Photo Competition Tips.

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Photo Competition Tips.


15th June 2017, Singapore – As most of you know by now, Ourshutterjourney organizes many nation-wide photography competitions & exhibitions with our corporate partners. I’ve played many roles from being a regular Judge to the Curator for exhibitions for different campaigns and I am sharing some tips here on how to ensure your competition entry gets accepted. Recently we are running our annual signature competition & exhibition which is a national level campaign that allows submission and participation from the general public.

As I write, about 10% of the entries had been rejected for various reasons and along with the feedback from the administrators who are tasked with screening the entries, I’ve decided to write this article on competition participation tips and hopefully it can help you in some ways and not have your precious entry getting rejected for the stupidest of reasons.

Tips #01 – Read Terms & Conditions.
All Competition Organizers will have their set of rules, conditions, requirements and in most cases, all these will be published publicly on their website. It doesn’t hurt to read a bit more before you submit. In stricter than usual competitions, usually rejections can be due to the most trivial missing details like contact number, name etc. There will also be other terms like – if your submitted image will be used (or abused) and lose your ownership rights so you have to read carefully. However, do remember, if you do submit, legally it means you have accepted the terms & conditions stated and if you found your image being used elsewhere later, you really have no case against the organizer. Will talk more about this later in this article. In summary, please read the Terms & Conditions of any photography competitions before you submit.

Tips #02 – Required Details.
Depending on the organizer, different level of personal details will be required. Some is needed for your to collect your cash prizes, some is for verifying your identity and nationality, so is for auditing purposes and so on. If the terms & conditions stated that you need to furnish any form of information, you need to abide. For example, recently there’s a competition that requires the participant to furnish just a name & a contact number, that was easy – and then there’s another competition that requires Name, NRIC, Emails, Contact Number, DOB, Address etc etc. Now, for the latter, if you forget to add any one of the required information, your entry will be deemed as incomplete and rejected. So read carefully what are the details required. If you are concerned over your personal details being leaked and not willing to furnish to the organizer, then I will suggest that you do not participate. You have the choice & decision.


Tips #03 – Check Image Requirements.

While there are many competitions out there, many failed to check & read what the organizers want of your images. Some accepts all kind of images of any orientation while some only accepts strictly a stipulated orientation so just be sure and do not end up having your entry rejected just because you had shot an awesome image in portrait-orientation but the competition only accepts landscape-orientation images. And size, yes, some competition allows any image size, but some requires the image to be of a certain image size (pixel size). Like our Snapshot Series Competition & Exhibition, entries will be selected for exhibition and how do you expect the organizers to print your 45kb image into a Super 8R size? Go figure.

Tips #04 – Image Ownership Rights.

Some say photography competitions are CON-petition. Well, I am sure by now you have heard of photographers complaining about their images being abused, used without permission etc. Going back to Tip #01, you should understand that you have to read the terms & conditions carefully. Once you submit your image, you may lose the copyrights or ownership rights to your own image! Some organizers may state clearly in their terms but if you did not read, then it’s really your problem. However, some organizers may use your submitted image to promote the competition then really its OK. You get featured and You still own the images. So read and be really anal about this clause.




Tips #05 – The Judges or Photography Partner

This is a must-do that I will advise everyone to carefully check. Usually the Judge or Judges or Judging Panel will be announced, do find out who are these people.
– Are they even qualified to judge your images?
– Where are they from?
– What are their track record in photography?
– Are they certified?
– Are they supported by a respected brand?
– Have they won public awards? (In-house awards are bullshit)
– Are they professionals?
– Is their images even meeting professional standard?
– And if their certifications (if any) are even recognized.

Even if they comes from a registered outfit or a huge group, this does not mean that they are credible. So do your homework. Do not end up being part of a participation statistics while these so-call judges awards favorably to their students or members.

Tips #06 – Check Out Submissions by Others.
Some competitions are very transparent to which they actually post/ published all accepted entries for the public to view. (I can’t think of any reason why some organization chose to do judging behind closed doors and no one get to see the entries).
Do take a leaf from other photographers’ submission. See what kind of images had been accepted by the organizer, see the genres, the styles and you can form an idea of what kind of images that you can submit and likely to be accepted. A simple step, but sadly many did not realised the importance of this.

Tips #07 – Captions.

Keep captions simple and original is my tip to everyone. Do read the terms and check if there is any restriction or word limits. In some cases, language too. Do submit captions that best describe your image, or the scene or the mood at the time of the shot rather than trying to be abstract and ended up with a caption that no one can understand or relate. Worse, you submitted a caption that has zero relation to your image and in such cases, especially during judging, you stand to lose scores. During the recent competitions, we even have people copying & pasting text from Wiki and use it as their caption, needless to say, these entries are thrashed, no matter how beautiful the image is. Respect the word limit set by the organizer and respect yourself by checking for grammatical & typo errors before you submit. Trust me, the captions tells a lot about you as a photographer.

Tips #08 – Theme
This is another area that is commonly ignored. Well, a theme is there for a reason. If any competition accepts images from any theme – related and non-related – I will suggest you stop wasting your time with such competition. And you, as a photographer, read carefully what the theme is all about and work your submissions towards the theme. Organizers set themes for many reasons and you can try submitting an image of a Monkey when the theme is say – People. You ought to be shot, and shot again. 

Tips #09 – Watermarks.
Most competitions discourage the use of watermarks for many reasons. Firstly, the Judges must not know who submitted the image, by putting your name there on the image, people can cry foul – “Hey! That’s his student!” you get the drift. And if the competition eventually will bloom into an exhibition, you can be sure that there will be a name tag and a caption tag for your image and you do not have to destroy the beauty of your image by putting your name there. You are not in elementary school where you have to write your name on your lunch box, on your water bottle, on your pencil case etc.

Tips #10 – Sponsors
This is another way to see of the competition is well supported. Normally for credible photography competitions (in Singapore context), there will always be a camera brand and a mega retailer along with some media company sponsoring or in joint effort to organize the competition. If a photo competition with no photography-related sponsors still seems legit to you, I would like to know what have you been smoking. Brands will not give up a chance to be seen, to be associated with credible & large photography organizations and if a photo competition have none of that element, do think twice.


Hope the above 10 Tips will be helpful in your next submission for a competition.

Meanwhile, I would like to share about a conversation with regards to a Photography Competition & Exhibition that I am Organizing and Curating for.


Via Email – Part 1

XX: AL, why my image got rejected for 5 times? Your staff got problem?

Me: As the Curator, I do not know which images is yours. However, I had checked with my staff, they told me – despite them repeatedly asking you to read the terms & conditions, apparently you did not:
1) you keep submitting captions of 80+ words when the limit is 30 words.
2) it is stated we only accepts Landscape-orientation images, you keep sending Square-Cropped.
3) and it will be really tough for us to print your 45kb images into an exhibition size as we had asked for a minimal of 2mb.
4) And your entry name is BrightMelon Tan, I seriously do not think that name appear on your NRIC. When the staff asked, you keep ignoring that question.

XX: Why So strict? It’s just a competition!

Me: I believed my staff had informed you that all entries will be audited and yes, we are strict. Probably there are many other competitions that are going on – organized by some old folks, you may wish to enter those too since I heard they are pretty lax.

XX: But those do not have standard!

Me: Precisely, why we are strict. Please kindly adhere to the published terms and I am looking forward to your submissions.

XX: Can submit directly to you?

Me: Let me repeat, I am the Curator, you can send directly to me, I will send your images directly to the trash box.

XX: Why so strict???

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: Means?

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: I know but why send me images to the trash?

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: Can You give me a call?

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: Excuse me, you understand English?

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: I am going to share this on Facebook!

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

Ok Bye.


Via Email – Part 2

XX: Hi AL. I had read the terms & conditions, the image size required is minimum 2Mb. Mine is 45Kb, why your staff reject?

Me: Hi, I already said, please kindly read our published Terns & Conditions carefully.

XX: I did. That’s why I am confused. 45 is bigger than 2.

Me: hope you are kidding BrightMelon, 2mb is bigger than 45kb. And as mentioned, Your image is square crop, not allowed.

XX: this is crazy! How can 45Kb be smaller than 2Mb! Your company needs to employ people with proper qualifications. Maths hallo, Maths!

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: Dun give that shit. You guys are just biased! As mentioned, I am going to publish this on Facebook and Mothership.

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: are you guys even from Singapore?

Me: excuse me? Yes we are all Singaporeans including all my staff and admins. Is there a problem?

XX: I am reporting your group! You guys are just rejecting my entry on baseless grounds! Being such a big group, can’t believe it is run by a bunch of people who do not know Maths!

Me: Excuse me? Whoa please chill. I suggest you google for Mb & Kb. No need to get so work up.

XX: Chill? Why scare I post on social media is it? Scare your incompetence is publicized?

Me: Hi, you are aware such allegations can amount to a Threat & criminal intimidation + defammation right? You are most welcome to share the full conversation. We are a legitimate company and a well respected Independant Photography Outfit, we are open to lawsuits and will defend our stand vigoriously if the need arise.

XX: You are scare. I will also make Police report because you are racist.

