Monday, July 30, 2007
Tip 1: Miss the eyes and you've missed the shot. Getting the eyes
in focus is key to capturing a photo of an animal. It's human
nature to look at the eyes. It's how we determine emotion and how
we connect. When I was in Homer, Alaska, I came across a moose on
the move. Given it was early morning and the light was low I knew
getting a fast shutter speed to freeze his movement would be
tough, so I quickly adjusted my camera to lock the focus on his
eyes, and took the shot. The majority of the picture was a bit
blurry, but because the eyes are in focus, the shot was saved.
Tip 2: Use a telephoto lens. Getting closer to the action, yet
staying a safe distance, is the key to photographing wildlife. By
keeping your distance you allow the animal to be in their comfort
zone and are more likely to get natural behavior. Safety is also
a factor when photographing in the wild. Always keep at least 100
yards distance from wildlife, for your safety and for the well
being of the animals.
Another good use for a telephoto lens is a trick not many people
know, which comes in very handy when photographing animals in the
zoo that are behind fencing. If you move close to the fence (keep
a safe distance) and use at least 100mm of your telephoto lens,
focusing beyond the fence, with a wide aperture, you can "focus
out" the fencing and take a photo of the subject with no wires!
Now, there are some exceptions, such as, if the fencing is black
you'll have a much better chance of pulling this off. Regular
chain link fence is gray and semi-reflective, which in the
sunlight can cause a glare and is often too bright to focus out.
I've also had some successes at trying different angles, so
experiment for your best results.
I often shoot with a Canon 100-400mm IS USM and a Canon 28-300mm
IS USM. If you're new to telephoto lenses, on a budget and not
sure what to get, I suggest the Tamron 28-300mm or a Sigma
70-300mm. I've also had great results with the Sigma 50-500
which, as of this writing, I consider to be the best bang for the
buck. These lenses all work with teleconverters of 1.4x and 2.0x
so you can easily extend your reach even further, often while
keeping auto-focus (with Canon L lenses, a minimum aperture of
4.0 or less will support auto-focus. Above that a manual focus is
your only option.)
Tip 3: Use a wide aperture. Learning the effects of adjusting
your camera's aperture will go a long way toward improving your
photographs, especially in portrait style shooting. In a photo of
a grazing elk I shot in Yellowstone, I chose a very wide aperture
to blur out a potentially busy background and bring attention to
the subject instead. As you learn to control your camera you'll
also find that adjusting your aperture will have a direct effect
on your shutter speed. This will prove especially helpful when
shooting in the early mornings and late evenings, when animals
are typically most active and the light is warm and muted.
Tip 4: Adjust your shutter speed to stop/show the action. When
animals are on the move you need to decide quickly on the type of
shot you want to take. If you want to freeze the action, you'll
need to shoot at 1/500 or faster and depending on light, that can
be tricky. One option, if you're shooting digital, is to adjust
up your ISO, which will make your sensor more sensitive to light
and give you that needed boost in shutter speed. Now, if you want
to give a sense of motion to your image, try shooting with a
shutter speed of 1/4 to 1/8 and pan your camera with the animal.
Pan steady and remember, keep the eye in focus if you can! For
best results, pick backgrounds that are uncluttered and simple,
as this will make the subject standout in the image.
Tip 5: Use a flash to fill in shadows. It may sound odd, but
using a flash outside on a bright sunny day actually makes a lot
of sense. In this situation, you're not using the flash to
illuminate the subject, as you would in a dark setting, but
rather to fill in the shadows and provide detail where harsh
shadows would otherwise be heavy and dark. It's important to use
flash wisely and here are a couple of other suggestions: 1. Be
conscious of the animal and whether flash will scare them and,
2. There are times where your only shoot is through glass --
using a flash behind glass will ruin your shot. The glass will
reflect the light back at the camera and you shouldn't be
surprised if all you get is a big white picture!
Tip 6: Plan for the best light. There's nothing like a cloudy day
to provide soft, even light for wildlife photography. Clouds act
like a giant diffuser to the sun, spreading the light out evenly
and taking away harsh shadows that are created by a bright, sunny
day. Of course, a cloudy day has its challenges as well, such as
lower light, which will force you to adjust ISO and shutter speed
settings for stopping action and getting sharp, in focus images.
