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THE INITIAL FOOD TASTING
Not yet officially open but with a fully functional kitchen, the staff whipped up a great Thai meal under the pressure of scrutinizing taste buds.
At first impression the bistro ambiance is modern yet comfortable for a meal with good friends and family. It in itself is a conversation piece from the seemingly nonchalant concrete walls to the bricks flooded with warmth from the lights above. The chairs a bit too comfortable as to invite a group to stay longer with tables big enough to hold food orders and drinks. Eat slowly and savor the complete experience.
The authentic Thai food presented in bistro servings giving one a better opportunity to try more than one viands. The dishes can be paired with various wines on stock to compliment and prepare the palette for every bite. Authenticity in a certain country’s cuisine is hard to replicate in another for far too many circumstances. Mango Tree Bistro does a good job keeping the food as one would have in Thailand with quality ingredients. Right down to the perfectly presented desserts and quality coffee.
Finally, authentic Thai food with style that does not disappoint and light on the wallet. Mango Tree Bistro will officially open in mid-October. Located at Trinoma Mall, Level 3 right beside Powerbooks.
CHINESE LUNAR CALENDAR, A GHASTLY FULL MOON & A BEAUTIFUL MEAL
A follow-up on my 中秋節 Mid-Autumn Festival post:
The Chinese Lunar calendar used in China and by many Asian countries and communities today, perfected around 500 BCE during the Zhou Dynasty (if I’m not mistaken). It comprises of both solar and lunar calendars making it a unisolar calendar (shows time of the solar year and moon phase)
While most modern Asian cultures now use the Gregorian calendar (Western) for day-to-day business the Lunar calendar is mainly for marking 4 important holidays: Chinese Lunar New Year (新年), Chinese New Year/Spring Festival (春節), Dragon Boat Festival (端午節) and Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節). It is also used as a reference guide to mark auspicious days for weddings, start of construction, new business ventures, etc.
It is important (as I get older every year) to keep a foot hold on my native culture. To pass on the knowledge to the younger generation as pop culture is taking over the world at an alarming rate-much worse than global warming. And twice the holiday in a year is so much better.
The photo above captured on September 22, 2010-equivalent to. It was a very cloudy night but for a few minutes the opportunity for a shot presented itself.
Below are photos of dishes that marked the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節) and the official end to summer. Dinner at the in-laws never disappoint.
TODAY: THE 15th DAY ON THE 8th MONTH IN THE YEAR OF THE TIGER OF THE CHINESE LUNAR CALENDAR
中秋節 (Zhongqiu Jie) literally translates to “Mid-Autumn Festival” in Mandarin Chinese.
Above image captured yesterday with Canon EOS 50D+EF-S17-85mm f/4-5.6. RAW and converted in DPP and further processed in Photoshop.
The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節), also known as the Moon Festival, is a popular East Asian tradition of Chinese origin, dating back over 3,000 years to moon worship in China’s Shang Dynasty, that spread to neighbouring cultures like Japan. It was first called Mid-Autumn festival in the Zhou Dynasty. In Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and the Philippines it is also sometimes referred to as the Lantern Festival or Mooncake Festival. The Chinese Lantern Festival is held on the 15 day of the first lunar month.
“The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the two most important holidays in the Chinese calendar (the other being the Chinese Lunar New Year), and is a legal holiday in several countries. Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date. Traditionally, on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomeloes together. Accompanying the celebration, there are other additional cultural or regional customs.“
Above image captured September 15, 2008 with Canon Powershot G7 point & shoot. Jpg file further post processed in Photoshop.
in the spirit of mid autumn festival (中秋節) here’s a chinese legend…
“Chang’e, Ch’ang-O or Chang-Ngo (Chinese: 嫦娥; pinyin: Cháng’é), also known as Heng-E or Heng-O (姮娥; Héng’é), is the Chinese goddess of the moon. Unlike many lunar deities in other cultures who personify the moon, Chang’e only lives on the moon. As the “woman on the Moon”, Chang’e could be considered the Chinese complement to the Western notion of a man in the moon. The lunar crater Chang-Ngo is named after her.“
but, i like this next one much much better…
“In Chinese mythology, a rabbit lives on the moon where it makes herbal medicine. The rabbit is also mentioned in the novel Journey to the West. According to Korean and Japanese myths, a rabbit lives on the moon making rice cakes (Thuck – the Korean word for rice cakes in general, and mochi, a different type of a rice cake with red bean filling, in the Japanese myth).” quotes from Wikipedia
A happy Mid-Autumn Festival to all.
