Hello 01102012 – Hello Beijing 2009

A really fresh Monday on the first day of Oct 2012, first blog of the month. Earlier on i was browsing through the Facebook newsfeed and saw a nice image of trees with reddish leaves against the beautiful blue sky, indicating a sign of Autumn is here. The image immediately stirs thoughts of my Beijing travel photography journey in 2009. The fallen essence of time brings back an unforgettable memory.

I was lucky enough to couch in 2 different friend’s house in my entire duration. I can’t be grateful enough to them to host a city boy from Singapore. Been able to witness and directly experience the local culture atmospheric. The best way to blend in as local is to hang out with the Beijinger. This is my personal style of self-environmental adaption in a new city.

It’s been exactly 3 years now. As i planned on an affordable and good comfort tickets price. I was transiting from Hong Kong to Beijing. In all about 7-8 hrs in total. Upon landing, due to the engine heat from the plane. It wasn’t that cold once i step foot on the airport runway. I was quickly ushered into a lengthy bus, which will ferry passengers to the immigration counter. The rest was history.

I took the designated bus out from Beijing capital international airport. Following the direction instructed by my friend previously, taking the bus in overseas was no easy experience for most first time visitors. Luckily the bus had an electronic signboard to inform passenger what is the name of the next bus-stop, this makes my life easier and relax.

Alighted at the designated stop. I was welcomed by a chill of coldness. The weather in Oct was ranging from 5-15 degree Celsius, it was relatively a very comfortable temperature. Minutes later, i realized i was in middle of nowhere at all! The traffic kept flowing along the road, the long and narrow shelter bus stop was too cramped for me to squeeze in. I pulled my luggage to walk for a short 10 meter to get myself orientated in this city. It was about 8 pm, the sky was dark. I quickly called my host am here, she did not pick up. Unzipped my luggage to take out my jacket to keep me warm. Coldness and loneliness quickly creep in, my host’s mobile phone was able to get through. I looked at my paper map, thinking that if my host did not show up, i would head to the nearest hotel to check in. About 20 mins of waiting, it seems like an hour. My host finally appears, with a welcome arm and big smile, i knew the trip has just begun.

Here are some highlights of the places i visited.

A Chinese military police standing guard in Tian An Man Square with a big portrait of Mao Zedong behind him.

An art installation of a man standing on a small jeep in Beijing 798 art zone

Local tourist taking inside Temple of Heaven at Danbi Bridge

An architecture image of the National Centre for the Performing Arts during sunset.

Beautiful architecture of Bird Nest stadium in Beijing

A local visitor observing the panda sleeping on the tall tree.

The original state of Great Wall of China. Simply historical.

Lastly, i would like to wish everyone enjoy this season autumn. Stay warm and cool. *winks*


SingaporeScape – My thought of Singapore landscape

This year am working on another project named SingaporeScape. Is a series of Singapore landscape images around the country. Been a really tiny nation on the world map. My country exposure in term of landscape platform is not so overwhelming as other bigger countries. Millions of tourists flew in each year, taking wonderful images. Due to the growth of digital camera, images were much more than the past. Similar images are also seen constantly due to certain position that provides fantastic view.

The constant challenge been a photographer is shooting a unique picture of your own. Most hobbits photographer can easily spot a beautiful landscape image here in Singapore, went back to the location to practice shooting it. Space and positioning can be a limitation for certain angle one’s needed. But for the creative part there are thousands ways and more to shoot it.

The common question i received from most people is been a tiny, boring urban country, is kinda of hard to take really good landscape pictures, as compared to the great landscape photographers such as Ansel Adam, Michael Kenna etc. Is boil down to individual creative imaginary department and the type of mood wanted for the image. Everyone has their UNIQUE style of shooting and processing their final presenting image. The sky been the limit apply in this tiny nation. Is a fact i do get tired to see the same landscape over again. The challenge is ultimately to be as different as possible.

Here is a picture of a SingaporeScape i took, the world tallest Ferris wheel. With a height of 164m tall. Opened since 2008, plenty of tourists took the ride, enjoy the view of our cityscape. Taking pictures as a memorial of ‘i’ve been here’. Here are a series of Singapore Flyer images i search from Google.

Anyway, i always wanted to capture a long exposure of the Ferris wheel turning in motion. Without doing any research of the type of images capture and shown on Google. Purely out of my own idea, it may not be the best to you, but the effort to wait for the magic hour during sunset and a long exposure of the wheel in motion is well worth my time.

Documentary Photography – Hidden Door

The first door i capture in Chinatown.

Hidden Door is over a year long term project of documenting door around Singapore back lane. These doors are “hidden” behind the shophouses where not many people likely to venture.

I was extremely fascinated and attracted by the vivid colors of the Hidden Door. Only able to shoot on weekend as most business are not operating. The back lane tends to be less rowdy, and most importantly the door is closed.

I find it serene whenever i look at this. A different point of view from the usual hectic environment in the city.

