Why Film?

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I was suppose to finish this post before I left for Hanoi but I got caught up with all the packing and last minute preparation work. I’m back from Hanoi and it was yet another amazing and challenging trip. Look out for the photographs soon!

I saw a friend on facebook asking why film and I thought I should write about my own reasons for shooting film. I wrote an article on travel photography for ubersnap.com (launching soon) recently and surprisingly 2 out of the 3 key photographs that I chose were taken on film.

Why film?

The choice of digital/film medium, large/medium/35mm format, camera and lenses are merely tools a photographer uses to create his images. My reluctance to give up film is simply because I cannot replicate what I get from film with digital in terms of the colours and the 3D effect. A film image is distinctively different from a digital image and hopefully someday digital technology can replicate what I can get on film before film dies out.

Another key reason for shooting film is the deeper appreciation for each image as compared to digital. From the process of loading the film, making the exposure and finally developing the film, there are many areas where it can go wrong resulting in the loss of the image. Everytime I receive the negatives back from the lab or seeing them for the first time out of the developing tank, there is a great sense of appreciation of how much has gone through in order to create that particular image.

For those who love film, do check out this great article by Nelson at Why I (Still) Love Shooting Film

when in doubt

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It’s been too long since I last took my camera out for a shoot and I decided to take a break from other things that I was doing and go for a sunset shoot. I was feeling a bit jaded prior to this and I needed to find my mojo back. Been wanting to go to Labrador Park for the longest time but it was not low tide at sunset. I went to Gardens by the Bay East instead via the Marina Barrage route and it was quite a walking distance under the blistering heat.

The sunset was beautiful which made me fell in love with photographing the beauty of nature again, it’s hard to explain why I get so much inner peace when I’m out photographing. Perhaps it’s the constant appreciation of all things that have to come into place when I get a beautiful sunrise/sunset. This was one of the rare times I did not get to experience blue hour as the sunset afterglow kept lingering which turned the sky pinkish. It was a sight to behold. Thankful that I was able to witness and capture it on camera. The view here might have been shot many times by other photographers but to me it doesn’t matter because the light is different everytime and more importantly this is my own personal take on this scene. For those who are sitting in front of their laptops and looking at photos like this and thinking that it’s over-shot and deciding not to go out and shoot, I rather “f/8 and be there” as opposed to missing out all the potential beautiful sunrises/sunsets.

When in doubt, do what you love.

taste of failure

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I wanted to write this post since about a week ago because it has been an extremely trying week for me and I tasted how bitter failure is. Things were not going the way I wanted and I’m glad that I have this space to write about my thoughts and clear them out of my mind. It keeps me focused and rid myself of all the negative energy inside of me.

My website was hacked last week and I lost access to wordpress database. I feared the worst. Rebuilding the entire site from scratch and losing my one year worth of postings will have been a nightmare. Thankfully it all got resolved after about two days of working together with my webhost and kenchuaphoto is back up again like the way it was before.

Montage 2012 has been overwhelming and I’m not even halfway done yet. I eat, sleep and breath Montage 2012, everything is constantly running through my mind with all the issues to coordinate and settle. Sometimes in the midst of it all, I wonder if I’m any good in being a leader at all. I have my flaws and I’m prone to making mistakes as well even though I try to learn as much as I can about being a good leadership. This constant struggle has been tiring me out and whenever I’m close to a burnout, I’m glad that I have photography as a way to take my mind off matters temporary. Whenever I’m in doubt or losing my way, I always remind myself to just “do the work” and “keep learning”

The shot was taken at Pandan Reservoir and it was the first time that I visited the place. A friend brought me here and it was lovely with a great view of the sunset. Unfortunately we were late and the by the time we reach to this spot, the orange golden light of the sunset were mostly gone. I was taught a harsh lesson that light waits for no one and only those who are there early will be rewarded with the light. This shot was my favourite of the day as it’s one of the rare occasion that I could include myself in the shot with the help of my friend pressing the remote shutter. It was a great experience amidst the hecticness to just appreciate the beauty of life.

The quote that inspired me during this difficult week:

“‎It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt

Keep Shooting

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I think there is a myth that every single shot that I take is a good shot or that every photo outing that I go gives me a great sunset/sunrise. The truth is that it does not work that way!

I was out for a sunrise shoot yesterday and I’m still contemplating whether to show the photos as the sunrise was not ideal and I was not particularly pleased with my shots. Sometimes it’s days like this that I question myself why I’m doing this instead of sleeping in my bed. Most people care about the results and I do care about the results I get too. It’s frustrating to show up and not get rewarded with anything. Things doesn’t go your way all the time. This is a fact of life.

This shot was taken last friday at Lim Chu Kang Jetty and it was frustrating as well because the sunset was beautiful yet I was unable to take more photos because of security reasons. Thankfully I still had this photo at least, the only one with the sunset view that I could keep.

