Friday, 28 October 2011

Gyeongju Trip

Me and Ralph at a R&R somewhere. Overexposure. Haha

Yeah! Just came back from a school trip to Gyeongju, a city located southeast of Seoul. The journey from Seoul took about 6 hours by bus. The first destination we visited was the Hyundai Automobile Plant in Ulsan. Hyundai is in fact Korea's biggest automaker, producing wide range of vehicles from luxury cars to commercial trucks. In the plant I was not allowed to take pictures so no pictures from me. The Hyundai plant was, ok. The real highlight of the tour was to walk above the workers working on the production line below, assembling the cars from just a frame into a complete car. While waiting for the tour to start I was lucky to find a news crew working just a few metres away before entering the plant. The thing that catched my interest the most is the usage of Canon DSLR with some high end L glass for recording the newscast instead of the usual large video cameras placed on their shoulders. The ergonomics of a DSLR is way off for a stable video, we cant put it on our shoulders for stability, but these pros got tricks, they used a stabilizing rig for smooth non shaky video.

Guy with rig.
Hyundai i40. Coming Soon.
Hyundai Veloster. two doors on one side, coupe style one door on the other.

Yeah I tried to enjoy myself as much as I can rather than working myself out for photos. Taking some photos is fine but too much photos is just exhausting. I also had to turn down a request from a couple of people because one of them commented me a few days before. (I used the soft word 'comment', look up for its synonyms in thesaurus for the negative word) The other person must be like so furious haha. Ah collateral damage. I am not very comfortable with people who in situations they find themselves uncomfortable in, they start to hurl abuse to others. I try not to work with these kind of people. Kids who are closer to their parents rarely become this type of person as if they say something wrong, daddy will be like, "what did you say?" and "SLAP" sound is heard. Simply put, don't 'comment' others ok? Daddy won't be very happy about it.

Yangdong Village
The place where we spent the night was called 'Yangdong Village', a very handsome traditional village with lots of traditional houses. Upon arrival we made some rice cakes or '떡'. The process is not elaborate but still requires a lot of energy, a pack of rice was laid on to a wooden table and then mashed by big wooden hammer. The cakes is then cut into pieces  and coated with a layer of powdered nut. The taste was amazing!

Rice Cake Model
After the sun exited the horizon it is freezing cold. I braved the cold and snapped some pictures of the houses at night.

The house I stayed.
Another house on the way up the hill.
The next morning, it is even colder! I reckon it is way below 0°C. I worn three layers of clothing for the top but the bottom I only had one layer. My jeans felt like it was soaked wet. The water vapour in my exhaled air is visible as it freezes up in the cold air. My hands were numb operating my ice cold camera. Ah my camera is made from polycarbonate, imagine those cameras with magnesium bodies, must be very agonizing to hold them. We had a little morning stroll in the cold to catch a glimpse of the traditional village.
Good Morning.
Proof it is probably below 0°C
Morning Stroll. Cigarette smoke! Nah its just exhaled air.
Then we proceeded to a temple called 'Sokkuram', a Buddhist temple located inside a forest on a hilly slope.

Nikon Coolpix Camera Model. Full HD video capable!
Nice panorama.
And some tour escapades around Gyeongju city.

Some tomb.
A face of someone who haven't showered for two whole days. It was cold ok! No hot water available!
The lodging place was the best ever! The boys got a bungalow house all for ourselves! And I was the first one to take a hot shower after stinking two whole days.

Bring the boys out! Haha...
Best living room!
I woke up early in the morning and took in some fresh morning air.

600 Pension
600 Pension
Autumn Flower
The view~
There was a part where we visited a steel factory named POSCO in Pohang, and we saw how the red hot metal is flattened into sheets first hand. Hell it was hot! We were standing nearly metres away but we can feel the heat. Too bad, photography is not permitted. And after three days and two nights I'm back in Seoul, disembarking at Seoul National University and went home.

There was some games going on in the campus.
That's it. I enjoyed myself like a criminal and took a bit of photos just for the memories. Now I'm back in Seoul, the pursuit for masterpiece photos begins!

Monday, 24 October 2011

뛰어난 사진을 만드는 비결 소개 발표

Ah I am so relieved! Just passed a introductory presentation, a short one. Its a introductory presentation where we introduce our issue for a real, longer presentation. I chose a topic that captures my interest the most, and most of my classmates too as their picture would end up in my powerpoint slides. The title is '뛰어난 사진을 만드는 비결 소개 발표' or 'secrets of capturing amazing photos'. To be honest my level of proficiency in Korean is far from Bahasa Melayu and English. I mean low okay. As I go deeper into the language the stranger it becomes, just like English to me many years ago. After more than a decade it has integrated itself in my circuitry. Hope my Korean would be as so too soon.

