myFirst from Oaxis

The year-end school holidays is always one that I look forward to because it would be a long break and there would be plenty of time for the kids and adults to spend together. No rushing from classes to classes, it’s just ‘own-time-own-target’.

I had the places to visit listed in my internal calendar and what’s a visit without capturing the memories? By that, I mean taking pictures! I wanted the kids, the girl especially, to learn some basic photography skills and each of them would have to have a camera each, to avoid fighting. Hah. I have allowed the girl to use my previous camera and I know the boy would want to use it as well if he sees the sister having it.

Thankfully, myFirst camera from oaxis, along with two 8.5″ sketchpad, arrived in time for the school holidays and the kids were ecstatic, needless to say.

The girl was super happy when she saw the camera but I had to manage her expectation since it wasn’t meant for her. ;p

We have used both the camera and the sketchpad for a few weeks now so I thought it would be helpful to share our thoughts on the products with others.

Let’s talk about myFirst’s camera. It’s NOT a toy; it is a 5MP Full HD camera. Lightweight and small, I find it suitable for little hands, just nice for Dan. I have looked for a similar-kind of camera for him on the internet but most of them are either too bulky or they look like a toy. Oaxis’ myFirst camera is just right for him. With a few essential buttons to operate, it’s simple enough for a preschooler.

He has brought it with him when we went for our nature walks, museum visit, etc, and the camera has survived knocks and falls. Thankfully, it still works well. Phew.

At the recent Black Friday sale, this camera was on sale and it makes a good gift for friends with young kids. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to doing that, it was sold out! *Regret much*

This is a camera I like and we are blessed to own one!

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These are the two 8.5″ sketchpads that the kids received. We had a sketchpad (boogie board) which we bought from Taobao three years back but it didn’t survive long. I guess it’s partly due to the few falls it had so I’m hoping that these myFirst sketchpads could last us longer.

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The sketchpad is light and 8.5″ is just about the right size for our kids. Like most similar-type of sketchpads, it allows for fine-line drawing and provides a one-key erase. The stylus writes like a pen and it has a lock switch to prevent accident scribbles or erase, a function which I find especially useful.

Do check out their website for Oaxis’ full range of products!

Disclosure: Oaxis has kindly sent the myFirst camera and two sketchpads for review purposes. No other forms of monetary compensation are involved. 

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Canon EOS M6 & PIXMA TS9170

Kids grow up too fast. Before I know it, the baby I once held in my arms would be entering formal school in a few months time. It’s a reality that I’m still trying to grasp. Where have all those years gone?

I take a lot of pictures of my kids growing up, and I’m thankful that I did that. I often look back with fond memories as I browse the various albums of their initial years. So adorable, those faces! Before you know it, they won’t want to have their pics taken, like how my firstborn reacts to the camera now. My regret? I didn’t take enough videos.

Over the years, I have switched from DSLRs to point-and-shoot compact cameras and then to the camera phone. DSLRs enable me to take better pics but over the years, I appreciate the convenience of a small and light camera over bulky and heavy ones. And since I take pics on a daily basis now, the camera phone is my best buddy.

On days when we head out for some adventures, the DSLR still triumphs because I tend to take a different angle for the pic when I have the DSLR in my hand. Creativity takes over and convenience and the tendency to quickly just take a quick shot is shoved to a corner. Pictures turn out better, somehow.

Thankfully, DSLRs are compact these days so it doesn’t really add to the space of our already over-filled moms’ bags.

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Meet Canon’s EOS M6, a compact mirrorless camera that doesn’t compromise on speed or quality. Its body is a mere 390g and bears a vintage-style design. This enthusiast level DSLR camera is enhanced with Dual Pixel CMOS AF system and image stabilisation feature which enables me to capture those spontaneous moments and reactions of the kids.

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I find the smiles of the children to be the most vibrant when they are having fun. That means they do not have to intentionally smile for the camera. We just need to capture that moment and snap!

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You probably can’t tell from this image that I was actually running to get a picture of him riding. At that point, he turned his head to face me and I got to capture his expression. Precious. The image stabilisation feature works well for videos too which I usually upload onto IG.

