Singapore Garden Festival 2014


It’s been awhile since I’ve last posted anything…. Not that I had stopped shooting, just that I ran out of stuffs to write about. Mostly stuffs that happened on other weekends are pretty mundane. Going around the city and shooting the same things over and over again.

Well, just for the weekend (Friday and Saturday), there was the Annual Night Festival and the Singapore Garden Festival (held every 2 years). So there was abit more happening stuffs to shoot.

But for now I’ll just write abit on the Garden Festival…

Personally, It’s different from how I imagined… At first I was thinking of a big place with potted plants of different species from different countries…..

The moment I entered the event space (this year, it’s held at The Meadows @ Gardens By the Bay), I know that it’s going to be totally different from my expectations.

*It’s my fault for not reading up more on it before I came -_-*

5D3_7417The first display I saw when I entered the hall.

The garden festival is really about Garden… and plants(nature) and the modern world. Not so much about the plants and different species :p

In this event, one shall see the different designs of how plants “live” with the world we live in.


There are a whole lot of other similar genre installations to visit. The installations are really nice to look at. But I can’t find any suitable way to capture them in the photo..

Moving along the hall, there’s the miniature garden display… Due to the fast moving single lane crowd, one will not have the luxury to stand in the lane and shoot into the glass displays.5D3_7460A Miniature garden display….

5D3_7449Another miniature display.

Wished I could spend more time re-shooting some of these. well, anyway…moving on in the event hall, I’m already lost at which area am I in or what am I looking at already -_-

At this stage of being lost, I just shoot whatever comes into mind….5D3_7497




Ice Queen, Singapore Garden Festival 2014 display.

Something for sure, this is NOT a place you can finish shooting within 1 or 2 days… I’ve spent a good 4 hours in the place and not covered 1/2 the place. (and I’ve ran out of energy by the 4th hour, simply tired…)

To add on, this event hall space at Meadows is not all… there’s more at the flower dome. Just that the displays at the flower dome is until late September. So I will visit there once the crowd level subsides..

Shooting these art works is really very different from what I’ve been shooting all along… or rather what I’ve been shooting lately. In the recent months, I’m mainly into shooting landscapes or cityscapes. Shooting stuffs in this event is really challenging for me.

*I finally realized what my friend meant by “don’t ask me which art works is the award wining one” and “don’t ask me to name the name of this art work”…. I can only remember 1 or 2 at best… Those that caught my attention*

After the “hellish” 4hours, I took a breather somewhere and to rest my feet before I went for the night event… The Night Festival.. I’m still busy trying to get the photos sorted out.

Not sure if I can get them up during the week. Will post them up once I’m done with it.



Weekend Getaway to Batu Pahat


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As part of the “training” to practice shooting the Milky Way before the main event, a small group of us packed up and went over to Batu Pahat, Malaysia for a short weekend. It’s about 2hrs drive away from Singapore. Before the sun goes down, we scouted the place that we will want to “plant” ourselves when shooting the Milky Way.

Milky Way @ Batu Pahat

Starry night by the jetty (14mm, f2.8, 25s, ISO3200)

After the initial scout, it’s not very long before the night came.


Before the night came, we were still worried that we might not be able to see the Milky Way as it was very cloudy during Sunset. But after dinner, when we returned to the place, we saw that it’s a CLEAR sky! It’s the clearest one I’ve seen for the Malaysia trips so far. (to be exact, we had bad weather for the almost all the other trips).

After the practice at Mt. Bromo, composing for this scene is much easier with the light pollution in the area :p  Once I had my shot, I just sat back and enjoy the starry view above me while the rest continue to shoot. No matter how many times I gaze upon it, I still feel that it’s a wonderful sight to behold.

Now I’m really looking forward to the big trip coming in a few months time…


The world in another light….


About 3 weeks ago, I managed to borrow an (Infrared) IR modded camera from a friend and it was only until last weekend that I had the chance to get to shoot with it. The weekends before this were very gloomy and not ideal for IR shooting.

Seeing the sunny weather on Sunday, I made a trip down to Gardens By the Bay again.


Greeted by one of the most prominent view in GBTB

Previously, I would not have considered this view to shoot. But since I’m out there trying to see what looks good in IR and what not, I just shot. After the custom white balance set on the camera, all greens will become white and everything with a strong red cast… So, most of the things can only be decided behind the monitor for me. But in general, I can “feel” how it will turn out but due to my lack of experience in processing IR, I also cannot guess how it will turn out completely.

So all my shots are shot based on my ‘feeling’ on composition and lots of guess work. Whether or not they become great subject after the post processing is another… which I will select during the post processing time.


Here’s another view that in usual colors, won’t turn out very nicely… But in IR, the trees become more “obvious”.IMG_5383-Edit


Now comes my favorite subject in the whole GBTB. Personally, I feel that this structure looks great in both color and IR. And honestly, I didn’t expect the skies to turn out in this manner. It had a “dark aura” around this building…. kinda dark, but I like it!

