Our neighbour has this BUNGA Kertas (paper flower) blossom at their house. Every time when we passed by, my wife would say how nice it is the flower, and how much she loves the colour and if we have such blossom in our house.
I went looking for the tree last Friday, and managed to get one that is of nice looking at the nearby nursery. The tree took delivered on Saturday, and I planted it straight away next to the children swing. Hope my wife will like it.
Beware when buying such tree, as most are transplant at the branches with different colour strains on the main tree, and some trees are already rotten in the main trunk, and surviving only at the transplant area (giving you the false impression that the tree is still very much alive). It will not last long if such is the case. To check is easy, just use your fingernails to scrub the skin of the main trunk and sub-branches a little, if it is still green inside, then it is still a living one. I have seen two at the nursery that were reserved by others with rotten trunk…though the branches still blossom nicely.
Paid RM300 for it, so it better be a healthy tree that can grow and last… :p
I ordered 4 discus fish from a very famous discus exporter in Malaysia, Forrest (Teo) Discus. He is staying in Johor, about 45 minutes drive from where I stay. So he made personal delivery of the discus fish that I ordered last night.
A very nice guy, willingness to share his knowledge and experience in discus fish. Am happy purchasing the fish from him and met him personally.
I bought two Forrest Red Turq and two Forrest Giant Blue SS.
Very quality fish from him, though price is higher than local fish store, but I am still satisfied.
Picture below is we checking out the condition of the new fishes after adding them to the tank. No, Forrest doesn’t recommend adding fish to existing tank without quarantine, but since I have no extra tank, he gave me some tips to try minimize the risk.
Forrest was quite surprised with the quality of the discus in my tank, bought from local fish store. Some are great quality (the red melons got praises from Forrest).
After seeing TWO PAIRS of my discus spawning, I decide to make a special home for them, isolating them from the others, to avoid disturbance to their next spawn and hopefully will have success of wigglers later.
Initially thought of getting some free flow partitions from local fish store, but it is not available. So I only bought the holders (RM0.50 each) from the store, and went to a stationary shop for a plastic type of partition to DIY the dividers myself. The outcome seems good!
My main tank (4 feet), and I created about 1 feet for the pair. It should be a very comfortable place for this pair. My wife asked why put an ugly toilet pipe in the tank… :p
I decided to remove the driftwood from the tank to have more space for the discus in the tank. Looks much more spacious now.
On the smaller tank outside my house, I have this pair.
They spawned (but eaten all the eggs) last night, so I have to create a peaceful place for them preparing for the next spawn. This pair seems quite old, so they should be more experienced…
The rojak fish and crayfish (little lobsters) are on the other side of the already small tank.
After nearly two years of using, the battery (Varta brand) of my Peugeot RCZ has finally gave in.
Not sure what model is the replacement battery, so I asked in Peugeot Club Malaysia FB page, and got recommendation for DIN55 size. My mechanic checked from outter look of the battery compartment and said it should be DIN55L (L for left) model.
Quite a headache for remove and access to the battery on Peugeot car. After much struggling, we finally got off the fuse box and removed the battery.
The battery seems taller than DIN55, but width is same. So I just took the DIN55L as replacement. I got a Korean brand battery.
Total money paid RM260 including labor charge.
(I did called Peugeot service center in Johor, and they told me RM505 for battery, + RM40 labor charge. Total RM545. Way too much for a battery replacement! I called another Peugeot centre in Johor, and they told me similar price but no stock. However, the good technician recommend me to change outside, and said it does not void the warranty. So I did!)
Was surprised to see another spawn from a different “surprised” pair of my discus. Didn’t expect these two to be a pair. I thought both of them were male.
The female fish is a Super Eruption Leopard, while the male fish is a snake skin (the very first that I bought).
I can see the action of the female fish laying eggs on the water filter in the small tank, and the male fertilizing it.
However, being in such a small tank with many other small fishes (cray fish, shrimps, tiger barb…etc.), the eggs have little chance to survive. The parents might get too tension too!
