Archive for February, 2015

A quick guide to DSLR settings

February 25th, 2015

When it comes to using a DSLR, I always recommend giving the manual settings a try. After all, if you control your settings, then you also control how your photo turns out. Auto mode may try its best, but it can’t read your mind!


As someone who had to go through the same learning curve, I know that it can be confusing and take a while to get used to. However, like anything else, the more you use it, the easier it’ll get. The pay-off is worth it! Trust me!

And fear not! For I am here to help. Well um… I hope this helps at least :) I call this a “quick” guide because I skip over many technical details. Rather than going into why it works, I’ll go into how you can think about it. Let’s get started!

Thinking in terms of light

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Light is extremely important in photography. You can think of the three major manual settings in terms of how much light you are letting in.

Shutter speed

  • Is how long the shutter is open, and it’s measured in seconds. Shorter time = Faster shutter.
    Example: 1/400 second (1/400th of a second) is faster than 1/100 second.
  • It’s often compared to a water faucet. If you leave the faucet on longer, more water comes out, right? This is the same as the shutter. The longer it’s open, the more light comes in.
  • Slow shutter: longer time, more light, but higher chance of blurring your photo.
  • Fast shutter: shorter time, less light, but better for getting clear shots.

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February so far

February 19th, 2015

To those who celebrate it, Happy Chinese (Lunar) New Year! Since I don’t see my parents today, I called to wish them a “happy new year” this morning before going to work :) I’m going over to their house for a home-cooked Chinese New Year meal tomorrow!

Every year, I do an animal drawing for Chinese New Year, and it’s the year of the goat/ram/sheep this time. Here is the drawing I did for this year! (Colored with Prismacolor pencils.)


I looked up a lot of goat photos as references, and while doing that, I realized I wasn’t sure what their eyes looked like. I Googled for “goat eyes” and… goats have such weird eyes! Look at them!

Anyway, I originally had an entry planned about using manual settings on a DSLR – basically what they mean and tips on how to balance them together. It’s not quite ready yet, so this will be more of a rambling entry about my life lately :)

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Game recommends – Cooperative or not

February 14th, 2015

Last year I posted some co-op video game recommends for Valentine’s Day. Like I wrote before, every couple has their thing that they like to do together, and for my husband and I, it’s playing video games!

The games I chose last time had single player options, but I felt that their strength was in the multiplayer option. This time, I’m recommending co-op games that are great as both single and multiplayer games. So whether you’re playing by yourself or with someone else, all that matters is that you’re having fun, right? :)

Portal 2 Portal 2 (PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PS3)

Sypnosis: You wake up as Chell, the protagonist from the first Portal, and find that the Aperture Science complex is falling apart and looks like it’s about to be destroyed. While trying to escape with Wheatley, they accidentally wake up GLaDOS, who separates the two and makes you go through new test chambers again. In the multiplayer, you go through additional test chambers as the two testing robots, Atlas and P-body.

My thoughts: Portal 2 continues the greatness of Portal 1, especially the cleverness of the puzzles and the witty humor. The single and multiplayer modes are different though. In terms of story, the multiplayer actually takes place afterwards. I recommend that both players go through the single player first. Not only is it a great game, but it introduces all of the elements that multiplayer uses. If there are any Portal newbies, going through the single player will also help you “think with portals” for the multiplayer mode.

Multiplayer means two Portal guns, and with 4 portals… oh man, the craziness you can do. It introduces new ideas that aren’t possible with a single Portal gun and really makes you work together to solve all of the puzzles. The trailer for the co-op actually shows several examples of this. We loved it, and the multiplayer mode is one of our top co-op games.

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