DLSR (D850) or Mirrorless (A7R III)?

I finally took the plunge. I dreamt of the day i could ditch my 4 year old Nikon D5300. Don’t get me wrong. Its a great camera in its own right. Considering it’s an APS-C or DX (of which Nikon likes to call it) format, the camera can handle most of my demands except for low-light. Yep, it gets real grainy at around ISO 1250. Other than that, its AF system is quick enough to focus most of my shots. I shoot a lot of portraits so i don’t really need a fast AF system. Oh if you pair it with a very good lens like the 12-24mm and you can get very good images. I personally use a prime lens most of the time with the D5300, specifically the AF-S 35mm f1.8.

Most of the images on my site are shot on a D5300. Some of you camera junkies might think how the hell did I manage to pull off those kind of shots on an APS-C system? Well, the secret lies in composition and post-processing. It doesn’t mean anything at all if you own an expensive camera and your shots turn out really bad i.e blurred/soft images, uneven/unbalanced angles. I’ve seen many who own expensive cameras and they operate only in AUTO mode. Granted, auto mode will let your camera pick the optimal scene settings. However, the camera is not utilized properly enough because the photographer has no idea how to input creative settings in order to compose his image.

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The Nikon D5300. Been using this for 4 years +

If i were to quote my friend “It’s the Singer, not the song”. 

I reflected back and wondered what he meant by that. After pondering for a good whole 5 minutes, i realized that a great picture is composed by the photographer himself, not the camera. Anyone can hold a camera and shoot, but what sets a photo apart is the user himself. Heck it, even a decent mobile phone camera can take great shots, provided that its in the hands of a user with a good eye for taking pictures. So just bear in mind, photographers don’t have it easy, they go through a thought process in order to capture a good image. From vision, to technical competency and artistic approach and lastly post-processing. A good single image alone can take hours to take shape. Oh yeah, we take lots of photos and pick only the good ones.

I have fully maximized the D5300 through and through. It’s got its limitations. I am bounded to its limitations. I needed more juice to feed my demands. That’s where i decided to upgrade my camera. Actually i had that idea about a year ago. I wanted a better gear. I waited for Nikon to come out with a good FX body. I was tempted by the D5. That monster costs about SGD $9k++. Just the body alone. If you were to pair with good glasses. It can reach up to 20k! I’m not ready to fully invest in that. The D500 also caught my eye. However it’s an APS-C system as well. I was looking for a full frame system. Even though the D500 has an excellent AF system, it wasn’t enough to satisfy me.

Along came the D850, now this was everything i needed. A good low-light and fast AF monster. The thing i love most about the D850 is its image quality. The sensor is capable of taking 45.7 megapixels. Plus it has all the bells and whistles of a professional body. I mean it is a professional body. Full-time photographers swear by the D850. The only downside to the D850 is IBIS. It has no in-body stabilization systems on board. The buttons and dials are all on the body itself and i don’t have to trouble myself by going into the menu to make changes. I can make changes on the fly just like that. Oh did i mention the wide selection of good glasses! DSLRs have a good collection of glasses. It also uses a hybrid XQD / SD card system. I bought myself an XQD card to test how fast the image transfers to the XQD, it is blazingly fast. Mind you, one RAW photo is about 100mb. I shoot only in RAW. I do a lot of post-processing.

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The NIKON D850. My current camera

That’s where i looked over to Sony’s A7R III. It has almost the same specs as the D850. It has IBIS and i was already leaning over towards the A7R III. I was ready to make the jump to mirrorless cameras. However there was an important thing i looked back when i used a friend’s mirrorless system, the grip and handling is not to my liking. The mirrorless systems have small builds and it feels weird for me to hold them. My hand aches easily because the weight distribution is uneven. I am accustomed to the weight of a DSLR. It feels great to shoot on a DSLR.

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The SONY A7r III. It sure looks sexy.

