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.