Architecture Exploration in Shanghai

I was in Shanghai in 2016 during the Aug period. This has always been a dream trip for me. This was mainly a couple trip to celebrate our 1 year anniversary together. Our plan was to arrive in Shanghai, immediately head to Hangzhou for sightseeing and back to Shanghai for the remaining days. Am not diving too deep into the details for now.

Shanghai is a city with a population of more than 24 million. About 24 times more than Singapore, absolutely crazy i know. I just read that Shanghai is China biggest city and a financial hub, i thought Beijing was the biggest. Browse a few pages of the travel guide where to visit in Shanghai and you will discover there are so many places to visit! How many days should you stay if you asked me? Well, you need to take at least 5-6 days of leave, stay least 5 nights to explore this populous city in general.

If you have been following my blog closely, i have been sharing tips on how i work on my architecture photography. This time is a different ball game. First, this is an overseas holiday, not the plan to explore and wander to make pictures. Second, i got no time to do any location scouting for any architecture picture taking – the focus of this trip was more on bonding as a couple, spending time together. I did my research of the city but it is quite hard to visualize or imagine how does it feel to be on the ground. Basically, i explore like any tourists do. Move around the city and capturing nice pictures that caught my sight, immersed into the local culture and atmosphere.

The architecture set am sharing is Bank of China Tower, Shanghai (simplified Chinese: 上海中银大厦) No particular reason why i choose to capture this building. Built by Nikken Sekkei Ltd, a Japanese firm. I ponder, “why is it a Japanese firm that designed it? Very interesting.” Another reason i want to take pictures of this building is that of the weather – the lighting is acting in my flavor. I took the opportunity, at the right place and time. More importantly, the entire structure stands out from the rest of the neighbor. This makes me more attracted to it. Guess i have some good luck which i often doesn’t have.

Bank of China Tower is located in Pudong, a district of Shanghai located east of the Huangpu River across from the historic city center of Shanghai in Puxi. The elevated, magnificent architecture in China is more modernized than it seems to be, i immediately felt how China has quickly expanded in the last 2 decades into a very powerful country today.

Bank of China Tower is a 53-storey modernism skyscraper, exterior mainly tinted in blue color. Mainly is used as a commercial building. Completed in the year 2000. The structure remains in harmony with the surrounding for many years till today.

Close up of the curtain wall and facade

During the process. I try to keep sight of Bank of China Tower even from far. I wanted to capture a different perspective, together with the surrounding environment. Another problem i am facing is not having any local knowledge – where are the spots to go, where is the high ground i can find etc. That is why pre-scouting is included in the quotation for overseas job. Is very important to be familiar on the ground.

Lenses i am using that time were the 17mm tilt-shift and a 70-200 F/4.

Found a great view (pic below) to see most of the large-scale buildings lining up in Lujiazui.

Mission Impossible III was filmed there as well. Tom Cruise made a bungee jump and landed on the steep slope of the facade. What a stunt it was!

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Photo Walk at National Gallery Singapore

The local weather has gradually turned hot after weeks of cloudy day and occasionally rainfall in the afternoon. I feel absolute rejuvenation to have the sunshine. Getting a good sweat out with much walking and exploring. It seems like a really long time. But I had a very enjoyable feeling to be able to bring my camera out for a good daylight street shoot on architectural and anything in general that caught my eye.

I have been browsing a book that wrote about architectural photography. The book compiles some very well established architecture photographers from the 19 century till today. I was blown away by their work of portraying architecture pictures. In term of composition, i learned a lot from the picture.

I wanted to observe a few scenes that offer many layers of an element from the foreground to the depth, how do i compose it in the best way. How do i balance the scene when there are many different elements in the picture? Where is the limitation i am facing from what gear i have? Then, visualizing it, before using the camera to capture it. Is part of a self-training to keep improving, learn to see a slightly more complicated scene on a deeper level.

My photo walks took place at National Gallery Singapore. My equipment for the day is the Canon 5D Mk III, a 16-35mm and a 70-200 f/4.

I was taking pictures in color, especially the sky was blue in hue, makes me more excited. The light and shadow can be clearly defined through proper observation. As i was browsing through all the pictures in Lightroom. I decided to covert the colors images to monochrome effect to share with everybody.  Then perhaps you can understand why i decided to convert into black and white?

Enjoy the pictures.

