30 August 2009

Nikkor 10-24mm, I need you now...

I started serious photography with Yashica SLR. The FX-3 Super 2000 model.

When I was in the university, I was intrigued with the eye-control focus by Canon, so I bought the Canon 50E in 1994. It served me very well and I was satisfied with it. My graduation photos were taken with Canon 50E by my girlfriend and she also like the way the Canon 50E handled.

The Canon 50E broke down in 2002. I immediately bought an APS automatic camera. Then in 2006, I jumped into digital technology and decided to buy the Canon 400D. The main reason that I bought another Canon SLR was because I wanted to use the lenses that I have with the 50E.

So, after a while, I started to wonder that the old 50E was easier to use and has better ergonomic. I wasn’t very happy with the 400D compared with the times I used the 50E.

Then, I was thinking to upgrade to Canon 40D. I tried it, and decided to wait for while, as it didn’t give me the click. A couple of months later, Canon introduced Canon 50D. I was quite excited, but after reading several reviews, I had a mix feeling about the 50D. So, I should stick to the 400D.

Then, came the blow. One day, I was helping my wife to take some photos of her colourful, crafty and delicious cupcakes and wedding cakes, see Chef Laily. The cakes were on a red cloth (as a background). I took the photos and reviewed them, and found that the red was not captured as red. I was slightly orangey. I tried to use other white balance settings including several manual settings but to no avail.

After that, was looking to Nikon. I borrowed my friend Nikon D80, and test the same things as above. The colour matched on auto white balance setting.

At that point of time, Nikon just launched the D80 replacement, the Nikon D90. I checked my bank balance, and decided to invest on Nikon D90 to satisfy my photography appetite.

After 6 months of playing with the Nikon D90, and after several events (such as 7 birthday parties, 3 official corporate events, 5 catwalk sessions and lots of other I interesting small occasions), I am back to the feeling like was having the Canon 50E.

The only complaint that I have about the Nikon D90 is I wish it has more cross-type sensors, but that doesn’t stop me at all.

The Canon 50E was a film camera that is equivalent to digital full-frame camera. When I was using it, I often borrow a 17-40mm lens to take landscape and in tight areas. This lens is equivalent to 11-25mm on the Nikon D90 APS-C camera.

And now, I really miss the wide angle lens due to my close proximity with my subjects i.e. my kids. Nikon recently introduced their new Nikkor 10-24mm f3.5-4.5. I need it…

Disclaimer: Most of the photos are from the Internet.

17 August 2009

PCC Presidential Ride 2009 - Mountain Biking

I bravely took part in the 65km off-road PCC Presidential Ride 2009 on Sunday, 16 August 2009, at Broga, Semenyih, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. The ride started and ended at University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus.

Statistics from my Cateye:
Distance : 67.34 km.

Max speed : 43.3 km/h.

Average speed: 13.3 km/h.

Ride time : 4 hrs 52:57 minutes

Statistics from my memory:
Arrived - 0910 hours.
Rest - ~5 mins.
Drink - 1 Revive.
Food - 1 Banana.

Arrived - 1050 hours.
Rest - ~5 mins.
Drink - 2 Revive.
Food - 1 Banana.

Cramp - Rest ~15 mins.

Arrived - 1205 hrs.
Rest - ~20 mins.
Drink - 1 Revive & 1 hydration salt drink.
Food - One piece of bread.

Arrived - 1355 1345* hrs.

All times are estimates, except arrival time at CP4.
* Correction (27 Sep 2009): Arrived at CP4 at 1345 hrs, and arrived at start/end at 1355 hrs.

Other interesting statistics:
Powerbar Gel - 4 sacks; 2 strawberry banana & 2 tangerine flavour.

Water - More than 3 liters (with refill at the checkpoints (CP)).

Fall - None.. yahoo!!

Cramps - Twice at both thigh muscles! Sh*t, sh*t...!

Stream crossings - 3.

Bridges - Too many to remember...

Best uphill - Between CP3 and CP4. Several of them here... crazy but damn fun!

Best downhill - Also between CP3 and CP4. Singletrack descent and the last section of long doubletrack downhill.

Best singletrack - Also between CP3 and CP4. Lots of them.. lovely :)

Best flat section - Between CP1 and CP2. All in big ring (44T).

Love & hate section - The uphill cement climb, singletrack though...

Worst sections - Tarmac between CP2 and CP3.. I got cramped here!

Brake problem - None.

Shifting problem - None.

Suspension problem - None.

Puncture - None.

Traction - Great.

Comfort problem - Slightly and need to consider cut-out saddle next time.

Stupid riders - Plenty..! Especially the one that knocked his pedal on my left knee during an "unrideable" ditch section.

Best booth - Cycling Asia.

Pre-ride dinner - Several slices of Domino's pizza; thin crust, separate Extravaganza & Aloha Chicken toppings. Lots of water and two glasses of hydration salt drink.

Pre-ride breakfast - Yoghurt, one slice of bread with lots of cranberry jam, water & a glass of hydration salt drink.

Post-ride lunch - None. Too tired to eat. Only two glasses of hydration salt drink.

Post-ride dinner - My wife cooking. Great Malaysian nasi lemak, with prawn sambal, fried eggs, fried chicken, Japanese cucumber. There were also lasagna, but I was only tasting it. Oh! yeah.. the dessert was chocolate fondant with ice cream... yummy!

Some of the photos from my handphone:
[Except the first one, courtesy from Phil Bee. Yeahh.. that's me.]

This is mountain biking!

Finally, I personally would like to thank to University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus, for allowing the riders to utilise their campus as the base for the start/finish.

06 August 2009

My first video blog

This is my first blog with moving pictures.

