Experiments with Light – Street II

It had been a while since I went shooting on the streets and I was bloody bored as well. So, I thought I’d go out and shoot in the streets but quite differently this time, with a tilt-shift lens. Now I don’t own a tilt-shift lens, they’re quite (meaning very) expensive and are used mostly for perspective correction in architectural and interior photography. The next best option was to rent one and that’s exactly what I did!

Or at least wanted to do, for I was in for a disappointment when I went there to rent the lens. The lens was already taken, leaving me to choose from what was available there. So I decided on the next best thing, a fish-eye lens and went off to shoot. A little introduction about the lens though, it was a Canon 15 mm f2.8 fish-eye lens and I was using a cropped sensor camera, which makes the lens equivalent to a longer focal length one because of the cropped field of view. This leads to another problem, even though I may have an almost 180°, I won’t be able to get the fish-eye effect unless I shoot from very close, really really close. Now there’s a challenge, I thought. Shooting from very close, on the streets, in Singapore. How hard can it be?

Turns out, it can be hard. Especially on a day when the sun is out in all its glory and there’re are hardly any people on the streets. So, there’s dent number two in my plans for shooting that day. What do I do now? I turned to the next best alternative and shoot whatever catches my fancy. Now, what would catch my fancy, since I wanted to shoot because I was bored in the first place. These did.

Temple

Street

Urban Skyline

And so, there ends my adventure in street shooting, because a little later the weather gods thought it was too hot and humid for the day and decided to clear the air with a little (meaning cats, dogs and several other pet animals) rain. The following two images are not part of this shoot, but were taken on a different day at a different location. Meant to be submitted to a photo competition but never did, because I thought they were a bit too cliché.

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Experiments with Light – Birds

I happened to visit the Jurong Bird Park last Sunday (February 8, 2009) with a group of photographers. What follows is a short account of the day’s happenings.

We started the day at the African Wetlands Exhibit shooting a few ducks, cranes, shoebills and what not. Picture below shows an African Crown Crane.

African Crown Crane

Following this, we went to see the flamingoes and the macaws. The flamingoes were mostly in the shadows and couldn’t get a good shot with my Sigma 70-300 lens. An accidental shot that happened near the macaws.I noticed it only after I shot and tried for a better angle but couldn’t get any.

Eyes

Next stop was the African Waterfall Aviary, where bird feeding was going on. The birds were a bit fast and the lens was slow. Here I got to try the 200mm f2.0 on the Nikon D3 brought by the organiser of the outing. The lens was humongous but fortunately the high ISO performance of the camera helped use high shutter speeds. Managed to catch a few starlings and carmine bee-eaters. Below shot is a Starling taken near the waterfall

Starling

Preceding the feeding show, we visited the SE Asian aviary, where the birds were in enclosures and with low light. My old lens was not upto the task and most of the pictures were ruined. From the Waterfall Aviary we went to the Lory Loft housing several kinds of Lorikeets. Very colourful birds, and very active too. It was almost midday when we reached there and the birds were getting fed by the visitors to the park.

Lorikeet

By the time we were through with the lorikeets, everyone were tired and we had to adjourn for lunch. Post lunch, we were on the way to the Birds of Prey enclosure and the bird shows at the amphitheatre when we met a celebrity who became an instant hit with all the photographers!

Penguin Paparazzi

It was a tropical penguin, yes a penguin that lives in the tropics! It was slowly walking out of the enclosure when we spotted it. The penguin gladly posed for us and seemed to enjoy all the attention. We had some time to spare before the shows started and so visited some swans and ducks at the Riverine enclosure.

Preening Swan

Duck

All in all, a very satisfying day of shooting the birds, and the first time visiting the bird park. More photos here.

After the rain

These flowers signify the optimism that makes them face up to the world even after a heavy downpour that tended to tear them away from the plant.

The water drops may also stand for the tears shed after a bitter fight between lovers with the flowers standing for their faces after the fight. (Wish I could put this into a story format, to make it more interesting)

Experiments with light (Abstract)

This photo was taken a while back at one of the parks near my place. The view from the top was good and the winding road made an interesting picture.

 

The post processing involved increasing the contrast and boosting the colour saturation to get what is seen above.

Experiments with Light (EOS Experience)

I attended an event organised by Canon Singapore called EOS Experience Day. The day started sunny but as I proceeded to the venue, storm clouds gathered with a menacing appearance. A few minutes later, the worst happened, the clouds started pouring rain (what else). Fortunately, the seminars that were to be conducted were conducted under a temporary shelter and so we were saved (The event was held at a seaside venue and some water skiing had been planned). The seminars were boring and the introduction of their newest camera, the EOS-1D Mark III followed. The darkness (both literal and figurative) brought on by the onset of rain was offset by this toy. It looks innocuous enough for a camera of its caliber, and once the shutter is pressed, it unleashes its inner beast and starts firing away at 10 fps with a 10 mega pixels resolution. To give a comparison of its speed, a video camera captures close to 24-25 fps at a resolution around 1 mega pixels max. If technology progresses fast enough soon we will be able to make movies out of digital SLRs.
Coming to the most interesting part of the EOS Experience Day, the visitors were allowed to try their shot at the new camera (hence the water skiing) and lens lineup (the longest being 1200mm of which it is rumored that there are only 10 in the world). There were also some macro and still life lenses lined-up and had arranged for some models to pose in swimwear (Canon wanted to give a great experience to the photographers I believe). By this time the rain had stopped but it was still cloudy, and the photographers, professional amateur and all went in hordes to try the lenses. I took some macro, then went to the long lens lineup,took some pictures of the surfers, then came back for some more macro, couldn’t find any inspiration at the macro counter, tried some more shots competing for space with the other professionals and finally left. Though I couldn’t take more shots, I came away satisfied that I was able to fire a machine gun in the guise of the EOD 1D Mark III. Was a bit sad that I couldn’t get my hands on the 1200mm lens (the one with the longest queue). Take a look at some of the pictures taken that day.

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A couple of Macro shots…

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…a couple of high speed shots, couldn’t get a longer lens…

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…and a candid shot with the 50mm standard lens, but with a maximum aperture of f/1.4 it is anything but ordinary.

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Experiments with light (Green)

Some pics from Macritchie reservoir. I went a bit late in the day and so could only get the midday sun to light the area.

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Also met a pensive monkey who obliged with this pose

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And finally kind of an abstract with the colors saturated…

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