Tip 7: Composition - Framing your shots. Some simple framing
advise can go a long way toward improving an image, and for those
who are computer savvy, a little trick called cropping (software
technique to cut a photo) can help improve composition that
wasn't quite right at the time the photo was taken. The best way
to think about composition is to picture a tic-tac-toe grid in
the view finder of your camera (I've seen some new cameras that
come with this as a feature you can turn on!) and use that grid
to organize your shots. There is no hard rule, but the general
theory behind good composition is that your subject lies in one
of the crosshairs of the grid. Setting up your shot to lead the
eye is also a good example of composition.
Tip 8: Shoot with two eyes. This is a tip I'm sharing here, but
often have a hard time remembering myself. I can't tell you how
many shots I've missed because I didn't see the action coming. By
keeping both eyes open you'll see the subject in the viewfinder
and you'll also see what's going to happen next.
Tip 9: Anticipate behavior. This tip goes well with Tip 8, shoot
with both eyes, because anticipating behavior is often key to
capturing a rare moment, action and unique situations. Panning
the camera to follow an animal can be a tiring process, so often
I'll study the animal's behaviors watching for a pattern and then
use some anticipatory shooting, and a little luck, to hopefully
capture that perfect moment.
Tip 10: Use a tripod. Using a tripod is one of the best things
you can do to improve your photography, and wildlife is no
different. By mounting your camera to a tripod you reduce camera
shake, which is usually the cause of blurry photos. To take this
a step further, I use a shutter release cable, which eliminates
the need to touch the camera while snapping shots and thus
removes almost all potential for camera shake.
Bonus Tip: Shoot. Shoot. Shoot. This tip is a no-brainer for
those of us who shoot digital. Shooting digital is cheap --
technology is advancing so quickly that, as of this writing, a 4
gigabyte memory card is selling for less than $100 and you can
get A LOT of photos on a 4 gig memory card. The bottom line of
this tip is take photos....a lot of photos. Don't be shy. I often
take multiple photos of the same scene or subject and then later
choose the best from the group. This is also a great way to
learn; by adjusting your camera between shots you can experiment
and see the results of different settings of your camera. And,
don't sweat the details of trying to remember which photo had
which settings...another great thing about shooting digital is
something called EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format). EXIF data
is written to every photo so that later, upon review, you can see
every setting your camera used to take that image.
Stephen Oachs spends every chance he gets looking through the
viewfinder of his cameras. He is an accomplished nature
photographer with an impressive gallery of stunning wildlife
shots. Visit his photo journal at http://www.stephenoachs.com. Read more
about him at his blog, http://stephenoachsphotography.blogspot.com. When
not taking photographs, Stephen's day job is spent as technical
director of http://VisiStat.com, a leading next generation Web Analytics
service that specializes in real-time Website Performance
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Are you searching for answers to life's most troubling questions?
Friday, July 27, 2007
I was too blind or too loyal to my ex-boss to see his flaws. He's non-confrontational, rarely points out your mistakes and is quite un-emotional. He only points out your mistakes during the year-end appraisal when its time to deny you your salary increment or justify why he's giving you the lowest increment in the company.
My new boss is dynamic. But to be fair, my new boss is basically a project manager (my ex-boss was the country manager). He's tough but respectful. He'll pull you up privately to tell you of your mistakes, will never berate you in public. He gels the team of engineers together to reach the common goal.
My ex-boss never had that gel. He allowed his star salesman to dominate all company meetings. He's favoritism of his star salesman was so great that it blinded him from reality - that his star sales bad mouths him in public and to customers. We, or I, tried telling that to him but in the end, it looked bad on us when he conveyed what we said to his star sales person.
Six years ago when my ex-boss just came in, there was team harmony. After that, it all slowly disintegrated over time. We learned the hard way not to object to him too often as he'll penalize you with the lowest salary increment. After seeing a colleague get a low increment for voicing out her ideas and objections at meeting, the whole team was silent and submissive the next 5 years.
I believe leaders have to be tough. Weak leaders betray their own team. Weak leaders are not able to stand up to other leaders or even their bosses for them team members. This demoralizes the team when you know that you will have to fight your own battle and your boss is not capable of helping you.
