Saturday, 27 December 2008

Your Camera: Who Manufactures It Where?

Have you ever wondered who assemble your cameras where? If you are Canon, Nikon, Olympus or Fujifilm user, check this out. For Ricoh, Casio, Kodak and the now defunct KM brands, see here. (It seems that Ricoh cameras are predominately manufactured in the same plant in Dongguan Muncipality of Guangdong Province, China). Lastly, these lists are for Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, Pentax cameras. Conclusion? This is it: there is no wonder why China has managed to jump the line to be the World's fourth largest economy in just 30 years.

Selected Excellence: Wouter Brandsma

64th_commemoration_of_operation_market_garden_4(Courtesy and copyright of Wouter Brandsma. Taken with GX200)

Wouter Brandsma is no stranger among Ricoh camera users. His works are highly regarded by fellow "Ricohans". Located in Holland, Wouter has published many intruguing photos and useful articles on his GX100 and 200. We are in the process of translating one of his articles in Chinese, as a way to better introduce him to the Chinese speaking community. This photo caught Nevin's eye because of the emotional charge in it. The man in a beret is a war veteran having taken part in the real battle. It was also because of the feeling of action, rendered in an emotional way by a typical upper-left-to-lower-right diagonal pattern.

By Wouter Brandsma: The photograph was made at the 64th commemoration of operation Market Garden. See the full story with more photographs here. The RAW file was processed in Adobe Lightroom and converted to B&W.

I really like to use a compact camera since one can easily can blend in with the public. These cameras are very silent, especially in combination with the snap mode or manual focussing. The wide angle lens is superb of the GX200 and I almost never use 50mm or above.

(For further reading on Operation Market Garden, read this)

Friday, 26 December 2008

True Colours of the Editor...'s Place

All photos are taken at Nevin's place...shhhhh...while he is away. His place is warmly aglow with the early sunshine in the morning.

(From top to bottom: a table lamp, clock from Santorini, plant and shadow, crystal ceiling light, a curtain)

R0011545 (Medium)

R0011556 (Medium)

R0011547 (Medium)

R0011559 (Medium)

R0011558 (Medium)

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

A Christmas Letter to Readers

R0011552 (Small)

Dear Readers,

May we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas full of love and joy. Christmas is a season of receiving and giving love, especially when this year lots of people are suffering from the financial downturn. If you are lucky enough to be spared a job, we are joyful for you. Even if you not, don't lose heart. You are not alone and this will pass. Hang on, just hang on.

R0011616 (Medium) (Hands Full: This man loses both hands. He makes his living by being a painter in the street. He has decided to hang on regardless of his difficulties)

R0011617 (Medium)For those who are more lucky at this point of time, may we call upon you to share your love with your family, the people around you and those who are in need. Donate money to a charity fund or do a voluteer work. We are no empty talker. Take Nevin for example, he has been doing voluteer work for two non-profit-making bodies for a good course. He does it on top of his job, family, a tight schedule to practice guitar and manage this site. Whenever and whatever we can afford, lend a helping hand. It will mean a lot to the needy. He knows it intimately because some people helped him out when he was almost driven to despair.

Enjoy you holiday. Again, Merry Christmas to you!

With warmest regards,

Nevin and Co-editor GX GARNERINGS

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Six Feet Under

R0011436 (Small) (2) (Ephemeral: This is a real but transient world.  Where are we going to after the end?)
image001 A year has almost slipped by, and we are nearing Christmas. Love through the birth of a saviour in the Christian belief is the religious theme of Christmas.  I like this theme.  This makes me think of not birth but, I don't know why, death. Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being immediately springs to mind, in which a sentence goes like this, "From the first day of our birth, we are all moving one-day nearer to death each day." What a pessimism!

Death is a matter of importance in the Chinese society. The funeral of the Chinese is also known as "Ba Si" , literally White Ritual, as opposed to "Hung Si", literally Red Ritual which is wedding. The Chinese wedding ceremony is themed on the auspicious red colour while the funeral on white and yellow.
Paper Offerings
(Coffins, Chinese style)
R0011744 (Small)When I was young, some old people would prepare a set of paper clothes to be worn on their dead body at their own funeral. I actually met an old lady who showed the paper clothes to her family for comments. Some would also make it clear what paper offerings to be burnt to them. There are a whole array of different paper offerings. I published some photos of a paper house for offering in a previous post.

