Rays of Light Pierce Food Court Windows

On a typical Friday morning, my wife and I would stop by the Seria open market for our weekly grocery shopping before she starts her day at the office. Breakfast usually follows at one of two of our regular haunt: Nam Wah or Soi Heng restaurant — it’s all fairly predictable. On this day, however, we decided to patronize the Seria food court for a change. Waiting for my noodles to be served, I looked around and saw this beautiful moment — quickly captured with the only camera I had with me, my trusty Samsung Galaxy S3 that just recently had its screen replaced. The phone gets to live another day until the day I make up my mind to have it replaced — possibly with a Note 5.

Seria food court #Brunei

A photo posted by Jan Shim (@janshim) on

Nik Viveza 2: Overcoming Spiral Artifacts By Increasing Bit Depth

I am a huge fan of Nik Collection professional photographic tools and have only Google to thank for making them really affordable when they bought over the company. It began with the Viveza plug-in that made local adjustments possible (Lightroom offers a similar tool by way of the Local Adjustment Brush but early implementation isn’t nearly as smooth as Nik’s U Point technology). I’m writing this post not to review this tool but to highlight a problem I’ve encountered sometime back (visibility pronounced under the right conditions) with the Viveza tool, and how support staff resolved the (annoying) problem in less than 48 hours, in two emails.


The problem I’m talking about are the spiral artifacts after I’ve applied local brightness and contrast adjustments to the white and red colored part of the helicopter body. You can see the spiral patterns (“banding” being the technical term to describe this occurrence in digital images) radiating from the chopper to the rest of the image.


To further clarify, there are banding issues caused by the camera (as explained here) and there are those amplified and made more pronounced as a direct result of editing. I have another helicopter photo where slight artifacts can be seen even when the image is a 14-bit RAW (they can still occur under the right conditions but the effects are lessened due to the use of an anti-aliasing (AA) filter on the sensor.


Because the raw converter (not Lightroom) I used to process this photo doesn’t have local adjustment capability, I exported the image to JPEG before making final adjustments using Viveza 2 as a Paintshop Pro plug-in. There’s no visible banding when I applied the same editing after increasing the image to a 16-bit image even though a JPEG file is inherently 8-bit (easily done via “Increase Color Depth”). <3


Photo of Brunei Shell Petroleum’s Sikorsky S-92 SAR helicopter. Just so you know, if you’re noticing the area outside the body being unnaturally bright, that’s intentional as a result of more aggressive than necessary adjustments in my attempt to provoke banding. No signs of that happening, at least not with this photo so it’s all good! :grin:

Donated Proceed from Sale of Turtle Photo to Nepal Earthquake Relief

A visitor in the US came across my blog while browsing the web for a turtle photo she wanted for her bathroom wall. In her email, she saw this image and asked if I had others similar to that one she could look at. I promptly recommended my favourite piece from this blog post and it didn’t take long for Bernadette to confirm her order and in time made payment via PayPal.

I am looking for a picture of a turtle with bubbles, or happy in water (esp. getting clean, etc) as I have one amazing one near my kitchen sink and I would love to find one for my bathroom!” — Bernadette, USA.

While having my first shot of espresso of the day and checking my emails, an email from the World Food Programme immediately stood out, requesting donation to help victims of the Nepal earthquake, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of duty to give. Growing up in Kuala Belait and more so in Seria where the Gurkhas serving with the British Garrison have lived among us for decades, I have had the occasional and memorable interaction with the Nepalese community, even sharing lunch with them, during a day-long photoshoot at the Hornbill School. And, who can forget their participation and support during this world record attemptBritish Garrison Open Day, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla visit, the list goes on.

Seeing PayPal’s logo on World Food Programme web page I decided there wasn’t a better time than now to put that payment from Bernadette to good use. If you too want to make a donation, click on the image below.