Saturday, May 21, 2016

Satan Left His Icebox By The Beach

Satan Left His Icebox By The Beach
Last weekend I went to Changi Boardwalk to make some night photographs when I came across this deserted refrigerator lying by the beach right outside Changi Beach Club.

Well it's scarce to come by such interesting subject at such a location. So without any hesitation I went down during the low tidal period and walked around the icebox just to find the best vantage spot for good composition. In the end this is the perspective adapted with the sidewalk and shoreline forming 2 straight lines leading to the distant street lights. The icebox was positioned on the foreground with casted shadows of the sidewalk railings which gave more lines and forms.

I made 4 exposures of 1-stop difference and merged them for HDR during post production. I made one additional exposure of filling the fridge internals with red color light. Next I stacked the 2 photos to achieve the above result.

It was a fun and straight forward photography and I wanted to make more from other vantage spots, but in vain. Either the background has too many other lights from the boardwalk, which are way too distracting and messy, or the background is too mundane and uninteresting to justify for the foreground subject.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Empty Page

The Empty Page
It's been a long time since I last visited Changi Village and took a stroll along the Changi Boardwalk. I just did last night and rediscovered some little changes. NParks has had removed the rooftop covers of the resting sheds along the boardwalk, right outside the seafood restaurant by the beach.

I believe NParks wanted to prohibit members of public not to camp or stay there for a prolong time period. Most of the folks are there for their fishing hobby. If it rains they have to find their ways for covers.

I walked all the way to the end of the boardwalk for this pair of empty seats. I didn't make any night photos in the past so I thought I want to do it now. With that said, the above photo is the result of stacking 2 photos - one exposed for the foreground seats and the other for the cloudy night sky.

I exposed the first photo for 120 seconds at ISO 200 just enough to open up the shadow details and retaining highlight details. Next, I exposed for the night sky for another 120 seconds with higher ISO of 400.

Here's a little snippet - A 9-stops Variable ND filter was fit on my Tokina 11-16mm lens, stop down to 5 stops hence I was able to get good exposures.

The main reason why I made all my night photos in RAW just so I have even more controls during post-production. To make the stacked result more pleasing, I used Auto WB for the foreground seats for warmer color and Incandescent WB for the night sky, just to get that bluesy cool color. Based on art drawing/painting theories or color theories, place subjects with warmer color against cooler color background would make them more outstanding and POP!

No light painting needed. Take a closer look and study the shadows, you would know where the light sources came from i.e. one on camera left and one behind camera right. After much retouching on the wooden floor (some wet surface and minor stains) just to digitally clean up and make it more presentation. All except the large portion of stains on the far left. I kept it untouched just to keep things back to a natural state and not to over-do. In the end, I am very satisfied with the final result.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lines & Stripes

Lines of a sketch,
Moving across the paper,
Flowing smoothly like a river.

Stripes of a painting,
Gliding as though on ice,
Perhaps making us think twice.

Lines & Stripes,
Coming together in peace,
To form a masterpiece.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

This Use To Be My Playground serial – Dragon playground (2016)

Tonight I want to take you to another old school playground in Singapore – The Dragon playground. Located in Toa Payoh Lorong 6 right opposite SAFRA Club, it's one of the most popular and iconic of two large Dragon playgrounds. Make the jump to view the photos.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

A Walk In The Garden

A Walk In The Garden
© 2011 Martin Liew Photography
The wavy form of the boardwalk in a garden that grabs your attention and leads your vision to the isolated light in the distant and beyond. In creating a strong composition to the minimal with stark contrast of one single light and heavy shadows, I want to create a strong sense of mystery and romance to the viewers. The night beauty in the garden.

One of the night photographs from my Dwell In The Night project which I'm still working on it. Announcement will be made here once all are ready for viewing on my website. Consider this as a teaser.

