Thursday, 26 December 2019

Digital Zoom On My Canon Powershot SX530 HS

Digital zoom, another item that I have added to my box of tricks. Yes I know, digital zoom on my Canon Powershot SX530 HS is useless when taking pictures. But when it comes to videos, the result could be quite satisfactory in good lighting, surprisingly. The camera must be held extremely steady though since we are focusing at greater than 50x zoom. Having a good tripod is certainly most welcome here.

It was quite by accident really when I found out about this digital zooming capabilities while taking videos with this camera. All that I wanted to do was just to have the subject 'fill the frame' actually while taking the video of a bird.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

H264 Encoded MP4 Video Uploads To Dreamstime

The message board and stock video requirement page at Dreamstime says that video format should be encoded in PhotoJPeg or MotionJPeg and stored in the Quicktime .MOV video format.

But what's this that I see some MP4 stock video on Dreamstime when I do a search?

Dreamstime Accepted File Type Uploads

Poking around, even the upload page says that it accepts MP4 video files (picture above).

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Burn Process Failed

Nero Express Error: Burn Process Failed for Liteon_ebau108

I don't believe it. "Burn Process Failed ..." the message says.

But it is a brand new drive. It is not suppose to malfunctioned on my first use.

Try and try again

So I tried the newer Nero Burning ROM software that came with this Liteon eBAU 108 8x External USB DVD/CD Writer. Perhaps, I was thinking then, the older Nero software that I've used on my WinXP computer was causing the burning process to fail.

Installation went successfully via this new USB drive. That's good. But still, unfortunately, the CD-R burning process fail again.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Black Blank Frames

I have to be a little more careful in my video uploads to Dreamstime. Videos with black blank frames either in the front or the back will be rejected. I just had one happening to me recently. These 4 blank frames must have been inserted by MPEG Streamclip since there was no such frames in my source video - I checked.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Dreamstime Video On Blogger

I have uploaded a couple of videos onto Dreamstime. Some are of my garden birds that I think is worthy to be included here. Why upload pictures when you can upload videos, rights? And besides, video quality is not an issue as they have been accepted for sale by Dreamstime.

As far as Google is concern, I have two options:

  1. Direct upload to Blogger or
  2. Direct upload to Youtube.

From what I could see, option 1 seems to produce better video quality. I have uploaded to both platforms using the same video file that I have downloaded from Dreamstime.

See what you think.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Goodbye Avast

This is a follow-up to my previous post.

I did a virus definition update to Avast 2 days ago. I didn't use my computer after that and had is shutdown subsequently. No problems detected, everything fine here.

Turned on my computer yesterday morning, surfed the net as I usually do, and BOOM! a blank screen and a reboot after using my computer for something like 10 minutes. This problem repeated itself 3 more times as the day progressed. Practically, I couldn't do anything with all these reboots. I tried disabling the Avast service too, but that didn't help either. The computer bombed out some 15 or 20 minutes later after reboot.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

My Own Broadband Subscription - Finally

I first talked about it 3 years ago. But then things went back to normal about a month later. I got my 200 MB quota per login account back and I subsequently did nothing. Lucky me.

WiMax Shutdown

Fast forward to 1st October 2019.

I tried to login as usual on that day. But things got stuck at the 'searching for network' stage. The reason, I were to find out later, was that Yes has shutdown their WiMax network - for good. No notice, nothing from Yes to none paying subscribers. Not even a Facebook post or a Tweet from their official page. A bit unfair I think.

Push comes to shove here. There is only one thing to do - subscribe to my very own broadband plan.

My Own Yes Huddles XS 4G LTE Device

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Mysterious Reboots

I had this problem last month. My PC was misbehaving and will mysteriously 'die' sometimes while using it midway (usually while web browsing - it doesn't matter which browser). All I would get is just a blank black screens and nothing moves. I did get the blue-screen-of-death but not often.

Once it halted while booting - it didn't go beyond the WinXP logo. And at another time, it suddenly rebooted while I was trying to login in.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Brown Shrike Spotted 2019

They are back from the cold - Brown Shrike. I spotted one this morning in my garden.

Brown Shrike

A bit late I think compared to last year. I wonder if it has anything to do with the haze that is blanketing the country and region currently. The haze is so bad this year that I feel irritated while breathing. Rain, rain - we need rain to put out the fire at the neighbouring country some 800 miles away.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Proocam 49mm To 58mm Step-up Ring

The Raynox DCR-250 clip-on lens that I own, it can only be mounted onto a camera that has lens thread size of between 52mm and 67mm.

My Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM lens on my Canon EOS 800d/T7i though, only has a thread size of 49mm.

