Creating Unexpected Moment

May 30, 2016 Leave a comment

Was on the Boom Lift documenting a site project, been lifted up over 50m in height. It was a great view at the end of south-west part of Singapore. But it can be a bit scary if the wind starts to blow and cause the platform to vibrate.

Anyway, i was busy capturing various scene from such an aerial perspective. I can’t help not to notice there were fighter jets flying around the sky. The jets were not flying at a very high altitude or even super sonic speed. This allows me to see where the jets were heading.

I standby my camera position using a telephoto lenses. Right above the oil tank where the fighter jets are heading, a crane was doing lifting on the roof of an oil tanker. In a few seconds, the jets flew into my frame and i quickly fire off a few shots to get the best position of the jets on the sky. Resulting in the final picture below.

Unexpected moment can be a long wait, or it just happens instantly. Either ways, both are required to observe the situation, wait for the right time to capture that split second moment. The question is are you able to see it.

A building with many names

This is basically a #throwback of a picture i took early this year. I was on my way to capture the old dragon playground in Toa Payoh and i walked past this traditional Chinese building. A building with many names house under it. Singapore Chinese Physicians’ Association, Singapore Chong Hwa Medical Institution Singapore and College of traditional Chinese Medicine.

 

Experience in photography assignment a day before

April 29, 2016 Leave a comment

I always enjoy helping people who is urgently in need of photography service, especially in the field of commercial photography. My forte is to capture pictures of corporate, industrial, architecture and interior work.

This year i had a few job requests, always 1 day, 20 hrs before. Standard practice is to issue quotation that state T&C. But due to urgency, no quotation was issued. Resulting in a lot of terms and conditions were not explained clearly. A lot of bad communication and promise happened which i don’t normally agree or do. which is NOT GOOD. I probably get too excited by the challenging job that is coming in, i love challenge. Challenge is a way to improve one man capabilities. It feels good to be helping client to solve their really URGENT problem quickly.

Pro photographer who take pictures for a living. May need to feed their wife, maybe 3 kids, fuel for other equipment to provide better service, fuel for faster computer so less time is spend on waiting for the file to process (waiting is always painful and not productive). Photographer is not only paid for their time spent from traveling from office to the location, start shooting from daylight to sunset, or agreed upon the number of  X hours to work. Client seldom understand there is a back end work that spent even more man hours than the actual shoot. That is the photo editing. The follow up to GREAT picture, VIBRANT COLOUR picture. The number of editing hours put in should be clearly factor into the cost in either explanation or state inside the quotation. Especially with the huge amount of files a pro shoot for job, it can easily store up to 8GB at least, for a less hectic day.

Back in office after a long day, load up the CF card in the computer. The time required to convert from RAW to either JPG, TIFF, DNG files. Is not a sprint of 100m. Follow up by the X hours of pictures editing can sometimes be  tremendous. THE WORST MISTAKE is when i told my client “Yes all the pictures will have very basic editing”. Which i later realise what the hell am i talking about, this is not my common practise!!!! You are thinking there is batch process in Photoshop. Sync it up Lightroom. But still, many set of images are different, there is still a need to run through it in detail. Such practice can easily fill up a full day to do editing depending on the requirement and difficulty requested by the client or the number of  X images. Am i paid in that area, usually nope, because editing of the images are pre selected by client is minimum, quality pictures. So by telling your client, “Yes all the pictures will have very basic editing”. Slitting my own throat.  Very bad and poor decision by me.  I think a spirit must have possess my body. 

Please, please do not let my fatal mistake runs into you. Is going to be extremely painful.

End of the day. Nobody wants to have an unhappy relationship with anyone, especially your client. Neither do you want to be unhappy with yourself because of these unnecessary s**t. Do not over promise and under delivery, it will reflect very badly on yourself. We are pay to solve client’s problem, not create more problems!

There are 2 solutions i can think of, either reject the job because preparation time is not enough and the brief is not clear and no quotation was given because time is short. If not you must prepare a quotation, state your T&C clearly and get client to sign before executing the job on the agree price.

There is still much more to share in my field, but at this moment of time. I feel silly + dumb = naive. Photography sometimes is really easy. Business, is cruel.

A motto for your consideration Work Hard, Work Smart, Work Fast.

 

 

 

Industrial Photography on ship

April 19, 2016 Leave a comment

I received an enquiry last month to photograph a vessel that is docking in Singapore for work. After liaising and quote were done. Date was set but was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances out in the water. That was a time that i need to exercise my patient for the frequent changes. Finally it was finally confirmed one day before, and i was extremely excited to head down to the location.

Next day headed down to the location 15 mins earlier, is better to be early than late. Got all the necessary clearance was a breeze as the client had did a good job with the port authority to get me in.

