Monday, December 22, 2008

Video Card

The practically throw-away videocard (GF 7200GS 256/64bit PCI-E) which came with our new PC unit was useless in current high-end games so I went back to the local store and replaced it (plus additional cash) with GF 9500GT 512MB/128bit PCI-E.

I re-installed NFS:Undercover and Crysis and my system now chews these games to pieces! Now, I can't wait to finish these games and move to Fallout 3 and GRID.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Unplanned Upgrade

Our 3-year old AMD-based home computer just died yesterday. But as we're so dependent on internet, the decision to buy a new unit was made in less than 10 seconds.

Our new unit is based on Intel Core2Duo 2.6GHz with 2GB DDR2 RAM and 256MB PCI-e Videocard. Post-processing NEFs now is so much faster!

Now, I'll start selling our unused computer parts (that are still OK but can't be used in our new system anymore) in a local forum...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

August Rush

The time now is 12:19am and I just finished watching this movie. It was cheesy at times but I'm totally moved. So far, this is my movie of the year, 5 of 5!!! I can't wait 'til missus watches this also.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Week 8

There's a little issue and we pray everything will turn out OK. We just need to be very careful this 1st trimester.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

D90 High ISO Test Images

D40 & D90 High Sensitivity Comparison

I took both cameras for a drive and here are the comparison shots. Even if both have the same sensor size, the high pixel density of D90's sensor still kicks D40's butt...

Nikon D40 and D90 ISO 1600 Comparison
(click on image for bigger version; wrong text input for D90 side: it should have been D90 ISO1600 f2.8 1/10s)



Nikon D40 and D90 ISO 3200 Comparison
(click on image for bigger version; wrong text input for D40 side: it should have been D40 ISO3200 f2.8 1/10s)



Both images above were taken in NEF and post-processing (via PS CS3) was identical.

But once weather cooperates (hopefully soon), I suspect that D40 still reign supremes over D90 in infrared photography (using a Hoya R72 IR filter). Well, let's see.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

Body 10.03.08 Update

October 3, 2008: Day 5

I'm pleasantly surprised to be holding "it" now for I thought I'll be receiving it mid next week. So total leadtime now is 5 days! Technically, it's 6 days as the transaction started on Sept. 27 evening.

Anyway, Cameta Camera, USPS Express Mail International and Philpost rock on this one!!!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Body 10.02.08 Update

October 2, 2008: Day 4

Label/Receipt Number: EC65 xxxx xxxx S
Status: Arrived Abroad

Your item arrived in PHILIPPINES at 2:21 PM on October 2, 2008

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Body 10.01.08 Update

October 1, 2008: Day 3

Label/Receipt Number: EC65 xxxx xxxx S
Status: International Dispatch

Your item left the United States from ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS) at 8:19 AM on September 30, 2008.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Body 9.30.08 Update

September 30, 2008: Day 2

Document verified. Processing for shipment is on-going.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Couch Saturday

I took a break from photography yesterday by watching 5 DVD movies:

1) The Happening
2) Hell Boy 2: The Golden Army
3) Men in Black
4) Men in Black 2
5) The Incredible Hulk

Doing nothing but watching movies is sinful, it should be banned :-)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Randomes

1) Did you know that months which begin on a Sunday will always have a Friday the 13th?

2) There can be no doubt that Shakespeare wrote the Bible. The King James Version was published in 1611, when Shakespeare was 46 years old. Look
up Psalm 46. Count 46 words from the beginning of the Psalm. You will find the word “Shake.” Count 46 words from the end of the Psalm. You will find the word “Spear.”

3) A ship sails the ocean. It left Boston with a cargo of wool. It grosses 200 tons. It is bound for Le Havre. The mainmast is broken, the cabin boy is on deck, there are 12 passengers aboard, the wind is blowing East-North-East, the clock points to a quarter past three in the afternoon. It is the month of May. How old is the captain?

4) What is the simplest way in which two people can be an uncle to each other?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sigmas



Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX DG HSM and Sigma APO MACRO 150 F2.8 EX DG HSM

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Pasigarbo sa Sugbu Festival

I hope the Cebu provincial government didn't boast that they have overpassed "Filipino Time" and created their own "Cebuano Time".

For those who are not familiar to "Filipino Time", it means starting any event (meetings, parties, conferences, etc) at least 30 to 60 minutes late.

Perhaps the media (or Provincial Information Office) is at fault today. It was announced that the parade will start after closing the roads at 11am. Governor Garcia (who was riding a horse) didn't kick the parade until 2:39pm (!!!). From Garcia's posse, the 1st contingent didn't follow her until 1 hour & 35 minutes later (!!!).