That reason alone was enough to convince myself to purchase the D850. I paired it with SIGMA’s ART 35mm f1.8 lens. I love to get into the action, but i also want something wide enough. Hence i settled on that lens. Its super sharp at f2.8 and above but i can get great bokeh if i open it wide at f1.4. I’ve brought around the body and lens for the past 2 weeks and its been exceeding my expectations. I have yet to fully maximise the setup. It might take months to years to maximise its full potential. The recent photos i uploaded here on my website are taken with the camera and lens. You can check out the EXIF metadata to see for yourself.

I bought the body at a very affordable price. Nikon SG has set a RRP of SGD $4999.00. If you want to get the body at a lower price, you can contact me and i will refer you to my friend. 😀 Only in Singapore though!

Here are some of the recent photos taken using the D850 and Sigma 35mm.

Plain White Minimalist

Who would’ve thought that taking a family photo would be easy? Trust me, it isn’t. Out of about 10-20 photos, only one or two will make the cut. Well at least to my standards. Mind you, photos taken (it varies in the hundreds) will go through my very own rigid process of photo-culling.

The past 24 hours have been quite a marathon for my wife and I. Bringing a baby along and everywhere has taken quite a toll on us. It may be tiring but its worth it. We planned and booked a stay-cation at Lloyd’s Inn on the eve of Christmas. I tell you it’s one of my favourite boutique hotel so far. The design and architecture of the hotel echoes minimalism. Its white everywhere! Plus hints of wood and greens, plants what have you blended together to create a seamless sense of zen. It’s even got a bathtub out in the open.

Yup, actual living space and bathing space is divided by a huge glass panel. It’s got that SOHO feel. There’s a second floor to it, but there’s a only a desk or a workstation for workaholics. I personally used that space to do my light editing work. And yes, I brought my little family out to National Gallery to visit the most talked exhibition in town, Minimalism – SPACE. LIGHT OBJECT. Before i go on, here are some photos taken at Lloyds.

 

 

See what i mean. The place has a tremendous taste all things minimal. Lloyds Inn is located at 2 LLOYD ROAD, SINGAPORE 239091. You can call them at +65 6737 7309. If you are tech-savvy, just book a room online like we did. The hotel deserves a thumbs up from me.

Interested? Book a room here!

Back to our topic of minimalism, National Gallery Singapore as well as Artscience Musuem are running an exhibition on that subject matter. I am a fan of simplicity. If you noticed, my website follows that mantra. I don’t like to over-complicate on design.

Initially we decided to visit both musuems to fully immerse ourselves. However, in the interest of time and our growling stomachs, we decided to just head to National Gallery. Its by far my favourite musuem and it has showcased prominent exhibitions such as the likes of Yayoi Kusama.

Why did we choose NGS over Artscience? What caught my eye were the various strong harsh colors in the NGS. I figured it would be far more interesting to visit NGS’s exhibition. I was intrigued by “Mega Death”, a room lit up by hundreds of single digits. All of them emit a blue light. So you can imagine what this space would be like. Its a visual feast for the eyes. I was intrigued by another installation aptly named “Room for one colour”. It did lived up to its name well. The whole room floods your iris with an orange-yellow hue. I had so much fun composing pictures with my wife and daughter in frame. It makes for interesting and unique photos. Planning to head down? Details are located below the gallery.

 

 

Minamlism: Space. Light. Object

Opens daily from 16 NOV 18 – 14 APR 2019.

The gallery opens at 10am-7pm on Saturdays till Thursday and 10am-9pm on Sundays.

Purchase your tickets here

Nur Zahra Aisha

25 September 2018, at exactly 8.52a.m (GMT+8). My wife and I witnessed the birth of our first child! She’s named after our prophet Muhammad ﷺ and wife Khadijah’s daughter. We decided to name her Zahra Aisha as it is such as beautiful and blessed name. We hope that she will be filial to her elders and parents as well as being morally upright. I know these are what every parent want for their child. God-willing she will be guided well.

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Big smile for the camera!

