Archive for September, 2012

Gangnam Style!

I knew this is going to happen someday, just not like that. Halfway through lunch and after some coaxing from his mother-in-law (!!!), Justin decided to put up a performance. I am pretty sure he practiced this before. Now I just hope to shoot a wedding gatecrash with the groom and the bridesmaids (not groomsmen k) doing Gangnam Style. For now, this is pretty darn good enough. Remember, dress classy, dance cheesy.

There was even a grand entry for his dance.

Justin doing his stuff. Just follow the steps.

This one reminds me of the part where PSY was holding two girls while walking in a fake snow storm, except the kids were quite clueless about what’s happening.

Awesome stuff Justin. Just how many champagnes did you down to make you Gangnam?:D

Paper and Plastic

I love fresh paper and plastic.

Anthony and Le Ching

There are times during a wedding that you are able to spot some unusual stuff going on because things just don’t quite go according to plan. Nothing major, so it put a smile on my face whenever I see them (depends how you interpret it).

The first shot of the day. What an awesome way to start the day.

I was taking pictures of the gown behind the door when the bridesmaids opened the door. Oh well… I just captured the “behind the scenes” shot and ended up liking how it turned out more than the original shot I wanted.

Usually we get the hands with the rings. Like I said, usually. We don’t have to be usual:)

Sit! Ok, honestly, I just noticed the finger.

Getting combed, getting spread and that priceless expression.

Sometimes I just like it when things do not go according to plan. We need some of these kids around on wedding days.

Photogenic dogs are hard to come by. This one definitely very cooperative. I didn’t coat my camera with dog food before the shoot.

He definitely can tell the camera and the video apart:)

A little moment between them.

One word “Siong”!

Fact: Better not pick up a bride anywhere near a fitness corner.

Oh, so the story goes… while the boys were completing their ‘tasks’, the ladies offered to look after their belongings, since they were out in the fitness corner. Their ‘belongings’ include ALL the red packets meant for bargaining. Nice.

With no more bargaining chips, you just have to do what the girls want.

That’s 101 for you.

I wasn’t sure what they were talking about. But from what I can see now, it’s hilarious. Probably one of my favorites:D

People running away once they realized they might be in the frame. Their reaction cracks me up. I’ve already gotten my shot, was just waiting for the video guy to finish his.

I like this one where they open up the door to peep before their grand entrance to the ballroom.

Some heartfelt speeches during the dinner.

And the groom decides to sing. I haven’t heard Jacky Cheung’s songs for ages and that’s something really nostalgic.

The concert moment:D

You can view the slideshow here.

Malapascua in and out of water

So, this is it. From Malapascua.

When I first saw it underwater, I thought it look like a cathedral. I have another not so colorful print on my wall. Someone told me it looks like the earth breaking up or something.

The beach outside Exotic Resort where we stayed. Dive resorts line the beach along the island. Exotic is one of the more established ones in the area. The food at the restaurant was simply spectacular. We spent most of our non-diving hours sitting at the restaurant pigging out and wifi-ing:D

Catching waves at the beach. You can also find souvenir peddlers along the beach. They sell some pretty nice woodwork. I got my wooden Manta and Thresher shark there. Pricing wise, it’s considered expensive there, but you probably won’t get it at that price in Singapore provided you can even find it.

Loading up for the next dive. Resort staff loading equipments up the smaller boats which will ferry them to the bigger dive boats.

Every morning, we gather around 5am in the morning for the dawn dive to wait for the Thresher Sharks at Monad Shoal. Whether or not the shark shows up, we still get to see the beautiful sunrise. During the 20 min ride to Monad Shoal, we just stone or have coffee onboard.

Taking the giant leap off the boat. Amos giving a positive demonstration:D

Kelvin checking out the strange looking jellyfish. While we were there, the seas were filled with tiny jellyfishes or their dismembered parts. It’s not uncommon to get stung, but nothing too serious.

A lone batfish patroling Monad Shoal.

A lone Thresher shark appeared on the first dive of our second trip. Unfortunately, that was our only Thresher sighting that trip.

A flatworm during the night dives.

Whip coral shrimp.

It’s the same one, just a silhouette. It’s interesting that part of the body seem to glow in green.

Bubble coral shrimp. That’s one of my favorite subjects.

Sometimes the mornings can get rather cold. On this day, the waves were pretty bad and we had a bit of difficulty getting up the boat using that narrow plank, especially with the heavy camera. Good thing the guides are always there to assist. The guide for my first trip was Paul and the second one was Wilmar.

Getting your morning facewash at the bow of the boat.

At some sites, the current can be extremely strong. We took a trip to Dona wreck and were swept left right center by the current. I left my camera onboard after the first dive. It’s just not worth fighting the current with the camera. Tien Beng holding the rope during the surface interval. The bubbles were going sideways here.

While descending, I spotted this jellyfish and decided to take “a few” pictures of it, forgetting that the current was pretty strong. Within seconds, I lost the party but descended anyway. Got to 30m and did not see a single soul and the surrounding didn’t match the ones mentioned during the dive brief. I was thinking “where the hell is the plateau? what coral garden?! all I’m seeing is SAND!” So I ascended and found the boat more than 100m away.