All the media people I asked told me that the program will start at 2pm instead of 1pm. 2pm became 3pm. 3pm became 4pm and so on... So, the announced program time of 1pm~6pm became 5pm~10pm instead.

I walked out in disgust around 4:46pm and went home directly where a nice black forest cake is waiting. My wife bought one because she knew what I've been through today. 7 hours wasted in waiting in 33C heat (29.3C in shade)...

"Cebuano Time", I hope this is not what the "Festival of Festivals" is all about.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Infrared Photography with Nikon D40

For the past 3 weeks, I've been receiving requests from fellow D40 users on how to get into IR photography. Well, here it is.

D40 is great for IR photography because of its 6-megapixel sensor. This sensor is fairly sensitive to infrared and, in ideal situation, it can even be used handheld. No modification is needed to the camera but you need an infrared filter.

To keep cost down, I use the kit lens Nikkor 18-55 because of its 52mm filter thread. This glass is sharp, kicks ass and produces no hotspots when doing IR stuff (a lens hood is recommended though). The cost of a 52mm IR filter is quite reasonable so that's why it's not recommended to use f2.8 glasses as 1) IR filter cost is a bit prohibitive at 72mm, 77mm, or 82mm threads (at least thrice compared to 52mm!) and 2) IR works best in landscape photography so a great depth of field is needed (smaller the apertures, the better). I normally shoot at f11, f13, f18, etc.

My IR filter is Hoya 52mm R72 IR Filter which I got for PHP2,000 (~US$45) last June 2007. I normally shoot when there's plenty of sunlight (10am~3pm) and some scattered clouds. Be warned, don't forget your sunscreen lotion!

Here's my flow:

1) Once I find an interesting subject and its suitable composition, I set my camera in a tripod.

2) Switch to aperture mode and select f9 or f11. Focal length is up to you.

3) Press pre-focus button to get sharp focus of the subject.

4) Switch to manual focus to avoid re-focusing later.

5) Mount the IR filter carefully; avoid moving the lens focus ring.

6) Set whitebalance to incandescent +3, image quality to RAW and ISO to 200.

7) Switch to manual mode and set shutter speed to a starting point of , say, 1/2 second.

8) Activate 5-second timer and push shutter release button. Wipe that sweat off your face and drink some cold liquid.

9) After the camera has taken the shot, review histogram. The peak should be more or less leaning to the right half of the chart to avoid dim images. Decrease or increase shutter speed as necessary and take the shot again. If the scene has plenty of sunlight, decrease aperture to get more depth of field, say, f18 or f22.

That's it. Next time, I'll list here my basic false color processing workflow to obtain the desired look of final image. A good reference is here.

As you may have noticed, IR photography is in between the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. So you have no reason now to stop shooting when sunlight is very harsh & bright. I tried shooting IR in these golden hours and in most situations, the shadows produced by the scene make the image dull.

Update: Globelines Green

I woke up around 7am today, then remembered that I only need to be in the office around 11am so I booted up the PC and went directly to Speedtest.net. I was pleased with the report:



I guess they have changed last night our "rights". Anyway, leadtime from the day we filed our formal complaint until today is 6 days. I hope everything will be alright with our connection in the coming weeks as their "leadtime" is really poor.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Update: Globelines Blues

We now have a broadband connection but it's the wrong one. As adviced by our barely competent agent, we finally went to Globelines SM Center to air our issue: we paid & signed for 1Mbps not 384kbps+landline.

They "promised" to resolve this mixup on or before July 25.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why the Philippines is Standing Still

This is my reaction to an Inquirer.net article:

It's pretty simple -- it's due to transporation. Philippines is composed of thousands of islands, so moving people & goods results to higher cost. Look at Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc... it's obvious.

Sad experience with Globe 3G & Globelines

Globe GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HDSPA

Some weeks ago, my 4-year old Nokia 6600 just died on me and even Nokia Care (SM Cebu) can't save it. So I bought a 3G phone, Nokia E51. This phone's WiFi works flawlessly and mobile internet surfing is just superb!

But not with Globe's network.

As I always have strong HDSPA (3.5G) signal in our home (Opon, Lapu-lapu City), I got very excited and tried to connect to the internet using my phone as a modem. For weeks now, that excitement turned to grave frustration -- the connection is very unreliable and, at best, veerrrrryyy slow that easily translate to an expensive wireless internet un-experience. Grrrr.

