Featuring Singapore ‘Hidden Door’

Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ is featured once again, this time in India. An editor of Colour Quotient from Asian Paints wanted an interview of my personal work and feature some of the ‘Hidden Doors‘ series. I was more than happy to grant his request and assist whatever is needed to support.

Featured articles

– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in 畅游行, Singapore first Mandarin travel magazine
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in ArchDaily, with more than 10 million viewers internationally
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in Lonely Planet Travel News
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in 42 magazin, an online magazine in Siberia
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in Metro daily newspaper at Russia with 1.9 million readers
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in Nine Australia
– Singapore ‘Hidden Door’ in Asian Paints, Colour Quotient

Singapore Chinese Guardian Lions

The Chinese guardian lion or Chinese stone lions is a unique animal to the Chinese’s tradition since the Han Dynasty. A pair of stone lions, male and female can be often seen in front of the Chinese imperial palaces, imperial tombs, temples during the pre-modern China.

The positioning of the male lion is on the left with his right paw resting on a ball, and the female on the right with her left paw fondling a cub. The lion was regarded as the king in animal kingdom, representing power and prestige. These stone lions were believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits.

In today modern society country, such as Singapore. These lions also stood in front of shops, private residences, restaurant, high-rise building, offices and so on. With one lion sitting on each side of the entrance.

The “Chinese Guardian Lions” will be shared concurrently with viewers rather than waiting for the whole project to end. Am curious to see what are the interesting “lions” i can capture, and perhaps an interesting story.

Travel Collection – 5 in Vietnam

Four weeks in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam back in 2011.

Was visiting a local famous temple for prayer. The art director wanted some pictures of the locals selling prayer items. So been a non Vietnamese, i can’t speak their native language. The art director spoke to them to get them agree for pictures. Vietnamese always love to have their picture taken, i wonder why, something that still mystify me till today.

I’ve composed in a way to capture more of the background environment in what they are selling, rather than focus just their close up portrait. It depends what story you wish to tell. As this was done indoor, i turned the subject around to the available natural light source. No flash was require to capture the 2 different scenes.

I liked the pictures because both ladies were very pleasant and i like the various details in the background of their work place.

I can see their life is not easy, but their smile showed hope and calmness in life.


Feel free to check out other of my travel collection articles
1 in Beijing
2 in Bangkok
3 in Sri Racha
4 in Nepal

Travel Collection – 4 in Nepal

“Namaste”

When i was doing my travel photography at Kathmandu, Nepal. “Namaste” was the only nepalese language i spoke of in the entire trip. Is a respectful greeting to the local people.

According to Wikipedia.

Namaste means “I bow to the divine in you“. Namaste is usually spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. This gesture is called Añjali Mudrā or Pranamasana. *fascinating*

Capture this picture using a 24-70 lens. Wanted a out of focus background, aperture set to F/3.5, shutter speed running at 1/1600. The morning light was rather heart warming than alluring in the capital. Life in Nepal seems less unsophisticated to me, travelling in a city there feels rural yet, basic modern accessibility is in place.

I spotted this man during my morning walk, the temperature was still chilling. I stopped, observed him. He was selling some products on the street to make a living. I approached him. Said:”Namaste”, hand gesture for picture. He agreed.

“click click”

Share with him the picture, smile.

I capture this picture because of the difficult situation he is in. Been alone in the street trying to make a living can be challenging due to the weather condition, no shelter for him unlike retail shop. His wrinkled face showed how difficult life can be, rather than aging. Or a rather true story of life in Kathmandu.

Yet, he never forcefully try to sell me his product.

Feel free to check out other of my travel collection articles
1 in Beijing
2 in Bangkok
3 in Sri Racha

Travel Collection – 2 in Bangkok

Not sure had you read my Travel Collection – 1 in BeijingTravel Collection – 1 in Beijing

Now here goes another one of my picture story telling of why do i make this particular image and how do i approach towards the subject during travel in other countries.

As many of the pictures were taken years back. I may not remember all the small details anymore, but the scene still linger in my mind.

