Category / Photography
August 17, 2012
Last weekend we did something that usually only tourists do, we went to the butterfly park in KL. The park is located within Lake Garden, a stone’s throw away from KL bird park and a mere 5-10 minutes from the city center.
Spanning some 80,000 square feet with over 5000 live butterflies and other insects, it is claimed to be the largest butterfly garden in the world (I believe the one in Penang is just slightly smaller)
peekaboo! a grasshopper at KL butterfly farm
Haze and Horng were armed with 30mm Macro mounted on Sony NEX 3F & 5N respectively, while I had my trusted Olympus E-PL3 paired with the Digital Zuiko 35mm f/3.5 macro lens for this task.
We spent around 2 hours taking these photos, and these are some of the better pictures taken by yours truly. Hope you like them.
To my muslim friends, Selamat Hari Raya.
July 30, 2012
While waiting for the commencement of a stand up comedy show at Velvet underground sometimes last year, a few of us started talking about cars, or more specifically, the cars we used to own. That’s when I found out that an ex colleague’s friend was the owner of 5 successive Volkswagen cars in his life.
Which begs the question why? Why would anyone gives up variety and keep buying the same car over and over again?
Well, I got closer to answering that question after having the newly launched Volkswagen Polo Sedan for over the weekends not long ago. This is my impression of the car.
Volkswagen Polo Sedan by Seri Wawasan bridge, Putrajaya
The Volkswagen Polo Sedan is the most affordable offering from the German automotive giant, retailing at RM99,888. This makes it a direct competitor to some of the similarly sized Japanese and Korean imports in the country, and one of the more lower priced cars with a European badge.
Volkswagen Polo Sedan by Putra Mosque
To be honest, the styling of Polo Sedan doesn’t scream, nor will it beg too many second looks like some of the other Volkswagen offerings. That being said, the Polo Sedan does have a very classy frontal look, with one of the most attractive headlight assemblies. Its side profile has a pretty smooth flow punctuated by a set of very decent 7-spoke 15″ alluminum alloy wheels.
The car doesn’t look particularly long, but you won’t call it a mere elongated version of the normal Polo.
center console, steering, air conditioning vent
Inside, the center console is simple yet elegant, with bits of chromed parts and leather steering giving it a heightened status. Radio/CD player, air conditioning (and even heater is functional), and vents are all pretty minimalistic in design and functional in operation.
The car also offers very good leg rooms for its class, and no one under 6 foot should ever need to worry about head room.
The cup holder is easily big enough to fit your favorite plus size bubble tea cups, and the Polo Sedan does come with a glove compartment that is big enough to smuggle a couple domestic cats.
meter cluster, 6 speed tiptronic transmission with sports mode
Engine & Performance:
The Polo Sedan comes with a 1.6 liter multi-point injection engine mated with a 6 speed automatic transmission. Tiptronic shifting is available, and there’s a sports mode for spirited driving as well.
While the 105 PS engine might not sound that impressive on paper, the car does feel quite nimble. Sound insulation is so good that we thought the car wasn’t started yet after turning the key, but when you step on the paddle in sports (or tiptronic) mode and let it hit over 5000 rpm, it does gives a good roar.
Volkswagen Polo Sedan, Putra Mosque
0-100 km/h can be achieved in 12.3 seconds, and the 183 km/h top speed should be more than enough for anyone in Malaysian highways. For a sedan, the car does perform pretty decent around the bend, and still provides good riding comfort over those pesky parking lot humps.
Fuel consumption is reported at 6.5 liter per 100 km. I collected the car with a full tank of gas, and returned it with 7/8 full on the indicator after two trips from PJ to Bangsar, a trip to from PJ to Sunway Pyramid, and another round trip from PJ to Putrajaya. The 55 liter fuel tank should last you well over 600 km or more.
454 liters worth of boot space, with a full spare tyre
Perhaps most impressive of all is the 454 liters of boot space. Without even flipping down the rear seats (which you can to create even more room), one can easily fit 4 sets of diving equipment, or at least 3 full size golf bags in this car. The rear boot door can also be opened via the remote. (which has ON/OFF/BOOT buttons)
Overall, despite the price point and a less imposing performance figure, the Polo Sedan does carry the prestige of Volkswagen very well. The interior, design cues, and those little features in the car are well thought out and makes driving a pleasure.
Which brings us back to the guy who had 5 Volkswagen, it doesn’t seem unreasonable anymore.
March 2, 2012
The biggest appeal of diving to me is the calmness I get when underwater, listening to nothing but the breath that I take and the bubbles flowing out from the regulator, the sense of weightlessness and the ability to move about without restriction in 3 dimension. It is a form of freedom you never get on land.
