Archive | February, 2012

10 steps to HDR Photos

14 Feb

There are 2 bugs that drive me nuts every time they hit my husband. One is when he gets Hackintosh Project Bug and the other is HDR Outing Bug. Why do I call them bugs? When any of them hit my husband, he would be in silent mode, in-front of his machines most of the time and he is spiritually in the virtual world. Since I can’t beat them, I’ll just join them by writing a post on HDR, which stands for High Dynamic Range. It changes these photos below :

Before HDR files

into this photo.

Jelatek Vertorama HDR

Step 1 : Identify your location.

For my husband, he is definitely in love with Kuala Lumpur landscape. Being born and bred in Kuala Lumpur, he never gets enough of this city. I hope he has the same feeling towards me. Of late, he started climbing some of the tall buildings around KL to architect his masterpiece.

Petaling Jaya from Mid Valley HDR

Step 2 : Get your DSLR ready.

At this point of writing, all DSLR can do Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) and certain type of point and shoot camera like Canon G9 can do the job. The point and shoot camera should be able to manually adjust its exposure.

west KL pano HDR

Step 3 : Tripod is a must.

Unless your hands and body are super still and can hold your camera settings for at least 2 minutes, you would need a set of sturdy tripod. He personally uses Manfrotto 055D tripod.

Titiwangsa morning Panorama

Step 4 : Choose your lenses.

Ariffin Aris’ favorite lens to shoot landscape HDR are 17-35mm lens and 24-70mm. Occasionally 70-200mm helps. Exclusively for Panorama shot, he uses 24-70mm lens with the help of Manfrotto Panorama head.

Manfrotto Panorama Head

Step 5 : Select shooting time.

Best time to shoot HDR photos during high-contrast time, which is either during sunrise or sunset.

Pano from Berjaya Time Square HDR

Step 6: Compose your photo using composition rules.

Such as rule of a third, rule of the odds, leading lines, framing, perspective, silhouette and many more.

KL Blue Moon HDR

Step 7 : Shoot with auto exposure bracketing or manually adjusted bracketing.

The usual bracketing that Ariffin Aris uses are minimum 5 AEB (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2 EV), 7 AEB (-3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2 , +3 EV) and maximum 9 AEB (-4, -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3, +4 EV). With his Nikon D3 camera, he can mark the exposure with voice recording feature. Whilst this feature is not a must for HDR because you can easily identify the exposure visually during post-processing stage on the computer with the help of software like Lightroom.

KL Skyline Sunrise HDR

Step 8 : Culling and sorting.

This step is very important as you need to select and sort AEB files into 2 separate folders. You can now easily process them into HDR.

Photomatix pro for HDR

Step 9 : Software.

Ariffin Aris uses Photomatix Pro to process the HDR and for panorama/vertorama (vertical panorama) he uses AutoPano Giga. Later he enhances his photos using Adobe Photoshop.

Autopano stitching program

Step 10 : Publish it.

Share your masterpiece with people who appreciates it!

At the end of writing this post, I still find that my husband is speaking in an alien language when he gets too technical in photography. One thing for sure, photography makes him happy and I’m very happy for him. There you go guys, feel free to drop some comments for him below or even join him for his next HDR excursion. Share this post with any of your friends who have the same Photography bug as Ariffin Aris. Cheers!


BOBA sets new definition to Baby Wraps

8 Feb

Shopping with Boba Wrap front

As I was growing up as a young girl, I was very fortunate to have the elders to share with me their ‘beauty’ secrets. My arwah Mak Long (late aunt) was Miss Temerloh in the 1940s and she would remind me during her visits to practice a few rituals and not to share with others unless they are your sisters or daughters. This is one of the ways the Eastern society pass down the Old Folks’ Tale. One of her many pantang (don’t-s) is Beautiful Girls or Women do not carry heavy loads. Her main reasons were it was bad for our posture and certainly bad for your uterus. Carrying heavy loads for a long period of time will effect the internal position of your uterus. You may choose to believe it or not but the position of your uterus affects the family ‘happiness’.

