Tag-Archive for » Malaysia Day «

Why You Need A Tripod

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From L to R:- Me, Sree, Adrian, the late Chien, Kam Su, Alagan & Philip.

It comes a time when amateur photographers or those aspiring to go pro, make a decision to get a tripod to complement their setup. You may have asked yourself the same question everyone of us asked before acquiring our first, “Why do I need a tripod in the first place,” and “Why do I have to spend money getting a premium tripod when there are lots of tripods that are a fraction of the cost???” Let’s address these questions as we run through what, when, how, where & why you need one.

Why You Need A Tripod:-

  • You can’t take steady shots no matter how you hold your breath when you press the shutter button.
  • You want to take HDR photos – bracketed shots of over & under-exposed ones to be recombined in HDR softwares.
  • You want to do bird photography.
  • You want to shoot video & not want your motion pictures turn into a Blair Witch Project kinda production.
  • You have a giant setup.
  • You want to free your hands to eat/drink/talk on the phone while monitoring your subject.
  • You want to shoot from a vehicle/boat & need support for your gear.
  • You want to shoot remotely.
  • You don’t want to be called an amateur.
  • You want to rely on a support that’s not called ”˜a man.’
  • It doubles up as a defence weapon when confronted by thugs/wildlife/crazy neighbour/over-amorous monkeys in parks.

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Birders at work.

When You Choose A Tripod:-

  • Select one that has the right height. If you are tall & the tripod is short, you end up bending in the wrong places & craning your neck to accommodate the camera rather than vice versa.
  • Determine the make. Manfrotto is the world leader company in the production and distribution of supports for photography and videography such as tripods, heads and monopods. And Manfrotto is Italian. Italians are sexy. So are the tripods they make. ? For some founding history, read here.
  • Quality over price. Determine a budget. A good rule is knowing how much your camera+flash+battery pack+lens cost. If you spent in excess of RM2,500 & above for your system, does it make sense to get an el-cheapo, flimsy/wobbly, sub-standard RM50 tripod that run the risk of collapsing & ruining your gear??? Surely not. Protect your investment & make a wise choice. My birding setup cost me RM10,000 & this is small compared to what the birdmasters spend on their gear. I’m the Wannabe birder so I can shoot with whatever I please but I do get the best with whatever I can afford. You don’t need a Gitzo if you are starting out & you don’t need to conform to the norms of society. I will show you equipment that are equally good but costs much less.
  • Determine your kind of travel, by road or by air. If you fly often, it would be good to get a light but sturdy tripod made of carbon fibre.
  • Determine the weight of your camera+lens+flash+ball head before you choose the right tripod for your system.

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Ian Liew & myself at Kuala Selangor Nature Park

Setting A Standard:-

  • Be creative. Paint your tripod. Put decals on. Make your tripod standout from the rest. If you are a birder like me, you ought to put camouflage tape instead.
  • Everyone thinks they ought to use to top range products but my Manfrotto 055 Nat Trekker (for birding) & Manfrotto Modo (for travelling) have served me so well. With the recent acquisition of Manfrotto 055CXPro4, I think I’m quite ready to become Manfrotto’s official fan.
  • Manfrotto is readily available locally & all spare parts too. I need not wait forever for a part to arrive from the other side of the world should anything go wrong.
  • Did I mention Italians are sexy?

Watch out for more posts on tripod usage as I begin the tour with My Selangor Story! Readers of Pummkin’s Pitch will get a special price on selected tripods so check back here often! (Visit my sponsors on the right of this blog.)

Malaysia Day For The Malaysian In Me

The whirring sound of the helicopters woke me up at 7:20am, causing me to jump with a start to get dressed for the Malaysia Day parade at Merdeka Square. Made it to park underground at Dayabumi complex & surfaced right where the action was! The marchers & costumed paraders were standing in line with their respective props, mostly the national flag or what we call, Jalur Gemilang (Stripes of Splendour), to mark our Independence Day (31st August 1957 – from British colonisation) & Malaysia Day (16 September 1963 – the joining of Sabah & Sarawak with Peninsula Malaysia) with a combined celebration today due to the 31st being Hari Raya for the Muslims.

