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Monday, October 09, 2006

Night Street Photography - "It's Over!"

"It's Over!"
© 2006 Martin Liew

"It's Over!"
What you see here is a sequence of photos I took on the same night in Chinatown where families and friends came to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival and taking memorable pictures with their loved ones.

As I was taking photographs of the empty cans collector, I noticed the giant lantern lights on the road divider were turned off. I sensed something is coming up soon, so I rushed down to find out. To my knowledge, the traffic police have arrived to clear the crowd and open the road. Time was 9pm. I saw 2 policemen were asking people to leave and stay by the road side where the buldings and bus-stops are. A few moments later, the lantern lights was on again and now the policemen had a hard time getting people back as most of them were confused and not knowing of the road opening. Some went back to take a few more photos.

As the 2 policemen are Malays, it took them more than 15 mins to get everyone to the safety side, with the hand gestures to symbolize the "show" is over. During this 15 mins, I took the role of a photojournalist and kept shooting this so-called incident.

I stayed in the area for a few more minutes before I headed towards Little India for more night street life photography. The haze was getting denser. I saw this old granny sitting by the stairs with her hand on her forehead. I was quite worried by the sight and felt like going up to her. She appeared to be fine, taking a rest. Perhaps due to the heavy crowd around her which could have caused giddiness in her. I took this photo without looking through the viewfinder becuz I was standing right in front of her, about 1.5 m apart. With estimation, I took the shot in hope of getting a proper exposure and for once, I was lucky.

After the road has opened, the night life in Chinatown goes on. This is the last photo I took, in which 2 cleaners were resting and chatting while people walking by a man on the mobile phone.

In the next series, I'll write on the night life in Little India.

Nikon FM10 • 50mm f/1.8 • Fujifilm Superia 1600


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Night Street Photography - Empty Cans Collector

Empty Cans Collector
© 2006 Martin Liew

Empty Cans Collector

6th October, Friday (Lunar Month 15th August) was the Mid-Autumn Festival. As usual every year Chinatown would be beautified with colorful giant lanterns. This called for celebration where families come down to take memorable photographs with their loved ones.

Well due to the recent hazy air pollution caused by the forest fire in Indonesia, the South wind brought us the haze with PSI value up to 130. During the early evening on Friday, it wasn't that bad until the late night which lasted for the whole Saturday. Well anyway nothing would spoilt everyone's mood in celebrating this Festival.

I wasn't really out to take such celebrative pictures in which kids are carrying lanterns nor any of the road-show performances. I was more keen in looking out for something special or any "happening" for the night. I wanted to take pictures that say alot about the people in Chinatown and the people coming to Chinatown. Night life/people in the street, that's what I was looking out for.

After walking through the busy bazaar, I came across this old lady on an overhead bridge where she was stepping on disposed canned drinks. It's quite a common sight where many old folks are searching for empty disposed canned drinks so they can sell them for money. What a good way of recycling these cans, but it's a tough job for them. They have to search through every waste bin they can find and they dun earn much from selling them to the junk yard owners.

While everyone is having fun taking pictures, she is still working hard and I could see she has had collected a huge sack of cans. Perhaps from a hard day's work. I stood there for a few moment, observing her every movement. Suddenly she caught me looking at her and she smiled at me. I smiled back. It occurred to me she really enjoys what she is doing. No resentment, no regrets.

I decided to pick up my camera and take her photos. Then a kid came by and was kind enough to pass her a few cans. She's more happy to accept them. Well I could have taken a few more shots but to the very low light condition in that area, I'm lucky to have these 2 shots properly exposed, though they are alot grainy as I used Fujifilm Superia 1600 rated at 800. It might perhaps due to the photo-lab scanning and editing.

Nikon FM10 • 50mm f/1.8 • Fujifilm Superia 1600


Empty Cans Collector
© 2006 Martin Liew

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Michael Busselle remembered

Michael Busselle remembered

Photographer and writer Michael Busselle has died at the age of 70. Having begun work as a photographic assistant he established his own studio in London working on commercial shoots for the advertising and publishing industries. His first book, Master Photography: Take and Make Better Pictures set him along a path in which his name became synonymous with photographic writing. Alongside articles in the photo press, Busselle wrote over 50 books including several volumes on travel and wine.

