PHOTOGRAPHY was never an interest for University Sains Malaysia student Chua Ang Tze, but a chance look at a physics photo competition in The Star newspapers education section has made him richer in cash and knowledge.
Chua said the competition, which was organised by Monash University Malaysias School of Engineering last year in conjunction with World Year of Physics in 2005, helped him gain a better understanding of the physics behind the photography, especially the concept of ray optics.
He used a camera belonging to his parents to take a picture of flowers in their garden using several droplets of water as double convex lenses. The four water droplets, made by morning dew, were suspended from the stem of a plant. The result won him the first prize in the competition, which was open to upper secondary students.
It was tough to take the pictures as there were other conditions like lighting to take into account. It took five days to get the right picture, said the engineering undergraduate.
The competition was aimed at increasing students interest in physics and allowing them to see how physics is applied in everyday life, said School of Engineering lecturer Assoc Prof Lan Boon Leong.
Chua received RM1,200 and books worth RM300 from Monash University Malaysias School of Engineering head Prof Ian Prince. Books worth RM500 will also be presented to the Victoria Institution, where Chua studied.
He said he planned to use half the prize money to buy a newer camera for his parents.