Diary of a DSLR – First entry

Diary of a (rich and famous) DSLR

Well, hello! This is all rather exciting, isn’t it?

Oh, but I am EXPLODING with anticipation and I simply must proclaim so or I shall BURST INTO FLAMES right here and now. A new adventure is on the horizon! I cannot wait for it to happen, I CANNOT!!!

No, no. I must refrain from hysterics. I am a dignified being, surely.

Let’s try again.

My story began in a large chamber where I slept alongside thousands of my kind for… oh, I cannot remember, far too long.

Admittedly, there isn’t much of a story to tell. Whilst all the empty-headed plebs chattered amongst themselves, I slept and dreamt of the day a genius photographer would rescue me from warehouse purgatory to begin the fulfillment of my destiny.


Nikon D750 + Genius photographer = Fame and fortune


The day has come!

I’ve always known that I was special. For what reason would I have been created but to become the DSLR that takes million-pound photographs? Yes! I will be rich and famous, the camera of the century, admired and praised around the world MWA HA HA.

Ahem. Excuse me.

I must confess, though, that I am plagued by the tiniest sliver of doubt. My new owner looks rather flighty and I wonder if she knows the first thing about photography. Has there been a mistake in assignation? Surely, my owner should be someone who looks more, I don’t know, distinguished and important?

This supposed owner is called Sheylara and I have observed that her home is full of heart motifs. How could that bode anything but bad? Look at where she has placed my battery charger: Atop a dainty and miniature cupboard FULL OF HEARTS, what?


The little cupboard with the hearts



Oh, I KNOW something is definitely not right with this girl.

I mean, it’s not just the cupboard! It’s literally EVERYWHERE! Are you ready for this? Even her dinnerware has hearts!


Dinnerware with hearts



What is that I CAN’T EVEN!!!

(Okay, calm down. Dignity.)


It is possible that I am mistaken about her. We shall have to see. They say that geniuses are quirky. Perhaps she is merely one of those eccentric things who have trouble conforming. She may yet turn out to be The One.

Or… OR! It could even be that she is the idiot daughter of the real genius photographer, and has misappropriated her father’s possession out of impertinence.

Ah, yes, that must be it. Hope blossoms.

I shall report again when I know more. Wish me luck!

Cartoon Nikon D750



Look better with camera tricks

I have been feeling particularly ugly for a year or so now, what with my stupid hair being stupid and my skin feeling saggy because I’ve had to stop taking collagen supplements since moving to the UK (because they don’t have Meiji and Fancl here).

(Disclaimer: I don’t know that collagen supplements really work but I had taken them for years and felt okay about myself. Since coming to the UK, I have felt progressively older and uglier, although it could be due to the air being very dry here, or it could be just plain old aging, so I don’t know, lol.)


Women and beauty supplements


Last Saturday evening, while Piers and I were at a pub waiting for his friends to arrive, I decided to play around with my camera because I suddenly remembered it has a Soft Skin mode to “shoot more beautiful skin”.

Piers had bought me a Sony Cyber-shot (DSC-WX80) a few months ago to replace my iPhone camera (yes, I had been using my iPhone camera for nearly two years because my Lumix had sensor dust in it and I never got around to sending it back).


Sony DSC-WX80


I chose this model out of all the cameras in the store based on the merits of its compactness and pretty white looks, which shows how serious I am about photography.

So, while Piers was sipping his beer, and I was ignoring my Pimm’s cocktail in favour of camwhoring, I turned on Soft Skin mode, took a self-portrait and looked at the playback display.


Soft Skin mode


“Wow!” I said, “The soft skin mode has made me pretty again!”

I showed Piers the photo and he looked at me quizzically. “Hon, you look exactly like that in real life.”

I said, “No, no, the camera has smoothened out my face so I look much better!”

Piers rolled his eyes and said, “I think you have face dysmorphia.”

Yeah, sure, whatever.


The face of a person with face dysmorphia


I think Piers is quite blind. He can’t even tell whether I’ve got makeup on or not most of the time, which might make one think that he is just being sweet, trying to throw in a subtle compliment, but I think the truth is that he is genuinely blind.

