Super Blue Blood Moon in Singapore

31 Jan 2018. A rare chance to witness the rare super blue blood moon. What a long name i thought. It has its reason.

The local news reported the last time a lunar eclipse, a blue moon and a supermoon that appeared was back in 1866

Fast forward to 2018, that was a century and a half ago!

Spare you guys the details about what is this rare super blue blood moon about, you can easily read it on the internet news or science webpage that announced this.

I nearly missed out the opportunity to capture this phenomenal event. Because i was extremely tired from my daily work, the night before i didn’t sleep well because i was too happy or excited about something. I was supposed to meet a friend for a sunset photo shoot followed by the viewing of the moon. But i was too exhausted that i have to retreat at home, continue to do other work. What prompted me to capture the image of the blood moon was because a friend posted a picture on his Facebook. He got a very clear picture of the blood moon, i thought i wouldn’t be able to see it because of the cloud.

I quickly charge out of the house, went downstairs, saw a group of people looking up, i looked up as well, it was my first time seeing a blood moon, although it was a bit foggy and cloudy, it is still clearly visible to the naked eyes. I ran back home, grabbed my gears and went to the top of a multi-storey carpark, set up the tripod and camera to start taking images. For your info, my previous attempt at taking pictures of the moon in such close up was like a decade ago, and it fails badly.

Using a 70-200mm F/4 lens on my 5D Mk III. I was extremely lucky to capture the blood moon because it was nearing the end of the maximum eclipse. I simply love how science work today, the scientist able to provide a precise timing of what’s going to happen next. From the beginning of penumbral eclipse to partial, full eclipse and maximum eclipse – such data allows us to keep track of the changes.

That night I was accompanied by another 2 guys photographing the process as well. We didn’t had any chat anyway. This three in one extravaganza is a once in a lifetime opportunity, i suddenly felt alive and recharge. I ended up standing more than one hour in the cooling night, capture 121 RAW images. I’ve witnessed the entire transition period – i felt thankful, have quiet words of gratitude to the universe. I was very happy to make a proper exposure to see the details of the moon.

Hope you liked the picture above i created for you. Out of 121 images i converted 14 images, it was quite a challenge for the post-processing part because i seldom set the camera in a very high ISO. Still, i do my best and this is the end result you see. I stack the moon this way is because that was the way it moved. I also throw in some fake stars to make the picture a little bit more lively. The next Super Blue Blood Moon will take place 10 years later, if am still alive, i will see it for sure.

I hope you like what you see, do help me to share if you like it.

 

 

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AXA Tower

More pictures of AXA Tower i recently captured. Am i not too tired of making pictures of the same architecture? My answer is never, there is always many angles opportunity for a single subject, depending on the space and location. Various type of lighting in different time of the day plays a part. Or if you are an expert in photoshop, you can even alter the images as creative as you want.

Accordingly to Wiki, this is the tallest cylindrical building in the world. Three architects firm were involved – The Stubbins Asssociate, Architects 61, Architects Team 3. AXA building is the 6th tallest skyscraper in this country with a height of 234.7m

If you ever come to Singapore and love exploring architecture, do check out the building at Shenton Way.

Jin Mao Tower Architectural Photography in Shanghai

I had a brief chance to witness Jin Mao Tower by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Shanghai. Located at 88 Century Boulevard, Pudong, Shanghai, completed in 1998. The Jin Mao Tower is a 278,800 square-metre, 88-storey and a height of 420.5 metres. The skyscraper is used for incorporating offices, Grand Hayatt Shanghai hotel, retails, service amenities.

The tower recalls the traditional Chinese pagoda forms, the design is created in a rhythmic effect. Its​ metal and glass curtain wall reflects the constant change of sky. A very significant​ addition to the Shanghai skyline in the late 90’s. It was the tallest building in China and a masterpiece​ of Shanghai development and architecture.

Below are my 2 best pictures. Also, that was the only day with a vast of blue sky. As my time is limited in this trip, i only can make the best out of it from wherever i am in the area. But remember that certain type of photography is a patient game, such as landscape and architecture for example, requires a good lighting moment.


Jin Mao Tower is in the center


A close up of the facade, can clearly half of the moon from a whopping distance of 38,440km

When i first looked up, my jaw was opened. I mean, i don’t know which part of the world can you see three skyscrapers side by side. China is indeed exciting! Dump the bad mindset about China or complaining about the product quality. The new China’s city we see in future will continue to be so beautiful and stunning!