Me: BrightMelon Tan, please go ahead and do what you wish to do. 2Mb is bigger than 45Kb.

XX: You are crazy. Go do your Maths paper again.

Me: I have a Bachelor actually.

XX: I am not interested in your marital status!

Me: ok. This conversation is not going anywhere. Ok Bye.

XX: Bad attitude! How you do business like this?!?

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: This is bullshit!

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights.

XX: i am boycotting your group!

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights. Plus please google the difference between Mb & Kb.

XX: Stop replying me!

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights. Plus please google the difference between Mb & Kb.

XX: That’s it. I am making a Police Report.

Me: Please kindly read the published terms & conditions. We reserves all rights. Plus please google the difference between Mb & Kb.


The above is a real conversation via my personal email.
Due to Singapore’s law & restrictions for public disclosure of personal details,
I am posting the email conversation as above.

Well, I am lost for words. Share your thoughts below!






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Latest from LEE Filters

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Latest from LEE Filters

08th June 2017, Singapore – Here’s the latest Solar Eclipse Filter from LEE Filters and the ClearLEE Filter Wash! 

Solar Eclipse Filter


Solar eclipse photography is becoming increasingly popular, and achieving good results can be surprisingly straightforward. However, without the right sort of filter, results will be blown out and overexposed – even at the lowest ISOs and fastest shutter speeds.

In response to the needs of those who often travel the world to witness this fascinating phenomenon, LEE Filters has introduced the Solar Eclipse Filter. Available for the Seven5, 100mm and SW150 systems, the Solar Eclipse Filter is capable of reducing the intensity of light by 20 stops, bringing the exposure range down to a manageable level. It is designed to allow the user to capture the partial phases of an eclipse (the stages before and after total eclipse) with accuracy and consistency. The filter should be removed when photographing totality.

The filter simply slots into the standard LEE Filters holder, and features a foam seal at the rear, to ensure a snug fit and to avoid light leaks.

It should be noted that the Solar Eclipse Filter is suitable only for photography of eclipses, and is not recommended for general, long-exposure landscape photography. This is because it is designed to filter out some of the sun’s harmful infrared rays, and is therefore very blue in colour. Any colour cast affecting eclipse images can be corrected in postproduction, or the images converted to black and white.

ClearLEE Filter Wash
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In the course of the average photographic day, filters can be exposed to all sorts of potentially damaging conditions – from rain to sand to salt spray from the sea – not to mention grubby fingerprints from being handled.

Keeping filters clean not only increases their lifespan, it also means images retain their clarity and sharpness, as the sort of softness that arises from a dirty filter can be almost impossible to correct in post-production.




ClearLEE Filter Wash has been specially formulated to cut through dirt and grease quickly, efficiently and above all, safely, and is suitable for use on both resin and glass filters.

Supplied in an aluminium bottle with a spray top, ClearLEE Filter Wash is available in 300ml and a smaller 50ml size, which is ideal for dropping into a camera bag when heading out on a shoot.

To use, simply spray directly on to the filter, then wipe with a clean microfibre or lint-free cloth. For best results, buff the filter with a fresh cloth or tissue.

For further information, visit 

OK Guys, Buy your LEE Filters & Accessories here



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CyArk – Preserving World Heritages

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CyArk – Preserving World Heritages

31st May 2017, Singapore – As a photographer, I am sure many of you would have travelled around the world to photograph interesting places and culture of different countries. One of the highlights of travel photography is when places of heritage – dating back to past decades or even centuries – become part of the itinerary.

Although we have heard of “reckless” & signage-defying tourists who will destroy heritage sites in their quest for that perfect selfie, I would like to bring your attention to something more horrifying, something beyond your control, and super badass destructive – nature.


Let me give you a real example, a personal experience. In September 2009, I was visiting Bhutan on a lens review trip. I was at Monggar City looking at some really old temples and shooting the people, the small town and everything else – which the locals are preparing for a festival. There are so much colors & subjects to shoot. After I returned to Singapore a week later, I saw the news that the very place that I had visited just a week ago had been hit by a severe earthquake and one of the temple that I was shooting in Monggar had been completely destroyed. I later confirmed with my Bhutanese guide via FB that the damage is pretty bad and I was lucky to have left Monggar and and I was even more lucky to have photographed the main temple (I cannot remember the name).


Now, temples can be rebuild, iconic sculptures can be repaired, but then again, it’s already “not that original” isn’t it? Not forgetting most heritage sites (including UNESCO sites) are all over the world and how many can you really visit? I am lucky to have visited about 18 UNESCO sites since 2004 and at the rate that I am going, some of these sites may succumb to the brute of nature before I can even physically visit them!

OK breathe. What if I tell you that now all heritage sites can be digitally preserved and it can “visited” by anyone, anytime, in a full 360 degree view and you can “be there” via VR? You will be thrilled with what you are going to read.





When I was sharing about my thoughts with my photography peers on preserving heritage sites, or even places where changes takes place frequently, someone pointed me to CyArk. CyArk is a non-profit organization that “preserves” heritage sites across the world using digital technology and this means, the site(s) will be intact for ages to come, away from badass tourists, vandals or even the harsh condition of nature not excluding nature disasters.


A quick check on CyArk’s site reveals that they have completed an impressive 40 projects to date. That is 40 sites that will no longer subject to any form of threat! Further more, CyArk embrace the latest 360 imaging technology to bring us the best “visit” experience! You should also check out their work flow videos here. To ensure accuracy, CyArk uses LiDAR to measure key data points of the project site along with professional & structured light scanning to capture the details of smaller relics and intricate details on structures and buildings.

CyArk also employ the use of Photogrammetry by shooting a series of overlapping images (No, this is NOT HDR, but somewhat similar, only more accurate & more realistic) and later merged, layer by layer onto a 3D site skeleton to create the scene. Drones are also extensively used for hard-to-access, top down view and at sites where it is too fragile to step on. Such method produces realistic colors and textures unlike some of the 360 VR games that we had played, you get a super real scene which you can explore from the comfort of your home!




Now everyone can gain access or get “transported” to these locations in a priceless and realistic experience using VR technology no matter where you are located in this world. It is CyArk’s mission to share these 3D images with everyone! To take things a step further, CyArk collaborates with regional educators & professionals to create lesson plans which incorporate 3D imaging to encourage interactive learning and sharing. What CyArk is doing here is very inspiring, they are doing this not for the fame, but to share and inspire others!


As a commercial photographer for more than a decade, there are many times when I am out of the studio and just walking around, looking around in this country that I live in. Changes is something that most of us can relate to, especially when Singapore is land-thirsty and old heritage sites, iconic buildings, old estates eventually gives way to modernization and how I wish I can preserve all that and immortalize time and space – right at where we live in.

If you are inspired by CyArk’s mission, (drum roll….) I am pleased to share that you, yes you, can play your part too. Our disappearing history keepsakes and culture need photographers like you to lend a hand to help digitally preserve them!

Start contributing by joining the Uniquely Singapore Sites Contest that Seagate is hosting in honour of CyArk’s inaugural arrival in Singapore. They will be in town for just one day to spread their message of heritage preservation. There will be upcoming workshops and webinars that you can attend. Be the first to know by popping over to and follow Seagate’s Facebook page. Find out more about the Uniquely Singapore sites contest here.

I am in. What about You?

Image: Editor AL



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Olympus 8mm F1.8 Pro Fisheye

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Olympus 8mm F1.8 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye
– Old But Gold
Image: Olympus OM-D EM1 MarkII Mounted with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye & Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED by the side.

30th May 2017, Japan-Taiwan-Singapore – Apart from the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH that Olympus Singapore had sent me for review, along with the package as per my request, they had also sent me the OM-D EM1 MarkII (which I had previous reviewed) along with the 12-40mm F2.8 PRO & the 8mm F1.8 PRO Fisheye lenses. But I was really looking forward to the 8mm Fisheye. As one of Olympus’s appointed reviewer for Singapore, I had touched almost every lens in the Olympus inventory but strangely, I was never given a chance to review the 8mm. So this time, I was super thrilled.

I have seen many nice images of cruise ships shot by Fisheye and since I am heading on a Fly-Cruise package with Princess Cruises on board the Sapphire Princess, it’s like finally I get to shoot my own fisheye images on a real cruise ship!

The Olympus 8mm Fisheye was released in May 2015 and from the MSRP, this lens is on the expensive side, suspecting that it could be due to the bright aperture of F1.8 instead of the usual F2.8 that most Fisheye lenses comes with.

Before I proceed, as usual I would like to disclaim that this is a user’s review with real world images from the camera with mild editing like cropping and adjusting of exposure, everything else was left as it is. If you found your way here looking for technical review and specs, I will suggest you stop reading and move on to Olympus’s main website.

Small as it is, Olympus had packed 17 Elements in 15 Groups including 01 Aspherical lens, 03 Super ED lenses, 02 regular ED lenses, 1 Super HR Lens & 2 HR lenses, so expect the lens to be slightly weighty at 315gm. It may be feather weight to regular DSLR users but may proves to be a little heavy to regular Micro Four-Third users (come on people, go to the gym or something! This lens is too light to be called heavy!) The lens focuses from merely a 10cm distance and designed as a 7-bladder for that nice bokeh even when distorted. Aperture opens from F1.8 to the F22 and the lens focuses very fast and quiet.

