From The Streets of Singapore, Through Hell & End with a Bang.

Time really flies when one has to finished so many things and yet the satisfaction is in the doing and the resultant images of not just for yourself, but also for the people who are the subjects of your camera and learning from you.

It was not an easy 2 weeks since I last posted. But one has to hang on and bite the camera.

First up was the portraiture shoot. After listening to Elise’s horrid stories of her last Studio Outing in KL, I guess I was willing then to shoot for her during her visit to Singapore. The bad thing about this small little island is starting to show, the absence of nice open space, devoid of people. For any shoot, it would be nice that there are not so many people around to gawk at your subject and of course the constant look out for your equipment.

So we started off shooting at Midnight and lasted through to 4am in the morning on a weekday night, just to avoid the crowds and also a bit more space and time to experiment.  The next day we did some more simple shoot in the streets of the city and trying out more styles that I was very rusty from.  In the end, the shoot was pretty decent and have good RAW shots for further post processing.  One satisfaction I have is that following this shoot, her boyfriend has a deeper understanding of the beauty that it is in her and she can be gorgeous if she put in the effort.

A simple limited depth of field shot using the flower bed as the frame of the shot that leads the eyes to the subject. Pity the bracelet got some attention away.

5 Foot Way Shot down the corridor. At first it was alright but the corridor leads the eyes away into the greens. So a bit of work to really cut down the colour there and focus back to the subject. The shot was taken with the x100’s 35mm equivalent focal length. I would say I have a deeper appreciation of that focal length and totally understand why so many photographers loved it.  For that kudos to Fujifilm for choosing a good prime with the x100. The skin colour tone has been missing since S5Pro. I am glad Fujifilm is back and back in a big way.

Attempted hairline light but somehow this one works better as the light leads the viewer’s eyes to her eyes. Add a bit of saturated colour to complete the look.

A deliberate slow sync shot with a slower shutter speed than my normal hand held. Could have done it with longer light streaks but it would be too complicated. I left it as it is.

Reflection pool. I could have opted to include the background more but it would make the whole picture more cluttered than necessary. A reflection shot would make it more interesting, with form, light and shadow providing the picture elements for the eyes to catch.

More reflections, this time using the window plane as the medium to create that dreamy feel. Perhaps to reflect on what’s on her mind. Things that are not in focus, of complications and of hope: In other words: dream.

I could have relaxed after the shoot but there is still one more INTRO class to conduct. Took me quite sometime to think of another place to shoot and then after a quick glance through some tourist information pages on Singapore. It hit me: Why not the Haw Par Villa (HPV). HPV is one of those places that asian parents would love to bring their child for some moral education. Who else to teach them than stories about how one is judged in the courts of hell if one falls into immorality?  I personally think young kids nowadays should be brought to such places because to me, the underworld is real.  If this world operates on justice for all and our moral consciousness always talk about fairness, retribution and the basic good, then there should be a polar opposite that deals with actions and thoughts that goes against the moral good of the world.  The I-everything generation knows everything but knows nothing, and that’s the sadest part of it all.

It really was a quirky place that my overseas friends would be very happy to find a place such as this for their travel shots.  Why is that so? It is colourful.  It is weird. It can be seen as a dream while you are awake or a nightmare. It shows the spiritual side of the Chinese and answer something about our Chinese psyche.  Why are we so loyal to the family. Why are we so into ‘face’ savings and of Confucius teachings of filial piety (either out of real moral goodness or out of fear).  This place has it all. Believe it or not, it was the backdrop of a Karaoke video way back in the 90s.

We really had a great time there especially when you are photographing. But the place is still as humid as hell (pardon the pun).  And we did some toy photography which was fun!

We had lunch at Penang Place first and this bamboo steamer full of porcelain blue glutinous rice is one of the Peranakan’s favourite food (me inclusive). But we are in a buffet restaurant so too much of this meant little of others.  Sorry. Not much photos as the food is so good, we can’t stop to shoot what we eat!

Danboard or Boxy as I called him, became the unlikely subject of this tour to the underworld.

Look, he even bought his girlfriend along -_-“

She’s really excited. That’s the Bull door guard of the entrance to hell.

Errm…Where’s everyone going?

Oh great. Here’s the judge!

Not A Pretty Sight

Understandably Worried!

One would become a black sheep and the other, a rabbit after reincarnation.

Glad to be out of the Hell Hole!

Next stop. JAPAN!

The SPIN crew. I wonder where has all the class people gone to??

Actually there’s no budget for Japan but the closest we can go was the Chingay Parade 2012. Chingay is THE street parade of Singapore. Not as wild as Mardi Gras and I would say, not as colourful or exciting as those in Japan, Taiwan and Philipines. Perhaps I was a bit more harsh as I have seen them once too many and really the participants did put in the effort despite the fact it lacks the ‘free-ness’ of the others as though exuberance was curtailed. Anyway, I still went there despite the lack of motivation to do so. I am really surprised that I did. REALLY!

Oh by the way. That’s my church’s contingent and that’s my assistant pastor!

Shot in less than ideal condition. But the x100 shines through at ISO2500.

End with a bang literally. I shot this on the second day of the parade (there’s two sessions you see?). Really smoky. Will pull down the aperture further half way through the fireworks display to avoid the smoke.

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