Wednesday, April 28, 2010

High fibre diet for polar bear

A camera-shy polar bear had enough when a group of photographers persisted in taking his photos and out-stayed their welcome. The bear charged towards the group which scattered into the safety of their vehicles, leaving their tripods unguarded on the ice. The polar bear then grabbed a tripod and made off with it, which greatly amused the photographers because he happened to pick the most expensive tripod - a  flagship carbon fibre model from Gitzo.

Credit Image: © National News/

Either the bear had good taste or he was told to go on a high fibre diet. Read the full report here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pimp your camera!


Think your camera is not bling enough? Can't bring yourself to glue some Swarovski crystals onto your camera? There's an easy way to pimp your camera and give it some personality! Check out the Gariz (not Garish fortunately) metallic plates for your camera! I think the stick-on for the compact cameras do look quite classy, although some people would probably think you stole the camera from P. Diddy himself.

The stickers for the DSLRs look quite daft though. But don't stop at your compacts - Garish, sorry I mean Gariz has stickers for mobile phones as well (yes, including the iconic iPhone). Just don't show Steve Jobs what you did to his precious...

Check out the Gariz website for yourself!

New Nikon 200-400mm f/4 launching soon


Nikon is set to launch a tweaked version of its 200-400mm f/4 VR by end of May. Featuring the same optical configuration and Silent Wave Focusing as its predecessor, the new AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II looks to deliver the same optical performance and speed. However, Nikon improved its stabilization ability by incorporating four-stop VR II image stabilization, and the new lens will benefit greatly with Nikon's Nano Crystal Coat lens coating for reduced ghosting and flare.

It will come at a price though. The AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II is expected to cost nearly US$7000, which squarely prices the lens out of reach for most but the most hardcore (and well-heeled) photographers. Who would buy such an expensive and huge lens? Nature photographers and sports photographers will certainly appreciate having the option to zoom at the super-telephoto range, as well as a relatively bright aperture of f/4 and enjoy the superlative performance of this ED lens as well (it has 24 lens elements in 17 groups with 4 ED elements!).
What other alternatives do you have to this Nikon? Perhaps you can look at the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8EX DG APO HSM instead, with its bright f/2.8 aperture and much more economical US$4200 price tag.  Add on a 1.5x teleconverter and you''ll have almost the same focal length range as this Nikon. You'll not get optical image stabilization (VR) with the Sigma though, which is a really useful feature on such a super-zoom.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hong Kong and Vietnam gallery added!

Hi folks,

It's been a busy time for me, but hey... photography remains an important part of my life! These photos of Vietnam and Hong Kong were taken quite some time ago, but I've not shared them in the public domain as a collection yet...

The contrast between Hong Kong and Vietnam can't get any further... the slickness of the former British colony stands out against the war-ravaged past of the former French colony. The fast paced lifestyle of Hong Kong pits one another into working faster and harder than the person next to you, so you can really feel the buzz in every street of Hong Kong.

The charms of Vietnam appear immediately as you leave the airport, with quaint French styled houses lining the roads. Because each house is taxed according to the land area occupied, houses in Vietnam are built on narrow strips of real estate, and total floor area is maximized by building more levels. The Vietnamese are toiling hard to rebuild the economy after decades of war, and results are starting to show in the cities. But the charm of Vietnam remains in many parts of the country, and it is difficult to imagine such a beautiful country and wonderful people being embroiled in such a long era of conflict.

Visit my new photo galleries of Vietnam and Hong Kong at (click on the Gallery section). Leave some comments here on how you like the photos as well!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A day in the life of New York City

Check out this amazing video of New York City by Sam O'Hare. Sam did the entire project shooting on a Nikon D3, and that's all you need to know for now. So please watch the video before you continue reading!

Done viewing the video?

How did you think Sam shot the sequence? Most people would imagine that Sam fitted tilt-shift lens to the Nikon D3 and set it to record video, and then speeding up the video clips in post-production to achieve the effect in the video. But that would not be special, would it?

