February 5, 2010 06:08 by Adrian

Hey everyone!

           How's the start of 2010 been for you? We @ Ardent has been pretty busy with a few house keeping and projects going on.. need to gear things up for the rest of the year, as well as for the upcoming Tiger Chinese New Year rowr! 

           Well, everyone of course aspects good things in 2010 and in following with conventional wisdom of good things, here we present a new club to join the Changkat Bukit Bintang street called Elixir.. and with that lets have a tour..

These images depict the bar area which is situated at the center of the club.. at the end consists of a dance floor and DJ console which will be shown further down this article.. Notice the furnishings and designs right up to ceiling designs..

And also the lighting changes as it slowly progresses later into the night to fit into the mood.. 

The above image is taken from the opposite angle, showing the entrance.. 

A close up look at the bar area..

The private areas.. oh I so love the Dita Von Teese photo.. More about her here.. 

This is another private area..

The view of both private sofa areas.. 

Ah.. and the VVIP area..  next to the DJ console and dance floor.. oval shaped.. 

The above is the dance floor and standing area..

The principle mixologist from Russia.. a real talented and cool dude.. 

Below are some of the free style artistic shots of the place..

Taken with Ardent's favorite lens.. the AF-S 105 F2.8 Micro Nikkor.. with the depth of field precisely focused (notice the area where you can see the intricate detail of the cloth weave) .. this is actually taken from a larger image below.. 

The larger image, you can't see the fine details of the weave.. that's why photos look great while printed in 4R or viewed small but when enlarged to A3 or larger like bunting sizes for advertising shoots, any mistake on focus will be easily seen.. 

 

The above shot is another example of precise depth of field.. when executed with such precision, one can create artistic images out of something seemingly boring object.. 

The above is taken without the use of photoshop to artificially create the depth of field blurness around the bottle object.. Frankly, its easy for professionals like us to see such modifications..  Ultimately if the photo is done right, there is no need to manipulate the image (tweaking to enhance for color, contrast, brightness is deemed acceptable, as even photo labs have to tweak the images to suit their printing machines capabilities) .. the client paid for photographers, not graphic designers.. 

The above image is actually perfect with one minor flaw.. to remove the ashtray that is blocking the reflection of the glass.. well as you can see, we @ Ardent are still humans after all.. tho its hard to spot.. and honest as well! Cool

Ah.. some VSOA.. not VSOP..

If you zoom in closer, the focus is exactly on the lip of the bottle.. with everything else slowly bluring away hence making your focus go straight to the pouring of the VSOA.. 

And at last.. the view of Elixir's entrance from Changkat Bukit Bintang.. 

         I hope to have more time to post up some of the projects completed so far so stay tuned!

Cheers,

Adrian Y.


September 4, 2008 03:03 by Adrian

It brings me back to the time in which I myself was like any newbie checking out which is the best dSLR is out there. Oh come on, I'm not that old! my memories aren't in black and white ya.. Tongue out

Truth be told there are two front runners, Canon and Nikon. I've focused my review here on these two.

My purchasing decision bores down to 3 things, functionality, practicality and expandability.

Lets talk about functionality: -

 

  • • The dSLR needs to take photos.. duh!
  • • Has a good acceptable ISO, preferably 1600
  • • Accurate metering and fast autofocus.

 

In this area, Nikon is famous for their accurate metering system while Canon has the higher AF count (at that time of course), decided that I can still take the picture with fewer AF points (more recomposure work) as long I have a reliable metering reading. The last thing that I need is to take countless snaps to determine whether to + or - the exposure from scene to scene. Although granted that I would have needed time to check whether Nikon's fame in accurate metering is at all true, I didn't have that luxury to test either Canon or Nikon for any extended period of time. Hence I went with general wisdom. Nikon.

The second category is practicality.

 

  • • The grip design must be ergonomic enough for me to hold it for periods aka comfortable and yet fits securely on my hand.
  • • Placement of controls and buttons must be at easy to reach places.

     

    This category I feel that most people take for granted. Good ergonomics can mean either sitting on a hard plastic chair or sitting on a comfy sofa. I've tried all the Canon grips from the 350d, 400d, 450d, 30d and 40d and from Nikon starting from D40x, D80, D200, D300, D700 and D3. I can say both camps that their grips has been consistent throughout which is a good thing. The bad thing is whether it is consistently good or consistently bad that is the problem.

    Nikon ergonomics has been superb. Just hold it and you'll feel that the grip is made to be held where as the Canon grips never quite felt comfy no matter how I tried to accommodate to it. Which is also another thing, why must I accommodate to it? shouldn't it be the other way around?

    The other issue is the buttons or more importantly the command dials. These dials will be the ones that gives you instant quick changes to the camera settings. When taking events, moments disappear in split seconds and I need something that allows me to be quick. Strangely, even Canon's higher models like the 30D / 40D doesn't come with two command dials like the Nikon. No, the big round selector isn't a command dial and it is strange to put my thumb in such an angle to move it in the first place.