I was a timid boy, hated being in the centre of attention, but in Form 4 and Form 5 I joined the SMK Hillcrest English Debate team. Winning or losing is never my priority, but the thing that I cherish the most was improvements in my self confidence and I first learnt to speak in front of a crowd. But it needs practice, it had been a while since I spoke in front of a crowd and the old timid me is back, my brain will freeze the moment I am in front of a crowd. %$&#! In the powerpoint presentation, I will be using pictures shot by me as many as I can.

Title Slide. Picture taken on our biking trail featured in Going Around Seoul
The presentation is going to be 15-20 minutes long. That's darn long! Too long! So I chose topics with very wide prospects, means that I can babble a lot on the topic.

Slide 1, Types of Camera. Picture of a friend also taken on the biking trail.
In the first part I will introduce types of cameras available in today's market, such as mobile phone cameras, compacts, DSLRs, DSLTs, Mirrorless, and more.

Slide 2, Differences of Cameras. Picture of a friend during our hiking trip. Nice flares eh?
Looks like a different topic, but actually I will just explain the technical aspects of the cameras such as how the light path in a DSLR and sensor size differences. Perhaps it will be focused on a Canon DSLR, a Sony DSLT and the mirrorless four thirds Sony NEX.

Slide 3, Methods of Capturing Good Photos. Image captured during PPMK Sports Day.
Most people don't know that photography is more of a skill, while only some artsy parts needs talent. In most situations it just requires you to know what to do with the situation, how to record it with a story embedded inside the frame so that viewers know what is happening. If you follow the correct methods, you can succeed. Here I will reveal mostly on framing techniques, based on my tutorial from I'm Innocent I Have Been Framed

End Slide, the date of my presentation. Picture taken on my rooftop on the same day as Autumn Moon
Oh it is month-day-year format. The Koreans have a thing for American standards. I am looking forward of a very informative presentation soon.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

My Trip To The United States (Updated Version)

This post is an updated post from a previous post. Actually I wrote this essay in January 2009, when I was in Form 5 and I was lucky enough to have my essay published in the 2009 edition of Bestari, SMK Hillcrest's official school magazine. Thanks SMK Hillcrest.
Long haul flight.
                I live and love to travel. For me, travelling means a lot more than just about having a holiday, it’s actually a cultural study. In the end of November 2008, I got the opportunity to visit Las Vegas and Los Angeles. It’s actually my third time visiting the United States. My first visit is to Walt Disney World, Florida on December 2005 and my second trip is to San Diego in August 2008.  Nevertheless, every trip is a great trip!

The moment you land, you can gamble. Seriously, this is an airport.
               It took us almost 25 hours just to get to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport from Kuala Lumpur. It’s quite a long flight but the excitement of going there fills me with anxiety. I only managed to sleep for 4 hours during the flight. I spend most of my time on board watching movies, listening to songs and admiring the beautiful night sky above. I also saw a shooting star! I reached Las Vegas a few minutes past midnight. At the airport, I am greeted by the colourful neon glows from rows of gambling slot machines. Gambling is the main attraction of Las Vegas. The local temperature is a chilly 15 degrees Celsius. Upon reaching the MGM Grand Hotel, I wander about the massive lobby. There is a huge casino, bar, dance club, and a shopping complex. I thought that after midnight there are going to be drunken people mingling on the sidewalk, wild west cowboy gunfights and illegal street racing like in the movies but I could not find one. At 2 am, I went to bed to get some rest.
The night view from the penthouse's balcony.
                The hotel I stayed is situated beside the main road, Las Vegas Boulevard. Along this road, the group of mega resorts, massive hotels and shopping malls are dubbed "The Strip". Here, the hotels are built to replicate famous places around the world. Luxor is build to look like a pyramid, while Caesar’s Palace replicates ancient Roman architecture. The Venetian is build to replicate Florence and Venice. The most interesting about The Venetian is The Grand Canal Shops, a massive shopping arcade that have canals flow though the shopping area. There are also gondolas browsing through the canals just like the ones in Venice and the gondoliers are amazing sopranos. The ceiling is also painted like the sky adding the illusion of walking along the canals of Venice. Talking about shopping, Las Vegas has two Factory Outlet Malls. Las Vegas Premium Outlets is situated at the north of The Strip while Las Vegas Outlet Centre is situated south of The Strip. Here, original goods can be bought at factory price. I bought an original Nike backpack for just $10 or RM36. I also find branded watches such as Timex and Guess sold at prices as low as $9.99. There is also a wax museum in the Venetian. Here, I met the wax figures of Elvis, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Beyonce, Tiger Woods and many more famous people in the American entertainment industry. I also got the chance to 'meet' and take pictures with United States 43rd president, George W. Bush.