I was driven in a truck to the vessel location, as the port was vast, i was surprise no cycling was allowed either as compared to other port i worked with. It took about 8 mins to reach the location for a slow drive. I cannot imagine walking in either if no vehicle was available. But the port authority was professional and experience to get things covered.

Boarded the vessel, sign in at the entrance. Went up to the deck to meet the Captain and some of his crew members. I was assigned to a crew member from Egypt who was friendly and very professional. He will be the man guiding me. As i am new here, i asked the crew how are things doing, how old is the vessel (which was a new vessel), where are the good spots to capture some great images, to break the ice. Once communication was “set up”, we proceed up to “Monkey Island” to check out the view.

The image below was the first view that greeted me, a clear sight of the work progress. Blessed with blue sky and the sun still moving up to the top before the peak of afternoon. I had only about 2 hours to work instead of the 4hrs i propose to client. An unique situation i need to be speedy and reliable to capture the best images for my client. I can keep my camera ISO as low as possible as shutter speed was sufficient to freeze the moment.

Using a telephoto lenses to zoom into the grabs, the vessel has 3 cranes in total and all are operating in the same time non stop.

In my mind i already have a vision of getting 3 grabs in one frame, but i know it was not easy. As the cranes were moving at different speed but same direction. I was shooting and observing, secretly pray to have the 3 grabs in my line of view. As i was about to move to another location after a long wait, the 3 grabs aligned! I managed to get 2 frames quickly.

Next the crew asked me whether i want to shoot from the crane operating room? I agreed immediately, knowing it will be sort of aerial images from the top, and i never been up there before. Of course with the supervision of the crew and port authority. Got my hand a little greasy during the vertical climb, no complain at all!  But i should have bring my gloves next time! I went up and saw a operator operating the crane back and forth like a pro. I quickly capture some good shots from inside to outside.

I make my way out from the operating room with the guys, i stopped and turned back again to make sure is there anymore possible angles to work at? I told the crews to wait a while while i get in a half kneeling position to stabilise myself while the crane was turning. This was one of the image i captured from the top, outside.

I knew my job was 80% done, i was able to cover the angles with the right lighting available. but i still wanted to capture more angles. I started to do close up of the grab and the cargo.

I was invited to a quick lunch on board by the crew before i left the vessel, said goodbye and thanks the crew member and Captain. As the earlier light was not in my favour for the entire vessel shot. This was the last time i can captured it on ground before am been escort out of the facility. I approached many angles and below is one of the image i did.

Overall the shoot went very well, no injury and everyone was safe. Safety is very important as advised by the crew and i had to obey their instruction. I went back to the office, i carefully select and edit the images. I always heard some photographers dump all the whole chunks of pictures for the client without QC. I only selected the decently good or best pictures, never mind if is repetitive as long the quality is good. I never know what client had in mind in certain images for their usage. As usual, i uploaded all my high res and low res for the client to download, with a secure password for them to access. Outsider would not even able to see the set as well.

End of assignment.

My industrial pictures on Google Images search

April 18, 2016 Leave a comment

I was on Google Images page and was typing out some keywords am using in my website. I tried ‘Singapore Shipyard Photographer‘. A list of images popped out. It was good to see the images i captured were on the top of the search engine!:)

This was my search about 2-3 weeks back

This was my search on 18th April 2016

Drop me a message for industrial enquiries! Want to say Hi, come on in as well!

 

What to do with a new camera

March 29, 2016 Leave a comment

What do you do with your newly purchased camera before your next big travel trip?

 

I recently accompanied my friend to purchase a new mirrorless camera for her upcoming travel trip. She went online to do research. Ask friends for recommendation, and finally decided what to get. On the day when there is a electronic exhibition. We went to the booth that was selling her ideal camera. On the ground, she tested it out to make sure she is comfortable with the grip and weight. The sales person is doing all the sales talk and what freebies are offering, finally convinced. She purchased her dream camera and was very happy about it. In fact I was excited for her as well!

 

Now you got a new camera, this little digital box is going to accompany your travel  journey to document your beautiful events in life. Tasty food you tasted, stunning scenery you saw, friendly people you met. Splendid.

 

What’s next? Bring your camera out for the travel trip and maybe struggle to use it, because you did not know how to use the camera functions and settings. Perhaps, end of the day saying this is a really lousy, indecent camera because you don’t know how to use it. In fact you did not even learn about your wonderful camera technology and the functionality in the first place.

 

Here are tips and preparation I am going to share before bringing your new camera out for travel trip.