So why do I keep going? Do I know for certain I will get a good shot each time I go out? Honestly I dont. I keep going because I know that if I don’t, I will never get a good photograph for sure. However if I go, I know there’s a chance of getting a beautiful sunrise or sunset and be able to make a great photograph in return. If you know for sure that there is going to be Aces in a deck of cards and great sunrises or sunsets in a year, will you keep flipping those cards until you get an ace or keep chasing the light until you get a good sunrise/sunset? I will. That’s what keeps me going.

I want to share with you, whatever you are doing in life or if you are facing lots of obstacles in pursuing your dreams and goals, keep going. Keep flipping those cards. Keep shooting. Never quit!


By Blog, Landscapes, Sunsets No Comments

It’s officially a year since the first post marks the start of this journey of this website. Looking back how it was like in the begining, the profile picture is still unchanged, but the camera and lens have all moved on. I’m getting older in age and the portfolio link has not been updated at all. A total of 56 posts and a total of 2473 unique visitors from 48 different countries have visited my website but I wonder how many people were inspired by my photographs. I feel I have so much more to learn and to improve on my photography, so much more that I need to know in terms of technical knowledge and even more so to train my photographic eye and to see creatively. It seems like I been so long on this journey already yet it seems I am only still at the tip of the iceberg with regards to my photography skills and knowledge.

I was told that the only guarantee for failure is not trying at all. In landscape photography, it’s a numbers game, some days you get a good sunrise/sunset and some days you wont get any good sunrise/sunset. The only thing that I can do is just to keep going and showing up to shoot and see what I’ll get in the end. You just got to keep trying and I always believe that I will get rewarded in the end so I kept trying no matter what. I thought it was not going to be a good sunset as the sky looked dull on 5th May. My journey to Punggol Beach took much longer than expected and I wanted to switch to a nearer location, thankfully I did not as I thought I should just give it a try anyway since Punggol Beach is a new location for me. It was already sunset when I reach and I was in a haste to setup before the light dies off.
And out of nowhere, the sky lit up, burning almost the entire sky, burning red. It was an amazing sight which totally caught me by surprise. A pleasant surprise indeed. I’m glad that i followed through with my plan to go punggol beach after all. I wished I had done better with the composition though, was about knee deep in water and decided not to change my tripod position as I was afraid the light will die off anytime. The burning red sky lasted for less than 5 minutes and it went away as quickly as it came.
This post is title bloodscapes because I literally shed blood for this. Pure recklessness on my part, went in barefoot and assuming that the beach was safe, as it became dark and I was walking back to shore my feet were just feeling their way back and I stepped on some pretty sharp rocks and got multiple cuts trying to get a gripe on my balance. Finally reached the shore with bloodstains on the sand and it was super painful. It was quite a walk back to the nearest toilet to wash my wounds. In a way Punggol Beach made my first experience there highly unforgettable. Definitely will wear my shoes into water no matter where I go next time. Lesson learnt: There are more important things than keeping my shoes dry.

Monochrome Landscapes

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Sunset at Lower Pierce Reservoir was great yesterday (3rd May 2012). It was a sight to behold and after a day of rushing to different places all around it was great to be rewarded with the beauty of mother nature. It’s always interesting to visit a new location for photography as there are many unknown factors. I met a large format user who was there earlier than me, which means I was not able to move as freely as I wanted around the shooting area. The tide was high and most of the rocks were not very stable which made trying to isolate a single rock hard. I almost lost my balance at one point in time. Took off my shoes and empty my pocket after that in case and thankfully no more such close shaves. I was also using a new tripod and trying out the hitech 3 stops GND filter for the first time. In a way, you could say that I was not well prepared for the sunset.

With so many things to get familiarise with, I was also trying out what Yadi Yasin has taught during the talk and to take a few frames and move on for more angles. I kept forgetting to take landscapes photographs in portrait orientation out of my habit and both Yadi and the Ngee Ann exhibition has hammered home the importance of doing that to me. Hence I was making a conscious effort to challenge myself and compose in portrait format as well.

The results from the sunset pointed out many things that I still need to work on after looking through the photos back at home and interestingly my favourite shot is this (as featured) which is something that is not commonly seen in my landscape work. Landscapes shot in portrait orientation and in black and white. The black and white idea actually came about as I was talking Julian (large format user) and he was shooting the sunset using black and white film. I thought why not I try it out as well during the editing process and it turned out much better than the colour version. Turns out to be what I considered as my best shot of the day and my only keeper.

Enjoyed the sunset, time to chase more of that beautiful light. Light is beautiful!

