[portfolio: vamos.com.sg email: foocheechang@gmail.com phone: +65 9622 9024 twitter: foocheechang]

Posts tagged “urban

how a droplet of blood became a torrent

was on my way to punggol yesterday when i caught this on the train. it was a strange sight.

was at punggol beach in the evening when amos fell and cut his palm on some rocks while walking out into the sea. he managed to save his camera though, which was rather heroic. it seems like people value their possessions more than themselves – i once heard a story of how this musician fell while going on stage with her guitar. she broke her hips and the guitar? never left her hand.

after that pamy’s dad fetched us to a clinic, where amos got the cut cleaned out. thankfully it was not that bad to the point where stitches were required.

amos getting a tetanus shot. now you know how doctors make so much money, especially the pushy ones.

latest update is that amos is fine and has removed the bandage.

now for some happy photos from punggol.

for more posts on photography, click here.


urban disguise

in this edition of dapper, we wanted to do a product shoot but with a difference. instead of going the straightforward route and shooting the bags and shoes against a plain seamless, we wanted to shoot in an environment and in a style that would reveal and enhance their “character”. this would be like the conceptual environmental portrait – albeit of shoes and bags.

for the location we wanted a place with a really gritty and urban flavour. it just so happened that i was on the 179 heaaded to school when i spotted the skate park (with glorious graffiti)  just right outside ntu. beats going all the way to the skate park in town where we would in all probability be harassed. besides, shooting near school meant that we would not have to lug gear and the products around.

we started setting up and shooting just before sunset. wanted to see if we could use the dying ambient light but then decided to kill the ambient light as it revealed too much unwanted details in the background (hdb blocks, cars, etc.) so we waited till dark before actually shooting.

the lighting setup was similar for both pictures. a flash against a bounce umbrella to fill the foreground, 3 grip-spotted/snooted falshes to light each of the shoes/bag combo. wanted to retain the hardness of the light give the photos a harsh, edgy look so no diffusers were used.

note that the bmx bike and the ramps in the background were lit with a flashed zoomed out to 105mm and shot on a separate frame, which was then composited with the shot of the foreground to form the above image. i had my camera locked down on a tripod to maintain the same field/angle of view.

likewise, the skater in this shot was lit separately as above. many thanks to him. he was enjoying a sandwich or something when i approached him to ask him to “model”. thankfully, i got him in the right place on the first attempt. otherwise i might be recovering from a skateboard-inflicted head injury now.

other than to form the composites, the photos also had their contrast and colours adjsuted in photoshop to bring out the grittiness and the textures of the graffiti. i also overlaid some additional texture to complete the grunge look.

as usual, many thanks to my dear stylists carina and audrey. couldn’t have done this without you girls. special thanks to ahmad and yudi for assisting and supplying some of the gear. thanks a lot guys.

for more posts on photography, click here.

fun with hdri

top to bottom: ‘come doomsday’, ‘silo’, ‘untitled’.

a couple of days ago i went on a shooting walkabout with kyle and as usual, we ended up along the familiar urbanscape of singapore which we should deliberately avoid in future.

anyway, for this particular walkabout, i decided to shoot in order to experiment with a technique known as ‘hdri’, or high dynamic range imaging.

allow me to geek out for a moment. hdri is basically a technique that allows a shortfall of the camera to be overcome:

when a picture of a high contrast scene is taken, the ‘dynamic range’ in that scene is far greater than what cameras can currently record. examples of these is when the sun (light source) is in the frame, creating a very bright background (the sky) and very dark foreground (land, or buildings, or whatever surfaces the sunlight does not reach).

what happens is that if the photographer exposes the picture in order the preserve details in the sky, the foreground would go completely black (no shadow details). should the photographer choose to expose the darker foreground properly, the sky would then be ‘burned out’ (turned totally white with no details whatsoever).

with hdri, the photographer records at least 3 images of the same scene, exposing for the hightlights, midtones and shadows. a tripod is usually required so as to keep the camera steady. i did not have a tripod that particular day so i just engaged the auto-bracketing function on my camera (in 2 stops interval), handheld the camera as steady as possible and fired three-shot bursts. seemed to work fine in this case.

in post-processing, the images (at least 3 and up to 7 or even 9 with differing exposures) are blended together using photoshop (very tedious if you want to do it properly) or other softwares such as photomatix (which is the most popular choice).

since computer displays are unable to properly render hdr images due to their over-the-top bitrate, a process called ‘tone mapping’ is then carried out to rein in the blended image so as to make it viewable. creative effects, such as that you see above, can be carried out during this process. i then played around with the tones and added sharpening in photoshop, yielding the images above.

there are of course purists (already!) of hdri who scoff at attempts to generate the kind of pictures you see above. to them, the ‘natural’ look and feel of the original scenes cannot be subjugated to such processing. but hey, everyone has got things that rock their boat so let the hating and the creating continue, if i have anything to say about that.

regardless, i have to admit that some of them make sense in pointing out that the fundamentals of photography, such as composition and lighting should be elevated above techniques, which is what hdri is. techniques come and go, but mastery of the basics will always remain crucial to a photographer’s development.

having said that, i believe just as much that new technologies and techniques should be harnessed in allowing the expression of an artistic vision.

i am just getting started with this technique and i see myself using it a lot in future. just got to always remember that at the end of the day, hdri is only what it is – a tool.

to read wikipedia’s article on hdri, click here.

to see more posts on photography, click here.

to see the rest of my pictures, visit my flickr. click here.