Friday, January 30, 2009

Chinese New Year eve

I'll try to make this post quick and simple, since the heat wave is here - meaning i've had trouble sleeping, and i can't be bothered to make an elaborate post

the games have started, and the last semi match will be on this evening - featuring Nadal, one of the most fearsome tennis players around.

enjoying a moment under the shade

i was hoping that Crown would put on a better show other than lanterns, but I don't think its fair for me to expect anything more

the exhibition center is currently undergoing extensive renovations

all of us had a nice steamboat at L's place

a & m got some meatballs from footscray, which you can clearly see floating here

L kindly provided us angpows. They look really cute

L & L.. you can imagine how pampered this cat is

L in his natural habitat

L didn't look happy to see me, thats for sure

to be fair, the bounce flash was hurting L's eyes (plus it took several shots to get this right)

Now back to sleep.. its almost 430 am

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Australia Day 09 with the Zuiko 14-35 & 35-100 f2

26th january this year was the first day of the Chinese New Year, which also coincided with Australia Day.

Being a fellow Australian (in heart), of course Australia Day was given priority, and as such I made myself available for a whole day's worth of festivities.

I decided to pack the trinity - the Zuiko 35-100, the Panaleica 14-50 and Zuiko 7-14. I could've gained more range (100mm more) with the 50-200 SWD, but I decided against it, because I wanted to gain more experience with the 35-100 in shooting more events. The constant f2 aperture was also too tempting.

The day started off with me meeting Dave on Bourke St. Managed to capture this young boy in this unique costume & head dress.

This cool artiste was distributing flags.. and at the same time reminding foreign tourists to use the word "please". Its part of the Australian culture of being polite, of which I totally agree on.

A uni-cyclist also giving away his share of flags

A cute reporter. I wonder which channel is she representing

After a whole round of boring speeches (okay.. it wasn't that bad actually), I decided to be a rogue and 'let myself loose on the street' and go among the ranks of police, navy, army and air force personnel.

It isn't that hard really. Just be dressed decently, and go with a big lens like mine. You'll be forgiven, as long as you appear 'busy' and on the job.

this was the kind of view i was getting if i still stayed among the crowds - bums and guns

the temperature was alright (as compared to the schorching 43 degrees celcius in the next few days in Melb), but some struggled to keep their consciousness

the official army band of the day

bag pipes are ever-present during parades, even though it has nothing to do with Aussie culture. Its so popular there's even a busker playing his pipes in front of Flinders St station. Imagine the noise polution..

the dragons come out to play

i'm not sure which european folk dance / culture this is, but it sure looks great

its interesting to note that right before the chinese contingent appeared, there was an announcement stating that the vietnamese contingent were conveying their apologies for not being to attend the parade because it was the first day of CNY. what rubbish.. considering the chinese group was taking part in it nonetheless!

so... without hesitation, the Falun Gong group kindly offered to replace the Vietnamese group. I didn't expect them to have a full brass band group though

A close-up shot of Professor David de Kretser, Govenor of Victoria.
I'm glad that compared to the President of the United States, he's not surrounded by any CIA / secret service personnel. Otherwise i'd never get a shot as close as this!

some police officials

tea making ceremony at the Arts Center lawn to introduce our fellow Australians to authentic Chinese culture

red umbrellas - made in china of course! (refer to gold lable stuck on the handle)

the typical Australian sheep dog - i wonder why does his owner never let him off the horse

2 street performers.. love their typical Australian sense of humor..

playing chess, anyone?

a travelling musical organ

don't suck on that flag! :p

legendary jazz trumpeter James Morrison at the RACV Australia Day picnic and Federation Vehicle Display, Kings Domain gardens.

the lovely jazz singer

Dave, my fellow Oly hardcore who has kindly introduced me to the world of Zuiko Super High Grade lenses. I've never turned back since

Ananda, my fellow Oly photo-walker with his trusty 510

there was a dog show too. the crowds love the small dogs jumping over the hurdles. They're not much slower than the larger dogs!

since dave was using his 9-18, i took a chance to borrow his 14-35 once more. Its a fantastic piece of optical engineering, no doubt about it!

one of my only gripes with it is that its not wide (14mm / 28mm on the short end), and its not that far (70mm on the short end).

otherwise, its sharpness, contrast and the ability to suck out every single detail from a subject is rather quite extraordinary

a vintage police car all the way from UK

... and a vintage policeman

these classic american cars are massive fuel guzzlers

managed to snap this kid from waist height. not bad at all!

a couple of sailors from the HMAS Cerberus. the guy inquired if this was for the press or for private usage.

nice booty. the guy must be really lucky. didn't manage to see her face though.

In the evening, there was a performance at Fed Square about cows, and what role they play in different cultures.

One thing I love about the 35-100 is that at f2 (with iso 400), i can get ridiculous shutter speeds of 1/1000 secs an above. the only other thing that i needed to do was to make sure I was handholding the lens as steady as I can to maximise the possibility of getting sharp shots.

the evil butcher comes along...

only to be given a good beating by the cows

when the indians say 'holy cow', they really mean it

did you know that Australia has a total cow population of 19 milllion? Gasp!

to all you pixel peepers out there.. here's a full sized jpeg to show you how sharp the 35-100 lens is. exif data: iso 500, 100mm, f2.0, 1/800 sec

a fireworks display was sceduled at 915 pm, so I managed to secure a spot on princess bridge half an hour before.

Unfortunately, the fireworks were all obscured by trees, and it was my mistake to use the 7-14 too: it flares so easily as long as you have a strong light source pointed at it.

Till the next Australia Day.. adios amigos!


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