:

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That not enough for you? hmm..OK, imagine this: You are now seeing the image above in reality. Now turn 90 degrees to your left and you’re looking down the field from an elevated position…and this is what you see:

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Yup. Thats a heck of a lot of sunflowers. Just as I was getting my gear out of the car the owner of the field happened to walk by with his dog. I greeted him and he let me go crazy so I had myself a photo-frenzy. I didn’t have my camera out yet so I didn’t get a shot of him. Next time I’ll be sure to bring the polaroid so I can give him a little something for his generosity.

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Oh, by the way, be prepared to have your screen blasted with all sorts of shades of yellow. I love composing shots by colour. However, something funny happened while I was taking pictures of the sunflowers. Check out the image below and tell me whether or not its edited…

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Am I seeing things or does it look like an HDR image? (for the noobs out there who do not know HDR is High Dynamic Range. What is it? Google is your friend). It looked the same way on the camera screen which I thought was weird. This is actually straight from camera. No post processing, no photoshop, no nothing! Even looking at it now I can’t help but think how “edited” it looks…am I right?

Also, this wasn’t a one off thing. Check out the following six images which were all taken straight from camera with no post processing whatsoever. Only adjustments made (if any) are to crop and/or straighten the horizon.

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Is that weird or what? Those of you who follow me know that I like to get the shot right in camera but even I’m amazed at this! In the interest of full disclosure I will share some of my settings with those who are interested. Camera on variable aperture/shutter speeds depending on the shot (Duh!). All shot on “more vivid” picture mode, cloudy WB, and with a 0.9 (3x) Graduated Neutral Density filter (cheapo Tian Ya brand but works great!). Obviously a wide angle was used – in this case a Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 mostly at 10mm. Any explaination people?!

Moving on, we also brought along our little guinea pig, Shybrow who kind of got high from all that fresh vegetation.

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Shybrow is no little piggie, shes a big fat piggie and shes still growing but at around six months old and almost too big to hold her comfortable in one hand, shes no match for the sheer monstrosity that is a sunflower. I mean that thing could literally eat her up!

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Man, I could almost see this shot advertising for something…for example:

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How’s that? haha…fortunately that not the extent of my graphic design abilities but thats all I could think of in two minutes. Ideally, the sky would be a gorgeous deep blue but I’ll have to go back again in the near future to get that shot. More about revisiting this place at the end of the post.

Heres a shot that was inspired by another photo I saw somewhere on the internet but I can’t remember where. If I find it I’ll credit it.

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Sunflowers are one of the few “photogenic” flowers. I say so because of their beautiful texture. Not to say that other flowers aren’t great but a macro lens and a sunflower would really produce some amazing results. I didn’t bring one along as it was a cloudy day and I knew it would be too windy to take macro shots (maybe next time I can steal a flower and photograph it at home?) For now, the crappy Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 will have to do.

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Heres a great little pano I shot:

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Altogether we were there for over an hour. Brandon called me and said that it was raining in Toowoomba so we packed up and left. Looking up there was a flock of birds. I had my telephoto lens on so I took a couple of shots of them. Nothing impressive but I sort of like this picture:

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Would have loved to stay til sunset…but that was hours away. Perhaps next time. For now I can only imagine…

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As I previously mentioned, I will be going back there to get some shots with blue sky instead of a cloudy one. If you don’t already know, this area has been in a 6 year drought and having clouds is a rarity so I took the opportunity to make the most of it. I will be going back on a nice clear summer day to get some different perspectives. I’ll probably go down again in a week or so. Anyone interested in joining me? let me know in the comments!

Til next time, good bye and God bless!

Lets have a bit of animal portraits for a change. Here are some of the friendly faces you may encounter at the Australia Zoo. Its located at Steve Irwin Way, Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

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Its a beautiful place that started as family owned wildlife reserve that led to the birth of arguably the greatest Australian that ever lived – the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. Today, his legacy lives on in his wife and daughter, Terry and Bindi Irwin respectively. If you do get a chance, visit the place! Today I’ll be posting some animal portraits I took at the zoo. I promised I’d blog this otherwise I’m pretty psyched about another strobist photoshoot I did last Sunday. Actually, I did two shoots but the first one was for church and I wasn’t given much creative control. The latter I’m psyched about because I absolutely love shooting this style and am getting very comfortable with it. Also, I rarely get to shoot like this because I don’t have any models willing to pose for me :( …but that all changed last Sunday when we had Jun’s farewell photoshoot. There were about +-8 people so I really had fun shooting some group photos which I rarely get to do. I’ve finished editing and the results are amazing! You have to see it! Stay tuned and let me get this out of the way first!

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If you’ve been to my flickr page at any time recently these images will be nothing new. I already put them up quite a while ago I just haven’t gotten around to blogging about it…until now.

First, we ventured into the reptile pit where you can see and read about various types of Australian snakes, lizards, etc. This guy was in such a beautiful pose I couldn’t have posed it any better myself!

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6722Ooh, ooh! This next guy is my favourite! WOMBATS! I absolutely love love love wombats!!! They’re soooooooo cute! …and they look so funny when they do stuff…one of them was rubbings its butt against a tree trunk to scratch it I guess…another was trying to climb a tree and failed miserably. Anyway, Wombats are awesome!

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6902As most of these places do, they have performances and shows where they showcase the animals abilities. The difference is that this zoo doesn’t force their animals to do anything. Everything is done “hands-on” style which means the animal doesn’t do anything it doesn’t want to do. While the performances are rather boring compared to a lot of other places it really does show how much they care for the well-being and treatment of the animals at the zoo. For example, even this elephant which used to be a circus elephant has grown quite “manja” (malay word for suck up). In the end I went for a tight portrait of the behemoth.

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6783Of course theres the regular array of other widelife, some you can touch and others you can’t. Heres one you can:

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Heres one you can’t:

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6746One cool thing you’ll notice is how the animals themselves love the place. They get daily walks and runs outside their cages in huge habitats so they stay fit and healthy and capable of surviving in the wild should they be released. Some of the birds aren’t even caged and are allowed to wonder around. Why? Because they ALWAYS come back.

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6851One more thing is you’ll find is these little lizard things crawling all over the place. They’re harmless but look a little intimidating nonetheless.

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6810You’ll notice I forgot the most important element of the Australia Zoo, home of the Crocodile Hunter – the crocodiles. The reason being is that during the show I was too far away and couldn’t crop tight enough. Okay I just went into my hard disk and pulled out a picture with a croc in it. Now we can end the post…happy?

AustraliaZooByJiarenLau-6857PS. I realize the pic is slightly out of focus but it the best action shot I could find!

If you enjoyed the post please please please leave a comment! I thrive on them! …and it really makes my day when you do! Cheers and God bless!