 

  1. Bring the camera out to take plenty of pictures, like a 1000 pictures or as many as possible. Make the effort to look through the menu,  understand how the camera functions and setting work. Make adjustment what is best for you. Bring along the menu book for instance reference.
  2. You can learn all the terminology of your new camera but without putting it into practice, the process is going to be a bit more frustrating. So go out and practice, have fun with it.
  3. Understand the limitation of your camera. How far can your lenses zoom, how fast can your camera focus in different lighting conditions. All these will prepare you well for unexpected photography moments.
  4. Get a spare battery if you are going to have a long day of outing, battery consumption can be much faster than you thought.
  5. Extra memory cards, preferably another 16GB size. Don’t ever put all your eggs in one basket. Unless you are going to bring portable hard drive to back up.
  6. Get a sturdy tripod for night scene, do not get a tripod that have thin legs because it is cheap or pretty! It won’t be stable if the wind blow.

Photography equipment nightmare you wish it did not happen

March 23, 2016 Leave a comment

There are many bad photography situations a photographer he/she would not even wish to encounter in a photo shoot. The simplest error or an indirect mistake can be a photographer’s worst nightmare! Or even losing a client. Believe me on that. With more than 10 years of professional photography experience in Singapore and various Asia countries, i compile a list of faults for you to take note.

Memory card images deleted
This happened only once, a decade ago, I accidentally “killed” all my travel images. I wondered how did the freak “accident” even happen. But it happened! Panic button pressed, called friends for help. Manage to get a free software and recovered 80% images. Imagine this happen in a client’s assignment, disastrous!

Advice
Do not fidget your “delete all” or “format” in your camera. Safest way is to switch off your camera when not in used. Purchased software to recover the images, but I think it is expensive and hardly use it. Store your memory card in a proper camera bag/CF card pouch. Do not leave it in the pocket or anywhere else.

Camera battery low power
Is a common problem for all electronic equipment. Especially with newer cameras that are equipped with better technology. The drainage of the battery power tends to be higher if the LCD screen is frequently use to review the images or filming a video. One time I was struggling with the battery power for only a 2hr photo shoot, using the same battery from a previous shoot. Without checking the battery power durability, it suddenly decrease below 20% when i checked! I was forced not to review my pictures, shoot less but quality pictures.

Advice
Use original battery instead of 3rd party battery, it does make a different. Also, prepare lots of spare batteries if is going to be a long day. It won’t kill your back to have some back up.

AA batteries out of power in flash light
Using previous set of batteries that were used in the last shoot. Resulting insufficient power to pull off the entire shoot. But it was never a problem for me. Because… read advice.

Advice
Use a fresh set of batteries for each event. Buy a battery tester to check the remaining voltage in the battery.

Tripod topple down
This is seriously no joke, with a camera mounted on the tripod is always considered a risk to me. I once did a private shoot for a client inside a 5 star hotel. The client booked a really expensive suite just for the event. I had a few assistants with me to assist. I placed my tripod properly with camera mounted. Briefed my assistant and client to be careful. During the break in the mist of the event, for the first time in my life I tripped onto my own tripod, I only can witnessed my 13 years old tripod toppled down, together with my camera. Luckily it landed on the carpet. God bless!! The only damage was my very expensive lens thread had a slight dent! Months later the camera was in trouble and I had to send it for repair before getting a new camera.

Advice
Ensure the tripod is stabilized before mounting the camera.
Make sure the tripod is able to handle the weight of your camera and lens. Especially heavy lenses like the Canon 70-200 f/2.8. Always double check! Do not trip onto your tripod legs!

Plenty of dust in sensor
Common problem every DSLR camera users will face. Dust can easily fly into the sensor when changing lenses, especially in outdoor condition. The dust in the sensor will offer you an ugly black dot, or if you are unlucky, many blacks dots appear the image. It is annoying and requires substantial amount of time to clean it up in Photoshop or Lightroom.

Advice
While changing your lenses, have your camera face down or against the wind. Invest in a good blower to blow off the dust trapped in sensor. Use the sensor cleaning option in your camera. Whatever works.

Camera error
Am using a Canon 5D series camera, I fear to see the word ERROR in my camera panel. They are a series of error codes when the camera is not working. I will start to sweat even in the coldest air con room, is really not a funny matter when client pay you and, you try not to screw it up. Reputation at stake!

Advice
Remove the battery and CF card then reinstall, or even remove the lens and gently clean the electrical contacts on the camera and lenses, pray it work. Worst case scenario head to the service center to get it repair. For professional, bring along a spare DSLR or a decent compact camera to back up. Stop complaining is heavy!

I hope my write up help you guys, precaution need to be taken in order to minimise unexpected situation to happen. Is always good to have plan B than no plan in order to enjoy photography.

Do share with me your thoughts about this, if you have other better solution than what I had offered, or even situation you come across and wish to share please let me know. I will be more than happy to share in my next blog.

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