Good leaders are people who can leave the company for a vacation and come back to see sales and technical support running smoothly. Managers will often return from vacation to find all activity has slowed down to minimal. My ex-boss was a manager.
I was so blindly loyal to him that I had to get out to see how bad the situation was in my ex-company. It's not only enough to have the best marquee in the world for finite element analysis, to run a business. People don't buy from just because your product is world class and well known. People buy because they have a need and the product must satisfy the need within the allocated budget.
Allocated budget - how do you fit in an expensive product into a small budget? This is where, in my ex-company, we often got lost. We didn't have the skills or the know-how or the people who had this skills to help us get through. We had a product that was twice as expensive as our competitors which we couldn't sell as much because the industry didn't have as many big players. And all the big players are already our customers. So, what do we do?
This is where my ex-boss really lacked ideas. And worst still, he starting putting pressure on the marketing person to come up with marketing events to bring in good sales leads. This is ridiculous as a marketing event is a collaboration between sales and marketing. It's not something to be used and blamed upon for not generating sales. So, the blame game now gets pushed to the marketing person for now coming out with targeted events. Silly, but true. And we're talking about a world class company here, run by someone who lacks ideas on how to grow the business. And with no help from his bosses, how on earth is he ever going to succeed?
I always believed that we're at a place where we're competent. Rise up too fast without the proper skills and we end up being in-competent in the job and will eventually fall back to our place. But there are incompetent people who manage to stay onto a post where their totally overwhelmed for a very long time.
I am glad I moved on. But I am also glad I was under the guidance of my ex-boss. Because now I know how bad one can be and I really hope I am not going down that road un-consciously. I hope to grow under my new boss and in turn, help others grow too.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I know I don't. I work as a finite element analyst, which requires me to concentrate on building my finite element model as correctly as possible. This requires some concentration as I do not want to have to re-do the whole modeling all because of a silly error. But I surf the Net every half an hour for about a couple of minutes, 5 minutes of less. I also have my IM on, usually have someone to chat to daily.
Do other companies allow these type of freedom to their staff? Since I am in Malaysia, I would like a comparison between Malaysian employers, ASEAN employers and global employers.
Last week, when there was no Internet access, I actually did more work daily. It was amusing looking at colleagues who were utterly bored and some who couldn't work at all without some sort of avenue for relaxation and since we all sit in an office, the Internet is our only outlet.
I forgot to mention that 50 people share a 1MB ADSL line, so our Internet isn't blazing fast either. It crawls but its better than nothing.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
"The rich man," you may answer. No, the good business man is the man who knows business.
Are you a good business man?
"Up to the average," you say.
Well, what do you know of business laws and rules, outside your present circle of routine work?
Now, this handy little volume is a condensation of the rules and the laws which every man, from the day laborer to the banker, should be familiar with.
We have not put in everything about business, for that would require a library, instead of a book that can be read in a short day, and be consulted for its special information at any time.
It isn't a question of the price of the book to you, or of the profit to the publisher. Is it good?
Many a man has failed because he did not know the rules and laws herein given.
Never a man has won honestly who did not carry out these rules and laws.
Read about the 28 laws of business for men and women at http://www.kgomez.com/business/hints_men_women/index.php
Sunday, July 15, 2007
There are various methods through which targeted website traffic can be driven to a website. Some of them are conventional while others aren't exactly. Some are expensive while others are cheap or even free. In this report, we'll look in depth at what a business entrepreneur needs to drive highly valued traffic to his website.
Please note that all the techniques mentioned in this report has been tested and trusted tactics. The only hindering factor will be you. Your inability to try it out or just pure laziness will deprive you of the necessary success that comes with working hard.
These techniques are by no means easy! They will work but they are dependent on how much effort you put into it to make it work. Forget all the easy tips you've heard of. There isn't much difference between the online and the offline.
You are not dealing with robots online. You are dealing with people who know what they want, have their needs, wants and goals. It's left to you to make the best out of them.
If you apply everything in these write ups, you are bound to start getting at least 200 visitors to your website daily. It may take about 5 hours of work, but you'll get results. Alright enough said! Let's get started...
1. Drive targeted Traffic by leaving comments on high traffic blogs in your niche.
In this case, don't fall into the trap many people fall into –just leaving comments like "Wonderful write-up", "superb advice. Thank you". The reason is people will hardly visit your website or blog if they feel you do not have much to offer. Instead, make your comments contributory.
