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Self Critique

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This image is mediocre. Alright now that I got your attention, it’s time to explain the reason behind this post. This was planned to be a similar post to previous post but things happened along the way. In case you didn’t know, I divide my free time between shooting sessions, recce sessions, looking at the works of other photographers, reading photography books/articles, doing post processing work on my photos, writing posts for this website, planning and brainstorming for ideas for the direction of my photography and my website.

The past few days leading to this post has been a lot of reflecting which led to this self critique post. I just read finish David duChemin “Within The Frame, The Journey of Photographic Vision” which prompted a lot of thoughts about my photography. Working for AsianGeo has also allowed me to see images that were truly outstanding, some so haunting that you will never forget the photo once you seen it. I’m drawn to images that I can connect with, images that I could sense the vision of the photographer, images that I could feel the mood.

In this respect, whenever I look at this image, I feel that it cannot bring the context to viewers. This shot was taken during my lunch break at work and I always felt it was a great excitement to take the lift to the top floor of a building and see the view that I will get. The shophouses  are beautiful architecture but in small Singapore, they could be replaced by more high rise buildings in the future as our population increases. Having explained the rationale behind this shot, did you have similar thoughts when you first saw this image? My guess is no. It’s probably more like a “I was here” shot. What is the mood? It’s not even sombre, not close to cheerful. Nothing. This shot didn’t connect on an emotional level. So what if this shot had no faults in exposure, composition (subjective), white balance? Anyone with a camera could go to the same place and take the same shot. Where’s the ‘wow’ factor?

I need to improve on conveying my vision. A lot.

End of rant.


Vesak Day

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I decided to shoot the Buddha Relic Tooth Temple as it was Vesak Day few days ago. The Buddha Relic Tooth Temple is an amazing architecture and I hope my photo does justice to it. I remembered visiting the inside of the temple before and it was amazing to see the details and statues. I’m not a particularly religious person but there was a sense of peace when I step inside. As a chinese, I see it as part of my culture and heritage. If you are a tourist visiting Singapore, I highly recommend paying a visit to the temple.

Since there is not much back story to tell about this shot, I shall talk a bit on the post processing of this photo. This took me way longer than expected as compared to my usual 5 minutes work as I somehow got a strange green colour cast which could not be rectified by shifting the “green” slider or adjusting the white balance. The colour was uneven with most part of it affecting the blue sky. After playing around with quick fixes in Photoshop, it still did not work out and I had to separate the sky and the building and make the colour cast correction on the sky only using layers. This took quite a while and the flare spot on the temple I was unable to remove it. 🙁

 

iCame, iSaw, iFlew

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I had the privilege of attending iFLY opening ceremony and I must thank AsianGeo for the opportunity. I have been interested in iFLY since I heard of them and it was great to finally experience it for myself. Since young, I have always been fascinated with the idea of flight. To be free in the air is something to experience. On my last trip to Brisbane, unfortunate weather conditions meant that I was unable to skydive on 2 different days. 🙁

The ability of iFLY to operate day or night, rain or shine is very promising as I would no longer be subjected to the mercy of the weather. Watching the demonstration by the instructors is really inspiring, as they have the total freedom to fly around in the wind tunnel. I was relishing the opportunity to step into the wind tunnel myself and experience the sense of floating in mid air. The “skydive” lasted 45 seconds but it sure felt like 5 minutes. It was truly amazing to feel your body being suspended by strong winds and I’m sure my face suffered some sort of distortion in the process haha. However while it was a fun experience, I must admit this is not for adrenalin junkies. There was a noticeable lack of fear as safety was ensured to the maximum with an instructor guiding me in the wind tunnel. Honestly, parasailing that I tried at Gold Coast gave me more of an adrenalin boost than iFLY. As compared to jumping out of an airplane at 9,000 feet and having a real sense of fear and beautiful scenery from a bird eye view, iFLY missed out on replicating this two important feelings. Nevertheless, I believe those who decided to clock more dives in order to fly solo will thoroughly enjoy the experience.

History on grass

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The padang is a beautiful place which hold many beautiful memories for me. This place always brings back memories of my 3 time participation in the Stan Chart full marathon as this was the end point of the race every year. The exhilaration of finishing a full marathon and the sprint at the final stretch is indescribable.

I manage to loan a Canon 5D + 24-105mm f4 L IS USM which I put it to the test for this shot. The combo was so much heavier as compared to my own and the controls layout took a while to get used to but I still get managed to get the shot. Really like how the shot turned out from the camera and an extra 2mm on the wide end really does makes a bit of a difference for landscapes shots like this. This is really making me consider getting a wide angle lens for myself.

It was a fun experience trying out a different camera and comparing it with my own. It really helps to critically evaluate my own camera gear and the future lenses that I might need to obtain. My Pentax camera has been a joy to use and it’s one of the reasons why I always look forward to bring it out and take photographs.