So, on to our little baby. Yes she was born small. Weighing roughly 1.92kg at time of birth. She was put into Special Nursery Care for 4 days where she was fed and taken care by the caring nurses of KK hospital. Mummy had to go through a planned C-sec. The doctors knew of the best choice to deliver our baby. We wanted the best for our baby and decided to go with their advice.

On the day of delivery, mummy had to be wheeled into the operating theater and I had to wait for the operation to be over. I wasn’t allowed to witness the whole process. Nevertheless, i had all the confidence in the world that mummy was brave and strong. She could overcome any odds. She did a skydive when she was totally against it during our honeymoon. I figured she will do just fine delivering our baby.

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Wanna punch those cheeks.

And so she did, the c-sec took about close to half an hour. I expected it to be roughly around 1-2 hours. I was caught off guard when the nurses asked me to see my daughter. Imagine the delight and surprise i had when they asked me that.

It was truly a sight to marvel at my own daughter. She bore resemblance to both of us. She had mummy’s eyes and mouth. A little bit of mine and mummy’s nose. Her smile though, is genuinely similar to mine. Just take a look at those cheeks. I had to rush to take my “wudhu’ (ablution) and perform a small call to prayer to my daughter. I got that done and my next concern was my wife. Thankfully, according to the doctors at that time, she was well and healthy. That was what i needed to hear. Both mummy and daughter safe and sound. The very first moment when i held Zahra was the moment when i became a father. It is nerve-wrecking at the same time exciting to see what the future holds for my little family. Insha Allah, we aim and strive to please our creator and be good members of society.

The whole pregnancy journey was a wild one. There were lots of highs and lows. The anticipation and build-up to 25 September 2018 was worth it. We are truly blessed and thankful for everything we have. Today Nur Zahra Aisha or “Rara” is close to three months old! She’s been smiling alot lately and the whole house is filled with her laughter whenever we change her diapers or play with her in her very own little gym. Trust me, we dedicated about half of our living room just for her. Sacrifices have to be made to make our little one happy and safe at home.

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Hello there.

A special mention has to be made to mummy, where she had been caring for Rara whenever and wherever we are. She has been the most perfect mum so far and i couldn’t be more happier knowing that she is the best mum for our little kid. I am blessed to have her as my wife. Insha Allah she will be rewarded with abundance of “pahala” or good merits from god.

Lastly, i wish all the best to new mummies and daddies out there. Its going to be a tiring, but at the same time all worth it.

A State of Infinite Obsession

If you have an Instagram account, chances are you’d come across photos of your friends in a room full of colorful polka-dots. You might be wondering where you can get a piece of the action. Perhaps you have some ideas and concepts in mind about what kind of photos you wanna take, or maybe you just want to breathe in and admire the art that is Yayoi Kusama.

Enter “Life is in the heart of a rainbow”. Yayoi Kusama’s collection of her artistic work, it boasts exhibits such as the “infinity mirror room” and intricate dots, phallic and pumpkin motifs.

Be sure to head down to Singapore’s National Gallery from 9 Jun –  3 Sept 17 to catch her work. For those who want to snap some pictures over there, here are some tips from me.

  1. Go on a weekday, in the morning to avoid large crowds.
  2. If you have a DSLR or an interchangeable lens camera, be sure to get a prime, telephoto and a wide angle lens. The wide angle lens is especially crucial when it comes to taking photos in a corner.
  3. Play around with perspective, there are many ways you can creatively take photos over there. Do not limit yourself to taking against a wall. Move around with your subject to get creative angles. Make use of high, low angles and bokeh. Bokeh does a very good job in singling out your subject amidst the endless polka-dots.
  4. Bring spare batteries. My first battery died out quickly. There were so many opportunities to take photos there. But i chose the best when it comes to post-processing.
  5. The lighting conditions there is not that great or friendly to your camera. After all, it is an indoor exhibit. I bumped up the ISO but not too much. I opened my len’s aperture as wide as it can go and played around with shutter speed to get enough light in. By doing so, i had to ask my wife to stand still while i clicked the shutter to avoid any blurry motion.
  6. Lastly, go get the tickets online. You can avoid long queues if you do this. You can book it here. https://www.nationalgallery.sg/visit/admissions

Here are the some of the shots taken at the exhibit. My wife is the subject/model for the shoot.

