Monday, December 31, 2007

Manila, December 2007

river watching

morning ritual

little boy blue, taxi queue

manong kariton vs. the mechanical road warriors

family shower

manila skyline

political architecture

auntie's sari-sari

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Digital Blending

I've seen how my D40 performs and the results don't really lag behind the higher Nikon models.. in fact it performs at par with them given the right conditions. Perhaps Ken Rockwell was correct in saying "your camera doesn't matter".

But if there is one setback to the D40, it is not the lack of a built-in AF motor, certainly not the low megapixel count (6MP compared to 10-12MP DSLRs in the market) nor the weight, but the lack of an exposure bracketing. It is
a process that takes a series of shots of the same view with different exposures, in the photographer's hopes that one in those series would be the best exposed shot.

Nowadays most digital photographers use this feature to blend the dark shots (exposed for shadows) with the light shots (exposed for highlights) in photo editing programs such as photoshop. It is commonly used in landscapes where the sky almost always is overexposed.

But do I need to get a new camera.. say the D300? Waa.. no budget yet for that -

I can only think of 2 solutions to this dilemma: one is a good tripod, the other is to REALLY learn how to photograph well. The basis for good photography is a well-balanced exposure of a shot. Heck how did the good film camera users in the past did it??

Here's a test.. a cloudy saturday view in my apartment (using my cheap freebie tripod)

underexposed, -3.0EV (exposure value) to highlight the clouds

overexposed, +3.0EV to highlight the landscape below

the 2 layers blended in photoshop

test - one shot using -0.7 EV

So much to learn using the limitations my D40.. Can't wait to use the (black!) aluminum tripod my Chinese friend got for me (1/5 the price in China for the same quality you get in Singapore!) - other than that, I might as well get a better Nikon DSLR.. nuninuninu

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why So Serious?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wide Angle and Macro Teleconverter

Just acquired this useful addition to my lens.. a wide angle and macro teleconverter. This one I got from my new favorite camera shop, Lords Cameras and Watches at Lucky Plaza. Yes, LP, which is a haven for rude electronics retailers, has a diamond in its rough. Their prices are much lower, they are listed as a Nikon distributor, and the guy is a really nice dude. I was merely scouting for either a wide angle 12-24 lens or a fisheye Nikkor but he dissuaded me and offered me the teleconverter instead. He says spending over a thousand bucks is not worth it - so he offered me this 200 dollar deal..

..and it exactly does what I want it to do. It enables me to stretch my 18mm further to a wider angle (albeit the distortion, which I actually like, giving me that fisheye effect) . The macro is also great, the close up shots are awesome.

the gang in wide angle

lego vader

the witch king of angmar

e-centre @ redhill

red gundam

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Magiting '93

14 years ago.. the best of times :p

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Asian Contemporary Interiors

Asian contemporary design is characterized by the abundant use of timber, (i.e. teak, wenge, etc.) endemic to the region, and patterns influenced from Asian cultural art forms. Any piece of furniture and / or decor can take a modern shape, yet, while infusing Asian colors, patterns and textures, results in a unique Asian flavor.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

3D Post No. 44 - Once Upon a Time


2007 has marked my 10th year of doing 3D - as an old man rewinding memories in my mind with tears in his eyes, I am blogging my ancient 3D history :p. Read on..

So I started doing what I love doing in 1997, aka the Jurassic Period of 3D rendering. PCs were only running at 60Mhz and RAM was way too expensive (P1,000 / megabyte!). Despite the limitations they were the best and worst of times. (sniff) It was exciting to do 3D stuff and we were pretty amazed at any CG that comes out of our monitors. Windows was still causing a stir and the first edition of 3D Studio Max was an exponential improvement from the DOS version. The downside was things really rendered slowly and production was a pain, but we didn't mind..

.. yeah.. was also a victim of that lens flare craze.. and those (ugh) tasteless RPCs :p

1999 up until 2000, just did scanline, scanline, and more scanlines.. computers became faster, software was getting more and more complex..

.. and one day I got bored and made my first attempt at "fakiosity".. (but I never got to repeat it until I arrived in Singapore, where fakiosity is still a norm side by side with the G.I. renderers.)

In 2001 it wasn't all gloom and doom with the 9/11 attacks and the economic recession, it was also the advent of radiosity, which was introduced in VIZ 4. It really made renders much more photorealistic than scanline outputs.. below is my first radiosity try, based on an Arquitectonica sketch..

..and more practice renders:

somewhere along the way I desired to learn Lightscape (which I think is still unbeatable in terms of G.I. solutions). Too bad they discontinued this software in favor of enhancing Max and it's Mental Ray plugin.

..the dilemma was that radiosity and/or lightscape renders took far long to prepare and render compared to scanline, and the time difference to achieve that effect only makes one think of reverting back to standard lighting. Which I did, in 2003, but with more complex lighting placements.

Then along came (drum roll) the G.I. renderers..! With G.I. (Global Illumination), any renderer is bound to be a great artist with only a few clicks.. Now photorealism is much more convincing and more intuitive to use. Except that we are fed with voodoo words like "min-max" and "regathering" and tons more of G.I. related jargon enough to create its own language. The motto then was "because it is not the artist's fault". Nope, it's the software developers'. :p Take the first G.I. engine I ever tried, as an example - Splutterfish's Brazil. It was too long and complex to set up back then:

..and I also became familiar with Cebas' Final Render, but didn't have a chance to use it in an actual output -

- because after a while came the star G.I. renderer, Chaos Group's Vray:

and everything really changed.. which is now my renderer of choice. It was the easiest and fastest G.I. engine that one could ever come across. I suppose I have no need to expound on the capabilities of the plugin as this blog is sprawling with Vray renders everywhere..

..and now, I'm thinking of learning Mental Ray, because it is slowly rivalling Vray's speed.. but who really knows what the next trend will be? I have yet to see the next quantum leap in rendering.. which doesn't seem to be happening yet.. Nuninuninu..

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rock and Shoot - Sepia

hybrid kamote (formerly mesh p)

mr. brosnan?


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rock and Shoot at the Arena, Clark Quay

It was a good venue for Pinoy bands who rocked.. :) and for the Pinoy CSers (clubsnappers, a photography enthusiast group in Singapore) to fire away their shots, who incidentally also organized the event. Some of the bands who played:

mesh p (among the other bands, they have got the most awesome stage presence)

quiverpool (their bassist was a good subject.. he had the blues look, definitely got charisma on stage)

mesh p (did i say they were vibrant all over the stage?)

quiverpool (rattle and hum look)

tone def (not sure about their name, but they belted out hard rock tunes.. yeah!)

mesh p (loved the two musicians' silhouettes)

quiverpool (he could pass for buddy guy)

mr. brosnan (the band that played the most originals)

tone def (rock star effect)

mr. brosnan (pure pinoy music)