Despite failing health Michael continued to work into 2006 with his last completed project, A Better Digital Photography Guide to Landscapes: Seas and Skies, published by Argentum earlier this year.

Michael is survived by his wife Patricia and son Julien. To see examples of his work, visit Michael Busselle's website here.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

TWO ORCHIDS

Two Orchids #1
© 2006 Martin Liew

Two Orchids

Who says we can only shoot floral photographs in the day time? Well of cuz we are making full use of the natural sunlight to make the best floral pictures be it close-up or macro format. What I did here was to make floral photography more creative in a way that I make the pictures in the night time, in dark area of the garden away from stray light sources particularly from those lamp posts. The pictures featured here were taken on Kodak slide film with my favorite manual SLR, Nikon FM10, handheld.

Well you might ask how did I do it handheld when the surrounding area is so dark? It definitely requires a longer exposure timing and a sturdy tripod is a must here, you might say. Yes you are correct on that point. Didn't I mention it was a night of light-painting or should I put it more appropriately, color-splashing?

For the set up, I used 2 flash units each mounted on a normal tripod respectively. I placed each on the left and right side of the Orchids. The left side flashhead was fitted with a DIY blue colored gel and the other with a DIY magenta colored gel. With the help of a wireless flash transmitter and 2 receivers, I was able to take such pictures handheld. Though this shot was quite under-exposed, I still kinda like the blending of the color effect. I could have set the flashes on full power or use a wider aperture, say f/5.6 or f/4 with shutter speed of 1/125sec.

The picture below was taken with a different color gel i.e. replacing the blue with red but the results aren't that good.

Two Orchids #2
© 2006 Martin Liew

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Matilda House

Matilda House
© 2006 Martin Liew

Matilda House

Located at Punggol End, Matilda House was built in 1902 for Mr Joseph Cashin whose family history in Singapore can be traced back to the early 1840s. The building is a fine example of an early style tropical bungalow. The tropical style of the building is accentuated through its architectural features such as open verandahs, raised floors and the use of timber framed lattice and louvres to permit cross breezes. As the only remaining historical bungalow in Punggol, the conservation of Matilda House will serve as a significant landmark for the future Punggol new town and as a reminder of "old Punggol".

There are many stories about this house especially of haunting & spiritual stuff. I was thrilled about making nocturne pictures of such old house and did not bother much about it. As mentioned in my early blog, nocturne photography, to me, is a experimental and creative way of expressing on how I see this world in another dimension. Well I think the nocturnal effect I did here does add up the spookiness and makes it look more eerie. But ultimately that wasn't my main objective.

For the above photo, I was using a wide angle lens, setting my camera at a very low angle point in such to frame the whole house. I exposed it for a full 10-minute during which I used 2 colored gels to light-paint. Same exposure timing for the photo below which is the back area of the house.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Club Moss Trees

Clubmoss Trees
© 2006 Martin Liew

Club Moss Trees

Lepidodendron is the name given to a giant Lycopod or scale tree which formed an important part of the coal swamps of the late Carboniferous which grew to heights in excess of 40 meters. The extinct genus of primitive, vascular plants were related to the Lycopsids (club mosses) and are sometimes called giant club mosses. They thrived during the Carboniferous period.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My Nocturne Photographs

Orchids Spectrum
© 2006 Martin Liew

Orchids Spectrum

I first came across this art form of photography at The Nocturnes (www.thenocturnes.com) and I was really impressed by the works of many famous night photographers in US. I particularly like the works by Andy Frazer, Tim Baskerville, Troy Paiva, Larrie Thomson, Michael Frye, William Lesch and many more.
I was so inspired and motivated that I got myself all the essential tools for nocturne photography, such as colored gels, strong flashlights (torchlights in Asia term), external flash units (cheap ones from Yin Yan, China made which I bought online recently). I use a fully manual 35mm film SLR, Nikon FM10 with 2 lenses i.e. 17-35mm & 35-70mm. Well most of the time I use the former lens for a wider coverage and perspective on architectural structures and landscapes. The film I used is Kodak Ektachrome E100VS. For "Orchids Spectrum" I used an expired Kodak E100GX therefore there are color shifts but I still love the color it produced. I use E100VS becuz I like the color sdaturation it produces.
I never intend to record any "true colors" of the night or make pictures of the "real" world in the night. Nocturne photography, to me, is experimental and a creative way of expressing on how I see this world in another dimension. To create an unworldly pictures with bright colors. Making nocturne pictures isn't as easy as it seems especially here in Singapore, where stray light sources from street lamps, house lightings, traffic lights, etc etc. So it's hard to come by any area or spot that is in near darkness. Well I do enjoy the whole process of making nocturne pictures and it does make me see and feel things differently in my surroundings. Of cuz it challenges me on the technical as well as artistic aspect of photography.