Life As a Newly Wedded Husband

A mini-blog series. I will write new stuff as the days go by.

As of today I am a 2 month old husband and counting.
A husband.
Husband.

I found it hard to believe that I am already someone’s husband. Well I had that feeling in the first month anyways. I am comfortably settling down well with the title now. Though it feels a little weird when anyone address me as a husband now and then. Before I took her hand, I knew that it is a huge undertaking. By that, i mean that the responsibilities as a husband that I have to bear is immense.

I still remember the Tok Kadi’s words (solemnizer) when he preached the duties that i have to perform and uphold when i take on the title of a husband. One of which being a provider for the sustenance of my wife. There are clearly more responsibilities in marriage in Islam that I have to uphold but i shall just mention that one. Those couples intending to marry and know more can learn on their own online but i advise to go for marriage classes. My wife and I went for Art Of Marriage. Link can be found here.  Its an express course; taking just one day to complete, from 9am till 5pm. Class is held at Kaplan City Campus @ Pomo. As the name suggests, it is conveniently located in the heart of town. Classes are arranged in a way where you and your partner will participate in a class full of other couples. Expect some group work though. But trust me, it’s gonna be fun.

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Shopping at Kilang Battery, JB, Malaysia

Well since i got that part about responsibility done, now let’s talk about what is it like being a husband. I’ve been asked this question many times. Which i kinda expect to be asked when i meet my colleagues, friends and family. Frankly, i don’t have a proper, solidified answer to give them because i am new to all of this.

I can only give impressions of how it is as a husband. So these are my impressions of being a husband. Note that i can only give an accurate answer only when i have been through the journey as a husband because i am a staunch believer that it is the journey that matters and not the end result. Impressions can change over time but i would like to keep it as optimistic as possible.

  • It is heartening to see someone I love at home, right after a hard day’s at work. Just looking at my wife brings me immense joy.
  • I love it when she recites the Quran after dusk prayers, it soothes my heart.
  • Having someone to eat breakfast and dinner with me daily has been awesome.
  • Doing the dishes is a combined effort, as much as she holds the title of a wife, i can also do in my power to try to help her. After all, the ladies and wives of today also hold a job. This is not 20 or 30 years ago where women were housewives.
  • I have to throw my bad habits and inculcate good ones in order to co-exist with my wife and new family. One bad habit is that i don’t make my bed. Yes, i know i’m a sloth.
  •  Render as much service and massage each after a bad or tiring day at work because who else is going to do it?
  • When i wake up and the first thing i see is her beside me, i feel like its the best feeling in the world.

My wife has been a dear to me. I was sick recently and had bouts of vomiting in the night. That happened when we had a night’s stay at Royal Plaza on Scotts. We had been looking forward to the staycation ever since we came back from our trip to New Zealand. My stomach had to play the fiddle and I couldn’t eat proper. The whole time I felt nauseous but thanks to my wife, she did everything in her power and love to nurse me back to health. She was selfless and caring. She treated me so well to the point where i worry she didn’t have enough personal time to care and pamper herself. After all, it was meant to be a staycation. I love her for being her and more.

This journey of being a family has just begun. It will be a transitive and evolving journey. I expect the highs and the lows but no matter what, we have to go through it together.

Oh and i cannot contain my excitement. Our HDB resale flat and keys will be ready somewhere in September this year. Shall update you guys in a separate post in the near future!

What Happened After All These Years + Marriage Prep!

My blog was in a very long hiatus.

This space has been kept in the dark close to 4 years. Right after I lost all motivation to write. There were many significant distractions or should i say goals at that point of time; finding a proper job to fund my marriage, finding my own identity and reshuffling my priorities. There wasn’t just much time to sit back and write.

But all is about to change. I managed to strike a balance between giving time for myself, my job, my hobby in digital arts(photography/videography) and the people around me especially now that I’m married. I have lots to write about how i got into photography and videography but i’ll leave all that in another blog post in the future.

