Step into the light!

I am delighted that this image that I took during my recent photography trip was printed on today’s Straits Times (see page C5 of Life section).  I have a 25% chance of winning a pair of SilkAir tickets to any of its destination, plus $500 cash.  The winner will be announced in the Straits Times on 1 Feb 2011.

This image was taken at Dongchuan Red Land in Yunnan, China.  It is famous for its red and amber coloured soil.  I was fortunate to capture this dramatic view of the sun rays hitting the terraced plantation, one of my favourite landscape photography images.

Afternote : Sadly, I did not win the competition.

云南之旅 :东川红土地和元阳梯田

I am back this morning at 2 am from a 8-day wonderful trip to the Red Land and Yuan Yang in Yunnan, China. It was a formal landscape photography trip organised by Nature Photographic Society, Singapore led by Tony Png. There were altogether 12 of us.

(Group photo taken at Yang Yuan’s Rice Terrace)
The Red Land (东川红土地)
Yuan Yang’s Rice Terrace (元阳梯田)
Blogging in progress …

Standard Chartered Marathon (5 Dec 2010) – Registration

>

After achieving my 1st full marathon with a good timing of 4hr, 38m last December, I told my family, friends and running buddies that, that was my last marathon too as I do not wish to go through the same kind of gruesome training again. I took up long distance running 2 years ago for the purpose of keeping fit and healthy. It was fun and I enjoyed casual running of about 6 to 10 km with my army friends, KP & William, regularly. It was only later that we decided to challenge ourselves and take on the marathon dreams. We believe that if others can do it, so can we! Now that I have achieved it, there isn’t any motivation for me to try again especially when it is unlikely that I would be able to improve my timing. I am more comfortable to run the half marathon. I want to run for enjoyment not suffering.

Vincent, my brother-in-law, told me during mother’s day that he also did his 1st marathon last year. He was proud that he completed it in less than 6 hrs. He sounded very motivated and he said that he would train much harder to improve his timing this year. He encouraged me to sign up with him.

KP Tan who did very well last year is certain that he will run the full marathon this year. He is confident and determined to improve his already very good timing of 4hr, 19m. He was disappointed when William & I told him last Saturday that we had decided to sign up for half marathon instead. He called me this morning hopping that we would change our mind.

Pang, another army friend of mine and running buddy, will be doing his 6th or 7th marathon this year also urged us to reconsider.

Under my dear friends’ pressure, I have decided to do it one more time! I signed up this morning for a registration fee of $45. For those who sign up after 4 Jun, it will be much costly at $75/$85. Pang & KP already signed up. William is still undecided.

Photographing damselfly in flight

Libellago Stigmatizans (or Orange-faced Gem) is classified as “probably extinct” in Singapore. Two males species were spotted in a stream at Panti Forest where the water was quite muddy.

They were flying non-stop and engaged in territorial fights. Occasionally, one would perch near the water surface but the next moment, you would see the 2nd one attacking it and they started fighting in mid-air again. Under such situation, shooting them with a tripod proved to be near impossible. So, I released my camera from the tripod, set to full flash mode and my target was to get both males fighting in the air in a single frame.

As the stream water was at ¾ knee level high, I could not squat down as it would wet my backside. Standing would not be able to get close enough to the damsels, so I had to blend down quite a little like an old man. It was tiring shooting in this position as I had to move where the damsels moved. I had to take a break every 5 minutes or so. This went on for the next half an hour and despite my hard work I failed to get the shots I wanted. I could only manage some flight shots of an individual male as a consolation.

Initially, I tried using manual focus but my hands were not fast enough. Autofocus works better for me in this condition.

Nature Photography Outing – Panti Forest

Panti forest is in Johor and about 20 km from Kota Tinggi and about 60km from Singapore. It is a secondary forest and many Singaporean birders like to spend a day there for bird watching and photography. Other than birds, you could also find many macro subjects, particularly butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies.

(Macro shooters at a stream in Panti forest)
(A small hut near the visitor centre)

Exploring Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin is a small island but despite being there 3 times for the past 5 years, I am still not familar of this place.

Lau, William & I went to explore Pulau Ubin this morning. After having breakfast at Changi Village Hawker Centre, we took the bumboat at 9.30 am. It is about 15 mins ride and it costs $2.50 per person. Usually, the bumboat would leave when it has 12 passengers. Otherwise, one would have to wait a little while until enough people turn up. Alternative, you can pay $30 and go straight away.

I think cycling is the best way to explore Ubin, so we rented 3 bicycles at $6 each (normal rental charges is $2/hr) where we can use it for the whole day.

To be continued ….

I dropped my Tamron 180mm Macro Lens!

I went out with my friend to shoot macro at Wild Wild West (end corporation road) yesterday morning. We finished shooting at about 9.45 am. We found and sat at a comfortable bench trying to pack our camera equipment into our bags. I placed my tripod with my camera & lens affixed to it beside me. Out of a sudden, the tripod gave way and dropped to the concrete floor. There was a loud sound and I know the damage is severe. I would be sending it to JEL Corporation at Changi for repair tomorrow. I hope it is still servicable and not as serious as I thought it would be.

Photographing Flower Abstract

I hardly take any flora shots during my 2 years of active macro shooting. I decided to try it out last October and the results were surprisingly encouraging.

This flower was taken at Singapore Botanical Gardens. I fixed on my 1.4 teleconvertor and positioned my camera as close to the flower as possible. My intention was to focus on the inner part and to bring out the beautiful colours of this flower. I tested using different apertures and the widest f3.5 gave me the best effect.

I received positive feedback from my friends at NPSS. I went back to the same place at SBG hoping to get an improvement shot. This time I chose a more purplish flower and I tilted my camera to get a diagonal composition. I also up the exposure a little to give it a more lively and brighter look.

This is a dorsal view of a common hibiscus flower taken at “Wild Wild West” near end Cooperation Road. The same technique was used and I am glad it did not disappoint me.

I am likely to do more on this sort of photography this year.