I have moved

25 10 2011

After 2 years faithfully blogging with wordpress.com, I have decided to get my own domain. My new website is now called Food ‘n Frame. It has a different layout, mostly tailored to exhibit my photography work. But that’s not all…

Do check out my blog section for the latest updates on related to my work.

And for a limited time, if you click LIKE on Food ‘n Frame Facebook page, you will receive a FREE e-book on photography called Shooting Like a Pro.

I hope you will like my new website. Click here and head on down to Food ‘n Frame.





My Selangor Story 2011: Through My Lens

11 10 2011

Here is a video compilation of the pictures I took through the entire My Selangor Story 2011 event. It has truly been a wonderful journey and looking back at all the pictures evokes the feeling of happiness to be part of this fantastic campaign.

To read about my story on MSS 2011, please click on this link here. But for now, I hope you enjoy watching the video below :)

Note: Click on the 360p on the bottom right button on the Youtube player and select 1080p to watch the slideshow in high definition.





Review: The Cube & Celcom Xpax

10 10 2011

When I first found out that I was selected for My Selangor Story 2011, I knew I had to bring along my iPhone so that I can Tweet and Facebook while on the go during the five days trip. Thankfully, The Cube which is our official telco for MSS 2011 was gracious enough to provide us with a SIM card each and RM 50 credit so that we would stay connected wherever we go. Yay!

First of all, what is The Cube? The Cube is basically a mobile content portal where Celcom Xpax user can download music, games, Call Me Tones (where callers get to hear your favourite song while they wait for you to answer), ringtones, Fun talk dedication (Allow you to send a song straight to your friend’s phone along with a personal message) and wallpapers straight to your mobile phone.

The fun doesn’t stop here as The Cube also allow subscriber to write on walls, poke existing friends and make new ones all from your mobile phone. With The Cube, you don’t need a smartphone when you have Facebook via SMS at RM1 weekly for unlimited usage.  How cool is that?

If you are looking for the latest music ringtones, cool animated wallpapers and loads of other EXCLUSIVE content for your mobile, The Cube is everything you need. Just dial *118# to access an array of Xpax services including the latest music, movies and games and data plan activation.

I am lucky to be able to connect to my Facebook and Twitter throughout the entire MSS 2011 event. I didn’t know that the rest of the bloggers were so actively twitting until I check my Twitter page!

That is not all. Celcom Xpax is reasonably priced. Each SMS costs only 1 cent to the same network (5 cents to other network) and 28 cents for every 10 minutes of voice call to the same network (28 cents for every 5 minutes to other network). Click here to see the latest SMS and calling rates for Xpax.

Xpax also offers attractive privileges with awesome offers, discounts at selected dining, hotel, travel, health & beauty and retail outlets. All you need to do is to flash your mobile screen to the merchant to enjoy the privileges! To check out the list of participating merchants, click here.

Other features of Xpax include Voicemail, Call Waiting/Hold, Missed Call Notification, SIMcard Rescue and Caller Line Identification.

To learn more about Xpax and The Cube click here and here.

You can also follow them via Facebook.





Review: Pentax Optio RS 1000

10 10 2011

During our participation in My Selangor Story 2011, bloggers were given a Pentax camera each to review throughout the five days tourism blogging event.

I had a chance to try out the Pentax Optio RS 1000 which is a pocket size camera.

From the outlook, the Optio RS 1000 is certainly an eye catcher. The inclusion of Angry Bird picture on the front of the camera is bound to catch anyone attention. When I first received the camera, there were already a lot of “Oooh-ahhh….” heard from all directions. What’s more, with the rage about Angry Birds nowadays, this camera is definitely a crowd pleaser for those who want to be seen as trendy.

Technical Specifications

Now, let’s list down the technical specification for this camera here.

Type: Point & Shoot

Optical Zoom: 4x 4.8 mm-19.6 mm

Memory: SD card

LCD Screen: 3 Inch

Recorded Pixels: 14 Megapixels, 10 Megapixels, 7 Megapixels, 2 Megapixels 640 x 480 pixels.