Sam O'Hare actually used a Nikon D3 for this project, shooting 35,000 NEFs at 4 frames per second! He then painstakingly combined them in post production and output the files as 1080p video set to music. If that wasn't crazy enough, he wasn't shooting with a tilt-shift lens. Sam actually shot with a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 and Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 lenses for all of the shots. The tilt-shift effect was all done in post frame by frame!

This is madness!
Madness? This is NEW YORK!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Photoshop CS5 - so what's new?


Photoshop CS4 was not all that hot, and Adobe knows it as well. Many photographers have criticized the software giant of churning out new versions of Photoshop too quickly and increasing the prices, without significant improvements in the versions. Worse still, Adobe received the short end of the stick by refusing to integrate RAW support for newer cameras such as the Canon EOS 5D Mk II for Photoshop CS3, in an apparent move to "convince" customers to upgrade. As far as we know, sales of Photoshop CS4 was not as spectacular as Adobe wanted it to be.

Now Adobe is back with Photoshop CS5. Has the company wizened up to the consumer's requests and are they listening to feedback? Well, it's difficult to say for sure without running through the software, but based on the list of new features, the new Photoshop CS5 certainly looks very interesting for those of us on the previous versions of Photoshop. Rob Galbraith has a nice summary of the new features in CS5, so be sure to check it out!

DSLR video used to film 'House' season finale

The status of DSLR video quality has been elevated to the next level with the breaking news that the entire episode of the season finale of the primetime medical drama series “House” was filmed with a DSLR. In an interview, director of FOX broadcasting Greg Yaitanes said that they used the Canon EOS 5D Mk II with 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses to film the season finale to achieve a “richer look”.

Greg loves the shallow depth of field of the EOS 5D Mk II, and felt that such a way of shooting is “the future”. The crew was shooting on 24p format and found the compactness of the DSLR ideal for filming in tight spaces. Most of the shots were done handheld or on a small format, instead of the traditional video stabilizers. Watch for it!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Montage photo seminar and contest


2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the Photographic Society of NUS. Throughout our 40 years of journey, photography has become an integral part of our lives. It connects us to our past, our heart, our community and beyond. It preserves the moment, allowing us to walk down the memory lane. It exposes the heart to raw emotions. It provides a platform to focus on issues close to us. Holding a camera on our hands simply charges up our lives.

What does “connect” mean to you? Establishing relationships? Communicating? Or something else? Let your creative juices flow and interpret the theme in anyway you want! Be wacky, be witty, be exciting! Pick up your gears, press the shutter and reconnect yourself with the wonderful world of photography.

Montage Photo Seminar
5th June 2010, 1330 - 1830 hr
Suntec Singapore, Meeting Rooms 303 - 304
$6 (Student), $10 (Public)

Visit the Montage website at to find our more information about the Montage Photo Seminar and competition!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sneak peak at Photoshop CS5 new features

For a digital photographer, having good Adobe Photoshop knowledge is an essential skill set to improving the images post-exposure. And nothing even comes close to Adobe when it comes to digital imaging software, with incredible tools on hand to tackle every conceivable problem. And talking about "conceivable problem", you've got to give it to the Adobe guys to think of "every conceivable problem", because they seem to be able to conjure up new tools when you think that the current version of Photoshop is as powerful as it can get!

So with Adobe Photoshop CS5 launching round the corner on 12th April (that's next Monday), what can we expect from Adobe this time around. Well, Adobe has been teasing photographers with sneak previews of some new features, and they look pretty neat. I'll definitely look forward to the Content-Aware Fill as a key motivation for upgrade, seeing how much time it'll save me from cloning (watch the video - this new technology makes the Healing Brush look so yesterday!).

The Puppet Warp tool (strange name eh?) also looks fascinating, and you'd might think it's a trivial tool by watching the first half of the video. But keep on watching, and you'd start to realize the potential of the Puppet Warp tool for photographers and designers alike.

P.S: My friend just notified me of a spoof on the Content-Aware Fill feature. It's pretty hilarious, but not related to photography so I'm not putting up a direct link. If you're open for a good laugh, check out

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Launch of new photo website and photo forum!

Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to announce the launch of two major projects I've been working on - my revamped photography website and a new photography forum!