Here's one of the many photographs I made early this year and I will post each picture from time to time. Do come back and check them out.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

What is Nocturne Photography?

What is Nocturne Photography?

As defined in dictionary, nocturne has two meanings:
(i) a painting of a night scene;
(ii) a instrumental composition of a pensive, dreamy mood, especailly one for the piano.

The word photography comes from two ancient Greek words: photo, for "light," and graph, for "drawing." "Drawing with light" is a way of describing photography. When a photograph is made, light or some other form of radiant energy, such as X rays, is used to record a picture of an object or scene on a light-sensitive surface.


Therefore Nocturne Photography is all about light-painting/drawing of a night scene.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I'm Back

Well after taking a 2-week break from blogging, I'm back. It was a hectic 2 weeks for me, busy working and rushing for deadlines. Of cuz I never stop photographying. I've joined 2 outings so far over 2 weekends i.e. last Sunday and today, basically just on street photography. Didn't really get any good subjects to shoot but managed to finish up a roll today.

I used a toy camera, Holga, with flash guns i.e. Yin Yan 30STZ and Nikon SB-800 on Fujifilm 400NPH and Kodak TMAX100 respectively. I've sent the color negative for d/o & 3S print which cost 50cents per print at Ruby Photo Store. Can't wait to see the results. Will send the B&W roll film for d/o asap. I've stopped using Holga for more than a year now and impulsively I pick it up again, playing with 2 different flash guns to find out the "right" techniques for correct exposures.

Well I won't be featuring those works in this blog but I do have ideas of setting up another blog entirely on Black & white Photography with my favorite topics on nature/landscape, still life, fine art, portraitures and street. Until then I'd focus on my night photography.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Stan Kay

Moonlight Huts
© 2006 Stan Kay

Stan Kay

Last week I came across Stan's night photos at a local forum and quite impressed by his digital works. I'm still pretty new in digital night photography as I shoot in film all the time. Though I've never met Stan in person, I decided to correspond with him, seeking his permission to feature his work at my blog site. He agreed.

Stan Kay started out with film camera, He used it for his travelling trips but only knew about the 'Program' mode. He was introduced to digital photography about 3 years ago through a basic photography course. Learning the basic was just the beginning till he went travelling overseas and started to face with countless photographic challenges that make him want to keep learning and shooting for better results.

"Basically, I am a travel photographer who likes travelling and shoot whatever comes by. Back in Singapore, we don’t really have varieties so the only way to keep me going on with photography is to keep thinking of new ways to make my photography more interesting. It is more for my self satisfaction followed by showcasing and sharing with other keen photographers or people who have the same interest. Creatively my mind's eyes help me to overcome my lack of camera techniques and knowledge in my photography journey." stated Stan Kay.

The two night photos featured here are part of Stan Kay's Late Night series. To view the rest of his work, please click here.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Loo Gu Tai

Man In The Park
© 2006 Loo Gu Tai

Loo Gu Tai

Loo is a fellow member of PSS, whom I first met through Selina last year during one of the Photo Clinic sessions which is held every Friday night. She owns a Nikon F80 and she insists on using films and not interested in digital camera at all. After seeing some of my B&W night photographs, Loo got interested in night photography and since then she, Selina and I went for night shooting on most Saturday nights early this year.

On April's Fool night, Vincent Hau joined us at Fort Canning Park. FYI, the above featured shot was done by Loo and the man in that picture is none other than Vincent Hau himself, who volunteered to pose as a model for her. Loo used Kodak color negative film with aperture setting at f/8 exposed for 8 sec.