THE 31st INTERNATIONAL MANILA BOOK FAIR
THE FRATERNAL TWINS: INITIAL COMPARISON
Officially official are the Canon Powershot G12 and Nikon Coolpix P7000. Both are high end top of the line point and shoot for photographers who want manual controls in a smaller form. Give or take a few features these 2 are almost identical.
Each has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. The G12 has a new in camera HDR feature for those who don’t have the time/gear/software for it. Another new feature is the use of Canon flash accessories like the ST-E2 Speedlite transmitter and OC-E3 off camera shoe cord for taking an external flash off camera. The G12 is compatible with all of Canon’s Speedlites. While the P7000, according to the Nikon products page, offers “comprehensive wireless operation” with Nikon Speedlights SB900, SB600 and most probably with the just announced SB700.
The Coolpix P7000, finally Nikon’s answer to the Powershot G series should have the practically noiseless high ISO performance of Nikon DSLR fame. A major plus on Nikon is the lens’s wide 28mm to a far reaching zoom of 200mm. This will satisfy many versus the G12′s 28-140mm. One big downside with super zooms is hand holding a shot without any support will not get a sharp photo even with an aid of in camera stabilizer of which both has.
If you are on the market for your first high end point and shoot don’t be attracted by all the bells and whistles, e.g., smile detection, scene modes, etc. A high end p&s is really made for easier use of it’s manual features without the weight and bulk of DSLR’s.
Look to the triumvirate of photography: aperture, shutter speed and ISO-if these 3 are easy to control through strategically placed dials then it will make a photoshoot painless. Using the triumvirate to control exposure will render scene modes useless which are just pre-programmed formulas in camera to shoot a certain lighting condition. Remember, photography is all about the capture of light-no light, no photo. Try it, turn off all the light in a room, take a shot and all you get is pitch black.
Though an obvious deciding factor has already been decided by which DSLR system a photographer is married to the fraternal twins will get enough competition for the first time buyer. The Powershot G12 and Coolpix P7000 will be a great camera to learn the basics of photography in a cheaper and smaller form factor. A year or 2 learning with these and an amateur photographer can skip the lower end DSLR models and jump to it’s bigger brothers, e.g., Nikon D7000/D300s or Canon’s 60D/7D.
The bottom line: Canon Powershot G12 will retail at USD499 (approx. PHP35,000 when released in the Philippines) and Nikon P7000 at USD499 as well (probably will have the same srp as the G12). Both will be released before the year ends. Wait 6 months to a year and it will get a 15-20% price drop and at which time there will be many detailed user reviews available for comparison. In past experiences, like the Canon G11, 1 year after the PHP35,000 srp, a friend got a brand new for PHP25,000(Japanese grey market unit).
Canon PowerShot G12 – key features:
- *Canon’s HS System
*High-sensitivity 10 megapixel CCD image sensor
*Genuine Canon lens 28mm-140mm f/2.8-f/4.5 wide angle 5x zoom lens w/4 stop Hybrid IS (Image Stabilizer)
*2.8″ high-res Vari-Angle PureColor II VA LCD screen, adjustable brightness w/Electronic Level
*Optical view finder w/diopter adjustment
*Front & back dials for customized control
*Full manual dials on top for: ISO, shooting modes and exposure compenstaion
*Canon CR2 RAW
*ISO 80-3200 in 1/3 stop increments and auto mode
*High Dynamic Range shooting-combining 3 exposures in camera into one HDR image
*720p HD movie shooting (24fps) with stereo sound, HDMI
*Rechargeable Li-Ion battery NB-7L approx. 370 shots at full
*Dimension: 112.1 x 76.2 x 48.3 mm@401 grams
*Extensive accessory system: tele converter lens adapter, various speedlites, waterproof case, remote switch, ST-E2 speedlite transmitter, OC-E3 off camera shoe cord
Nikon P7000 – key features:
- *10.1 megapixel CCD image sensor
*NIKKOR 28 –200 mm f/2.8-f5.6 wide-angle 7.1x zoom lens w/Lens-shift VR (Vibration Reduction)
*3″ 921K-dot, LCD screen w/ anti-reflection coating and Electronic Virtual Horizon
*Manual dials on top for: ISO, White Balance and Bracketing
*Back dial for customized conrtol
*Nikon Coolpix RAW
*Exposure compensation w/ direct control of up to ±3 EV compensation in 1/3 EV steps
High ISO (3200 at full size) light sensitivity. Manually extendable to Hi1.
