Thursday, August 10, 2017

Testing out the Commlite CM-AEF-MFT Lens Adapter on Olympus OM-D EM-1 (Birding)

I have been using the Olympus system in my birding photography for sometime until I find the reach a little too short for my liking and gotten myself the Sigma 150-500mm instead. I used it on my Canon 7D.

Subsequently in my attempt to consolidate my gear, I sold off my Canon system and decided to use the Sigma lens via the mc-11 converter on my Sony a7ii. Then, I find that one of the downside of using crop mode on the Sony is that I lose pixels and the reach isn't much different.

© Edward Chen

So I decided to get the Commlite CM-AEF-MFT lens adapter and try the Sigma lens (and possibly all other Canon EF lenses) on the Olympus system. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

2017 July, Hulu Langat Revisited (Birding)

I revisited Hulu Langat again today after I have put down the Sigma 150mm-500mm earlier in March this year. Yes, I haven't been birding much since March, except the time when I was traveling in Thailand with my Olympus OM-D E-M1.

Anyway, around 8 o'clock in morning, I picked up a friend of mine in Puchong and headed towards Hulu Langat after a quick breakfast. Upon reaching there, we were surprised to see a group of photographers were already there! Surprise ! Mind you, it's on a Wednesday...

We were there for the Blue-eared Kingfisher. But lucky for us, another two birds also came to the same spot searching for food, the Rufous-backed Kingfisher was one of them.

All photos are taken using the Sigma 150-500mm adapted to the Sony a7ii using Sigma mc-11 in APSC mode. I also used the fluidhead monopod instead of the tripod this time.

© Edward Chen.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Top Spinning and Coconut Plucking Monkeys (2017 Sony Alpha Super Workshop Kelantan - Part 3)

The next stop of the event was at Pantai Cahaya Bulan, where we were told that there would be monkeys plucking coconuts, traditional top spinning, and also batik (textile) making. Somehow I missed the batik printing part as I didn't know where or when it was. Haha......

Here are some of the photos taken using the Sony A9 with the Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art lens, as well as the Sony 70-200 f4 FE lens (all photos are post-processed in LR cc):

© Edward Chen

Girls with their pet monkey. © Edward Chen

Climbing up is no difficulty for this monkey. © Edward Chen

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Galeri Wau Pak Sapie and Sony a9 (2017 Sony Alpha Super Workshop Kelantan - Part 2)

We departed to Galeri Wau Pak Sapie, which is along Jalan Pantai Cahaya Bulan. Upon reaching the gallery, I was given the chance to try the Sony Alpha 9 (a9 [Shashinki]). So I immediately took off my Sony 16-35 Zeiss lens from my Sony a7ii and attached the lens onto the a9. πŸ˜†

Me and Sony a9. lol © Edward Chen

2017 Sony Alpha Super Workshop Kelantan - Part 1 (Arrival)

I went to the 2017 Sony Alpha Super Workshop in Kelantan. Here are some of the photos taken during the trip which was sponsored by Sony Malaysia and Kelantan Tourism (transportation, lodging, food and venue).

We reached Kota Bharu around six o'clock morning and stopped at Dataran Muhammadi. I went to the nearby market for a short walk while waiting for photographers from all over Malaysia to gather up.

Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah Kota Bharu. Sony a7ii + Sony Zeiss 16-35mm © Edward Chen.

Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah Kota Bharu. Sony a7ii + Sony Zeiss 16-35mm © Edward Chen.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Morning walk at the Setia Alam Wetlands

I thought of going for a short walk at the Setia Alam Wetlands after sending my kids to school early in the morning. But it was already seven o'clock when I was leaving the school, so I decided to do some grocery shopping before I went (since the sun was already rising). πŸ˜†

I reached the wetlands slightly before eight o'clock and took photos as I walked around the park. 😊 

All photos are taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the Kowa Prominar 8.5mm f2.8 MFT manual focus lens.

© Edward Chen Photography
As expected, due to the time of the day, it's not really what I wanted. The sun was too bright and the lighting was harsh. But it wasn't hot, so I just continued my walk around the park.

© Edward Chen Photography

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Twilight with Light Painting & Steelwool in Putrajaya. Photos taken at the PSPJ group outing.

