Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / olympus e-pl3

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)

grasshopper at KL butterfly farm
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.

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After attending MIDE (Malaysian International Dive Expo) a few weeks prior and ended up spending quite a chunk of change on gears, Haze and I decided that a dive trip must follow. After all, the last trip was some 4 months ago at Lang Tengah.

After a bit of calling about different dive operators both in Tioman and Tenggol, we settled on diving with the operator at Tenggol Resort, the establishment situated on the far right of the beach if you are facing the island.

our resort is located at the far right of the beach
our resort is located at the far right of the beach

Due to schedule constraint, we only wanted a 2 day 1 night trip, and the package we got quoted was RM 580 per pax, which includes 4 guided boat dives. However, we also had to pay a RM 250 surcharge due to the fact that they had to use a 24-seat ferry to fetch just two of us from Dungun (other divers were all on the 3D2N option).

Fair enough I guess, hat made it a tad more expensive than normal for 4-dives, but we were pretty adamant on diving last weekend, so we went ahead with the arrangement anyway.

jelly fish, and note the inhabitants within it
jelly fish, and note the inhabitants within it

Ferry was to depart at 8:30 am in the morning, we started our drive from PJ at around 3 in the morning and it took us about 4.5 hours including a sahur stop at highway R&R to cover some 400 km.

obligatory shot of a family of nemo
obligatory shot of a family of nemo

Dungun is actually the closest place to get to for any decent diving, unless you actually consider Lumut/Sembilan islands a valid diving option, which I don’t and hence hasn’t bothered to pen down  the trip there earlier this year.

I just wish they didn’t delay the opening East Coast Highway to 2015 from the original 2011, that would cut half an hour off, hello JKR!

can you spot the tiny shrimp?
can you spot the tiny shrimp?

The room we had at Tenggol Resort had 2 single bed on each side of the smallish room, with no table or closet, and an attached bathroom with surprisingly good heated water (works from 7 pm till 8:30 am, as with electricity). Air conditioning didn’t really work well for us but temperature at night on the island is usually pretty comfortable anyway.

We didn’t have any problems with insects or bed bugs but a mat salleh in another room had his back bitten pretty bad. This is definitely not a 3-star or even 1-star type of place, but it will get you through the night if you’re not too fussy.

a pair of nudibranch, Hypselodoris bullocki, yes, coitus
a pair of nudibranch, Hypselodoris bullocki, yes, coitus

As with any trip at Tenggol (and with most islands), all meals are provided. We were lucky as there was an actual professional chef working (part time) at the resort for that particular week, so we ended up having pretty awesome meal. Your mileage may vary.

a white nudi wandering around - Chromodoris coi
a white nudi wandering around – Chromodoris coi

We did 3 boat dives on the day of arrival, and another morning dive on the next day. Our dive master Salleh was a very “chilling” type of guy, but perhaps one that is more suited for seasoned divers than beginners. Briefings were actually very brief, and the DM also didn’t dictate what we were doing underwater for the most part, we were also allowed to stay as long as we wanted instead of some who can’t wait to get out of water once it’s over 45 minutes.

My experience with the DM is a positive one.

underwater seascape
underwater seascape

Short dive logs, check this image for dive sites:

  1. Moon Wrecker – 11:26 am 21/6/2012. 43 minutes drift dive with plenty to see and pretty decent 15 meter visibility.  Saw some huge jelly fish, and one being attacked/eaten by a Titan Trigger fish, a 5 foot long black tip shark swam by 15-20 meter away too, good stuff. Slightly challenging dive for Haze in the beginning but she cope well. DM led us with another 2 guys – Thomas & Trud (spelling?).
  2. Rajawali Reef – 2:54 pm 21/6/2012. Plenty of nudibranch in this dive, there were no current, nice and relaxing. Spotted stingrays too, 54 minute dive time.
  3. Tanjung Gemuk – 5:53 pm 21/6/2012. We spent another 55 minutes on the last dive of the day, nice calm evening water with more nudibranch, stingray, eel, and pipe fish. It was just Haze, myself, and the dive master in this dive.
  4. Tokong Timur – 8:41 am 22/6/2012. One of the better dive sites at Tenggol that is also a bit more challenging, Tokong Timur is a very small island with a light house atop. There was a bit of a mild current and slightly choppy surface water, saw one really big batfish, and as with anywhere Tenggol, more nudibranch, sea fan, and nemo. Not a bad way to end the trip.
Our maximum depths in all those dives were capped at around 20+ meters, and at one point we touched 27 meter I believe.

Haze's imitation of a sky dive, or something
Haze’s imitation of a sky dive, or something

With this short Tenggol trip I’ve logged 28 dives in 4 diving trips this year. Diving can be an expensive hobby, I justify it with not having a car loan.

hello stingray, look who's looming behind
hello stingray, look who’s looming behind

My current set up for underwater photography is the Olympus E-PL3 with the in-house EP-PT05L housing. I have an ikelite plate for it and a single Sea & Sea YS-01 underwater strobe to light up the subject. All photos taken with Inon UWL 100 & Dome port.

My gears are almost complete, I just need to upgrade it to dual YS-01 (or trade this in for dual Inon z-240 and be RM 2-3k poorer), and add a stacked Inon UCL-165 lenses for macro to complete my gears. Perhaps some floats will help too, the equipment is getting heavy.

normal camwhore is so mainstream, this is underwater camwhore!
normal camwhore is so mainstream, this is underwater camwhore!

I think there’s another 1-2 trips to be done in this year, bring it on!

Take a look at the photo below and what do you see?

In the frame t here are two very sleepy cats, the bigger one being our resident alpha (castrated) male – Cendawan the Bengal, with Belimbing, one of the two kittens we rescued from the neighborhood.

happy moment - brrrrrrrrrrrr good morning!
happy moment – brrrrrrrrrrrr good morning!

