A little bit of everything through the lens.

I See Blue... (21)

Thursday, April 30, 2009 by , under ,

Took these shots 2 weeks ago, finally got to uploading it. I blame the delay on...errr...never mind...

These are shots of Texas state flower, Bluebonnet. Bluebonnet is a type of wild flower just like these.

We drove around Chappell Hill, Texas, for a good half hour until we saw this amazing patch of Bluebonnet. This piece of land belongs to Lillian Farms Bed & Breakfast, a pretty cool place. The owner was kind enough to let us take photos inside the compound and we did.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 @ f/2.8
Bluebonnet 1

Bluebonnet 2

Bluebonnet 3

Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS @ f/8 with circular polarizer (A really impressive kit lens)
Bluebonnet 4

Bluebonnet 5

Bluebonnet 6

So which photo do you like the most?

I have more Bluebonnet photos coming up soon...very soon...I hope.

Links to this post |

Sweetness...Not Dessert Though (22)

Saturday, April 25, 2009 by , under , ,

Last week was a hectic one for me. Job dateline has kept me up late a few nights. I can barely keep my eyes open by Friday night. Past out for 10 hours and woke up to this sweetness!

Lovely Breakfast
Yes, it's a simple breakfast but the effort and results definitely put a big smile on my face! I'm a lucky man!
To my wife - Thank you sweetie! You're the best!

Links to this post |

In The Wild (12)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 by , under ,

Wild flower is the sign of Spring here in Texas and it's also the sign of allergy season for some people, unfortunately.

Usually there are a lot of wild flowers on the side of the highway but this year the wild flowers population seems to have reduced. Lucky for me, I was at a place way out in the country doing some volunteer works a few weeks ago and I was able captured these shots.

Sun Rise
Alright this isn't wild flower but I thought it was a great shot to be included here. Captured at 8am in the morning, same place where I took photo below.

Texas Wild Flower
Yellow flower bed. I have captured some Blue Bonnet wild flower photos last weekend but I still haven't work on it yet, procrastinating as usual... Soon, very soon, I will get to it...maybe...

Links to this post |

Detox Meal (11)

Monday, April 20, 2009 by , under ,

We have this dish for dinner probably once a week. I called it my detox meal - the fiber will cleanse my system of all the junk I stuff in my mouth everyday, or so I hope it will.

Faye called it the quick and easy meal when she don't have time to cook or when she ran out of idea what to cook.

Detox Meal
Romaine lettuce, baby spinach, strawberry, kiwi, mandarin orange, pumpkin seed, pecan, walnut, cranberry, and raisin - yup, it's loaded!

Links to this post |

Photo Day at Houston Zoo (17)

Saturday, April 18, 2009 by , under ,

We've been living in Houston for more than 10 years and we have never been to the Houston Zoo, what a shame! Not that the Houston Zoo is not cool but we always thought it's a place for kids and families.

Well, thanks to my boss and his wife, who were kind enough to invite us there(and paid the fees) for the 2nd Annual Photo Day at the Houston Zoo - it's a day cater to photography enthusiast and professional. The zoo opened to participants 2 hours prior to the normal zoo operation hours. Which was pretty cool, since we will see much less people when we roam around the zoo shooting photos.

And again thanks to my boss, who also loan a camera to Faye so she can try some photography fun! And fun, she had! Now that I know she like it, buying a 2nd camera body is not such a bad idea after all...hehehe...*wink*

Curious Meerkat
Curious Meerkat, all they do are just standing around stare curiously at human while human stare at them.

Scary Striped Cat
Pretty obvious what this is, if not, consult a brain surgeon.

Striped Cat
One of the zoo keeper told me this is a she and she's on loan from the San Diego Zoo as a stand in while the original tiger is in a Florida zoo to complete her mission - to mate.

Enjoying one of their favorite past time, dipping into the water. They sure are beautiful animal, well, beautiful as long as they're on the other side of the fence.

Some kind of duck, matching...

Hot Chick with Camera
That's Faye firing her camera away! Isn't she cool?

The following photos are from my wife's camera. She definitely has the skills to be a really good photographer, I just have to convince her to pick up the camera more often!

What are you looking at?
Same guys as the one on the 1st photo, just different perspective - still nosy curious though.

Long Neck
I couldn't get a good photo of the giraffe, I'm glad Faye did!

