Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Arum lilies in my garden

Arum lilies are lovely subjects to photograph. The bright yellow stamen stands out against the white petals. The flower has lovely curves. The shiny green leaves provide a beautiful backdrop.

The plant itself is easy to cultivate. I planted a row of rhizomes some years ago, and every single one of them sprouted successfully without any care or attention. They even survived a dreadful drought without any watering at all.

When the flowers wilt, I simply cut away everything and leave only the rhizomes in the ground. When the growing season comes around, all the plants just appear like magic to charm you with many weeks of lily blooms.

Monday, August 19, 2013

My garden shed

I have just finished building this garden shed with the help of my son. Laying the concrete slab was a very back breaking job. We eventually got around to it after procrastinating for many months. Assembling the shed was the fun part, which we took just a day (yesterday) to complete. I spent half of today bolting it down to the concrete floor, as well as cleaning up the area.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Do you consume or create

The iPad started an era of unparalleled content consumption. Prior to the iPad, computers were mainly used for work or for creative activity. Content consumption, so proudly heralded by Steve Jobs with his iPad, is in my opinion a bane to mankind and should be reckoned with.

I still like my desktop PC. When I am at my desktop, most of the time I am doing something I consider a productive use of time. I might be researching into a subject, working on my images, paying bills and filing up the paperwork, or writing a blog as I am doing now.

On my smartphone, I find I am mostly squandering away time. I might be reading snippets of news, or the-mostly unsolicited emails from companies that I once bought something from; or deleting off those email "invitations" from friends who apparently do not have the faintest idea they were sending out invitations for me to join their social group (there should be a law against this!).

What about you? Are you a content creator or are you endlessly consuming content on the internet? If you are heavily on the content consumption end of the scale, beware that content consumption works in a self-feeding  vicious cycle. The more you indulged, the more you crave. Think about what better things you could be doing with your time.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Personalized mug from Harvey Norman

Got this from a Harvey Norman special for $5. What a deal!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cherry blossoms

I can imagine why poets and painters muse over the cherry blossoms. Even I cannot help but be mesmerized by its frail beauty as I clicked away happily at the cherry blossoms in front of my house this morning. The flowers bloom only once a year, and even then for only a couple of weeks. During this time, my eyes will feast hungrily at the sight of the beautiful blossoms. They remind me of a picture I once received of a beautiful girl posing next to the cherry blossoms.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Who needs a smartcamera, anyway

First we have the smartphone. Then we have the smartTV. Now cameras are evolving into "smartcameras" as manufacturers race to add Android and wifi and internet features to their new cameras.

I was also caught up in that hype myself. I thought that it would be nice to be able to publish or email the images as soon as they are captured, all without going through a PC. I almost bought the Nikon S800C (Android camera) when it was first released. I was totally sold on the idea... until now.

With reference to my previous blog, it is all too easy to use an Android smartphone or tablet to view images from the memory card directly. This is more sensible than building Android capability into the camera. Putting Android into a camera adds cost but little benefit to a photographer who has a smartphone or a tablet. I would rather have a conventional camera. If I am away from home, I would prefer to use a tablet to view the images after a shoot. And I can still do everything I would have been able to do with a smartcamera (i.e. edit, email, share). Yes, all on a bigger screen than that of a camera.

How about wifi-enabled camera? I think there is also limited use for this. I was also quite enthused about the idea before. However, it takes several seconds for even a small file to appear on a remote screen after the camera snaps the picture. With a tethered cable, it is a bit faster, but again it is not instantaneous enough. I would rather view the images after a shoot, and selectively download what I want to keep. The rest is trash.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

View DSLR images on your Android

Here is an easy way to use your Android device to view images captured with a normal camera. You just need an OTG cable (see image below. You can get one for as little as AUD$1 on eBay). You would also need a card reader.

There are several image viewer apps you can use. I use the built-in "My Files" app. This app helps you to navigate around files and folders like you are used to on a PC. You can download any image from the USB/OTG-connected storage, and then "share" it via Gmail, Facebook, etc; or download selected images on to your Android.

Here is the step-by-step instruction. Remove the memory card from your camera and plug it into your card reader. Use the OTG cable to connect the card reader to your Android device. Open up the "My Files" app and click on the USB folder. You can now start to view your  images.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A purpose-driven life

Jeremiah 1:5 says:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

When we set out to create something, we usually have in mind what we want to do. If it is a painting, an artist will have a mental picture of what he wants to paint. If it is a designer, he will have pre-conceived the result he wants to achieve. Even before I became a parent, I had in mind what I hoped for my children to be like. I wanted them to love one another, to respect their elders, to get along well with others, etc.

It is therefore not inconceivable that God the Creator knew us before we were even formed in the womb. If we believe that our life originates from God, then we must also believe that our life has a purpose. One does not create something that is of no purpose or value.

I would like to think that everyone of us has a designated purpose. We just have to be aware of what that purpose is and then do our best at what we have been set apart for, all to the glory of God.