Portrait of a Monk

I was like a street hunter, with an eagle’s eye looking for picture opportunities in Bangkok. I can’t remember which temple i was at, there are so many temples everywhere in busy Bangkok. A Buddhism’s country that much devoted to the belief.

I wandered into this temple where i can see a row of golden Buddhas in line. I took the opportunity to rest myself from the heat of wave. While i was cooling down under the shelter, my eyes was scanning for my ‘prey’, not many visitors at that moment, kids were running around, a few monks making their way to the exit.  I capture some still life street photograph and that was about it. Something was lacking. But i don’t know what is that hollow point at that moment.

Often when i search hard for picture opportunity, that situation never appear. The moment i stopped seeking, the chance is presented and is up to you to grab it. Why do i say this? Is because much patience had already dry up while waiting or expecting for something to happen. If nothing occur as you visualise,  you may end up being frustrated, disappointed and even a waste of time.

What is the disparity between Waiting and Expecting?

Waiting – Not knowing what is going to happen next, unable to control the situation. (negative)

Expecting –  A desire to see a situation that is going to unfold. (positive)

Back to the temple. As i as was about to leave, i noticed a monk by himself standing in-front of the Buddha statue. Somehow that particular moment caught my attention. I  boosted up my confident, approached the religion man. Is a do or die moment, i don’t want to moan later why i did not even asked about it and regret for the rest of my life.

I can’t speak Thai, except for the basic “Sawadee kap”, palm together. I spoke in the most simplistic English and hand gesture to ask for a picture. Hoping he will understand. I was not nervous, but neither will i be disappointed if he rejects me.

The monk smiled, nob his head *throw fist on air*

I recalled having some difficulty in the composition, whether should he be standing at the side or the centre. I quickly made a few frames and concluded that standing in the centre would be better. Everything is all centralised from the background to the key subject. Is the the student being humble in-front of the Buddha’s teaching.

He did not smiled throughout, neither i want to control his expression. For street/environmental portrait. I decided to let the monk to be himself, and be respectful to him is important.

Personally i like this picture so much that i printed out 12 x 8 inch and hang it up on the wall.

Hope you enjoy this article, drop me a comment if you like it or how to further improve it.

Travel Collection – 1 in Beijing

Travel Collection is a group of photos from various travel trip i did in Asia countries.  I decided to select my favourite pictures, open up another folder in my website and put my favourite all together. Photoshelter function allows me to seamlessly handle large number of images in a breeze. The purpose for this blog is to share why do i make this particular image and how do i approach towards the subject during travel in other countries.

Portrait of an old lady 

I was exhausted after squeezing and exploring around the Temple of Heaven, Beijing. I headed to the park within the premises. Taking my time to rest and enjoy the lush of lighted greenery that embraced me. This old lady sat beside me, one bench away. Somehow we started chatting a bit through my mandarin language and their own Chinese dialect, i always love to have a conversation with a kind and good stranger. She was all smiling and laughing, you know the sunshine personality. I thought she would make a good portrait picture for my travel documentation,

She was already unreserve and relax, i asked her permission whether can i take her photograph? She agreed, wooohoooo! I took out my trusty long lens and started shooting. While am still making minor conversation to make it even more natural. I only asked her to look at the camera, and she was smiling all the way.

There was a generous depth in the background behind her. Technically is easier to isolate the background in order for the subject to stand out in it best. When people look at the picture, the focus is immediately on her, the greenery background became an aid to the overall composition.

I thought surrounded by greenery is a natural luxury.

‘Snap, Snap, Snap’

Check my LCD and was content with the outcome.

I really love that smile reflected on her facial expression, being positive and cheerful at her age. Is like an indication that her life is much peaceful. I showed her the picture and asked whether she likes it? We continued chatting a bit more before i headed for my next destination.

Camera setting
Focal length: 94mm
ISO: 800
Aperture: F/5
Shutter Speed: 1/250

Let me know if this is helpful, as i intend to write more (to improve my writing) of my experience to share with like minded photographers so that your can gain something as well.