The Best Picture is from your Backyard

Believe it or not is true.

Many photographers are always chasing for the next best pictures. Like me as well.  Photographers thought the next big picture must be somewhere special that requires to jet out from their country, the place must be super popular or, never been to. But that is more of a traveling and exploring new places experience than getting the next best picture.

The best picture i can personally think of is from my own backyard – the familiar neighborhood, the streets that i usually frequent, the hill that i always visited. These familiar places make my brain and body to be able to resonate with the surrounding.

For example

(1) Below picture used to be an old railway track is in-between Upper Bukit Timah Road and Hillview Ave, now is called the ‘The Green Corridor‘ after the rail track was removed years ago. Grasses started to grow across the path, joggers frequently ran here because of the greenery. Over time, the grasses formed into a trek in the center. I love how the trees were bending in an arch shape providing canopy. Each time when i jogged past here, i can’t help to notice the beauty nature has to offer. I know this scenic place must be captured by the camera. I don’t even need to go France or Korea for such a beautiful view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) Every time i took a direct bus to Johor Bahru, i can’t help to notice this HDB block at Senja Gateway has layers of a walkway that resembles a wave. Because i had bypassed it so many times, the sight becomes so utterly familiar. I even know what is the timing of the best picture.

But that’s only the exterior i am interested in. Initially, i thought it was a super long walkway for the handicap that is meant for wheelchair. Until i explore deeper.

This walkway acts as a recreation park for the local resident to hang out. It has a beautiful greenery corner, seats for a family to rest their legs and enjoy the greenery opposite. Behind is a multi-storey carpark which connects back to the residential blocks.

           

 

 

(3) This architectural abstract picture was taken from my home kitchen. A depict of how daily life is in an HDB estate. The long streak of shadow showing the clothes was hanging out with a bamboo stick on the right. And the kitchen window on the left. This picture was also through daily observation to achieve this result, the best part is i don’t even need to step out from my house.

The best picture is all along in your backyard. In another way of putting, by knowing your places in depth, then you will be able to make the best picture for yourself.

To start it off, you don’t even need a camera at all. Go take a walk or jog in your area at various timing whenever you are free, exercise is good for your health anyway. Spend some quality time with yourself, you will unknowingly be practicing your observation skill. Slowly you begin to understand the scene or places a bit better – start to visualize or think how would you compose the picture, repeat the process. Over time, you will bound to find something worthwhile for a great picture.

Do share with me pictures and story in your neighborhood. Don’t restrict yourself, let your mind roam free, find or discover the hidden beauty in your backyard.

If you have any question feel free to drop me a message.

Hope you like it.


How my pictures turn out in an Annual Report

I am always eager to see how the pictures i captured for a company annual report turns out in an annual report. Been an annual report photographer, it doesn’t mean all the time i have to drag my gears to the mother company, set up the lighting to do some half body or headshot. Depending on the type of service the company is providing. I can also be heading down to a no public access facility, a shipyard, or on the vessel to capture a series of images to tell a story.

After the whole photo shoot process is completed, i will send the images to the agency or company through my website. They will be able to download all the high-resolution images, start to figure out which picture best and how to fit into the annual report book. I am always curious how the picture is cropped and blend into the book design.

Branding is very important for the company – branding is one of the many important ingredients for any business.  Branding can be seen as a sign, company name, symbol, logo, design etc. The branding of the company needs to reach out to as many people as possible in their related industry or target audiences for example. Capture Asia Photography photographer Ricky Gui (myself) not only capture pictures of the company requirement but also constantly aware of the client’s company branding as well. Is not easy to photograph a scene that always must a branding within the picture.

For the four annual report pictures below, the client chooses pictures that emphasis a lot on their company name on their vessel. Images were mainly cropped into a long rectangular shape for the annual report design. I have to say the designer did a very good job!

 

Just some memory recapped to share: It was a 2 days photoshoot at a local shipyard. The client’s vessel was docking in Singapore for a while for a maintenance service. I was there by 7am and went up to the “monkey island”. The view was spectacular like this.