For instance, if you see a blog where the user pasted high quality information but missed some other things, you could include it in your post. Posts like "the idea of using articles to achieve high ranking is good. But can I chip something in? You could also boost your search engine ranking if you just leave your comments on about 100 high traffic blogs with PR 5+".
That will surely get people to notice what you have to say. Since you included your link either as the heading or at the end of the post, it will make it easier for people to visit your website via clicking through the link you provided.
2. Use the Yahoo! answer portal to generate traffic to your website.
This is easy in that every conceivable question you could think of has been asked somewhere and answers have been provided to it. So, go to answers.yahoo.com and look for possible questions that could be answered by you, your website or your blog.
The key to this simple strategy is providing informational posts. DON'T SPAM. Don't just post comments like "The answer to your question can be found at www.yourblogaddress.com". This comes across as advertising. Instead offer one or two tips and then go ahead to include the link to your website at the end of the post or include in your profile.
Avoid making it look like an obvious ploy to get them to visit your blog or website. Let's assume someone asks a question on diverticulitis, you could go ahead and answer the question and leave the link at the end of your post. This will result in targeted website traffic because of the fact that you are providing specific answers to problems.
3. Submit your blog to as many high profile blog directories as possible.
This may take a while so be ready to put in at least thirty minutes a day to do this. In the short term, it might look hectic, but pays off in the long term. If your blog is highly ranked on high traffic blog directories, you'll get traffic from the directories and an increased search engine ranking for your websites because of the high quality one-way links coming from your blogs.
To search for relevant blogs in your niche, simply go to your favourite search engine and type in "xyz blog", where "xyz" is your niche market.
Read the rest of the article here : http://www.kgomez.com/web/internet/how_to_bring_targeted_traffic_to_your_site.php
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Dear Citizen Lina…
by Farish A. Noor
Identities are funny things. They evolve, overlap and sometimes regress when we least expect it. Odder still, most of us – though we might not care to admit it – actually have several at the same time; and the dilemma faced by many of us living in this modern world is how to juggle several overlapping, criss-crossing, permanently mutating and at times contradictory identities at the same time, without having to make an appointment with the psychoanalyst.
Now the problem of living in modern postcolonial nation-states like ours is that in just too many cases the politics of identity has come to the forefront as the defining aspect of national politics as a whole. Malaysia is not unique in this respect and everywhere we look we see modern nation-states in crisis, or denial, because the citizens themselves are at odds over who and what they are. The bane of postcolonial development is the lingering doubts over nationhood, loyalty and belonging. Once the white masters in their funny pith helmets packed their bags and were shipped back home, the natives started asking the question: 'Now who has the right to stay?'
What is doubly odd about Malaysia (and here we are unique) is the way that the postcolonial set up envisaged a rather ackward and clumsy arrangement between two legal systems; one secular and one religious, to cater to the needs of all. Furthermore as we all know this happens to be one of the very few countries in the world where the racial and religious identity of one group – the Malays – has been defined by the constitution.
That the conflation of Malay and Muslim identity is artificial and has no basis in history is embarrassingly evident for all to see. Why, we just have to hop on the first AirAsia flight to Indonesia next door to see for ourselves that the same rule does not apply for them. Indonesians seem more comfortable with the idea that in the same family there can be Muslims, Christians and Hindus living under one roof, and unlike us they dont go around crafting slogans and jinggles for the ad campaign to sell Indonesia as some multi-culti happy land of harmony that is 'Truly Asia'. Moreover, it proves that our Indonesian friends are quite capable of living with Pluralism that doesnt have to be imported from the liberal capitals of the West. But try taking that road to multiculturalism in Malaysia and see what happens…
Well, in fact one among our number has done just that, though at a rather hefty cost to her well-being.
I am, of course talking about our fellow Malaysian citizen Lina Joy. Though I've never met her and have no idea what she looks like, I am disturbed by the fact that right now, as we stand precariously on the brink of our big fiftieth anniversary, the Malaysian nation has lost – some would say ejected – one of our own. At fifty Malaysia as a nation should be mature enough, wise enough, and gutsy enough to live with the realities of a complex plural society. Yet Lina's decision to leave Islam and to convert to another religion has irked many among her former faith community.