OK. Now check out the images that I had shot during my vacation on Sapphire Princess covering from Taiwan to Japan using the Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye!

Image: On the Sun Deck of Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.



It was a gloomy & wet day when I boarded the Sapphire Princess. Once on board, I decided to quickly settle my luggage in the stateroom and get to the top of the vessel (sun deck). For the simple reason that there will be lesser people there and I do not want to wait till everyone is up there then I start shooting.



Image: On the Sun Deck of Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.



As expected from a typical Fisheye lens, you get the full 180 degree view, and it is crucial if you are going to shoot in & around the cruise ship as spaces are carefully utilized up to 90%. I have always wanted to shoot the view from/on a cruise ship and it is like a dream comes true.


Image: On the Sun Deck of Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.  


What surprised me was the details captured in every image. (You may click on any of the image on this article and blow them up to see). I was shooting between F2.8 to F5.6 throughout and the images are super sharp even at the outer distorted circumference. Some of the fisheye lenses that I had used from other brands started to have soft corners – a typical optical phenomenon – but definitely not on this little Olympus Fisheye.



Image: On the Sun Deck of Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

Personally I own several fisheye lenses for different systems (brands) and I like how the lens distorts and changes perspective, plus the ultra-super-uber wide focal range, fisheye lenses are capable of many things apart from just making everything round. For those new to Fisheye lenses, the close focusing distance + the high magnification ratio allows you to do some form of macro to an extent, or use it as an interesting portrait lens given the bokeh possibility. In short, you will enjoy hours and hours of fun with a fisheye lens!



Image: On the Sun Deck of Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

The couple above was trying to avoid my frame, but this is a (badass) fisheye lens. No one escapes the angle line of vision! After I got all the shots that I wanted on the sun deck, it’s time to explore the ship’s interior. You can see from the below images, the Olympus 8mm fisheye does not disappoint and perform well even in super low-light shooting condition. (and I wasn’t even using F1.8!)





Image: Staircase in between Decks on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye. 


Image: Took this shot from inside a Fine-Dinning Restaurant on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.


Image: Took this shot at the main Piazza on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.


The above shot was shot vertically giving a very magnificent perspective for an interior shot covering from ground all the way up to the ceiling and across many floors. In tight confined spaces especially on a cruise ship, a fisheye lens is definitely fun & important to have.


Image: The Stateroom Corridor on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

And I waited until everyone went to bed before I make my way up to the sun deck again. I wanted some night shots and also test the Fisheye lens + OM-D EM1 MarkII combo to see how they behave and perform. The result is definitely more than satisfied from the below images.


Image: Night on the Sun Deck on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

Image: Night on the Sun Deck on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

Image: Night on the Sun Deck on board Sapphire Princess, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.


I do not know about you but I am certainly thrilled with the images. Not to even mention the sharpness and details that are all present in every image, the fisheye performs well and lives up to its designation as a “PRO” lens and indeed, this is one shark of a fisheye lens.

Took the fisheye lens out to Okinawa and took the below image inside the castle as well a shot from a supermarket while I was at Ishigaki too.
(There’s a lot more images on my Facebook album)

Image: Ancient Ryukyu Castle at Okinawa Japan, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

Image: Ancient Ryukyu Castle at Okinawa Japan, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.


Lastly, a shot of Taipei’s main train station (below) is a must too. Many had done panorama shots at this location but very little fisheye shots. Check out the below image!

Image: Ancient Ryukyu Castle at Okinawa Japan, shot with Olympus 8mm F1.8 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye.

To sum things up, the Olympus 8mm fisheye is an amazing lens for Micro Four-Third systems. From the uber bright F1.8 aperture to its corner-to-corner sharpness, seriously I feel that the asking price is reasonable although many of you are complaining that it is expensive. Well, I had tested this lens and saw what this lens is capable of, you should look beyond the price tag and as a photographer, you know quality lenses comes with a price. This Fisheye is definitely worthy of its asking price.


OK Guys, Buy your Olympus gear here.

Image: Editor AL doing “his thing” again on Ishigaki, Okinawa Japan.



Editor’s Note: Thank you Olympus Singapore!

About Olympus


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Olympus TG-5 TOUGH-er Than Before

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Olympus TG-5 TOUGH-er Than Before

Video: How Editor AL started the Review on board Princess Sapphire at Okinawa.

29th May 2017, Japan-Taiwan-Singapore – I was extremely thrilled when Olympus Singapore sent me the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera right before I left Singapore for Japan/ Taiwan. Having reviewed all the TOUGH Flagship cameras, I have a lot of expectations for the TG-5. I do hope Olympus had sorted out a few things that bothers me from the TG-4, like not-that-fast focus, sharpness compromised during continuous shutter, ISO noise at high ISO & weird underwater shadows. Without much thought, I packed the camera along with my other gears and off I went to Japan & Taiwan with the NEW Olympus TG-5.

Image: The NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH 

Before I proceed, as usual I would like to disclaim that this is a user’s review with real world images from the camera with mild editing like cropping and adjusting of exposure, everything else was left as it is. If you found your way here looking for technical review and specs, I will suggest you stop reading and move on to Olympus’s main website.

The Olympus TG-5 comes with an ultimate zoom range of 25mm wide angle to 100mm telelphoto range and the lens elements are arranged in 9 elements in 7 groups, with dual aspherical elements and 2 ED elements that promises zero ghosting and or any distortion at its widest focusing range. The TG-5 starts focusing from 10cm and 1cm in Macro mode which is expected from a Flagship TOUGH. The front of the lens accepts a 40.5mm screw on filter which is very helpful if you manage to buy a ND filter of that thread size. You can even add a lens cap to it too.

The 12mp CMOS sensor is slightly bigger than its predecessor and the ISO control has improve by leaps. ISO capability of 100 to 12800, I used many 6400 during my trip especially during the night or pre-dawn hours. Coupled with the exposure compensation (EV)of +/2.0 in 3 step adjustment, this NEW Tough is superb even in low light condition. The back LCD now comes with a high-res 460,800 dots (153,600px) display and even when under water, the display is crisp and bright. Comes with Focus peaking and a blazing fast focusing (this is something which I am super impressed), the TOUGH is now also an excellent street camera which you can see from some of the examples below.
The WI-FI transfer & GPS logging comes as standard for the little TOUGH.

Weight like a feather, the TG-5 dives 15 meters under water without a housing and the battery life surprised me too. Olympus claims 340 shots per charge and on-site use I managed to get close to 500 shots before the battery dies on me. You will be happy to know that the TG-5 does a continous shots of 20fps in RAW, now that is scary isn’t it?

Here’s some quick specs you might wish to know.
You can bring the TG-5 for a swim or dive without its dedicated housing up to 50ft/15m (Waterproof), Freezeproof endurance up to 14F/-10C means you can go snowing countries without a worry, drop the Shockproof TG-5 from a height of 7ft/2.1m and the camera still rocks. Bring it to the middle east desert as it is Dustproof (IP6X),  and it is so tough, it can withstand a weight of 220lbf, 100kgf (Crushproof) in case your big friend sits on it. Other features includes; Built-in GPS, Manometer, Temperature Sensor, Trekking Compass and Wi-Fi. Lastly, It is available ONLY in red or black.

Sounds like a little monster to you? Do not forget it is an Olympus so it comes with all the Art Filters and a wide range of pre-sets white balance and Scene mode that makes shooting so much easier and fun. Well, I will say it is definitely a monster. During the trip, I had tried to use the TG-5 in as many shooting situation as possible and you can see from the examples below.  Get ready to be amazed!

Image: Japanese Performer at Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

I like the color rendering for the TG-5. I am not sure if I am the only one who thinks that the TG-5 gives me more vibrant colors when compared to the previous models especially TG-4 & TG-3.

Image: Street of Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera. 


P5230056.JPGImage: Street of Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera. 
Using the TOUGH like a Street camera is fun. It is small and not easily noticeable, that allows me to shoot the weirdest of subjects. And the shots from the TG-5 had further assured me that it is a competent street photography tool.

Image: Streets of Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera. 
The image quality is awesome and good for large print despite the 12mp that seems a little small in today’s 24mp to 36mp era. It is well capable of producing images for printing.

Image: Street Bus at Okinawa, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera. 
I was walking when this cute dwarf of a bus turns out from the car park (at the back) and I quickly point the TG-5 and pressed the shutter. It all happened within milliseconds and I’ve gotten the above shot in sharp and beautifully exposed (P Mode). If this does not convince you of how fast the TG-5’s focusing is, read on. (Check out the Taiwan Train shot right below)

Image: Okinawa Port, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera. 
One will easily fall in love with the colors produced by the NEW TG-5. Just imagine getting an image that is close to 95% of what your eyes saw. Yes, I know many DSLRs is capable of doing that today, but mind you, the NEW TG-5 is a compact camera.