Talking about marriage, I’m finally someone’s husband! I got married recently. I tied the knot on 19 March 2017. Approximately at 8.10pm, i officially pronounced my marriage with Nur Aqidah Bte Latif. At that exact moment in time, i managed to heave a sigh of relief, mainly because the buildup and anticipation of getting married is stressful. Since i didn’t opt for a wedding planner, my wife and I had to properly choose the vendors for our big day. Safe to say, the event went smoothly and I was grateful to those who came to grace the event.

The real heroes of the day were the vendors, my groomsmen and my family members. Without them to coordinate the event, it would have not been gone to plan. To those wondering which vendors i engaged, here is a list of them. Quick review to all of them as well.

  • NAFimages (Photographer) – Nuruddyn knows his stuff, i have been following his works on instagram. Wont leave you disappointed. You can check out at @nafimages on instagram.
  • REDTAPE(Videographer) – A high profile video and editing company. They shot for Suria before. Highly recommended for wedding shoots. Check them out at @redtapeprojects on instagram.
  • COMEL & MOLEK (Wedding Caterer and Decor) – Exceeded my expectations in every way. They blew me away with their designs. They made my void deck feel like a hotel ballroom. Check them out at @comelmolekwedding on instagram.
  • CHERRIESMITTEN (BMW Rental Car) – Car was in tip-top condition. Driver knows his roads and drove very smoothly throughout the event. On the expensive side though. There are cheaper alternatives.
  • THE WEDDING BROCADE (Bridal) – I need not say more. Im sure this came up in your list if you are planning your wedding. One of the best in Singapore when it comes to malay weddings.
  • AKRAB (Kompang & DJ) – Their energy and gusto in their performances is second to none. I thoroughly enjoyed their performance. They make your wedding 10x better. The crowd was highly impressed as well.
  • LYDIA’s OVEN (Pulut Wedding Cake) – Recommended by my cousin. Yummy is all i can say! Very fast and efficient when they set up the cake!

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As you may have noticed, most of them are top-tier vendors and they are the best in the field. With such high-profile vendors, one would expect to pay much. That is the price i have to pay. I had to save up close to 1.8k monthly in order to reach my goals. I had to sacrifice my time with friends and give up a lavish life of buying the things i want. It was all for a good cause and i had no regrets of doing so. Of course there were dates with my wife(fiancee at that point of time) but it was a rare occasion and we limit it to about once a week. Lucky for us, our jobs tire us after work and we will mostly rest up at home and message each other. Our jobs occupied our lives so we wont feel empty. We had a simple endgame in mind; being together at the end of the road.

We got together on 12 October 2013. We got engaged on the 11th of October 2015. Married on the 19 March 2017. From the day we were engaged to our big day, we had a year and a half to prepare. The time allocated was more than sufficient for us.  We just have to keep track of our savings. Just a few tips for those who are saving:

  1. Don’t spend more than what you need. Tempting yes, i have been seduced a lot of times but my wife prevented me from buying what i want. 
  2. Buy things that you only need. Necessary things such as food and drinks to keep on surviving.
  3. Do OT if your organization or company provides the facility to do so. I’m not a fan of doing OT but i’ve seen my colleagues save up faster because of it.
  4. Limit your dates. This is a killer if you date often because if often involves lots of money for transport, food, and or movie.
  5. Stay at home often. This is a no-brainer.
  6. Pick up a simple, no-frills hobby to fill your free time. Recommended and provided if your hobby does not require you to empty your pocket.

Last but not least definitely, there will be challenges headed your way from the time you are engaged till the day both you and your partner exchange vows. They will come in many forms. I found the challenge of saving up for marriage the most hardest because there are just so many distractions. Especially so considering im a techie and a videographer. So many things to upgrade and purchase. If you are reading this and finding a challenge to save, just wait a little bit longer till the day comes. After with every hardship, ease will come.

All the best to all who are planning to get married!

I am who i am. We are who we are.