So here’s the boat on it’s way to pick me up. Sorry guys, my bad.

The ‘feeder’ boats ferrying stuff to the bigger dive boats during low tide.

An approaching storm.

Swimming around this school of tiny fish while trying to get a decent shot. It’s fun to see how the flash lights up the water from beneath.

While waiting for the Thresher shark, I stayed relatively motionless and this lionfish was so attracted by it’s reflection off the dome port of my camera. It literally stuck it’s face on the port and looked left and right. Just like how you do in front of the mirror.

Probably the first time it saw it’s own reflection.

The Thresher shark doing it’s rounds while Andrew took the videos.

A headshot of the Thresher shark.

Sometimes they get rather close.

The tail is just amazingly beautiful.

The pregnant (?) nurse shark at Gato Island. That’s quite an incredible dive site. You also get to swim through a mini cave which was kind of fun.

Squid protecting it’s eggs nearby.

Frogfish looking devilish here. This was at the Exotic Resort’s house reef. which is pretty darn amazing for a house reef.

Juvenile Lionfish.

And finally, the mantas decide to make an appearance. These are huge, probably in the range of 5m.

Wave. This one’s good for facebook covers:D

Outriggers outside Wilmar’s house. He invited us for dinner and also to watch some cockfighting as there were some festival going on.

The last night on the island.


The spotlights from the resort lighting up the outrigger.

Finally, on the second trip I managed to blow perfect bubble rings. All thanks to Paul, who was very patient despite me pestering him every now and then to teach me.

Chern Yang and Esther

2009, 2010 and 2011 was like the big blog drought. I’m not back for revenge, but I will post some weddings that I really like over 2010 and 2011 in the coming weeks since I’m in the process of archiving them. Here’s one from Chern Yang and Esther. After the wedding, I realized that Chern Yang was in the same BMT company as me. That’s where I saw my BMT photo for the first time in more than a decade. I didn’t change much… thanks to the haircut:D

Love the rockstar lights.

A short prayer with the parents before veiling the bride.

The bride.

The boys.

The sister.

The demands.

The price.

The kiss.

The couple:D

A moment with the flower girls.

Simple and elegant deco by the folks at Flutes at Fort Canning.

I like people who arrange their stuff nicely and symmetrically.

And we got a fireworks treat too. So now you know when to plan your wedding at the Flutes:D

So he surprised her with some coordinated singing with friends, something like a mini flashmob. And yeah, he had quite abit of practice for that.

I thought it was really beautiful and touching to have them planned this.

Love the rawness of such kisses.

See why I love hands when you don’t pose them?;)

The slideshow can be found here.

Malapascua un-archived

2010, we did a trip to the island of Malapascua, Cebu (Philippines) to seek out the Thresher sharks. A total of 2 trips within a span of 2 months. When I got back, I got really busy with another overseas shoot and by the time I finally settled down (and recovered from a massive stiff neck), the Malapascua images were already buried under another few thousand images to be edited. Very soon, they got archived, backed up and stored away. The next trip came and I got pulled further away from them. Finally I got abit of time for myself and decided that I should revisit these images again. It’s like re-living the trip again. Here are some of the images taken on the second trip.

I spent a considerable amount of time under the hot afternoon sun getting the image of the wave I wanted during our surface intervals. During then, I found a dead bamboo shark and got ‘hit’ by a juvenile mantis shrimp.

Our last night at Exotic Resort.

A lone outrigger on the beach.

Thoughts about second hand DSLRs

This is not a rant, neither is it a complete “1o1″ about buying second hand DSLRs. Please do your own research. This is just what this photographer think about buying second hand DSLRs.

You know, every few years, the camera makers will come up with something that looks pretty much the same but with some enhanced or upgraded features. We, the “full time” photographers will be sucked into buying these new toys. So what happens to the old toys? We keep some, we sell some.


Some things you need to know about full time photographers (the tan jiak type ok, means… if camera break, ricebowl break).
  • we shoot plenty. yah i know, one shot one kill… we kill alot, but we usually under report the casualties, just like everyone else.
  • depending what we shoot, chances are, our camera go through alot. That said, I mentioned before, if camera break, ricebowl break, so you can be very sure that we take our cameras to the limits, but never over the limit. We use them, but don’t abuse them. The fact is, we handle them day in day out and we know what kind of shit the camera can take and what they can’t. Aesthetics… nobody gives a damn. It’s not like a beautiful camera makes you beautiful.
  • we send our cameras for servicing, calibration, etc regularly so that they can perform when we need them.