Image: Underwater Selfie. I always do this whenever I review underwater cameras. Seriously, I am very happy with the image quality. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

While I had done lots of underwater selfie, I am exceptionally happy with the TG-5. The underwater mode had improved a lot especially the sharpness and color. If you had read my previous reviews and had saw my other underwater selfies, you will notice the skin is usually shaded in a weird smurf-like hue while the image above shows that I am really human in real skin color. Thumbsup! Below is another image that my partner had shot for me using the TG-5 and shot me from the other side of the pool. Not bad!

Image: On Board Princess Sapphire’s Swimming Pool while in Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

Image: Sun set from the sun deck of Princess Sapphire’s Swimming Pool while leaving Okinawa and moving to Miyko-jima. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera using the Scene Mode (Sun Set mode).

Most of you who follows my articles knows that I am not a person who uses any of the pre-set in-camera filters but the above shot of the sun set while using the SCN Mode “Sun” promises a magical sun set image. Just see for yourself what the TG-5 is capable of.
(You may click on any of the image on this article to view the image at full size at full resolution).

Image: A view of Princess Sapphire while moving to on-shore Miyko-jima. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

Image: A view of Miyko-jima Pier, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

Although I have 3 other cameras with me, I was glued to the TG-5 and I was shooting practically everything on this trip with it. And it does not disappoints a bit. Below is an image taken at Ishigaki where many cameras will have difficulty to meter the exposure as there is thick clouds, far away mountains, bright sun, crystal-clear blue water and white vessels. I gotten the below image direct out from the camera where everything is “properly sorted” and I am truly convinced that the TG-5 is worth upgrading to from my current TG-4.

Image: A view black pearl lagoon at Ishigaki, Japan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

After I left Japan, I went back to Taipei city, Taiwan for a couple of days and decided to try out some street shoots. Weather had been erratic at this part of the world and as I am getting worried with the colors or how my images will turn out, I was relieved that the TG-5 does not disappoint at all. Most of these shots were taken while the sky is drizzling non-stop.

Image: Street Art on a Taipei Street, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

Image: Toy vending machines in an underground mall in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

Time to show some high ISO images. The above image was taken at an underground mall at Taipei and fearing the flash will kill the reflective machines, I decided to boost the ISO and I was glad I did.

Image: Street Stall selling gigantic sausages at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera. 

Many of you would have gotten a shot that the signage will be too bright or if the signage is correctly exposed, the rest of the image will be super dark. I am sure you can relate to what I mean, but with the TG-5, shots like the above and below is a breeze and the TG-5 is really more than just a tough camera. It is a street monster too!

Image: Night Street in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

Image: Sky Lantern Blessings at Shi Fen in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

Now, about the 20 frames per second thingy, I basically heard the train coming, I held up the camera and press+hold the shutter. I’ve gotten 25 shots of the train passing and you know what? All 25 shots are tack sharp! This is very, very impressive! Given the same shooting environment, my TG-4 may produce 25 images too but about 4-5 images will be blur. The TG-5 gives me 25 tack sharp images, wow!

Image: Train Passing at Shi Fen in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

Image: Under the Suspended Bridge at Shi Fen Waterfall in Taipei, Taiwan. Shot with the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera.

In a quick summary, the NEW Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera had yet (again) set a new benchmark for “endurance” cameras. From using the TG-5 personally across 2 very different countries with contrasting shooting environments, the TG-5 had proven itself to be a real all-rounder. Maybe that’s why Olympus call it TOUGH.

Check out my other Olympus gear that I used for this trip.

OK Guys, Buy your Olympus gear here.


Editor’s Note: Thank you Olympus Singapore!

About Olympus


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Seagate’s Uniquely Singapore Sites Contest

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Seagate’s Uniquely Singapore Sites Contest
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Join Seagate’s Uniquely Singapore Sites contest!

Simply submit a 360 VR image and you stand to win attractive prizes. Submission closes on 23rd June 2017!

Join the contest here:






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Snapshots 2017 – Call For Entry

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Snapshots of A Little Red Dot Competition (2017)
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21st April 2017, Singapore – Following 2016’s successful Snapshots of Heritage Photo Competition & Exhibition, Capitol Piazza is teaming up with again for 2017 to bring you the Snapshots of A Little Dot Photo Competition & Exhibition! As the “Snapshots” series is catching on as a series-brand, this year the scale has been greatly expanded!

Apart from the competition & exhibition, there are workshops planned during the competition as well as many outings planned in conjunction with this competition & exhibition! The venue has also been Upsized, instead of doing the exhibition at the Piazza, we are moving the larger scale exhibition indoors to the Capitol Theatre!


Image: 2016 Snapshots of Heritage Photo Competition & Exhibition Opening Day. 


The Theme
– For 2017, the theme is “Snapshots of A Little Red Dot” – a photography competition & exhibition that celebrates all things Singaporean, the name “Snapshots of a Little Red Dot” aims to engage photographers of all levels to bring out the subject matter via digital photography & creative interpretations of the theme. More information about the theme & competition here.


How to Participate
– Based on your interpretation for the theme, snap a photo of either a building, place, cuisine, people, moments, objects of anything you deemed appropriate and relevant.
– Accompany it with a caption of not more than 30 words.
– Submit your entry via email to together with your Full Name, NRIC and Mobile/Cell Number by Tuesday, 20 June 2017 before 11.59pm.
All submitted entries that are accepted will be featured on the Snapshots of A Little Red Dot contest page on



The Prizes
1st Place Prize: Olympus OM-D EM1 MarkII (Camera) + $2,000 Cash
– 2nd Place Prize: Olympus E-PL8 (Camera) + $1,500 Cash
– 3rd Place Prize: Olympus TG-4 TOUGH (Camera) + $1,000 Cash
– 15 x Consolation Prizes: Cathay Photo Product/Cash Vouchers + F&B & Retail Voucher from stores at Capitol Piazza


The Judging Panel & Exhibition Curator
1) Curator: AL Lee
2) Judges:
– Capitol Piazza Representatives.
– Hilarion Goh (Chief Judge)
– Jino Lee (Judge)
– Tommy Chia (Judge)
– Liew Tong Leng (Judge)

The Photography Workshop Speakers
1) AL Lee 
2) Hilarion Goh
3) Liew Tong Leng
4) Daniel Ho
5) Tan Boon Gee




Quick Links
1) How to Join Compeition – click here.
2) Competition Information – click here.
3) Prizes & Sponsors – click here.
4) Terms & Conditions – click here.
5) To View Accepted Entries – click here.
6) To View the Judging Panel – click here.
7) For Information on the Workshops – click here.
8) To attend the Planned Outings – click here.


Organizer: Capitol Piazza

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Capitol Piazza panders to all who come seeking life’s finer pleasures. With seamlessly connected bespoke zones of retail, dining and entertainment, each promises businesses and customers an experience beyond exceptional.


Official Partner:

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Founded in 2009, Shutter Journey Singapore is one of the fastest growing photography consortium in Singapore. With 12 specific photography groups and 6 associated groups, the group has a combined memberships/ subscribers of over 200,000 at press time. Probably the first hobby photography group in Singapore with their very own authorized service centre, a network of accredited photography merchants, registered membership program & lots of activities, no wonder they are known as the Advocators of Carefree photography.


Official Main Sponsor: Olympus Imaging Singapore

Olympus Singapore Pte Ltd is a subsidiary of Olympus Corporation, headquartered
in Japan. Olympus Singapore Pte Ltd is responsible for the marketing and distribution of Olympus consumer products in Singapore. The Olympus consumer range encompasses still and video imaging products, binoculars and digital audio recorders.
Your Vision, Our Future.


Official Sponsor: Cathay Photo Store Pte Ltd

Established in 1959, Cathay Photo since its very beginning has been driven by the objectives of providing the best photographic equipment, pricing and service to our customers. These objectives have ensured its continued growth from just two humble showcases occupying a quarter of a shop-front to its present five retail outlets, an administrative / distribution office and a warehouse.

It is constantly on the lookout for the latest gadgets and solutions to add to its line-up of over 60 internationally renowned brands, and recognizing the growing presence and popularity of HD video, due largely to the introduction of DSLR cameras with HD video capabilities, it made its foray into the Pro Video market, expanding its offering to products from brands such as Steadicam, Zacuto, Kessler Crane and Genus to name a few.

Having served the photography industry for over 50 years, and backed by its proud heritage, Cathay Photo is without doubt the preferred photographic retailer in Singapore today.


Official Lifestyle Media

Time Out Singapore is the most trusted source for events and culture in Singapore thanks to its independent, impartial, interesting and unbiased editorial and advice on what to do – making it unique from every other publication in the country and therefore enjoying a huge, loyal readership.

Time Out Singapore is among the most influential magazines in the little red dot, boasting a readership of over 600,000 affluent, outgoing people who share a love of finding out what’s going on and who actively participate in everything that’s happening in their city.




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Freshly Shot, Freshly Pressed

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Freshly Shot, Freshly Pressed

15th April 2017, Singapore – Have you ever wonder why tons of socks out there in the market are mainly in dark, monotonous colors? Maybe you will be thinking that since most part of the socks will be conceived in between your shoes and pants so why emphasize on something that people can’t really see when you are wearing it, right?