However, the temperate in the back lane was much higher as there is no shelter to shade me during the documentation process. The heat can gets really nasty as the space between the walls are not spacious at time. Sometimes i came across oil ventilation that blows downward, puffing a nasty smell around my torso.

Mops hanging on the gate.

What inspired me going was the creative design structure, the material of the door, and the various intriguing details of the overall surrounding.

A little cat could be sleeping at the door steps, clothes hanging at the door front, flower pot that is in-front of the door, words and numbers spray on the door, there are many exciting details for viewers to go in-depth if looks closely. Behind every anonymous door lurks possible myriad tales of childhood, romance and history.

One of my favorite image. The contrast of this images with the small details around. Was wondering is this cat sleeping or sun basking?

I have documented over 500 door images around this tiny island, and is still on-going. As time flies, business change hand, demolish of building, cement the back door. Change of color, replacement of another door. Nothing is forever. But these pictures will be the memory of the past, present and future.

Currently am still uploading Hidden Door images to my website. Feel free to check it out.

These doors will be available for limited edition prints, customers or corporate companies who are interested do let me know. As i need new funding for future projects.

Hong Kong Flower Show 2012

Is the annual Hong Kong Flower show once again. This year the date is from 16 – 25 March 2012. Venue is at Hong Kong Island Victoria Park. The theme for this year is Floral Delights. Theme flower is Hyacinth.

Back in 2010, my first visit to the Flower Show.

The Hong Kong Flower Show is a major event organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to promote horticulture and the awareness of greening. Every year, it provides a good opportunity for hundreds of thousands of local citizens and horticulture lovers all over the world to appreciate the beauty of flowers and share their experiences in the cultivation of flowers. Hong Kong Flower Show 2012 will be held from 16 to 25 March 2012 at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. Featuring “Hyacinth” as its theme flower, the event will showcase this exquisite plant and a rich profusion of exquisite potted plants, beautiful floral arrangements and gorgeous landscape displays by organisations from local, the Mainland and overseas. There will also be commercial stalls selling flowers and other horticultural products.

The Prince and Princess

During the show period, a rich diversity of educational and recreational fringe activities will also be organised for the enjoyment of visitors of all ages. They include student drawing competition, photo competition, exhibit competition, music and cultural performances, floral art demonstrations, cookery demostrations, plant maintenance workshops, green stalls, guided visits, recreation programmes and fun games.

Beautiful colors of floral.

For more information check out the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

Enjoy some of the pictures i posted below, for more check Capture Asia Hong Kong Flower Show 2010 gallery

Sunset in Vietnam and Singapore

The last time i capture pictures of sunset in Singapore was 8 years ago. Such a prolonged period i nearly couldn’t recall. We see sunrise and sunset each day by judging at the weather changes. But not every day we get the luxury to witness the sunset/sunrise at the horizon.

Watching it gives me a sense of hope, a magical feeling that arouses from my inner self. I guess most people might feel the same way.

The last sunset i actually capture was in a 3 storey high of a ravishing bungalow when i was working in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 2010. I just finished shooting interior pictures accompanied by the client. After the shoot ended, we went out to the balcony to have a breather, yet embracing the charming sight of the sunset. Time sure passed quickly during work, the sunset at that time was a huge reward after a fatigue hot day.

Beautiful sunset in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

A close up of the sun using a telephoto lens to capture the moment.

Recently i went back to Labrador Nature Reserve in Singapore, it used to name Labrador Park. I was taken aback by the new change. But is not surprise our city is changing rapidly, so is the name signification. The particular scene i once appreciate where the sunset disappears into the horizon plane is replaced by tons of sand, a process of land reclamation for the past many years.

The event was disappointing as the clouds covered the ball of fury partially. Most of the photographers with tripod packed up with disappointment. I decided to stay put to shoot other subjects i wanted in mind.

I was gratefully rewarded for my extensions of stay. 15 mins after the sun disappeared recede from view. A beautiful orange ray embarked into sight on the sky.

One word i can describe it, breathtaking. Hope the above pictures will be able to inspire your next shoot. The key is to be patient, if the picture did not turn out well, go back another day. Keep going at it till you get it.

Singapore famous temple in Bugis

Singapore famous Guangyin temple locates at Waterloo street. 观音堂佛祖庙 (Kwan Im Tong Hood Cho Temple) is the most visited temple by fellow devotees locally. Also, many devotees would travel from Southeast Asia to visit this temple. Most people praying for good health, prosperity, blessing and good luck after praying to Kuang Yin Bodhisattva, the Goddess of Mercy.

Located in the heart of Bugis and downtown, the temple is surrounded by major shopping malls, hawker centre & coffee shops. Bugis is a place must visit for visitors.

Captured this shot 2 years ago, it was the birthday of Guang Yin. Attracting thousands of devotees attending the event. No later after i set my tripod it starts to drizzle. Crowds come and go quickly after prayer. My ideal was to achieve a blurry effect of the people moving in and out of the temple doors and entrance. The numbers of images capture was not satisfactory, persisting continuation for about an hour. The push cart stalls at the foreground slowly starts to clear up. Went back to choose the images for the final result as seen above.

