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Posts tagged “2008

editing photos

beyond editing my own photos (making selects and working on them in a variety of softwares), i also get to do the same to the work of others in my new capacity as a photo editor of the nanyang chronicle.

so far the experience has been pretty tough. with the whole new editorial team relatively inexperienced, we took an unacceptably long time to produce the very first issue of the new year. i hope the situation improves. going without proper sleep for more than 36 hours is not very enjoyable.

the best part about being the photo editor so far is that i get to shoot “dapper”, which is the fashion spread of the paper. i love working in the studio with all the lights and all, collaborating with stylists and models to create a piece of work. below is my favourite from the most recent edition.

the next installment of “dapper” will most likely be shot out of studio. we will see what happens to that one.

to view the rest of the selects from the shoot, click here.

for more posts on photography, click here.


light static & the swan thing

i was at bottle tree park at khatib catching up with an old friend after dinner. please don’t take pictures if you really intend on catching up with friends. it is a conversation-killer.


this one above to set the context.

now add the 2 pictures below…



… and you will get:


can you spot the swan? hint: it’s in the middle.

what about this one? no hint.


and this one below?


that’s all. good night now.

for more posts on photography, click here.

denis & debbie

as promised in an earlier post, here are the selects from a wedding that i recently shot this month. many congratulations again to denis and debbie, and thanks to them for allowing me to be part of their big day.

— day —

— outdoor bridal shoot —

— night —

to view the rest of the selects from the day, click here.

for more posts on photography, click here.

a day of mixed circumstances

today is what i would call a day of mixed circumstances. of course we encounter different situations daily, but for a day to be actually termed as such, some really unusual things must have happened.

i was out today helping my friend mop up the remnants of the singtel project that i blogged about earlier. i popped in and out of mrt stations so many times that i am pretty sure i am on some watchlist now. i traveled around so much that it was like playing “who wants to explore singapore via the pride of the transport system… and on foot?”, except that it wasn’t really fun because the latter contestant had a severe disagreement with my sandals. still, it was a great way to visit places that i normally wouldn’t go to.

my camera was switched on and hanging by my side the whole time. what this meant was that i could have gotten some street photography done while moving about. but of course that is wishful thinking.

street photography is a discipline in every sense of the word – it is a discipline upheld by a lot of skill and a bit of luck. luck is  when the various elements come together to form a potential photograph. skill is recognising those moments – the play of light, fleeting expressions on faces, when people fall into geometrical rhythm with the environment they occupy, humour, etc. – and maneuvering the camera quickly enough to capture them.

sometimes you make your own luck, sometimes you don’t.

it is not everyday that 3 photo opportunities that could potentially produce the photographer’s best pictures all year appear in a single day. that was exactly what happened to me today. sad to say, i allowed 2 of them to slip away. even the one that i got was shot only when i passed by a second time, and the subject was well… static.

some of you would probably recognise this scene. this was shot underground en route from citylink mall to suntec city. the moment i saw this i thought it was absurd on 2 levels – this man was placed to guard a section that isn’t even completed yet, and how the wall in front of him with the little door is supposed to be an “obstruction”. yet he is completely exposed, moreover from behind. the way the light fell in the scene draws the viewer’s attention to him. and yes, he is the static subject.

so that was the one i didn’t missed. now for the 2 i did:


this is how the frame above should have been filled. the location is a few metres into citylink mall, right outside breadtalk. the subject of  the photo is a man, that is, if i can even call him that. he has short, fashionably-cropped hair. a pair of gigantic purple shades hides almost half his face. he is dressed in an outfit of mindbending colours in swirls – purple, light blue, yellow, emerald, mainly purple. he is not a man, he is a bird of paradise.

on his shoulder he carries a tote bag, a really HUGE tote bag – the size of a functional notice board. let’s put it this way, he certainly has gained the notice that he desires. his message to the world is swiftly delivered on the wings of his confident, devil-may-care strides. we hear you, brother. but he is not a man, he is a pigeon with a mission. breadcrumbs.

it was truly an incredible sight, a moment i would have chosen to freeze in time by preserving the motion of his movement through space. slow the shutter, tracking him as he moved along, oblivious to the rest of the world. but of course i didn’t, and the consequence is that my words can never do enough justice.


the second one that i missed: raffles mrt station, exit f. while walikng back into the station after exiting robinson road, i came across an indian man frozen in a pose that could have easily been drawn from a dance adaptation of the great indian epics – his right arm was raised in the air, the fingers gracefully curled; his kness bent slightly with his posterior jutting out appropriately to his left; his eyes directed towards the ceiling, a quiet smile on his face.