Yeah…this morning I found zero eggs, all being eaten by the parents I guess. I need more tanks! :p
These two have been acting very defensive lately, and I have moved them to a separate tank (20 gallons) few weeks ago together with my other fishes (mixed of different fishes and crayfish as well).
Yesterday I decided to switch place them with another fish that I want to medicine with. Again they act very aggressive to others, and I was forced to put another adult fish out due to injury.
This is the male fish (I guess…)
Few minutes ago after back from work, I saw a surprised in the tank after switching on the light. EGGs!
Sadly, within minutes, one of the parents (I think is female) has eaten up all the eggs.
I manged to capture some photos before the she ate up all the eggs.
Quite a lot of eggs when I first saw it…
Expert said the pair will spawn again in 7 days time, so I better get well prepare this round, with less disturbance to the pair and separation.
Bought a new discus today. RM75.
Size is 4″ in Asia measurement (tip to end of body) or 5″ in USA measurement (tip to end of tail).
Love the white body with very clear red pattern on the body. Shape can be better (not so round), but I think is still fine. I like the red eyes too.
When fish shopping yesterday…didn’t saw any special one that I like. So at the end I just bought these two new strains that aren’t available in my tank yet. RM30 each, around 2-3 inches.
I chose the first one for its shinning blue. I think it is a mix of blue diamond with leopard.
The 2nd one I think is a Blue Turquoise.
Both looks very healthy and active, which is the other reason why I bought them.
(There is a guy that bought 4 adult fish during my visit to one of the fish shop, making me envy…I told my wife about it…and she asked why didn’t I bought those? Am glad that she support my hobby… :D)
Went to a local ship store again today…window shopping only…my tank can’t take more fish… :p
Quite big, adult ship 5-6 inches. RM70 (USD22) per fish.
The below are sold in pair, much more expensive at RM300 per pair.
I have long heard and only able to see this strain of discus in the internet, and finally saw it yesterday at my usual visit local fish store.
Leopard Snake Skin (Some said it is Golden Eruption Leopard and Super Eruption Leopard). Not sure there are two different colours for this strain, but since they looks like a pair, so I bought both.
Another shot, but different colour / lighting / WB.
They are not in the perfect condition, but at RM100 per piece (6 inches adult size), I think it is still a bargain. Another fish shop quoted me RM300 for another pair (I am not so sure if they are pair).Learn the terminology of fish parts.
One of the bone on the dorsal fin has broken off.
This one has a perfect dorsal fin, but the pectorial fin has some damages. (not visible in the photo)
I hope they will mix well with my other discus in the tank. Going to get a new tank soon…maybe.
I was contacted by Panasonic Malaysia personal in early Jan 2014, to ask about reviewing their latest micro 4/3rd camera, the Panasonic DMC-GM1 with the world smallest zoom lens 12-32mm. I told them I would be keen to review it, if they can arrange to have the unit loan to me during Chinese New Year (30th Jan till 5th Feb, during my holiday back to my home town). It would be a perfect timing for me to test the camera out as a family man (which is where the camera is targeting at).
Panasonic representative delivered the camera to me on 27th Jan 2014 (Monday), and immediately I am already impressed with the weight and responsiveness of the unit. Besides the GM1 and 12-32mm lens, I also received a Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F/1.7 ASPH (46mm filter size) and Panasonic DMW-HGR1 Grip with it.
- Panasonic DMC-GM1 Digital Camera
- Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F/3.5-5.6 ASPH MEGA OIS (37mm filter size)
- Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F/1.7 ASPH (46mm filter size)
- Panasonic DMW-HGR1 Grip
At the same time, I also have the chance to play with the newly announced Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH Power OIS Lens for a few minutes…and WOW…what a lens! I will review the lens in more detail if I can get a loan unit from Panasonic Malaysia later.
Below is the test shot of the 42.5mm F/1.2 lens which really shows its sharpness and bokeh power. Lovely!