White Balance: AWB, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten, Fluorescent Light

EV Compensation – 2.0 to + 2.0

ISO Range: Auto till 6400

Movies Mode: Yes

Picture Mode

Auto Pic – Automatically selects the best capture mode

P – Used for basic shooting. Various shooting can also be set with this mode

Natural Skin Tone – For images of people. Enhances skin tones while smoothing blemishes

Night Scene Portrait – For images of people at night. (Used of a tripod or other support is advised)

Night Scene – For night time images. (Use of a tripod or other support is suggested)

Landscape – For capturing landscape views. Enhances colors of sky and foliage

Blue sky – Emphasizes saturation of the sky to produce a bright image

Sunset – For images of sunset and warm lighting

Flower – For images of flowers. The outline of the flower is softened

Sport – For a fast movie subject. Tracks the subject until the picture is taken

Digital SR – Higher sensitivity reduces blur

Kids – For capturing moving kids. Reproduces a healthy and bright skin tone

Pet – For capturing moving pets. Select the colour according to the pet’s coat

Portrait – For capturing portraits. Reproduces a healthy and bright skin tone

Food – For images of food and prepared dishes. Enhances saturation and contrast

Candlelight – For capturing scenes in candle light

Surf & Snow – For bright images such as sand or snow. Accurately meters for bright scenes.

Half-length portrait. For portrait with proper framing by automatic zoom. Fixed to 3M pixles

Frame composite – For capturing images with a frame. Recorded pixels is fixed at 3M

Text – Captures text in an easy to read manner. Text contrast can be adjusted.

Digital Panaroma – Stitches images taken with the camera to create a paranomic photograph

Review

When I was writing this review, I realized that I had to be objective in my opinion. For someone (yours truly) who has been accustomed to using a digital SLR camera user, it is pointless to compare the picture quality of the Optio RS 1000 with my current equipment.

A fairer approach would therefore require me to give my opinion from a casual shutterbug’s point of view ala point and shoot camera user.

Having to say that, let’s look at my experience with using this camera. I love the fact that it is handy to carry around. There were numerous times during My Selangor Story 2011 when I wanted to capture a quick photo of the activity. If I would to opt for my SLR camera, it means unzipping my camera bag, mounting my lens, taking off the lens cap, setting my ISO, WB, shutter speed, aperture before I can start taking a shot. Not to mention the need to mount on the additional flash if the scene is dark.

With the Optio RS1000, all I need to do is to take it out from my pocket, switch it on and start shooting. In terms of convenience, it is a no brainer that the Optio RS 1000 is a handy camera to carry around.

I also love the fact that there is a dedicated button on the rear panel for face detection and smile capture. This is when the camera will identify the individual faces and only take picture when the faces are smiling. Neat huh?

Beside the option to select macro with a press of a button, there is also another mode known as super macro. This will allow the user to take super close up shots.

Despite not given the manual to refer to, it didn’t take long to figure out how to operate the camera. The on/off button is logically laid out on the top of the camera while the on-screen menu is very intuitive. There are some explanation notes for some of the options in the menu which will help the user understand the more advance features of the camera.

As a matter of fact, the menu is straightforward, targeted for users who does not like to fiddle with too many things under the settings menu.

Weight wise, the camera was really light. No, make that feather weight! Well, I guess I am used to carry my SLR camera which weighs more than 3kg so anything that is lighter than that is definitely VERY light for me.

Picture Quality

Now let’s come to the gist of the review which is the picture quality.

Under good lighting condition, the Optio RS 1000 is capable of nice taking pictures. The colour of this food shot at Bila Bila in Golden Palm Tree Iconic Resort & Spa is saturated, sharp and has a good exposure.

I took a picture of Zaid with strong backlight at the same venue to see if the Optio RS 1000 can meter the scene accurately. Usually, a camera with bad metering system will leave the person’s face looking underexposed to save the details of the highlight (the backlight). The Optio RS 1000 performed well in this situation as Zaid’s face was decently exposed. Somehow the face detection technology helps the Optio RS 1000 to meter such situation properly.

Overall, the camera perform quite well under good ambient lighting condition.

Next up, I tried to use the Macro mode to take some close up shots of the liquor bottles at the bar counter at Bila Bila. Again the image was sharp and the text on the bottle label was readable.

In low lighting condition, the Optio RS 1000 stumbles as it try to take this scene at the Grand Ballroom at Golden Palm Tree Iconic Resort & Spa. The noise level was evident and the picture sharpness was dramatically reduced. The picture also looked underexposed.

When the flash was switch on however, the detail level was much better. The flash helps to fill in the shadows thus producing a better image. The noise level however is still quite apparent.

To test the Optio RS 1000 white balance accuracy, I took another shot of the Grand Ballroom which was lighted with yellow tungsten lighting. Using the flash, I was quite impressed that the camera auto white balance was pretty spot on. At least the picture didn’t turn out with a strong yellowish tint.

The next morning, I took a picture of landscape at Golden Palm Tree Iconic Resort & Spa. The weather was cloudy and the skies were grayish. I turned on the ‘Blue Sky’ mode to boost the colour of the skies. Too bad it didn’t turned out as what I would expect it to be. Still, the image was usable if not impressive.