Photo info:
Shanghai TLR (aka Seagull) on Ilford HP5 Plus. Developed in 1:1 Kodak D76 for 10mins 24 seconds. Negatives scanned on EPSON V700 and further post in Photoshop.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Night Bridge in Retrospect

Good evening night dwellers!

Tonight I want to share with you an old night photograph I made twelve years in a park that I can't remember exactly. I can't even remember what gear I used. It could be Russian made LOMO Smena 8M point-&-shoot camera or Nikon FM10 on color negative film. No written record found.

What you see here are two B&W converted photos of the same wooden bridge in a park. The top photo is the original frame and the above one is cropped. Both are converted in Nik Collection – Silver Efex Pro 2. Personally I would prefer the crop version. What's your preference?

The main reason why I made this photograph is the light and cast shadows of the wooden railing on the wooden platform, that really caught my attention. The only mistake of my own negligence was the strong light flare on the top right frame. However distracting it was, I find it more appealing now and it somehow adds to the overall mood to the night scene.

I would love to visit this place again and look out for more prospective shots to made. By the way, do watch out for an upcoming blog post this coming Saturday night, in which I will be sharing another night garden photograph.

Good night and lights off!

Saturday, April 02, 2016

This Used To Be My Playground serial - Elephant playground

Elephant playground (2012)
In mid February 2016, I wrote a blog showcasing night photos I made of a Dinosaurs playground in Toa Payoh. In continual of my photography project, This Used To Be My Playground, I visited the Elephant playground last weekend for the second time since 2012. Make the jump to continue...

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Colorful Night Memento of Rochor Center

In 2011, Rochor Center along with its four colorful residential housing flats and shops, was announced for the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme, and has to make way for the construction of the new North-South Expressway (NSE).

Last weekend, I made a trip there to capture its "colorful" night sceneries. Make the jump for the night photographs.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Battleship Playground

Battleship playground @ Sembawang Park
This is one of the many modern playgrounds found in Singapore unlike those that are covered in my old school playgrounds serial. This is a huge "battleship" with interesting structures meant for active children to climb up chain ladder net, crawl through holes, slide down in the tubes and many other more climbings. Somehow adolescents and adults alike are drawn to this playground and couldn't help to try boarding the "battleship". It can be pretty tough and physically demanding.

I took the opportunity to do some light-paintings of this playground. There are 4 flood lights (2 shown in the picture above) around the playground and they are switched off at around 10:30PM which makes light-paintings more fun and easier. Below is one good example of playing around with the "bubbles" concept which I believe you readers have seen before in my past nocturnal work.

Instillation is a title I came up with after much experimentation with a new lighting technique a few years ago. In the context of Instillation, I want to enhance if not emphasize and insinuate more on the beauty of the night with involvement of human activities in different environmental conditions. The creation and juxtaposition of the "bubbles" requires the physical labor to create, as if the place is re-animated and being alive.

Here's another Instillation playground.

More on the Battleship playground.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

This Used To Be My Playground serial - Dinosaurs playground

It's been a long time since I started out this mini project on Singapore's old school playgrounds. Paid a little visit to one of 2 Dinosaurs playgrounds in Toa Payoh. Make the leap to meet the dinosaurs.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Mount Imbiah Battery (Part Two)

Good evening fellow night dwellers! This is the second and last installment of Mount Imbiah Battery nocturne serial. Make the jump to view.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Last Days of Commonwealth Drive Old Estate

In 2008, Block 74 – 80 in Commonwealth Drive in which the area is also known as Tanglin Halt, were announced for the Selective En Bloc Replacement Scheme. Residents and business occupants have since moved out of the estate to replacement flats and/or business units. Also referred to by most older generations/Pioneers, as Chap Lau Chu (10-storey houses in Hokkien dialect), the now vacant blocks will soon be demolished and all that will be left of them will be dust and some of former residents' memories.