I am Anuar Tahir.

As a Muslim who grew up in a Chinese-oriented environment, i had no problems socializing and sharing the things I love with my non-Muslim peers.  In fact, being in that environment helped me understand their beliefs and culture better. I treat my friends equally. Growing up in a meritocratic country taught me that there is no right for me to distinguish a person or a culture based on the colour of their skin. No one has the right to own anyone. Everyone is given a fair playing field and what comes out of it is your own hard work.  This also applies to Muslims for the chance reach out a helping hand to build Singapore’s future. If we are pre-judged for not being able to integrate well with non-Muslims, how are we then supposed to build a cohesive society?

I lived my life as a Muslim in Singapore and i go through the same struggles and pains in life like everyone else. I went through kindergarten where i was the only Malay/Muslim student. There wasn’t any Malay language offered so i took the opportunity to study mandarin. Throughout the two years, I enjoyed the company of my peers. I was in an environment where my peers spoke Mandarin. I had to integrate well with my peers, but that doesn’t mean that i need to forsake my religion. I had to make compromises to understand my peers better; i even remembered bringing packed lunches and i didn’t seclude myself from any of my non-Muslim friends. I cannot forget the smile on my friends faces when i shared my packed lunches with them. My religion taught me to give; no matter what race or religion they come from.

Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. My non-Muslim peers have come to respect my religion as I have come to respect theirs. What made this possible was the fact that we are willing to understand one another. I am thankful for that because Singapore encourages us to live together as one. I am reminded through the recital of the pledge.

We, the citizens of Singapore,

pledge ourselves as one united people,

regardless of race, language or religion.

Primary and secondary school-goers recite the pledge everyday. Profession isn’t enough. We have to practice what we preach. I was a giver in secondary school. As an ex-NPCC cadet, i molded my squad mates; no matter what race or religion they are into responsible citizens. I was also active in voluteerism; i had several projects under my supervision whose aims are to help the society. One of my fondest memory was being a part of a project to raise funds for Metta Home; a home for the mentally challenged.  Big or small, i hope my contributions have an impact to the people i have worked with. I will never stop contributing because it is part of my life. A life shaped by my morals, family, friends and Islam.

We follow a code of life where it guides us to be a good person as a whole. We live our lives normally like any other person. I sit at the same table where my non-Muslims enjoy their food, I am willing to talk openly about my religion and discuss about its prohibitions. Take for example, I am prohibited from drinking beer or any intoxicating drink. The underlying reason is obvious. We want to be focused at all times and given any moment if we let our guard down, danger might be lurking around in one corner. Prevention is better than cure.

There is no denying that we want the best for our future; ensuring a safe haven and a land of opportunity for our children. To achieve the best, we have to make compromises but not till the point where we lose what is dear to us. To forsake my religion is to forsake my life. Islam is not just a religion, it is also a lifestyle which encompasses what is right and good for us; which includes on how to lay the foundations for an enriching society.

Islam has contributed much to the society ever since the dawn of the new world. We owe much of the technical advancements and magnificent feats to thinkers such as Ibn Sina who wrote The Canon of Medicine where one of his works introduced the idea of quarantine to limit the spread of infectious diseases. You might have studied algebra in secondary school. Do you know who discovered it? Al khwarizme.

All of these discoveries have paved the way for new innovations in the world. Drug and medicine testing owed much the Canon of Medicine. Understanding complex Mathematics equations such as quantum physics wouldn’t be simple without the help of algebra. These individuals gave much to the world.

Communication is key to understanding. It has been a part of me. Being ignorant will not bring us anywhere and many prejudices will form. Seek what you don’t understand. It is important that we seek a common ground. We have to set our differences aside and look at our similarities. Speak out but practice caution if have any doubts. We are all equal and we can live harmoniously with one another. We can live as one; building our future together.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu%E1%B8%A5ammad_ibn_M%C5%ABs%C4%81_al-Khw%C4%81rizm%C4%AB – Al Khawizme

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avicenna – Ibn Sina

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age – Islamic Golden Age