台北点滴:第六章

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老婆说她没来过地热谷,于是今天我们就来到了这里。嘛,说实在的这里并没有什么景观可言,但是对于住在四季如夏,远离火山地带的我们来说,这地方还是值得来看看的。来到北投,除了逛地热谷,我们还走访了许多地方,来一个简简单单的一日游。

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北投温泉博物馆里展示着关于北投的历史点滴,场馆空间虽然不算很大,但是还是可以让我们玩得尽兴。接着,我们前往附近的台北市立图书馆去看看。 这图书馆的设计非常特别,有一种融入大自然的感觉。在这明亮温暖的空间里看看书,感觉就文青了上来。

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啊,来到北投少不了的就当然是泡温泉了!旅行了这么多天,难得来这里泡一泡,把这几天累积下来的疲惫都给刷去。还有就是吃上一碗温泉拉面,让肚子也装上满满的北投风味与人情,让这一趟简简单单的一日行画上完美的句点。

台北点滴:第五章

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三访台北,我还是第一次来到瑞芳。要说它没什么特别也不是,要说它有多特别也不是,基本上就是一座古色古香的老市镇。这一天,我们来到了瑞芳车站,接着就是转搭火车前往十分老街。由于之前已去过了十分瀑布,所以这一次就把大部分的时间花在老街上。火车道旁紧靠着许多店家,当火车经过时,大家都得离开轨道,躲进店家的屋檐下。这样的光景在泰国或是越南都能看见,但是在相对繁荣的台北来说应该是蛮新鲜的。大部分的游客都会选择在这里点放天灯,我不是一般的游客,也不喜欢放天灯这活动。所以我和我老婆就在老街上逛逛,逛累了就躲进一家咖啡馆,喝杯咖啡,看看窗外的风景,隔绝店外的喧哗,享受着店内的宁静。

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休息片刻过后,我们搭上火车,回到瑞芳,然后转搭巴士前往九份。第一次来台北时有在九份待过,非常喜欢这里的感觉,虽然说现在已变得越来越“旅游区”,但是我还是喜欢那狭小的巷弄,喜欢那转角带来的未知,喜欢那意外发现的惊喜。记得上次来到九份,因为下雨而无法好好的去探索和体验这里的美好。而这一次,庆幸遇上了好天气,我们得以穿越各个巷弄,发掘九份未知的秘密,像是躲在深处的某座茶馆,躲在暗角的某家精品店,让我一次把九份给逛个够。这一次也造访了蛮有历史的升平戏院,也在那里呆了一阵子,感受着那里的气氛与温度。

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太阳下山之前,我们来到了九份蛮有名的海悦楼,喝着下午茶,眺望着外面那迷人的风景。也许是被这一天的古色古香给熏然,我突然想起了我婆婆。她应该会喜欢这样的光景吧?我从小被婆婆带大,跟她的关系十分紧密,也让我十分的敬爱她。正当我们一天一天的长大,她当然也一天一天的衰老。虽然现在她还算是身体安康,但是随着年龄的增长,大家都知道总有一天我们都会来到分离的时刻。那时候,我们都会怎么面对呢?生老病死这回事,在华人的传统中常常都像是一种忌违,大家都不会去想,不会去提及。但是,这是事实,总有一天大家都得面对。这一天的我,想了许多。不过,无论如何,感恩婆婆还是健在,感恩我还是能够得到她的关爱。也因为这样,我才会去更珍惜现在与她相处的每段时刻。

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太阳下山后,对面的阿妹茶楼点亮了灯笼,也让大家拿出相机拍起照来。这也是为什么大家会来到海悦楼,因为从这里可以看得到九份的山水美景,也看得到那巷弄的繁忙与入夜后的万家灯火。九份,好喜欢这里。下次有机会还是会再回来这里。

The Outbreak

The new coronavirus (now named as COVID-19) outbreak occurred around end of last year, and it has been going on until now. It was believed to have started from a market in Wuhan, China which sold exotic wildlife that ended up on a diner table. The Chinese government has declared emergency and lockdown a few cities, WHO was notified, travel bans were in placed by some countries, and everyone has been working relentlessly to contain the virus from spreading and to search for cure.

And with the social media craze, we started to see all sorts of fake news emerged, irresponsible comments, wrong information shared and so on, making the matter worse. The most significant one would be how everyone is putting the blame on Chinese, and everyone started to stay away from them. There were those who blamed the Chinese government for hiding the truth. Here in Singapore, there were those who blame the Singapore government for acting slowly. Soon, people started to panic, hoarding face masks and sanitizers, which eventually ended up as people rushing to supermarket and started hoarding food supplies.

Before I begin ranting, let me put the record straight: I admit that I am one of those who are not fond of the Chinese government policies and the behaviour of their people while travelling abroad. I think most of us who dislike the Chinese shares similar reason. But to be honest, not all Chinese behave the same. I have Chinese national friends whom themselves hated these ill behaved Chinese nationals. Despite that, I feel sorry and pity them for being the one to blame in this case. With that said, let’s begin.

