17 May 2013

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens

I consider this a gift from my dad, who left me a small amount of money when he passed away. I put most of it into my savings account and used a little bit of it to splurge on a new lens for my DSLR. I’ve been wanting a better quality lens for a while but the cost has always stopped me from buying one. So, I would like to say thank you to Papa. I now have a fancy lens to enjoy taking photos with.

I seeked advice from friends who are more knowledgeable about photography than I am. The main subject of my photos is Sophia and we usually shoot indoors. I needed a lens that would perform well shooting a moving target in low light. I needed a lens with a fast aperture!

The main lens I was using was a Canon EF-S 50mm f/1.8. This is a fixed focal length lens, which means I have to physically move closer to or farther away from my subject to zoom in or out. However, with an aperture of 1.8, it’s great for low light situations. But I couldn’t always fit my subject sufficiently into the frame since there is usually a wall that’s stopping me from backing up more (our house isn’t that big!). And by the time I move to where I need to be to take the photo, Sophia has wandered off to another room.

The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 lens is a fixed aperture lens, which means I can maintain an aperture of 2.8 while changing my focal length (my zoom) from 17mm to 55mm. Most lenses that zoom in and out change aperture from 3.5 to 5.6, depending on the focal length. It is a big lens (77mm diameter) and is on the heavier side. That’s the price I pay for the fixed 2.8 aperture.


I haven’t had much time to play with it in low light to see how it fares compared to my 50mm lens. Some photos have turned out really crisp, some have been blurry.  I'll have to play around with the settings more.  The photos we've taken outdoors, I've been very pleased with.  The images are sharp!  Definitely makes shooting photos a lot more fun.

Low light (tungsten); ISO 800, 33mm, f/2.8, 1/6

Low light (tungsten); ISO 800, 55mm, f/2.8, 1/30

Daytime natural light; ISO 800, 55mm, f/2.8, 1/40

Outdoor; ISO 400, 37mm, f/2.8, 1/4,000

Outdoor; ISO 400, 17mm, f/4.5, 1/1,000

16 May 2013

Choices, choices

Life is what you choose to make it, so I am told.  It is all about the choices you make.  Last month, I chose more time with my family over time at work.

Last October, I joined Dell Services in a Product Owner/Product Manager role.  It was a good move for my career and for me personally.  I had been with Navarik for a long time and was looking for a change in scenery.   The job at Dell was challenging and learning so much new stuff was quite fun.  I enjoyed getting to know the other team members and finding my place in the mix.  As with any new thing, it was also stressful.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to deliver high quality work, which is good, but it didn't help with the stress level.  After a few weeks, I found a good groove and felt  comfortable in my new environment.

The main downside, though, was the 5-days-a-week work schedule and the very corporate American leave policy at Dell.  I was on a 4-days-a-week schedule at Navarik and I felt I was ready to go back to full-time.  And I was okay with it for a few months but after we returned from our Caribbean vacation, where I spent so much time with Sophia, I just knew I was missing out on too much.

The planets aligned and it turned out that Navarik wanted me back.  I thought long and hard about it and finally decided to take up Navarik on their offer.  It's not the best move for my career and it certainly won't look so good on my resume, but the flexibility that Navarik offers is the ideal set up for me and my family at this point in time.  I can retain a senior position, do work that I enjoy and am good at, and keep my skills relevant while working 30 hours a week spread over four days.  I also have one day of working from home per week.  And I get an Apple product as a gift, once in a while!

Striking a balance between work and family is really like the holy grail for a lot of families.  Can moms really have it all?  I guess it all depends on what your definition of "all" is and how you define success for yourself.  I feel I have found is a fair balance for me and my family.  And for now, that's good enough.

15 May 2013

iPad mini surprise

I came back to Navarik, just in time!  We signed a big customer to a multi-year deal and to celebrate, we were all given an iPad Mini!  Both the new customer and the iPad mini are very cool, indeed!

This is the fourth Apple product I have received as a gift from Navarik.  We received an iPad in 2011, an iPod touch in 2007, and an iPod shuffle in 2004 (the very first iPod that came out!).

Ed got me an iPad mini last Christmas so this one is going to Ed.  It's ridiculous how Ed, Sophia, and I each have a tablet now.  It's a little embarrassing, actually!  But two of them were gifts from Navarik so I guess that makes it okay.

14 May 2013

Wedding party reunion

This is a catch up post about a get-together Ed and I organized over a month ago. As part of our 10-year anniversary celebration, we invited our wedding party to our place for Sunday brunch. Jenny, Lizza, Yvette, Josh, Mark, and Kei were a big part of our wedding day and the preparations for it, and we wanted them to be part of this celebration, too. Jenny and Lizza live out of town and were not able to join us. Everyone else, together with their spouses and kids, were able to join us for a lovely brunch and reminisce about our wedding day ten years ago. We also chatted about how all our lives have changed since. There were nine kids running around our house that morning! Nine kids in ten years! Yes, things have changed a lot for all of us.

We have managed to stay close friends with everyone in our wedding party. We see them regularly and hang out in each other’s houses. Our kids are friends. More than being able to celebrate our anniversary with them, keeping close friendships with them make me happiest of all.

A wedding party celebrationIMG_3740IMG_2006IMG_2008IMG_2017IMG_3773