Black & White Spider Awards

December 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Is only been about 2 year since i took curious interest in architecture photography. Is been a really steep learning curve and i totally enjoy the process. Early in 2015, i submitted some images to participate in Black & White Spider Awards. I totally lost track of what’s happening until i recently received an email that am a nominee for it. For a start it feels good to be recognised for the time and visual effort i put in, especially in an international photo competition, suddenly this feeling of achievement sinks in, feels really good about it.  This will surely inspired me to capture even better images for the next competition.

# Lines Discipline

Lines Discipline

Press release

LOS ANGELES 12 Dec 2015 – Professional photographer Ricky Gui of Singapore was presented with the 10th Annual Black and White Spider Awards Nominee title in the category of Architecture at a prestigious Nomination & Winners PhotoShow webcast Saturday, November 21, 2015.

The live online gala was attended by over 10,000 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry’s most important event for black and white photography.

10th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Bonhams, Random House, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Stockholm City Museum, Annenberg Foundation, Leo Burnett, FTM Art Advisory and Fratelli Alinari who honored Spider Fellows with 505 coveted title awards and 943 nominees in 31 categories.

“It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 7,686 entries we received this year,” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. “Ricky Gui’s “Tranverse,” an exceptional image entered in the Architecture category, represents black and white photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present him with the title of Nominee.” Jury member Diane Ruggie from Velocebella agency added, “The gallery of winners and runners up has true stopping power.”

BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.

My thoughts on the start of industrial photography and the challenges. 2/2

October 26, 2015 Leave a comment

In my previous blog i had shared how i started off to do industrial photography. This blog am going to share what were the challenges i had faced during the assignment.

  • It is a norm in the construction site to witness the crazy dust storm sweeping up and knowing what am going to breathe into my lungs.
  • Wanna get tan in the beach. Scorching sun out in the construction open area sure makes your skin tanned, apply thick sunblock. XD
  • Dress in ‘full-safety-order’ attire to be safe. To be exact is injury free, not even the smallest cut on skin is considered safe.
  • Certain images require to capture from high ground secure with the help of safety harness and the skill of the operator operating a Galmon boom lift. My only crazy imagination is the wind to sweep me away since am ‘floating’ 50m high.
  • Lots of staircase climbing as elevator is not ready, it’s not a big deal actually.
  • Professional interaction with the management team to understand their requirement. They are my pay master too!
  • Make friends with as many people as possible on the ground, there are many nice unsung heroes that is going to take care of me really well. But i can ensure you not everyone is gonna be nice. #harshreality

Is a huge achievement for me to witness the project is completed after so many months of documentation, no injury in the entire construction process, my client achieve their client’s completion timeline.

Here is a self portrait of myself working in various industrial assignments!

Anyway am looking out for another exciting industrial photography assignment to commit for another 2-3 full years if any companies wants to hire a professional photographer. Always ready to commit in what i am passionate about.

My thoughts on the start of industrial photography and the challenges. 1/2

October 22, 2015 Leave a comment

While looking through my industrial photography portfolio for other presentation, i suddenly thought about the major 2 years documentation of a construction project i did for an overseas company based in Singapore, and other series of industrial work in other industrial sectors. Before this enquiry actually happen. I did not have a proper portfolio for industrial work, i was deeply drawn by the powerful industrial aspect to photograph the working life in the industrial/construction sector, because this is the kind of job that suits my personality, always being outgoing, enjoy meeting and interact with different people, working in a little harsh environment and yet able to capture pictures of what client wanted is the challenge i loved to be in.

I thought about it day and night how do i get an industrial assignment? The next progression was to set a goal, this is a really powerful way to start off. I started capturing industrial images in the public construction around Singapore. Wherever i see a construction, i mark the location on paper. This purpose is not to forget where are the locations and give me a visual to take action. Next step, i went back to the construction area with the best lighting direction and the right gear. Cross my fingers for the best situation to happen. hoping the moment was right to make an appealing picture.

