Choosing the right picture

The last blog i talk about digital contact sheet after i shot a series of images.

So i had made a selection, 2 in fact, a negative and positive shots out of 48 images. The first one below is this scene, when the sun already went below the horizon but still illuminate the sky, however been picky me, i don’t really like the streak of light across the frame, i mean is nice but it doesn’t work best for me. I thought the composition could been better.

Cityscape

Then i looked in the computer and spotted another problem. I realised certain buildings rooftops are not lighted up successfully, it kinda of cause a disturbance of the balance in the picture. There are many things at that moment is not easy to spot because my feelings and focus can be just on the light itself.

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In the end, my favourite is above, where the sun send a warm glow across the sky, backlight the building, i love how the ray cross the side of the building giving a glow too.

Anyway this will not be my last time for this scene as i believe there are room for improvement to achieve the next better image. So you can see, to get that 1 good image requires time and effort. Is not like simply putting a camera there and expect positive result, unfortunately thing don’t work that way in life.

Digital contact sheet

The viewers marvel at that single piece of picture display on exhibition, social media, portfolio gallery. Most people who does not understand photography will not know the process and time spent behind it.

Below is an architecture scene i had made on 10th March 2019, i capture a total of 48 images having the camera fixed in a position. Then lay it all out in this digital contact sheet. Contact sheet used to be a roll of negative film, the purpose is to be able to scan the series of images and know which one to enlarged it for printing. Today digital context sheet can be also printed and used for studying the details of the image and making selection. In this case of mine, is to share with your the comparison of lighting and in various exposures setting to achieve what type of result, and through this 48 images to select the best image out of it if any.

The next blog post i will select the one i like, edit it and share.

Corporate photography

Recent corproate work for a German company based in Singapore. The head office in Germany needed new images of the management in Singapore. I was hired to come in to do 2 different set of images for a group of people.

My job is a communicator, putting people at ease when they are facing my camera, numerous time i have seen how people went stiff or unsure what to do? Communicating with my subject is important to ease anxiety or stiffness. I always get them to smile as naturally as possible unless brief is otherwise. Per subject image can varies from 10-15 to 30-40 shots in different angles and poses. People are usually busy, so my time with them has to keep it short and make the most out of it. Bear in mind smiling for camera is tiring.

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Aerial view of Bukit Batok

Along Bukit Batok Road used to be forested, then few years ago the heavy industrial vehicles came in to flatten the green, concrete blocks started to form up, in just a few years a new district had formed and in progress to grow into a better neighbourhood. Using my unmanned aircraft to capture the new scene along Bukit Batok Road.

Along Bukit Batok Road

Along Bukit Batok Road

Beautiful cluster

Beautiful cluster

Construction from the air

Construction from the air

Night scene of Bukit Batok and Jurong East

Night scene of Bukit Batok and Jurong East

Group picture

“Where is the photographer?”
”Are you the photographer?”
”Mr XXX would like to have a group picture of us, please tell me where do we stand?”

I turned back and look the group. A crowd would be the appropriate word. Look, is not your normal 10-30 people in a group, But a group of nearly 80 people or maybe more. Mainly consists of old folks to be exact.

In my decade of taking so many group pictures, covering big group of celebrities in a function, board of management in corporate, university undergraduates to top talented furniture designers from all over the world gather in a venue, nothing falter me.

But this was something different. I knew it was going to be challenging and i have to happily embrace it. I meant it. I like challenge and this is one of the moment that drives my inner leadership skill i had learnt during my army days.

I took a quick look around and decided where is the spot for such a crowd. I am very familiar with the venue for the past 10 years, hence it was a bonus to have that experience. I took a chair from the ballroom and carry it out to the open space. Removed my shoes, choose my precise spot for the group shot.

I raised my voice to get everyone attention. Some folks were alerted by my presence, some were busy talking in their own world catching up with each other. It took a while before i get everyone to stand where i wanted them to be. I quickly tested the scene exposure on my camera, as the sun was setting, the lighting can change quickly as time seep. No time to waste.

I always told people standing in front of me. If you cannot see me i cannot see you. Simple as that, i can’t remember where or who i learn this from, but this has been a line i had used for a long time. Especially if i don’t have the luxury of time to organise everyone properly, not to mention so many folks. Some were nice enough to actually squat down in the front, smart move, nobody will be blocking. The oldest folk in the crowd is a 89 year old man standing right infront, most were generally 50, 60 and above.

When i had compose properly and about to take a shot, there were a few more persons kept coming in, and this adds on and need to reorganise again, move my seat back and recompose, take the exposure again. Some people were still busy talking and i have to keep them focus with me. With 100 pairs of eyes on me and i only have one pair of eyes to overlook everyone is impossible, only quick glance and make the best adjustment i can in the group.

Finally i can make my shots, i told the crowd where to look at my lenses. I can see some people were still talking and i need to get their attention again. Quickly snap more, another 2 came into the frame again. I quickly adjusted backward. Am used to dealing with tight angle. I am on 16mm and it can cause a little distortion at the left and right end. I need to push on.

”Big smile”
”Look at my camera”
”Everyone look here”

It wasn’t that nerve wrecking to have everyone looking at me, i was very comfortable in fact. I took about 20 images in the end. Am sure there will be many people be block at the back, some not looking at camera, some were still chatting, a few close their eye due to the flash.

But am glad i did it, hopefully they will enjoy that wonderful reunion evening.

Cheers to many more years!

Cheers to many more years!