Penang’s Gurney Drive

I was in Penang recently with my family and many of the street pictures were taken with my Olympus XA 2, in-between vacation shots taken with my Canon 600D.

IMG_20150820_0001 640

The above was taken while riding a trishaw.

IMG_20150820_0002 640

Another shot, taken from a trishaw.

IMG_20150820_0014 640

The Gurney Drive street food market was where we found ourselves on most days.

IMG_20150820_0004 640

Fried oyster!

IMG_20150820_0006 640

Yummy!

IMG_20150820_0012 640

Lok lok!

IMG_20150820_0013 640

Laksa!

IMG_20150820_0018 640

That’s the “Chinese rojak” stall.

IMG_20150820_0019 640

That’s the Indian rojak stall.

IMG_20150820_0022 640

Sotong kangkong!

So yes, street food was on the top of our list at Penang.

Camera: Olympus XA 2

Film: Agfa Vista 400

Street Photography and Tourism

I’ve set a challenge for myself – to do tourism slightly differently.

IMG_20150708_0009 640

It’s a way of not spending money.

IMG_20150708_0010 640

Go to touristy sites and look at tourists.

IMG_20150708_0011 640

Turn that obligatory landmark photo into a street photograph.

IMG_20150708_0012 640

And then suddenly, everyday life becomes intriguing.

IMG_20150708_0024 640

Quiet moments are especially beautiful.

IMG_20150708_0042 640

You could still be a tourist in the Tube.

Thanks for reading!

Camera: Olympus XA2

Film: Ilford XP2

Sentosa Monochrome

We’re on Sentosa, an island theme park.

_MG_9479 640

The Merlion – Singapore’s tourist icon which is an allusion to the 13th-century myth of a prince spotting a lion on an island which he later named Singapura (“Lion City” in Sanskrit).

The fish tail is supposed to remind Singapore of its origins as a fishing village.

It looked more menacing than usual on that day under a harsh sun.

_MG_9483 640

The Sky Ride!

_MG_9491 640

Woohoo!

_MG_9508 640

It’s definitely not for those with a fear of heights.

_MG_9518 640

That’s the luge ride – the other reason we were in Sentosa.

_MG_9535 640

This looks rather poetic …

_MG_9536 640

Another poetic shot … what can I say – I’m a street photography genius!

_MG_9538 640

Tourism in a bus.

_MG_9540 640

Much needed on a scorching hot day.

_MG_9547 640

An even better idea on a hot day (every day) in Singapore.

_MG_9550 640

That’s what it says…

_MG_9552 640

The view is nice.

_MG_9566 640

There’re still quiet corners on Sentosa.

_MG_9577 640

No kidding! Or is this a trick?

_MG_9578 640

It’s not a trick. *wink*

_MG_9580 640

Waiting in a quiet corner.

_MG_9581 640

Yes, there’re many scenic moments.

_MG_9582 640

This is definitely not a stealthy camera…

Thanks for reading and check out my Saatchi Art page!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singapore Monochrome Zoo

Singapore has a fantastic zoo.

We visit once a year each time we’re back.

I had a simple set-up that day – it’s a 40mm prime lens.

The challenge here is not so much to become the next National Geographic photographer, but simply to impart a bit of character onto the subjects.

_MG_0838 640

That’s my favourite animal, totally at home in its tropical paradise – I was born in the year of the tiger.

_MG_0845 640

A turtle flying through the water.

_MG_0847 640

A dreamy iguana.

_MG_0871 640

An enigmatic bicycle … (the kids had to pry their weird daddy and his camera away from this animal.)

_MG_0883 640

We’re that sea lion, trained to perform.

_MG_0893 640

See how hard it spins for its food.

_MG_0896 640

The chimpanzees are high above, lording over us…

_MG_0901 640

Check out that animal of a camera!

It’s a full frame Sony RX1r.

It’s a f/2 Carl Zeiss Sonnar lens!

It’s a full frame digital camera with a fixed lens, a challenge to a Leica fixed with a 35mm lens.

I could be Garry Winogrand with that camera! (I should say Winogrand’s book The Animals was on my mind that day.)

With that camera, I could become the next Daido Moriyama… look at that lens hood!

Okay … back to the main plot.

_MG_0918 640

Once upon a time, Singapore was a small fishing village.