7th Ngee Ann Photographic Exhibition

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As I approached the one year mark since the first official post of this photoblog on 8th May 2011, I am truly thankful for all the wonderful opportunities that have come my way and also all the people who have a play a part in helping me to where I’m am today. I am extremely honoured to share with you guys another piece of good news. Two of my photographs have been selected and are currently exhibited at the 7th Ngee Ann Photographic Exhibition 2012. The exhibition is open from 26th April till 7th May, 11am to 7pm daily at 97 Tank Road Teochew Building (Main Exhibition Hall) S(238066) with many other amazing photographic works from other accomplished and talented photographers. Do drop by to check out the exhibition if you are free! My photographs will be made available for sale as well through the exhibition and this is limited to a single print and I will not make any more prints of this two photographs for sale in future. You can get in touch with me at if you wish to enquire more details with regards to the sale of the prints.

Finally went done to see my prints in person on sunday as I wanted to make sure everything was nicely in place before I share about this. The whole process took quite a while, I submitted four photographs and the above two are the ones that got selected. Making the prints was harder than I thought as I went to a well renowned printer but I was not pleased with the print and I had to make another reprint at another shop before I got a print that I was satisfied with. The whole process of this exhibition had me making three trips to Teochew Building and another four trips on different occasions to get my photographs printed. After looking at my exhibited print, I wished that I choose a larger size of 12 x 18 instead of the 10 x 15 as it looked kinda small when placed in the big frame. The exhibition was lovely and the many other photographic works were inspiring as well which gave many insights and things to learn about from. I will definitely strive to get better works exhibited next year and hopefully find buyers who are interested in buying my prints.

I’ve seen a influx of visitors to my website recently but I don’t know who you are, so if you like to get in touch or just say hi to me do drop me an email to as I will really like to get to know more about the people that visits my website. I promise I wont bite 😉

one year of kenchuaphoto

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Wow, it has been a year since I registered this domain www.kenchuaphoto.com. Found out about the exact date because I got the reminder to pay for my domain name and hosting renewal LOL. Yes I paid already so whether you like it or not this website will be here for another year!!! I cant believe a year has passed so fast and even my role in NUSPS is also coming to an end soon 🙁

Although the first post was only done on 8th May (I went to check my archives) marking the official launch of this website, I feel that celebrating 22 April as the birthday is more appropriate because it was the moment when I decided to just whack and register and pay for this domain. I can still remember it was quite a big decision for me at that point in time. Had this idea of my own website, thought of a good domain name, after that went to do research and find out how it’s done. Finally signed up and voila got my website. This whole process took a few days and I’m glad that I decided to pull the trigger in the end. 🙂

This website was truly the catalyst to my growth in photography, a year on I still feel I have so much more to learn and improve on but I’m glad that I never quit and keep walking down the path of photography. In return photography has given me so much rewards, both tangible and intangible plus the joy that I always get when looking at the beautiful sceneries and looking at my photographs which helps me to remember that moment in time. Where do I start? From my experience at Asian Geographic, I’m truly thankful for the wonderful opportunity and the mentors that I had. Where you find a company who send their intern to Cebu for company trip and let me stay in Shangri-La Hotel, air ticket and hotel room all paid for?!?! After I came back, I was reward with a free Silkair ticket which I made used of it to go to Nepal in December. Seriously where to find such opportunity?! I can’t express the amount of gratitude towards the people at AG especially to John and Jeff.

Following which I stood for NUSPS elections, even though I was gutted that I did not have a challenger, I was extremely happy to be elected nevertheless and working with the rest of the 43rd MC has been a wonderful experience. I learnt so much photography knowledge from the rest which helped me in improving my own photography. Shall not name the names now (will leave that to when I step down). Over the past year, I thankful for the chance to hear and learn from people like Jino Lee@Montage 2011, Geoff Ang+Russell Wong+Tay Kay Chin @SOAP, Alex Soh+Chow Chee Yong @SYPA event, Yadi Yasin+Kevin Lee+Kim Lau+Liew Tong Leng @CS Anniversary, Raymond Phang @VJC Expose, Tristan Yeo @Edgefield Pri. I hope I get more chances to listen and learn from other photographers and I’m definitely looking forward to Montage 2012 and learning from all the great photographers that will be there. 🙂

This post is getting too long and I shall end off by giving a teaser for what’s coming soon. Of course Montage 2012! I will be heavily involved. Check out www.montage.sg!!! Things that are confirmed: I will be heading to Hanoi in end June for a photography trip! Super excited! Also will be giving my first public talk at 2 of NLB’s libraries in May (stay tuned for updates!), not sure how it will turn out but I try not to think about it until the time comes. Oh yes lastly my Nepal ebook still in the process of converting written text to word document, hope to finish it soon! (so far about 4,000 words already converted)

To another great year ahead for kenchuaphoto. Cheers!