Sometimes i got great pictures, but most of the time nothing exciting happen. Is all part of the process in photography. this will continuously creates a challenge for myself to get the next best picture. Following step is to select only the best series of images, edit the images, post it online, this is to create an online opportunity for myself to reach out potential client. And guess what, a potential client likes it! I received an email and next thing i was already negotiating with the client for a job they wanted me to help for 24 months. The rest was history…

Below are some of the pictures i have capture to build my port from Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam. FYI it didn’t need to be expensive to travel out to get pictures. :X

The next part i will write about the experience i face during the process in the industrial sector.

Anti drone technology

October 16, 2015 Leave a comment

Am sure everyone in photography at least knew what is aerial photography using drone technology. I came across this video on youtube which i personally find it a bit disturbing, a drone-neutralizer gun was invented to bring down the drone. Check out the video!

Personally seeing drone use in photography offer a fresh perspective of our world. But it depends who is the user controlling it. Where will the drone be flying over? What is the purpose for it? Flying in a legal fly zone or restricted area? Many questions were asked but i don’t think there is a clear law in the moment the purpose of flying a drone anyway we like.

Man came up a fantastic product and only later bring it down by another technology because it disturb the life of others, or flying into a no fly zone area for drone. Also had viewed a couple videos of how annoying drones been taken out from the sky in public. Weeeeeeeeee…….

A man used a fishing rod line to hook the drone off the sky, am sure he rather hook up a big fish than a flying toy. Another drone flew over a basketball court and got hit by the basketball causing damage to it, nice shot to cause over 50% damage.

Whoever this genius invented a drone-neutralizer gun sure brings down the drone in the most polite way. How sweet!

Reasons Why Professional Photographers Cannot Work for Free

October 13, 2015 Leave a comment

I came across this online article from photographer Tony Wu who wrote the heart of photographer who take picture for a living. Huge credit to this man!

Below are his wisdom of words to share.

Dear potential photo buyer,

If you have been directed to this page, it is likely that you have requested the use of an image or images for free or minimal compensation.

As professional photographers, we receive requests for free images on a regular basis. In a perfect world, each of us would love to be able to respond in a positive manner and assist, especially with projects or efforts related to areas such as education, social issues, and conservation of natural resources. It is fair to say that in many cases, we wish we had the time and resources to do more to assist than just send photographs.

Unfortunately, such are the practicalities of life that we are often unable to respond, or that when we do, our replies are brief and do not convey an adequate sense of the reasons underlying our response.

Circumstances vary for each situation, but we have found that there are a number of recurring themes, which we have set out below with the objective of communicating more clearly with you, and hopefully avoiding misunderstandings or unintentionally engendering ill will.

Please take the following points in the constructive manner in which they are intended. We certainly hope that after you have had a chance to read this, we will be able to talk again and establish a mutually beneficial working relationship.

Photographs Are Our Livelihood
Creating compelling images is the way we make our living. If we give away our images for free, or spend too much time responding to requests for free images, we cannot make a living.

We Do Support Worthy Causes With Images
Most of us do contribute photographs, sometimes more, to support certain causes. In many cases, we may have participated directly in projects that we support with images, or we may have a pre-existing personal relationship with key people involved with the efforts concerned. In other words, each of us can and does provide images without compensation on a selective basis.

We Have Time Constraints
Making a leap from such selective support to responding positively to every request we get for free photographs, however, is impractical, if for no other reason than the substantial amount of time required to respond to requests, exchange correspondence, prepare and send files, and then follow-up to find out how our images were used and what objectives, if any, were achieved. It takes a lot of time to respond to requests, and time is always in short supply.

Pleas of “We Have No Money” Are Often Difficult to Fathom
The primary rationale provided in nearly all requests for free photographs is budgetary constraint, meaning that the requestor pleads a lack of funds.