100% cropped shot (click to view in full)
Back to the Panasonic GM1. It is not exactly compact for my Jean’s pocket (GM1 + 12-32m lens), though with a little squeeze, I can still slot it is. Taking out require a bit of force though, and most of the time the lens cap will get drop off. However, it is perfectly fine for my wife’s handbag, and no…she doesn’t complaint. No way I dare to put my Nikon D4 body into my wife’s handbag… :p
Chinese New Year Journey
My journey back to Miri starts from my flight from Senai (Johor) airport. With the compact GM1, I can take it in and out easily from my camera bag (I brought along a Nikon D4 as well just in case I am not satisfied with the performance of the GM1 during my CNY holiday). Fun shots at the airport, first few shots are satisfying.
I purposely created the silhouette effect as you can only get one exposed properly, either OUTSIDE or INSIDE the building.
The famous and delicous Famous Amos! My kids love it!
Food Photography with 12-32mm MEGA OIS lens
My family and I have a Chinese New Year dinner at Merits hotel in Miri, so I have the chance to snap some nice buffet food there.
Panasonic 12-32mm lens is quipped with MEGA OIS, so it is good for low shutter speed, and without mirror bounce (as in DSLR), one can shoot at much slower shutter speed than DSLR. As a DSLR user myself, I find this extremely handy and important.
GM1 + 12-32mm lens (17mm, 1/30s, F/4, ISO3200)
100% crop (click to view full)
Another shot GM1 + 12-32mm lens (17mm, 1/30s, F/4, ISO3200)
100% crop (click to view full)
Last shot of food GM1 + 12-32mm lens (17mm, 1/30s, F/4, ISO3200)
100% crop (click to view full)
At ISO3200, noise is obvious but still acceptable. I use AUTO ISO setting the camera all the time, so letting the camera chose what is the best ISO to produce sharp (high speed) photo at low light. There is no colour shift at ISO3200, which is impressive in my opinion.
Auto White Balance is set, and colour reproduction is also accurate as per the actual scene.
I don’t like to use flash in my photo, as I find it often producing harsh and fake effect, making our subjects unnatural. However, it is good to know that Panasonic GM1 has a built in flash, which can be activated manually by sliding the button behind the camera to POP UP the flash.
Below are shots taken with flash ON and without flash.
The above shot seems a little under exposed, but still it is much more natural as compared to the flash shot.
With a little bit of editing, the photo becomes great!
In some cases, you will NOT want to use flash, and let the motion and natural lighting draw the scene! It doesn’t have to be sharp always.
Talking about under exposed shot, yes, I do find the GM1 to some times gives under exposed photo. See an example below. A SUNNY 16 day… (1/640s, F/11, ISO200).
The photo is under exposed by 1 stop, and below should be the correctly exposed shot.
Another nature shot…which should have been brighter.
However, this is no big deal, as the shots from GM1 actually give big room for one to play around on the computer if he/she wanted to adjust the exposure / brightness later.
Comments on Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F/3.5-5.6 ASPH MEGA OIS (37mm filter size)
This is a very versatile lens on the GM1. Very compact when stored, which is the selling point of this lens and which is why Panasonic bundled it with the GM1.
Below is how the lens looks like when stored.
When using this lens, you need to first extend it out to 12mm, before you can take any photo on the GM1. The GM1 will give you a warning that the lens needs to be “unlocked” first before use, if it detected that the lens is in the “stored” position.
Below is how the lens looks like at normal 12mm position.
In 135 format, it is 24-64mm, which is the most widely use range for general shooting. Some will find it a bit too short at 64mm, but for me is is OK. I am used to short focal length lenses.
One thing I wished to have on this lens is the larger aperture. F/3.5-5.6 is a bit too dark for my taste, and often the shots created are having deep DOF. This is perfectly fine for family usage, as you will want most of your subjects to be in focus.
The lens has great resolving power. Good details and high contrast. But for close up artistic shots, sometimes you wish for more BOKEH.
100% crop (click image for full view)
Overall, I think it is still a good kit lens bundled with GM1, and it is good that Panasonic has room for improvement for better kit lens in future (F/2.8 constant aperture please).