Nelson's Photography Website

My photography website at has been around for quite a while now, but this revamp gives it a brand new look to bring it up to date. In addition, you will also find new articles online as well as some reviews I've done lately. If you know someone who wants to learn photography, be sure to visit the website because I've a great new syllabus to help anyone pick up photography online!

Photomiki photography forum

My buddy David Ng (of GoDigital fame) and I decided to do something for the photo community, and what better ways are there to build knowledge than to build on the immense experience of the photo community? So after much huffing and puffing, we managed to set up the Photomiki photography forum! Remember to visit the photo forum to share your knowledge or ask some questions, or just to buy and sell your camera gear!

Leave some comments on you like my new projects!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rolling good times with Lowepro X300

I was shooting an assignment a week ago, and I had to lug quite a fair bit of gear. It was difficult to manage so many bags on a trolley, so I was really inspired to get one of those rolling cases so I can combine two to three camera bags of contents into one rolling case. I already have Pelican cases for my studio lights, so I'm looking for something for the camera gears. The Pelican rolling cases are nice and offer max protection, but they can be pretty hefty to lug around once they're filled.

And so I went researching for alternatives, and Lowepro came up in my list with something really interesting. It's called the Lowepro Pro Roller X300 (they've smaller versions such as the X200 and X100). What's so fascinating is that it combines some really smart feature into the rolling case that makes it really useful.

1) The rolling case is made up of a hard shell case and a inner pack that can be removed and used as a backpack. How cool is that!

2) The roller case can stand at a 45 degrees inclination so you can access it more easily than one that's lying flat on the floor. It's a big plus if you're shooting outdoors and the floor is dirty.

3) The roller wheels are user-replaceable. That's a darn good news because my buddy had one of the older version of the Lowepro roller case, and he was literally dragging (not rolling!) the case along the floor when one of the wheels broke and there was nothing he could do.

4) The extended handle serves double duty as a tripod where you can mount a camera or flash to set up a quick and dirty shot. Ok... it's really limited in practical use because the handle bar is a bit filmsy.

5) The roller case also comes with a built-in cable lock that is TSA approved, which makes the case safer to use. Not that you should check in your cameras and lenses anyway!

If I didn't do a good job of making it sound exciting enough, then perhaps you can check out the following video by Andrew Kornylak...

You can also find out more about the LowePro X300 Roller Case here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Rokton announces circular sensors

April 1st - Sensor manufacturer Rokton announced that it has developed round sensors instead of the traditional rectangular ones. In case you are not aware, lenses project round images, but the traditional rectangular sensors crop the middle sweet spot of the image circle. But Rokton figured that you're discarding half the image by using a rectangular sensor, and that is a big waste. By using Rokton's circular sensor, you'll be able to use all of the image. Sounds good?

Graphic explanation by Rokton

I doubt it. The problem with this theory is that although lenses project a circular image, most 35mm lenses are designed to provide a high quality image within the sweet spot (35mmx24mm) where rectangular sensors sit. Beyond that area, the image quality drops off quickly. So having a circular sensor doesn't make much sense to me.

In fact, releasing it on 1st April just makes it sound like a April Fool's joke. I'm pretty certain it is... let's see...

Update (3rd April): The Rokton website seems to be down, and DPReview has taken the announcement off their website. What could it be? Hmmm...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This takes the cake!


They say you can't have your cake and eat it... and I'm glad I can't! Check out this Canon EOS 5D Mk II cake designed by Studio Cake Design. Know you know what you can order for your loved ones for their next birthday!

What if you have a lot of guests at the party? Easy... order the Canon 5D Mk II with a vertical grip and a EF 1200mm f/5.6 L lens!

EOS 7D - when hell freezes over


We often see photographers scurrying for cover at the slightest hint of rain or snow. Given the prices of cameras today, you can’t blame them for being too careful with their latest acquisitions. But just how tough are the modern digital cameras? According to photographer Ole Jørgen Liodden who took his Canon EOS 7D to Antarctica, he reckons they’re pretty tough! Read more about the extreme weather testing he puts the EOS 7D through at the following link…