Whatever the reasons are, we are all out for comfortable fitting socks but Freshly Pressed Socks takes this to the next level by incorporating designs that brings out characters into their range of theme-inspired socks. It is not really about letting people around you to see what socks you are wearing, rather it is something between you and the pair of themed socks, just like a secret relationship that only you will understand.

Beyond the design, nearly all Freshly Pressed Socks are crafted with 65% cotton, 33% polyester & 3% of spandex, this combination ratio also adds to the lasting integrity of the socks which will survive countless washing machine cycles & the user’s comfort to the feet. This is why I fell in love with Freshly Press Socks.

My Freshly Pressed Socks are so attractive that I decided to bring them out for a shoot. A quick browse on the net reveals many nice images had been shot towards the fashion genre so I decided to go with the magazine-style-plain-old-product-shoot and have all my Freshly Pressed Socks all documented in my own way.

Image: “Barton” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
“Barton” may sound foreign to you, but for Marvel Comics fans, you will remember Clint Barton aka Hawkeye. Now look at the socks (above) again, okay now you get it.   


SAM_1612.JPGImage: “Peter” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
While there are many famous “Peter”, I was trying to guess which Peter inspired this design. Reading the socks packaging tag which speaks of fictional adventures, it has to be Peter Pan.



Image: “Tony” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
There’s a Tony that we all adore so much on the big screen. He makes many grand entrances and has lots of fans. Does Stark Industries ring a bell to you?



Image: “Mojo” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
According to the product description, the Mojo was inspired by the 70s culture revolution where bright colors, pop music, bell bottom pants, slick hair & partying comes together. I love this Mojo as it also signifies the era which I was born into. (And I love this color!)  


Image: “Taro” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Taro is Yam in Japanese, Freshly Pressed Socks dedicated this Jap-style waves design to the Jap executives who are modern day warriors fighting on the corporate ladder. Good one FPS!   





Image: “Lee” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
While there are many famous people with this surname (including me!), the bright yellow with black stripes only points to a certain martial art legend – Bruce Lee.  🙂  



SAM_1627.JPGImage: “Steve” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
This is easy. The Red, the blue and little white star already screams Caption America! But please remember when he is not Captain America, he is Steve.    





Image: “Bruce” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Before your mind goes Barney, this design is called Bruce. Who else turns Green and wears an undersized Purple Bermudas while chasing the bad guys? The Hulk of course! 


Image: “Escher” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
According to FPS, Escher is an artist who uses Maths as his inspirations for his art, although I can’t make out the design to be from which maths formula, I like the repetitive and contrasting design which oozes elegance and class.   



Image: “Robin” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Probably the black in this design is the only hint that how Robin is linked to the man in black from Gotham city. This is Robin, Batman’s trusted aid and partner.


Image: “Prince” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Dedicated to the late Prince who left us quite recently. This design seems to be inspired from one of Prince’s hit song – Purple Rain.    



Image: “Carl” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
There are two “Carl” that are associated with Hot Air Balloon. The first Carl that I know is Carl Edgar Myers – inventor of Hot Air Balloons and the other is Carl Fredricksen from the Disney animation movie UP. I leave the rest to your imagination.




Image: “Ringo” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Freshly Pressed Socks stated that this design was inspired by a Circus Canopy and the designs uses familiar colors that we always see at a circus. Nope, the name has nothing to do with the Uncle Ringo Fun Fair that we know in Singapore.  


Image: “Pablo” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
This is FPS’s tribute to Cubism Avant-garde art movement in the early 20th century that swayed & changed European’s style of art (paintings, sculptures) which created a chain effect that also influenced music, literature and even architectures. We suspect the Pablo here is Pablo Picasso.  



Image: “Austin” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Freshly Pressed Socks stated that this design is a homage to the capital of Texas, Austin. And Austin is home to SXSW, a festival & world conference where movie makers, musicians, artists of various disciplines comes together – in Austin.



Image: “Wayne” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
No. Not Wayne’s World, but Bruce Wayne, the real identity of Batman when he is not out there catching the bad guys. Every super hero needs an everyday identity right?  



Image: “Thor” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Yes, for that man with a huge hammer and an attitude. This design uses all the colors that we use to put our point across to others. Just like how Thor uses his hammer.



Image: “Guile” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
Most of us will immediately remember that Street Fighter character Guile, the square top
blonde army guy who delivers a powerful sonic punch.

Image: “Duke” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
GI-Joe fans will remember Duke aka First Sergeant Conrad S Hauser. Although fictional and a cartoon character, Duke is everything about what a leader should be and reading the FPS packaging tag, I guess this is the Duke that FPS is referring to.  



Image: “Rusell” by Freshly Pressed Socks.
When I was reading the tag from the package, this sock was inspired by Esplanade. But Russell? A quick search on the net reveals about the Esplanade Concert hall was designed by the late Acoustician Russell Johnson. Wow!  



Image: “Alex” (left) & “Anakin” (right) by Freshly Pressed Socks.
These pairs were given to me as a Birthday Gift 2 years ago and this was what sparked off my curiosity and interest in themed socks. From then on, these are my favorite socks, and these pairs have outlives many other socks that was more expensive (and some branded) in my wardrobe which I am certainly convinced Freshly Pressed Socks was made to last.

The FPS socks are comfortable, great design and there will always be a pair for any occasion. For those of you who doesn’t know, I had threw away all my other socks and only Freshly Pressed Socks gets to stay in my wardrobe.

Get yours here.

*All Images in this article are shot by an “almost-dying-samsung-nx-mirrorless-camera”.






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How To Spot A Fake Model

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How To Spot A Fake Model (or Wannabe)
Meme courtesy of AL Memes Singapore.


23rd March 2017, Singapore – By facts, Modelling is a really tough career – if you know what goes on behind the glamorous screen of popularity, stardom, throngs of followers and the super lucrative income that comes with all that perks. However, there are many out there who are oblivious to how much work, preparation, training, PR, sacrifices the successful models had went through just to take a stroll on the fashion runway. And with social media today, many model-wannabes or fake models start to surface.

Today, I am not going to share about the well-respected models that had worked hard to where they are today, instead, I am going to share about the fake models that are “cheapening” the modelling trade as a whole. Before I proceed, I would like to stress that, new, upcoming & budding models are “trainee models” who are learning the ropes the correct way and importantly, they are well respected for choosing a tough career.
So how do we spot the fake models?

Based on my personal experience, I’ve compiled a list of how to spot a Fake Model so that Photographers and Models can spot a Fake from 5 Km away. I would like to legally disclaim that this article is purely a share of my personal experience as a professional photographer for the last 10 years and any description – direct or indirect – or incident, or behavior similar to any person alive or dead, with or without boobs, are purely coincidental and not intentional. So if you are cool with the above, read on.

How to Spot a Fake Model?

1) Physical Aspects
Odd One Out.jpg
Meme courtesy of AL Memes Singapore


– Height – It is not difficult to see the difference between a tall person apart from a short person. Locally, most of the models you saw sashaying on the runway are mostly 1.7m tall or taller. Fashion Brands always stress on how their new line of clothes are presented and the height of the models helps to elaborate the fashion sense carried out on the design and accentuates it on stage. Short models makes every fashion piece longer and sluggish.
Important Note: You will never spot the odd 1.56m tall model on the runway unless it’s a fashion show for Kids Wear.

– Face & Figure – On the other end, there are beautiful models who did not quite make the height, but instead, they are “Body models” which we usually see a part of their body (usually face) being used specifically for certain shoots. (I use such models pretty often) The pretty face model are usually engaged for cosmetics or facial care brands or those with flawless hands, arms, thighs, bums, boobs etc are widely engaged for commercials for hand cream, slimming, personal care brands etc.
Important Note: If someone claimed to be a model, always check the face first, followed by the body.  If none of the above assets are present, run away as quickly as you can. It’s a scam.

– Age – Most modelling agencies look for younger ladies for a good reason. Age does show on the face and body while agencies are mostly looking for models that can span a good 5 to 8 years modelling career. This is not official but from what I was told, usually the girls aged from 18-26 years old are most ideal. Girls in this age bracket looks fresh, probably with a nice figure & body lines and are suitable for a wide variety of shoot and brand representations, good for the model as well as the agency.
Important Note: So if you spot a “model” with that lup sup KTV (a Hokkien pun) look in her 30s, either she is a Ladyboy (a Thai pun), or she is the infamous Beer Auntie from a particular coffeeshop in Yishun (local pun).    




2) Social Skills
Meme courtesy of AL Memes Singapore

– Language Fluency –
In today’s internet-connected modelling world, there is no place for models who cannot or not able to hold an expressive conversation in fluent English. I am sure Brands & companies do not wish to have a Bimbo to represent their brand advertising campaigns, especially when branding and brand association is the key to a successful campaign.
Important Note: If a model cannot even type proper English on her social media updates, especially if her English is painful to read, do not expect the person to be able to converse properly in person too. 

