A Photography Project – Wonder Full

I finally feel ready to share my latest personal project, Wonder Full. Which started 2 years ago.

Let me run a little background
Wonder Full is a laser show at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. The show makes its debut in 2011, a free 13-minute light and water show, on the platform at Marina Bay Sands, visitors got the chance to see the water fountain, a visual projection against water-screens and lasers to create an awesome effect. The best part was (which i just found out), on top of a building was installed with a six high-powered lasers that can be seen up to 55 km away. That explains why i can see it from my living area.

Story
Back in 2015, i was surprised to discover the green laser emits out from Marina Bay Sands can reach such a far distance to my house area in the western part of Singapore.

The sight of the green laser jump-start a new idea. I wanted to document the beauty of the laser ‘dancing’ from various locations in the western part of Singapore. I started my usual scouting process to find accessible high-rise building near my home. Checking out where is the potential spot i can capture the laser scene. Once i had confirmed the position that allowed to place a tripod. I would return the next night with my gears to capture the scene.

 

The discovery turns out to be an adventurous photographic project that leads me to explore new places. I try to make quality pictures when i have the time, i wanted to see how the laser light perform from a different point of view. In total, i have created 13 images in different locations. I was eagerly waiting for some new high-rise building to be completed, waiting for the right opportunity to capture a new scene. Unfortunately, good things never last long. While i was still exploring new location in mid-2017, i learned that a new light and water show titled Spectra took over. I was saddened not to see the laser light dancing in the night.

Check out Wonder Full in my gallery. I hope you like it from the various point of view.

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Pondering My Photography Style?

I was doing my routine run a few nights ago. A question that i was always pondering of: “What is my photography style?” The answer suddenly came to my mind.

I have discovered the answer to my personal photography artwork style. That night as i  was in a forested environment, the weather was almost an autumn temperature, the air was in an absolute freshness after a heavy downpour, the park was almost quiet. The answer i long searching for suddenly came to my mind.

I am squeezing time from the past and present into a single frame. 

Squeezing time from the past and present into a single frame! Honestly, that sounds like an amazing super power isn’t it? To tell my art – First, i am always capturing multiple frames and merge it into a single picture. Second, carefully selecting a scene to produce a long exposure method. Third, taking a picture with a vision of history and the present moment.

(A day without vehicles)

(Remembrance)

(Trainscape)

 (Wonder Full)

Now i think about it, throughout the years, nobody shares with me about what they like about my personal work. As for commercial work, i always ask feedback from the client. It was the usual reply, “Yes this looks great/fantastic/wonderful… bla bla bla.” That is fine because i am providing a service to your business who need to use my expertise knowledge or experience in photography to make high-quality images for their business. If the client is happy, i am happy. Always try to put me in their shoes to meet the expectation required.

Love photography
I do it because i love it, i have the passion in it. I created a picture from scratch is not because of the market demand or popularity. I created a picture through my own ideas and imagination. I want to be inspired by other great photographer’s work, check out their work too.

Find your own style
My answer to you is to keep making more pictures, create more personal projects, read up more books from those great master photographers without restricting any genre. Continuously reflect on your personal work, belief in your art, don’t be bothered whether people like it or not. Most importantly, you must enjoy the process and the final outcome. I believe your answer to your own style will eventually come.

Check out the master’s work
If you are into architecture and interior, check out Julius Shulman impressive visual. If you love street photography, Henri Cartier-Bresson is a must to understand his insight world. If you are into landscape photography, study Ansel Adam in-depth knowledge of making a landscape picture timeless.

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Architecture Photography of AXA Tower in Singapore

AXA Tower is a commercial building in Singapore that is designed in a curved shape instead of the standard linear. The round shape building may also offer a 360-degree view around the area. I don’t think the public is allowed to access, even myself have never taken a lift up there for a job, less the chance to check out the view. The building is very unique standing on it own, i have seen some visitors stop for a second look or have a picture taken.

You can read more about AXA Tower in Wikipedia.

According to Wiki, AXA Tower is considered a skyscraper. But with the low-flying aircraft on Singapore’s sky, the construction of a tall building is bounded by height limitation. So, i did a bit more research to find out how high a skyscraper is supposed to be? In today context, a building with 40-50 floors is already considered a skyscraper! While i thought skyscraper needs to be as tall as Taipei 101 building. AXA Tower has 52 floors. All along there was a skyscraper there for over decades before more tall buildings arise nearby.


Multiple steps to one of the entrance that is facing the south


A more detail scene, i love how the shadow imprint itself in the inner surrounding. Is rare to have a very good blue day in Singapore, but the weather can be rather scorching.