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Beautiful girls decked in colourful dresses & traditional costumes were all smiles when I extended my camera to them. Even the marchers who were at ease, managed to have fun. It amused me to see senior officials looking stern & stoic as they are put together with the rest of the people in costumes. Navigating through the costumed marchers just as the parade was beginning was quite an experience. I had to get ahead to watch the parade at the Square where the Sultan Abdul Samad Building sits. Uniformed personnel were on duty to manage the crowd & just as soon as I had found a comfortable spot to stake out, I sat on the ground in anticipation of the band of marchers to stride pass.

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Marchers shouting 1Malaysia!

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Prototype cars were on display!

The entire square was filled with people who wanted to be a part of the celebration & the sound system provided by the Ministry of Information did not disappoint. The camera crew put in place with cameras mounted on cranes provided live coverage on several giant screens on the Selangor Padang (field). Upbeat patriotic songs accompanied the marchers & musical bands from various units put on their best while they synchronously trooped to the middle of the square. The rhythm of the parade had set the mood for me, at least, being my first Independence Day celebration since I was born. The meaning of being the 5th generation of Nyonyas here in Kuala Lumpur has caused me to value my country & her nation. And just last night, Najib, our Prime Minister, had announced the abolishment of ISA (Internal Security Act) which allows anyone to be detained without trial, the repeal of the Printing Presses Act amongst others, much to the delight of those who had been fighting for these causes. Only when it is tabled in Parliament can we begin yet another celebration but until then, all it brings is just hope that the act would be followed through.

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Serious marchers & mainly uniformed personnel.

Nevertheless, I was glad. I wished Chien was still alive for me to tell him stories of my journey. Since I got back from Penang, I hadn’t stopped once to grieve. I want to write a tribute to him & accord him more than just a blogpost in my endless rantings & pitches. As my best friend, he deserves a page as he had written chapters in my life before he passed away on the 24th August 2011. I am still dealing with this loss & I’m sure his parents feel it most. Today, is a day I have been waiting for to celebrate being a Malaysian & Chien would have been happy to see me dedicate this day to be a part of history since Sept 16 was declared as a holiday in 2009. He had always been supportive of my ventures despite the mis-adventures I sometimes get into.

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Floats of sorts that whizzed pass!

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Our national hero, badminton world champion, Dato’ Lee Chong Wei!

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The musical band marches by….

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The shiny reflection of band members on a trombone.

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The trumpeteers about to blow!

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Traditional & tribal costumes from natives around Malaysia were dancing in the parade!

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And a true native dressed in bark!
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His head gear was made out of Argus Pheasant’s feathers!!!

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Clowning around….

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What was he folding???

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A balloon flower for this girl!

The field was abuzzed with dancers in colour-coordinated costumes & the inclined scaffold of steps for the human display at the edge of the Selangor Padang was truly a sight. They held pom-poms, danced & flipped their shirts to reveal different colours for the unison display. They waved their flags with fervour to infect the already happy crowd to celebrate the day. Though those of us on the ground had to be cordoned off from the street parade, I still felt a big part of the celebrations due to the music that reverberated the atmosphere. Having fun is an understatement. Flags & a special publication called Semarak Merdeka were distributed to the public while private companies gave out hand fans & reverse osmosis bottled water. The weather held up with blue skies after a bout of rain & haze in the last one week. It was almost perfect. Clowns were getting paid for twisting balloons to entertain little kids & everyone got to the street to take photos with the costumed dancers afterwards. Today marked the first celebration for West Malaysians to acknowledge Sept 16. The sun shone brightly, the weather held up. I live to see the day we recognise Malaysia as it became one with the Eastern states on this fateful day in history. Happy Malaysia Day, you!

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