The magnificent seascape and underwater creatures, well, they are just a huge bonus. While no picture can convey that sense of liberty, here are some underwater pictures I took from various dive sites at Similan Islands.
My gears were Olympus E-PL3 with the underwater housing coupled, Inon UWL 100 & Dome port, and a single Sea & Sea YS-01 external flash.
swim through, Deep Six
I logged 14 dives over 4 days of diving living aboard M/V Vilai Samut operated by Liquid Adventure. (previous year experience here). The boat departs from Khao Lak at night, so night one started before day one. The sites we went to were:
- Stone Henge
- Deep Six
- West of Eden
- West of Eden (night)
- Elephant Rock
- Koh Bon
- Koh Bon
- Ko Tachai (night)
- Richelieu Rock
- Richelieu Rock
- Ko Tachai
- Koh Bon (night)
- Koh Bon Pinnacle
- Bon Soon Wreck
tiny black reef fish atop table coral at West of Eden
We were lucky to have excellent visibility of at least 30-40 meters in more than 70% of the dives, and had at least 20 meters in the rest of the dives too. Comparing with Pulau Sembilan/Lumut’s 5-10 m visibility…
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pics, and say no to shark’s fins!
giant spiny lobster, night dive at West of Eden
sea snake, Koh Bon
the reef at Koh Bon
clown fish in anemone, night dive at Elephant Rock
an unnerving cuttle fish, night dive at Elephant Rock
lion fish, night dive at Elephant Rock
Dave convincing a lion fish to pose, Richelieu Rock
cleaner shrimps, Richelieu Rock
chevron barracudas, Richelieu Rock
star fish on coral, night dive at Koh Bon
boxer shrimp, night dive at Koh Bon
porcupine fish, Bon Soon wreck
Bon Soon wreck
ghost pipe fish, Bon Soon wreck
February 9, 2012
Just got back on another excellent live aboard diving trip at Similan Islands, as with last year, the experience was nothing short of awesome. The photos are now transferring onto the computer and waiting to be processed, in the mean time, here are a couple photos from the trip.
dive buddy Dave in picture, at Koh Bon
Proper blog post on the trip, more photos, and perhaps a video is on the way soon as I get some time to work on them.
moray eel in full view, Koh Bon, Thailand
Back to the office tomorrow, been an awesome CNY holidays away from work, and the dive trip made it so much sweeter.
Hope your holiday was well spent too!
February 7, 2012
By the time you read this, I’ll be on MV Vilai Samut and diving somewhere near the Similan Islands, and hopefully underwater enjoying a bit of compressed air. (last year’s trip here)
The difference is this time, the good people at Olympus has loaned me the following gears to pair with my E-PL3:
Olympus PT-EP05L underwater casing with UFL-2 flash
That’ll be the original PT-EP05L underwater casing for the E-PL3 and the UFL-2 underwater flash, coupled with a sync cord and a short arm. Together this makes a very compact underwater photography system with picture quality that should rival the much bulkier underwater SLR systems, not to mention at a price that is quite a lot cheaper. (the casing is retailed at around RM 2k, while you can hardly find any SLR UW housings cheaper than RM 5k).
In fact, this is so compact you can essentially operate with just one hand, great for when there’s a current, or that your buoyancy skill is a bit suspect.
all buttons are clearly labeled and quite easily accessed
When considering moving from compact camera system (I also use a Canon S90 with Ikelite underwater casing and a Sea & Sea YS-01 flash) to SLR or 4/3 format, the underwater accessories was always a consideration for me. After a bit of research, I came to like the Oly even more.
They are one of the very few companies that offers complete underwater photography solutions. Check out their underwater accessories page.
Arm, bracket, flash systems, housings, conversion lenses, and even weights. All theses saves a lot of hassles trying to mix and match products from different manufacturers and hoping that it all gels together.
Olympus UW casing with Inon UWL 100 & dome port
the bare Oly casing isn’t really much bigger than S90′s
That being said, the PT-EP05L casing does play well with third party accessories too. I’ll be fitting it with my Ikelite bracket from my S90, and even the Inon UWL 100 & Dome port fits right on the the casing and should give me a very good wide angle coverage. (I put the Sea & Sea flash just as a demo and most likely won’t be using it on actual dives).
Lets hope there are already some decent underwater photos in my memory card by the time you see this. Will post the results soon!
P/S: the dive trip is from 3-8 February and we’ll be on radio silence. I’m gonna miss the Superbowl. Hope you had a great Chap Goh Meh too!