Thursday, December 31, 2009

Exploring the London Borough Market

The London Borough Market has to be the most difficult place to visit. For me anyways! This is my 4th, read 4th attempt to visit it, and it had me going in circles for a good time today, ignoring the last 3 times where I went off on a totally wrong tangent ;-)

Not all the stores were open, but it was still fairly busy.

Trying to get over my difficulty in shooting people.

Another view of the market.

In other news, I again asked the permission of one of the more interesting store owners for a shot, was declined, saying that he was too self concious. He was fine with me shooting the stall and all, just not himself.

Me, I actually came away not feeling dissapointed, but actually quite delighted, for two reasons: I'd asked for permission, and that I actually worked up the courage to do this.

Going to be so alone on new years'.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Breaking barriers

Another lazy day off. Decided to go out for a walk around Trafalgar Square as I've not visited there for a while. The morning started out very nice, but just around noon time, the temperature started to drop rapidly. It was so cold, when I got back home and popped open my camera, the CF card inside was cold...

Street is not my forte. But I'm trying.

 Wish that sign wasn't there gah.

An interesting Z-shaped cloud formation. Took a bit of finessing in Bibble to get it silhouetted as I'd instictively upped the meter by 2/3s of a stop, and got a "correct" exposure but not an exposure I wanted. Messed with the color balance as well to get the blues more insane.

Finally, I went over to Convent Garden market. There was one particular store owner that stood out for the rest, I wanted to take the shot, but as usual, couldn't.

After fussing around outside the market, I decided to ask permission, the worst that could happen is he'd say no and I could just go home crying but he said yes. Evidently, he is well photographed, but from what I could hear from his neighbour, not many people actually ask for permission.

I took 3 shots, shutter was very low at 1/15 of a second, around 55mm, 5.6 @ iso 800. VR saving my bacon here, but the first shot had major subject motion from the furball. I think they turned out very well, and I will be sending him prints.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Exploring London on Boxing Day

Thought I'd explore central London, or whatever was within walking distance for a bit. Went to work first though, but didn't stay long. Went out for food, lusting for some Chicken Katsu, but the good places weren't open. Yet.

Next down the list... Nandos... oh yeah. hot spicy peri-peri :3 But they were only open at 2pm! GAH! Next best thing, went down to chinatown and got me some grub. Did two quick runs of Daytona USA, decided I'd rather spend some time finishing a book I borrowed (Ross Lowell's Matter of Light and Depth), so trotted off home.

I did take the scenic road home though:

Decorative items at Fernandez and Wells... I hope they are decorative! Ouch!

A little addendum: It may not look like it, but this was taken using Niel van Niekerk's flash techniques. SB600 was pointed to the right, flagged with black foam board. The flash was zoomed in to 85mm. Attempts at using CLS failed, sadly - ambient light was probably too high. I didn't bring my radio triggers out today gah.

Many floats and balloons around, I'll just put one up for interests' sake.

Fox at a window display of

Wanted to get the BT Tower inside a triangular frame, but this is the best I could manage.

Where does your eye go to? Light or Dark?

I did some google map calculations... I think I walked like 9 miles yesterday... no wonder my legs are tired. Yes, I'm healthy, but not fit ;-)

Visiting Tattenham Corner

Visited Tattenham Corner, which is a residential area near the Epsom Downs Racecourse.

Corner of the high street near the supermarket.

The mist covered everything that day. On a clear day, you should be able to see the major landmarks from the viewpoint near the race course, such as the BT tower in london, St Pauls etc (!!!). Super heavy crop as I was too lazy to pull out the 70-200.

The pedestrian underpass inside the race course.

Walking the dog. Another heavy crop.... this time I did want to pull out the 70-200 but it was wedged at the bottom of by bag. Gah!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Xmas is quiet

Xmas is quiet, and with public transport generally non-existant, I could only hoof it around the neighbourhood.

I liked the bold, contrasting colors. Also, the vehicle seems to have been perma-locked in place?

The Camden Locks are uncharacteristically quiet.

The water looks so damned cg...

Many of the usual places were locked up, but I found people wandering about the locked up areas, how did they get in?

Nobody. Dead. Silence. Only a few tourists were wandering about.

White VS Black.

How did they get an XL cap up there, boggles the mind.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Exploring London

Just walking around London with my D200. Does this count as street photography?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Framestore: NUKE SITE LICS :)

So awesome :) Having now moved mostly to Nuke, it's a little unsettling since most of the shake stuff needs to be adapted. Thankfully, much of the workflow can be quickly adapted, just need to know what the new nodes do.

But dang, tab creation of nodes like Houdini, *stability* and a very quick load time. I wish every place would just switch over to Nuke for vfx comping :):):)


Tuesday, December 08, 2009


So today I was adjusting some forces on my particle system. Looks reasonable (to me) but I was thinking... "hmm... what happens if I drop the vortex force by a stop?"


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Wireless Flash with High Speed Sync

An interesting question on on what camera can do wireless flash with high speed sync, so here's what Nikons can do:

Quick shot of my main wildlife cam.

The camera used to take the picture was:
- a Nikon D200
- a Sb600 flash
- 55mm 2.8 AIS Manual Focus Micro Nikkor (40 years old maybe?)

