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Since last Friday (15th Feb), a series of events and performances are held at Esplanade. This series of performances will start from 15th Feb (Friday) to 24th Feb (Sunday).

You can check out the events at this website: http://www.huayifestival.com.sg/2013/free.html

Sadly, on the opening night, I was still busy walking the (boring) River Hongbao at the Floating Platform stage nearby… Because of that, I missed the “Huayi Opening: Auspicious Lion Dance”

But after the walk at the River Hongbao, the next-up event is the Festive Pulses. Which features Chinese Drums, Martial Arts and the Art of Diabolo

I would say that the performance put up is VERY impressive. Unlike any that I’ve watched locally…

Below are some of the shots which I shot during the Chinese Drums Performance(s) *I’ve went for a couple of sessions….*

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At the start of the performance… Where the light is dim..

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The seriousness of the man playing the drum

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The fast tempo

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The roar. *I would have to thank my partner (Jayce) for giving me this idea of the roar shot… Couldn’t have  thought of it myself…*

If you can, please try to  take the front rows. The drums will rock your soul :p The impact is way lesser when you are standing 5 rows behind.

For photographers, while shooting the event, please do REMEMBER TO PUT DOWN YOUR CAMERA AND ENJOY THE EVENT. I’ve made the mistake in my first session… Please also read on the Technical Stuffs section in the post to know what kind of situation you will be in for this performance.

If you are living in Singapore or just happen to be in Singapore for the next few days, the Festive Pulses performance will be performed 2 times every night (7.45pm and 9pm) at Esplanade Forecourt till 19th Feb. Just 2 more days.

Each performance will last aprox 30-40mins.

Please also do note that, recently Singapore are having some bad rainy weather…the event will be CANCELLED on RAINY DAYS. Please do check the weather before heading down to the city. Check out this 2 link for weather information:

The movements of the rain cloud: http://app2.nea.gov.sg/rain_animation.aspx
The current rain cloud location over singapore: http://app2.nea.gov.sg/rain_location.aspx

The landmark to lookout for is City Hall/ Espalande.

Technical stuffs (Mainly for photographers using interchangeable lens camera systems)

Most of the picture I took are shot using my 500D and 70-200 f2.8 IS II. With this excellent lens, I couldn’t blame the gear for my lousy shots… *The devil in me keeps saying that 70mm on crop is still too tight, I need something wider -_- like a full frame….* But at the end of the day, it’s the photographer. Not the equipment (usually)

For this particular performance, Lighting can be tricky as there are certain parts of the show that there is almost no light. Like the first shot I placed in this post. So, one will have to meter well to get the correct exposure… For experienced shooters, this isn’t an issue, but a big issue for me, main reason being that I use center weighted metering where it meters the whole scene. This usually results in over exposure under such situation.

Low Light Action. For the martial arts performance, the lights is VERY dim. Use your fastest focusing/ largest aperture lens for it. The movements (nearly all) of the martial artist are very fast. The hardest one is probably the Flying somersault which I have yet to nail it after 3 sessions. This is probably one of the few parts where you will want to shoot burst…

White Balance can be an issue too, as the lights keep changing (just like any outdoor performances I’ve been to)… Despite shooting quite abit, I still can’t get used to getting the correct white balance…They are using florescent tungsten lights

Composition. The biggest problem for any performance. Not know what to expect makes it alot harder to compose. Going for a few sessions does help in know what to expect and shoot…. For creative shots, consider using a lower shutter speed. But if your lens is as heavy (~1.5kg), do consider using a tripod for lower shutter speed. I’ve used the tripod for the 3rd shot in this post (0.5 sec exposure). Also the angles you can shoot is pretty much limited to the front of the stage and no access to the sides and the backstage as well. To top it all, there are 3 sound speakers on the extreme left, right and one in the centre. These objects will get in your way when composing… Oh, if you are standing behind, you will VERY LIKELY be catching some heads in your frames from audience from the front rows. So, take that into consideration as well. I have more than 100 shots with heads sticking into the frame killing the frame.

Before I forget, please do bring a couple of spare memory cards… Main reason being that for some parts of the performance (like the Diabolo), you would probably want to shoot in burst (x shots per second). My mistake is thinking into a 16gb card is more than enough (I shoot RAW). I would have burst this card limit if I have a spare one laying around. When I was down to 50, I started to panic and started to lose shots.

Meanwhile, back to my processing of my shots from this event (Martial Arts and Diabolo Dance). Should be posting more shots up during the week If I’m not down there shooting…