I did look better on the camera playback because of the soft focus effect and the fact that playbacks are small in size (and I tend to look better when you can hardly see me).

I don’t think the photos look so nice after viewing them on my computer now. But they’re still better than usual.

I prefer my old Lumix’s beautiful skin mode though. Instead of making it a soft focus effect, it has some kind of special flash to make your skin glow. Kinda like this:


Glowy skin effect


Anyway, I made Piers take more photos of me before his friends finally arrived and I quite liked them. Maybe it was just a good day.

I usually have to take a hundred photos before I’m satisfied with one, but that day, I only had to take about 20 before I could find one I liked.



One more for the road


The next day, I experimented some more. I tried Soft Skin mode and Background Defocus and couldn’t decide which I liked more.

Soft Skin:


Soft skin


Background Defocus:


Background defocus


So, basically, soft skin blurs out your face while background defocus blurs everything but. Lol, stupid camera tricks, although I have to admit it’s handy and saves you from having to photoshop your photos.

Well, okay, I definitely look better with Soft Skin cos who doesn’t? But background defocus photos look more professional so I like them better, even if they make me look ugly.

Anyway, I quickly got tired of looking at my stupid face so I stopped taking photos of myself. I was at Piers’ parents’ house for a barbeque to take advantage of the rare warm and sunny day and there were dogs and a baby, which were much better (although harder) subjects to photograph. But I will leave that for another day.

I will do more “camera experiments” (which are in fact nothing more than vanity posts in disguise) in the future so keep coming back and keep reading!

In the meantime, allow me to leave you with some sage advice:

Do not believe every photo you see on the Internet! Between makeup and camera tricks and photoshop, no one is what they look like anymore. So, caveat emptor and have a nice week!

Photos from Nuffnang Christmas Party

I almost didn’t go for the Nuffnang Christmas party because I didn’t have time to get a costume.

The party was co-sponsored by vPOST and we had to go as characters or things beginning with the letters V, P, O, S or T.

Me and my friends were assigned the letter T.

Just a few hours before the party, Minou, myself and Unker Kell went costume hunting.

The Goonfather had class till 6 pm, so he was going to join us at the party. He said he’d go as a Tourist, so all he had to do was wear a big shirt. Which is what he usually wears, anyway.


So we decided to get him a prop camera. After getting our costumes at a costume shop, we went to Popular bookshop to get some supplies, then went home.

Unker Kell made this while I was getting dressed.


I decided to go as a Tooth Fairy, and Minou made this for me while Unker Kell was making the camera and I was getting dressed.


It’s a cardboard tooth which I tied to one of my necklaces.

Minou chose to be a Tiger because, she says, “I’ve always wanted to have a tail.”


I had to sit sideways in the car; my wings were in the way.

Unker Kell couldn’t find any suitable costumes, so he went home to dig out an outfit he had worn for another costume party. Haha.

He’s a Thug!

We ended up being two hours late for the party.

We didn’t do much there except take photos which, I feel, is the whole point of a costume party.

Here’s my photo with a famous old man.

His hands are pretty young, though.

Haha. The old man is Kenny Sia.

My friend, Timo, who went as Mr Paranoid:

He won one of the top three prizes for best costume.

The Goonfather came really late, almost missing the party, almost wasting Unker Kell’s effort of making him the camera.

I tried to make full use of it in his absence.

He did come, finally, like half an hour before the party ended.

But he got into the role of nerdy tourist very quickly.

Okay, I’ve run out of words, so here are just more photos.

Say cheese! =)

The strange things we encounter

My life is full of synchronicities.

(If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “synchronicity” is the experience of two or more events which are causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner. — from Wikipedia)

Here’s a recent one that happened to me which involves my broken camera.

Aug 25
I was walking through City Link Mall, where there’s a huge Sony display showing off Sony laptops and cameras. Stopping a bit to drool at the mini Vaio (one of my considerations before I got my MSI Wind), I found myself drawn to the Cyber-shots.

An “OMG it’s so pretty” moment happened. I found myself desperately wanting a white Cyber-shot because I’m into pretty white gadgets, but then my Lumix was still working perfectly well and I knew I probably couldn’t buy a new camera for another year or two.