Some things you need to know about cameras (specifically DSLRs),
  • their bodies are generally made with pretty tough materials that can handle a fair bit of knocks and scratches without damaging what’s in it. Isn’t that what the body is for? To protect the innards.
  • the shutter has a lifespan. Usually it differs from camera to camera. The numbers given by the manufacturer is an indicative one, which I think is quite conservative (in the hundred thousands).
  • the sensor has a lifespan too, but it’s not well documented (I think) because they generally outlive their owner’s interest.
  • scratches on the LCD is NOT going to affect how your picture is going to turn out or affect your ability to take good pictures. So does scratches on lens hood (yes, this post is for you! if you are reading it).


Some things you need to know about buying a second hand DSLR (the ones that everyone tells you),
  • Shutter count: Excessive shutter count means the camera is well used. Some people think well used means abused (duh).
  • Age: older camera means it’s been around for awhile, which means you might have problems getting part replacement (but we are talking about a long time). Some people think old (one generation difference) means dying soon (duh).
  • Physical condition: If it looks scratchless, it must be good. Never judge a book by it’s cover.
  • Comes with box and warranty card: Must have box and warranty card (even if it’s already expired). For god knows what reason… I don’t know anyone who shoots in the box. Some people are just weird like that.


Some things you need to know about buying a second hand DSLR (the ones that you probably don’t know!),
  • Shutter count: since the introduction of video function in DSLRs, buying second hand DSLRs becomes a little more challenging. Now, shutter count only tells you part of the story about the working life of the DSLR. When you use the video function, the shutter opens, exposing the sensor to light while you get your “live view” even though you might not be recording. This means the sensor is continuously exposed to light, which means the sensor is “working”. Remember, the sensor, like the shutter, has a lifespan too. Here’s a very simplistic calculation, let’s say, if you shoot a video at 30 frames per second (typical) for 10mins. That’s like 600 seconds x 30 frames = 18000 (!) equivalent shots on the camera sensor (taking it at typically 1/50s). You can have a camera with 2000 shutter counts with a sensor exposed for hundreds of hours or one with 100000 shutter count with a sensor exposed for  a few 10s of hours. An aging sensor can cause strange color tints on pictures taken.
  • Cost of replacing parts: The shutter can be easily replaced by the manufacturer (at least for Canon). A shutter replacement for a 5Dmk2 is about 200+. The entire outer body of the camera can be replaced for about 300 bucks. The LCD, less than 50 dollars. However, a sensor cost close to 1k (that was what I was told but you might want to check it out yourself).
  • Physical beauty can be misleading: Some photographers like to ‘gaffer tape’ their cameras after they buy it for various reasons. What it means is they’ll put on some protective tape over the entire body, leaving just the essential buttons, dials, LCD and other parts that cannot be covered. So even if the cameras gets knocked around, it will not leave any scratches. But that doesn’t mean that the camera hasn’t dropped, knocked around, etc.
  • Age vs usage: A 3 year old camera with 2000 shutter clicks from a full time user? I would suggest you find out why.


Some things  you might want to ask yourself before buying a second hand DSLR,
  • what are you going to use it for? Is it necessary to have a mint looking camera or a working one. If you are going to show it off to your friends at parties, then get something that’s mint in condition. Then again, a battered up one can be a conversation starter.
  • how much are you going to shoot with it? Alot of people are concerned about shutter count. Seriously, ask yourself how much do you shoot a month? 5000? 10000? Unless you use it for work, it’s uncommon for people shoot beyond a couple of hundreds a month (carrying that thing out is already quite a chore). The shutter will probably outlive your interest. Even if you are a heavy user, replacement is rather affordable if it fails.
  • how long more do you think you’ll buy another? 2 years? 3 years? Your depreciation is pretty low considering the 1st owner already absorbed most of it.
  • who is the owner? Is he truthful about the history of the camera.


Remember, If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true. Btw, for those not techincally inclined, the shutter is NOT the shutter release button! Shutter is the curtain that opens and close to allow light to the sensor.

So here’s the ad ;D I have a 3 year old battered up 5Dmk2 for sale! Used, not abused! I have 2 that you can choose from because I’m keeping one for my work. Both are working very well since I’m still using them for work. For more details, email me at

Snippets from WPN Journeys 2

Late last month, 8 of us from WPN took a trip to Penang for the food and some great company. You might think that a bunch of photographers will be shooting tons overseas. But it turned out that most of us are more interested in the massage (clean one ok!) and good food than anything else. Thanks to Dino for bringing us around. Being the 地头蛇, we were introduced to some really interesting dining and coffee joints. Here are some randoms from the trip. Shot with the Fuji X-Pro 1.

I was told it’s called Love Lane because that’s where people used to house their mistresses back in the days. Sounds like a perfect place to open a bridal boutique .

Light that falls nicely on a door. I’m guessing that this perfect symmetry only happens a few days a year since the direction of the sun does shift quite abit over the year.

This is North America.

Everywhere you go, someone will be pointing a camera at you.


KC between Yu Hsin’s legs.

Somewhat familar pose.

Marked Man: Eadwine.


Yu Hsin.


Food was good and things are relatively cheaper there.

What did I say about traveling with photographers?

At Chew’s Jetty.

Chatting up the boss of a vintage car workshop.

Y you no smile?

Extended wings.