Buddism and Taoism are somehow interweaved with the folk version of the religions, which gave rise to some interesting rituals in a funeral. Take for example, leather is forbidden to be used for the attire dressed on the dead body. It is believed that, otherwise, the deceased will morphed into an animal in the next life.
The Funeral Ritual                        (Waiting for Her Turn: But time 
                                                              doesn't wait for us)

R0011795 (Small)The funeral starts in a funeral parlour for a night. The other day, when the coffin is to be moved to the graveyard, the eldest son of the deceased breaks a clay pot to start the procession. Holding a mugshot of the deceased, the eldest son lead the procession flanked by a funeral band playing some Chinese tunes. Paper money is flown into the air on both sides and, sometimes, a Feng Shui master is called into the graveyard to instruct the conduct of the burial.

R0011758 (Small)(Snatch a Sleep: When we all get very old, we will not be able to sleep like this.  We will sleep straight, very straight in a coffin.  Then, do we just decay six feet under?)

The immediate family and the closer relatives of the deceased are required to wear some insignias (a while or blue cotton flower or a black swatch) on R0011471 (Small)the chest to mark their mourning for 49 days during which they should refrain from taking part in any celebration. The funeral is officially ended on the seventh day after the burial when some more paper offerings are burnt.

(Passers-by Passing by: Life is an interesting phe-nomenon.  Where is this phenomeno leading us?)

Titanium, Just in Case You Wonder

This is it, Leica D-Lux 4 Titanium edition. Just in case you wonder after reading yesterday's post.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Digital Print Size Rule-of-Thumb

R0011745 (Medium)(Baffled Driver: I walked past this taxi driver who gave a baffled expression on his face. He would have to pay for the repairs and probably make do with no income until the repair is done. The insurance agent will certainly up the ante for next year's policy)
I have came across a few questions about the largest quality print size of GX200's images. Well, I have done 4R (4 × 6 inch) and 8R (8 × 10 inch) prints. No problem at all for even 8R size. But the question about the largest quality print size baffled me.
After much asking and searching, EUREKA!
For general use, the largest quality R0011007 (Medium)print size for a digital image is calculated as follows: vertical and horizontal pixel counts divided by 200 respectively.
For a critical use of the photo (in a photo contest, exhibition and so on), make the denominator to 250.
Take the GX200's images for example, the largest quality print size for general use is 15 ×20 inches (i.e. 3000 and 4000 divided by 200); for critical use, 12 × 16 inches (i.e. 3000 and 4000 divided by 250).
(Baffled Smoker: This man was so ruminative and probably depressed that I was able to take a number of photos of him without his notice)
Featured Comments by Wouter: This year I made four A2 prints (60 x 40 cm) [Editor's note: i.e. 24 x 15.8 inches]. Two from the GX100 and the other two from the GX200 and they were all impressive. And I am glad that the customers were impressed too.

Leica Hong Kong Promotion

The local Leica dealer is offering a special Christmas promotion for Leica D-Lux 4 and C-Lux 3 buyers from now on until the end of January. Each purchase wil entitle you to a 3-year warranty and a Leica leather case (the one for D-Lux 4 is worth of HK$980). The 4 selling for HK$6,900 is a Leica version of the Panasonic LX3 with different firmware and a more high-class outlook.


It is worthy noting that the price of D-Lux 3 has never dropped since its introduction, meaning that Leica cameras have a high resale value in case that concerns you.

For those who cannot care less about the price tag, a limited Titanium edition of the D-Lux 4 is available at a mere HK$9,500.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Tai Chi Ladies

R0011132 (Medium)Good morning.  Morning is a time for exercising.  Here in Hong Kong, you will bump into people having morning Tai Chi session in alomst any park.  Even some gweilos and gweipos (literally, male and female foreigners ; previously offensive terms but now playful among even the expats) do Tai Chi with local masters in Chater Garden at Central for some mornings.  The Hong Kong Tourism Board has partnered with some parties to offer free Tai Chi class to tourists.  You may check this out for whether the classes are still available.  Otherwise, show up in any park and ask the local Tai Chi exercisers for permission to join.

R0011064 (Medium)

R0011122 (Medium) So don't be sleepy head.  Get up after reading this post and do some exercise too.