Saturday, February 26, 2011

Water Lily

There are many types of water lily and one that is in this article is the ‘unwanted’ lilies. You can find them growing in the wild but save your horses for a trip to the mountains and caves, for that trip to some bird sanctuary you’ve been itching to go, and head instead to the drains of Donggongon in Penampang. Drain sounds a little less than interesting place to shoot flowers, no? Think about the kind of affluent that the drain might be carrying, the little produce of the less-than-responsible people doing their business there. You know, those squatters, perhaps.

So, getting your feet in the ‘fertile’ drain may not be your first option. Forget about setting up a tripod for a macro and close-up shot down there. Go for hand-held method, crank up the ISO and dial the shutter speed to 1/300s to 1/500s to beat the camera shake. Shoot when Mr Sun is not shining directly on the flowers; a good day would be during cloudy morning. This will give you generally more saturated colours – according to some literature I read somewhere. But that make sense, because the camera metering system will be more at ease as the lighting is less tricky.

Okay, I said no tripod. If you are serious about getting the best result, just ignore what I’ve just said and get yourself half soaked in water. Believe me, you’ll get better images than the samples you see here; miles better!

Don’t worry if you are a beginner – coz I’m a beginner myself. And I keep shooting no matter what.

It all start with a banana-heart shaped bud

The green petals slowly turn to its eventual colour, pink.

Lens fully extended to 200mm.

There’s no way you can tidy up your background if you don’t get your feet into the water.


Like us, the lily will grow old and die eventually. New buds will shoot up and entertain the spectator with new blooms.

Other alternative is to take a walk in the park in Tanjung Aru and get to shoot a different species of lily. Such as these:

Now where’s the bigger version of this shot. I can’t be kidding with this tiny thumb-size pic, can I?

Ahaa! Sea of lilies. This was more than a year ago when I’ve just bought my D90 and still struggling to fiddle with the cam features.

Happy Shooting...!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Greenest City In Asia: Singapore

There's little surprise about this finding. In fact I was not surprised at all as I've been reading quite a lot about Singapore and was really impressed with their Government's effort to strike a balance between growing concrete jungle and catering for the monkey.

Of course I didn't literally mean that!

This is how the ranking works:

a) SIEMENS commissioned a study, and
b) EIU - Economist Intelligence Unit (independent body) carries it out.
c) 22 cities in Asia were selected, including our capital Kuala Lumpur.
d) Analyse their aims towards green environment and climate protection.
e) Check their achievements.

Few months later Siemens announced and singled out Singapore city as the greenest metropolis. There are 5 categories of benchmark, namely:
1. WELL above average
2. Above average
3. Average <-----(Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur is here!!)

4. Below average
5. WELL below average

Cities in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan occupy the second category, while KL sits "comfortably" (I think) at the AVERAGE.

We had a vacation in Singapore in December 2010 and the first impression as we touch down and then on the drive ways is that the city is clean and the infrastructure is well-organised. Not a place to do your shopping spree tho, especially if you are coming from a country with less than strong currency exchange.

So who are KL's peers scoring AVERAGE? Shanghai, Delhi, Beijing, Bangkok, to name a few. Who are at par with us does not really matter. What matters is the action taken towards achieving the target. Every now and then we hear on our TVs and radios that Malaysia is taking this action and taking that moves, to show that we are committed to going green, and we now have one ministry that looks specifically into ensuring that the country will grow into developed industrial nation while maintaining sustainable implementation of Green Technology.

It is good to have goals and it is good to bore the people to death with the awareness programmes, but is no good getting slow with actions and results. Green technology is not cheap (not just yet) but it's time we start adopting this in bigger scale, starting with energy and infrastructure. In short, think less about our plan to build more coal-fired power plants and spend a bit more on the more expensive renewal energy sources.

Kota Kinabalu city is heading in the right direction with many implemented projects to beautify it, to make it eco-friendly, people-friendly but these are still at infancy. More effort is needed by the new Mayor.

Like yourself, I am also a tax payer and I would not mind at all if Mr. Abidin Madingkir (our new KK Mayor) choose Singapore city as his first official oversea destination.

Best of wishes to all of us in Kota Kinabalu and congratulations, Singapore!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nightshot Collections

Firstly, Happy New Year to fellow bloggers and readers. Hope it's not toooooo lateee for that now....

My new year greetings is a fireworks shot which never look like a fireworks at all. I have not learnt on the technique at the time of shooting but just took a few snaps as they were really coming up and about, and with a camera held at the wrong time I've just have to try my luck. [No firework shots here]

nature's torch
A chance shot at the lightning at West Coast of Sabah

Evening Fountain at Citymall Kota Kinabalu, a commercial/shopping centre fast growing in popularity.

kk city
Evening view of Kota Kinabalu seafront.

petronas towers
Cloudy Towers - hand-held shot of the popular Petronas Twin Towers minutes before it rained.

sea of balloons
Vantage view of Marina Bay, Singapore. The folks wrote their new year wishes on balloons and threw them into the sea.

Verdict: Shelf the coal-fired power plant, Save the monkey?

Artist's impression of the coal-fired power plant in Lahad Datu.
Credit to: SESB Corporate News.

Please dump the heading. Don't take me literally. The title implied nothing about insulting anyone, any individual, any NGO nor does it implies my support for a coal-fired plant. It's just to express what is currently being adopted.

The plan to build it has been "halted" (read: it may be re-proposed by SESB) due to Department of Environment's rejection of the impact assessment (DEIA). What a cool call by DOE. Decision should be made based on fact and with professionalism.

Let's recall some of what our leaders said then and now, about the proposed plant:

Our Chief Minister said that Coal-fired plant in Lahad Datu is the best solution to address the power supply problems in the East Coast.

The Star quoted Datuk Masidi of saying Coal power plant in Sabah is history. He was assuming that's the end of the story. How I wish I can make the same assumption...!

Earlier this year our lost 'love spark' with coal-fired plant was re-ignited with the Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water - Datuk Peter Chin - saying that the Federal Govt will be talking again with the State Govt to re-discuss the proposed plant. Okay, so much for a Green Technology there.

After reading that the proposed project was suspended, I tought I would not want to write anymore about this. It seem I was wrong. We really need to know facts and figures about other alternatives now that it apparently is not the end of story on the 'dirty energy' just yet.

For a start, to generate 1MW of energy through Solar, it'll require a land of about 6 acres to generate; not talking about cost yet. Note that 1MW (1000kW) is barely sufficient to power up a medium-sized timber complex or palm-oil mill. Just to keep you pondering.

Currently Malaysia has 6 coal-fired power plant, including 2 in Sarawak. If you have Sarawakian friends, ask them about their experience.

For you, Big Players of Green/Renewable Energy, take this:

"We have committed to purchase 100MW from Biomass. If ANYONE can provide 100MW tomorrow, we will purchase it tomorrow!" - Ir Abd Razak Sallim, Senior General Manager, SESB. He mentioned this during a seminar/briefing. I can quote a date and place if anyone's interested.

There you are, it's a challenge + opportunity.