The shot below was taken on a separate night at Changi Boardwalk. Loo was drawn by the harsh shadows of the wooden railing casted on the wooden boardwalk by the only light from the lamp post. The light also brings out the wooden textures of the boardwalk which has this jagged line patterns that makes the whole picture more interesting. Things to watch out for are a.) the 'No Swimming' signboard right next to the lamp head, which was cropped into half off the edge of the frame. It was a slight composition error there. Always watch out for details. b.) On the background, anchored boats and yachts are blur not becuz of camera shake but due to 2 factors; 1. there were other ships sailed by in the distant causing some sea-water waves that spread towards the anchored boats and shook them causing motion blur and 2. the long exposure timing. Camera and exposure settings are not recorded.

Boardwalk by the Sea
© 2006 Loo Gu Tai

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Selina Ng

Sentosa Park


Selina Ng

Selina takes on any kind of photography except portraitures. She's drawn to subjects that catch her attention i.e. found-objects in the street, old buildings, sceneries, etc. Her approach in photography is quite comtemporary. Selina prefers to shoot in B&W more than in color. She takes infra-red photography as well and do all her own film developing and printing at home where she converts the bathroom into a traditional wet darkroom. She does digital photography occasionally with a Canon 350D.

Here are two featured photographs by Selina. They were taken separately during two of our weekend night photography outings. These two pictures were strongly inspired by renowned night photographer, Andrew Sanderson's works.
All pictures were taken on B&W ISO100 film, exposure settings not recorded. Film is scanned with minor adjustment in Photoshop for brightness and contrast.

Changi Boardwalk

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Fireworks Festival 2006

NDP2005 Fireworks by French Team
© 2005 Martin Liew

SINGAPORE NDP 2006 - Fireworks Festival

It's that time of the year where we celebrate for our 41st Independence Day this year. Fireworks Festival 2006 is held in conjunction with our National Day Parade. Organised and managed by UnUsUal Productions Pte Ltd. This year's festival consists of 4 fireworks shows lead by 4 teams. It will be held at Marina Bay at 9pm.

Here are the dates:
• 5th Aug 2006, Sat - Team Italy lead by Mr. Francesco Ambrico of Magic Events
• 8th Aug 2006, Tue - Team Singapore lead by Mr. Henry Ng of SpectaWorks Pte Ltd
• 11th Aug 2006, Fri - Team New Caledonia lead by Mr. Charles Germain of Inter-dis SARL
• 12th Aug 2006, Sat - A complimentary musically choreographed fireworks display by the French team of Signapore Fireworks Festival 2004.

For more information and details, please log on to this site.

NDP2005 Fireworks by Vincent Hau, LPSS

NDP2005 Fireworks
© 2005 Vincent Hau

NDP2005 Fireworks by Vincent Hau, LPSS

Vincent Hau is a digital photographer and a fellow member of Photographic Society of Singapore (PSS) where he attained his Licentiateship distinction title (LPSS) in 2005. I first met Vincent at a night photography course we took at PSS mid last year. Later on we took up Studio Lighting course at PSS. Though Vincent is not particular into night photography, he has constantly attended various photography courses to upgrade his skills and working hard for his next higher titles i.e. Associateship (APSS) and Fellowship (FPSS).

During last year's pre-National Day period, there was a series of fireworks activities held at the Singapore River which attracted thousands of people crowded in the vicinity, catching the magnificient colorful fireworks. Vincent suggested that it's a good opportunity and a challenge to take fireworks pictures, be it digitally or on film. So we gathered another fellow course mate and went for it.

Honestly speaking, Vincent took better fireworks pictures than I did. The above shot was taken by him. If you like to find out more about Vincent's work, here's his website.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Shed In The Park

A Shed In The Park
© 2006 Martin Liew

A Shed In The Park

A Shed In The Park was taken in the late evening during the last 15 minutes before the sky was completely dark. It wasn't my first attempt at making this picture and finally I found this one more satisfying. This is what I like about night photography. Going back to the same locations and you'll bound to see things differently with some lurking surprises awaiting for you to discover. I'll go there again on the next few full moon nights and try to make a few more exposures with the full moon, if possible. From there I have to find out and predict what will be the best time to take when the moon is set hgh or low and in which direction, so that I can capture every element in the frame. I'm sure that will make the whole picture more dramatic and attractive, or rather in a poetic and romantic sense.

Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 3min 40secs

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Night In The Park

A Night In The Park
© 2005 Martin Liew

A Night In The Park

This photograph was made after a couple of early attempts which I wasn't satisfied with the results. Like landscape photography, night photography requires not only one-time exposure at a given time at one fixed vantage point of a selected location. Initially it requires the photographer to find the right vantage points and make a couple of bracket shots. It also requires the photographer to come back to the same location at different day and timing for more different feel and mood to get the perfect image from the mind's eye, if the early results aren't good.

So in this particular night I was walking in this residential park in the North area, hoping to make some good night pictures. I came back to this bridge where it's right across a huge canal towards a big field. After walking around to find the right vantage point I wanted, I set up my tripod, mounted the camera and made the shot.

I really enjoyed this part of the area where the lightings caused this wonderful ambience to the surrounding, as much as I enjoyed the process of making this picture. It makes me feel like I'm being there every time I see it. What a night in the park!

Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 3min 40secs

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Friday, August 04, 2006

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Gates and Doors series

Gates #1
© 2005 Martin Liew

Gates and Doors series

Here's another mini-project series on gates and doors. All were taken during my Nite Projekt trips.

Somehow in some way or rather with strange feelings, I'm always drawn to gates and doors especially in the night where each individual gate and door presents itself as the "guardian" or "protector" of the respective building. Not to forget about the surrounding lightings that provide enough brightness and contrast on the gates and doors, along with its own shadows cast against the wall or on the ground. Gates and doors are entrances or passageways that lead oneself into an unknown premises which hold so much mystery, curiosity and even fear. To some, they bring hope and security.

Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 3min 40secs

Friday, July 28, 2006

Shanghai Hotel

Shanghai Hotel
© 2005 Martin Liew

Shanghai Hotel

It was a great challenge upon taking this picture, in terms of composing and finding the "right" vantage point/angle. The building on the foreground is Shanghai Hotel and River View Hotel on the background.

I was attracted by the grandeur of Shanghai Hotel with all the spot lights shining upon its majestic building structure. As I wasn't able to frame the whole building with a TLR of 75mm fixed lens, I had to compose and frame in a way to show the scaling and dimensional size of Shanghai Hotel. Hence River View Hotel came into view in the background. There was a strong spot light shining not directly on it but enough to view its name, creating a slightly dim effect compared to the foreground building lights. The lights from River Vew Hotel rooms showed enough shadow details which in turn made the building more three-dimensional. Because of this, I was able to show the depth of field between these two buildings. Here the lighting plays an important part.

Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 3min 40secs

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Water Reflection

Water Reflection
© 2005 Martin Liew

Water Reflection

I came across this water fountain at The Esplanade Park, formerly known as Queen Elizabeth Park. The fountain is named after a very wealthy but generous merchant, Tan Kim Seng who was the first Chinese magistrate in Singapore. His numerous contributions to the society include the suppression of the secret society riots in 1854 between the Cantonese and the Hokkien communities. First unveiled in Fullerton Square, this beautiful Victorian-style fountain was built to commemorate Tan Kim Seng's generous cash donation in 1857 to improve Singapore's water supply. The memorial was later moved to Battery Road in 1905 and to its present location in 1925.

I was attracted by one of the four cherub statues as shown above; not by its own structure but its own water reflection. Here I tried to compose it in a subtle way as possible by showing the full body reflection in the water and its leg or body cropped in half on the upper frame. It was a challenge to compose and make the exposure with a TLR. The result is still acceptable. I'll go back for a few more attempts to get the desired result I wanted.

Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 3min 40secs

POINT TO WATCH
• I could have waited for the spotlights to go off as they certainly caused much distraction. On the other hand, without the spotlights, there'll be no lights shining on the cherub statue, in turn reflected back in the water.
• There are certainly a number of ways to get the right exposure after the spotlights go off. Either use a flashlight to pop some lights on the statue alone on a reasonable range where it's enuff to reveal some details back to the water reflection OR shine a strong searchlight on a light reflector to serve as diffused light on the statue. Well it can take quite some work to get it done successfully.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Saturday, July 08, 2006