I paid a short visit there last Saturday night and here are just 3 night photos I made. All flats are inaccessible where metal gates are installed at all the staircases and the old vintage elevators are all long gone.

For more detailed information on this place, you can visit the following websites.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Water Tower of Wessex Estate

The Water Tower of Wessex Estate
An old abandoned water tower situated on a little hill top in the neighborhood of Wessex Estate, Portsdown Road. Pink cellophane paper on a neutral white LED video light lit underneath the tower for 30 seconds under a cloudy night sky.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Cable Car Display (Defunct)

A defunct cable car is seen displayed in the backyard of a 1930s Ebenezer Chapel located in Dempsey Hill, now home to The White Rabbit – one of Singapore's leading classic institutions since its opening in 2008. With an average exposure time of one minute, a few strobe pops were fired in the cable car interior; one with a yellow cellophane and the other with red. Some cool white LED fill-in for the foreground and shadow details.

Wooden Cart

A wooden cart is displayed in the premise of Loewen by Dempsey Hill. A stack of three 10-seconds exposures in Photoshop to attain this night photograph. Strong neutral white LED light on the wooden cart at 3 different angles, and background was lit by the hanging red and blue colored LED lights on the tree.

Night Summer House

Another medium form i.e. on 120 medium format color transparency film, was made and will be posted soon.

Photo info:
Apple iPhone 6 Plus on default mode Square format and post-processed in Snapseed 2.0 and color-corrected in Photoshop.

Here's one made with Nikon D300 on Tokina 11-16mm UWA lens. A minute and a half exposure of available ambience from the warm street lights. It was a windy night, cool breeze with passing by clouds which form that motion blur in the beautiful night blue sky. Some adjustments made in Photoshop to attain this satisfying result.


Last night I revisited an old place on impromptu. An old place where I first discovered back in mid 2010 and I did many night photography here. I even brought Master Night Photographer, Troy Paiva here in Oct 2010 when he first visited Singapore. Now this place has been renovated and redeveloped.

I had the great pleasure exploring the whole place which is named Loewen by Dempsey Hill. Located where the military hospital used to stand, Loewen by Dempsey Hill has transformed into an education and lifestyle destination offering restaurants, pottery classes, art classes, chocolate-making classes, programmes for children, and more. More info on Loewen by Dempsey Hill here.

Troy came back in late July 2011 and we found ourselves back to this place where we had never explored the year before. We had a group photo shoot here, too.

Last night I made some digital night photos in Loewen Cluster area along with my TLR camera on Fujichrome Provia 100F. Four more frames to complete this second roll and one last roll to go. I'll post the best results once I got it all ready.

Coming back to the night photo shown above, I wanted to expose this night scenery of an emitted pale blue light in a room on Provia but just couldn't decide. Hence I picked up my iPhone 6 Plus and made this shot in square format to see how it looks like. And surprisingly I like it.

I like it for its simplicity, warm and cool light collided. Most of all, the sense of tranquility along with the available ambience lights and casted shadows of tree leaves set against the building. All elements that made this night photo so romantic, if not poetic. With that said, I will certainly return with my TLR camera for a few exposures.

Photo info:
Apple iPhone 6 Plus on default mode Square format and post-processed in Snapseed 2.0 and color-corrected in Photoshop.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Industrial Decays

This old architectural design from the 60s or 70s
with many others around, will perhaps be demolished
and redeveloped with new industrial buildings

Took some time to explore this abandoned industrial park located in the east region of Singapore and I managed to find some interesting mundane subjects to make photographs of – on both color transparency film and digital format.

The former is yet to be sent for development. The expired slide film used is Fujichrome Provia 100F. Well it was an impromptu idea to use film and besides all 3 rolls of Provia have been stored in the fridge for too long and way past its expiration dated February 2013. Look forward to see the unexpected or disastrous results. Will update this blog or post a new one once all are ready.