Legal technicalities aside, what surprised me the most was the reaction of some quarters who immediately pounced upon citizen Lina and denounced her as a traitor to her race and religion. Death threats ensued, with hatemail and slander aplenty. (Something Malaysians seem particularly fond of and good at.) Mobs took to the streets demanding their brand of small town justice, and warnings were issued to latte-drinking liberals not to stir the hornets' nest or revise the constitutional set up of the country.
It doesn't take much intelligence to see that behind this wayang kulit of inflated egos and boiling tempers were some other political motives at work. First and foremost one is struck by how citizen Lina was accused of being both a race traitor and an apostate at the same time, underscoring the fact that here in our quirky little tropical paradise being Malay is inextricably bound to being a Muslim. Of course any historian worth his or her salt would be the first to tell you that this notion raises a plethora of unanswered questions, such as 'if being a Malay means being Muslim, then what the heck were our ancestors who built all those temples like Borobudur and Prambanan, and their humbler cousins here in Lembah Bujang?' Swedish??
Such are the commonsensical fictions that guide our understanding of identity in this benighted country of ours that till today conversion to Islam is referred to as 'masuk Melayu' (becoming Malay). Following the same skewered logic that got us into this mess in the first place, leaving Islam is tantamount to abandoning the Malay community as well. Thus it hardly comes as a surprise if the groups who were most vocal in demonising our fellow citizen Lina happened to be the gung-ho rempit-types who are more than happy to harp on and on about preserving the agenda of Ketuanan Melayu as well.
Citizen Lina was accused of breaking the law, causing trouble, upsetting the neighbours and keeping hundreds of conservative die-hards awake night after night. Yet in the midst of this brouhaha we forget that this story involves the plight of a fellow Malaysian citizen whose only fault – if we can even call it that – was to ask to be recognised for what she is today. By making what had to be a difficult and costly choice for herself, however, what citizen Lina has done is remind us all of the contingencies of identity and how identities are constructed, rather than defined by narrow essentials. She is living proof that someone can be Malay and Christian at the same time, a fact rooted in our collective past which recurs again and again to spook the simplistic worldview of some today.
For all intents and purposes, Lina is a Malaysian like the rest of us. That she has been forced into hiding is a shame that all of us will now be forced to carry on our collective shoulders. Furthermore she also happens to be a Christian, and no legal hassling, soap-box dramatics, verbal pyrotechnics and rabble-rousing will alter that simple fact. I happen to be a Muslim not because it is stated so on some piece of paper, but because that happens to be my current existential status. The same applies to the rest of us, whatever our beliefs may be; and the same certainly applies to Lina, our fellow citizen.
I regret the fact that I am writing this without the benefit of ever having met Lina herself. Perhaps one day our paths may cross and I shall finally come face to face with this fellow citizen whose choice of belief proves my point that identities are crafted and decided by agency rather than the dictates of history and the circumstances of politics. When that day comes, I shall be quite happy indeed – for citizen Lina is proof that Malaysia is still capable of defining itself according to the will and agency of its citizens, and it is we, after all, who define what Malaysia is. To Lina, my fellow Malaysian, I wish a Happy Merdeka and all the best.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
LinkedIn is a professional based community which I hope you will consider being a part off
Accept Kenneth Gomez's invite:
"Increasingly, if you're not LinkedIn, you're left out." --Business 2.0
© 2007, LinkedIn Corporation
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Company Policy: Effective from July 2007
* It is advised that you come to work dressed according to your salary. If we see you wearing Prada shoes and carrying a Gucci bag, we assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise.
* If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise.
* If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.
* We will no longer accept a doctor's statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.
Annual Leave Days
* Each employee will receive 104 Annual Leave days a year. They are called Saturday & Sunday.
* Entirely too much time is being spent in the toilet. There is now a strict three-minute time limit in the stalls.
* At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the stall door will open, and a picture will be taken.
* After your second offence, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the chronic offender's category.
* Anyone caught smiling in the picture will be sanctioned under the company's mental health policy.
* Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch, as they need to eat more, so that they can look healthy.
* Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure.
* Chubby people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that's all the time needed to drink a Slim-Fast.
Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplation's, consternation and input should be directed elsewhere.