The vessel was more than a football field long. The height of the vessel is about 4-5 storey. I was walking and climbing so much during those 2 days just on a vessel itself. I was excited and doing my best to get as many great pictures as possible. This was also my first time doing a photoshoot on an oil vessel. All the visual aspect and scenes in the surrounding intrigued me. Despite the hot weather, the energy within me did not falter for the 2 days.


Check out my Industrial blogs

The Most Famous Photograph on the Computer

Here is a video story (below) of the most famous photograph, ‘Bliss’. A computer wallpaper that appears on each Window XP since its first release in Oct 2001. We all know the Microsoft no longer support Window XP since April 2014. But ‘Bliss’, that beautiful wallpaper had already seen billions of people by then. However, the story behind the picture is remarkable. I know this may be old news for some of your, some may already forget, but please read a bit more about it if you don’t know the story behind it.

The man behind the photograph of ‘Bliss’ is an American photographer, Charles O’Rear. It was my first time watching this video a few minutes ago. His story somehow touches deep into my bones. His sharing makes think about how landscape photography process should be like. It should be an enjoyable slow process, returning various time or season to photograph a particular scene. Sometimes the best view appears at the least unexpected moment.

I think a stunning and memorable landscape image requires various ingredients to be a successful picture. The photographer needs to practice – patient, understanding, timing, risk factor, marketing to the right company, able to resonate with people.

Enjoy this video about the story behind the wallpaper if you have not watch it.

On a side note. I think the world today is moving at a very fast pace, the client only demands results quickly and expect images to deliver as soon as possible. But, do they care about the process of photography, the purpose, idea or meaning of the picture in a deeper level. Do people even care about it because is just another picture in the world of the internet? After watching this video. I feel I want to photograph pictures that serve a meaning, a good purpose, photograph that brings value to your business. A photograph that has value, create happiness, memorable or documentation for a specific purpose, all for a lifetime.

Embrace foggy situation in Hong Kong

On my last post, i was talking about the fog in Hong Kong. I mentioned how about the downside of the encounter with it. How i adjust my mindset to turn it into a more enjoyable and positive experience.

On that same trip, i make a journey to visit the largest seating Buddha in Hong Kong, “Tian Tan Buddha” in Chinese. This is one of the main attraction points in Hong Kong on Lantau Island. `

Unknown to the foggy situation again, i happily took the MTR from Hong Kong Island to Lantau Island. Then i brought the expensive ticket for a glass bottom, rounded trip on the Ngong Ping 360 cable car – only to find that i am surrounded by thick fog. “What a great way to begin my adventure again”, i thought. For your info, on a clear day, the top offers a stunning 360 degree of panoramic view.

Rather than being sian (bored), i only can embrace this kind of weather presented to me. There is always a positive and negative side to everything. My positive end was to see the moment in a different manner, i quickly learn to see the street/travel moment differently in this type of foggy situation. The fog presented me in a unique way for me to see and photograph.

I remembered having a delicious vegetarian food for a small price at Po Lin Monastery. I enjoyed the atmosphere as i loved to blend into the local culture. If i can speak a little Cantonese i would be able to blend in better, it wasn’t a big problem anyway.

After filling up my stomach, i have the strength to move around Big Buddha area. I see the area in a very quiet way, mainly because there was not much of tourist crowd in this foggy condition. I almost have the entire place to myself. My pictures here were seen in a blurry state. I only can focus on a single subject in the scene, i later realize that single subject stand out well in this heavy fog rather than having different layers of scene. The weather was so foggy that I can’t see the Big Buddha even from a mere 100m until i climb up 268 steps up.

2 nuns were standing there having their conversation for quite a while, i stood there to make some pictures, I was hopeful to be a ninja infront of them. :p

On the platform of the Big Buddha looking up, seems like everything happen for a reason in life.

The bronze statue of the six Devas making offering to the Buddha, another three on other side.

A woman putting her palm together and walking around the huge circular platform in a quiet and respectful manner.

Wisdom Path transported me to the old Chinese dynasty.

You know what – i would love to return here again on my next trip to do a bit of trekking. Most likely i will take a bus up instead of the cable car unless the weather is in super blue hue. It is worth the money to take the cable car for the first-timer, but you are strongly advised to pre-book a ticket through the website as it may get really crowded on a good season. Another reason is there will be maintenance day or even bad weather where the cable car station will be closed. You wouldn’t want to have a wasted trip. There are other option to go up by a bus or taxi.