-Social Media Behavior –
A respectable model will put on her best behavior online so that potential clients or agencies can look out for the socially graceful ones to engage.Whether its brand owners, agencies or photographers, they are looking for someone classy & elegant to use for shoot & campaigns. So the “social face” is very important in today’s context and it plays an important part for decision-making to which model to engage.
Important Note: If a model goes around online and type Hokkien slangs like “Bo Jio”, “KNN” etc, well, you don’t really see real models going around doing such things. And do look out for the fake model who will always post status like “I have no money to eat”, “Who is free to meet me now”, or post a shit load of painful English soliciting for people to engage her for shoot. 

3) Background
Meme courtesy of AL Memes Singapore

-Personal Problems – Personal problems are meant to be personal. But some fake models tries to use this to their advantage by tugging heartstrings of others, hoping someone will take pity and fall for her trap. Will you engage a model who – half the time post nonsense using her painful English and asking (almost begging) for people to feed her, to meet her or to engage her? Self-respecting models are what everyone in the industry loves, not such fakes. And worse, if the fake model is always on the negative side of topics in hot discussions on forums, or has tons of nude images circulating on forums and websites, something is really wrong with this person. Stay away from such fake models or risk your reputation to be associated with such fake models.
Important Note: With the internet today, one can easily find out information about a person. Things like if the model owes loansharks $15,000.00,  if she is divorced & dumped her kids, if she got thrown out by landlords for not paying rent, or got fired job after jobs. Rule of thumb for budding models is to keep your personal blah blah blah away from the watchful eyes of the internet mob. 
Meme courtesy of AL Memes Singapore
– Portfolio – A model’s portfolio is like a menu card in a restaurant. The portfolio examples are supposed to be curated and the images carefully selected to best present the model in various examples so that clients can decide if she fits into their brand directions or designs. However fake models will use skin as a selling point, especially when she has lots of it (pun intended). Clients will not be impressed with a portfolio that is 95% images of implied nudes and worse, coming from a short & plump “model”. And worse, the photographers that had shot the portfolio (probably) are mostly amateurs with serious lighting and composition flaws. Such images kills the model instantly.
Important Note: I believed there is no need for me to share how to identify a proper portfolio of a model. However, if a so-call model can only present badly shot images with her cladding in nothing more than a panties, well, you know this model is NOT really capable of greater things. Stay away. 


– Track Records – 
As an additional point to the above, track records & other related achievements are equally important for a model as it helps in the credibility and a show of her potential as well as how active or popular she really is. A real budding model will actively participate in mainstream pageants, works with famous photographers, do lots of PR etc.
Important Note: If a so-call model does nothing more than ranting on her FB everyday about no money, who is free to accompany her, who can laon her money etc etc well – that is her Track Record. It’s like visiting a Doctor without a Medical Phd, ok you get the drift. 

Conclusion: While modelling is indeed a dream job for many, it is a profession that needs proper training, good mentorship, good PR skills and many more things like support from real photographers, clients and fellow models to get far. Sadly, many are trying their luck to take the short cut to success (if they ever make it) by stripping down to their panties or sometimes nothing at all, and hoping people will pay her to shoot her. Do your research and you will know how much reputable models charged especially for nude shoots. If you can have a fake model going around charging $180-$250 and willing to strip down to nothing, this is questionably dangerous isn’t it?

Here’s a summary in point form in helping you to identify a Fake Model.
– Below 1.7m height.(Usually at 1.56m.)
Common face & no Wow Factor. (Sometimes face looks like a truck had ran over).
Flabby but like to do Nudes shoots. (Probably that is the only thing she is good for)
Hard-selling herself and making herself available to everyone who can pay.
Tries to take a loan from you, or sell you supplements.
Post on her social media to hard-sell herself.
Uses painful-to-read English that is not easy to understand.
– Post live videos of her mumbling to herself.
– Bitch & complain about other models all the time.
– Her nudes photos are all-over men-only websites & forums.
– Her family & financial problems are discussed all over the internet.

So if you encounter such a fake model, my advice is – Run.

Good Luck Guys!




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Seagate 10TB IronWolf hard disk and Synology DiskStation DS916+ (8GB)

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Seagate 10TB IronWolf hard disk and Synology DiskStation DS916+ (8GB)
Is this the right storage system for you?

Most of us (photographers) use an insane amount of storage space. While many have invested heavily in camera bodies and lenses, some have missed out on the importance of a good and reliable storage system.


20th March 2017, Singapore – For professional photographers, a problem that we commonly face is the lack of storage space. We are always on the lookout for safe and reliable systems that give us peace of mind. Having said that, allow me to share with you my preferred data storage solution combo – Seagate 10TB IronWolf hard disk and Synology DiskStation DS916+.

Before I go into the technical aspects, let me share how this combo will benefit you as a photographer/ videographer. Although there are many functions that comes with this set up, let me get straight to the most important point that resulted in my buying decision.

I’m sure everybody is aware of how much emphasis I place on backing up data. This is the result of many expensive and unforgettable lessons I’ve learnt in the past. One of the most memorable incident was when my hard disk broke down, causing me to lose months’ worth of work that was due for submission. This episode not only created a negative impact on my reputation, but also resulted in financial loss as I was required to compensate the client for the delay. I am sure some of you out there have experienced similar situations, and know how painful it is to lose images or have your backup data corrupted due to hardware fault. What’s worse, very often we buy these hardware with the hope that our data will be securely stored. Sounds familiar?


IMG_5387-horz.jpgImage: The Synology DS916+ has a Zen-like and compact design. It is sleek looking, with LED lights indicating that the bay is in use (or warning), 3 USB 3.0 ports in total and a power button!


I had enough of these incidents, and after much research, I found that having a NAS system is the ideal solution to provide me with a safety net for my data. Now let me tell you more about what I’ve learnt. How does having a backup system that ensures your data will always be safe and retrievable sound? Have you heard of using RAID for data redundancy and/or performance improvement? Now listen to this, I’ll attempt to explain what RAID means in layman’s terms. RAID is a mechanism that protects your data from hard drive failure. That is when one or two of your hard drives fail, your data can still remain intact with a RAID protection. Find it simply explained in the below graphs.



To make things even simpler, Synology provides an online RAID calculator to help you find out the RAID configuration that best suits your need.

If RAID sounds unfamiliar and challenging, then you can opt for Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) which is available in all Synology NAS systems. This is an automated RAID management system built for users with little technical background but seek data storage protection. 1-disk or 2-disk worth of redundancy is allowed with SHR, this means that the SHR volume can suffer up to two disks lost, and the data volume will still be available for use. For those who are familiar with RAID, another option for data protection can be a RAID 10 configuration, and this is what I am using.





Another reason why you should choose Synology NAS is because of their operating system. They even have a cool name for it, Synology DiskStation Manager(DSM) 6.1. It is very easy to use, and allows you to download any application you need. Personally, I’ve downloaded the Photo Station and Video Station package. This allows me to access my photos and videos anywhere, on both my laptop and mobile devices. Whenever I need to share specific photos or videos with my client remotely, all I need to do is simply enable the “public sharing” option, and share the file links with them. This is useful especially with Government stat boards and large MNCs. These organizations usually restrict their employees from using popular online-based data-transfer sites like Dropbox, Google Drive and WeTransfer due to strict file-sharing policies. Before using Synology NAS, be it sharing my portfolio or delivering the final work to clients, it’s always been very manual – copying data into a portable hard disk or burning CDs, thereafter delivering it to the clients in person. This is time-consuming and certainly counter-productive. With the DS916+, the workflow process is very much streamlined and efficient.

Do you also know that the DS916+ can also transcode videos in 4K Ultra HD? I’ve tested it out and I was extremely impressed that the lag time is greatly reduced during playback and while doing the (usually) painful video editing work for high definition videos. The transcoding capabilities also makes streaming video a silky-smooth experience for me. If you have ever done video-editing for weddings especially the “actual-day videos” you will understand the pain when the video files take forever to load and you need the edited videos in a couple of hours. I should also highlight that video-editing is a lot faster when I paired DS916+ with the 10TB IronWolf hard disk.

Looking at the Synology DiskStation DS916+, it comes with an Intel Pentium Quad-Core CPU and AES-NI hardware encryption engine. You can expand it further (up to 9 bay) by adding an expansion unit like the Synology DX513. If you are using a 10TB hard disk, you basically have up to 90TB of storage solution. This is insane!




Now that I’ve shared the benefits of having an amazing NAS setup, it’s time to talk about the hard disk that needs to go into it. I choose the Seagate 10TB IronWolf hard disk because they are available in multiple storage capacities (up to 10TB) thus offering me different options that best fits my needs and budget. The one I’m currently using, is a 10TB IronWolf hard disk designed specifically for NAS system. It is equipped with multi—user technology that supports user workload rate of up to 180 TB/year.  In addition to that, what sets apart the IronWolf hard disk from the rest, is the incorporation of the AgileArray technology. AgileArray is a set of hardware, firmware, and software features that gives you the best NAS performance. I would like to highlight two things that I’ve noticed while using this IronWolf hard disk. Firstly, reading and writing speed have increased quite substantially compared to my old hard disk. Secondly, it is a lot quieter. This was due to the dual plane balancing which brought about less vibration in the hard disk thus leading to quieter operation. Coupled with advanced power management features, I would say that the IronWolf hard disk operates well in 24×7 conditions.

