Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One afternoon at the Pirianda Gardens

 I love the beautiful colours of autumn. Mt Dandenong is one of my favourite places to visit at this time of the year. It is just less than half an hour's drive from my house. The drive up the Dandenongs is a treat in itself. You will get to see many beautiful plants resplendent in dazzling colours, especially under bright sunlight.

At the Pirianda Gardens, we had a little picnic under a pine tree. The cut logs make a wonderful set up for a woodlands feel, while the coffee mugs and jacket add a rustic touch. A woodcutter's axe would have completed the pictures below, so to speak. These pictures were taken with an iPad.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Club outing to Woodlands Homestead

Last Sunday we had a club outing to the Woodlands Homestead, which is located outside the Tullamarine Airport. This 1700-acre property is home to retired champion race horses. The facility is maintained by government grants, horse owners, and the fee-paying public. It is also home to more than a thousand wild kangaroos. From the homestead we were transported by a mini bus to a remote section of the property where we had a field day shooting in the outback. Here are some photos I took.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The mistake of overselling

Would you like fries to go with that? Would you like to up-size your meal? Those are familiar questions to try and oversell you a meal at McDonald's. Sometimes overselling can be a mistake, as the following shows.

My wife and I went shopping for a watch for our daughter while we were in Miami. After picking out one, we proceeded to the payment counter. The cashier, with good intentions no doubt, asked if we would like to also buy three batteries at a special price of $10. My, was that her biggest mistake of the day! Immediately my mind sobered up. I asked, "How often do I need to change the batteries?" An uncomfortable moment followed. I quickly realized that I didn't want the watch after all. A watch is not something my daughter is going to wear all the time. If she has to change the battery every other time she wears it, it is going to be very troublesome. Needless to day, I didn't buy the watch. I beat a hasty retreat while trying to be as gracious as possible. We got out of the place as quickly as we could. I hope the watch seller realizes that trying to sell their customer batteries when they buy a watch is a big no no. Can you imagine buying a parachute that comes with a special on parachute-repair-kit?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Serving the poor in Cambodia

My son sent me these pictures from Cambodia. He is there on a short stint with a non-profit organization providing dental treatment to people who I presume are poor and in need. I am happy for him because I think the greatest gift one can give to another is that which the other person needs the most. Think of it this way: if you give $100 (in cash or service) to a rich man, that will not mean much to him. but if you give $100 to a penniless man, it means the world to him.

I cannot find anywhere in the bible that compares giving to the poor versus giving to the rich. However, this is almost like the story of the poor widow in the Gospel of Mark 12:41-44, except from the perspective of the receiver. (In that passage, Jesus observed a poor widow giving just a few copper coins to the temple treasury. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on" ). In that sense, if one has no material possessions, he is going to be grateful for even a small little gift.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Portraiture workshop at my camera club

This workshop was conducted by Paul Robinson on 22 April 2013 at the Knox Photographic Society in Boronia. The model's name is Megan.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Notes to myself: Circle of confusion

The following is taken from notes given in my photography class. Besides defining what circle of confusion is all about, it provides good insight into the fact that proper camera focusing is about obtaining "acceptably sharp" image.

The depth of field does not abruptly change from sharp to unsharp, but instead occurs as a gradual
transition. In fact, everything immediately in front of or in back of the focusing distance begins to
lose sharpness - even if this is not perceived by our eyes or by the resolution of the camera. Since there is no critical point of transition, a more rigorous term called the "circle of confusion" is
used to define how much a point needs to be blurred in order to be perceived as unsharp. When the
circle of confusion becomes perceptible to our eyes, this region is said to be outside the depth of
field and thus no longer "acceptably sharp."

.... An acceptably sharp circle of confusion is loosely defined as one which would go unnoticed when enlarged to a standard 8x10 inch print, and observed from a standard viewing distance of about 1 foot.

The circle of confusion therefore sets the boundary of what we want to appear sharp (i.e. depth of field). Theoretically then, it is impossible to have perfect focus for the entire image unless the subject is in a single focal plane (e.g. a smooth wall perfectly parallel to the sensor and the lens). That does not usually happen as we live in a three dimensional world. The best we can do for focusing is to ensure that the desired focus area in an image is "acceptably sharp" as appears to the naked eye.