If you are heading to Hong Kong for the first time to make travel pictures. I have many awesome Hong Kong travel photography pictures if you like to see and be inspired.

If you like this post support me with a ‘like’, please share my post to people who love taking pictures. Please leave a comment as well as i would love to interact with you. Do follow my blog too!

 

 

Visit an Ancient City – Kirtipur

About 5km away from the city in Kathmandu, Nepal. The taxi arrived at the entrance of a rustic city. I thought i was in a time machine; transported back to the beginning of an old era. It felt kinda of unfamiliar when i stepped on the sandy path of Kirtipur. Oh ya, i had this feeling of a cowboy stepping into the town, yes that’s the feeling. Yes, i am going to spend a day here in Kirtipur!

The beautiful pictures of Kirtipur i have reviewed on travel books and the internet; seems like miles away from what i had imagined. Only the best visual picture is selected by the editor to make it into the travel guide, online pictures that have good keywords and most visited website will reflect immediately on top of the search engine. Trying to give a good impression.

“Is adventure time”, i thought. One of the first sights i witness was the living condition of the local community. Houses there were truly made of bricks from scratch. I wonder how long have these houses stood over time? I was questioning myself can i even live in here? But what matter is to have an open-minded mind and soak in this atmosphere.

 

The neighbourhood (pictures above) was almost dead quiet, even though there were clothes hanging out. I guess people in the household are out for work in the city.

I met a local woman (pic above) along the way, with a sickle in her hand. Her back was carrying a basket of vegetable, i guess she may have just finished her work in the field. I boldly approached her for a picture and she kindly agreed.

I basically wandered around without any specific location i wish to go, but try to keep track where is my bearing. Weather in Dec is basically cooling, i was barely breaking a sweat after much walking in the valley. I stumbled upon a temple (pic above); known as Kagyu Institute for Buddhist studies (KIBS). I strolled into the premises to have a curious look. Surprisingly, i was welcome by a local nun. I made my usual prayers in the temple and was invited to their dining hall to have a lunch – i met a group of people in the hall and they were speaking in Singlish and Mandarin, i chatted with them and confirmed my guess they are from Singapore. Damn small world! I would never have imagined seeing people from my country coming to this part of the city for a trip, it seems so surreal at that moment. We exchanged pleasantry before they head back for their religion study. While i had my meal, wash up the culinary, make a donation before i leave. At least i have some good energy for more wandering in this ancient city.

 

Met a local man had this thick bamboo stick shouldering on him. Smiling for my camera while he walked past. To make someone smile, you must always smile first to make the first connection.

 

 

 

A local tiny provision shop that packs all necessity for the local market demand.

 

 

 

 

A pond filled with the alga.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Domestic animals such as rooster, ducks, and dog captured along the walk. (pic above)

A man standing at ease standing so close to the fence viewing his city

This was the beautiful scenery (pic below) the man was viewing

Kirtiour is not the most exciting place to visit, but if you love a good walk of a rustic and charming ancient city, this is the place you must go if you visit Kathmandu, Nepal. Is only less than a 30 mins drive to reach. I wouldn’t mind coming back again if the opportunity arises. Less than a day spent here is sufficient. I ride on a local bus back to Kathmandu as advised by the local, it was a very squeezy, bumpy journey i can never forget; great experience.

Do check out my photo gallery of Kirtipur.

If you like this post support me with a ‘like’, please share my post to people who love taking pictures. Please leave a comment as well as i would love to interact with you. Do follow my blog too!


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Why I Love Architecture Photography

Dear Readers,

Many years ago, i was admiring at pictures of the building that was presented vertically straight. I compared my building picture i took and it was not as impressive at all. At least is horribly wrong!

The building pictures i took, look distorted and in a converging manner. I thought, “What the hell am i doing it wrong?”  I saw how a friend who is now an architect took such awesome pictures of the buildings when he travels. He is sharing pictures of building in a straight, vertical perspective manner. I began to ponder how did he do it? I was absolutely drawn by the picture he had taken. I remembered many years ago, i was working with an agency in Vietnam, i sat down with the person in charge to do a review. He told me this particular picture was in distortion, but i just couldn’t see it, then i realize i haven’t yet to understand how perspective works on a deeper level.