It could have started in anywhere

Unfortunately, an outbreak occurred. It started off in Wuhan, China. But this could have happened anywhere around the world, and I truly believe so. As long as we are not careful, as long as we do not ensure cleanliness in our environment, in the farm, or in the market where fresh produces are being traded, we run into the risk of contamination. So to put the blame solely on “because the people from Wuhan eat bats” leads you to nowhere.

I’m not too concern of the virus

The media (or social media) has played a role in spreading a lot of information, perhaps a little too much information, and causes panic all around the world. Yes, we should be aware and alert about the situation, but some irresponsible media will just focus on putting the blame on China, creating fear among public, making things become far worse than what it seems to be. Yes, the virus is contagious, it causes death, but you just need to take a look at the big picture to understand that all flu has potential to lead to death. And like all flu, everyone can take part in stopping the spread if and only if everyone puts their hands and heart into it.

I’m more concern about human stupidity

If there’s anything that will kill us for the next few months, it is undoubtedly our own stupidity. Unnecessarily hoarding stockpile of face masks has caused problem for those who really needs it a.k.a. those who are sick. When they can’t contain themselves, they will spread the virus to people around them. And sorry to brush your bubbles, wearing a face mask does not fully protects you from getting the virus. When people send masks to the outbreak epicentre, they get condemned immediately by the selfish individuals. In times like this, resources should be routed to those who are really in need in order to more effectively stop the pandemic, but I guess people will only care for themselves after all.

Don’t even get me started on those who wear mask inside-out, or those who did wear it on the correct side but yet not fitting them properly to cover their face. What’s even worse? People are reselling their stockpile of mask at overpriced rate to those who are desperately in need!

If we die, it will probably be due to our own doing

People in Singapore seems not content to hoard just the masks and sanitizers, they went out and continue their rampage to hoard on alcohol swap, followed by rice, canned food, instant noodles and rolls of toilet papers! What’s more, we have people scolding the Chinese in one hand, while on the other hand, the same person is not wearing a mask when he/she is feeling unwell! So what makes you different from the Chinese that you are scolding all day long? And it doesn’t end there, even the local medical personnel who worked day and night during this period were discriminated by the very own people they trying to save!

We can do better than this

So far, I only know of people in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan who are very vigilant when it comes to personal hygiene. During my trip to these countries, it is very common for me to see people wearing mask when they are feeling unwell. Sadly, this is not the case here in Singapore, even at critical time like this. Some complaint that government should hand out free mask, and when government did, they don’t even bother to collect and complaint “only giving out 4 pieces per house hold, that’s too little”.

Before we start to point our fingers on others, we should probably sit down and ask ourselves: Have we even done our part to stop the virus from spreading? I myself have not done enough on my part, I do not wear mask all the time when I was sick, and I should wash my hand a little more, and that’s what I set off to incorporate into my habit moving forward. Only when we take the first step of prevention, the spread of virus and diseases could be reduced.

Of course it wasn’t all bad in time like this. We have seen huge support from people who donated their wealth to the healthcare industry to combat the virus, and even small gesture like handing out free masks to those in need was heart warming. I really hope that everyone can just wake up and stop being so selfish. Everyone should start playing their part, otherwise the same saga will happen over and over again. It’s now or never.

So what should we do?

Wear a mask and seek for medical attention when you are feeling unwell. If you have been in contact with suspected cases or confirmed cases, report to the authority to arrange for quarantine or leave of absence. Ensure proper hygiene in your daily life. Eat well, sleep well to ensure your immunity stays strong. Avoid travelling to crowded places unless it is necessary.

Last but not least, make this as part of your habit and practice it daily even after this outbreak.

Fujifilm X100V… Finally?

Fujifilm has launched the all new X100V, successor to X100F. Is this the ultimate X100 series camera? As of now, of course it is. A friend of mine asked me whether this will tempt me to get one. Well, let’s take a closer look on my complaints about X100F and see what’s fixed:

The gimmicky ISO dial

Yes, the new ISO dial on X100V makes more sense in terms of usability. This is certainly a plus point and Fujifilm has done a good job in redesigning this part.

The quirky EVF

EVF has been upgraded to have higher resolution and magnification, which is a plus.

The wrongly placed Q button

Yup, that’s fixed as well. Q button has been moved further away from where you would naturally grab the camera, so no more accidental press on it with X100V.

Software problem that are still unknown

AF point does not follow when you rotate your camera between portrait and landscape mode, only horizon level without tilt angle level, need to turn on camera to view pictures taken, all these are unknown. Have they been fixed via firmware update for X100F? Or are they fixed/improved with X100V? Can’t comment further unless I get a hands on with the camera.

Exposure compensation dials

I prefer them to stay flushed with the top plate, this is not major and has not changed. But Fujifilm has improved the design around the ISO dial and made it more compact and flushed with the top plate, which is pretty nice. I complaint that the dials were a little too stiff, not sure whether things are better with the new camera (but it is minor issue).

The lens and their “world fastest auto focus”

Everyone complaints about the lens on previous X100 series camera, and finally they have updated the design and lens formula. This is welcomed for sure.

