Brunei Darussalam


Three days ago, I took the kids out to town to look for a gift for mommy’s birthday. It isn’t the easiest thing to do and while I pride myself on my ability to come up with an idea this Feb 14 including previous V Day, birthdays however are more personal. In fact it’s so personal that it’s often difficult to find the right gift.

© Jan Shim Photography

So I asked Jamie and Jewel what they thought of the APPLE iPOD. There was an immediate nod of approval from Jamie (knowing his real reason behind that quick decisive reaction) but Jewel in her usual I-DON’T-KNOW pout decided it would be better to just go along with our decision (we had been on our feet for a rather uninspiring while).

© Jan Shim Photography

So we’ve made up our minds and got the silver one to match her car and personality (and my budget). At this point, Jamie excitement became obvious. Afterall which curious 10 year old boy isn’t excited about new toys? This birthday gift is as much my wife’s as it is his by virtue of being son!

© Jan Shim Photography

APPLE is well known for its aesthetics and attention to detail. The second generation iPOD has just become our first APPLE product and I have this troubling and nagging feeling that it won’t be the last!

This shopping was an exercise to teach the kids value of sharing. We’ve introduced Money 101 a few years earlier through the excellent game of Monopoly. Not just any Monopoly but the Uniquely Singapore Monopoly that I found so appropriate a tool for the kids.


In a rather ironic situation, I ended up learning a thing or two about kids psychology. Perhaps it’s a boy thing. Jamie had the idea that chipping in for a gift meant he was a share holder and have access to the Nano anytime he likes. In this context it works out in his favour but it the situation fails to properly teach him otherwise. So I had to give the iPOD a “PG” rating by explaining to him that it’s for mommy to use when she’s out trekking.

8 thoughts on “MUSIC TO HER EARS. AND HIS TOO.

  1. Hi Jan, Wah, lately you use the 100mm f2.8 Macro (Just guessing, if I’m not wrong) for your recent post. Good detail there, have you tried the MP-E65mm?

    Keep up the good work.


  2. You guessed right. It’s that time of the month!

    Funny you mentioned the MP-E 65mm that I researched online today. There was a time I was bothered by the 12-inch minimum focusing distance of the 100mm Macro and wanted to much closer and I hadn’t realised Canon has a lens that allowed 1-5X times close up. I cannot cost justify the purchase as there’s simply no viable stock photography market in Brunei. You’d have to have sold quite a significant number of images for EASI CARD use to par the cost of this lens. The upside is that my Speedlite Twin Lite 24EX can be mounted on the MP-E65 without requiring any adapter.

    There were several SUSHI shots I made with the 100mm Macro where the MP-E 65mm would have made a real difference! For some reason, the new Excapade Sushi menu hasn’t yet been rolled out. Not sure what the hold up is.


  3. Jan, you can see the photo taken using the MP-E 65mm by our own bruneian here: Lens Review: Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x

    If you want to join our small community of photographer, please do so, so you might wanna give us some tips. BTW, David Cheok also join as our member.

    P.S. Jan, can I have your contact number? If yes, can you just e-mail it to me?


  4. Thanks for the link. The MP-E 65mm is an impressive lens and as a “true” Macro lens sample photos I’ve seen so far are evidence of its worth. I’m keen to explore the world beyond the realms of my 100mm’s reach and limits. However, being a manual focus lens it would be quite a challenge to be master especially the subjects I would use it on aren’t exactly inanimate! And confirming my suspicion against my experience shooting the 100mm in Manual mode and the numerous testimonies about the MP-E 65mm, the rate of keepers is going to be very small even when shooting with macro flash.

    With effective apertures this tiny, a huge amount of light and/or a long shutter speed is required for adequate exposure. Another issue is the jittery-ness of the camera at these magnifications. Basically, you will need an very stable tripod and a motionless subject – or you need a flash.

    A flash is the best solution for most subjects. The extremely fast and bright flash will stop camera shake (even handheld) and subject motion. the Canon Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX Flash is an excellent flash solution for the Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Lens. When shooting at or approaching 5x, there are not many other good solutions.

    Even when using a flash, keeping the subject in focus can be a challenge – especially if it is moving. Handheld shots can work if you are very steady. When shooting at 5x, having something to rest on is extremely helpful. A good tripod is very helpful, but getting it setup for such a tiny DOF and subject can be a bit challenging. A Macro Focusing Rail is very useful with this lens. The rail allows easy micro adjustment of the entire macro setup.

    Read full review: The Digital Picture

    You can find my phone contact in one of the images here.


  5. Don’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble but my impression of Apple products shattered when the Nano hung and kept hanging thereafter … Googled the problem and OMG! … so many (unresolved) issues with hanging leaving many owners in the dark. People have the nerve to tell me Apple products are perfect and defended its reputation like they own the company. I happen to know a professional photographer / videographer who switched from PC to Mac platform for his video work (because “everyone” swore and testified its reliability only to find that it crashes just the same as his PC ! Give me a break, people!

    In any case, the idea of a premium product such as iPod faring no better than its MP3 competitors eats me up. I have two other MP3 players, a Philips and a Sony, each plugs into my PC effortlessly allowing me to copy any MP3 songs I desire and not taking me hostage like iPod with iTunes software—a customer lock-in strategy I have a hard time accepting.

    For what it was worth, my son had some fun with the Nano but eventually the toll of updating music via iTunes wore him out when compared to how incredibly more convenient the Philip and Sony sticks are … the Nano now collects dust. If I had known about this entrapment as per first comment I would have avoided this messy relationship.


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