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i visited boudha 2 days ago, about 5km northeast of kathmandu, hoping to shoot the partial solar eclipse there. the solar eclipse, sad to say, was unspectacular but i was enthralled with the magnificence of the stupa.

boudha is home to a tibetan community numbering about 16000, most of whom fled china in the late 50’s. the area is an important centre of tibetan buddhism in nepal, with locals and foreigners alike visiting the monasteries and the stupa itself, as pictured below.

in the days leading up to losar, the tibetan new year, workers can be seen hauling tins of yellow paint up the side of the hemispherical dome. the paint will then be splayed over the dome, as pictured below, to create a pattern that represents the lotus.

monks, devotees, tourists, and everyone else in between, circling the stupa in a clockwise direction.

as devotees circle the stupa, some of them spin the prayer wheels set into the 147 niches in the outer wall.

scenes of prayer below. note the prayer beads which are used to keep track of the repetitions.

a man crossing underneath a line of prayer flags and not stepping over them – the considerate thing to do if one sees the flags lying on the ground.

butter lamps are lit by devotees to gain merit as well as to aid in meditation, as they help focus the mind. i entered one of the stone enclosures to shoot and nearly melted thanks to the heat.

one more of the stupa for the road.

for more posts direct from nepal, click here.


hollywood redux

above is a series i shot for my school’s dinner & dance, old tales of hollywood. i am not going to go into the technical details of how this series was shot, like i usually do. you can read about it on my flickr.

instead, i want to record on this space my gratitude to all the people who made this shoot happen. it is true that artistic collaboration can sometimes produce the most surprising results.

so in no particular order, many thanks to hendric and committee for having enough faith in me to do this, as well as handling the styling and logistics in such an impressive manner that allowed me to focus solely on lighting and shooting.

to all the contestants for being game enough to go along with the concept, and for being really spontaneous in front of the camera.

to ahmad for being a very patient and efficient help (owe you one + a lot).

to rui qi, carina and xiao xuan – you girls did such a fantastic job with with the hair and make-up!

and to all the rest who contributed in one way or another, thank you.

for more posts on photography, click here.



things come in tumbles.

point is, watch this space. there is going to be an explosion of information — content generated during the past week when i finally had to kiss my lazy holidays behind and actually get down to doing some work. not that i did not enjoy it though. i pray and hope that i get to spend the rest of my life wrestling with light, capturing moments and uncovering facts. stu maschwitz at prolost calls taking the perfect photo FML (fact+moment+light). nice acronym but can’t be further from the truth though.

also, i would like to keep this space more regularly updated. more tumbles to the people.

i am actually rather excited that school will be in session again. as usual, i psych myself and promise a semester of toil but my best friend procrastination is seldom long away on vacation. we will see.

so you will.

for more posts on my thoughts, click here.

fast track photographer


the title of this post is also the title of a book by dane sanders, wedding photographer and educator extraordinaire out of newport beach in the states, that i finished reading while lazing around in camp during my recent reservist stint.

this book is certainly different from other photography books i have come across. you won’t get f-stops or shutter speeds here. the focus is not even on the business of photography, though at face value that is what it appears to be.

rather, sanders is concerned about the business and marketing of the photographer, which in essence sets the premise for the rest of the book. he explains that with the homogenization (big word, i know) of photography, it is no longer possible to be known for simply shooting fantastic images, especially when people are already drowning in the sea of photos all around (just look at facebook).

thus, sanders believes that the spotlight should be on the photographer, and examining what changes can be made to either transform an indivisual into a dependable freelance, contractual photographer or a maverick signature, brand-name photographer (like him), depending on the personality and preferences of that individual.

with those 2 types forming the foundation, sanders then go into the details. he identified 14 key factors that makes up a photographer’s ‘DNA’ (or pDNA), determining which of the 2 types a photographer falls under and what needs to be done to further improve his/her current practices.

the 14 pDNA quotients are: experience, self-starter, program-starter, confidence, risk tolerance, need for control, need for collaboration, artistic identity, entrepreneurial identity, attractiveness, grumpy factor, creativity from people, creativity from self and self-promotion.

while this book is targeted primarily at wedding photographers, i believe that the principles espoused are relevant to photographers in every genre, especially if their concerns are marketing and growing the business in this day and age. i think that the photography world has been thirsting for literature like this for a long while.

not going to say more. go pick up the book, you won’t regret it.

on to other news, i am bracing myself for non-stop shooting and editing this coming weekend and the start of next week. looks to be fun though. good thing the bugs let me off in time.

for more of my thoughts, click here.

cinema overdose

sarah and i have been watching a lot of movies lately, taking advantage of the substantial student discount before 5pm and the fact that school is out (hurrah!). a few days ago we caught revolutionary road. today it was taken. i thought that revolutionary road had more depth thematically, just the kind of movie i like.

furthermore, i have been watching a lot of old movies by tarantino and the coen brothers on tudou so you get what i mean when i say “cinema overdose”.

the interior of the theatre above was shot at the cathay. i am not sure if a still constitutes “recording”. perhaps it does but hey, the movie hasn’t started yet. converted the photo to monochrome in lightroom, applied a split-tone and ended off by overlaying a texture in photoshop for the finishing touch.

smoked salmon sandwich with walnut bap bread

assorted breads with olive oil & vinegar

after that it was dinner at cedele before heading to the singapre art museum to catch filament, a showcase of audio and visual final-year projects from my school. i was especially keen to see reclaim land, which is a multimedia journalism project that explores the space constraint in singapore and how people make use of the space in interesting ways. visit their website at reclaimland.sg.

for more posts on my thoughts, click here.