And if these cats could speak and label a photo, both of them would title it “My Happiest Moment”

Nothing beats a lazy evening nap right next to the window facing the garden with running water from the pond. Especially if you are a cat.

a slightly failed attempt in forcing a Happy Moment out of Tembikai
a slightly failed attempt in forcing a Happy Moment out of Tembikai

The photo above, on the other hand, is a slightly failed attempt to get Tembikai to cooperate with Haze in executing a good Happy Moment capture.

So picture one – score!

Picture two – maybe not so much…

happy photography

Which brings us to the Happy Photography Contest by Olympus. The idea is simple, we want to freeze those happy and awesome moments in our lives, but barring a technological break through in cryogenic and time freezing nonsense, we have photos.

The mechanic of this contest is as follow:

  • Write a blog post titled “My Happiest Moment”.
  • Include a photo in your blog post that describes your happiest moment. It can be a pre-existing photo, or you can go out and shoot something that represents that moment
  • Download this file containing Olympus Happy Photography logo variations, choose one of the colour variations and include it in your blog post as well
  • Upload the photo of your happiest moment and submit the permalink of your blog post in this form.
And by doing that, you stand to win these prizes:
1st prize – Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Kit
2nd Prize – Olympus PEN mini E-PM1 Kit
3rd – 5th Prize – Olympus PEN Leather carry-all bag

A pretty awesome deal, yes? There is no purchase required to enter this contest. Do head to to check out more details.

Olympus E-PL3 with 40-150 mm lens
Olympus E-PL3 with the 40-150 kit lens and external flash

Some 1.5 years ago, I got my hands on an Olympus E-PL1 camera and did a review, the camera was small, responsive, and produces quality that rivals much bigger SLR cameras.

Now I got with me the latest iteration of the same line of Camera from Olympus – the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3. Not only this camera spots a bigger 3.0 LCD that can tilt (very useful for events), full HD video recording, faster auto focus, more focus points, higher ISO, faster shutter speed… etc etc..

And the amazing thing is, they’ve made it even smaller!

Look at the photo above, I don’t have a big hand, and even then the PEN Lite with a telephoto lens and the external flash (included) sits comfortably in my palm. Technology is amazing.

more product information at

You know that this camera can be won by joining the Happy Photography contest right? 😀

under low lighting condition
pretty impressive output on low light condition – Haze at work

I took the camera for a bit of a test drive and these are some of the test shots. The PEN Lite is pretty easy to handle, and the autofocus is now much faster too. Compared to my old SLR rig, this baby is only some 1/3 in weight and I would have no trouble taking it everywhere (will work handsomely underwater, with the Olympus PT-EP05L housing)

diorama art filter, outside Pavilion KL
Diorama art filter, outside Pavilion KL

The much loved ART filters is now expanded. There are six to choose from, with art effects to add composition effects as well as ability to do art filter bracketing too. With the art filter bracketing, you can generate multiple pictures with different Art Filters from a single shot, allowing you to experiment with different effects to see which one works the best. Pretty cool feature isn’t it?

The six filters are:

  • Pop Art (i & ii)
  • Soft focus
  • Grainy Film (i & ii)
  • Pin Hole (i/ii/iii)
  • Diorama
  • Dramatic Tone

soft focus - how cute can a car get?
Soft Focus art filter – how cute can a car get?

The photos on this post (except for the one with the PEN Lite in it, duh!) are all taken with the PEN Lite with no extra processing on the computer. I only re-sized them before posting.

If you haven’t seen one of these baby in real life, do try your hands on one at any camera shop carrying Olympus. It is amazing how technology has advanced and be able to pack so much in such a small body.

Pin Hole art filter - a street less traveled
Pin Hole art filter – a street less traveled

Since I work with food photography quite a bit, I also took the PEN Lite for a test run on some food shots.

Penang Curry mee and Char Kuih Teow
Penang Curry mee and Char Kuih Teow

The shot above showcase the advantage of the big sensor found in the PEN Lite, a compact camera will not be able to create that out of focus effect (bokeh) of the char kuih teow while focusing sharply on the curry mee. This was done with F/4.0, now imagine if you use a prime lens with bigger aperture. *slurps*

wine and dine at Favola, Le Meridien
wine and dine at Favola, Le Meridien

The second picture is a simple shot of a glass of wine taken at 1/10s, ISO 1600, 58 mm at f/4.4. This again showcases the ability of the PEN Lite in handling very low light situation. The image stabilizing system works superbly, and the CMOS censor processes ISO 1600 without much (if any) noise at all. I’d have to use a tripod for this with an older DSLR, but this is done with my bare hands. 😀

Now I wish to have one complete with underwater housing and underwater flash,  Happy Underwater Moment?

In the mean time, I have more candidate photos for  “My Happiest Moment”.

Cendawan as my scarf
Cendawan as my scarf 

Before going to Sunway Pyramid, I was trying to wear Cendawan as a scarf, obviously the kitteh wasn’t very impressed with my fashion sense, but kitteh did not use claw attack. *phew*

Haze with gingerbread man
Haze with gingerbread man

Hooo look there’s a gingerbread man! Haze actually had to line up to take this photo, who doesn’t love gingerbread man? 😀

Mr. Sunway duck and me
Mr. Sunway Lagoon duck and me

This is a very very distant cousin to the more famous uncle, Donald, or is he? Niether of them wears pants that’s for sure.

specially decorated Olympus PEN Cameras

Olympus is also running roadshow at Midvalley Megamall from 26-30th Oct. If you want to get your hands on the PEN Lite or check out other Olympus PEN systems, this is the perfect time.

Furthermore, there’ll be specially decorated Olympus PEN Cameras on display at the roadshow too, so do check it out.