Aug 26, 7 pm
I received an e-mail invitation to attend a Sony Cyber-shot media launch. (!!)

Aug 27, 4 pm
I replied the e-mail invitation, mentioning that it was such a coincidence that I had just been drooling at Cyber-shots. I also mentioned that it’s a shame I couldn’t get one because my Lumix was still working fine and I couldn’t justify getting a new camera.

Aug 27, 6 pm
I was getting ready to attend a Nokia event and decided to camwhore a bit because I still had a bit of time.

I did what I always do. Balance my camera somewhere for self-timered shots. (My camera had suffered many a horrible fall thanks to my adventurous exploits but it had always survived with minor scratches and dents.)

On this very day, it decided to fall for the very last time. The LCD cracked and it breathed its last.


Many of you will probably be thinking at this point of time that I purposely let my camera fall to give myself an excuse to buy a new camera.


Maybe something in the atmosphere or some higher consciousness living within me made that happen but, as far as I’m concerned, I sure had no intention to tip my bank balance further into the red.

Of course, at the same time, I now have a perfectly valid reason to get a Cyber-shot. The new models are so pretty, too!

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77 (world’s slimmest digital still camera with Optical SteadyShot).

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7500
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500 (featuring HD video recording and playback and 3.5″ LCD touch screen).

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700 (featuring 4GB internal memory and easy photo management to serve as a portable photo album).

Too many choices there, so I’m gonna sit on it for a while. Besides, I’m like broke after buying my MSI Wind and iPhone within a week. And I still want to shop around to see if there are nicer cameras out there (in pink or white)!

Okay, some photos taken at the event.

Esther and Sheylara
Esther and me.

Some sweets which I didn’t get to try.

Group photo
Esther, me, nadnut, Claudia and a Cyber-shot rep.

Weird turn of events, huh?

And you know what? I threw my broken camera away forgetting to remove my memory card so I LOST A MEMORY CARD AS WELL.

What a doofus I am.

Quite a disastrous shoot if ever there was one

So, I’m going to be brutal today and unglam the glam.

Not that I’m saying my films are very glam, but some people do have that idea, occasionally.

I’m taking you behind the scenes of a short film called Beatnik Sweetheart, which chronicles the dysfunctional relationship between three friends in an uncaring world.

The wardrobe, makeup and art people went all out to make us look impossibly good and I think they did a great job.

But beyond the painted faces and pretty sets, a multitude of unglam hiccups plagued the production on Day 1.

The first scene took place at the abandoned police headquarters at Eu Tong Sen Street.

The location also just happened to be home to an army of invisible bloodthirsty mosquitoes. You won’t even know of their existence until itchy welts mysteriously appear on your skin, just minutes after you arrive on the scene.

I started scratching subconsciously.

“Why my arm so itchy?” I mused aloud.

The art director suddenly yelled, “No, no, no! Don’t scratch!”

He stared in alarm at the mounting redness on my arm. Then he leapt away and came back ferociously wielding a spray can.

Liberally doused in a thick layer of insect repellent, I tried to ignore the itch while the makeup artist gunked up my face.

Then it was up to the rooftop.

We had to walk up five very long flights of steps, followed by this long, intimidating ladder.

The landing was cramped and scary, with that gaping hole in the middle.

But what a beautiful rooftop it was outside. I mean the view was beautiful.

The crew spent some time setting up the lights and cameras and mic-ing the actors. And then we were ready to roll.

That was when it started to rain.

Suddenly. Heavily.

You can’t really see from the picture, but the director was standing in the open, getting rained on, while we took shelter in the crammed little landing area.

I’ll bet you saw that camwhoring photo coming, savvy blog reader.

When the rain finally let up, about half an hour later, we had to sit on a picnic mat for blocking and rehearsal purposes as we waited for the ground to dry up a little for the take.

In the film, we’re all cool youngsters and cool youngsters don’t use picnic mats.

What we had were beer and cigarettes.

I was stressed because I had practised smoking (minimally) only three days before this shoot and still felt awkward holding a cigarette.