 

Interior architecture in black and white

When taking pictures in this low light condition. I don’t have a tripod, and usually such public place no tripod is allowed. I had to use a slightly higher ISO to compensate for the slow shutter speed. The second picture i was not afraid to rest my camera on the available space. It straight away corrected the perspective because it is straight. I would advise that don’t be afraid to make use of anything available to get the picture unless the security came up to say so. If not, the result will be so much better.


Maximum depth of field

Using a wide-angle lens requires a very good eye to compose the scene. Because everything will look small and far distance, or there are too many things in the picture. But wide-angle is usually the preferred choice for landscape or cityscape photography. I really like the dome architectural element to be fuse among the tall buildings.


Reflection in Photography 

Reflection is one of the most fun things to play in photography. That said, not many people will have a detail observation of the surrounding. For my case in the 3 pictures below. It would a huge mistake not to even notice it. The pictures provide a marvelous effect – some may think is a double exposure. In fact is a reflection from the glass and still water.

 


Composition

Earlier on when i took the picture of Swissôtel The Stamford. The lighting was decent to take pictures, the sky was in a blue hue, however before i leave the musuem. I saw the light was in even better condition than earlier. I make the effort to go up the roof garden again to check it out, the golden light was reflecting on one column of the building. I compose the circular building in the center, trying to fill up the frame empty space as much as possible, or “getting it close” in other words.

Photographers are battling with composition every day: Should i use a wide-angle or telephoto? Should i compose it in a rule of third or be in the center? Should i go for a high angle or low angle? Should i move back for a wider view or move forward? So many questions, yet the light won’t wait for you to get an answer.

The second picture (above) am using the rule of third technique. But anybody can easily do this kind of framing with the gears i have. I need to quickly find another way to make this scene a bit more special. Because the right side has an empty space, it would make a difference if i include another element in it. That’s why i included the plant that was planted on the roof. Rather than saying i want to create a balance. I would say is the co-share between nature and architecture design.


Light and Shadow in Architecture

Light and shadow in architecture work perfectly in black and white. It clearly defines the lines, shapes, patterns, and structural design. The play of light and shadow can evoke emotion to a certain extent. Offering a quality of aesthetic in a still form. The light is a concentrated source of focus. While the shadow shows a mystify, quiet and hidden potential.

Hope you like the mini gallery tour in this post.

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Raise from the East, Set in the West

The weather in Singapore has not been the friendliest for many weeks since mid-Sept 2017. I am dreading to have a good day of blue sky weather. Unfortunately, each morning is almost a full cloudy condition. The afternoon duration was basically showered with light drizzle or thunderstorm for a few hours (At least our reservoir had a good supply of water).  Then came evening, the cloud was moving very slowly, covering a large portion of the skyline. The magic hour seemed less magnificent.

4th Oct 2017

This mark the day of Mid-Autumn Festival, in the lunar calendar, is Aug 15. The moon was in perfect circular shape, the light reflected from the sun is making the moon shining ever so brightly. As time ticks, the moon made its journey to raise from the thick cloud without trouble, it was a gorgeous sight, it seems so near to me – almost touching it, yet knowing how far it can be.

I witness some families bring their kids out to have a walk – kids carrying paper lanterns, father and his kid lighting up the candles to appreciate the light moment. Is nice evening for to nibble on mooncakes or have a sip of tea. Honestly, it was less rowdy and fun as compared to the old days.

I even came across the entrance of a house was beautifully decorated, but no one was at home.

5th Oct 2017

The sky was clearer, some stubborn cloud remains. Is been a more than a week since i made a night scene image. Despite knowing the weather is going to be cloudy. I knew the moon is going to be clear once it raises high above the cloud. I made a gamble to travel up to the northern part of Singapore to take some pictures in the evening. The previous night i already did my scouting and i thought the view was a stunner.

6.25pm

I reached my first location after a quick dinner. Hastily made my way up to the first location. There was no cloudy above my head, but from far there was cloud hovering. I was surprised to see the sunset setting down in the west without any obstructive view. I quickly took out my 70-200mm to make a few frames, then decide to set up the tripod for a more consistent composition.

The sun quickly disappeared into the thick cloud that was caught in-between my framing. I thought, “if only that cloud was not there.” But hey, this situation was expected, not much of disappointment. Well, this is the fun of photography, there is a hiccup in the process – is about trying to make it happen or have a go again. The picture title, “A Dark City” came up to my mind when i was capturing it. The feel was kinda of dark because everything is backlighted. An industrial factory nearby was omitting combustion gases from the industrial chimney, for a moment i felt living in an over-polluted city for a moment. The buildings below is a development from Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

6.45pm

I need to make a decision, should i stay or should i go? Because on the other block i will need time to prepare. The type of nervous moment to make an immediate answer. My final answer is to leave immediately because that sunset view is not my priority.