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Another clear picture taken as the girl went down the slide with full speed.

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Perhaps, another feature that I’ve got to experience and enjoy is the 180 degree tilt touchscreen monitor. It does make taking welfies more fun! Oh look, that smile on his face! Have I also shared that transferring the images from the camera to the phone is really easy with the Canon Camera Connect App? I always do it on the go!

I do suspect that there are a lot more features that I have yet to discover about this powerful camera as shown in this embedded video. Let me continue and share, on IG. Easier. 😉 Will definitely go out more often in August!

What do you do with all the images that you have captured? Like you, I store in digital albums and at times, have them printed out and display them in the house. You need a reliable and high-performance printer like PIXMA TS9170.

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The girl and I had a good time choosing the pictures for our family album and she had fun helping me print those images from the printer. The PIXMA TS9170 has been put to greater use for the creation of our homelearning resources.

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If you have been following me, you would have known that I print a lot of teaching and learning resources for the kids. These days, I print mostly via the ipad and the mobile phone, seamlessly and wirelessly. Very convenient and enjoyable indeed. And the print quality is good, up to my standard.

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Printing on the right kind of photo paper helps if you want your image to turn out well. Canon has a good range (seen in the above pic) – A4 matte photo paper, 5″x 5″ glossy photo paper, magnetic photo paper and glossy free-cutting stickers.

I set out a project for the girl to work on – photo album of the family complete with her own description. So we had a good time of organising and arguing about which photos to print. It was all in good spirit though. 😉

 

We bought a simple notebook from Popular bookstore and started working on it. I have to tell you that the girl was super excited about the project and kept bugging me to start. The cover page picture was printed on the glossy sticker paper and it was a first for both of us so we were both amazed by it (suaku).

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We printed lots of pictures for this project, photographs of our daily life. For curiosity’s sake, I printed this set of photos on three different papers – Canon A4 matte photo paper, 160g paper and 100g paper. I don’t have to elaborate much. We could definitely see that the images printed on the Canon matte photo paper are the most vibrant and sharp. I had wanted to save on the cost and thought the 160g paper would do a decent job but nope.

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It’s still work-in-progress for this project but through this, I’ve experienced both the wonders of EOS M6 and PIXMA TS9170. If you ask me, I’m pretty impressed by the printer. It has made my life easier since I do print a lot of materials for the teaching and learning resources. The ink cartridges seem to last longer though they might cost a little more than the other brands. Above all, I love the quality of the print. #pixmaprintsbetter

There seems to be an ongoing promotion for its products now. Do check it out if you are considering any of them.

Canon, delighting you always.

Indeed.

Disclaimer: Canon Singapore has kindly loaned EOS M6 and PIXMA TS9170 to us for the review of both products. All comments and experiences shared are mine and I would be happy to answer any of your questions, if any. No other compensation was received.

Melbourne | Chesterfield Farm

Melbourne 2016
1st day | Chesterfield Farm

Our flight was at 1.20am. Not a very ideal timing I must say. I was worried that the girl would be cranky with lack of sleep. Thankfully she slept a few hours before we headed to the airport and slept on the plane for a good few hours. As anticipated, she got bored along the way and I had to take out the Usborne sticker book and get her to work on it. The book is on airport and I chose it so that she could connect her experience with the task at hand.

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We cleared the custom at Melbourne airport rather quickly and by the time we settled some stuff, it was past noon. Chesterfield Farm was on my itinerary and we only realised that it closes at 3pm then. We wasted no time and Pauline, my host, sent me to the farm. This farm was recommended by Jenn and boy, was I glad that I chose to visit it.

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This is the sight that greeted us when we arrived and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed. However, once you go in through the cafe cum ticketing counter, you will realise that the farm is big!

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There is a list of things to do on the farm -tractor rides, shearing of sheep, milking of cow, feeding of the animals, etc – and one could devote a few hours visiting it. There are specific timings of course so it would be good to read up a little on its website. Faith and I had only one hour in the farm but we were really thrilled by the farm animals.

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Cows

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Camel!!!

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Goats

The girl was truly fascinated by the kangaroo. The mom too!