Lets throw some shoes!
Sang some songs with Stevie Wonder
                At the north of The Strip, there is an area called Glitter Gulch. Freemont Street Experience is the main thing here. It is a pedestrian street covered with a huge roof. Just like the roof that we see above Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur. But the most amazing thing is, below the roof, there are millions of colour-changing neon bulbs that form the biggest screen in the world. At one hour intervals, a music artist is featured on the screen. The artist's best music clip is displayed to the crowd below the screen-roof. It is a very interesting marketing strategy for the entertainment industry of Malaysia to follow. This street has a big crowd every night. Interestingly, people walked to the right and let people going the opposite way to go through at the left, just like cars in the streets. This way, accidental collisions between two bodies travelling at different directions can be avoided. It is also easier to walk in the flow of people because we do not have to avoid people going the opposite way. This example is great for “pasar malams” in Malaysia.

People admiring the song on the world biggest screen, its what they say
Although its not in The Strip, its still in Las Vegas, Casinos are as far as the eye can see
                Now it’s time to go to another city. In the morning of my fifth day in the United States, I went on a flight from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport. The flight only took 50 minutes. The airport is quite far from the city. Instead of hiring a cab, I hop on the public transport to save some money. From the airport I took Flyaway bus to Union Station, the public transport hub of Los Angeles. The station is best described, just like KL Sentral! Then I hop on the Metro Subway to my hotel, Days Inn Hollywood, situated on Hollywood Boulevard and just beside Hollywood/Western Metro Subway Station. It also situated beside Los Angeles Thai town, home to many Thai food restaurants. To Asian travelers, Thai food means RICE! The pineapple prawn fried rice makes me feel right at home. The best part is, I arranged my own lodging and researched about the public transport from the comfort of my home. Maybe someday I can work as a tour guide when I grow up.

Graumann's Chinese Theater, Mann's Chinese Theater whatever they call it.
               As you just read, I stayed at Hollywood Boulevard. At the sidewalk pavements, there are thousands of star shaped tiles with names of well known people in the entertainment business. The "Avenue of Stars" stretches quite far, more than a mile I think. The starred sidewalk starts from the Graumann's Chinese Theatre. The concrete pavement in front of the building is filled with handprints and shoeprints of well known stars. Behind the Graumann's Chinese Theatre is the Kodak Theatre, the venue of various entertainment awards such as The Oscars and The Academy Awards. North of the area is the Hollywood sign. The sign are quite hard to see from Hollywood Boulevard because the view is blocked by buildings. It can be seen clearly from afar. Behind the hill that nestled the Hollywood sign is Universal Studios. It functions as both a theme park and a filming studio. War of The Worlds, Jaws, King Kong, The Fast and Furious, Ghost Whisperer, and the hit television series, Desperate Housewives was shot at the Universal Studios Los Angeles. Sadly some of the "houses" of Wisteria Lane was caught on fire a few months earlier and was rebuilt on the same spot. So the houses that I visited probably are not the original homes used by Bree Van De Kamp and Gabrielle Solis. I also got the chance to chat with a cameraman of the hit-television series, CSI:MIAMI while waiting for the bus. He was quite friendly and helpful.

The famous ball in front of every Universal Studios.
The entrance to Universal Studios.
                The city of Los Angeles has tall buildings only at its city centre while the surroundings are mainly low-rise. The tall buildings in LA’s city center are actually a financial district, home to many offices and banks. Also in the city centre, there is a shopping district where we can buy toys and clothes at a relatively low price. Here, the majority of shoppers and shopkeepers is Hispanics from the South Americas. It is a very interesting place to shop as the moment you enter the area, the atmosphere is like watching Ugly Betty as the Hispanics are everywhere. There were also large fat pork sausages sold at the sidewalks, fried with herbs, spices and vegetables. The smell of grilled meat makes your taste buds go bonkers but I can't eat it because of religious reasons. Unfortunately I reached this place late in the evening and did not manage to find anything to buy. In the winter the sun sets quite early, at 4pm and by this time, most shops are closed. I also visited LA's Chinatown. In the Jackie Chan's movie, Rush Hour, he went to Foo Chow Restaurant to meet the bad guys. I visited the restaurant too but I did not manage to find the bad guy's lair. I also did some shopping in Pasadena, a quiet town famous for its Rose Parade.