I quickly wrapped it up. Dashed from one block to another. Popped out of the lift to see this amazing sight, the sun finally emerged from the thick layers of clouds, blended with a mixture of red and orange colors. The mist in the foreground continues to build up in the surrounding.

 

 

 

 

Just so good………..

 

 

 

7pm

I had set up my tripod, this is the first time setting up this position as you see in the picture (right). The purpose is to have the camera extend out a little more than the usual. I was worried that it would drop, is normal to have such feeling. I double check to ensure everything is in the right order – tighten the knob, check the whole set up is very stable before i mounted up the little black digital box.

After the camera is mounted up, i did the necessary micro adjustment for the composition. I was more eager to see how the exposure turned out, this picture (left) was the first image capture.

You can see the moon in the sky is shining so brightly. It seems like the cloud is moving towards the moon’s position. You can try doing a long exposure for a min or two to get the motion effect of the moving cloud, that also depends on how fast the cloud is moving, ND filter is recommended if you want to expose a longer period.

715pm – 725pm

The sky is beginning to turn deep blue as the sun set, i wish the cloud wasn’t a hinder that evening, not complaining as it was expected. As i said earlier i went to this location is because of the full moon. The picture (below) is my selected picture among 10 frames. Honestly, this is not my favorite picture because of the big patch of cloud in the center portion of the framing. But i may never know, this may be the best picture because if i return in future the weather may be even worse.

 Exposure: F/14, ISO400, 30 seconds

730pm

I usually stayed put after the magic hour ended. From my experience, photographers usually started to pack up. There was this once i stayed back longer and i was rewarded with a great picture beyond my expectation.

I decided to wait for the moon to surface out from the cloud again. My patience yield result. I was greeted by an even brighter moon in the sky. The surrounding clouds were very soft, many areas of the night sky were visible. I love the good balance between the foreground and background from my exposure. This was the picture (below) that i like!

The entire photo shoot ended after 830pm. Landscape/cityscape photography can be rather busy because of the fun finding a good balance of exposure and micro adjustment, the 2 hours may seem like a very long time, but it was a whizzed to me.

7th Oct 2017

The sun never seems to shine lately. If i did not wake up at 4.30am for an intense workout. I may not have seen this glorious view.

Morning light passing through the foliage, if not for the low temperature and the dew in the air, this would have never been seen.

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Architectural Photography of Marina Bay Suites in Singapore

Marina Bay Suites

Today i am going to share pictures of the Marina Bay Suites that was developed by Keppel Land, Cheung Kong Holdings and Hongkong Land. Singapore is simply filled up with plenty of luxury condominiums.

This architecture has a height of 227 meters and 66 floors. Making this one of the highest building in the republic. This is a rare residential located in a prime area. I can’t think of another better words to describe except this building gives the ultra-luxury visual!

The architect is by Kohn Pedersen Fox firm.

 

Photography

I was able to circle around Marina Bay Suites easily while taking the photos. I always try to do it when the sky is in saturated blue and the lighting is in the right direction i need to show the best side of the facade properly.

There was a challenge in case you wonder? The first two pictures were quite difficult to capture the entire height into the camera even using the widest 17mm tilt-shift lens available in the market. I was standing at a far distance than i normally would, but the scale of the building is simply massive and amazing! On the ground, requires me to make a lot of micro adjustment in my position to get the picture correctly. The tip of the building was so narrowly almost cut off from my framing.

The last picture was captured in the morning. It looks a bit desaturated due to the weather condition. I would have given this scene a miss, but somehow i like the feel of it, is not giving out a very powerful, massive aura. But the scene was softer and relax which is why i decided to keep this picture.

You can click on this link to see the high res of Marina Bay Suites or feel free to check out my photo site for more pictures!

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Architectural Photography of One Shenton Way

One Shenton Way

A 99-years leasehold real estate redevelopment project. Located along Shenton way in the Tanjong Pagar area. This architecture consists of dual towers luxury residence that consists of 341 apartments, the tallest of which reaches up 50 stories! Completed in 2011, it is notable for its two-tower construction. Two sides of each tower are clad in gold and two sides in blue glass panels. The first floor is retail space and includes bar, cafe, and restaurants.