_MG_0945 640

Then the elephants came.

_MG_0952 640

We’re all looking out for our next orange squash.

_MG_0961 640

Capitalism is fun!

_MG_0970 640

All lined up and waiting to be splashed on by the sea lion … what fun!

_MG_0978 640

Would you like to meet a capitalist snake, anyone?

_MG_1019 640

That’s a white capitalist peacock giving us a rear view…

_MG_1049 640

A charging polar bear!

_MG_1050 640

Up close and personal with a polar bear.

_MG_1059 640

There’re lines we cannot cross.

_MG_1079 640

No worries – no one is going to eat us.

_MG_1090 640

My daughter was impressed by this bird and followed it for a bit.

_MG_1107 640

My son got real close and took the above shot.

“What’s that, daddy?”

“It’s a nice furry raccoon-like monkey animal creature.”

_MG_1150 640

Children love the horse-carriage ride.

_MG_1199 640

Nice pony!

A pony is not a baby horse.

It’s a small horse.

_MG_1227 640

My son decided this particular otter was cute and took 16 identical pictures.

(That’s partly why I don’t let him use my film cameras.)

_MG_1238 640

Bye bye! See you again next year!

For collectors: check out the prints!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay

I finally visited Gardens by the Bay.

_MG_0237 640

Check out the cool-looking Supertrees which are vertical gardens.

_MG_0230 640

The above, I suppose, is an obligatory picturesque shot.

_MG_0234 640

It’s a good place for photographers.

_MG_0251 640

Lots of selfie moments.

_MG_0280 640

You don’t really need to think to get a good shot – there’s something to be said about the blending of technology and nature at this place.

_MG_0285 640

Picture-perfect convenient nature (if that’s what you like).

_MG_0291 640

We’re in Flower Dome, one of the 2 conservatories here.

_MG_0314 640

Mummy, daddy and baby cactus.

_MG_0328 640

Phallus cactus.

_MG_0351 640

Eagle photographer.

_MG_0419 640

Eager photographer.

_MG_0383 640

The future of tech and nature.

_MG_0399 640

That’s Cloud Forest, another conservatory.

_MG_0420 640

As I’m walking around, I can’t help but think perhaps this is the future of botany.

_MG_0435 640

Maybe in the next twenty years, we’ll all be living in domes like this.

_MG_0575 640

The temperature is nice though.

_MG_0582 640

That’s the mineral exhibit area. Guess how I took this shot.

_MG_0584 640

I’m a street photography genius…

_MG_0277 640

This takes a lot of work.

_MG_0695 640

Kudos to those who’ve put in the hard work to make this possible.

_MG_0628 640

Oops – my lens fogged up when I stepped out of the conservatory.

I love mistakes like this.

_MG_0608 640

I’m a nature photographer!

_MG_0750 640

This is a nice blend of botany, technology, architecture, commerce, tourism and nation building.

_MG_0752 640

A William Gibson quote: “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

Check out my Saatchi Art page!

 

 

 

 

 

Singapore: Monochrome Visions

These pictures were taken around late July/early August, when National Day (9 Aug) was just around the corner.

I was in Singapore for about three weeks, and every single day, I carry at least 2 (and sometimes 3) cameras with me when I’m out and about.

So in a way, this post (and those that come after) is a partial answer to the question of what it is about Singapore I celebrate.

IMG_20140813_0068 640

This was at the entrance of City Hall MRT station, and they saw what I was doing and posed for me.

They were holding up the sign to direct people who were going to watch the National Day Parade rehearsals.

IMG_20140813_0044 640

It looks like they were posing. They were already in that position and they turned to look at me as I approached.

All the pictures here were taken on a single roll of Kodak BW400CN, on my Minolta AF-C, and as I looked at the negatives, I was amazed to see so many images of Indian and Bangladeshi workers.

IMG_20140813_0056 640

In many ways, they are responsible for literally building Singapore.

IMG_20140813_0069 640

Singapore is what it is partly because of them.

IMG_20140813_0040 640

The physical infrastructure works like a clock partly because of them.

IMG_20140813_0051 640

I was walking on a pavement and they were holding grass-cutters, looking at me the whole time.

They were waiting for me to walk past so they could resume work.

