Tuesday, June 16, 2009


'You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.' (Nehemiah 9:6)

When I was back in my campus, I went to my friend's apartment to share some ideas on photography while switching lenses. He has a Canon EOS 350D (he has been using it for a couple of years) and is planning to get hold of a new one, who knows, he reckoned, a 40D? or perhaps a 50D?

He has this whole set of accessories and I tried out some of his lenses as well as filters (Thanks Kiu!). That whole night was filled with shutters clicking away and shots being viewed and deleted (just for some). It was like a photography forum. The photos were beautiful. Some were rrreeaallly close-up and others were artistically captured. In short, everything was nearly explored (However, I came back home and found there were more).

The Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (I call it the 'gargantua' lens for its long extended form): Good buy for those who would like to have a all-in-one-lens. Image quality however, may slide down a little.

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens: Inexpensive and well known for its sharp images production. Good for those who love extreme blur backgrounds but a sharp target(s).

I tried out a fixed focal length, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens and a zoom lens, the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens. Both performed well. The photos below are taken by these lenses:

Me with my Canon EOS 450D (when my battery hadn't broke down yet). Trying out Kiu's Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens. The two photos above were taken by Kiu using his Canon EOS 350D with his Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens. (ISO 400)

Notice how blur the background is? As the aperture number decreases e.g. f/1.8 and below, the depth-of-field becomes shallower and less light is captured. The target will appear sharper and the background blurred.

Me taken by Bong: Canon EOS 350D (borrowed from Kiu), 8 megapixel, Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens, Aperture Priority mode, focal length 50mm, shutter speed: 1/60 per sec, f/5, ISO 100, exposure compensation: 0

I got an idea one day and went to ask Kiu, and see if he agrees to it. The idea was to take moon shots by using his Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens. He agreed almost instantly.

Out of all times, my camera battery unknowingly broke down. It was only 3 1/2 weeks old! (Thanks to Canon, they later warranted me a brand new one). Thanks again to Kiu, he lent me his SLR. He took few moon shots before that. I saw the photos and was amazed. Soon after, I was outside in the night trying to capture the once-in-a 'blue moon'. These were the results:

Moon shot by Kiu: Canon EOS 350D, Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens, manual mode, focal length at 200mm, f/5.6, shutter speed at 1/500 sec., ISO 100 (Courtesy of Kiu)

This is it, my moon shot. The specs are the same as Kiu's. These moon shots are sharpened. I prefer mine to be more natural coloured (brightness and contrast) to depict the moment.

Try comparing Kiu's and my shots with this. Big differences, eh? This moon was captured by using a Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM super telephoto Lens mounted on a costly camera body. (Price approx. RM400,000)

If you are planning to take a really good photo of the moon or stars or any distant objects(such as the ones shown above), then the Canon super telephoto L lenses are for you. L lenses are considered 'Luxury' (L stands for this) for photography equipments and are top-in-line (in quality) among all Canon lenses. The trademark for Canon L lenses is the red line around them. Other than having a fast autofocus, they produced beautiful and optically excellent photos. Of course, they come with handsome prices, ranging from RM 7,000++* to an overwhelming bank-draining RM400,000++*. (*Prices may differ a little, depending on the present world market) Below are the the main Canon super telephoto L lenses.

Canon super telephoto L lenses: Pictured above from left to right is the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 IS L USM Lens, Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 IS L USM Lens and Canon EF 500mm f/4 IS L USM Lens

The Canon EF 800mm f/5.6 L IS USM Lens: Superb image quality production comes with a pretty price tag: approx: RM50,000-RM60,000++. The camera body alone costs about RM15,000.

Finally, the longest and full autofocus lens (very rare) in the world - the Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens. It boasts a price of approximately RM300,000-RM400,000. It is made through special order. Notice the handle (to carry it around like a luggage) above it and the camera hanging in mid air, supported by the lens' weight (about 16kg).

Thinking of it, we are just small living things on earth. Yet God loves and takes good care of each one of us. Jesus said: "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"(Matthew 6:26)

Jim Irwin, the eighth astronaut who walked on the moon, saw earth in the distance in the midst of darkness during his moonwalk. Earth, he said, was like a colourful orb hanging in mid air. Once a non-believer, he found and believed God's existence. He witnessed the greatness of God through His creations. Back home, he became a well known discoverer in searching for places mentioned in the Bible and spreading the Word of God.