The two exquisite towers rise 50 and 43 floors above an elegant podium. Atop the towers stand magnificent glass and metal sculptures – a dramatic addition to the city skyline. Wish i can go up to check out that magnificent cityscape view.

Photography

Due to the congestion of the space in the surrounding. It is challenging to capturing this building from various angles which i normally do. Another difficulty is not having an access point to the nearby taller commercial buildings for the picture. Hence is always 2 feet on the low ground and finding the possible angles available. The first and third picture was in a similar angle but in the different distance, the environment can be seen in a different point of view too. But the focus point must be the One Shenton Way architectural.

If you are interested to try on architecture photography, take your time to observe the building. ‘Communicate’ with the building to build a connection. The good thing about taking pictures nowadays is a very simple task, with a click on your camera or mobile phone. An auto mode setting – the aperture, shutter speed and ISO will make a good exposure for you. The key is to “visualize” how you like your picture to be. Photography is a pretty much self-expressive art. Is not necessary to be a commercial aspect for client’s demand.

You can click on this link to see the high res of One Shenton Way, and please help me to check out my photography website for more pictures!

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Architecture Photography of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital In Singapore

Singapore is becoming a nation of an aging population, with the insane amount of people crammed in this island. It is not surprising that medical needs are on the high – a bigger hospital and more beds are required. Various hospital in different parts of the country to serve the rising medical demand and assisting urgent medical cases as soon as possible is decisive.

(Click on all the images to see high res)

Ng Teng Fong General Hospital is named after a man’s name. Mr. Ng Teng Fong was a real estate tycoon. He had a major business presence in Singapore and Hong Kong. He was reported to be the richest man in the country in 2010 in the same year he passed away. His family donated $125 million in 2011 to a build a hospital in the western part of Singapore, the very first.


Best light when the sun was in the eastern direction

The hospital is designed by an Australia architect company, Studio 505. This was their first Southeast Asia project. Honestly, i am very impressed by the design. During one of the construction phase in 2014, most people including myself thought it was another typical luxury condominium in the area. But later, when the architecture was better developed, i realized it was actually a hospital!


This was the view when i first saw during the construction phase, with the protruding shape like a balcony, is no wonder even i was misled. 

In early 2016, i decided to make an architecture series of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital after its completion months later. Singapore has been well-known as a green city, i observed the overall environment was incorporated with greenery around the facility.


Looks like an urban forest hospital

Studio 505 aim was to implement an improved typical ward layout and create a radical new design, enhancing the hospital experience for patients and staff, with ‘patient-centeredness’ at the very heart of the design.


The hospital is easily accessible from the nearest MRT station, through the malls and link bridges are sheltered throughout

My personal thoughts regarding this “aim”. The design for a hospital is not the most important factor. From a business perspective to the firm. The aim is also a submission to the government or whoever to buy their design idea and ultimately engaging the service. Nothing wrong with that. We all have to respect that effort.

In my next perspective, a hospital primarily must have an excellent team of highly qualified doctors and nurses is utmost important. The design and technology of the facilities then follow. In real life i guess is the other way round?

I also wonder has any architect firm gather feedback from professionals such as doctors, nurses, IT support personnel of how an ideal hospital should be like? Because these are the people who are always on the ground managing emergency situation, caring for patients for 24hrs, 365 days.


A statue of Mr. Ng Teng Fong in the interior. I like the bright orange color and how it was designed. But, to have seats protruding up is it even necessary to seat on inside a hospital? Considering people who go to the hospital are patients and old folk, i think this design is not meant to be there.

Overall i did enjoy myself capturing these set of images. Unfortunately is not for work, if not would be better. I hope you like the images, do check out my Ng Teng Fong General Hospital photo gallery for more pictures. Do help me to click on the Facebook button on the right side of my gallery and picture if you wish to share.

In case you are wondering what am i using? I am using a Canon 5D Mk III and a fix 17mm tilt-shift lens for perspective control. I also had to spend additional time walking around the hospital to have a better understanding of the architecture design, the possible angles, how the lighting was at various timings and practicing pre-visualization. I waited for the best day to catch the blue sky at its almost perfect blue hue. Overall, it may seem like a very tedious and prolong time to do it, but i only wanted the best in my creation.

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Top 50 Architecture Photography Blog Selected By Feedspot

I received an email from the founder of Feedspot.