Testing out Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F/1.7 ASPH (46mm filter size)
Below is a shot of Blood Pigeon Discus fish in my aquarium, using the 20mm F/1.7 lens. (1/125s, F/1.7, ISO640). The lens gives very nice bokeh as compared to the 12-32mm zoom, and still retain very nice and sharp details when zoomed in. Another good thing about the lens is that you can focus at very close distance, so creating a wide angle close up shot, which is what I love to do. (move closer to your subject, to have a closer touch…)
As the original file size is quite big, so here I shown a 100% cropped version of it (click to view full).
Another shot (1/125s, F/1.7, ISO640). Discus strain is Red Melon.
100% crop (click to view full)
The reason I am testing the burst mode is because I do find the camera to be a little slow in previewing the taken photo on the LCD, so normally what I did is take a series of shots (just press the shutter button several times), then only preview it on the LCD.
Optional Accessory, Panasonic DMW-HGR1 Grip
This is NOT a must have item, but since Panasonic gave me one during the review, so I just have it hook to the camera all the time. It does help grabbing the camera more firmly, but not much for me (as I have large palm). With the grip attached, you can’t access to the battery or memory card. You will need to remove the grip if you want to open the battery compartment (where the memory card is situated as well) at the bottom of the camera.
(The blue tint is due to lighting. The grip is in black in whole)
The grip is full metal construction, so is solid.
First of all, this is NOT a comprehensive technical review of Panasonic GM1. I did not go into every features of the camera and test out their functionality. It is NOT the purpose of this review anyhow.
This review is mainly from an user experience using the GM1 as a family camera for daily use or special events or holiday occasion.
Now…my feeling of the camera…
Solid built. It feels good in the hand, and I am impressed with the quality of it. It is definitely not the cheap P&S feel.
Touch screen LCD. I especially like the touch screen LCD at the back of the camera, very handy when reviewing photos, as you can just slide it left or right (like what you did with your iPad or smartphone). Use two fingers to enlarge or zoom out.
12-32mm lens is very compact when stored. However, it can be a little annoying as every time when you want to use it, you will have to turn it to 12mm first, from the lock down position. MEGA OIS in the lens is nice.
Accurate colour reproduction. I am quite happy with the WB of the lens so far.
Low noise at high ISO. Using auto ISO, I have no problem with the camera at even ISO3200. Impressive performance as compared to my previous Nikon D200, but of course not as good as my current D4.
Rooms for Improvement
Photo Preview is a bit slow. I wish it can be shown instantly on the LCD after every shot, not waiting half to one second then only shown.
I do find many of the shots taken by the GM1 under exposed by 1/3 to 1/2 stop. It is of no big deal, as it can be easily corrected in computer. However, for those who like to share photo directly without editing, this can be something to take note of, so that one can dial in +0.5 exposure when taking shot. Yes, this feature is available in the camera.
Battery power of the camera can be better. I didn’t count exactly, but estimated of around 450 shots before the battery runs flat. That is 99% shots without flash. So, make sure you have a spare if you brought the camera for holiday trip oversea (which you have access to power supply at hotel at night), and make sure you charge the battery at night before the next day shooting.
My first WILD Discus. Not in great condition, as the owner didn’t take good care of it. Beaten up by Red Parrot. Found it in an aquarium shop, where the owner changed to rear other type of fish and put the Wild Discus there. According to the owner, he bought it in Singapore at SGD$250 two years back.
I paid RM130 for it (Aquarium owner makes some profit out of it for sure). Around 4″ size. Hope it will get well soon and get along well with my other discus.
Wild discus is from Amazon river. Yes, caught in the wild.
Got a surprised call from my frequent visit shop owner this morning at around 10.30am, that he now got 3 discus that I wanted.
Below is what I missed getting few days ago (all bought by an owner…)
The third discus is of different strain, checkerboard I think, so I didn’t get it. In fact, I am glad that the Pigeon Blood is a pair (male and female).
5″ adult fish, costing me RM75 each. Am happy with the purchase.
Previously before having the aquarium, I have these two newspaper cutting on the wall.
Instead of just keeping them in the store room, I decided to hang them higher on the wall behind the aquarium. Looks NICE!
One of the two large Discus!
Changed water for the first time.
The wood in the aquarium has caused the water to change brown fast. So everything seems dark even with light on.