Of course when I was a teenager, I did not pay much attention to that pantang. It was quite difficult to follow as I was in the cheerleading squad until I injured my back. The back injury got worse when I was active playing other sports. My housemates would remember those moments when the injury got unbearable. It was one of the reasons why I still practice Yoga and visit the chiropractor every 2 years or so for ‘maintenance job’. Hence, I try not to carry my kids for a long period of time too. I’m glad that my husband understands my situation too.

As an active and mobile mother, I take my kids out alone (without husband or helper) every now and then. Car seat and baby carrier are a must in the car. Next is my favorite Graco Travel System stroller which is sturdy, fits baby bag and shopping bags, cup holders and easy to flip it open/close. Most of my baby products must be one-hand-friendly. It was not until now that I find that a baby wrap or carrier is a must whenever I take my kids out together. My younger daughter simply refuse staying in her stroller for  a long time and would cry for as long as 15 minutes until I carry her out. It gets more challenging when my 3 year-old son needs to go to the toilet at the same time. Have you experienced the same situation?

We never bought our own baby wrap or carrier. We are blessed to have many dear friends who presented to us as baby gifts. One of it was a ring-sling type. It was a beautiful plain navy blue. I used it for a while but my helper uses it daily now. It was simply because of the baby weight is skewed to one side only. I found it a little bit difficult to adjust but once I get used to it, the baby feels snug and cozy. Then we got a Century baby carrier. Again I found it a little bit of a hassle to put it on and adjust it. It gets more troublesome especially when the carrier is set to my ‘body configuration’ and then it was my husband’s turn to use it to carry our baby. You get the picture?

Shopping with Boba Wrap back

Recently another kind friend of mine presented to us not one but two baby wraps and a baby carrier! It was not just any other baby wrap or carrier BUT it was BOBA! (click here for Boba International) How cool is that? For this post, I shall focus on Boba Wrap only because there are so many things to say about it. Firstly, Boba wrap is so comfortable and you feel like wearing it all the time thanks to the materials used which are cotton and spandex. It is like wearing your t-shirt and I could assure you that once you try it, you would want to have other colors as well. No wonder my friend got me the Grey Boba Wrap and a Blue Boba Wrap (God bless her and her family!) Another reason to love Boba Wrap is your baby weight is distributed evenly therefore you don’t really feel like carrying your baby, just like when you were pregnant. It is so snug and neat, your baby would definitely love it as much as you do. I know that my baby does and I do too. Besides the safety leaflet, a Wrap bag, the Boba Wrap comes with a very helpful instruction booklet with colorful pictures. If you have experienced trying to figure out how to use a ring-sling baby carrier, you would appreciate this instruction booklet. It explains clearly on how to put on the Boba Wrap, how to secure the newborn (weighs up to 5kg) and how to secure infants up to 16 kgs.

Some things to consider before getting your own Boba Wrap.

1. By using a wrap, your baby can only face you and cannot face forward nor ride on the back as compared to a carrier.

2. You have to tie the wrap tightly to your body so that your baby does not sag down as you walk after 5 minutes.

3. It is advised that you wear the Boba Wrap in the car before you get out as the wrap is a long piece of cloth and might sweep the floor as you are putting in on.

Conclusion, I’m in love with Boba Wrap. As the tagline goes ‘Freedom Together’, it does give me the freedom to do more things together with my baby. I have both my hands when I go out with my kids now: one to hold my older son’s hand and the other to carry my shopping bag. It is easier to take my son to public toilets too. If you suffer from backache and yet want to carry your baby, you would certainly appreciate Boba Wrap. Since Happy Hippie Avenue IS about inspiring in simple ways, I would like to share my happiness with my readers out there in the simplest form. I have decided to give away my 2nd Boba Wrap (blue) to a lucky reader.

This contest has closed on 17 April after more than 1000 hits. Thank you readers and Congratulations to Denise!

Click here fore Boba Carrier.