Praise God for all the things he has given to us and may we grow with deep root in His word each and everyday.

Wonderful Counsellor

photo source: gracewalk.wordpress
'My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever'

~Psalm 73:26~

In a blink of an eye, one month has passed since I finished my finals and left the campus. It's just about a week and a half ago when I had an exciting yet nervous situation of my life- The announcement of my exam results.

The letter was there before me. I knew that it was time already, but I expected it to be announced the week after. With cold shaky hands, I tore open the top part of the letter carefully and peered inside. There were a bunch papers in there. I took them out and quickly searched for my exam slip. Soon, I was there staring at the numbers (grades) right in front of me. I did the necessary calculation and at that exact moment, I think I missed a heart-beat. I looked at my mom and sis and they looked excited as I was. Realization dawned upon me and I showed it to my family. The smiles on their faces brightened.

I am qualified for degree.

I re-applied for degree the day after and received another letter yesterday. Once again, I never knew it would arrived my door step with such speed but that was not the main point. Holding the letter, I sat on my couch and tore open the top of it. It was like dejavu. It seemed to happen before. I reached for the inside and took out a few pieces of papers, some colourful and some plain white. I flipped through and found the piece. Stated above, it was the words many pre-uni students hoped for- 'we..pleased..inform..offer..accepted'.

A sudden wave of thankfulness flowed through me. My mom, who was sitting beside me, hugged and congratulated me.

I just can't stop myself from praising God. His grace is indeed sufficient. He is a God of love, compassion, kindness, at the same time, fair and just. Knowing Jesus Christ is one big gift for my life and family (Thanks mom and dad, sis and bro for your support and prayers!). Receiving Him as my Savior and Lord over my life is even greater and joyous.

There may be times when we faced failure and adversity, but when we received and believed in His name, Jesus Christ, peace and joy overflow through us because we know that He is the mighty conqueror of each and everything and we can surrender our all to Him. For this, we can too sing with the psalmist: 'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.' (Psalm 23:4)

We should also acknowledge Him in everything we do. The Word of God tells us 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.' (Proverbs 3:5-6)

God has plans for us and it will be revealed according to His time. Prayer and faith are essential as part of a Christian life. The Bible tells us: 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. '(Philippians 4:6-7)

May we continue to offer our thanks giving to our Lord our God and glorify His Holy name, in prayer, songs, and the things we do on earth.

Our God is truly a living God worthy to be praised forever and ever!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tackle, Pass, and Shoot

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

It's been weeks now since I updated my blog. Life's has never been so busy. Everyday is like a new chapter in a story book for me. Through these, I've not only gain experiences (lessons also), I realize and thank God for His sufficient Grace for me, my family, and people around me. Thanksgiving is not for a special occasion only (Thanksgiving Day), but for each day, we should continue to give our praises and honour and glory unto His Holy Name- Jesus Christ.

Moving on, here's an 'introductory' photo taken by me using my Canon 450D:

Canon EOS 450D, Shutter Priority mode (Tv), Shutter Speed: 1/200 per sec. , in-built flash On, 55mm focal length, aperture f/5.6, Exposure compensation: +2 step

Shutter priority is the setting where you set your desired shutter speed and the camera automatically set the aperture for you. It is peculiarly useful in sports photography, where precision and timing are essential. However, it is still recommended that you go full-time manual when you are confident. Don't forget also to put your shots to continuous to capture a series of dramatic moves.

Here are some of my early shots that I took during a sports event held in my campus (about two months ago when I'm still a newbie to my SLR, that's the reason on why I used the sports auto mode for the photos below):

Practices before the big day for my batch's basketball team

Try setting your camera's (best on dSLR) shutter speed to 1/60 per sec. and focus (and follow) on the target using the viewfinder to obtain a sharp looking target but a 'dash' background (such as above), indicating speed and movement.

During the competition

I also grabbed the opportunity to snatch a few shots during the soccer competition held on the same day:

The kit lens I used (Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS) in the above photos is not really suitable for sports photography as its zoom range is not narrow enough. A Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS or f/4.0 USM (if possible, find a lens that has a smaller angle of view from 300mm-500mm) is more of an ideal choice.

Another tip for sports photography is to capture the moments of athletes during times of resting, winning, or even being in a defeat situation. These moments could be memorable and treasured.

In the coming posts (I'll update when I find the time), I'll upload more photos that I took during the past few weeks.

Till then, take care and God bless.

Jesus loves you! :)