But I managed to smoke without coughing while the tape was rolling, so I think that counted for something. Nobody complained about my smoking skills.

The only complaint I received was from the camera assistant, who decided to speak out after seeing me throw out five half-smoked cigarettes with each take.

“Can you don’t throw away?” he said, eyeing the dumped cigarettes heart-brokenly. “Just pass to one of us to finish it.”

“But it’s got my lipstick all over it,” I said. “And it’s Virginia Slim VERY LIGHT.”

“A cigarette is still a cigarette,” said he.

Couldn’t argue with that.

A beer, though, is sometimes not a beer.

My poor Corona was topped up with chrysanthemum tea after each take, until it became more tea than beer.

An hour later, I started feeling severe gastric pains.

I realised belatedly that I should have taken breakfast. Beer and tea are a recipe for disaster for my weak stomach.

I went to the producer and made an apologetic request. “Sorry, can you please get someone to grab my gastric pills from downstairs?”

“Shit.” she said.

She went down herself. And I felt really bad because that meant five long flights of stairs and one long rickety ladder, times two.

We finished the scene a few hours later and ate packet lunches right here, sitting on the ledges:

My gastric pains went away.

Next location was Changi Airport for one very short scene.

It went relatively smoothly, except that the airport was too empty at the time for the director’s liking.

“It wasn’t this empty when I last came to recce!” he proclaimed.

But it eventually filled up, somewhat, and we got our shot after endless takes.

Here’s me taking a photo of the DOP framing me for the shot.

I love doing that.

Close-up of the picture feed from the video camera:.

By the time this very short scene was done, it was almost 5 pm. We had only completed two scenes (since 7:30 am). We had two more scenes scheduled to go.

But then the director said, “It’s a wrap!”

“Huh?” we all went.

It turned out that we couldn’t do the next two scenes because:

  1. The owner of the first location (a pub) had overslept and told us to postpone our shoot to the next day.
  2. The owner of the second location (a boutique) changed her mind and decided not to let us to shoot there.

So, I was about to change out of my costume when the director suddenly made a new announcement.

“Hey, let’s shoot the tunnel scene tonight, instead.”

The tunnel in question is the new expressway tunnel next to Fort Canning Park.

The plan now was to go back to our “base” (the DOP’s apartment) to rehearse our hot lesbian action scene (yes), have dinner there, wait till about 9 pm when there will be fewer cars on the road, then travel to the tunnel.

My gastric pains came back.

Worse, I was getting the worst backache I’ve ever experienced.

I could hardly sit still in the car as we travelled back to the apartment. My front and back were both killing me.

I had run out of antacids and had to wait till we reached the apartment. From there, I walked out myself to the nearest supermarket to get more antacids.

Our costumes for the tunnel scene:

I didn’t realise that I was wearing the wrong shoes for this photo until I got home and saw the photo.

I was supposed to be wearing black pumps for this outfit but because they hurt my feet, I went around in my canvas shoes outside of takes.

Another picture with the wrong shoes:

Our rehearsal at the apartment took longer than planned, so by the time we left the apartment, it was almost 10 pm.

On the sidewalk opposite the tunnel, waiting for the crew to arrive:

With our co-actor:

Our actor was a little weird. We made him sit on the ground to pose for photos with us, but he didn’t like it very much, mumbling something about the ground being dirty or having ants or something.

He sat down just enough to snap one photo and then sprang up again, visibly distraught.

We made faces at him and then continued camwhoring.

Shortly after, the crew arrived and it was off to the tunnel.

It was quite exciting in there. Kind of scary, kind of grungy, kind of crazy.

We took 10 minutes to plan and prepare the shot, then we went for a take.

Right after the first take (which turned out to be no good), we heard sirens.


Along came an LTA marshall, beckoning us to go to him at the opening of the tunnel.

Our spirits dampened, we trudged wearily back to where we started.

Had our particulars taken down, had a bit of a lecture about trespassing, and then we were let off with a warning that we might all be receiving fines in the mail in two weeks.

It had been a long day. 15 hours, to be precise. Six hours overrun.

Inexplicably, though, I enjoyed the shoot, enjoyed the cast and crew and looked forward to the next day.

To be continued.