SingaporeScape – Suntec City and Bukit Batok Nature Park

Documenting with much pleasure of SingaporeScape, past ideas that lingered in my mind were executed, finally! As i mentioned in my last blog, is all for hobby, at the same time polishing my cityscape technical skill real shiny and smooth.

Let’s head to Suntec city first.

Sunctec City comprise of offices, shopping mall, convention & exhibition hall & fountain of wealth.Suntec City is a major multi-use development located in Marina Centre, a subzone of the Downtown Core Planning Area in Singapore.

Most decent architecture photos would have a clear blue sky capture up by professional photographer. I choose to have the cloud in the picture, creating a bit of dynamic influence surrounding the area. The light and shadow embark on each side of building bring in a different aspects of the depth, also in contrast compose it in a symmetrical order to bring out the shape of structure. Opting to do a clean shot, using ND filter to achieve the final result.

As there is an air-condition underground link from City Hall MRT station to Suntec City, most visitors might missed out the wonderful structure from the front. That is one of the consideration this shot is captured.

Next off to Bukit Batok Nature Park.

Bukit Batok Nature Park. I would consider this is one hidden treasure in Singapore, even though it is open to public. The serene ambience of the park provides an ideal ambience for a peaceful nature walk. The terrain is undulating and footpaths meander through the lush secondary forest leading to look-out points reaching more than 10 storeys high to provide breathtaking views.

Running in this park for more than 15 years. The place is not an unfamiliar sight to me. It hadn’t changed much as the authority maintain it the natural way possible. This particular scene caught up with me when i was photographing a lone tree on one of the viewing point. Assuming that there is no true landscape in Singapore. This was the closest i can encounter. Stepping back to observe this quiet scenic. The theatric cloud hovering on the atmosphere, the trees thin branches were disturbed by the breeze. Creating a slight movement during the capture process. How i wish everyone can view the blown up details, clearly seeing the dance movement, is like a happiness of dance incur for that few seconds. Later realized i have capture a repetitive gesture of the dancing trees.

Till next time!

New hobby other than photography, still photography?

Photography is one of those many passions or hobbies that are able to turn it into a money generator. In another word creating a business. Setting up a business to do what you love. One must be highly self-motivated, massive drive and passion in this industry, to stay competitive at least. Welcome to the real world peers, perhaps no different from other jobs. Is like a stock market graphs, the lines went up, went flat, or during unpredictable times. It starts to get a little bit crumble. Is all parts and parcels of the business.

So after turning your PASSION into a career, what’s next? I mean what is your next hobby. There must be something new in your interest after shooting for such a long time. I know photographer who is interested in airplane models. So during free time he would be flying his proudly assembled plane around the open field. Another one was into fish, get a huge fish tank, throw in some fishes, deco it up nicely. That’s hobby am talking about.

For me i enjoy cooking, for sure am NOT a fantastic cooker, i know nuts about it. Cooking helps me to distress. It gives me a form of peacefulness in my mind. Handling a knife with respect is a must, i wouldn’t want to cut my own finger while chopping carrots into thin slices. I love to make my own korean soup. Popped into Japan and Korea supermarket to purchase the necessary items to dish up a decent meal, after some trials and errors of course. Luckily i got a very strong stomach.

Until recently, i purchased 2 filters that cost me more than a S$100. Is freaking crazy i know, photography is never a cheap hobby, remember that! Screwed it up to my lens, carry my tripod and started walking around to shoot some pictures. Surprisedly i like the result. Am not exactly a great fan of landscape images. I flip pages of all time landscape master, father of landscape, Ansel Adam’s work, i never closely study it. Look at Singapore, the island doesn’t have any mountain, only got Bukit Timah Hill! For goodness sake, i can only call it a knoll. Basically is a concrete jungle. There’s no classical landscape to shoot.

Eventually shooters use words such as Cityscape or Seascape. Anyway i come up with my own name call SingaporeScape, if anyone is using such name. Is all by coincident! Don’t start sending me hate or copycat email! SingaporeScape is one of the hobby that isolate away from the commercial photography work i usually do. I find solitary and peace being alone. Capturing what is pertaining to my interest, and what i always wanted visually. Am a massive fan of Michael Kenna photography work. Is simply breathtaking, simplicity and ambience.

Anyway here is one of the shot i created near Clark Quay. One of Singapore night life spot for tourists and locals.

I nearly gave up after walking for so many kilometers to search for interesting composition. The weather does play a part if is weak. Gloomy and shady, the funny feeling of pouring soon but kept holding back. It makes me thing twice should i release my tripod stands. I wanted to catch my ride home as i was tired. Looking at my watch is nearly towards magic hour timing. The weather was really not in my favor. I decided to persist a bit longer, started studying a potential composition then decide on a decent spot to release the three-legs. I choose to have a background, middle ground and foreground for the final composition. I exposed this shot for more than 2 mins. Very minimum adjustment in Photoshop.

I got hooked by what i have capture on my camera. I guess another new hobby for me to chase during my free time, however it is still photography. Something which i passionate about in life.