This scene was captured in 2017, i always have this explorer’s spirit to move around, working on a subject for a very long-term. Always hoping to find the most suitable lighting to get the best picture.


This picture was captured in 2015 in the morning. The building on the right is currently the tallest building in Singapore, yes another skyscraper!

This is an iconic architecture to me in Singapore. Because the commercial building is located in the business district, not a lot of tourists will wander there for a walk.

If you like to see all the 12 pictures, do check out my AXA Tower photo gallery. I really hope you enjoy these architecture pictures i have documented.

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Check out my other photos of architecture blogs

My unnoticeable photography projects

Because i love photography
I work on an idea that came to my mind
I use pictures to share my thoughts and imagination
This is my own unique visual art

I am grateful to receive my first publicity through Archdaily and other sources. Hidden Door was a 2 years photo project exploring the back lane in Singapore. Someone from France wanted to buy the above print after the news spread. But he said my price was too steep, giving me an art print lecture over the email. I still dream of having my Hidden Door exhibition in the local museum. An art work that local people able to relate. I never enjoy art that is too abstract or too deep of a meaning that is too profound to understand.



Illumination was my first series photo project. I remembered a friend was pointing his camera on a lighting display or ceiling light whatever you call it. The idea set me off to a series of exploration of interesting lighting design around Singapore. I still remember i was using a Canon 20D and later a 5D to document all these pictures. I suffered a neck sore for looking up for a prolonged period.


Singapore Public Art Sculpture was about seeing how the sculptures co exist with the environment. Moving around the city area to find interesting sculptures.


These Chinese Guardian Lions or stone lions were believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits. It is usually station at the entrance of a place or entrance to a building. Give you any chill?


I had this imagination of living in a day without vehicles. We breathe in clean and fresh air wherever we go. In 2016, one of the government board allows me to display my work in their public event. I was excited to make my own prints to bring it for my first exhibition. I never said it before, my first time was a horrible experience as the prints fell flat on the wet ground, my heart was immediately broken. Then the Minister (VIP) came by to visit with his entourage, his first comment was:”Wa this looks like a ghost town”.

*roll eyes*


1% inspired by Stephen Wilkes “Day to night”. An idea struck me how does it look like with train running on each track. I name it Trainscape.


Wonder Full is a project from 2015 to June 2017. Capturing the laser show of the famous Marina Bay Sands. I got to stop the project because the Wonder Full light show has come to a halt.

I reflect on my photography style after 11 years
I love taking on long-term photography project
I can be live patiently with photography
These pictures are my children

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.

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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Another TBM experience

I was engaged by The Robbins Company to capture their Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) in Singapore. The client engineers are doing assembly work here, with the intention of delivering it to their customer, Mumbai Rail Retro Corporation (MMRC) later. This was also an event ceremony and passing the factory acceptance test. I would say another milestone for the two companies. The client before hand informed me about their criteria of the pictures needed, on my end i have to do my best to fulfill what is needed by them. On the weekend, i made the effort to go to do the location for a scouting, this is to have a better understanding of the location and know the people on the ground.

Pictures i have taken.

@Mumbaimetro3 posted on their twitter.

Pictures from The Robbins Co on their Flickr album

Mumbai Metro Line 3 Slurry FAT

Mumbai Metro Line 3 Slurry FAT

Mumbai Metro Line 3 Slurry FAT

Mumbai Metro Line 3 Slurry FAT

Mumbai Metro Line 3 Slurry FAT

Mumbai Metro Line 3 Slurry FAT

On the working ground, everyone was extremely friendly, i was working with a group of people from various countries such as UK, USA, India and Germany. All gathered in one place with a common objective.

The PR manager from Robbins wrote for me a business testimonials which i really appreciate it from my heart. Most important my client must be happy with my service, one of my aims is to increase your target audience interest, generate revenue, impressive presentation for your business. 

“We are very pleased with the service provided by Ricky Gui of Capture Asia Photography. We were looking for an industrial photographer to capture an event commemorating the completion of a large piece of construction machinery. We needed someone who could mobilize quickly, get all the shots we needed, and give us good value for the quality of pictures, Ricky was all of these things. He responded quickly to our inquiry, was easy to work with, and provided high quality images in a very timely manner, We would definitely use his services again, and would recommend him for industrial photography and corporate events.”

For this photo shoot am using 17mm tilt-shift, 16-35 Mark II and 70-200 for the entire shoot. Camera is a 5D Mark III, with a manual Yongnuo SpeedliteYN560 IV.

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Tunnel Boring Machine Photography 

 

 

Tunnel Boring Machine Photography

Tunnel Boring Machine in acronym is known as TBM.