*Low Noise Night Mode: minimizes noise when shooting at high ISO range
*720p HD movie recording and stereo microphone
*Optional external microphone with standard microphone jack
*Optical view finder
*Zoom memory: custom set up to 6 different focal lengths to switch quickly between them.
*Rechargeable batt EN-EL14 approx. 350 shots at full
*Dimension: 114.2 x 77.0 x 44.8 mm@310 grams
*Expandable system: wide-angle converter lens, wireless remote control and external flash units and microphones
This just in…
A very cool tan color leather carry case for the G11/12. Limited edition to only 500 cases. Goes on sale October 7, 2010 at the Canon store in Japan. Price: ¥8500 that should be approximately USD100.
A shot from Canon Japan’s web page featuring the G12 and accessories.
YOCARD EVENT: VISUALS WITH VISION 2
On September 9, 2010, YOCard exhibited over 300+ artists’ visuals at the Shangri La Mall in Pasig. Opening night of Visuals Wth Vision 2 was held at the level 3 exhibit area in front of Figaro Cafe to a great crowd.
One of the highlights was the showing of a video clip of CNN’s 2009 Hero of the Year awardee and one of the competition judges with encouraging words of wisdom. Filipino teacher Efren Penaflorida is known for his ‘Kariton Klassrum’ or ‘cart classroom’ where very poor children are taught basic literacy skills and values formation.
Many of the artists came to view their piece finally printed on postcards along with their families. Snacks and coffee was served throughout the night and it culminated with the announcement of the 3 winners. The 1st prize was a hoopla of LOMO cams and gear. Nice!
More from YoCard VWV 2009
Having not seen my aunt for almost 6 months she finally came to visit. She had brought along beautiful strawberries. Oh bless her! Instead of just eating them straight out of the box my dear wife slices them up, whips up a batter while mixing heavy cream and honey on another side of the kitchen counter.
I love pancakes anytime of the day. Best eaten with maple syrup when available. These strawberry pancakes didn’t need the syrup though. The heavy cream with honey did the trick. Tangy while sweet all sandwiched in between layers of warm pancakes. Oh, the delight of the first bite and the second…
It didn’t even occur to me to take a snap shot of this towering breakfast until my wife reminded me. Grabbed the EOS 7D with 85mm f/1.8 attached (ready for a shoot that afternoon) and popped off a few frames. Shot with available light and a Speedlite to camera right set to -2.
A macro lens would have been more appropriate and rather odd that 85mm was used but I just couldn’t wait to dig in (and I didn’t have a macro lens!). Better have a shot than nothing to commit our strawberry pancake adventure in pixels.
FROM CLOUDY TONES TO A SUNSET CRUISE
So, what’s the fuss with the this HDR hoopla now taking over the purist definition of a photograph? It’s called High Dynamic Range and I’ve been tinkering with it since ’06 during my much adored time on flickr.
I do not condemn nor encourage the HDR practice but it sure does produce some kinda vibrant off spring of a photo as we know it (truthfully, I enjoy it). A flat photo can readily be given new life. Either shoot 3 auto bracketed exposures at +3, 0, -3 or 1 delicious RAW file.
From an outing with a friend around the Manila Bay area: That day was as gloomy as over cooked pasta noodles. But luckily, I always shoot RAW and here are the 3 photos straight out of the camera. RAW converted to jpeg and shot with Canon EOS 50D and EOS 40D. No post processing, nothing and that middle photo was captured through grimy glass windows with light reflection to boot.
Below are the final post processed photos from the RAW shots. I will get into more detail on a how to but for now the gist of it all: RAW-process to 3 differently exposed shots-convert to TIF 16 bit-processed with Photomatix-load into Photoshop to enhance some more and finally convert to tiny jpeg file for posting.