Shooting data is F5.6/400 at ISO200. Note that the sync speed of the D200 is 1/250, D300 is 1/320.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Re-visiting Shepreth Wildlife Park

The itchy trigger finger needed some medicine, so I thought I'd drop down to Shepreth Wildlife Park again to get some much needed healing time. Went with some photogs this time, and did NOT just bring my 70-300VR :P

I think Winter is a fairly tough time to go shooting critters. Not only is the weather always threatening to pour, it is *cold*. Light in broad daylight is also pretty dim, most of the day I was averaging 1600 iso, wide open on my 300/4, though with the 70-200, I could drop down to about 800-1000, but still the conditions there weren't always conducive to shooting with the shorter lens. Come on Nikon, 300/2.8VR DX please.....

For most of the day, I was actually staying with the tigers. It's tough to get a nice environment shot free of the fencing, so I focused more on abstracts and portraits.

This full face shot above has some technical issues - mainly shooting through the fencing at close range caused some horrible loss of contrast. Much tweaking to get a color version was to no avil, but a B&W conversion seemed to work.

This is a crop (maybe 30%) into the frame; the female was lying around by a set of two fences, so anything shot with a shorter lens will be all fencing. The 300/4 + 1.4xTC and some luck allowed a shot through both sets of fences, but I still captured some of it, hence the crop.

There is a new meerkat exhibit (good lord why are meerkats in almost every zoo?!) - but what's even better is the new food/play area - lots of space, and more choices of food :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sometimes, one needs to look at a subject from different viewpoints

Caught this series today when I went out for lunch. I'd brought my d200 with me the last two days, as I knew I'd be staying late and would love an old friend to keep me company :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Personality type?

I'm not even sure why I'm blogging this. It makes no sense, but I just want to write about it. Perhaps just as a memory, to see how I've progressed over time.

More than half a decade ago, I graduated from uni, and begun my job hunt. For some reason lost and forgotten, I happened to pick up work versus personality types. I had identified myself back then as an INFP. No surprise for those that have worked with me - appearing at the pub on friday night would be some what rare.

Two days ago, I was hunting through my blog for an old picture and went over this old post, about passion. (Side note, is this syncronicity or what, but I was recently discussing about passion just last week with an animator friend of mine who would refuses a job at lucas, simply because the project does not interest him. I countered that, whatever pays the bills mate. Perhaps because in visual effects, we still get to do the cool stuff (tm) no matter the show, and animating clones would be boring?).

What is passion? (Oh yeah, watch as I derail the post). Is it the love of doing something? What drives you in the dark when the lights are out and there is no more milk left in the fridge for your tea? Is this passion? I don't know now. All I can say is, I love my job, won't switch it for another.

But if given another life, who knows. Heck, I'd love to be a vet. A wolf vet. Yeah. What I am not interested to be - you may be surprised - is to be a photographer. Nope. Not as a job.

While I enjoy photography *intensely*. It is simply an outlet for my creative juices (if there are) - after all, at work, while it is very challenging and I always have to figure out creative ways to get things to work (sub frame particle trailing today, for example), the clients and my supervisors are number one. Not me. While I do try to inject some ideas (e.g. I bugged one of my old bosses to put a gundam in the commercial and they actually allowed a mecha to be put in :P ), I am a firm believer that my job is to help my bosses achieve their vision through the kickass use of Houdini ;-)

So back to that passion page. This is a link to topic #40 at Sloperama, and I somehow reached #7. There was that personality thing and yeah, I thought it'd be fun to try it out again, after so many years.

This time, I came in as an INFJ. Surprisingly, the general flow of thought about my characteristics were quite on the ball. But so what. No big deal there.

Some googling turned up this page, which not only made for an interesting read, but also some personal development suggestions.

Here's some food for thoughts:
  • May find their ideas overlooked and underestimated - every time I use a flash outdoor in bright sunlight, people look at me funny. Grow up people. If the light sucks, we can create our own light.
  • May not be forthright with criticism - especially flickr. That is NOT a great macro shot people. Its crap. Wake up, and stop the mutual loving.
  • May be reluctant to intrude upon others and thus keep too much to themselves - this may be the reason why I am useless, utterly useless at real street photography.
  • May operate with single-minded concentration, thereby ignored other tasks that need to be done - obviously true, as I blew my flash, ignoring the warning signs to stop shooting and bloody put on the weather shield :P
Some other interesting reads: <- hey look! Artist, Musician, Photographer!

That much written, I think that the INFJ while is closest to what I can identify with, is not a 100% catch all for me (or for anyone). I also indentify closely with the INTJ type, which I think applies very much when I'm at work, versus INFJ when I'm out of work and able to follow my own creative endevours.

So much to think about, so little time.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Exploring Highgate

Bike in La Bruschetta

I was looking for someplace near London to explore (read: cheap) and my deputy Head of 2d recommended me to take a nice walk from Highgate down to Hamstead Heath. It's a really nice place to visit around. Didn't take much pictures of the town itself though :P

Quite surprised to see a bee this time of year.

Clock tower in Archway

A short walk downhill gets me to Archway. My plan was to visit the cemetary, then explore Hamstead Heath. A very good plan, but one that was doomed to fail in winter.

Even at 2pm, I was at iso 1600 (!!!), wide open on my 16-85vr. And it was raining.

That's not a problem since I'm not exactly going to be printing those - at websizes no one can tell!

hi-1 (boosted) - can you see the noise?

Inside the cemetary, 1600 and very slow shutter speeds, and up to the boosted hi-1 were used.


Had a great time shooting panos there. I had about 10 panos taken, but only these 3 came out with compositions I liked.

Till next time!