Such requests frequently originate from organisations with a lot of cash on hand, whether they be publicly listed companies, government or quasi-government agencies, or even NGOs. Often, it is a simple matter of taking a look at a public filing or other similar disclosure document to see that the entity concerned has access to significant funding, certainly more than enough to pay photographers a reasonable fee should they choose to do so.

To make matters worse, it is apparent that all too often, of all the parties involved in a project or particular effort, photographers are the only ones being asked to work for free. Everyone else gets paid.

Given considerations like this, you can perhaps understand why we frequently feel slighted when we are told that: “We have no money.” Such claims can come across as a cynical ploy intended to take advantage of gullible individuals.

We Have Real Budget Constraints
With some exceptions, photography is not a highly remunerative profession. We have chosen this path in large part due to the passion we have for visual communication, visual art, and the subject matters in which we specialise.

The substantial increase in photographs available via the internet in recent years, coupled with reduced budgets of many photo buyers, means that our already meager incomes have come under additional strain.

Moreover, being a professional photographer involves significant monetary investment.

Our profession is by nature equipment-intensive. We need to buy cameras, lenses, computers, software, storage devices, and more on a regular basis. Things break and need to be repaired. We need back-ups of all our data, as one ill-placed cup of coffee could literally erase years of work. For all of us, investment in essential hardware and software entails thousands of dollars a year, as we need to stay current with new technology and best practices.

In addition, travel is a big part of many of our businesses. We must spend a lot of money on transportation, lodging and other travel-related costs.

And of course, perhaps most importantly, there is a substantial sum associated with the time and experience we have invested to become proficient at what we do, as well as the personal risks we often take. Taking snapshots may only involve pressing the camera shutter release, but creating images requires skill, experience and judgement.

So the bottom line is that although we certainly understand and can sympathise with budget constraints, from a practical point of view, we simply cannot afford to subsidise everyone who asks.

Getting “Credit” Doesn’t Mean Much
Part and parcel with requests for free images premised on budgetary constraints is often the promise of providing “credit” and “exposure”, in the form or a watermark, link, or perhaps even a specific mention, as a form of compensation in lieu of commercial remuneration.

There are two major problems with this.

First, getting credit isn’t compensation. We did, after all, create the images concerned, so credit is automatic. It is not something that we hope a third party will be kind enough to grant us.

Second, credit doesn’t pay bills. As we hopefully made clear above, we work hard to make the money required to reinvest in our photographic equipment and to cover related business expenses. On top of that, we need to make enough to pay for basic necessities like food, housing, transportation, etc.

In short, receiving credit for an image we created is a given, not compensation, and credit is not a substitute for payment.

“You Are The Only Photographer Being Unreasonable”
When we do have time to engage in correspondence with people and entities who request free photos, the dialogue sometimes degenerates into an agitated statement directed toward us, asserting in essence that all other photographers the person or entity has contacted are more than delighted to provide photos for free, and that somehow, we are “the only photographer being unreasonable”.

We know that is not true.

We also know that no reasonable and competent photographer would agree to unreasonable conditions. We do allow for the fact that some inexperienced photographers or people who happen to own cameras may indeed agree to work for free, but as the folk wisdom goes: “You get what you pay for.”

Please Follow-Up
One other experience we have in common is that when we do provide photographs for free, we often do not receive updates, feedback or any other form of follow-up letting us know how the event or project unfolded, what goals (if any) were achieved, and what good (if any) our photos did.

All too often, we don’t even get responses to emails we send to follow-up, until, of course, the next time that someone wants free photographs.

In instances where we do agree to work for free, please have the courtesy to follow-up and let us know how things went. A little consideration will go a long way in making us feel more inclined to take time to provide additional images in the future.

Wrap Up
We hope that the above points help elucidate why the relevant photographer listed below has sent you to this link. All of us are dedicated professionals, and we would be happy to work with you to move forward in a mutually beneficial manner.