Proocam Step-up Ring 49mm To 58mm

So how am I going to mount my Raynox clip-on lens onto my Canon 50mm lens? Get myself a step-up ring of course. And that is exactly what I did 2 months ago - I bought myself a Proocam 49mm to 58mm step-up ring. A Proocam by the way since I am happy with my last purchase for my point-and-shoot camera. The price too is quite reasonable at RM20 since they were having a promotion at that time.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

My Stock Video Workflow

I just started shooting stock video recently, and I must say I am enjoying it. I think I am a fool if I were to ignore stock videos as the payout is much higher when compared to stock photos. As far as I could gather, we are talking about tens of dollars here for stock video sales against cents for stock photos. But still, the content matters.


This is what I do before uploading my videos to Dreamstime. My workflow if you will.

Dreamstime prefers Quicktime .MOV container files compressed using Photo Jpeg. So this is what I aim to achieve here.

Software used

Avidemux, VirtualDub2, MPEG_Streamclip (I also installed KL QuickTimeAlternative 1.18 as I do not have the necessary QuickTime software for creating Photo JPegs in a .MOV file) and FileZilla.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Paddyfield Pipit

Paddyfield Pipit At Jalan Abdul Jalil Padang Ipoh

I have never seen this bird, a Paddyfield Pipit, around my house before. But they can be seem at about a hundred meters away from my home in the Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil football field. A bit strange I think.

A rather timid bird in my opinion. Not really easy to photograph them as they get rather edgy when I stop and point my camera at them. Matters are made much worse now these days as the field is now fenced up and secured under lock and key. While the bird favourite usual spot is in the middle of the field. See my problem here? Not even my superzoom at maximum 250 mm focal length can save me here. The bird in the picture above (with some cropping) was about 30 feet away from me when it was taken. Not the best picture I know.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Shooting Stock Video With My Canon Powershot SX530HS

Soft at the telephoto end, chromatic aberration at high contrast areas and sensor noise. These are the reasons why I bought my Canon EOS 800D/T7i. But little did I know that my Canon Powershot SX530 HS takes excellent videos. So much so that three of my stock video footage were accepted by Dreamstime without much editing, shot at 1080p:

Thursday, 1 August 2019

My 'New' Refurbished Lenovo PC

Refurbished Lenovo PC Model M70e

I did say that I was going to get one. And I did. May 13th 2019 to be precise.

My 'new' Lenovo Thinkcentre M70e PC, configured with 4GB RAM, 500GB hard disk and an Intel Core2Duo processor running at 3.16GHz. Also included is a legal copy of Microsoft Windows 7 Pro license, a keyboard (by HP) and an optical mouse (no brand). In total, I paid RM250 including shipping. A good bargain I think since similar configured PCs cost about a RM100 to RM200 more by other sellers.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Fixing The Power On/Off Button

I think I have to start planning for a replacement mobile device. It could either be a smartphone or a tablet. It doesn't matter which as I only use it for reading e-books and for transferring pictures from my camera to my PC - no calls.

I have already replaced the screen on my smartphone once but symptoms of pending trouble is brewing again. A dark halo has appeared on the edge of the screen, like last time, for quite sometime now. Quite clearly, some circuitry has gone bad on the phone and its not worth maintaining anymore.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

My Contribution To The 2019 MY Garden Birdwatch Survey

The annual MY Garden Birdwatch Survey was held this year on the 8th and 9th June, 2019. I did my counting at my home, as usual, on the morning of 8th June 2019, time 8:30 A.M. I normally do at least 2 counts and pick what I consider to be the best to better reflect the diversity of birds in my neighbourhood. But not this year though.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Python Script To Upload Pictures To Google Photos

I was working on this Python script to upload pictures to Google Photos. Then I found out later that I couldn't get a permanent URL for my uploaded pictures - the Google Photo API doesn't provide one. And I subsequently I stopped working on it.

This little script is of no use to me. Hopefully, somebody will find some use for it. It's a waste to just throw it away since I spent quite some time working on it. "One man's junk is another man's treasure" they say.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

PC Downstairs Conked

Over the last 2 months, I think the Gods must be angry with me. It's either that or the stars and planets are not align to my favour.

Health wise I haven't been doing quite well since the beginning of April 2019. Friends said I have 'vertigo' when I described my symptom to them.

Then my WiMax modem go bricked in mid-April.

And now, the computer downstairs that my children uses just died. Problems with the motherboard I was told by the store technician. And they will not fix it. Too old they say. A sound advice in my opinion. This Foxconn motherboard PC has not been reliable from the start. Two new power boxes, one new RAM module plus other various booting up issues - these are some of the problems that I have faced during the last 10 years. Summing up, I think the total cost of ownership would have been cheaper if I had bought a branded PC from a Dell, Lenovo or HP from the start. Yes, more reliable too.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Bricked - Samsung SWD-V100

Samsung SWD-V100 stuck in the logo screen

This Samsung SWD-V100 feature phone that I have since 2013 - which I use to access the Internet as it has a built in Wimax modem to the YES network - it has more or less died. Bricked! It will power-on all right but will get stuck in the Samsung logo screen. I have tried everything that I knew off in trying to revive it (taking out the battery for a couple of hours, for example) but nothing works.