'TWINS' Projekt Series

'TWINS' #1
© 2005 Martin Liew

'TWINS' Projekt Series
'TWINS' Projekt was formed during my Nite Projekt series. As I travelled around the city by foot, I got to see more things than just riding a bicycle or driving a car with which one tends to oversee or miss certain things or details.
I was intrigued by the symetrical patterns and identical structures of the subjects I photographed. Hence the first impression and idea came across my mind. The subjects make me see them in different ways, metaphorically and emotionally. Well pretty much on personal preference here. It's subjective as well for any viewer.
Anyway I approach this project in a straight forward and conventional way in the fine-art photographic style. In this case I'm not making portraitures as the title stated. I take it as it is at the time of exposing. This sub-series is also an ongoing project which I think will take much longer time to complete. So far I got a few images made and this is the first one for your viewing pleasure. More to follow up.
Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 3min 40secs

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Fountain of Youth

Fountain of Youth
© 2005 Martin Liew

Fountain of Youth

Fountain of Youth was made conventionally in fine-art style. The ambience lighting was so right and I couldn't resist this beautiful scene. The softness of the water certainly adds up more atmospheric mood which makes the whole image quite romantic.

Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 3min 40secs

POINT TO WATCH
• I could have move back more for a wider view all round i.e. to reveal more of the fountain on the foreground and the wall on both sides in the background.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Homeless Man & No Littering

Homeless Man & No Littering
© 2005 Martin Liew

Homeless Man & No Littering

I paid a visit to the National Library today to check out Eye e City 2005 photo-exhibition. I took part in the event last year and one of my pictures was selected, as shown above. I know this is not related to night photography but I just wanna share my joy with every reader here.

Here's how I came about making this picture:
31st Dec 2005, Saturday morning. I arrived early at Waterloo Street and walking around for some interesting things to shoot. As I took the escalator up a level above the hawker center, I saw this homeless man sleeping soundly on the floor. I walked pass him but as I turned back to look again, I spotted the "No Littering" signboard on the wall. As the wall was curved outwards, the old man's body laid just along the contour comfortably as if he's performing some yoga.
Initially I wanted to shoot the old man as the main subject but upon seeing the whole scenario, it occurred to me that the old man and the sign board have a contrast implications. It somehow creates an awareness of homeless folks wandering and sleeping in the street with no-one to look after them. These people are literally treated like "garbage" and the No Littering sign board speaks for them. Don't neglect these people and their welfare. This can be a serious social problem if attention isn't paid on them.
Nikon D70s • 18-70mm standard lens • B&W conversion in Adobe Photoshop with Level adjustment and minor dodging.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Koh Boon Wei

Bridge
© 2005 Koh Boon Wei

Koh Boon Wei

Boon Wei owns a photo-printing lab business located in Bedok area. He inherited the business from his late father who had taught him photography and darkroom printing skill when he was young. I came across Boon Wei's work at a local online B&W forum early last year. We bumped into each other during the Photo-Imaging 2005 held at Suntec Convention Hall. A nice friendly guy who always carries a smile whenever he talks.

Here are the two images taken by Boon Wei during his free time. All taken on Ilford Delta 400 with 80mm lens on Mamiya 645. 'Bridge' was taken at the Seletar Reservoir in the late night. The composition breaks away from the conventional way though somehow it cuts the picture in halves. Playing with the bridge silhouette and its water reflection, all against the lit-up graduated sky on the background, it certainly has the contrast effect. The reflections of distant light source on the right, add up as a bonus to the whole picture. Without it, the whole picture could look dull and flat. It makes the bridge more dimensional, separating the water and the sky.

I'm not sure where did Boon Wei take of 'Staircase'. Personally I find its contrast effect pretty theatrical. The lines and shape certainly play as important parts in the composition. It's easily passed as a straight forward fine-art exposure. Well I believe Boon Wei has his own interpretation or point of view at the time of exposing.