Globelines

Last week, we applied for Globeline's "Wired Globe Broadband Plan 1 Mbps Data Only". The agent's promises were wonderful and short of biblical. He told us that we'll get connection 1 to 2 days after our downpayment. Today, it's already 7 days after our payment and that promise is still a promise.

Worse, due to some miscommunication, they will be installing not 1Mbps but 384kbps only. They "promise" that we can upgrade to 1Mbps a week later after a successful installation.

We even don't have a connection yet and we're already experiencing their "stone age" customer service. It's like I'm watching some introductory scenes to a horror movie and I don't even want to think about post-installation issues & future calls to their "customer service". Grrrr.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Doodads

I received my Vivitar 285HV flash yesterday. Surprisingly, the postal office didn't collect any fees on this one. Hmmm... Anyway, the flash unit is huge and, uhm, not pretty but it's more powerful compared to my slick SB-600.

Since we have a 3-day weekend coming, I'll experiment with a 2-flash setup and do some exercises for Strobist.com. I gotta pump my creative juices up!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Summer in Bohol


To celebrate in advance our 4th wedding anniversary this May 20th, Fudge and I decided to spend a week in Bohol province.

We left Cebu on May 4 and took a SuperCat bound for Tagbilaran City, capital of Bohol. After a 2-hour uneventful voyage, we arrived and took Bohol Bee Farm's shuttle service, a 5-day old brandnew Mitsubishi Adventure SUV. The drive from the port to Bee Farm's resort took around 15 minutes. Bee Farm is located in the barangay of Dauis. Panglao island is composed of barangays Dauis & Panglao and there are 2 bridges connecting Panglao island to mainland Bohol.

Upon arrival in Bee Farm, we were met warmly by the resort owner, Vicky, and ushered us to take some refreshments in their coast-facing restaurant. The view is awesome but the squash muffins and lemon grass juice just taste heavenly! In fact, before we went back to Cebu, we stopped by The Buzzz Cafe (their branch in Island City Mall in Tagbilaran) and bought a bagful of muffins.
We spent the rest of the day strolling around the farm and pool swimming. The next day, we hired their tour service and was pleasantly surprised that we're riding their brandnew SUV. The other vans were assigned to groups of Korean & Tagalog tourists :-) With a very good driver cum tour guide, it was indeed a money well spent! We went to the usual tourist spots (or traps hehehe) and the tour lasted almost 9 hours.



The main reason we chose Bohol Bee Farm was for their rumored great food... And the rumors were TRUE!!! Every meal we had were just heaven to our palates. The food in Loboc floating restaurants is average but the P300.00 cost justifies the great river cruise. In Bee Farm, the meal cost justifies the excellent menu selection and healthy-organic-never-to-be-missed superb meals!

We then transferred to Bohol Beach Club (BBC) where we stayed for 3 days. If you need a peaceful place with long sandy white beach, then BBC is the only choice in Panglao. BBC also has 3 swimming pools with 2 exclusive to checked-in guests. Due to less crowd, foreigners do sunbathe topless here. BBC owns the longest white beach in Panglao and their sinful buffet meals made up for the kayaking, swimming, camera posing, and strollings we did. BBC is for lovers and honeymooners. And to encourage the lovers to do some naughty stuff outdoors, their wide beach area is very dimly lit. Indoors, facilities & room service are very good.


Our last stop is Dapdap Beach Resort in Anda. This place is 2 hours away from Tagbilaran. If you want to go there, please arrange beforehand with the resort staff for your pickup at the main road. The resort is about 3 kilometers from the main road and you don't want to hike with your heavy stuff/gear, do you? Anyway, we stayed for only 1 night here as the weather is not good and we were truly spoiled by the ambiance of BBC and Bee Farm. (Anti-climax comes to my mind).

If not for the arrival of PBA players from Alaska & Purefoods (who played in the town of Calape last May 10), reservations would not have been difficult and our tour sequence would have been: Anda-Tagbilaran-Bee Farm-BBC.

In summary for those planning to visit Bohol for the 1st time, go to Bee Farm for their food, enjoy the beaches of BBC (peaceful) or Alona (bars, resorts, nightlife, etc), take a countryside tour, tip if you can, and be infected with Bol-anon's smiles.

Note: It's not my 1st time in Bohol as my father is a Bol-anon. We regularly visit my father's hometown in Getafe which is about 3 hours away from Tagbilaran. Ciao!
More pictures here.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Kadaugan sa Mactan 2008

Kadaugan sa Mactan 2008
487th Anniversary of Chief Lapu-lapu's victory over Ferdinand Magellan.


