Learning Photography

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A year ago, I told myself that I want to learn photography. I’ve been shooting with my point-and-shoot camera all these years, and I thought it’s time to upgrade my gears and photography skills. It’s never too late to learn as long as we have the means and opportunity to do so. I’m sure you’ll agree.

I checked out the Canon and Nikon DSLRs, but unfortunately, they are too heavy and bulky for my liking. Then, I read about the micro 4/3 cameras that are extremely popular in the photography forum. They are not only smaller and lighter than most DSLRs in the market, but they also have DSLR-like features.

This sounds like what I really want. So I went to check out the Olympus OMD E-M5, and I fell in love with it instantly. I like its classic design and timeless good looks. When I held it in my hands, the overall feel of the camera was solid, sturdy and assuring. It didn’t feel heavy at all.

The sales assistant told me that the OMD E-M5 was one of their best-selling models, and he highly recommended it. This camera has the fastest autofocus, built-in body Image Stabilization feature, full weather sealing (splash and dust proof) and a built-in electronic viewfinder.

I was particularly impressed with its tilting touch screen. I can easily flip it out for some extra-low or extra-high shots without having to lie on the ground or climb up the chairs. I can also adjust all the camera settings – ISO, white balance, exposure, etc using the touch screen. It was ultra cool!

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My Olympus OMD E-M5 with 25mm f1.4 prime lens

So I happily purchased the OMD E-M5, along with a dry cabinet and camera bag.

This is my first camera bag from Olympus. I absolutely loved the colour. It’s small and ladylike, but it’s very functional with enough space for a camera body, 2 lenses, spare battery and some small accessories.

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My camera bag from Olympus

The kit lens (12-50mm) gives nice wide shots, but it doesn’t give the level of sharpness that I want. It’s also quite long, so it doesn’t fit into a small camera pouch. I can only carry it around in my camera bag.

And the problem here is – I also need to carry my handbag when I go out. Therefore, I’ve to carry my handbag on my left shoulder, and my camera bag on my right shoulder. That makes me immensely uncomfortable and unsightly. Can you relate?

Okay, you may think that the easiest way out is to get the Hubby to carry the camera bag for me. Yes, if he’s around, I’ll conveniently shove one of the bags onto his shoulder. But still, I need to find a better solution than that.

Recently, I purchased a prime lens that I absolutely love! It’s the Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4. I took this photo the first day I got this lens. What a difference I noticed right away in my picture.

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The garden in our apartment is quite dark at night, and that provided me the perfect setting to test its low light ability.

I was completely amazed to get these pictures with no flash at all! While it’s not cheap (cost around $600 when I purchased online), its low-light shooting abilities are amazing.

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This lens is also perfect for indoor shooting. It’s capable of taking clear portraits (even under low-light condition) with the background mildly defocused.

In addition, autofocus is very fast, although care needs to be taken to ensure accurate focusing with a wide aperture. The manual focus ring makes fine adjustments easy to make. It’s quite light too!

Since then, my 25mm f1.4 has been consistently mounted on my OMD E-M5, and used as a general all-purpose lens. I’m VERY happy with it! The fact that it’s lighter and shorter, I can also put it in a smaller camera pouch. That pouch can easily fits into my tote bag. And that means I can finally step out of my house in just ONE BAG!

Few days ago, I bought my second prime lens. It’s the Olympus 45mm f1.8. Now who doesn’t want those sharp photos of your subject with the cool blurry background? This lens is the answer for that. It’s my perfect portrait lens!

Shooting with the 45mm is an absolute pleasure. Its autofocus is extremely swift. I get used to shooting with a longer focal length pretty easily too. I just need to step further away from the subject.

The 45mm f1.8 is bought locally at a price tag of $400, and it has certainly helped me to enjoy photography even more (and the results I’m getting!).

First picture taken with the 45mm f1.8. Focus is on the rightmost lens, the two lens on the left and background are nicely defocused.

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The next thing on my shopping list is a camera bag that looks like a handbag. Something stylish that is unlike a regular camera bag. Something that looks more like a handbag but with the camera hidden inside (with padding to protect it too). Yes, that’s what I want. If you’ve any recommendations, please leave me a comment.

Now, what’s your favourite lens? I love to hear from you too!

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My Olympus OMD E-M5 with 45mm f1.8 lens
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My lenses

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8 Things We Love About Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa

Continued from last post

We enjoyed our staycation at Rasa Sentosa so much that we want to make it an annual vacation. Here are EIGHT things that we truly love about this resort.

1. Huge, beautiful and comfortable guestroom

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As shared with you in my last post, the guestroom in Rasa Sentosa is very spacious, beautiful, and comfortably furnished with fine amenities, as well as complimentary mini-bar.

Little Edison was giggling over the bathtub. To him, bathtub is a must in every hotel. I love the balcony, and I really enjoyed the natural outdoor surroundings. During the day, the pool is bursting with activities, and at night, it looks so serene.

