Posts Tagged ‘Jiaren Lau’

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!

As previously promised, I am flooding my blog with posts. This is for all you “Jiaren, you never update your blog” people. However, I’ll probably write some draft posts and leave this one headlining for a while just because this is what I should be doing more and I really like the results.

So anyway, this story began a long time ago…but that not important. Whats important is that it ended just a little while ago. Last Monday to be exact. Thats the day Jun left to go back to Malaysia. The day before that, Jun asked if I would be able to photograph our group at our university’s own Japanese Garden.

Of course I could!

We arranged to meet at the gardens at 4.30pm so obviously I made it a point to be  there by 5.30pm…

which I did…

…barely.

Good news is we all got there eventually and almost everyone obeyed the “all black” dress code.

We started off at the far side of the garden where there was a couple nice sheltered benches which would be suitable for a large group portrait. We tried a couple of shots but the sun was way too glaring so we swapped around and shot into the Sun. I set up two lights on both sides of the camera to makes sure everyone was evenly lit while I pull down the background exposure. Here are the results:

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JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9541I took over a hundred shots but I’ve weeded them to these few to keep from boring you, my dearest readers. After 20 minutes of positioning the lights, posing everybody, and getting the shot right without people blinking, we got some really good shots before moving onto the big red door. I like this door.By the way, have you guessed which one is Jun yet?

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9559See the smartie pants that didn’t conform to the dress code? *Ahem* *ahem* Will and Jun (Not the Jun thats leaving, we have two Juns in our group). Let me introduce you to the group.

From Left to Right: Will, Ted, Sabrina, Wilson, Stephanie, Neo, Jun, Ben, Edna, Shin Yong, Jun.

Next up is our group of lovely ladies in black.

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9567I like the above shot except for the cross shadows which make the girls look flashed straight on and defeats the purpose of strobing. (Phototip: The lights are meant to “look” natural and inconspicuous).

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9573Now with two flashguns shooting camera left at full zoom we can bring the background down to exposure without loosing the foreground. Remember shadows are our friends and almost this entire series was shot with the flash on full power or close to it.

Next we did some creative shots and laughed the whole way through.

This next shot is the “Eww, Yuck, its Jun” shot:

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9577This next one is the “PHeeewWWWIIiTTtTTT, Hubba hubba, it’s gorgeous Jun!!!”:

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9581This next one is just…well…I like the composition.JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9583So have you guessed which one is Jun yet? Now we come to our hero, “Neo, the ladies man”:

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9588…or would you prefer, “Neo, you disgust me!” look?:

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9593Okay, enough of that…lets move on to more group shots ya?! Moving not more than 30 meters away is the Zen garden. The little pebbles on the ground were beautifully carved when we got there. It looked like crap when we were done, haha!

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9608In retrospect these pics remind me of the Friends series opening sequence…

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9610Don’t you love how it looks in black and white…when everybody conforms to the dress code? Will and Jun had already left by this time because they had other stuff to do.

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9611Every good Japanese garden has a red bridge so it wouldn’t feel complete if we didn’t take a shot there:

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9622Theres actually four bridges at our Japanese garden. This is one of the smaller ones. In the middle of the garden is a small island which I’ve found to be a great spot for photographs! By now we were quickly loosing light and were about to wrap up so we quickly had to get it over with. Once the lights were set up I was ready to go. Check out the reflections!

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9633Sort of has a “The Bold and the Beautiful” theme going on, hey? Heres another:

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9636You can see the flash in the picture which I felt would pass as a lamp post or something. I tried to clone it out but preferred it like this. At this point we were exhausted and ready to pack up. Jun had other plans. She wanted one last shot with Ben, Edna, and Neo so with plenty of people around I used them as assistants to finally get some use out of the umbrellas which I’d been lugging around all day without using for fear of them being blown by the wind. Its happened once and broke the flash that way. I had just got it too!

JunsFarewellByJiarenLau-9640Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom! If you enjoyed what you saw please leave me a comment! Send me feedback, what I should or should not be doing! critic! We all learn from our mistakes. Let me leave by saying I appreciate criticism a lot more than flattery so don’t hesitate if there was something bothering you that you thought would look better only if…(I’ll leave the rest to you)

Take care and God bless,

Jiaren

On the 22nd of August, 2009 – my family made a holiday trip to Australia. They arrived in Queensland for a couple of days before travelling to Sydney in New South Wales, Melbourne in Victoria, and back to Brisbane in Queensland respectively.

Before I get ahead of myself let me introduce you to the family.

TheLauFamilyOk, Genius…so Linzhi wasn’t there with the rest of us…shes busy finishing her dissertation…but for the sake of the introduction lets just assume she was there.

Far Left is my dad, the big man, the boss, Mr. Lau Nai Kwong…2nd is the lil guy, the cutest boy genius aka the “uleee”/ooh-man, its Mr. Jiaxen Lau. The “subtle” copy/paste job is my “can’t live with her/can’t live without her” sister, Linzhi. She came to visit me earlier this month and I’ll get around to blogging that soon…in the meantime last but not least is the perfectionist, the financial accountant of the family, the Queen Bee – Mrs. Khoo Khau Tze.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way lets get on with it shall we…

We headed off to Stradbroke Island to let them experience first hand the scenery that Australia has to offer…

On the way there we took the Calypso Catamaran ferry to take us to the island itself. My lil bro really enjoyed the wind blowing on his face…

TheLauFamily-6527We took the North Gorge bushwalk along the coast of the island where my parents especially enjoyed the fresh air…

TheLauFamily-6540See how touristy my dad looks? Cap. check. trainers. check. shorts. check.  sunglasses. check. camera around neck. check. T-shirt with more than one colour. check. Yup! Tourists alright! The funniest part is I told him that Toowoomba is pretty cold even though Australia was beginning to warm up so he didn’t bother bringing any shorts! The one in the picture was the only pair which he bought a couple of hours earlier at a shopping mall on the way to the ferry port.

A good 10 minutes walk and we arrived at a “Footpath Closed” sign. We backtracked and took the other entrance to the bushwalk (its a circuit) and 20 minutes later we arrived at the best lookout on the island. Here you can see sting rays swimming below as well as dolphins, turtles, and if you’re lucky – whales! They particularly enjoyed the sound of the waves hitting the rocks below.

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TheLauFamily-6567There were also some friends sitting at the edge of a cliff that I thought would make a nice B&W.

TheLauFamily-6561As I had already been there before, I didn’t take that many photos. Pop made me hold his cam so I was using that instead. Good coz I can make the post a little shorter :)

We stayed til sunset before taking the ferry back to the mainland. I love sunset!

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TheLauFamily-6587We sure had a good time! The following days we went to Warner Bros Movie World and the Wet ‘n’ Wild Water theme park! My old timers went to Movie World but not the waterpark…

TheLauFamily-6706This was an interesting roller coaster…it accelerates like a drag race car from the start even going uphill! Very different from your usual coasters. My fave was the Lethal Weapon one though but I was too busy enjoying myself to take pics! For obvious reasons I didn’t bring my camera to the waterpark so we’ll end it here.

This next pic is especially for my sister, Linzhi. Pop wanted to show her how long he’d grown his beard before he’d have to shave it off for my graduation…(oh yeah, the reason they came was for my graduation which took place after they got back from their “around-the-east-coast-of-australia” trip. In their absence Steph’s mum and cousin came and we brought them to the Australia Zoo at the Sunshine Coast! Check it out when I blog about it next!

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