I also tested out the video mode by taking a short clip of a live band performing at Pasar Ikan Bakar in Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort in low light situation. Although the video looked rather noisy, the exposure was very good given the poor lighting. The sound was crisp and clear too.

Conclusion

Overall, for a pocket size camera, the Optio RS 1000 is a decent camera. Under good lighting condition, the images captured are sharp with good level of exposure and noise level.

However, flash mode is recommended in darker scenes though the noise level will be more noticeable.

As far as its design is concern, Pentax has cleverly incorporated Angry Bird on the front side of the camera which is a plus point. The menu is easy to navigate and casual user won’t find any complication with its usage. If you are looking for a hassle free camera, look no further. The Pentax Optio RS 1000 could just be the answer you are searching for.

Pros:

Lightweight, easy to carry around

Fits into the pocket easily

Menu is easy to navigate with self-explanatory notes

No frills shooting as the Auto Mode is ideal in most situations

Perform well under good lighting condition

Face detection intelligently identifies faces in the scene

Cons:

Pictures look noisy in dark environment

LCD screen hard to see under direct sunlight

For more information about Pentax Optio RS 1000 click here.

DSC World Sdn Bhd
16-1, Jalan PJU 5/16, PJU 5
Dataran Sunway
Kota Damansara
47810 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan

Tel: 603-6148 8122 / 603-6148 8098

Fax: 603-6157 2160

Email: admin@dscworld.com.my

Homepage: http://www.dscworld.com.my/





MSS 2011 Day 5: Chilling Out @ Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie

9 10 2011

After a tiring day, we arrived at Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie for some rest & relax time. Unfortunately, I was not feeling well after that and decided to rest, thus skipping the dinner at The Mix.

But kudos to Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie for providing me with a room that is so comfortable to stay in and allowed me to rest and recuperate throughout the night. Breakfast was also good with a wide selection of local and international buffet to choose from. Too bad I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures as told by one of the staff working there.

Nevertheless, I managed to took a few shots of this exquisite hotel here. One good thing I love about Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie is its location which is not too far from either KL or PJ. It is also situated in the traffic free area of Glenmarie thus ensuring that I won’t get caught up in the congestion when I left the hotel the next morning.

This concludes my story about My Selangor Story 2011. It was definitely a fun experience. More importantly, it had really opened up eyes to a new horizon through meeting fellow bloggers both from local and international countries. Despite our different backgrounds, cultures and origins, we actually shared more things in common than we realized. I have met new friends whom are now close to my heart. Although this is a competition, it has never felt like one from the first day. The spirit of cooperation, support and teamwork was evident right from the start and even till now, through our close discussion group in Facebook.

I have also learned that Selangor has so much to offer in terms of its rich tourism resources and we have barely scratch its surface. I am sure the next MSS will offer even greater depth in terms of the places and activities that new bloggers will be doing.

My heartfelt thanks to Horizon Communications for taking up such a tremendous tasks in organizing such an event. And to the sponsors, again your warm hospitality never failed to amaze me. Throughout my five days trip, I have never been happier and comfortable. Despite being really sick on the last few days, I have never felt like going home.

This is my story, my experience and my chronicle of My Selangor Story 2011. Although the journey has ended, I will always remember all the wonderful moments that we shared in this trip.

Note: Picture above was taken using Pentax RS 1000

Organizer: Horizon Communication

Official Tourism Board: Tourism Selangor

Official Airlines: Firefly

Official Hotel: Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie

Official Resort & Spa: Golden Palm Tree

Official Resort: Resort World Genting

Official Telco: The Cube

Official Restaurant: The Mix

Official Camera: Pentax

Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie
No. 1 Jalan Usahawan U1/8 Seksyen U1
40250 Shah Alam
Selangor Darul Ehsan

Tel: 1800 801 881  

Website: http://www.holidayinn.com/hotels/us/en/kuala-lumpur/kulhi/hoteldetail





MSS 2011 Day 4: Action Adventure Day @ Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort Obstacle Course

9 10 2011

The next morning, we woke up at around 6 a.m. to get ourselves prepared for the MAJOR outdoor activity. Amelia Tan, who is the organizer of MSS 2011 has been hinting to all bloggers about it for the past few days and today is the day!

We walked towards a large field where Mr. Zul gave us a short briefing and a morning workout before proceeding for the run. The bloggers were all feeling enthusiastic on that day despite soaking under the hot sun.

First up, some exercise to loosen up the hips and getting the engine warm up! Apparently, bloggers have to run for about 1km before going through a series of obstacle courses.