At the end of the day, the camera is a tool and if you cannot enjoy using the tool, you cannot enjoy photography.

 

Virgin Voter

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General Elections 2011 was the first time I was able to vote and being a once in 5 years event, I wanted to get involved. The nomination centre for my GRC was merely 5 mins walk away from my house, thus I decided to take a look. I was shocked upon my arrival to see the amount of PAP supporters/volunteers/activists/members that were packed inside the school compound. The whole canteen and the parade square were filled with people wearing all white. In contrast, opposition parties SDP and WP had barely enough people to fill up one bench.

This shot was taken on nomination day and once I saw the shot I knew how the final image would be like. This image took me a while to complete as I processed other shots that were much straightforward first.

Personally I like how the final image turned out a lot. Let me break down the subtext of each aspect of the image for those that are interested.

  1. Black and White image-Is politics just black and white?
  2. White Background-The context of this man has been removed, unlike a street photograph where we can get a clue of where this man is, this image has none. It looks like a high key studio shot and the man is posing for the shot. I want the viewer to think if this is real candid shot or this a staged shot?
  3. The umbrella he is holding-So it’s raining or it’s sunny?
  4. Eyes-Usually from the eyes we can tell so much about a person, but without the eyes, you need to figure out from the body language and without the eyes, this man could be anyone and he has lost his individuality.
  5. Shirt Colour-When allegiance to politics is shown by shirt colour, the lack of a definite shirt colour makes you wonder which party he supports or does he supports any party?

I hope this explains the image for those looking for answers. However personally, the beauty of this image is the ambiguities that this image evokes.

 

24th Storey View

By Blog, Sunsets No Comments

Once again another shot from a high viewpoint. This place was near the place of my internship and I had the luxury of doing a reece during lunchtime prior to the evening shoot. The view at the top was amazing and this time I was not alone to catch the sunset. There was 2 other strangers who came shortly after I had picked my spot and since they were both friends and the space was too small for 3 persons, I decided to go down to the 24th Storey to get an unobstructed view.

The place was awesome as one could observe the sun as it sets and especially at the last few minutes before the sun disappears from the horizon, the sun would turn to a dark red, turning into a nice “egg yolk.” It was a pity that this spot was very far away from the sun, thus I could not get a nice close up shot of the sun. As I waited for the blue sky, I was surprised by what I saw soon after the sun had set. The sunlight had reflected back on the clouds and diffuse over the sky creating a beautiful soft glow of orange. It was breathtaking. After looking through all the photos, I decided this was the shot of the day. In order to focus on the beautiful sky, I did a crop to mimic a panorama from a single shot.

Landscapes shots always test my patience but the wait is always worth it. To feel the light breeze blowing in my face, watching the light changes at the top is one amazing feeling. These are the things that keeps me going, to continue to capture the beautiful scenes that I see which most people in Singapore might missed out due to their hectic pace of life. I want to share the beauty with all. Light is beautiful.

Flashblack

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There are times when I walked on the streets and I thought to myself, “damn! I should have brought my camera totoday!” These days I try to bring out my camera as much as possible. As the saying goes, “The best camera is the one you have on your hands.” Sometimes great photographic moments  are missed just because you do not have a camera with you. I saw this old rusted bicycle and it looked had it had provided many years of service to it’s owner and yet still standing proud. I gave me a retro feeling like I was back in the 1970s. I knew I had to capture this in black and white.

In the midst of getting my camera ready for the shot, a stray cat came along and climb onto the bicycle and finally decided to rest in the basket. Call it luck or fate, it all came together for me resulting in a shot that I was very pleased with. It would have been perfect if the cat had glance at me, allowing me to capture it’s eyes through the basket but my attempts to attract it attention were in vain. Apparently the comfort of the basket was unrivaled.

Once again I got remind of how street photography is so elusive yet so rewarding, shots like this can never be planned beforehand. As compared to landscapes photography where one can plan the location, check the sunset/sunrise timing and simply wait for the light. If the light is not good, just come back another day to the same place to shoot again. However for street photography it is totally unpredictable! The beauty of street photography, you never know what you end up with everytime.

Long Exposures

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Sometimes I wonder whether if it’s the thrill of exploring obscure places or the amazing view that excites me more. I believe both plays a big part in my enjoyment of photography and on friday, I struck gold at this 11th storey carpark! This place was located right in the intersection of Bugis and Suntec providing a great view of Suntec, Shenton Way, Raffles City and the National Library.

I think people who claims that Singapore is boring or have nothing interesting to shoot are not putting in the effort to explore and search for places to shoot. I still have a long list of places waiting for me to shoot and I wonder how long it would take before I complete the list.

I think my photograph didn’t do enough justice to the scene and I definitely will visit this place again another time to get a better shot. Till then!