The photographs you see here in this blog are all in digital format. All made without any form of light-painting. Just exposed under the available ambience lighting from the sodium vapor street lights. All photographs are color-corrected. So here they are.

Sign of nature claiming back its land
Light trail created by a military fighter jet
from a nearby air base
Since this area has been vacant for such a long time
huge trucks are able to park their vehicles here for free
The red mailbox
A quiet drive way that goes round
the whole industrial park
A small drive way that leads to the back of
each building perhaps for easy uploading of goods

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Mount Imbiah Battery (Part One)

Good evening night dwellers! Two weeks ago, I wrote about my night experience at Mount Imbiah Battery in Sentosa. Tonight I want to share with you more night photographs. Make the jump to view them.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Vintage Lorry + Behind the Wheels

A vintage lorry (defunct) displayed outside the wax museum, Madame Tussauds in Sentosa. I took the opportunity during a full moon night to make this 267-seconds photo. Yellow light on the head lights, violet on the interior, warm white on license plate, lorry body, wheels and overhead banners. Lastly behind the lorry I spread cool white light with tinted blue color cast under the wheels.

Another photo made just under a minute, on the steering wheel and color-splashed with violet and green lights.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Stargazing Merlion

Had a wonderful night making photographs in Sentosa last night and the weather was awesomely good in the day and very cooling at night with the full moon hanging high overhead, illuminating the beautiful night sky.

The legendary Merlion is a half lion half fish guardian of prosperity which personifies Singapore’s history as a port city. Standing at 37 meters tall, the lion depicts the folklore of Prince Sang Nila Utama’s rediscovery of lion (singa) and City (pura) while the fish tail symbolises ancient fishing village of Temasek, meaning “sea” in Javanese. Today, the majestic Merlion is a Singapore icon attracting visitors from all around the world.

This star trails photo is made up of thirty 1-minute long exposures and all were stacked in Photoshop using Dr. Russell Brown's Stack-a-matic.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Night Photography on a Rainy Night

Mount Imbiah Battery Command Post
It's December 2015 and it seems Monsoon season has arrived here in Singapore with many raining for the past 2 weeks. Big downpours and thunderings. Last night I was in Sentosa with 2 other friends who joined me at Mount Imbiah Battery for a night photography session. It turned out to be a disappointing wet night. The above photo is one of 2 proper night photos we made before it started to rain. It stopped and we decided to carry on, as we proceed to the gun emplacement area to make this night photo – experimenting with light-drawing effect.

Battery Gun Emplacement
I'm not really into light-drawings and no harm doing it for fun sake. The twirling green light trail was created by my friend with a green color light stick. Pinkish-violet cellophane paper was used to light-paint the whole emplacement. Immediately after this is made, it started to rain again. We took shelter and waited but the rain got bigger.

While waiting for the rain to stop, we did some interesting light-drawings and here's one of the best ones after a few attempts.

As the rain begun to drizzle, we packed up and left the place quickly. Guess we have to come back on another date during the dry season for more night photographs.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Airstream Trailers Are In Town!

Good evening fellow night dwellers!

Tonight I want to share with you my new nocturnal work of these American made travel trailers. Yes they are in town! Come aboard and see for yourself.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Decommissioned British Military Fort – Batu Berlayar AMTB Battery

Good evening Night Dwellers! Tonight is the night that I'm extremely excited to share with you on my new nocturnal work on a decommissioned British military fort – Batu Berlayar AMTB Battery! Viewing pleasure is yours after the jump.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Airstream Travel Trailers - A Teaser

Good evening night dwellers!

A few nights ago, a friend of mine informed me of this place where he happened to come across these Airstream Travel Trailers. After he showed me a couple of images he took with his phone camera, I got totally excited. So we made our way there last night. It's scarce to find these American made trailers here in Singapore and there are a total of 8 trailers parked in a vacant car park. They are currently undergoing refurbishment perhaps to be rented out as mobile food stalls.

More night photographs to share in December.