Lazy Bear
A lazy bear.

Flap Deployed
Good timing there! Oh, by the way, this is a Pelican, I think.

Houston Zoo has much more cool animals then what I post here but a lot of the photos didn't turn out right so we have to try again next time.

Links to this post |

Our last meal in Taipei before we head for Malaysia was in Jiu Ru Restaurant on the 4th floor of Taipei 101 Mall with my god parents and their daughter.

Don't ask me the name of these dishes because I have no idea...well...I was too busy stuffing it into my stomach hahaha... All I remember is that the food was well prepared, tasty and I was really really full after dinner.

Some food photo tips below if you are interested.

This Taiwan trip could easily qualified as the most food photos I have ever taken during a trip. It all started as an assignment to document the foods I had there for my food loving wife, who couldn't join me on this trip. Then it evolved into an obsession to capture tasty food for my own reference!

Anyway, here are few things I learned while taking food photos at restaurant:

Never Use Flash - Primary reason is due to the fact that most flash will render the photo too harsh to look pleasant. Secondary reason, it will annoy other patrons in the restaurant and why would you want that?

Use Higher ISO Setting - Use high ISO to compensate for low light condition and to prevent motion blur. Yes, high ISO will introduce noise to the photo, but these photos are not for print anyway, for me at least. Of course choose the ISO level where the noise level is acceptable based on your camera. I have used ISO as high as 1600 for some of these food photos because setting up a tripod in a restaurant is impractical and it will also invite some curious and uncomfortable stare. Btw, don't forget to brace your arm against the table to reduce motion blur.

Use Exposure Compensation - This may apply to my camera model only, Canon XTi(400D), or it could apply to all camera type. Seems to me a lot of my indoor shot were underexposed, especially when the image has a lot of white in it. My theory is that the camera is trying to achieve 18% Grey normal exposure, to achieve that for a white subject(like plate or dish) is to underexposed it. So don't be afraid to increase exposure to correct that. Both point&shoot and DSLR have this feature.

Use Rule of Third - Use it to make the photo a little more interesting but don't be afraid to break the rules too.

Does any of this make any sense? If not, please let me know. Of course I'm not a professional so take these tips with a grain of salt. Have fun!

Links to this post |

Chow Down in Taiwan - Almost Done... (12)

Saturday, April 11, 2009 by , under ,

Yup, yet another Taiwan food post! I think there's one more after this to complete my "Chown Down in Taiwan" series, almost done... Yes, I know I'm slow at this blogging thing.

My god mother insist that we should go to "Din Tai Fung" even though I told her I have tried it in Singapore. Let just say I'm glad she insisted, the original in Taipei was better. Even their services were much better than the one in Singapore.

And I just realized that "Din Tai Fung" has restaurant in quite a number of countries - Taiwan, Japan, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Korea, US, Malaysia, and Australia...Wow!

Din Tai Fung

Steamed Dumpling
The infamous steamed green vegetable and pork dumplings.

Wonton Soup
Green vegetable and pork wonton soup.

Glass Noodle Soup
Glass noodle soup with fried bean curd and pork rolls.

Pork Chop Fried Rice
Pork Chop Fried Rice.

Steamed Red Bean Rice Cake
Steamed Red Bean Rice Cake.

Covered Up
They even have one of this thing to cover your bags - my camera bag in this case. My jacket which was hung on the chair was also covered! That's a first for me to experience this kind of service...maybe I should go out more often...

My favorite is of course their steamed dumpling. I like their pork chop fried rice too. Which one do you like?

Links to this post |

Random Photos - Taipei (11)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009 by , under ,

About time to post something other than food, if not people are going to think this is a food blog.

Anyway, here are some random photos captured in Taipei. Not many touristy photos because I didn't visit any tourist attraction, well, other than Taipei 101.

Fascinated by the hand cover so I captured this shot, very interesting contraption to keep the hand warm.

Anybody knows what that square box on the left is for?

It wasn't a good day when I took this photo of Taipei 101 so I convert it to black and white to hide the "imperfection", ha!

Errr...people bus stop...

Looking Up
Taipei 101 from the base of the tower. Taipei 101, the name definitely sounds like a course code I took back in college, ie. Physics 101, Biology 101, get it?

Taipiei 101 Mall
Taipei 101 Mall, filled with brands I can't afford...

Links to this post |