Saturday, April 14, 2007

Portraits in the Raw

I shot these portraits in JPEG format as well as RAW, just to experiment with RAW. There are eight pictures altogether, but I've decided to select four for the montage. These are the JPEG versions.

Click on the montage to get a better view.

Kevin is not really a violinist.

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I find it somewhat hilarious that the hype in digital cameras today seems to be about, among other things, 'face detection technology'. Does this imply there are photographers who cannot detect a face when they see one?

Truly the digital camera is becoming more consumerised and new technologies are being developed for those who can't be bothered to learn to take photos, but still expect good results. Kudos to the camera makers and all those brilliant engineers; shame on those who are paying good money for these gadgets.

Unfortunately, my trusty Minolta cannot be fixed (because Sony bought over Minolta and no longer manufactures the lens that needs to be replaced), so we need to buy a new camera. But the recent spate of uber-amateur cameras makes me cringe.

However, my disillusionment is nearing its end. To my surprise and delight, Nikon has just released a digital compact with a full range of manual features, just like the Minolta. Introducing, at an unbelievable recommended retail price of RM 1388, the Nikon Coolpix P5000:

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It's much harder to take photos with an SLR due to the immense amount of manual work, but the pictures, when they come out as envisioned, are beyond compare and worth all the ruined shots.

Truly the SLR has opened up realms I never imagined were possible. And to take photography beyond the limits of the digital compact, here's my wish list, in no particular order:

AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D
Price: RM 428.00

A fixed-focus (non-zoom) lens, but with such a wide aperture (f/1.8) that shooting portraits and in low light conditions will be a breeze.

AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED
Price: RM 2598.00

Its 10.5mm super-wide angle makes 180-degree photography possible. Should be a blast trying this out on landscapes and tight interiors.

TTL Remote Cord SC-29 (1.5m)
Price: RM 358.00

For those times when I don't want the flash on the camera, i.e. for special effects and creative approaches like side-lighting.

(The image above is that of the SC-28 remote cord, but I don't think the SC-29 looks worlds apart!)

AF VR Zoom-Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED
Price: RM 6288.00

My present telephoto lens goes up to 200mm. This dream lens (which, by the way, costs more than my entire SLR set of one camera, two lenses and one flash unit) is for birds, F1 cars, safari and those days when you see a tiger in the jungle but don't dare get too close.

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There is an account in the Bible in which Jesus is asked if the people should pay taxes to the government or not.

And I can't help wondering if anyone ever went directly to Jesus to ask him to pay up. It's a conversation that might, I imagine, go like this:

IRB Auditor: So Jesus, Caesar wants you to pay up.
Jesus: Is he taxing everything I own?
IRB Auditor: More or less.
Jesus: Well, since I own him, go ask which part of himself he wants to contribute to the treasury.

Mich adds two lines for Jesus:

"Hey, I'm not even asking for tax from you guys!"

"And how about damage-control? I'm sure there were more trees and grass when I first made it--even after the flood..."

Elsewhere in the Bible, this rather lucid exchange between Peter and Jesus offers an intriguing perspective:

After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"

"Yes, he does," he replied.

When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes--from their own sons or from others?"

"From others," Peter answered.

"Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him. "But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."

--Matthew 17:24-27 (NIV)

The underlying comedy (or 'divine joke') seems to lie in the fact that Jesus is King over all the kings of the earth. And what seems like a miraculous solution for tax evasion is really nothing less than the truth that Jesus owns everything; the fish and the coin and Peter and the Roman treasury are all in His dominion.

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Leaving for Singapore tomorrow.

Staying for a week and watching The Phantom of the Opera next Saturday.

Looking forward to meeting up with some old friends on the island.

Will miss some friends here. Miss my dogs. Miss my baby.

And my dogs will miss me.

* * * * *

I tried looking for a photo, and found many. But none were good enough. That is to say, sometimes the heart tries in vain to find a picture that conveys what it feels. Looking at all those photos brought me back to when we experienced those moments.

There's the anger, the jealousy, the resentment, the pain, the tears, the tension, the long hours, the unspoken hopes and dreams and fears. But also the glimpses of exultation, of passion, of glorious mornings, of peace, of laughter, of hopes and dreams come true and fears overcome. Of joy, of love.

I tried looking for a photo, and found many.

But none were good enough.

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(Technically, I began this entry at 1.58 p.m. But I just left the window open and various thoughts of the day flowed into it. It's like long exposure; you see movement.)


dotdot said...

Cepat balik, ya???

Rindu sangat...

Christine said...

oh, i want the fisheye too!!!

the 50mm is a really cool lens.
i almost never take it off my camera. :)

have a great time in Singapore!