April 27, 2008 10:00 am
Liberty Shrine, Brgy. Mactan
Lapu-lapu City, Cebu, Philippines

Cast:
Chief Lapu-lapu: Manny Pacquiao
Bulakna: Jinkee Pacquiao
Ferdinand Magellan: Dennis Trillo

VIPs:
Executive Sec. Eduardo Ermita
Lapu-lapu City Mayor Radaza

More here.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Cellphone Snatching

I was almost victimized today. Fortunately, an observant co-passenger helped me out. So I just took my cellphone (which mysteriously "walked" and was sitted on by another passenger), paid my fare and walked out.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Poor D40

My Nikon D40 "abused" at the same time by Sigma 70-200 f2.8D HSM lens and Nikon SB-600 Flash.


The Big Leap!

I'm dumping my Nikkor 55-200 VR in favor of a pre-owned Sigma APO 70-200 f2.8D HSM.


VR works but f2.8 is just too tempting.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Summer 2008 is here!!!

Some shots I took yesterday at the shores of Punta Engaño, Lapu-lapu City. It was so hot, so summery, so full of promise!



More in my Flick site.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

VR works!!!

VR indeed works for handheld shooting. After unwrapping the package, I slapped it in my camera and took 6 quick shots at this same setting:

Exposure Time = 1/2"
F Number = F5.6
ISO Speed Ratings = 200
Focal Length = 200mm
1st 3 shots at VR OFF --




Last 3 shots at VR ON --




The difference is very obvious and I'm excited now for low-light shots at 100mm focal length and above!

By the way, here's the comparison between VR and non-VR version --


Kabayo Festival, here I come!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED

My new AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED arrived today! Total leadtime (Cameta eBay-USPS GEM-Cebu) is 7 days! A great improvement of 3 days compared to last year.

I'll be playing with this lens tonight, you know, the usual stuff --- front/back-focusing, VR-feature, etc.

Yey!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

eBay-USPS GEM Day 6 Update

United State Postal Service

Track and Confirm

Label/Receipt Number: EV98 xxxx xxxx x

Detailed Results:

Arrived Abroad, February 11, 2008, 2:36 pm, PHILIPPINES

International Dispatch, February 09, 2008, 8:24 am, JOHN F. KENNEDY APT/NEW YORK

Processed, February 09, 2008, 8:23 am, JAMAICA, NY 11499

Acceptance, February 08, 2008, 4:02 pm, AMITYVILLE, NY 11701 Electronic Shipping Info Received, February 08, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

eBay-USPS Day 5 Update

United State Postal Service

Track and Confirm

Label/Receipt Number: EV98 xxxx xxxx x

Status: International Dispatch

Your item left the United States from JOHN F. KENNEDY APT/NEW YORK at 8:24 AM on February 9, 2008.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Instinct or Impulse Buying?

Since last month, I was already planning to upgrade to a VR-version of my Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED. Reason? I always use it handheld and I believe that with VR, I could produce sharper works of art. Why not plunge to the pro-specs f2.8s? You might ask. Well, my wife will kill me if she knows that f2.8s cost more than P50,000 and this is just for my hobby and no ROI hehehehehe.

So to break even, I'll sell my 55-200 non-VR lens (mentioned above) for around P8,000 and buy one off eBay at P8,000 also.

Luckily, today, I won a bid in my favorite eBay store, Camera Cameta! I won a brandnew Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR and, including USPS shipping, it's around P7,600 only.

Now to the surprising or weird part - when I checked my post on my last year's purchase of the non-VR version lens, I also won it on February 7, 2007(!!!). I was really surprised, stunned and baffled. Is this an instinct/urge to purchase or just pure coincidence?

Anyway, I consider today, Feb. 7, as Day 1 and I hope to receive this new lens within the next 10-15 days. Last year, total days from winning the bid to actually receiving the item is 10 days.

Monday, January 28, 2008

DPP Issue #18

Digital Photographers Philippines Photography Magazine Issue #18 is now available! P295.00 only!

For a daily dose of local photography-related news, go to Shutter Box Philippines.

Monday, January 21, 2008

My Sinulog 2008 Photo Entries

My entries can be viewed here. Please read set description. Thanks for your time!

Win or not, I think I won't be shooting again next year, perhaps I'll be back in 2010.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sinulog 2008

My Sinulog 2008 shots are shared here. More to come after January 21, 2008. Viva, Pit Señor!!!
"He's called Dr. J because, on the court, he operated on people." - Nate "Tiny" Archibald on Julius "Dr. J" Erving