LA Downtown
Massive American SUVs in Pasadena
                From Los Angeles, I took a bus ride to Santa Monica. The bus ride took 1 hour and 30 minutes because the bus was quite slow. Interestingly, I met a young man that looked like Malaysian top rocker, Amy Search on the bus. Santa Monica has a pier which is a long jetty that has many shops and surprisingly, a theme park on it. The pier has appeared in many movies such as "Forrest Gump" when Forrest ran across America and encountered seaside. Guess what, in honour of the multi-award winning film, a "Bubba Gump Shrimping Company" restaurant is opened on the pier. The movie is not totally fiction though. The shrimps are gigantic and there is surely a lot of ways to cook the delicious crustaceans. The waves from The Pacific Ocean are gigantic when the tide is high, perfectly like what we saw in surfing movies. Third Street Promenade is a pedestrian street and it is the main shopping area of Santa Monica. There are also departmental stores such as Macy and Sears. I bought an American Muscle car, Dodge Challenger 6.1L V8 HEMI SRT 8 here. It’s not an actual car but it is actually just a 1:24 scale collectible toy car. I took a bus ride home. At 3pm that day, the bus I rode picked up students from Fairfax High School. They did not wear uniforms and brings with them lightly filled backpacks because most books is left at the school's locker. It must be great if students in Malaysia can do the same. Some even say that light backpacks are the reason behind Americans that grow tall like trees.

Santa Monica Pier. Featured in many movies. Forrest Gump ran across America, met with the ocean here
                After 14 days in the United States, it’s time to leave for home. From Los Angeles International Airport I flew to Kuala Lumpur. Bad weather was expected above the Pacific Ocean, so the pilot took a longer course to avoid it thus taking an additional three hours time. Because of tiredness, I fell asleep for nine hours straight, which is a record for an insomniac person like myself, and woke up when the plane is above Tokyo. We safely landed in Kuala Lumpur, greeted by the tropical sun and the nasi lemak sold in Kuala Lumpur International Airport's food court. It was a really a memorable trip and I learned a lot about the American's lifestyle from this trip. I hope I can visit The United States again soon and hopefully my dream of visiting the Big Apple might come true one day.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Autumn Moon

Ah its autumn, or fall whatever they call in Seoul.

The transition from summer to autumn this last month was quite abrupt to be frank. As we were indulging hot summer days and nights, suddenly the temperature dropped to in nearly 10°C in one night. By early October the temperature was around a comfortable 20's but the nights are cold. Now in the middle of October, during the day temperatures are expected to be around 15's and night around 10's. Leaves are starting to get yellowish.

The yellow and red leaves will open up various interesting photo opportunities. Can't wait. Talking about photos, I was thinking about upgrading to a better camera, perhaps the Sony Alpha SLT-A65 which is featured in my post Dreams: Sony Alpha SLT-A65 and take better videos in full HD glory. I love the sharp and fast responses but I had delays in upgrading because I still love my semipro Olympus SP-570UZ. It is old, the shutter speed is slow, the autofocus is slow, I cannot go above ISO speed of 200 and many other setbacks. But in those years I spent with it, I've learnt how to overcome them, shooting within its limits and make great pictures out of it. It's like an old car to me. I know where to kick it to make it work and all. What I love the most is the superior zoom, like the photo below. The lens was at its full focal length, 92mm. The sensor is so small is this camera, so on 35mm full frame terms, it is 520mm. It is crazy! The following photo was taken using aperture f/8, shutter speed 1/40s and the exposure compensation is turn down two steps to achieve nice contrast, making the craters visible.

"Autumn Moon" by Adzrin Mansor using a Olympus SP-570UZ.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Hantu Sungai

I'm very happy that my previous post, Hantu Atap caught a lot of attention especially from photo enthusiasts. It is actually just a simple lighting trick done by tweaking exposure time and lighting. Today on my way back from the Malaysian Embassy in Seoul, I dropped by at the Yoeido Hankang Park which is located near Yoeinaru Station. There were some fireworks show held near the 63 Building and a crowd showed up. It was so crowded I couldn't even set up my tripod and snap photos of the fireworks. But a friend was there to snap some videos with his EOS 550D.

After the crowd receded I proceed to the water edge of the Han River, the main river that runs through Seoul and snapped some pictures of me, 'Hantu' style. Except for writing the watermarks on the photos, the photo is untouched, unedited and raw from the camera. Still couldn't figure out how I do it? I think most photo enthusiasts have it all figured out already. This is, AdzrinMansor Photography's Hantu style~

I was trying to imitate Luqman's style here:

Fool around a bit;

Then I turned my camera around and snapped some pictures of the people around the river shore:

Love the night view!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...