2. Sumptuous buffet spread at Silver Shell Café

Breakfast

The buffet breakfast was sumptuous, and we also tried the outdoor breakfast by the beach. The breakfast selection is amazing, from American, Japanese to Chinese, and the usual cereals, fruits and drinks.

The highlight of the restaurant is their Kids Corner, with a variety of kids-friendly food items, plastic plates and cutleries, and at a level that is comfortable within their reach. Edison was truly excited, he felt like a big boy being able to select and pick-up his own food.

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Have I mentioned about the colourful marshmallows, yummy cupcakes and tempting gummy bears that are available during the buffet lunch and dinner? And we left the resort feeling well-rested and well-fed!

3. Not just kids-friendly, but also baby-friendly

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Rasa Sentosa is not just kids-friendly, but also very baby-friendly. If you’re travelling with a baby or infant, you’ll be delighted to hear this. Baby Zone, the latest addition at the resort, provides complimentary baby food for different stages of infancy during lunch and dinner.

Other items such as milk bottle sterilisers, hot water, a microwave and baby dining utensils, complete with baby wipes and diapers, provide a hassle-free experience for travelling parents who are in search of essential baby care.

Now, who said you can’t travel because you have a baby? 🙂

4. Amazing facilities at the children’s club Cool Zone

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Most of the time when we travel, we end up spending more time to tend to our children rather than enjoying a full holiday experience. I’m glad that Rasa Sentosa recognizes this fact, and a range of recreational facilities are thus provided to address our need.

Children aged 5 to 12 can enjoy a full day of fun at the Cool Zone. Spanning 100 square metres over two storeys, the Cool Zone encompasses a Game Zone, Craft Zone and a Toots Club. It’s also the largest children’s club provided by a hotel in Singapore.

Cool Zone, the children's club
Picture Credit: Shangri-La’s Press Kit

The highlight of the Cool Zone is the giant tree house slide, which winds all the way down from level three of the resort into a pool of colourful balls on level one.

Full-day children’s activity programs inclusive of lunch and dinner are also available. There are at least 10 activities daily from building sandcastles, collecting seashells, kayaking to having fun with pedal boats, splash pad, treasure hunt and costume making. In the evening, there are movie nights or play time with Wii and Xbox 360.

The Flying Trapeze
Picture Credit: Shangri-La’s Press Kit

Children also get a go on the Flying Trapeze – the first of its kind in Singapore – and try their hands at being acrobats. The Mini Toots Club, on the other hand, caters to children aged 4 and below who are accompanied by their guardians or parents. There is also a playground with slides amidst the resort’s landscaped gardens.

5. Chilling out at the outdoor swimming pool and water slides

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Love the line-up of frog water fountains!

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Children's pool and slides
Picture Credit: Shangri-La’s Press Kit

Children can splash around at the water slides and children’s pool under a canopy, or the fun splash pad. A water management system is installed to keep the water in the pools in its natural state, where only a minimum amount of chlorine is added to minimise the risks of allergic reaction, eye irritation and respiratory problems triggered by chlorine.

6. Going the extra mile to ensure guests’ comfort during their stay

Comfort

Rasa Sentosa is like a little paradise to me. They’ve certainly gone the extra mile to ensure guests’ comfort through all seasons. Whatever you can think of or need, they’ll have them prepared for you.

Wet laundry? No problem. There is a 24-hour self-operating wash-and-dry machine that you can use to wash your clothes at a very small fee. This is on-top of the usual laundry service that is provided by the resort.

Need some ice? There is an ice and water dispenser machine at every floor. Need an exercise? They have a well-equipped gym surrounded by nice greeneries here.

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If you checked-in early and your room is not ready, or you’re waiting for your flight after you’ve checked-out, you can relax at the lounge that is furnished with coffee machine, internet stations, books, newspapers and TV. You can also take a shower in the Refresh Room.

Awesome, isn’t it?

7. CHI, The spa, is every woman’s dream come true

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Apart from all the above fun-filled experiences at Rasa Sentosa, a good body massage is good in many ways. Try their signature Singapore Massage (only available at Rasa Sentosa) which incorporates different massage methods from Singapore’s three main cultures – Chinese, Malay and Indian – to deliver a tension-relieving and relaxing experience.

Singapore Massage
Picture Credit: Shangri-La’s Press Kit

8. Trapizza, the alfresco dining on the beach

Trapizza
Picture Credit: Shangri-La’s Press Kit

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I love cosy dining in an outdoor setting while overlooking the beachfront. It’s very relaxing and romantic. Trapizza provides a selection of traditional thin-crust wood-fired pizzas, pastas, salads and desserts in addition to a children’s menu. There is also a children’s playground by the beach.

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Thank you Rasa Sentosa for the memorable stay and fun-filled weekend.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa
101 Siloso Road, Sentosa, 098970, Singapore
Tel: (65) 6275 0100
Website: http://www.shangri-la.com/singapore/rasasentosaresort/

 

Read more about our staycation!