Been an industrial or construction photographer. I was always awed by the huge machines on site, watching the capability of what a machine can perform to its maximum performance, i also love the loud coloring painting around the heavy metal. There are various types of complex machinery to build roads, tunnels, bridges, housings, airports, facilities and so on. This is why i love to capture pictures of construction and industrial photography.

I usually make industrial pictures on the surface or climbing high up onto an oil storage tanks. But i never had the opportunity to go underground. Sometimes the local news will report story about deep underground storage or the more common news is about building tunnels. I always see those lucky photographers and journalist got the chance to go down there to make pictures. I was wondering how would it be like down there to work? What would i do if am there? What are the challenges i am going to be facing? So many curious questions but no one to answer unless i try it myself.

One overseas construction company require my service a while back. The director needed me to document their important engineering progress, workers on-site with proper safety gears and working safely, company branding etc. One day, the site engineer on the ground needed me to go down to take pictures of their newly assemble TBM. Wow, i am going underground to not only make pictures of the construction but also taking pictures of a tunnel boring machine, i was super excited!

The power of visualization

With the bright open top, lighting was not an issue in this scene. Here you can see the workers were doing the final assembly of the various parts. Yesterday, i was speaking with another engineer from Germany, he told me, “assembling a TBM takes 2-3 months to complete, that also depends on the experience of the workers and engineers who are setting it up.” Seeing the complexity of this machine from the inside, 2-3 months or even longer is understandable. Is like building a huge lego set, except it is like 100 times more difficult to me.

This is the first time i get to see the machine’s front end, also known as the cutterhead. It has dozens of teeth that chip away the ground as it rotates. The TBM can bore through anything from hard rocks and sand. Am using a Canon 17mm tilt shift lens for this picture. I don’t want to have a converging effect from the bottom, i want the client to view their beautiful TBM in perspective. I love the deep contrast of the red and blue.

Despite all the digging and shifting of soils and sands. The air quality in the underground was not suffocating as there was cold air pumped in from the ventilation fan through the various long yellow air vent (or air bag). For work safety purpose, i believe there must be a certain temperature to maintain in the underground. The lighting must be sufficient to see things clearly.

From an aerial point of view, i can see the cutterhead and the tunnel shield. The shield is the protective barrier between the ground, the workers, and the equipment. Another angle picture for the client to use the images for their business presentation and portfolio.

Feel free to check out my industrial portfolio, drop me an email if i can be of any help to your company.

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Unbelievable​ news for me

Whenever i am shooting outdoor with my 17mm tilt shift lens. I choose position myself closer to the architecture and document the entire building without cutting off any detail. i also do other variation like shooting the building from far, i will be using a telephoto lens to compress the scene or zoom onto the building details, or to present a landscape perspective.

But by using a telephoto lens. this is when the situation gets a little tricky. I may not get the building in perspective i wanted because of the height. I am required to correct the building perspective through editing, although is minimum, i will be losing pixel if i wanted to go for a large print in future. Second, precious time is wasted to make the adjustment on the computer.

I always had this visualization, “what if Canon invent a telephoto lens that is possible to do a tilt shift function?” I have been thinking about a telephoto tilt shift lens for years. I can imagine the possibility to make more creative and interesting picture.

Seems like my call has finally been answered.

Just last week. Tata~~~!!!!

A 135mm F/4L tilt shift lens with macro function! Oh, my god, a macro function is a much-added on bonus to me.

TS-E 135mm f/4L MACRO key features:

  • Control focus precisely for clever creative effects
  • Correct perspective and verticals quickly and accurately in-camera
  • Adjust focus detail in macro shots with 1:2 ratio
  • Optical excellence with advanced lens design and construction
  • Achieve better long distance studio images with ultimate sharpness

By the way, the other two new tilt shift lenses are the macro 50mm and 90mm. Simply amazing! All the new tilt shift lenses are manual focus by the way, i hope auto focus is the future for all tilt shift lens. Hope am not asking too much, but i think is not impossible.

My next question is the 135mm lens pricing. With the 17mm tilt shift costing me about S$2,700, years after release. I did a check and saw B&H website indicates the 135mm tilt shift price is USD2,199. After converting to Sing dollar is about $3,000. If i aren’t getting at least 3 jobs to use the 135mm tilt shift lens, this would become a poor product investment. Especially the current photographer’s market here is not in the health of pink.

I wonder when will Canon Singapore bring in this awesome lens? I would really love to get my hand on it to test it out, like immediately! Is been a long time since i am hype about a new camera product as am not a big chaser for equipment.