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This space is truly big, quite different from Collingwood Children’s Farm and it has a bigger range of farm animals, much to our delight. Because we had only one hour before the farm closed for the day, we had to literally race through the various sections. We didn’t even purchase any feed for the animals; I thought it would be a good experience for the kiddo. I think one could possibly spend a good 2 to 3 hours on the farm.

It was a wonderful experience for both of us and we love the close encounter that we could have with the animals. Worth a visit!

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Faith has often read about farm animals and that day, the animals came alive and you should have seen her excitement and fascination with them.

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We had a wonderful mother-and-daughter bonding time too as we talked about the farm animals and taking turns to take pictures of them. It pays to bring along a good camera to capture all those beautiful memories and I’m glad to be equipped with Canon’s EOS M10 during this trip.

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Next stop, Puffing Billy & the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie!

Taking flatlay pictures

Apart from cooking, baking and exercising, another (less obvious) interest of mine is photography. I used ‘less obvious’ because many pictures that I have taken these days are quickly snapped, blurred at times and lack inspiration. I blame it on uncooperative kids. ;p

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Take a glance at my Instagram account and you can tell that it mainly comprises pictures of my kids and food. While I cannot control the appearance and sometimes the mood (they refuse to smile at the camera) of my children, I could certainly style my food better. Impressed by the flatlay shots taken by instagrammers, I attempted to do likewise and have come to the conclusion that it is not so easy to take a good #flatlay shot. An afternoon with Canon Singapore on Creating Better Content workshop confirmed that.

I went back, armed with the renewed desire to take better pictures and to give #flatlay shots a shot. The following are some pointers that I have noted:

:: Use a basic background

My wooden dining table is often used as the background and in order to have more variety, I search for towels and cloth. Little did I realise that I could actually use design paper as my background.

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This picture was taken during the workshop and you would have thought that I was laying all these props on a marble top eh? It was actually a design paper! Soo desne! I went back and bought a few of such papers for my #flatlay challenge. I try to choose simple backgrounds that don’t distract the viewer from the main subject.

:: Use natural light

I think we all know that natural light gives the best effect. Taking a shot somewhere that near a large window or glass doors is ideal because it often have a great supply of natural light. Unfortunately, my place is rather dim and I often take pictures under warm lighting. Using photo editing apps (Splice, VSCO , A Beautiful Mess, etc) will help in this case. It certainly makes sense to enhance saturation, lighting and/or warmth where possible/ if necessary with these apps.

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This is the shot I took on my dining table. Nope, I didn’t buy a marble table; I merely use a design paper and edit it to make it look better. Is this nice?

:: Have a theme
:: Think of colour palette
:: Pick things that look good from top
:: Leave space between each object

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Taking a good flatlay photo involves a lot of work, IMHO. You have to take the above into consideration and it certainly takes time. I entitled this picture as ‘A Beary Good Breakfast’ and got Faith to help make the bear design on the bread. The colour palette that I have chosen is in the shade of brown and yellow and I tried to scout for things that look nice from the top.

Alas, I feel that there is much room for improvement. I think I must continue to look for props to spice up my flatlay pic. Time to build my prop box!

:: Experiment with different layouts

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It really does take a long time to come up with a good flatlay pic. During the workshop, the participants were given props and time to come up with a few flatlay pics that they want to submit for a simple contest. You should have seen the hard work put in by them in arranging and re-arranging the props and playing with different layouts. Tough job!

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In the end, I settled for this. I tried to keep the frame full. I did my best.

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After the workshop, these are the photos that I took, bearing in mind the pointers that were given.

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Monday Blues’ breakfast

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Sometimes, when I’m at the eatery, I will try to take a flatlay shot of the food but I have to take a quick one because the husband is rolling his eyes and the girl (Ms TamChiak) is crying out for food.

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It was an enriching session and Faith and I enjoyed ourselves. The girl wanted to try her hands on the Canon camera and I think I will start her on that using my personal one. I just hope she won’t destroy it. Nah..

Thank you, Canon Singapore and Claudia of The Loving Mom for this lovely sharing session! Looking forward to future sessions!