#Take52 Week 32: Perspective

As some of you know (well those who read my blogs), apart from the #Take52 Weekly photography challenge I am also working on a daily photography challenge on my Instagram feed under the hashtag #AG365in2015. And since it’s Instagram, the challenge is executed using only my handphone, i.e. the iPhone 6Plus.

The Instagram challenge was something I had planned on doing since 2013. Ever since I saw the hashtag #365PhotoChallenge images I was bitten by the daily challenge bug. So when I set out to list of challenges I wanted to accomplish this year, I decided to include the daily challenge as well.

The daily challenge has helped me become more aware of my surroundings and perceive mundane objects and street scenes with a unique perspective. Lot of the images in the feed are everyday objects or places with a little filter magic in a square frame.

If there’s anything I’ve learned this year it’s that my handphone is a great camera when I’m not carrying the dedicated photography equipment. I’ve enjoyed my previous smartphones (ALL HTCs! All six of them!). But the images that I have been taking with the iPhone are simply put, stellar in comparison. And the fact that each image is taken with almost complete automatic settings, it is indeed a commendable feat for a camera phone.

This shot is taken on September 4, 2015 and is of the Australian Federal Police building and Travelodge hotel at Alberta Street in Sydney. Something about the way the two structures seem to face off each other caught my eye and I decided to capture the shot.

So although this image was not shot exclusively for the weekly challenge, it seemed to fit the theme of “Perspective” rather well.

iPhone6 Plus

For those who are curious, here’s my Instagram feed.

#Take52 Week 22: Hostile

Playing catch up (once again!) with the theme from way back in June.

There were quite a few military and armed forces inspired images from the Singapore National Day Rehearsal that I thought of using for this particular theme. A number of them would have conveyed the essence of the theme quite well without any additional editing or processing.

Instead I chose to use an image that would need some processing to make the cut. The structure in the image is St. Mary’s Cathedral near Hyde Park in Sydney. A magnificent structure, the cathedral attracts tourists from all over and is a hot spot for photographers especially the wedding and prenup specialists.

However I felt that the imagery could be manipulated to render this holy building into a tad more unnerving and well hostile. Since it was overcast the day I shot the image, the skies above the cathedral gave me the idea to darken the skies with a little desaturation and the gradient tool. The end result makes the holy cathedral look a little like the Bates Motel! Well at least a “hostile” haunted cathedral.

The Cathedral
Fujifilm X E2 | XF 18-55 f2.8-4 R LM OIS | f/6.4 | 1/250 | ISO 200 | 23.3 mm

#Take52 Week 21: Service

It’s been a while since my last post. Blame it on the move! My wife and I relocated to Sydney, Australia in the last month and the last few weeks have been filled with apartment hunting, Bank accounts, IKEA furniture assembly and the usual moving in chores and tasks. Not to mention my trusty Mac Mini was out of commission for a bit (long story, maybe a worthy entry in my other blog)

Coming back to the weekly challenge, this entry is playing catch up for an earlier week (first of many).  The images I post for the catch up entries maybe backdated but were taken AFTER each week’s theme was announced and so have been shot keeping in mind the theme of the week. Although I will be aiming to work on the current week’s challenge, there will be additional entries each week to help me catch up on the previous weeks.

This year on August 9,  celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary as a nation. Although I was not in Singapore for the big celebration, I was lucky enough to capture the rehearsals from a spectacular vantage point during my brother and his family’s visit, their hotel room on the 40th floor!

Week 21: Service
Fujifilm X E2 | XC50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS  | f/7.1 | 1/250 | ISO 500 |192.9 mm

The aerial spectacle that is choreographed and executed by the Singapore Air Force for the National Day celebration is simply awe inspiring. This particular sequence stood out from the host of shots I took. The image to me conveyed a sense of honour and service that the armed forces have towards their nation.

I wanted to accentuate the National flag in the image so decided to play around with the image in Lightroom to isolate the Reds and render the remaining image in a monochrome flavour.

So there you have it. My take on the theme of Service.

Till the next post, Ciao!

#Take52 Week 12: Event

It’s been a long while since I posted an image in the weekly challenge. Blame it on a major change happening on the personal front, one which I will talk about (or rather shoot about) in the coming weeks. I was however able to squeeze some time out of the hectic schedule and manage to capture an image for one of the previous weekly challenge.

Getting back to the weekly challenge. This week my elder brother and his family were in Singapore on a business cum leisure trip, he was here on business, his wife and child were on leisure :D.

On their last weekend here, we headed to the Marina Bay promenade to witness the fireworks rehearsal for Singapore’s upcoming 50th National Day. Nothing screams event like fireworks! I’ve captured fireworks in the past but I had not done so with my current camera, so I decided to capture the fireworks as part of the weekly challenge.

Week 12: Event
Fujifilm X-E2 | XF18-552.8-4 R LM OIS | 10″ | f/20 | ISO 500 | 18mm

The settings are quite basic. High ISO, low aperture and long exposure, a little post processing in Lightroom and voila here’s my (delayed) weekly submission.

#Take52 Week 20: Selfie

Ah the dreaded theme!

I’ve never looked great in photos. Correction. I’ve looked absolutely completely, totally hideous in all pictures. I suppose its got something to do with the awkward body dimensions coupled with an equally disproportionate visage structure and god awful facial hair situation. Whatever the reason, I just don’t make for a good photo subject. So when this week’s theme was announced, I fell into a man-hole and decided not resurface.

But since the whole idea behind the weekly photograph challenge IS to challenge my own skills and push myself out of my comfort zone to work smarter and better, I decided to man up and face the music.

I was certain that I would not go for a straightforward selfie with me posing in all my (un)glorious self. There would need to be a certain creative streak to the image that would possibly help defect the attention from myself and instead to the composition of myself.

I had a few ideas which involved heavy use of Photoshop. But decided against using them on account of time, or the rather the lack of it. I’ll stay away from the details for now since I do plan to put those ideas into practise sometime in the near future and there’s no fun in ruining the surprise of you guys!

Then it struck me! Why not frame a shot with the device that caused the term “Selfie” to go mainstream; the hand phone. After all the term “Selfie” gained mainstream acceptance and usage thanks to the ubiquitous camera phones in the late 2000s.

I have taken shots with a DSLR or point and shoot in the past that capture the image as seen through the eyes of a handphone. So the setup was not something I wasn’t familiar with already. The trick was to ensure that both cameras focussed on me well enough for the main camera’s shot to be clear. Cue the handy tripod and the self timer on the Fujifilm to the rescue.

After setting the focus for the handphone screen, I clicked the shutter release button on a timer of 10 seconds to allow myself to position myself in front of the handphone. Fortunately it took very few attempts to get the shot. Although the background is kinda lacklustre I felt the overall composition was pretty close to what I had in mind so I went ahead.

Post processing involved cropping the image enough to allow the focus to remain on the handphone screen and the image therein, i.e. my ugly mug! Rendering it in black & white was a conscious one since there was a lot of light and very muted colours in the frame.

The Selfie
Fujifilm X-E2 | XF18-55mm 2.8 4 R LM OIS | 1/80 | f/2.8 | ISO 1600 | 18mm

And voila, there you have it, my Selfie!

Till next week, Adios!