he too was removed from the world. and even when an elderly malay man proceeded from behind him and leaned in close to inspect his face, he did not flinch – the way a mannequin would, the way all mannequins should.

that, dear readers, was the decisive moment. and i failed to capture it. i would like to think that photography is predatory and that i was merciful, but truth is, i was lazy, i was self-conscious, i was timid. most of all, i was not ready. and you have to be, because the time taken to recover from a surprise is the time that the moments slip away.

point is, opportunities often arise when one least expects them to. the key is to remain alert and ready, because that slip of concentration can cost a lot. and also that i can stop taking banal photographs such as this:


actually, i think the subtle colours in the photo complement each other very well. otherwise, it is as banal as banal does.

on a lighter note, my day was saved not because of any commission or omission on my part, but rather because a bird decided not to use my person as its dumping ground but rather, a piece of paper i was holding. talk about a close shave. i have never had an avian being defecate on me before. may it never happen.

anyway, sarah is going away to europe for 3 weeks. you know what they say – absence makes the heart grow fonder. that was one of the first idioms (is it even called that?) i learned. i will miss her.

for more of my photography and thoughts, click here and here respectively.

the annual pilgrimage

whenever i speak of going to malacca, i always refer to the trip as “going back“. that is the way that my mum puts it, because malacca is the place when she was born and raised. almost all of her family still reside there.

i returned from what i have come to describe as my “annual pilgrimage” last wednesday. the trip to malacca this year was a short 3 day/2 night affair, largely thanks to the fact that my reservist unit is on standby and i could be recalled anytime. i figured that it was pretty safe for me to skip town for a couple of days and no longer. the prospect of having to explain myself to a bunch of numb-skulled superiors should i fail to materialise if my unit got activated does not really excite me.

below i have posted some of the more interesting photos from the trip, along with the corresponding text. feel free to post comments or questions. enjoy.

how we roll — there are a few ways to get to malacca. being broke students, my brother and i naturally chose the most cost-effective way – mrt to kranji station, bus 170 across the causeway to larkin bus terminal in johor, then onto an interstate bus for the ride to malacca.

start of trip

on the interstate bus with our “skinny stethoscopes”. it’s not easy shooting yourself with a dslr sans tripod and remote trigger, but we managed.


one of the many pylons that dot the malaysian landscape. the cables stretch as vastly as the roads and the land that they overhang. a strange kind of communion between nature and the works of man.

once in malacca, the typical way for a foreigner to get around would be by taxis, which do not have a meter in them. as such, the cabbies would often call out exhorbitant charges if they get a sniff that you are a tourist. since i have relatives who are locals, i always am updated on the prevailing fares from one point to another. if i sense that a cabbie is trying to rip me off, i just grunt in disapproval and walk away. they are plenty more around lazing in the slow afternoons. regardless, fares usually hover around the 20 ringgit mark.

taxis aside, there are also buses that run on irregular schedules. if you are willing to wait an hour at times as well as endure the less than comfortable ride on these rickety old “tin cans”, you can save a lot of money. bus fares are around 1 to 2 ringgit.


the inside of a bus run by the patt hup bus company. this is a company that does not believe in keeping up with modernity and upgrading its fleet (not exactly) of buses.


this boy can’t wait to grow up and buy his own proton ___ra (or “ga”).

while we are still on the subject of beat-up old buses, adjacent to my auntie’s place is a lot where buses go to rust and die. they are stripped of all recyclable materials (and their dignity as well) and then just left there. clearly, the authorities there have a lot to learn in terms of waste-management.

a kampung abode

above is the photo of my auntie’s kampung house bathed in the glow of morning. i woke up at 6 a.m. that day (no one wakes up at 6 a.m. there because there is no chase, corporate or otherwise) to shoot the sunrise and got the following:


in case you are wondering why there are temperate-looking trees in the background, it is because there is currently this big effort in malacca to reclaim land and to make the coastal areas more aesthetically-pleasing. let us not judge them, for we each have our own way of dealing with the current economic downturn. in their case – potentially unsuccessful attempts to boost tourism.

malacca is home to some really great food. my favourite local specialty has to be “satay celup”. a bunch of starving individuals sit around a table with a cooking pot of peanut-based gravy in which they dip their food (on satay sticks, of course) and wait impatiently to stuff their mouth.


the boy caught in the act of doing so is my nephew terence, by the way.

being a historical city, there is no shortage of culture and heritage in malacca, even though much of it is not the doing of the locals. there is a strong portugese presence in terms of historical structures. below are what remains of a church on a hill, and the handless statue that stands vigil.

an old fort

look ma, no hands!

a final note, they are not 2 seasons behind in terms of fashion.


for more posts on photography. click here.

for more on my thoughts, click here.