The problem started, by the way, because of low battery level indication. I should have charge it up right away, but instead I shut it down to conserve the battery. Huge mistake.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Fastening A String To My Third Party Lens Caps

When I received my recent DSLR camera purchase, I was quite disappointed when I realised that Canon only provided a standalone lens cap that comes with no attachment cord. I wonder why as after all, the lens cap from my Canon Powershot does come with one. My recent lens purchase, the Canon EF 50mm lens, comes with no attached cord either. A piece of string for attaching the lens cap to the camera strap or body, I don't think they are that expensive. They are pretty handy in preventing lens cap from going missing.

Caps From China

Luckily there are third party lens caps for sale online. And I bought two (because of the different lens sizes that I have) from two separate online merchants in China. One for my Canon EF-S 18-55mm kit lens and another for my Canon EF 50mm prime lens. The build quality is pretty good and sturdy in my opinion. No complains there. But then that attachment cords for both caps. Why can't they provide a better one rather that giving me essentially just a piece of plain old string. The worse part - the given strings is a bit insufficient at just 13" in length. I did make do for awhile by employing the "pedigree cow hitch" and "overhand loop" knots, but because of me accidentally tugging at them quite often, the "pedigree cow hitch" knot eventually came loose yesterday.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Discounts And Bargain Hunting For My 50mm Canon Lens

I hope this will become the norm. Discounts. I talking about bargain and discounts when shopping online, especially at Lazada Malaysia.

You see, I just bought myself a Canon 50mm F/1.8 STM lens at a very good bargain price during the "Lazada Malaysia's 7th Anniversary sale". This purchase includes a 1-year warranty and a RM50 rebate from Canon Malaysian. Added to that, Lazada also gave me a 5% rebate for topping up my Lazada wallet. So in effect, the amount that is coming out of my pocket is around RM364. That's a 27% discount there! My lucky day I guess - Santa came early for me this year.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Yongnuo II Vs Canon - 50mm EF Mount f/1.8 Lenses

There something alluring about the price of the Yongnuo's 50mm f/1.8 Mark II EF mount lens for Canon. I seem to be having some trouble getting my mind of it. Perhaps I have been seduced by it. You can't blame me as I am staring at something like a 40% savings here compared to a Canon original 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. If Yongnuo II can perform as good as a Canon's why pay more, right?

Apple-to-apple comparison

But somehow I have this uneasy feeling. I need facts, I need proof that it can produce good quality images before opening my wallet. I need an apple-to-apple comparison between the two lenses. Otherwise, I just can't make a decision.

I searched, I Googled and I DuckDuckGo-ed. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything comprehensive. The best I could do was to collate the information from the videos by Christopher Frost Photography on Youtube. And below is what I have transcribed from this review videos to the best of my abilities. There are other reviewers on Youtube by the way. But I find the reviews by Christopher Frost Photography to be the best as he tested the lenses on both Full Frame and APSC cameras. Others may disagree but this is my opinion anyway.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

A Chinese Pond Heron?

Spotted this rather big bird on a neighbour's roof a couple of weeks ago. I may have even seen it flying overhead a couple of times. But it was a bit too high up to identify this bird correctly without any binoculars.

This is my best guess. I suppose this bird is a Chinese Pond-Heron. I stand corrected obviously. Well, it has light greenish legs and brown back feathers.

Breeding plumage, non-breeding plumage. Urgh! So confusing.

Chinese Pond-Heron On The Roof

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Test Picture Upload To Flickr

Chinese New Year 2019 Parkson

Someone mentioned that the photo uploads to Flickr from Raven+ is broken (here and here). Looks like it is not. Here is an excerpt from the log for this blog post for my Flickr upload for the picture above:

Friday, 22 February 2019

Some Rumbling Going Round About Google Photos API

The following is from the OLW (Open Live Writer) Github support page dated Feb 13, 2019 by one danielpunkass.

Now, I haven't looked into the Google Photos term of service yet, so I am not too sure about the embedding-images bit. But judging by how Google is closing down is numerous software services over the last couple of years, it is not a bad idea, indeed prudent, to move away from the Blogger platform if your livelihood depends on it.

Have a read and see what you think. The problem with baseURL is valid, as mentioned in one of the links, by the way. It is only valid for 60 minutes after a picture upload (look under the heading 'Caching').

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Python API Libraries For Google Photos

I thought I hit a dead-end when I couldn't find any Python API libraries for uploading my images to Google Photos via Raven+.

But a couple of hour search later via Google for "Google Photos Python Uploads" lead me to this:

Monday, 14 January 2019

Brown Grasshopper - Name Please

Brown Grasshopper On Car

A brown coloured grasshopper, with its colouration looking very much like that of a dried-up durian leaf. Not surprisingly, I do have a durian tree out in my front-yard.

My second encounter with this grasshopper species. The first was in 2015, if I am not mistaken.

Unfortunately, I failed in finding out the name of this species - just couldn't find anything about it on the web. Anybody knows?