And for the processing of the above shots, I only did a simple channel swap and some contrast boost… And I thought that’s all. It was until today that my friend had shown me an alternate workflow to it…



With that workflow it’s possible to get some cool effects too… Just that I need to be extremely careful with the color noise introduced when I’m happily tuning the colors in the curves. The above show some color noise, but I left it alone.

Now the next thing to try this IR mod cam on is the stars… Hope to be able to see some decent stars in my upcoming short trip..

Technical Stuffs

Equipment: 400D (IR 720nm mod). Meaning, I can only shoot IR of wavelength 720nm.
Lens: Samyang 14mm f2.8

The reason I used the Samyang 14mm is because it’s a manual lens with a long focus throw, and it’s pretty wide.

A few notes when using a modded IR camera. If you have replaced the filter glass element of the with a different thickness IR filter, your auto focus will be slightly off. This is the case for the modded 400D. It’s slightly off when using auto focus. And also, it does not have live view. So focusing manually will be a pain when not using a camera with micro adjust (if it’s not too severe). Thankfully, the long focus throw of the samyang makes it easy to focus.

The other thing to note is the exposure metering. Since it’s capturing different light, it requires a different metering. In short, the camera metering is practically useless. A guideline I tried using with success is over exposing the scene by 2 stops from the normal light meter in partial metering mode (400D does not have spot metering). This had got me most of the scene exposure correct.

The post processing techniques is as described here:

For the last shot, I just played with the curves of different color. There’s a whole new ‘universe’ in the curves to explore and try out..

But for now, I will just play with this IR camera and the basic processing.



Fireworks again!!!


It’s been a few weeks since I’ve updated the blog… But for the past few weekends, It’s nothing other than fireworks fireworks and still fireworks. It’s the National Day Parade Rehearsals Fireworks again. In one of those weekend I finally found the place where I initially failed to locate.


2nd NDP Rehearsals Fireworks

This is one of those “newer” view that popup on my Facebook newsfeed some weeks ago. The first attempt to find the place didn’t end too well. But for the 2nd attempt, the place was located and I camped for fireworks that happened that evening (the 2nd NDP Rehearsal). There wasn’t alot of fireworks that day, which is a good thing for me… Lesser fireworks smoke in the air.

Other view from the same place on a different date (a wet morning). IMO, the view from this place is pretty awesome.



After I had got my fill of shooting from this place, I went back to the usual spot for fireworks. If you aren’t very familiar with the popular locations. Here are some of it.

  • Esplanade Outdoor Theatre (almost the whole stretch is available, the stretch ends before the floating platform)
  • Esplanade Rooftop (Note: this place is restricted on National Day itself)
  • Marina Bay Sands (The whole stretch, from the Art Science Museum to the Pier)
  • ECP Express way section looking at CBD (a good 300m walk from MBS side).

Fireworks from Esplanade Rooftop (Panoramic shot of 5 frames + 1 fireworks frame)

Here’s one I caught last night… at Esplanade Rooftop with a truck load of photographers (you can see the line of photographers on the right, It’s a restaurant on the left, which explains the no-crowd)


Technical details of the above shot, I would have liked to use a single shot for the frame, but without tilting, it won’t be possible. As I was using a 14mm, any tilt is going to cause a whole lot of problems during processing, so I chose to do a panoramic shot. I will likely be re-processing this image sometime again later. As I didn’t quite like some of the things I did during the processing part. But at the moment, I’m quite filled up with some fun stuffs to experiment with…. InfraRed (IR) Photography… Seems quite fun for now. Will be posting those along the week.


Revisiting places…


I was supposed to be shooting cosplays over the weekend at City Hall… But for some reason, I couldn’t find the joy/excitement to shoot the event anymore… unlike when I first started off shooting cosplayers. It’s not the first time this year that I went to the event and left without firing a shot. Anyway, due to my dropping interest of shooting the event, I left that place early and went exploring for the place where I saw some nice shots from.

Clarke Quay

Sunset @ Clarke Quay

The search for that place wasn’t successful (kinda expected) and I decided to look for it another time after I do abit more research on that angle that shot was taken. And since it was nearing sunset timing, I just thought of returning to some classic common place to shoot in Clarke Quay (since I’m in the area).

This is one of the most common spot you can find in Clarke Quay. On “epic” sunset days, you can find many photographers along the stretch where I was standing. But that day was just a ‘normal’ sunset. And I was just killing time and resting myself after an unsuccessful exploration.

*Despite the same composition I’ve shot past, I still felt happier shooting it than returning to the cosplay event. It may be possible that I need a long break from those events before I recover that feeling to want to shoot again*

Clarke Quay - Lights On

Clarke Quay – Lights On

As like other cityscape shoots, I stayed alittle after the sunset to catch the lightup of the buildings and structures.

I really hope I can recover my mood to also get more active in shooting cityscapes or landscapes. Ever since returning from Mt. Bromo, I’m getting lazier by the day…

Now to pay my sleep debts.