If you are interested, check out the introduction of all the new tilt shift lens from Canon USA

 

The dark side is whispering… 

 

Photographing an Office Interior Co Working Space in Singapore

Many months back i was approached by a company am collaborating with to capture their office interior picture for one of their co working space unit. The client wanted high-quality office interior pictures for their marketing materials to promote their co-sharing office space.

Like all commercial and interior job. I did a scouting at their office before the commencement of the photo shoot. Their ex-staff invited me last year to check out their office to see whether i have interest in renting one, and also possible photo shoot as well. But the plan was dragged on until the interior photography came up again as they have a more concrete plan, which is great.

I met up with their new marketing lady to discuss various possibilities of the photo shoot angles and adjustment of the interior space. She even showed me that their working desk can adjust its height electronically, pretty cool!

After the scouting was done, we all have a very clear idea how is the interior photo shoot going to happen. The next part was the confirmation of the date through email.

On the actual day of the shoot, the client also invited a vendor to act as models using their office space. I did a few lifestyle shoot as well, i will share those pictures in the future post.


In the left of this picture, i digitally removed all the messy cables that were underneath the 3 tables, Initially, i thought it was impossible because of the graduation lighting. So i throw myself a challenge and try to edit it away, i was surprised it was possible, but the time taken is very lengthy. I would have loved to remove the cables on the spot but is impossible.


Me and the client also arranged the office interior space to be neat after i confirmed my angle and camera position. As the table height can be adjusted, in the far end you can see one of the desk is actually higher than the other.


For this photo shoot, i set my tripod to a higher height, rather than waist level. I wanted to portray the depth and the facilities in this co sharing office space.


The entrance to the office, utilizing the two-side doors into the composition. “Welcome to the office”.


The last picture was to capture the exterior from outside of the office. I deliberately include the space on the right to give the picture more depth. I was immediately drawn by the result because it feels like an office inside a futuristic spaceship.

After the photo session ended, the client was telling me how much she had enjoyed the photo session with me, she also said she learned a lot as well. I really appreciate how this shoot was fun yet professionally done. I was really happy to receive a positive experience from the client.

See more of my interior photography portfolio gallery as well.

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A short holiday in Ho Chi Minh City

My partner was very generous to give me a free air ticket to Ho Chi Minh City as my birthday present. Thank you dear!

I haven’t visited Vietnam since 2015 i think. This is the first time we are traveling to this Ho Chi Minh City. Much has changed in the city, the familiar walkway i used to travel is going to be removed soon, the Japanese restaurant i often patronize was gone, many shops were starting to close down, all these are due to the development of underground train.  Is kinda of sad, but the country needs to continue to develop to improve the life of the local.

I bought a DSLR camera and a tilt shift lens with me on the trip, nothing more. I was more interested in the local architecture since i took more interest in architecture after my last VN trip. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t the best throughout the trip, i didn’t bring my camera out most of the time. I only managed to make less than 15 pictures on this entire trip, and only a few pictures barely can make it.

My mindset from the start was the outcome of the picture was least important, i already knew the weather was going to be less friendly. But i want to see the local popular architecture through my camera using a tilt shift lens, i want to have a feel of it in overseas. Other than that, it was mainly bonding time, my partner and i were tasting lots of very delicious local dishes, gosh this is another food heaven country.

Only 4 pictures of architecture from Ho Chi Minh City to share and one night scene from my hotel swimming pool

A very interesting building that is filled with cafe and living space, can be seen along the street of Nguyen Hue

Palace Saigon hotel along the street of Nguyen Hue

The very famous local landmark must visit is Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon

The Myst Dong Khoi is an upscale hotel with a rooftop bar and swimming pool. I love how the building is embracing greenery all over it.

From my hotel, Liberty Central Saigon Centre Hotel. I placed my camera on the ledge to capture this night scene, probably the most difficult thing i ever did because there is no auto focus on my lens, no cable release, no tripod. Extremely hard to compose as the live view from my 5D MK II old camera is spoilt.

There are lots of hotels and budget hotels in Saigon, depending which area you wish to stay. If you are not really on a low budget, want to stay in a mid price but a good hotel. I would like to recommend you to stay at Liberty Central Saigon Centre Hotel. Is only less than a min walk to Ben Thanh Market. Lots of delicious food around the streets, In my opinion, this hotel is very centralized for me as i can head to many places easily. In the past, i was staying in backpacker street and i have to walk a pretty far distance to Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica and so on. This was also my first time swimming in a hotel pool on the roof, the view is really scenic in the night.

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Check out my Ho Chi Minh City travel pictures too.