I have been away lately, rested while keeping myself occupied to more important tasks related to family and work. Now I am back ! 😁

Just last Sunday I joined the PSPJ photography club for a photo outing near the Seri Wawasan bridge in Putrajaya. While waiting for the participants to arrive, I went to the bridge and took some photos. Many people have taken similar photos here, so why not I take some too? 😊

All photos are taken using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the Kowa Prominar 8.5mm UWA manual lens for micro four-thirds except for one or two closeups when I used the Olympus 12-40mm Pro lens.

Live Composite / Live View are used during the steel wool spinning and light painting. I enjoyed seeing the photo being created as the lights started to fill in the frame.

Here are some examples of how Live Composite can be used according to Peter Baumgarten:

Gary Ayton shows how it works here:

© Edward Chen

Olympus OM-D EM-1 + Olympus 12-40 Pro lens © Edward Chen

Monday, March 6, 2017

Some Photos of The Rufous-backed Kingfisher and more

Hulu Langat is one of the popular places for cyclists, probably due to its location near the forest reserve where the traffic is not as heavy as in the city. There are also eco-camps in the area where tourists stay in huts next to small rivers and waterfalls.

Here, after consulting my anonymous friends on the location of the bird, I had the opportunity to see for myself the beautiful Rufous-backed Kingfisher, 4th type of kingfisher on my list. 1st - white-throated kingfisher (everywhere), 2nd - Black-naped Kingfisher (Tanjung Karang), 3rd - Collared-Kingfisher (Tanjung Karang).

Edit: I actually saw the Collared-Kingfisher before my trip to Tanjung Karang. Stumbled upon an old photo of it which I took at Pantai Jeram a couple of years ago.

Rufous-backed Kingfisher. © Edward Chen

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Collared-Kingfisher and more... Birding Trip to Tanjung Karang Selangor (Part Two of Two)

Continuing from Part One...

As I took shelter in the warung (eatery), the locals (I should have taken a we-fie with them as they are super friendly) told me about the birds they usually see in the area. They mentioned the raja udang (kingfisher) being commonly spotted around there. But they mistook the bee-eater as one of the kingfishers. Egrets are common across the river, and so are eagles.

Then one of them called for me and pointed into the trees.

Not one, but two collared-kingfishers !

© Edward Chen

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Birding Trip to Tanjung Karang, Selangor (Part One of Two)

Some new birds are added to my collection of photos on my recent trip to Tanjung Karang... πŸ˜„

It's a cloudy forecast on a Monday morning, rain seems to be coming soon. However, I went ahead with my plan to Tanjung Karang since I've already planned for the trip after my birding trip to Kuala Selangor last week.

Tanjung Karang is located about 15 kilometers away from Kuala Selangor, or 15-18 minutes away. The drive in the morning is smooth as usual, since most cars are headed towards the opposite direction.

I arrived first at Bukit Melawati. Scouted for a few minutes to see if there's any special bird hanging in the nearby trees. I just saw some swiftlets and lots of juvenile Asian Glossy Starlings in the trees. So I headed to Tanjung Karang after a few snapshots. It was already raining.

Juvenile Asian Glossy Starlings. © Edward Chen

Upon reaching the rural area of Tanjung Karang, I spotted a Black-naped Oriole with a bountyin its beak. But it flew off once I moved my car to get ready for the capture. 😭

Nearby in the same tree was a black Koel. It was watching me all along and wasn't startled by my presence unlike the Black-naped Oriole.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Birding Trip to Bukit Melawati and Taman Alam Kuala Selangor

As the morning traffic towards Kuala Lumpur is usually terrible during weekdays, I decided to travel to Kuala Selangor instead for my birding activity this morning. It took me around 46 minutes for a 41KM drive. Initially I decided to go Hulu Langat, but it's 74KM and more than an hour away due to moring rush hour. I will save that for another day. πŸ˜„

Driving to Kuala Selangor is a breeze. There is not much traffic as most people are headed to the opposite direction or they are just transporting within the small towns along the way.

Upon reaching Bukit Melawati, I saw a couple of cars and a few joggers near the lighthouse at the top of the hill.

Bukit Melawati Lighthouse.
Bukit Melawati Lighthouse. © Edward Chen

Monday, February 20, 2017

The "Common" White-throated Kingfisher, Black-napped Oriole and a Family of Whistling Ducks!