And my wife said, quick, quick, take out your camera, and so I did and took the above photo.

Check out the chiaroscuro.

I waved and they nodded and went on with their work.

IMG_20140813_0046 640

This is Singapore.

IMG_20140813_0047 640

This, too, is Singapore.

IMG_20140813_0048 640

Definitely Singapore.

IMG_20140813_0053 640

This picture was taken while I was in a queue. Yummy.

IMG_20140813_0052 640

She spotted me and smiled.

IMG_20140813_0054 640

This too is Singapore.

IMG_20140813_0055 640

There were quite a number of soldiers in the area because of the National Day Parade rehearsals, directing crowds and traffic.

I’ve done my share of that when I was an army boy.

IMG_20140813_0059 640

Lion City banner – I aimed my camera at the banner, and waited for someone to come along to complete the picture.

IMG_20140813_0065 640

Check out the logo on the T-shirt. That’s the crescent and the five stars of the Singapore flag.

Patriotism is in the air.

IMG_20140813_0077 640

Is he a tourist or a Singapore resident? You can’t tell these days.

IMG_20140813_0066 640

This is a global Singapore.

IMG_20140813_0060 640

This was at Little India.

IMG_20140813_0061 640

Another take at Little India.

IMG_20140813_0062 640

Sometimes I wonder: why do I take street photographs? What is it about street photography, such that I feel compelled to take pictures of strangers?

An answer of sorts:

IMG_20140813_0079 640

Because I’m afraid of being conditioned by market forces into thinking of people as mannequins…

Thanks for reading, and check out my prints!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shanghai: How to Appreciate High Contrast Monochrome

Yes, I’ve recently acquired a taste for high contrast monochrome.

_MG_8922 mono 640

 

It is stark, clear, and in some ways, minimalist.

_MG_8923 mono 640

Stripped of colours, our attention is drawn directly to the subjects.

_MG_8924 mono 640

You could overexpose a bit to make a social statement about modernity – the face of the security guard is partially eclipsed, in contrast to the blown-out advertisement.

_MG_8932 mono 640

There’s the dichotomy between an individual and a building, and the image draws attention to rectangular grids of the building and pavement, in contrast to the white polka dots echoed in the two round shapes on the building.

_MG_8935 mono 640

The rectangular grids here are enhanced by the bus and the back of the shirt.

More grids, blocks and lines in the next few shots:

_MG_8941 mono 640

_MG_8954 mono 640

_MG_8955 mono 640

_MG_8970 mono 640

_MG_8971 mono 640

_MG_8974 mono 640

_MG_8975 mono 640

_MG_8977 mono 640

The face is blurred out, again emphasizing the blocks, grids and lines.

_MG_8983 mono 640

I’m about to reveal a useful street photography technique.

All these shots are done from a mobile elevated position.

I’ve set this up so I could do street photography on the move.

I spent $40 RMB setting this up, though the equipment involved, depending on the model, could easily cost more than $200 000 RMB.

I’m a very talent street photographer, you see.

_MG_8984 mono 640

Can you guess what it is?

It’s really a fantastic piece of equipment for the street photographer, which has to be manned by another person.

_MG_8985 mono 640

It’s called an open-air double-decker tour bus.

_MG_8986 mono 640

$40 RMB is the price of an all day ticket on a route with 3-4 bus lines.

 

My ten-year-old son wants to have a go. The next eight images are by him.

I gave him 2 very important street photography tips:

1) Try not to place the subject at the center.

2) Don’t drop the camera or else.

_MG_9014 mono 640

_MG_9016 mono 640

_MG_9028 mono 640

_MG_9029 mono 640

_MG_9030 mono 640

_MG_9031 mono 640

_MG_9033 mono 640

_MG_9035 mono 640

I’m responsible for the high contrast monochrome, of course.

But what can I say – he has good creative genes. 🙂

Okay, my turn.

_MG_9037 mono 640

 

The above is the street photographer assistant I hired, taking a break from handling that fantastic piece of equipment for me.

_MG_9048 mono 640

The youth of Shanghai, walking with a swagger.

_MG_9049 mono 640

I like the facial expressions.

_MG_9053 mono 640

Cool dudes.

_MG_9054 mono 640

A blurry shot, something I learnt from Daido Moriyama…

Thanks for reading, and buy my prints!