Recovery in Nepal

October 9, 2015 Leave a comment

My thoughts suddenly flow in about the devastating earthquake that took place on 25th April 2015. Mother nature needs to be respected and nothing less. Buildings and roads that were build can be easily wipe out in a few minutes. Lives are lost, the passing of love one will never be return. Life move on to rebuild the future.

I visited Nepal in Nov 2012. I would say it was a memorable trip for my life. To witness how life is there makes me appreciate my life here in Singapore. Of course i never took for granted. But is good to self-reflect of what we have here.

I hope people i had met in my Nepal’s journey are holding well and fine, bless the country to be able to quickly stand feet and attract the tourist back soonest. Personally i would love to visit the country again if opportunity arise.

Below are some of the beautiful pictures i capture on my trip.

I self assume this is the Himalayas from far, such a majestic sight spotted. Advantage of sitting beside the window plane rockz!

Aerial shot of a province. I don’t even know where is it. I like how the road leads to the mountain in the background.

One of my first few picture on land. A chopped up wild boar i presume.

Sunrise from the guesthouse rooftop, it still felt like yesterday.

Life without smart phone or tablet. I felt am back to my days of childhood.

My favourite picture! Seeing these kids hanging out on a weekday makes me wonder do they have the opportunity to have an education. One of my To-Do-List is to assist kids in Nepal who wants to have an education.

If you like to see more do check out my Kathmandu and Kirtipur galleries.

Process of photograph lightning

Last evening was the first time i encountered lightning scene while i was doing a personal photography project on a high ground at Bukit Batok, Singapore. I notice the lightning was occurring very frequently, why not try to capture this phenomenal moment since i did not try before.

Basic equipment i have that time:
-Remote shutter release
-Wide angle or telephoto lens

Quickly set up my tripod, used a 70-200 F4 lens, mount it and adjust the composition i desire. Not sure how much time will the lightning keep striking. The camera setting was put to BULB mode, F/16, ISO 200 and expose it for 73 seconds. Below is the 2nd exposure result. My adrenaline starts to kick in!

shot 1

I changed to a prime wide angle lens and capture the scene again. Still in bulb mode, adjust camera exposure to F/13, ISO200 and expose it for 38 seconds. However i did like the walls on the side of my frame. Hence i decided to use 70-200 for more shots.

shot 2

Making correction during the process
Now am pretty sure the lightning is going to keep occurring at that particular area after observing how frequent the lightning strike. I re-adjust my composition a little more and shot a few frames landscape mode, realise i was missing out the lightning high up. I turn my camera to portrait/vertical to have more space on top. Over a short period the strikes of lightning start to slow down. I don’t want to expose my shutter for a long time. Hence i set my next exposure to F/8, ISO 320 and expose it for 35 seconds. Below are the most amazing result i got after my composition correction!

shot 3

shot 4
29 seconds exposure

Once you decides the composition, set your lens to manual focus. Auto focus might jump off or struggle to focus when the auto focus point is aiming at a dark spot in the night. How i get my focus was pointing the auto focus point on the transmitter tower, once it is fixed i push the button to manual focus on my telephoto lens.

Set your exposure time to around 20-30 seconds would be good, unless you know the lightning is striking so frequently, adjust your exposure time accordingly to your need.

Initially you need to conduct a few test shots to get your exposure correct, i share my setting here is not a guide line to follow but a reference for you to understand.

Editing lightning image
Post process is usually one of the fun part to let your imagination be as creative as possible, i transfer the images to Lightroom and did my tweaking.

shot 5
Original RAW files from my 5D Mark III which looks unexciting.

shot 6
Adjusted the white balance to my ideal final image. It looks more dramatic in this sense, making the lighting ‘pop”.

Stacking your lightning images
If you are lucky, you can get multiple lightning in a single exposure. Not all the time lightning occur so frequently in every few seconds. By stack up the images 3 & 4 in photoshop to get the dramatic result i want.

shot 7

Hope you like my experience sharing here.


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