The bloggers have to pass through several obstacles by getting themselves wet and muddy!

This is really the test of ‘survival of the fittest’.

It wasn’t an easy task to reach the final stretch but judging from the bloggers’ expressions I am sure they had a lot of fun.

Andi and Low even got up the stage and dance after finish the obstacle courses. Time for celebration!

Mr. Zul joined in the fun by doing the Macarena dance. He even remarked that MSS 2011 participants is the best team he ever came across! Kudos to all bloggers!

I must say that this is one of the best activity for the day. It was physically demanding but the end results were extremely gratifying. Thumbs up to Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort.

After freshening up, it was time to say goodbye to Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort. Though we miss your great hospitality, we will never forget the good times we had there. Hopefully we will be back soon, really soon!

Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort
KM 13, Genting Highlands
69000 Genting Highlands
Pahang Darul Makmur

Tel: 03 – 6101 3015
Fax: 03 – 6101 3535

Website: www.awana.com.my

To find out more about Awana Genting Team Building Programs, Eco Sports Activities and Special Fun and Adventure Programmes, click on the link here.





MSS 2011 Day 3: Cultures Meets Nature @ Awana Longhouse & Pasar Ikan Bakar

9 10 2011

After having so much fun with abseiling, we were ushered to our accommodation. We were told that all of us will be staying at the Awana Longhouse which is reminiscent of a Sarawakian Traditional Longhouse. As Mr. Zul aptly said, “We don’t need to travel all the way to Sarawak to get a taste of staying in a longhouse.”

I must admit that after being pampered with 5 star resort treatment earlier, this is essentially a throwback to how it is like to stay in a jungle where accommodation facilities were stripped down right to the basics. There were no air-conds (not necessary a bad thing since it is cold at Awana Genting), no ceiling fans, no plush pillows nor thick bed mattresses and no tables or cupboards, attached bathrooms and toilets. Everything were intentionally scaled down to the bare essentials but the quaint part of it is that I find it really enjoyable to bunk up with 10 fellow bloggers in one large room and getting a good taste of spending the night closer to the nature.

As for dinner, it was a different story altogether. We were treated with a good selection of freshly grilled seafood, local delicacies, desserts and etc courtesy of Pasar Ikan Bakar which is just a stone throw away from the longhouse.

Pasar Ikan Bakar is far from being a market. Instead it is a cozy restaurant where guests can comfortably rest on Thai Triangle Pillows while enjoying their meal. I was really amazed with the elaborate set up and fantastic dining ambience.

Genting Awana was generous enough to even throw in a live band to keep us all entertained throughout the night.

Even our organiser, Amelia Tan was called on to the stage to given a rendition of a popular Malay song.

One of the specialty featured in Pasar Ikan Bakar is the Ikan Bakar Special. There are also other grilled seafood and meat to choose from.

Two thumbs up to Awana Genting for offering such great hospitality. Suffice to say, all of us had so much fun that night that we wish the night would never end.

Thankfully, we had another exciting event for the night called ‘Blind Trail’ where all bloggers were blind folded and had to rely on the sense of touch to guide themselves while walking towards the jungle by touching the rope along the path. I admit, it was rather terrifying to be blind folded. What caught me off guard was the surprise birthday cake waiting for me (it was my birthday) at the end of the trail as they sang the birthday song to me. Thanks bloggers!

Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort
KM 13, Genting Highlands
69000 Genting Highlands
Pahang Darul Makmur

Tel: 03 – 6101 3015
Fax: 03 – 6101 3535

Website: www.awana.com.my

Awana Longhouse

For reservation or enquiries, call 03 – 6436 9000 ext 7619 / 853018 / 53020 or click here for more information.

Pasar Ikan Bakar

Operating Hours:
5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday

For bookings, please call 03 – 6101 3015 ext 53020 or 7605





MSS 2011 Day 3: Fun & Adventure @ Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort

9 10 2011

Right after our brefing, our Eco Challenge Chief, Mr. Zul led us to the forest for our first activity. We were told that we would be performing abseiling or rappelling where participants would need to decent down on a 45 degrees wooden platform using a rope. Cool!

Suddenly I feel like I am in an espionage role for one of those Mission Impossible movies. Though I had been involved in numerous team building activities in the past, it was the first time I tried abseiling. Hats off to Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort for introducing such a unique outdoor activity for the bloggers.

While it may look frightening at first, the team of marshals were there to brief us on the safety procedures and teaching us the proper technique to hold the rope and using our body weight to decent down the wooden platform.

The marshals were all very friendly and helpful. After trying the abseiling myself, I find it really fun. And best of all, it wasn’t difficult to walk down the platform with the safety harness attached to our body. After having our first go, we have to perform the same act but this time, our body was facing forward.