All the 3 videos are from You Tube, and I thank the persons who are willing to share it for all of us.

The first one is about the first 2009 World Cup XC race in South Africa, the second one is the 2009 World Cup XC race in Houffalize and the last one in Offenburg.

Enjoy it..

Tell me how do you like them...

04 August 2009

True yet Funny about 2009 Tour de France

I was reading this true yet funny article about Tour de France 2009 from Eurosport's Blazin' Saddles:

"The Rocky Balboa Award for triumph in the face of adversity: Alberto Contador, who won his fourth Grand Tour in succession despite having as much support from his Astana team as a papier mache column in monsoon season. He even had to use his brother as a driver to get to the start of key stages after the team bus left without him!

The High-School Biggest Bully Award: Lance Armstrong, who despite his worthy intentions in the global fight against cancer, proved to be both nasty and oppressive at times. One side showed the Texan getting chummy with virtually everyone in the peloton (and Hollywood) while another saw the 37-year-old terrorize his team leader with a series of undermining interviews and posts on Twitter.

Worst Professionals: Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel for spitefully upstaging both Contador and Astana with information of their new RadioShack outfit before the race had even finished. No doubt, had the American been in yellow at the time, the focus would have been somewhat different.

Not Bad for an Old Man: Regardless of his behaviour, third place on the world's hardest bike race after more than three and a half years out is not to be baulked at. Without a broken collarbone in May, who knows what Armstrong could have achieved?

Best Sub-Plot: The fight for the green jersey was a feisty affair, with Cav the Chav unable to beat the Bull of Grimstad despite taking an imperious six stages on his way to completing the race for the first time. Thor Hushovs's solo break in the mountains to net vital intermediate sprint points showed the world why the big Norwegian probably tops Cav in the popularity stakes, but the scene is perfectly set for more fireworks in 2010.

Best Addition to the Tour: Twitter. It enabled you to see behind-the-scenes pictures of riders in their compression socks; it showed a new side to Cadel Evan's personality (the guy loves emoticons); it was used as a battle ground between LA and his many opponents, be it Garmin, AC or the race organisers; it allowed almost 600 contented souls to follow BS on twitter.com/saddleblaze.

Best Bike Handler: After becoming one of the first two Japanese riders to complete the Tour, Skil-Shimano's Fumiyuki Beppu performed an astonishing bouncy wheelie on the Champs Elysees that would make Robbie McEwen green with envy.

Best Boxer (prior to injury): Dutchman
Piet Rooijakkers tried to give Cav a rib-crack during one tense sprint finish before suffering a horrible multiple fracture of the same arm days later.

Best Brothers: Despite early pressure from the frères Feillus, with their Erik Zabel-
inspired black flattop hair styles, the Schleck brothers came good with a stage win and a podium place between them. With Andy touted to join RadioShack, would that be like taking the thin slice of meat from a ham and cheese sandwich?

Were You Really There?: Quick Step and Tom Boonen- did the Belgian team or their party-boy figurehead do anything of any merit during the three weeks? Poor Allan Davis

Surely Team Leaders Next Year: Luis-Leon Sanchez, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Vicenzo Nibali.

Nonentity Come Good: Unknown, 31-year-old Italian journeyman Rinaldo Nocentini donned the yellow jersey for a whole week.

Tyler Hamilton Award for Riding When Collared: George Hincapie completed the race despite a broken collarbone sustained four days before Paris. And you thought climbing the Ventoux and delivering Cavendish for a sixth win was hard enough as it is.

So Near Yet So Far Award: Hincapie missing yellow by five seconds in Besancon. That'll teach him for sitting up towards the finish.

Most Bitter Award: Hmm, this is a toss up between Cav calling the Thor's green jersey "stained" and Garmin upping the tempo to stop Hincapie wearing yellow for one day for rival US team Columbia-HTC.

Humpty Dumpty Award: The Giro should have been proof: not that Menchov was a class rider, but that he couldn't stay on his bike if his life depended upon it.

Best Analogy: Bradley Wiggins calling stage 17 "a bit of a brothel" - presumably because it contains lots of up and down. That said, Cyril Guimard's comparing Evans's Pyrenean breakaway to "the last cigarette of a condemned man" must get a shout, if only for its ability to make BS picture Cadel with a fag propped in the dimple of his generous chin.

Biggest Schnozzle: The only thing more astonishing than Pierrick Fedrigo's
stage win was the size of his almighty snout. They don't call him The Nose of Marmande for nothing, you know. Even Chris Boardman said it was the most aerodynamic piece of cycling equipment he had ever seen.

Biggest Token Rider: Everyone presumed that Astana's Dmitriy Muranyev
was only brought along to the Tour because of his nationality and the Kazakh did little during the race to prove otherwise.

Biggest Disappointment: It's a toss up between 2008 champion Carlos Sastre, the current Giro giant Denis Menchov and the previous two-times runner-up Cadel Evans. All three had complete shockers.

Unluckiest Rider: Even the peloton's toughest nut couldn't get back on the bike after his ghoulish high-speed fall in the Alps. It compounded a difficult Tour for Jens Voigt
, who saw an untimely puncture end a breakaway chance in a previous stage.

Biggest Surprise: Brad Wiggins, who lost a lot of weight and became a mountain goat on his way to fourth place. The only previous Tour the Briton had completed was in 2006 when he finished a lowly 124th, three and a half hours down and behind the likes of Robbie McEwen and current team-mates Davids Millar and Zabriskie. Such is his transformation, Wiggo has targeted a victory by 2012.

RadioShack 2010: Armstrong, A Schleck, Nibali, Leipheimer, Horner, Hincapie, Zubeldia, Chavanel, B Feillu

Intesting huhh...