Clark Quay Central was one of the first few picture i capture using a wide-angle lens and photoshop technique. Picture made in 2014

I did not ask my friend how did he take those nice architecture pictures. Instead, i went online to search for information, watched numerous videos on Youtube about architecture and interior photography. I learned to understand how perspective work. Without using the expensive tilt-shift lens, i began to experiment with my wide angle lens and doing editing work behind the scene.

Below are a few videos i used to study on how these photographers compose a scene and editing in their workflow.

  1. Jeremy Segal was my first favorite on Youtube. Do check out his Youtube channel if you want to learn more on his workflow from the start of scouting, taking picture and to the editing.

2. Serge Ramelli is a hyper energy photographer in his channel. I like the way he shared about the ‘secret’ information about editing in Lightroom, i particularly enjoy how he speaks with a passion which can be affections to me. Although he is a french, his English is very articulate. Below is one of my favorite video i used to watch repeatedly.

A common trait from these 2 photographers is they are using a full-frame DSLR camera with a wide-angle lens. This is why these 2 channels suit me perfectly that time. Strongly recommended if you want to have a grasp how architecture and interior photography work.

To continue, many months were spent on understanding, practicing on how to photograph a building – going to the particular spot at the right time to make the picture, making numerous trip to photograph to gain that experience, practicing it on Photoshop and Lightroom, study Julius Shulman’s idea. Over time, I realize my curiosity has somehow developed into a new skill set. I had unknowingly achieved an additional skillset in my arsenal, not just with people, industrial, event, and travel. This is something that i am very proud of to say as an achievement. I have truly grown as a photographer.

Bank of China Tower in Shanghai. Picture made in 2016
 

I started to put up some architecture and some interior work on my website. The first job i undertook was an interior assignment for a European company. I really appreciate the chance given because i did not have any prior experience in interior work. I got the chance to visit many places to do clinic interior photography. After the first job, i decided to invest in my first 17mm tilt-shift lens as more jobs request were coming in from the beloved client. I use the word “invest” is because i only buy what i need and the return of investment must be justified. I am not the kinda of photographer that always spent on gadgets and accessories. Basically, i don’t chase all the latest things released on the market, is a never-ending process, to be honest.

I am more focus on getting great pictures for the client, that matter.

With a much deeper understanding of how to make an architecture picture and perspective. I was able to carry these skill into my other genre of photography. My visual skill is brought to my industrial photography as well.

After more than a decade, I still enjoy making pictures to please myself, i get a lot of satisfaction out of it. Honestly, i don’t give too much time on Instagram or social media, somehow it doesn’t work for me, or i don’t understand how it works. I don’t care if you dislike my work, if you are inspired by it i will be happy to know. I do occasionally enter into photo competition for architecture work. Spider award in 2015 and 2016. Honestly, it doesn’t make me any famous or gaining more business, but that’s not the point.

Jack of all trades but master of none? I have to disagree with this statement. Today’s market is extremely competitive. Relying on one skill is not enough anymore. I need to be diversified in the service to the client. For each job, i put in 100% effort in the passion and dedication i had for your business need.

Continue to learn and grow everyone. Peace!

Lightning Photography in Singapore

When the lightning flashes. The first thought came to me was to title it as “When the sky whisper”.

I was capturing the cityscape last week from the western part of Singapore. However, the sky wasn’t to my liking. I suddenly saw flashes of lightning among the clouds, and i quickly rotated my Manfrotto XPRO 3 way head that was mounted on a super clamp to record the scene. I made a lot of exposures and hope the best lightning moment will appear, luckily, it did.

I quickly went home to download the images from the CF card. The biggest lightning strike i liked was in a single frame, hence i don’t even need to stack up the pictures at all. Still, i don’t want to be limit by a single frame. I choose a few good frames and stack it up in Photoshop.

A new problem occurs, i actually may have accidentally shifted the camera by a few millimeter. When i stack the pictures, the frames were not aligned. This has never happened before. Ok, this is a new problem for me. I thought for 5 mins for a solution. I tried to shift one of the layers around to aligned with my main lightning picture, and it works!

Click on the picture to view high res

I stacked about 4 images to achieve this final effect, you can see the main lighting flashing across the sky. Then 2 small lightning in orange colors right in the back. There were 2 helicopters happening to be flying in the sky at that moment. I was wondering was the pilot even scare?

If you like this post support me with a ‘like’, please share my post to people who love taking pictures. Please leave a comment as well as i would love to interact with you. Do follow my blog too!


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