Mamiya 645 • ILFORD Delta 400 • Not recorded

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Empress Place

Empress Place
© 2005 Martin Liew

Empress Place
This is The Empress Place. The government has certainly changed the buildings in that whole area Empress Place has turned into a western fine food restaurant and lately they have had just completed internal renovation. Perhaps it has changed management and into other sort of F&B business.
It was a full moon night but the moon was obscured by dense clouds in the night sky. The building was under the full moon charm which I was enchanted by its overall beauty. Without much ado, I took up this position and exposed for 2 bracket shots. This is the first take which is a lot better than the second one. Any further delay, the moon would have set down behind the building and the whole night beauty would have been gone.
This is another exposure with good tonality and contrast. The front structure of the building and balcony was brightly lit by the opposite lamp posts and/or spotlights, with cast shadows on the main entrance. Followed by the graduated dim-lighted area of the building and its roof. Everything falls nicely into the Zone system.
Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 3min 36secs
POINT TO WATCH
• The image was cropped in too tight on the left side at the time of exposing. I could have move back a little more but the unwanted items on the foreground will be included which can quite messy.
• If only the clouds are more in fluffy shapes than dissipated that acts like a layer of diffuser. Otherwise the night sky will be brighter with a more dramatic impact.
• The strong highlight on the right side window was caused by the opposite lamp post light reflection which seems kinda distracting here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lonely Lamp Post

Lonely Lamp Post
© 2005 Martin Liew

Lonely Lamp Post

I walked around the other side of this old parliament house and spotted this part of the building that's perfect for a night shoot. This night scene resembles a 19th Century street building with one lonely lamp post shining throughout the night. I was attracted by its light that created such great contrast of shadows and the ambience atmosphere around. I stood there for a few minutes and kept looking at the scenery. I could feel a sense of peacefulness and a little curiosity about what was inside the building.

After the first exposure, I took a closer look at the building again and went in closer to the staircase on the right side. Here's a close-up exposure on which I like the great contrast between the white wall of the building and the shadow cast on the stairs with jagged patterns. It certainly has an dramatic impact that makes the image more 3-dimensional, rather than flat with dull tones.

Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 3min 36secs


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

'Head'

'Head'
© 2005 Martin Liew

'Head' Sculpture (1999) by Botero

Most of you might recognize this sculpture, 'Head' by Botero. Botero came to Singapore in Dec 2004 alongside with Taiwanese sculptor, Ju Ming. Botero's work can be seen around the art center, Esplanade and in the garden as well. This 'Head' is situated right at the main entrance of the art & performance center, with 4 strong spot-lights shining at it.

It's a challenging one on making picture out of it and I managed to get a "good" angular position. I even flashed 3 times to get more shadow details. Sometimes with a little splash of stray flares from the spot-lights can create quite an atmosphere to one's photograph. Howsoever, I made this exposure at the "wrong" timing. If you observe closely on the left side of the photograph where the art center dome is behind the sculpture, lotsa of details were not fully captured. I could have arrive much earlier when the interior lights in the art center is still on.

Alternatively I can dodge that part in the darkroom to bring out more shadow details. Perhaps the photograph will have more contrasty impact between the textured surface of the dome and the smooth surface of the sculpture.

Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 3min 36secs

Monday, June 26, 2006

something in the Way

something in the Way
© 2005 Martin Liew

something in the Way

This was the night when Cindy Tan and I went out for night photography in town area. As I used my Shanghai TLR for all of my night shoots, there is exception at times where I'd use my SLR. The above image was made under this highway flyover located at the Esplanade Garden. This highway is called Esplanade Way.

Playing with the lines, I compose diagonally to make it in an abstract form and to break away from the symetrical pattern I took of the Monument. Due to the low film speed (ISO 125) rated at 100, I exposured it for full 16min to bring out the extreme contrast between the highlights on the highway railings and the dark sky, and also exposed for the shadow details.

Nikon FM10 • ILFORD FP4 Plus • 16mins

Cindy Tan

'Peak'
© 2005 Cindy Tan

Cindy Tan
It goes a long way back when I first started out Lomography. I came across a Lomo forum where I got to know Cindy. Cindy plays with different type of compact cameras such as CX-A, LOMO FrogEye, Super Sampler, Holga, etc and she shoots more than I do. She has many nice cross-processed photographs I've ever seen which included pictures of her niece and nephew as her role models. Cindy works as a freelance writer and she does wedding photography full-time professionally.

The two B&W photographs featured here are taken by Cindy using her Lubitel 166U TLR on LUCKY SHD-100 film (made in China). 'Peak' was taken during our first night photography outing as I mentioned in my early post 'The Great Monument'. 'Infinity' was taken followed by after we walked to Esplanade Garden right under the flyover, Esplanade Way. We each took a shot. I'll feature mine in the next post.

