Travel Collection – 3 in Sri Racha

How i learnt about Sri Racha was back in 2007, i was still learning the rope of the photography industry, more interested in the commercial aspect. I was asked to assist a photographer who is going to have an assignment in Thailand. It was my first time going to Thailand, was very excited about it at that point of time. Later i learnt we were going to Sri Racha to work for a few days. Where the hell is that??? That was then my first intro to the subdistrict town in the eastern part of the country.

Many years later, back in 2011 (has it been so long already). I travelled back to the less crowded town to pay a visit to my local friend. I took the opportunity to wander around as a tourist, more chill not too focus on making pictures. I did later transformed into a photographer mode and start my ‘hunt’.

Portrait of a local kid

Portrait of a local boy

Portrait of a young girl

Even thought my three subjects are children, i still treat them with respectful manner, more funky approach as well. Bear in mind good manner will influence others to be courteous and polite as well.

I approached each of them with a friendly smile, and with my fascinating broken Thai language, hand gesture was more universal at that point of time. Trying to engage with the kid for a while before i try to take pictures. I usually visualise how i want the picture to turn out, rather than pondering about how to compose the picture. Because i am not in a controlled environment, i never know what is going to happen next, the kid can suddenly dash off , or the parent calling for them. Is better for me to do it asap than been draggy, if the child still hang around, i can continue to take more pictures.

One tips to get their smile, is  to show the children their pictures on the LCD screen, they love it, their smile will appear if they did not smile initially. This method never goes wrong for me so far. Once that smile break open, quickly capture more pictures while they are smiling from the heart. You got yourself some great pictures.

Feel free to check out other of my travel collection articles.

1 in Beijing

2 in Bangkok

Winning architecture photo competition in Singapore

Am extremely humble to be one of the many winners of SkyVille@Dawson photo compeition organized by WOHA. I never thought i would have win anything, my objective was to document some really fantastic pictures from various angles and lighting i had observed, post it up in my Instagram account and particpate in the competition.

WOHA is Singapore famous international architect firm behind the design of SkyVille@Dawson. WOHA has also designed many projects that can be seen by the public, naming a few are, Park Royal Hotel at Pickering street, School of the Arts Singapore, Stadium MRT station, Crowne Plaza Changi Airport.

Below are my three winning image and clips created by WOHA instagram. You can check out the pictures in my instagram as well.

Selected for “Most Powerful Story”

Selected for “Most Powerful Image”

Selected for “Best Photographer”

I did not study architecture for a living, my knowledge of architecture is very limited. But belt with more than 10 years of photography experience. My approach towards architecture photography was to capture the essence, in the most profound way from various angles. Spend time to study it, repitive journeys – till i have the feel to “interact” with the architecture.

There is a proverb saying “Less is more”. With one picture, relating the entire story in a single frame, it is very empowering especially in photojournalism, street photography, landscape etc. However, for architecture, there are many way to showcase the building. Using different ideas to compose it, i can opt for a symmetrical format if the design allows, using a long lens to shoot details, using a tilt shift lens to capture is amazing as seeing the building in a non converging manner etc. So you see, there is almost no dead end to it quality if one can see the possibilities out of it. A building is not just a piece of concrete block placed there for it’s usage purpose. But people living and working in it, generate useful ideas to create a better world.

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:
-Tripod
-Camera
-Remote shutter release
-Wide angle or telephoto lens

PROCESS
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

Tips
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.

Composition technique

I always wanted to share my thoughts on composition technique. This objective is to share with you what i saw in order to capture that golden frame i had visualised.

I was traveling solo in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2012. It was my virgin trip to this very unique country. Where it is famously known for Mount Everest for the climbers. Many tourists visited the country for trekking/hiking purposes, admiring the stunning landscape our earth offer. My goal was to do travel photography. Exploring the capital, visit several UNSECO sites, soaked into local culture, food and shoot stunning images for my Asia travel stock library for sales.

Here i was wandering around Patan Durbar Square, situated at the site of Lalitpur City.

I came across this street in Patan Durbar Square, Nepal. I had instantly visualized how i want to fill the frame. Because it was fascinating to observe the different type of doors and windows, how it were design and structure. First thought was to compose the scene tightly so the viewers can study the entire space comfortably.

1. Compose in a “leading line” format where the side of the building leads you to the background details.

2. Breaks off from the rule-of-third. Divided into 3 vertical sections to study different elements, hence each element is treated equally.

3. The only element missing is a moment (my personal style). Example, a person walking across the street. I looked around to see was there anyone going to walk across my frame. Fortunately a man riding his bicycle was coming from my back. I quickly start snapping to capture that moment i wanted.

And now my picture is finally completed in this sense. Hope you like my write up.