If you ever experienced hard disk failures, you would understand how expensive data recovery services can be! Seagate offers a data Rescue plan that protects your data for up to 3 years, and it will only cost you a fraction of the price that you are paying to 3rd party data recovery services. They also have an in-lab data retrieval success rate of 90%. That’s pretty impressive! Moreover, data recovery by the Seagate’s team is conducted in a secured in-house lab, so you don’t have to worry about stolen data or identity theft. On top of that, Seagate also offers a hassle-free recovery process. Simply call the Seagate Rescue plan customer service line and send your device to the nearest collection point.


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Best of all, Seagate has partnered with Synology to launch IronWolf Health Management (IHM). It is a feature that effectively monitors the health status of your IronWolf hard disks in a Synology NAS system. It monitors drive health status and provides suggested actions, and offers a higher accuracy in predicting drive failure. Now, you don’t have to worry about a hard disk failure as the system will prompt you if it detects any abnormalities. Cool right?

As such, I find this combo, Synology DS916+ and 10TB IronWolf hard disk well-suited for the visual arts & creative industry due to its scalability, reliability and accessibility. For myself, I’m fully utilizing the remote access capability which has made client meetings a lot easier as it allows me to access my full archive at the touch of my fingertips. In short, with 24×7 remote access, instant backups and the ability to share your files anyway, life is so much easier when you want to share ideas and concepts!


About Seagate

Seagate is the global leader in data storage solutions, developing amazing products that enable people and businesses around the world to create, share and preserve their most critical memories and business data.

IronWolf Quick Specs:

  • Capacity: 1T, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB
  • RV Sensors (selected capacities): Consistent performance in multi-bay environment
  • Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) (hours): 1M
  • Non-recoverable Read Errors per Bits Read, Max: 1 per 10E15
  • Rescue Services: Optional
  • Spindle Speed (RPM): 7200 RPM
  • Max Sustained Transfer Rate OD (MB/s): 210 MB/s
  • 3-years warranty

*For full specifications, please visit here.
About Synology
Founded in 2000, Synology is dedicated to develop high-performance, reliable, versatile, and environmentally-friendly NAS servers. Our goal is to deliver agile and cost-effective solutions, solid customer service, and ultimately to ensure individuals and business the versatility of choices.

Synology DS916+ Quick Specs:

  • CPU Model: Intel Pentium N3710
  • CPU Architecture: 64-bit
  • CPU Frequency: Quad Core 1.6 burst up to 2.56 GHz
  • Floating Point
    • Hardware Encryption Engine (AES-NI)
    • Hardware Transcoding Engine: H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-2 and VC-1; maximum resolution: 4K (4096 x 2160); maximum frame rate per second (FPS): 30
  • System Memory: 2 / 8 GB DDR3
  • Storage
    • Drive Bay(s): 4
    • Maximum Drive Bays with Expansion Unit: 9
    • Compatible Drive Type:
      • 5″ SATA III / SATA II HDD
      • 5″ SATA III / SATA II HDD
      • 5″ SATA III / SATA II SSD

For full specifications, please visit here.




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Singapore Chinese Garden (Infrared)

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Singapore Chinese Garden (Infrared)
Image: That famous pair of pagodas that greets everyone when you are entering via the white bridge.

18th March 2017, Singapore
– Recently we did an outing to Singapore’s Chinese Gardens after a really time. The place hadn’t changed much and seems to have stop in time since 1980s. Everything you remember about Chinese Garden remained very much as it is except the buildings & structures had started to show its age. On overall the place had been pretty well maintained.

Back in my childhood, I used to stay pretty near (Taman Jurong) Chinese Gardens and it has always been one of my favorite place to visit. However, life was much simpler then, we were poor and a visit to the Chinese Garden was a bonus for spending leisure time.


Image: An aerial view of the white bridge and the south banks from one of the pagoda.

Photographers from all over the world had visited the Chinese Garden and it is pretty clear why this is so. Migratory Birds loves to stopover here and it is one of the key places to visit if you are into birding. All various species of rare birds can be spotted all year round making this place a good bird-photography hangout. Personally I had tried to shoot Kingfishers here too.

16797272_1565515606822309_7840253668154328831_oImage: The Bonsai Garden.

The Chinese Garden is also a favorite ground for Macro photographers. Many species of insects lives here – probably due to the vast amount of greens and the Jurong lake that created an abundant food source so that many insects thrives here. So if you are getting sick of shooting macro at Venus Drive or Botanic Garden, you should try shooting macro here too!


Image: The Famous White Bridge.

Image: Through an Element Glass.

As for me, I love to shoot Infrared Photography here. Not only it resonates with my childhood memories of this place, it helps me creates an unreal vision of how this place might be if viewed in the “08th color”. In fact, this is the 2nd time I returned to the Chinese Gardens with an Infrared Camera. Many had tried shooting surreal infrared images of this place, but with every visit, new angles are experimented, different time of the day gives me different end results and of course, I returned with a different IR camera that has a different NM with different people.



Image: Grand Entrance to the Inner Gardens.

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Image: Nice place to walk and photograph whether you are alone or with a group.

Image: From inside the Pagoda, the spiral staircase is a favorite among photographers.




Image: The Famous Twin Pagodas (There’s a taller, singular Pagoda too). 

If you have not visited Chinese Gardens for a while, do make your way there soon. There are lots of development around the gardens & lake and it will be a matter of time before all the birds & insects will fled due to the noise & dusts from the construction sites and worse, you cannot get a decent shot of the landscaping as there are now many buildings (or construction vehicles/ cranes etc) in your frames. I do hope the place stays as-it-is for as long as possible.

To view the full set of images, please visit here.
To join an Infrared Photography Group, join here.

The images on this article was shot with a Infrared Modified Nikon DSLR with a R720NM IR Filter inside.

To learn more about Infrared Photography, please read this.
If you wish to join us for our outings, please click here.




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Zoo Images with a Twist

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Zoo Images with a Twist

16th March 2017, Singapore – Recently we went to the Singapore Zoo for a photography outing as part of our events for the month of March.  As a local, the Singapore Zoo is nothing new to us as most of us would have visited at least once a year on average while some hardcore animal lovers even visit on a weekly basis. Having visited and conducted many classes at the zoo, each time when I return with the images, I am always thinking how to edit them differently from my previous visits.

While I was thinking how to edit my images, a poster at my desk gave me an idea – a twisted one to be exact. I decided to add components like people, vehicles and things that are not related to the original image and created a few doctored photos that I can laugh at.


Some of the things that I’ve added are not easily seen from the images until you take a closer look. Hope you enjoy the images below. To view the originals and the album, please visit here. Here we go!

1) Power Rangers Strikes!
The Rangers decides to make a cameo landing on the tortise’s head!

2) Subaru WRX
A Subaru WRX was on a test drive at the desert and saw this giant Tortisarus along the way!




3) The Mountain Climber
– When scaling heights, do your research properly if the mountain is in the right position else you might end up climbing something else.

4) Apache Helicopters
– The Air Defence dispatched Apache helicopters for a search mission when they heard there was a Tiger on the Loose.

5) Michael Jackson
– The resident Sun Bear had been emotional and moody after failing to secure a ticket for the recent Guns & Roses “Not this Lifetime” Concert. So Michael Jackson decides to cheer up this Bear.



6) Spiderman
– Spidey was out practicing his webbing skills as a rare Squirrel watch on.ALNN4870.JPG

7) Dirt Bikes Safari
– These Dirt Bikers was not told what they had signed up for.

8) The Transformers
– When the Autobots gets bored, they decided to try agitating the aligator

Hope you enjoyed the images as much as I do putting them together. I will be back soon!




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Seagate Perfect Shot Photography Contest

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Seagate Perfect Shot Photography Contest
Seagate Perfect Shot.jpg

16th March 2017, Singapore – Seagate Singapore – in partnership with Synology, had announced a photography contest with the theme “One Step Ahead”.  Photographers are encouraged to capture an image based on the theme “One Step Ahead” at their own interpretation and stand a chance to win exciting prizes!

Submit your entries at

Prizes to be won:
1st Prize: Seagate 10TB IronWolf hard disk with Synology NAS DS716+II
2nd Prize: Seagate 10TB BarraCuda Pro hard disk
3rd Prize: Seagate 2TB 3.5” FireCuda hard disk


Judges – the judging panel which comprises of professional photographers, was specially hand-picked for this contest for Singapore!

Click on the links below to check out the Judges’ profiles and be inspired!

Allan Lee, Founder of :
Gary Choo, Wedding Photographer:
Pat Law, Landscape Photographer:
Richard Chen, Fashion Photographer:

Join the Seagate Perfect Shot Photography contest! Submit your entries at  

For early birds, submit your images & be the first 40 qualified participants in this photo contest and get a complimentary ticket to a Master Class Workshop taught by Pat Law and Gary Choo.



For more details, click here:
This contest is proudly brought to you by Seagate and Synology.




