Here are some pictures of this new race. I found out that this final leg of three stages would be passing by my town. Immediately, I went back home to get the cameras and the batteries still had some charges in it, nice.
Here are some pictures of practice 1 & 2 shot at the last corner of the circuit located at the Grandstand which is opened to the public on first day of the event. As for tomorrow, I will be shooting at the Hillstand.
The early morning crowd.
Pictures from Practice 1 and 2.
…and some pictures from the mall area.
I missed the event in January caused I had to attend to some business. Not this time, since it occurs late at night till early morning. The moon will be high up and I don’t need to go to an open ground. I just need to set the camera up on the balcony. The difference between this one and the previous is that the full moon on 31 January 2018 was a big one (moon nearest to earth – Perigee), while this one is small since the moon is at the furthest distance from earth (Apogee). On the bright side, it is the longest lunar eclipse this 21st century.
Here are the photographs I had just taken on this day 28 July 2018 till the moon fully lost its brightness but still left with some light, hence called the Blood Moon. The picture of the Blood Moon here is just too grainy to punch up, so I leave it with just the usual edit.
Also Mars is in line of sight. That small dot in the lower left-hand is the fourth rock at its nearest point to Earth.
My mistake in capturing the Blood Moon was that I had a 1.4 teleconverter attached to a 150-600mm lens at an aperture setting of F9 running at 64000 to 128000 ISO settings. I was too concerned about getting a large image. In retrospect, I should be using the 70-210mm F2 lens with or without the 1.4 teleconverter, which would give me an F4 or F2 aperture respectively. A much smaller image, but I would then be able to expose at a very much lower ISO and slower speed.
Stayed for two nights at Lhokseumawe before catching the flight home in Medan. It was planned because I was just curious. I had been hearing the name for a long while. Here are some pictures of the small town by the sea from my small walk around.
Finally, a photograph of the Islamic Centre in Lhokseumawe. It made my day, because of its spacious ground that didn’t restrict my movements playing with the Samyang shift lens. I took shots of this building left, right and centre.
These days you don’t need to know one of the important aspects of photography, that is, focusing to get a sharp image of the subject. It is done automatically by the camera. For those who have never used a manual lens before, will definitely find it a hassle to deal with when the time comes to deal with one. In the old days one needs to learn the process with the help of a few different types of focusing screens. Nowadays you don’t have that unless the camera has a changeable focusing screen.
The procedure for focusing is very easy. You just need to look at the screen, turn the focusing ring around and stop the focusing ring when the image is sharp. The trouble is, when to stop? Even with focus beep you will probably overshoot a little. What if you don’t have the time to slowly get it in focus? Easier said than done.
Here is a technique that will help you get by and get you a sharp image for wide angle lenses. You don’t even need to look at the screen for focusing. Here’s what to do;
1) Judge the distance of your subject to the camera
2) Turn the focusing ring to the maximum (the infinity mark right on top of the lens)
3) Select your aperture (depends on lighting, the smaller the aperture the better the result will be)
4) Turn the focusing ring until the infinity mark is adjacent to the aperture marking on the lens
Note: There are two similar aperture markings on the lens, they are called Hyperfocal Distance Scale. You can only turn in one direction when the infinity mark is on top of the lens. The reading on the other similar aperture marking, gives the nearest distance that will be in focus. Everything from this point to infinity will be in focus. If your subject is beyond this minimum distance, rest assured that it will be in focus. Just make sure your subject of interest is not too near the minimum distance that will be in focus.
I used this technique when I didn’t have the time to focus (also for candid snap) or when it was dark to focus. When using flashgun, choose the aperture that your auto flashgun is capable of. For manual flashgun, you need to know its strength. You have to check it out. You will probably need a bigger aperture when in the open or in a big hall, and will be able to use smaller aperture in a small room because the reflected lights that bounced off the walls help.
That’s for wide angle lenses. In general, the technique for focusing is to start from the maximum distance, infinity mark right on top of the lens. Slowly turn the focusing ring until you get the image looks sharp and then stop. At the focus point (hyperfocal distance), there will be some distance towards the camera that will be in focus and, much more distance away from it will be in focus too. It is called Depth Of Field. How deep or shallow this depth depends on the lens focal point and the aperture used. The wider the lens, the deeper it will be. It could be just in front of the camera to infinity. On the aperture side, you get shallower depth on bigger aperture and deeper depth on smaller aperture. That explains the above technique. The reverse is true for a telephoto lens, the depth of field is shallow and the longer the focal length, the shallower the depth of field will be. The idea is that, if you missed the focusing and get it slightly forward towards the camera, the wider depth of field region behind the focusing point will increase the probability that the subject will still be in focus. Especially on a telephoto lens with wide opening, this technique gives better probability than the reverse method, that is to start focusing from near distance to infinity.
I am not a professional photographer, but in my younger days I was moonlighting a lot as a wedding photographer to help subsidise this hobby of mine. It was not cheap in those days.
Berada di kabupaten (perbandaran kiranya di Malaysia) Aceh Tengah, Takengon adalah salah-satu kecamatan (daerah) di kabupaten ini. Terletak pada ketinggian 1200m dari paras laut, ia dikenali juga dengan nama julukan Tanah Dataran Tinggi Gayo. Untuk sampai ke Takengon, banyak khidmat jalan darat yang disediakan oleh berbagai-bagai perusahaan perjalanan di kota Medan. Jalan-jalan di pergunungan tidaklah luas dan tidak pula mendatar serta berliku-liku, oleh itu, digunakan van untuk perjalanan siang hari dan bas pula digunakan untuk perjalanan malam hari. Pergi saja ke Jalan Gajahmada, Medan, di sana terdapat banyak loket-loket (kaunter) untuk pembelian tiket bus atau van ke Takengon. Perjalanan udara dari Kota Medan ke Bener Meriah, daerah yang bersebelahan dengan daerah Takengon, baharu sahaja diadakan. Buat masa sekarang, hanya Wings Air sahaja yang mengadakan perkhidmat penerbangan ini. Untuk keterangan lanjut, sila cari atas talian.