Feedspot is a Modern RSS Reader. If you’re trying to keep up with news and content on multiple websites, you’re faced with the never ending task of visiting those sites to check for new content. Feedspot allows you to put all of your reading in one location.

Anyway, the founder mentioned my blog was selected by their panelist to be the “Top 50 Architecture Photography Blogs” on the internet. At least i know my blog is searchable. Feedspot even offers a gold color digital badge to honor the selected ones. Big thanks!

Architecture Photography of DUO in Singapore

For many years i have been witnessing this DUO building working it way up to the skyline in Singapore. One particular sight i can clearly remember was seeing the construction workers assembling the tower crane in mid air on a scorching day, i was feeling the sweat and intense heat with them even i was standing under the shelter.

DUO consists of DUO Residences and DUO Tower. The entire building is like a partially commercial bee hive – with the individual honeycomb shape facade in place. The architecture design looks unconventional to me.

Hope you enjoy the pictures below.

When the night fall, the entire building is lighted up, glamouring itself with a glazing effect. It gives a different feel to the surrounding but i wouldn’t say is outstanding or attractive either. Over time it will simply blend in with other nearby high rises buildings.

Before the construction of DUO on 2012. This space used to be an empty spacious green field. Sometimes on the weekend, i can see a small group of people playing football. I enjoy walking past there when i was taking pictures of the street. Singapore’s land is considered extremely scarce. Every inch of land is just waiting to be redeveloped for either commercial or public purpose.

On the side note, i feel there is a lack of rooftop accessibility for the public. I got no idea for whatever reason why there are not many in Singapore despite so many high rises buildings. Personally, i love going up to skyscraper to enjoy the city view in other countries, i would pay money for it despite the high entrance fee, skyscraper i have visited like the Taipei 101 and Shanghai Tower offer a very generous view of the city surrounding. In Singapore, Marina Bay Sands and 1-Altitude is the only place i know in the city that offers an aerial view – both require an entrance fee. Another place is Orchard ION but the place is currently under construction till Oct 2017, although is free but is open for certain hours.

If you are interested to read more about DUO, check out Archdaily for a more technical explanation. You can also head over to my gallery too.

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Monochrome pictures at Pandan Reservoir

I decided to convert some color pictures into basic monochrome effect (black and white) which i had pre-visualize during my photo walk at Pandan Reservoir in Singapore.

A monochrome photograph is usually seen in an old tradition picture that tells a story of the past. However taking pictures without colors force you to think and see a subject differently.  Black and white scene changes the way you look at lighting and contrast, changes the way how you compose a picture differently, changes the way to portray a story in the picture. Black and white often offer a timeless and classic feeling that evokes emotion.

7 pictures will be shown below

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Photo Walk at Pandan Reservoir

Took the chance with my partner on the weekend to go for a hike at Pandan Reservoir. This reservoir is located in the western region of Singapore. I think this is the only vast place on this island that i can feel more relaxed and to generate ideas.

Pandan Reservoir has a length of 6km. You can either walk, jog or cycle around the reservoir. Recommend you to bring a bottle of water to quench your thirst, as there is only one water station.

I brought along my 5D Mark III camera, mounted with a 70-200mm lens for the walk. I know i will be zooming in a lot rather than doing a wide-angle picture. The weather was great but hot as usual. I was ok with it, but my partner finds it a bit torturing. Thumbs up for her to complete it under the hot weather.

If you like taking pictures using your DSLR camera, and is your first trip to Pandan Reservoir. I will suggest you to bring a wide-angle and telephoto lens. There are many different viewing points as you trek along the mild sandy path.

14 pictures will be shown below


View of an industrial architecture picture, behind it is Clementi neighborhood


There is few dedicated area for the public to enjoy fishing


Another view of Fusionpolis building (center) i always wanted to capture from afar


Singapore produces the world’s largest builder of oil rig for global demand


An architecture view of the industrial logistic building


Zoom in to enjoy the colors


I always wanted to capture CWT logistic building in it best light form. The lighting was fantastic on that day. Blessed!



Industrial architecture that caught my eye


In the background is Singapore first offshore power station

If you are a traveler visiting Singapore, and your purpose is to visit some of the parks or a good hike. I would recommend you to go Pandan Reservoir. Make sure you have your sunblock applied because it is an opened area, there is small pocket of shelters for you to rest. It takes about an hour plus to complete the entire reservoir.

If you like this post do support me with a ‘like’, feel free to share my post to people who love taking pictures. Please leave a comment as well as i would love to interact with you. 

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