This morning is not the usual birding day, when I just see the common white-throated kingfisher at the park. Apart from the black-napped oriole, the great blue heron and other birds that I usually see, a family of whistling ducks came towards me and headed right into the pond! That's really a happy moment looking at how they stayed together and those little ducklings looked so cute! πŸ˜†

© Edward Chen

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Birding at the Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam

It's one of those days when I feel like going on an outing further out from my usual area. Today I went to Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam (Bukit Cahaya). Met a few birding photography enthusiasts at the car park and joined them for the morning walk into the park. Thanks to Teoh, Teoh's son, SK Yeong and Michelle for their company! 😁

RM3.00 for carpark entry and another RM3.00 fee to get into the park.

Here are some of the photos taken:

White-throated Kingfisher.
© Edward Chen
© Edward Chen

Monday, February 13, 2017

Birding at the lake in the morning with the Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM (Follow-up on techniques)

Just a simple follow-up, continuing my previous post on "birding in the evening".

This morning I went to the lake again with the same setup (Canon 7D + Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM). I wanted to try and see if it's possible to stop down the aperture and take better photos of the birds there.

The setting is basically a shutter speed of 1/500 or less, at f7.1 or f8.0, auto ISO. 
Only the second photo is edited in Lightroom CC. The rest could be cropped.

Here are the results:

White-throated Kingfisher (BEFORE EDIT)
© Edward Chen

White-throated Kingfisher (AFTER EDIT)
© Edward Chen

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Birding at the lake in the evening with the Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM

Following my previous post on birding, I went to the nearby park again. This time, it's in the evening. At first I was ready for a dull, gloomy weather as it looked cloudy. But it the wind blew the clouds away, leaving a harsh sunset at the lake. I regret not bringing along my cap!

There was no bird in sight aside from the few swiftlets dipping into the lake. A bee-eater saw me approaching and flew off as I walked another step.

Here are some of the birds I managed to take snapshots of before they flew away. 😁 Photos are shot at 500mm and cropped.

Asian Glossy Starling
© Edward Chen

Thursday, February 9, 2017

2017 Thaipusam at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

Drawn by the contrasting colours and interesting rituals performed during Thaipusam, I have been visiting the Hindu Temples during this celebrated day almost every year.

As the temple is usually crowded and traffic is heavy, it's sometimes best to take the train from the nearest KTM Kommuter station to Batu Caves.

I took the 630AM train with a friend of mine, Gilbert, at the Subang Jaya station and reached Batu Caves after nearly 2 hours. (Yes, it's quite a long ride.)

I was using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera attached with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 Pro lens, and also brought along the Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens as well as the Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens in my pouch. πŸ˜ƒ

Here are the photos taken...

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Birding with the Canon 7D and Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM

Today I went out birding at the nearby lake with my Canon 7D and Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM. It's not a light combination, the lens alone is 1780g and together with the body it's around 2.6KG! I do not carry a bag or any accessories along, so it's basically just the camera and lens attached to my Black Rapid strap. 😁

The AF-tracking was responsive and it's not hard to lock-in focus in such bright daylight, although not all photos taken are keepers (which is normal). πŸ˜‰

Setting is basically the widest aperture, auto ISO with shutter speeds of 1/600 if the bird is stationary or 1/2000-1/4000 if it's moving.

Here are some of the photos taken:

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Bug's Life, Macro Photography During the 2017 Chinese New Year Holiday

Chinese New Year is a time when I usually travel back to my hometown Ipoh to visit my friends and relatives. If it's possible, I would see if there is time for photography as well. For the past years, aside from family portraiture, I have taken photos like street photography, landscapes, and also architecture. This year, macro photography came into my mind.

So, I contacted my friend, Markus Kam, a macro sifu based in Ipoh, and met up with him (and another friend, Ms Lim) on the third day of Chinese New Year for some snapshots at a nearby forest reserve.

Armed with my macro kit comprising of the Olympus OM-D E-M1, the Olympus 60mm macro lens the Olympus FL-600R with a Gamilight softbox attached, I went into an area adjacent to the forest reserve at Kledang Saiong, Ipoh.

It's not my first visit there as I am still recovering from mosquitoe bites from my previous visits just a few weeks ago. 😒 Those little mosquitoes are really poisonous! πŸ˜“

The Gamilight softbox isn't intended for macro photography, but I do not have a dedicated diffuser like the Canon and Nikon photographers since there isn't any commercially built for the Olympus FL-600R flash. One choice is to buy and use a new macro lens on either my Canon 7D or Nikon D800E. Then I can get a proper one (diffuser) from Markus since he builds and sells them.

Anyway, here are some of the findings.