Bandar Takengon letaknya di pinggir barat sebuah tasik yang bernama Danau Lut Tawar (Danau Laut Tawar – Adalah lebih baik jika namanya Danau Laut Air Tawar, kerana air yang ditawar itu obat/penawar, semoga sihat sesiapa yang meminum airnya, jauh dari membuat tawar hati). Ia tidaklah begitu besar. Kalau tidak ada masalah kesihatan, boleh saja keliling kota ini dengan berjalan kaki. Pada mereka yang mempunyai semangat ‘adventurism’ yang tinggi dan mempunyai banyak waktu, teruskanlah berjalan kaki mengelilingi danau Lut Tawar. Cuma hati-hati di jalan kerana ia tidak mempunyai kaki-lima (ruang) untuk pejalan kaki. Boleh juga gunakan khidmat becak motor.
Penginapan boleh dipesan atas talian. Saya telah membuat ‘booking’ melalui sesawang Agoda untuk dua malam di Hotel Bunda. Hotel yang sederhana tetapi sangat memuaskan dari segi hidangan sarapannya, tempat terletaknya hotel ini yang agak ‘central’ (boleh melihat pemandangan sekitaran bandar Takengon dan danau dari atas bumbong hotel), cafe dan rumah makan bersebelahan, dan kedai untuk top-up kartu prabayar berada di seberang jalan. Tidak lupa juga terminal bus dan van yang tidak begitu jauh. Saya telah berjalan kaki ke sana untuk membeli tiket perjalanan saya selanjutnya.
Cuaca di Takengon sejuk tetapi tidaklah keterlaluan. Akan lebih terasa pada malam hari dan pada awal pagi, lebih lagi terasa apabila ditiup angin. Gabungan hawa sejuk ini dan tanah yang subur membuat penghasilan tanaman kopi dari bijiran Robusta dan Arabica yang baik mutunya sehingga bijiran kopi Arabica Tanah Gayo ini boleh mencapai harga yang lebih tinggi dari harga-harga bijiran kopi Arabica dari negara Brazil atau negara-negara Amerika Latin yang lain. Untuk melawat dan melihat kebun dan kilang kopi di Takengon, tanyakan saja pada abang-abang becak, banyak yang tahu dan boleh membawa buat lawatan tetapi tidak semua.
Kopi Gayo pastinya boleh dibawa pulang sebagai oleh-oleh. Oleh-oleh selainnya adalah hasil kerajinan tangan dari orang-orang suku Gayo. Saya tidak memasuki kedai kraft tangan ini, cuma melihatnya dari jauh. Dari yang tradisional, terdapat juga yang baru seperti tas tangan wanita dan tas-tas sandang belakang.
Akhir kata, Takengon adalah tempat kunjungan yang sesuai buat berehat sambil menziarahi dan melihat kebun dan kilang penghasilan kopi (agro tourism kiranya). Menikmati rasa kopinya di cafe-cafe yang terdapat merata, selain dari menikmati hawa dingin, pemandangan serta semestinya rasa masakan Aceh yang tidak banyak bezanya tetapi ada kelainannya. Ada lagi tempat-tempat yang boleh diziarahi seperti air terjun, tempat yang ada cerita legenda dan acara tahunan seperti pacuan kuda gayo. Itu semua mungkin pada ziarah yang akan datang jika diizinkah Allah. Amin.
I decided to test the cyclo-cross and build up my strength and stamina cycling a slightly longer distance last Sunday to the town of Pontian Kechil shortcutting the main road by going through palm oil plantations which have a mixed of paved and dirt/gravel roads. It was a leisurely ride as I didn’t have the required fitness yet and obviously there were lots of stoppages in parts due to rains, photography, tiredness and lastly as I expected, saddle sore. All in all, it took me four and half hours to reach Pontian Kechil. On reaching Pontian Kechil the bike became slightly heavy which I found caused by the brake pad touching the rotor. Without the necessary tools, I was unable to readjust it. The only tool that I brought along was the air pump. Tired, sore butt plus if I were to cycle home, part of the journey will be in the night and if I were to go by the main roads, the distance will be longer, I decided to get a taxi home.
Two lessons learned from this trip, one is that I need to set aside a generous amount of time for the trip and rest if I’m not spending the night and bring along tools to do repair/adjustment. For longer distances, spare tube is a must. The other, cycling on dirt/gravel road is more tiring due to lack of traction and rolling. It is akin to running on a beach, nevertheless, it helps build up strength and stamina.
Actually three lessons learned…I read how to avoid saddle sore.
When they say you need patience in birds photography, I did not know that it could run for a few days in a row. I only knew it when I started to present myself at the same spot over and over again for a few days straight. As I did not use hide nor did I wear camo painted military-like apparel, I must have stuck out like a sore thumb. They kept their distance away from me and the kingfisher totally out of sight. Only when I’m starting to become a familiar sight that they started to move nearer and appear. Lesson learned and I’m starting to enjoy and appreciate the rewards.
Here are a few photos from the recent successive trips to Sungai Rambah at Pontian, Johor.
There are a few others.