Removed and added 1/3rd of the water. Now looks great!
The Large discus are still very coward…got scared when I pumped in the water. Body got hurt again.
Now all hiding at the corner…
Added a few members today…4 more Discus fish, 2 inches type today.
Added also a small wood as house for the smaller ones.
Total 7 discus now. My wife said the the BLUE one seems to be TOO HUGE for my tank…I have to agree. Initially I want only Red spots discus, but then not much choices in the two aquarium shops I visited in Taman Tun Aminah, and the HUGE blue discus is of good price (RM150 per pair, only later I know that is actually the market value), so I couldn’t resist and bought 2…then add another one when I was about to leave the shop. End up with 3 BIG discus.
Went to another aquarium house today with Alvin Lau. Nice discus in the colour that I want (RED), so can’t resist and bought another 4pcs to add to my aquarium.
Two Checkerboard and Two Red Snake Skin. The checkerboard is nicer than I thought.
Size is around 2 inches. RM20 each, total RM80. Bought at aquarium shop in Kulaijaya.
Finally got the fish I want for my aquarium. Body of of two got hurt a bit due to rough catch by the seller. Hope they will heal soon.
The TWO BIG ONE are Blue Turquoise, while the slightly smaller one is Leopard Snake Skin. The photo does not do justice to the actual size of the fish, they are HUGE! Over 4 inch.
Picture below shows how a discus is being measured.
First 3… I am thinking of 5 in total.
More to come later!
Took this photo at my home aquarium. Just finished setting up the air bubble pump behind it, and I like the scene with the little red lobster climbing up to the top of the rotten wood and blue fish swimming around.
Finally, restarting my childhood hobby!
Pumping water in…
Lights ON! Water is very muddy…takes time to settle down…
Wanted to have an aquarium for a long time, but can’t find the right place to put at my home. Finally, decided and went with my friend Alvin to look for one. Initially just thought of market surveying, but after visiting 2 shops, we found one that offer unbeatable price on a 4 feet aquarium set (RM960, vs the other shop offering at RM1240). It is a ready made aquarium set imported from China, with pump and rack all included. RM960 is quite a good price.
Got the aquarium delivered the next day morning at 10am, and I can’t wait to put in water and sands. Then in the afternoon I went to buy some items to put into it.
Sands = RM40 for 25kg, added another small packet 1.5kg of total RM8. Total RM48 for sands.
Wood = RM12, found one that is quite nice for my aquarium. I use it as the main theme of my aquarium.
Rocks / stones = RM6 per kg. I paid RM18 + 9 = RM27 in total.
Plants = RM1 each, bought 3 so total is RM3.
Air pump = RM110 (with backup battery, which will auto starts during blackout)
Air stones = RM4 x 2 = RM8
Glass cleaner = RM20 (didn’t use already, it scratched my glass)
- Lightning Blue = 30 total, bought the first 6 at RM1 each, later at RM0.60 each. Total RM22 (some discount).
- Cleaner fish = RM4 each, total RM8.
- Lobster (blue / grey) = RM10 for 4.
- Lobster (red) = RM6 each, total RM12.
- Tiger fish = RM1 each, total RM6. (Kulaijaya shop only selling at RM0.10 each!!! Yes, RM1 for 10!). This fish is quite aggressive, fierce.
- Peacock fish = RM0.60 each, total 6 = RM3 (some discount).
- Zebra fish (black) = RM1 x 2 + RM0.60 x 2 = RM3
- Zebra fish (orange) = RM0.60 x 4 = RM2
- Discus 5 inches = RM75 x 3 = RM225
- Prawns = RM2 a cup (yes, they measured by cup, small cup)
Total spent = RM1486.00
Opening “one” of their “many” presents…
Just testing out Chinese typing in my blog.
Playing around with home studio lighting system. A HUGE softbox, delivering really lovely light temperature! Much better than my SB-900 colour!
(Nikon D3s + AFS 35mm F/1.4 + Hensel 500 Watt Monolight + Photoflex Light Dome Softbox on Manfrotto Lightstand)
Last shot…Emmanuel doesn’t like camera…