It’s semester break for the students at my institution, though not really so for faculty. Still, it does make available small periods in which I can clear the huge bunch of Annual Leave I’ve accumulated. It’s harder to get Hannah to smile naturally for the camera these days. Not impossible – we just find ourselves having to work a lot harder than before! I suspect it’s to do with the fact that she’s wised up to my antics when she sees a camera pointing in her general direction. In fact, she understands this whole concept of picture-taking now, what with Ling lending her her Sony camera to try taking pictures of us.:)

The first group of pictures here below were taken across two weeks; last weekend and this couple of days.

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Dinner @ Qiji. She’s still decorating her seat with toys.

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Yesterday evening at home and during daddy-daughter play-time.

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As before, she’s at her most chirpy just after her evening shower and during these bonding sessions.

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These are bounced flash shots using a Metz digital flashgun with the E-M5. Lighting’s a bit harsh. I can never get the same kind of natural lighting with this Metz/E-M5 as I can with the SB600/D7000.

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This morning just before we headed out of home.

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Still with her favorite sheep.

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All smiles, but trust me when I say she’s developed ‘moods’!

These two below were with the D7000 + 35mm f1.8 while we were out at Serangoon Nex for weekend brunch @ Swensens. I’ve picked up a Bosstrap – similar to our Ang Mo bud’s one – a couple of weeks ago and have it semi-permanently tethered to the D7000 now, though bringing a D7000 with a gunsling-styled strap out to a very public shopping center still makes me feel a tad conspicuous!

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Playing with Mommy’s Neo Xperia V handphone.

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Pretty OK bokeh at f2; though nothing as nice as what you’d get at this aperture with a full-frame. Center sharpness is nothing shot of amazing too.

I just realized that it’s been a month since I posted up pictures of Hannah using the 35mm! She’s just about a month away to three years old, and we’ve been teaching her to recognize the significance of her coming birthday too (see picture below!). She’s also picked up the birthday cake she wants: it’ll be my favorite too: the Green Tea Mocha cake from BreadTalk. Our angmo bud is definitely very familiar with that cake.=)

We’ve been getting her to count her twenty birthdates too. And it goes something like that: “Hannah is going to be three years old! After that, four years old! After that five years old! … etc… all the way to twenty.”

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"Hannah is going to be three years old!"

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Shot a couple of stops down from f1.8 - at f2.2. The living room was a little dark with strong lighting in the background too.

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A beautiful smile from our girl.=)

The shops here have finally receive substantial stocks of the Olympus EM5. DPReview has given it a solid thumbs-up too. Must… resist… temptation!

25. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: All Posts, Baby Blues · Tags: ,

I’m torn between the two f1.8 primes for the D7000 – the 35mm and 50mm! After the in-body micro AF adjustments, the 35mm is sharp now in the image center now, and the 50mm slightly less so. The 35mm seems to give better color reproduction than the 50mm, but on the other hand, the latter seems to focus just a very small bit faster. The bunch of pictures below were taken on the 35mm this time, and at our weekly Sunday brunch with parents.=)

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She's been chewing on her lips a little - it's a little swollen on the lower lip.

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Her luggage this morning was a couple of books, one of which was a Mandarin book she wanted granddad to read to her.

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Hoping her double-chin goes away when she grows older!

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Getting fed egg tarts. Just prior to this she gobbled up roti pratas. The girl eats everything!

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Getting tutored in Mandarin by granddad.=)

26. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: All Posts, Baby Blues · Tags: ,

The more pictures I take of Hannah, the more I’m convinced it’s incredibly hard to take pictures of children! Specifically; they don’t pose on demand, and they’re constantly on the move. Out of say every one hundred pictures I take of Hannah, roughly about three quarters would be usable (as in in-focus + correctly exposed + acceptable composition with cropping), and of that number, perhaps just a quarter of them would be memorable.

The biggest challenge I face now is subject motion – Hannah will not remain still. So the only thing left for me to do is to ramp up the shuttle-release speed to 1/250s or faster when possible , and it’s not always so unless there’s reasonably good light. Shooting wide open at f1.8 isn’t always viable either, with the shallow depth-of-field I have to deal with as I typically take pictures of Hannah up-close.

In any case; pictures taken today on Sunday, and just before we headed out for dad’s birthday lunch at Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant.=)

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At Greenwich's kopitiam. Hannah was moving about, so some sharpening was necessary in post-processing.

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Getting fed french-toast for her breakfast.=)

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She wasn't really dressed to play in the water feature area of the compound, so we'll return here on another date for more pictures.

