Monday, October 28, 2013

How to unclog your bathroom sink

Recently my bathroom sink was getting clogged. The water could only drain out very slowly. I had tried pouring sodium bicarbonate and vinegar into it, in the hope that that would work. Before long, the sink would have been fully clogged up and I would have to do what I did last time, which was to use a very long metal cable that snakes through the pipe from the exterior. It was very tough and dirty work and I was not looking forward to that.

Yesterday I came across this product called the "Drain Clean, Hair Unclogger". It costs about AUD$8 and I got it from Bunnings. Following the instructions, I poured about 500 ml into the sink and left it overnight. Yes, it is literally pouring money down the drain, but for a good cause! The sink is now unclogged and I am now able to leave the tap fully running. Mission accomplished.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thy will be done

The one part of the Lord's prayer that intrigued me today was: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done".

An average human being wants everything his way. We are happy when things go right; when our children behave the way we want them to; or when our spouse behaves exactly the way we expect them to. We are happy when strangers follow all the rules of courtesy when we are present. We are happy when service providers render good service to us. However, as soon as things run contrary to our expectations, we become a different animal. A prayerful Christian might start to pray for OTHERS to change and become "good". We seldom think that it is we ourselves who need to change.

If we truly pray for God's will to be done, I think it is useful to look inwards. People around us will always fall short of perfection. If we are able to accept them for who and what they are, then we will begin to understand what we are praying for, and we will no longer be a sweet Christian when things go well, and an ugly sinner when the going gets ugly.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Travelling with a point-and-shoot and a flashgun

I have just returned home from a holiday in Malaysia and Jogjakarta, with about 2500 shots to show for. On this trip I took just my Lumix LX7 and my SB600 flashgun, which was used only in the manual mode. So what have I got to tell, as far as shooting satisfaction goes? 

First of all, let me qualify by saying that the shots were purely social shots (or record shots). The intent was to get properly exposed, technically good shots, rather than competition-quality shots (which is always difficult to do on a family event).

During this trip I had many opportunities to use the flashgun: a wedding dinner, inside a museum, just before sunrise and just after sunset, inside a batik factory, and an indoor social gathering. A high percentage of the shots were taken with the flash. 

Here is my experience. The flash-aided shootings went as well as I imagined they would be, but could be improved. For one, I think I should have kept the ISO fixed at 80 (the lowest possible in the LX7). I used the P mode, which worked quite well. On hindsight, it wouldn't have hurt to keep it in M mode with speed setting of 1/60s and aperture wide open.

In the following, the wedding dinner image was at ISO 100, the sunset was at ISO 100, the factory hand was at ISO 400, and the museum was at ISO 80. All were shot at speed 1/60s, with Stofen diffuser fitted on flash.

In the wedding dinner scene, a large sensor high-ISO camera would have been better, especially since the presence of large mirrors actually created an annoying flare in some of the other images when the flash fired. This LX7/flash combo worked alright, but only just. In the other scenes, I did not miss having my Nikon D700 with me, as the tiny LX7 was a joy to carry around (although not the fairly large flash gun). I did get a few looks from other photographers at the wedding, as I must have looked odd holding the LX7 on one hand, and the flash on the other.