Okay, they didn’t claimed world fastest, but Fujifilm did always boast about their AF performance and yet has always failed to deliver their promise. Is the AF performance going to be better? I doubt. It seems to me that the lens still require the AF motor to move the whole lens group while focusing, if X100V is still designed this way without better or stronger AF motor, the AF speed will not caught up, and not to mentioned it’s AF performance in video shooting. This is of course going to be clear when more reviews surface online, or when I get a hands on with the camera itself. For now, I’ll remain skeptical on this. I wished Fujifilm would have redevelop the lens inside out, but I think their priority is to remain backward compatibility with the conversion lenses, hence limiting themselves. It’s not a right or wrong thing, just a matter of choice and decision made.

So?

The addition of weather sealing and flip screen are also welcomed, though they are not among the top of my wishlist. So… all in all, will this be the camera that makes me go back to Fujifilm?

At this point of time… no. For now, I think the form factor of X-E3 + XF23mm F/2 R WR makes more sense, mainly due to the fact that I don’t use the OVF on X100 series at all. I still don’t find it useable, and that’s coming from someone who shoots Leica rangefinder for quite some time. Of course the X-E3 is not weather sealed, and there is a reason for that (price and differentiation come to mind). I’m not sure whether the lens performance  will be better, but I’m pretty sure the AF performance will be better on the XF23mm F/2 R WR. X100 series is a little more compact (but X-E3 is pretty small and light too), other than that… I can’t think of much advantages of using a X100 series camera over the X-E series camera.

Of course that’s not the point. After all, people purchased the X100 series camera not because it is the “best” camera with “best” specification, but because it is arguably the “best” looking camera, or best-Leica-look-alike camera out there (I can’t deny that this was one of the reason why I bought the X100 series in the past :P) where money can buy.

So am I saying X100V is not worth the upgrade? To be honest, I believe the updates here are substantial enough for even X100F users to justify for an upgrade. But for those who are new to this camera series, I would suggest you to think twice on your priority before pulling your trigger. For me, I have sort through my priorities and decided that this form factor is not for me at this point of time, no matter how pretty and good the camera is, that’s all. Of course priorities will change, who knows in the future I would ended up coming back for more X100 series camera? For those who bought it, I believe you will enjoy it very much as I enjoyed using my X100F in the past. Till then.

台北点滴:第四章

 

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三月适逢海芋季节,于是我们便前往阳明山去看看海芋盛开的情景。来了台北几次,这还是第一次来到阳明山。从捷运转换巴士,长途跋涉的来到了阳明山,但是却因为有点混淆而不知道该往哪儿走。突然下降的气温,裹起的浓雾,也让没有什么防寒装备的我们冷得发抖。最后,我们赌一把的上了一辆巴士,然后在不知道哪里下了车,最后靠走的,终于来到了种满海芋的花田。由于还早,花田都还没开门,也没有什么游客。随便拍了几张照片后,我们抵不住寒风,于是躲进了一家小餐厅去吃早餐,喝热茶,然后继续眺望窗外欣赏着海芋。老婆问我不多拍两张照片吗?而我也只是微微一笑的回应。

嗯,确实好像好久好久没有认真的摄影了。为什么呢?是累了吗?是已经没兴趣了吗?是从何时开始呢?仔细想一想,大概是开始上MBA的课程后吧?上课后基本上都没有时间去拍照,每天不是工作就是读书与做功课。然而,在课程完成后我还是没有重拾过去的热忱。周末还是会待在家,看看书,发发呆。也许真正的原因并不是因为时间,而是别的什么。喝着茶,望着窗外的风景,不时低头看着摆在桌上的相机,我……静静的思考着。

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除了看海芋,我们前往了其他地方,如竹子湖,小油坑等。记得在小油坑附近的游客中心,挂在墙上的温度计明确的标着当前的气温:摄氏十一度。外头一阵阵的浓雾也让能见度降低,许多想去,想看的地方也没办法玩得尽兴。距离下一趟巴士到站还有一段时间,于是我们留在游客中心暖着身子等待着。在那里执勤的员工看我们倆在那里,向我们搭话。于是我们便聊了起来。他当然是大力推荐阳明山上的各个景点,也聊到马来西亚,聊到家常。差不多到了巴士进站的时间,于是我们像他道别后来到了寒风吹袭的车站,等着巴士的到来。

阳明山确实很美,还有许多美景都还没有机会去探索,不过这都得留到下一次了。回程的巴士上,我重新开启思考模式。关于摄影,我真的没兴趣了吗?我真的该放弃了吗?以前的我,旅行时基本上是相机不离手的,看到什么都会拍。但是现在却完全相反,相机基本上是在背包里,看了那么多景色却拍了没几张照片。巴士缓缓地往山下前进,来到了阳明山总站后,我们在车站附近的一家餐馆坐了下来,吃着台菜。天气开始变暖,上山的人潮也越来越多。

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经过这几天的心灵找寻,我确信我还是喜欢摄影的,也许方式会和以前不一样,但是我还是会在握起相机时感到一阵想按下快门的冲动,我还是会窥视不同的视角,我还是会想要继续下去。也许没以前那么积极,也许是时候展开新一章的摄影路程。虽不明确,但答案应该就在那里。