Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Land of Smiles

The land of smiles, what Thailand is also known as. And the truth is, it is true! It is not the first time I have set foot in Thailand but this is the first trip to Bangkok with my wife and her friends.

All around Bangkok you are able to see care free people. Most of them seem to not have any worries in the world. People from all walks of life will live happily and without worries, no matter how their situation is.

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and is easily accessible via its international airport, Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Nearly all major airlines will land there. Transportation between the airport and city centre is easily available and relatively affordable. There are options to travel as a VIP in posh limousines or a standard public taxi. The journey from the airport to the city centre is relatively smooth, on the highway.

However, traffic changes as you get nearer to the city centre. The roads seems to get narrower with the build up of traffic. Things get worse with slow and sometimes standstill traffic within the city centre. The traffic condition will be horrendous when bad weather gets involved. Traffic jams can last for hours on end.

Getting around Bangkok by BTS train is highly recommended if you are not up for walking. However, the best way of soaking in the local lifestyle is by walking around every nook and cranny of Bangkok. Do beware of sleazy alleys though.

Weather wise, Bangkok is hot and humid all year round with a few months of wet weather with occasional floods at the surrounding areas of the city. However, be prepared to get wet during the Songkran Festival which happens in the mid of April. It is also known as the water splashing festival. Everyone and anyone will be splashed with water. Buckets and buckets load of water.

The people of Thailand are predominantly Buddhist. Temples are scattered all over the country and also within the capital. You can see many people praying at temples and altars which are set up at companies or even shopping complexes. Prayers are done amidst the hustle and bustle of city life.

Besides all these, Bangkok is also famous for its night life. But then, that will be another story for another day...

All images taken using Olympus E-3 with ZD 14-54 f2.8-3.5 Mk II lens.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Olympus mZD 75mm f1.8 Medium Telephoto Lens

Recently, Olympus has launched a new telephoto prime lens for the Micro Four-Thirds (m4/3) System. It is the mZD 75mm f1.8 lens.

Picture courtesy of Olympus Imaging

Ain't it a beauty? Full metal body construction with fast f1.8 aperture. It takes very sharp pictures from wide open till stopped down. Its performance matches the Four-Thirds System's ZD 150mm f2 SHG (Tuna) lens. Those familiar with the Tuna's performance will be in awe from what this new kid on the block can do.

MTF Chart courtesy of Olympus Imaging

Olympus Malaysia has sponsored a walkabout to celebrate the launching of this lens in Malaysia and I was one of the lucky participants. Using an Olympus PEN E-P3, a couple of shots were taken with this amazing lens.

The end-to-end sharpness is amazing and it handles flare very well. It is difficult to get any flare even when I deliberately tried to.The bokeh created is very smooth and creamy. Excellently produced for great portraitures.

This is one of the lenses to be in many, if not all, PEN and OM-D owner's wish or must buy list. I am drooling on it as well. Anyone game to buy one for me as a birthday gift?