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Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Mountain Biking

Fun and Excitement

Mountain biking is about getting into the forest, where the trail is rough, rocky or rooty; Making rapid down hill descents over boulders and ledges; and leaping table-top; It is about man, machine and nature; It is about adrenalin, ...........

Amazing isn't it? But you don't have to perform the acts as above footage in mountain biking. There are always choices on how you want to do it. Whichever your choice is, as long as you play it safe, cycling is definitely beneficial to your health.

Easy ride at farmland.

Get to the hill for fresh air
Cycling is a low impact activity and therefore a safer exercise without risk of over-exertion or strain to muscles and joints. It is an aerobic activity (except when going up hill) which exercise and strengthen our lung and heart muscle. It activates blood circulation and improve overall fitness.

It is also claimed that cycling raises the metabolism rate for hours even afterwards where our body continue to burn calories. This is especially true when you cover a mix terrain where there are uphill (anaerobic respiration) and rather flat and easy trail (aerobic respiration). The bonus good news is, this type of alternating exercise is very effective in weight control!

Mountain biking offers opportunities to discover and explore new places, enjoying fresh air and awesome scenery. No traffic, no danger, no pollution. It is about forestry tracks, reservoir trails, orchard or estate tracks. It is a superb way to reduce stress.
Exploring new places
Deep into the nature
Take the challenges

Obstacles? ..... it is fun!

Freedom, contentment, fun, happiness, enjoyment and adrenalin. It is hard to beat the sheer feelings that riders experience when mountain biking. Besides, you can meet new people and get fit all at the same time.
Simple machine unlimited capabilities
What else a bicycle can do? apart from mountain bike that climbs hills, water crossing, down hilling at high speed and perhaps, take off into the air by the momentum,...?
Well, it is unbelievable what this simple two wheeler is capable of. Watch the below video:

So....? What is your choice? Make up your mind and ......
Have fun!

Friday, 12 October 2007

Point and Shoot Digital Camera

Make the impossible possible

With the advancement of today's digital photography technology, even a small point-and-shoot digicam is able to do what was not possible in the past. However, with a little thought and common sense, it may even bring you results that you may think only possible with the professional camera range and expensive gadgets.

Forget about technical terms that i myself don't understand, here are some of the tips that i have learned with my point-and-shoot digicam.

Right timing of your trip
Timing is important in capturing your subject with interesting shade of light. This is especially true in outdoor photography. Without the use of flash light, sunlight (either direct or under shade) will give a more natural look of an image.

At 9:30am in Georgetown, the morning sunlight cast shadows on old buildings and highlighted the Komtar at a distant. This enhanced the depth of the image.

Without a long lenses as those for SLR digicam. It is near impossible to do bird photography with a point-and-shoot. However, with some knowledge of the subject behaviour, and a proper planning, there is a good chance of getting a decent result. This Kingfisher image was captured at 9:00am in the morning, the basking hours. At this time, they will focus on hunting as well as heating up their body after a cold night. They allow intruder like myself to come closer to point and shoot. (More story: July Post: The White Throated Kingfisher).

Or at the late afternoon of a very hot day, water spray from a garden hose will lure overheated birds to the orchid plants. You can get close to them when they are desperate enough to quickly cool down their body temperature. And they will come again the next day at the same time if you are consistent with your watering time. Image taken at 6:00pm.

Choice of subjects
When doing wildlife photography with a laugh-able mini point-and-shoot digicam, don't be too ambitious. It is not possible to capture a cheetah chasing its prey at 100 Kph somewhere a kilometer away on the Safari. Look for subjects that are less mobile.

This bug will not move an inch even you take 100 shots of her.

Not very difficult even at close distance, if you are smart enough to remain pointing at the same twig after this dragonfly has flown away, it will return to the exact spot very shortly if you remain static.

It is also easy to get near to subjects that trust their camouflage capability. But best if you can approach them from behind (90 deg from their back) rather than from the side. When you come from behind, they think that you did not see them as they already camouflaged themselves with the surrounding. They are more alert if you come from the side as that is not the best angle to put their camouflage into function. This female Angle-head lizard image was captured after i first approached her from behind, then slowly shifted my position to the side, just 6 ft away.

The brightness (exposure)
The proper exposure will bring about an interesting image even the subject is a very simple one. A sheet of "bird-nest" leave, against a relatively dark background, deliberately under-exposed to only getting the right brightness for the leave, the background has darkened to near black. (Almost all today's point-and-shoot digicam has the under/over exposure control. Usually was given as +ve for overexpose; -ve for underexpose).

A simple toy duck, under an underexpose mode, brought out a different feeling.

If you have a rare opportunity with an interesting subject, such as those rely on camouflage as their defence, not always you will go near them to capture their image. Sometime you need the courage to take some risk. This venomous viper was crossing the jeep track on Penang hill. It won't run fast as it belongs to the camouflage type of creature as i mentioned above. But do you dare to go close?

Let me get a little closer for more detail image.

And a little more closer..... That's it, that's close enough, i don't think he will remain patient if i press my camera on his nose.

Definitely luck sometime play an important role especially when shooting moving subjects such as birds. This chick was learning how to fly, on my balcony (Nested in my balcony as well).

And the fly is a very sensitive insect. They fly fast and definitely not allowing you to come close to them for a macro-shot. But i managed to take this picture at just 2cm away.

And even at 2mm away !!! How??? you may ask... That is why i said LUCK is important!!! Yes, this fly allowed me to use super-macro setting on him for about 10 shots before zoom away.... This is merely luck.

Point-and-shoot digital camera really can take good pictures by just point and shoot. And if you give it some thought, it can deliver even greater surprises. So, don't laugh at me next time if you see me with a mini point-and-shoot on the safari trying to shoot a dashing cheetah 1Km away.