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The sunflowers at Lentor were in full-bloom. There's a bee collecting nectar which you can just about spot in the lower-left flower.=)

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Shot with the very non-macro 35mm, and as far as minimum focusing distance allowed me to!

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Hannah learning from Daddy.=)

Lucky moments like these where I can get a picture which captures our girl in a memorable moment.=)

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Using the 35mm, and at ISO800 f1.8. Hannah's often at her most cheerful self right after her evening bath, and here she is playing with her hair accessory tube.=)

We were expecting the worst when heading out for a family dinner this evening after work. It’s Valentine’s Day, and every Singaporean couple and family are out for a celebration dinner. We raced off after work, drove like crazy to pick up Hannah, and got into Hougang Mall and the Ichiban Japanese restaurant five minutes before every restaurant in the mall saw long, snaking queues forming (yep; even for Subway and Pepper Lunch).

The D7000 and 35mm f1.8 went for the ride. Pictures of the two women in my life.=)

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Both at ISO640; the first at f3.2, the second at f1.8. There’s still some softness when I pixel peep, so I’m going to have to check my focusing charts again.

We were asking Hannah (just for fun, mind you, so don’t read any more into it) if she would prefer a 弟弟 or a 妹妹. She thought for a minute, and said confidently “弟弟”!

For our ang mo bud in Missouri, 弟弟 means “younger brother”, and “妹妹” means “younger sister”. =)

31. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: All Posts, At Home, Baby Blues, Photography & Cameras · Tags: ,

One of the most useful though not widely used features of the more advanced Nikon DSLRs is the AF fine tuning feature. My old D300 had it, as does the D7000. Basically, not all lenses enjoy perfect focusing around the image center. Some lenses exhibit, with some makers’ lenses seemingly more common than others, back or front focusing issues. At that juncture, you can either send the lens and body back to the service center for calibration, or see if the AF fine tuning feature in the camera body can help.

I printed out a focusing chart, DIYed a simple setup, and discovered that the 35mm had a very slight bias towards front focusing. Most of us would never notice any difference, but what the heck. I tinkered around with the fine tuning, and a few minutes later, enjoyed improved focusing results.=)

A couple of pictures of Hannah getting her teeth brushed just after her evening bath and milk. Ling is going to get her started on brushing teeth in the morning too, though that’ll mean she has to wake up even earlier now (yeah… right! LOL).

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All taken at at f2.8 and 1/80s.=)

29. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: All Posts, At Home, Baby Blues, Photography & Cameras · Tags: ,

More 35mm pictures! The first two were taken at f1.8, and other two at f3.5 – and the latter showed noticeable difference in center sharpness, a bit of camera shake in the first picture notwithstanding.

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She's taken in by a little plastic floating bear toy with a thermometer gauge, that also accompanies her when she bathes.

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Taking a break from her usual hyperactive self.

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I’m eyeing the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 OS now too. I’ve blogged about this lens range here before, and think it’s finally about time I got into the 200mm range @ low light. The lens here was at a relatively low price of USD1100 7 months ago but towards the end of last year went up by a hundred or so. It’s still almost half the price of the Nikon VRII equivalent, but I’m sorely tempted to bite the bullet and get it now, rather than wait for the prices to go up again.=(

Hannah’s newest weekend morning activity.=)

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"Hannah is bursting so many bubbles!"

Ling has been sleeping late for the last several evenings preparing teaching materials/marking/setting test-papers. So for this weekend at least, it’s fallen back to daddy to keep Hannah occupied when she wakes up and let mommy sleep in.

It’s a funny bonding activity between Hannah and me, and a small 30x40cm piece like this kept her happily entertained for the good part of an hour.=)

26. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: All Posts, At Home, Baby Blues, Toys & Technology · Tags: ,

Hannah now alternates between the Water game and a free(!) drawing program I picked up a week ago. One would think she’ll still be more interested in the game, but funnily, when I asked her last night what she’ll prefer, she readily asked for the ‘color pencils’ drawing program!

The latter’s quite an appropriate application for her to doodle, as a new iPad case I bought came with a stylus. Here’s a couple of pictures taken of her on the application on the newly acquired 35mm.

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I'm using the stylus to teach her how to correctly hold a pen. Not entirely successful yet though.

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100% of a cropped section of my focusing point @ f5.6, 1/100s, ISO640.

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Deep in thought over her masterpiece!

In case you’re wondering what’s this masterpiece she was drawing, here it is:

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Not a Picasso by any stretch.=)