    Nikon wins again both with having 2 command dials neatly and practically placed both in front and back. Couple that with amazing ergonomics, it wins again.

    Finally, expandability.

     

    • • Need to have a wide range of lenses and other equipments such as flashes etc.

       

      In this category, Nikon and Canon are neck to neck with years of heritage of lenses in its stable. Nikon may argue that the EOS system uses a different mount which limits it to lens made since 1980's unlike the Nikon F mount, which is compatible to any Nikon made lens that dates back since 1959. Frankly I don't quite care since with newer technology in making lenses, their special coatings and gizmos literally guarantees that I won't be looking that far back for lenses. People who argues that older lenses are better (When there have new lenses with those ED glasses and Nano Crystal coating) are just being too nostalgic.

      I still say Nikon wins in this category. Not because of its F mount but rather the affordability of the lens itself. Canon's L range is simply crazy. 50mm f/1.2L lens will set you back RM8k, 85mm f/1.2L will further rape it by another RM3k. I'll write more about why I don't see that big a deal in f/1.2 and the price paid for it.

      Compare that with the 105mm f/2.8 Macro Nikkor which comes in at RM3k. Or better yet the best wide angle lens the famous 14-24mm f/2.8 Nikkor costs around RM5k. Now compare that with a 14mm f/2.8 II USM Canon that is selling for more than RM6k. Oh by the way, this Nikon's wide angle zoom is sharper than Canon's best prime within the same focal length. And its CHEAPER! 

      In the long run, it'll save me a lot of $.

      Conclusion,

      Do I even need to do one? Its no more a surprise that I end up using Nikon instead of Canon. With the D3/D300/D700/D90 line up, my choice to invest into the Nikon system is well paid of. Oh yeah did I mention that Nikon Malaysia provides free sensor cleaning at their main office at PJ State?

      Nikon the official camera for Ardent Expressions.

      Anyway, do check out Preston Mack who shoots for Disney, GM, Pillsbury, ESPN, Forbes, Business Weekly and etc. Do read his reasons for dumping Canon for Nikon. Read the article here .


      March 29, 2008 11:06 by Adrian
      Whippie.. finally manage to sell of one of my kidneys to get this babeh.. Its the first Macro up to 1:1 reproduction ration with VR! further more its a full frame lens.. costing about RM2900.. hhmm.. I think I may have undervalued my kidney.. but heck who cares.. god is so kind to grace me with a spare.. :P (quote taken from 300 the movie).. 
       
      This lens is perfect for Macro work as well as portraits.. I'll explain why in another post.. right now I just want to showcase this babeh to you.. my babeh..  
       
      Its a heavy lens coming in to about 790g without any attachments .. has the ability to focus as close as 31.4cm.. a 9 rounded bladed diaphram for amazing rounded bokeh..  
       
      Did I mention it has VR? the first of its kind.. macro and VR.. tho truth of the matter is, VR does little during Macro but for portraits? sweeeeet!
       
      Another reason why this is such a perfect lens.. its 105mm.. during macro work, the last thing you want to do is to be that close to a bug..  lets take the AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens.. its minimum focusing distance is 22cm for the same 1:1 production ratio as the 105mm at 31.4.. try taking a bee at 22cm.. I'll put my money on the 105mm.. you'll be lucky that any insects other than slow moving kinds will stay still when you are thaaaat close to it.. do keep in mind that 22cm & 31.4cm is when used in full frame bodies ya!
       
      The same can be said about portrait work..  its best not to be too close to the subjects during portraits as it makes them uncomfortable at that distance.. Ok fine.. 105mm on digital bodies (DX) with the 1.5x crop factor makes things just a bit further.. so unless your studio is your bedroom, you are ok.. if not.. then its time to move out of your parents house! Tongue out
       
      Its not only an amazing lens.. its practical! 
       
      Don't believe me? well it won 
       
       
      TIPA Award For Best Professional Lens

       

       

       
       
       
       
      CJ7.. this toy is about 1.5 inch tall.. small little fella..
       
       
      A lovely margaritta being made.. amazing color and shallowness of Depth Of Field (DOF) with this lens.. Because of close ups.. at f/2.8 the DOF can be as small as a few milimeters.. the picture above should have the margarita flow in focus.. Need to increase the apperture on this bad boy..
       
       
      A closer non cropped view of the drink.. amazing..
       
       
      Things look different close up.. 
       
       
      Toothpicks..  
       
       
       
       
      My favourite vodka.. Grey Goose.. beats Absolut anytime..  used the bottle to further enhance the background lighting that makes it glow..
       
       
      Yum... 
       
      Forget about the 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 and what nots.. get this lens.. 
       
      If I could shoot events with this single lens.. heck I would! unfortunately there are limitations due to its fixed 105mm focal length.. such as in doing close ups, it hunts a bit especially when you set to single area focus.. but this depends on where you put the focus point to be..
       
      Because being up close ups.. how can you measure a black patch to be in focus? that's the problem not about this lens but macro photography in general..  
       
      Will post more about macro in upcoming posts! stay tune..