Simplicity is the main photographic element in Cindy's work. Less is more. These images have alot to say about the cold and calmness of the night. By playing with shapes and lines in her unique composition or 'art of seeing', the sense of tranquility and peacefulness are present in it.

Lubitel 166U • LUCKY SHD-100 • Timing not recorded

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Great Monument

'The Great Monument'
© 2005 Martin Liew

The Great Monument

The last time I took this shot was on 12 Dec 2004 and it didn't turn out well. I set 'B' with aperture of f/8 and exposed for 3min40sec on Efke R100. Based on the developed film negative, it was over-exposed. This time, I used KODAK TMAX400 at f/16 and exposed for 3min36sec. I used the same exposure timing on a high speed film and this is what I get.

On that night, a fellow photographer friend of mine joined me for the first time to learn about night photography. She got some good results with her Lubitel. I'll feature some of her pictures here soon.

This is the monument built to commemorate the heroes and victims of WWII during the Japanese Occupation in Singapore circa 1942-45. Visitors and veterans came to Singapore between February and September last year to rediscover the past through heritage tours, commemorative events and exhibitions all dedicated to the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of end of World War II.

Commemorations were culminated in September with ceremonies to mark the surrender of the Japanese and the jubilant liberation of Singapore; to honor the heroes who perished, and to celebrate the beginning of a new era of independence.


Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 3min 36secs

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Quiet Alley

'Quiet Alley'
© 2005 Martin Liew

Quiet Alley
This image was made in a quiet alley behind a bus-stop along Moulmein Road. On the right side of the alley is a Chinese Temple. I used to bypass this bus-stop everyday to work and to home, and I had seen how the whole place looks like in the night time.

It has this mysterious feel to me and so I decided to make some pictures there. It took place on New Year Day 2005 on a windy night. I took my time to walk around the area, observing and looking for a good angle shot. While I was exposing, there were a couple of interruptions i.e. people walked by and a white car parked at the road side right at the end of the alley. Well I had to cut short on the exposure timing from 8min50sec to 6min20sec. A smallest aperture of f/22 was used for great sharpness.

Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 6min 20secs

Friday, June 23, 2006

No Parking

'No Parking'
© 2004 Martin Liew

No Parking

This is another place where I've long wanted to shoot becuz of the ambient light in that area which create this nice night atmospheric scene. I took this shot at 0045hrs on 14 November 2004. It was quiet except one or two vehicles drove by this narrow lane once in a few minutes. Fortunately I was able to take this shot without any cars passing by which can caused some unpleasant light trails. The sign board has long since been removed and the building has had been renovated for leasing.

Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 40secs

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Under The Flyover

'Under The Flyover'
© 2004 Martin Liew

Under The Flyover
I bypass this highway flyover pretty often and it's near to where I stay. I can't help but noticed this spot - the underpass during night time. I thought to myself that it'll be good for a night shoot. So on 13 November 2004, I packed up my gears and walked to that place. It was a total different feeling when I stood there for a moment or two.

There are 2 separate paths, about 20 - 30 meters apart. After walking around and observing, I chose this pavement as less people walk by. It was really dark except with that lamp post light shining down on the pavement. I really like the ambience atmosphere caused by that lamp post light shining down on the pavement and to the surrounding. Though it wasn't as quiet as there are many vehicles drove by, the resulting photo does portrait some peaceful mood in it.
Shanghai TLR • KODAK TMAX400 • 1min 30secs

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Digital Night Photography

Digital Night Photography

As I started out using film, I do not detest digital photography as we all know that it's more faster and convenient in processing and viewing via the camera LCD screen, not to mention post-processing and other digital manipulations which can take quite an amount of time. I do own a Nikon D70s but personally I still have an affinity in film. It just 2 different mediums and I do embrace both. It all depends on which tool to use on specific jobs/projects.

Here are some of my past digital night photographs, shot with my D70s. They were taken during my course at Photographic Society of Singapore (PSS) last July.



'Abstract Reflections'
© 2005 Martin Liew

'Central Business District'
© 2005 Martin Liew

'The Esplanade'
© 2005 Martin Liew

'The Merlion'
© 2005 Martin Liew

'Step-Wise Zoom Effect'
© 2005 Martin Liew

'Millennia Walk'
© 2005 Martin Liew