All in all, it was great fun and all the bloggers managed to complete the task.

Besides abseiling, Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort also offer other activities such as rock climbing, flying fox and eco trail.

Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort
KM 13, Genting Highlands
69000 Genting Highlands
Pahang Darul Makmur

Tel: 03 – 6101 3015
Fax: 03 – 6101 3535

Website: www.awana.com.my

For reservation or enquiries on the Fun & Adventure activities, call 03 – 6436 9000 ext 7619 / 853018 / 53020





MSS 2011 Day 3: Hilltop Adventures @ Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort

9 10 2011

Our next destination was Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort which is perched 3,000 feet above sea level. It is interesting to note that 15% of Genting is actually situated in Selangor (contrary to popular belief that Genting is exclusively a Pahang state tourism spot) and Awana Genting actually lies in the Selangor state.

The warm hospitality from the Awana Genting staff was very evident from the time when we stepped out from our buses at the reception are of Awana Genting. Not only were our luggages promptly taken to our sleeping rooms, we were ushered into the Flavours Café with a welcoming drink.

As we gathered ourselves at the lounge area, I spotted this huge backdrop on the stage depicting the MSS 2011 event.

Dato’ Anthony Yeo, who is the Senior Vice President – Public Relations & Communications gave a welcoming speech shortly after at the cafe. Since the MSS 2011’s theme emphasizes on Eco Tourism, Dato’ made a point that contrary to popular belief that Genting is solely an entertainment park, Genting Awana focuses a lot on nature conservation programs which is in line with eco tourism.

Do you know that Awana Genting has been appointed as a bird conservation area with 745 bird species during migration? In fact, Genting Highlands is also part of an Important Bird Area (IBA) with the international designation, MY10, making it a prime site for birdwatchers and nature lovers alike.

YB Elizabeth Wong (EXCO for Tourism, Environment & Consumer Affairs) was also there to give moral support to our fellow bloggers.

Later we were being ushered into a briefing room where Mr. Mohd. Najib Ariffin (Head of Awana Genting resort’s Fun & Adventure Unit) who heads the Awana Genting outdoor activities gave us a few pointers on the do’s and don‘ts when we enter the jungle later on.

Apparently there are certain ‘rules’ that we need to adhere to when we stepped into the jungle for our safety sake.

Mr. Zul who is the Eco Challenge Chief then gave a brief introduction of himself as he will be leading all the bloggers for the outdoor activities during our 2 days one night stay at Awana Genting.

We had a chance to take a group shot at Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort before going for our first eco adventure!

Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort
KM 13, Genting Highlands
69000 Genting Highlands
Pahang Darul Makmur

Tel: 03 – 6101 3015
Fax: 03 – 6101 3535

Website: www.awana.com.my

For reservation or enquiries on the Fun & Adventure activities, call 03 – 6436 9000 ext 7619 / 853018 / 53020

The Flavours Cafe & Lobby Lounge

Ext: 7663 / 53213

Operating Hours

Monday – Friday (11:00 a.m. – 12:00 midnight)
Saturday, Eve & Public Holiday (9:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m)
Sunday (9:00 a.m. – 12:00 midnight)





MSS 2011 Day 2: Grand Dinner at the Golden Palm Tree Iconic Resort & Spa Grand Ballroom

9 10 2011

The dinner was again an eventful experience with a good selection of food ala buffet style held at the Grand Ballroom. For those who love grilled seafood, Golden Palm Tree Iconic Resort & Spa offers fish, mussles, lala and etc to sink your teeth into.

I also enjoyed the numerous live performances by the team of talented resort staff. We were treated to dances like Rasa Sayang and Kadazan Magunatip Dance. It was really interesting as we get to see how diverse Malaysia culture is with a variety of performances.

The grand ballroom was certainly spacious, offering 840 square-metre and can accommodate up to 1,200 people. The best thing about the ballroom is that there are no pillars thus the stage is unobstructed at any angle.

The ballroom is also ideal for wedding and banquets. To find out more, contact Golden Palm Tree based on the information below.

It was certainly a fun night and we had a group picture on the stage before calling it a night.

Here are some of the other food pictures taken.

Golden Palm Tree Resort & Spa Sdn. Bhd.
No. 67, Jalan Pantai Bagan Lalang
Kg. Bagan Lalang
43950 Sungai Pelek
Selangor Darul Ehsan

Tel: +603 3182 3600
Fax: +603 3182 3700

website: www.goldenpalmtree.com

email: info@goldenpalmtree.com








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