All entries are to be submitted before 14 April 2017, 1500 hrs.
Terms and conditions apply. 




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Pink Submissions #18 “Round”

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Pink Submissions #18 “Round”
Pink Feature 

15th March 2017, Singapore
– Decided to give a simple yet complex theme for the Ladies over at PINK Photographers SG to interpret, I was rather happy to see the entries covering many genres yet revolving around the theme “Round”. Generic yet diverse, this theme challenges the creativity and composition based on a shape and it was really up to the individual photographers to define the theme.

The submitted images for submission #18 are what is “Round” to the photographer, enjoy! As an added bonus, the best 3 entries gets a limited edition travel adaptor jointly sponsored by & Sony Singapore. Once again, good job ladies!



Let’s see what the Ladies from PINK SG had submitted! Image appearing not in any order.
(I had also taken the liberty to mildly edit some of the images without the ladies’ permission – lol!) 


1) From Soh Chui Lian – It’s twilight outside and the deep shades of blue are seen through the round sky dome (window) which contrasted heavily with the beige interior that goes round and round. One could have easily missed this if the person did not look up. Simple composition but powerful result. Good catch Chui Lian!

Soh Chui Lian3


2) From Alice Chia – The round & colorful marbles are fast disappearing from today’s life. When we were young back in the 1970s/1980s, marbles is pretty much a social game and I am sure many of you (from my era) would have played or challenged your peers over a game of marbles during school recess. This image by Alice indeed brought back many memories – thanks Alice!Alice Chia


3) From Soh Chui Lian – Another interesting interior shot by Chui Lian. Combining the use of Fish Eye lens, she captured this art installation which is also round and made up of pots & pans which is also round plus the dome at the ceiling line is also round. She included a visitor taking a shot at the display within the composition to further gives viewer a sense of size and extent of the art piece. Simply brilliant!
Soh Chui Lian4.jpg


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4)  From Nora – Nora submitted this image of her and her colleagues forming up a human circle and shot upwards creating an interesting perspective. While this has been done by many, Nora’s image is well-balanced symmetrically and the smiles on the faces simply gives this shot a warm and joyful feel which makes this image special. Nice one Nora!
*Nora is the lady with the red lanyard. :)~



5) From Yew Peck Leng – While many of you do not know what are these? I am sure the older generations will find this very familiar. These are thread reels for sewing machines and each reel usually has 1 thread one 1 color and the user will slot these reels into placeholders on the sewing machine and have thread run through a runner that goes to the sewing head. During sewing, these reels will spin round & round on the placeholders. This is image is indeed nostalgic. Thank you Peck Leng for sharing this. I used to play with my mum’s (empty) reels when I was a child too!
Yew Peck Leng.jpg


6) From Soh Chui Lian – Yes, I cannot help it and I had picked another submission by Auntie Chui Lian. The Wheelock Place Dome is very popular with photographers especially during Christmas season. While many had attempted a shot at this place with almost 90% of images focusing on the upper dome, Chui Lian used a fisheye lens to capture much more details of the surroundings, the full length of the escalator, surrounding retail shops and of course, the floating Christmas tree. This shot is spectacular!
Soh Chui Lian.jpg


7) From Cindy S. – Cindy submitted this image which I presumed this had been her lunch. Presented on a round plate that is in a dark shade of brown, the food colors are accentuated easily giving the presentation a palatable boost. The food are further “rounded” within the plate creating a pleasant visual effect. I hope it taste as good as it looks. Cindy please bring me to this place some day!
Cindy S 2.jpg




8) From Janet Toh – There’s certainly lots of round stuff here. Strangely Chinese Dim Sum comes in a variety of shapes but nearly 90% of all Chinese Dim Sum comes in round shape. From buns to tarts to meatballs etc, round seems to be the preferred shaped. Even the bamboo or wooden steamer tray is round! This images does look every bit the part and very yummy to look at! 🙂
Janet Toh (2).JPG


9) From Pearl Zee – While most bakeries presents cakes, bread and muffins in certain round shapes, rounds shapes does seems to have a connection with everything sweet and sinful. Here’s a nice image of muffins by Pearl. I like how the colorful ones have surrounded the ones with chocolate chips. Pearl if these are made by you, please keep one of those Chocolate Chip version for me ya.
Pearl Zee

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10) From Yew Peck Leng – These Lava cakes was once round until the establishment decides to cut to open and show potential customers what’s dripping wet on the inside. While this may not be the best way to present Lave Cakes examples, the colors and various textures made up for it. And having all these on a round wooden bake board makes this image legit for this theme. OK Peck Leng, where can I buy all these? 
Yew Peck Leng2.jpg


11) From Cindy S – Coffee seems to be a favourite subject to submit when round is the theme. Top down view of a cup of coffee sees 2 round circles and the cup handle seems to the only element that breaks the visual illusion reminding you that this is really just a cup of cappuccino. Simple & fits the theme nicely.
Cindy S.PNG


12) From Janet Toh – Need me say more?
Janet Toh.jpg
*Image size as submitted by Author. 


13) From Soh Chui Lian – Another brilliant shot by Chui Lian! Those of you who had been shooting for a while knows how to do this – but can you get the image right? You need to have a suitable illuminated background and other composition rules comes into play. Here we have hundreds of round chinese lanterns hanging over a busy street at Singapore Chinatown. Nice one Chui Lian!
Soh Chui Lian1.jpg


14) From Anny Tan – Making back-lighting to our advantage, here we have a statue of a Budhha with a round aura ring around it while the strong back light helped to create this  shadowy silhouette which is interesting to look at.
Anny Tan.jpg


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15) From Yew Peck Leng –
Looks like a nice decor using various materials which are ALL in round shapes! How many materials can you identify below?
Yew Peck Leng1.jpg


16) From Soh Chui Lian – 
A round setting/ rising sun can be very charming and emotional if it is composed properly like the below example from Chui Lian. The trees helped a lot in the mysterious department and I like the overall feel of this stunning image. Soh Chui Lian2.jpg


17) From Cindy  – Bunnies/ Rabbits are known to have large and round bums. To make this image even more interesting, Cindy shot her rabbit through a round purple tunnel (which the rabbit enjoys exploring) and created a purple frame for this shot and to add to the fun aspect, she shot her rabbit’s butt and not the front view. Ok, I miss my rabbits already.
Cindy S 1.JPG
Ladies! Excellent round of submission! (pun intended) – My Top 3 Picks are!!!

#01 – Soh Chui Lian(Congratulations! You have Won a Limited Edition Travel Adaptor)
Soh Chui Lian.jpg

#02 – Nora (Congratulations! You have Won a Limited Edition Travel Adaptor)

#03 – Cindy S (Congratulations! You have Won a Limited Edition Travel Adaptor)
Cindy S 1.JPG

We have come to the end of this round’s Pink Submission. I enjoyed viewing this series very much and I hope you guys enjoyed it too! There will be more photo-share from PINK Photographers SG ! Next theme announcing soon!
– Editor AL




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Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART

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Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART

14th March 2017, Singapore
Sigma Singapore sent me the New 12-24mm F4 DG ART to our office 2 weeks ago and all the Review Editors are debating who should be reviewing this lens – because all of them wanted to try this lens and do the review! Since the announcement of Sigma’s Global Vision, many new super lenses had been released by Sigma progressively and this round, the 12-24mm F4 ART, another much anticipated lens from the Art line. This is the 3rd incarnation for the highly popular 12-24mm lens by Sigma and while there are rumours that the new 12-24mm may return as a new lens under the Contemporary line, then Sigma surprised the world by releasing the new 12-24mm in their top range Art line.

Before we proceed with the review, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how the lens behaved & performed, the image quality etc. If you are cool with this, read on.

Like its predecessors, the size & appearance of the lens is somewhat similar measuring 10.2cm x 13.2cm and weights at 1151gm which is manageable by any standard. The lens barrel features the proven TSC compound and the lens feels every bit like a proper Ultra Wide Angle zoom lens. Personally I find that zoom ring is a little skewed towards smaller hands but if you use a lot of front slotted filter this might be just the right clever design too! The demo unit that Sigma sent has a pretty tight grip on the zoom & focus ring which I was later told that it will smoothed out once I used the lens for a few times and indeed, the zoom & focus is indeed smooth after half a day of abuse by me.

Designed as a full frame lens (FF-DG, Cropped-DC, Mirrorless-DN), it is also compatible with cropped bodies giving the user an excellent 35mm equivalent of 18mm (19.2mm on Canon APS-C) to 36mm (38.4mm on Canon). Built with 9 rounded aperture blades, this lens is capable of producing near “full-circle” bokehs which is rare in most lenses at this focal length.  Sigma had spared no effort in giving this lens an optically-corrected view – there’s 16 elements in 11 groups for all that distortion correction, chromatic aberration (both lateral or transverse) & color correction and the new Sigma 12-24mm ART focuses from F4 to F22, perfect for a wide variety of genres apart from the usual landscape or interior design images.

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The new Sigma 12-24mm ART has a minimum focusing distance of just 23.5cm and coupled with a magnification ration of 0.20x, you can also do wide-angle close-ups giving tiny subjects a whole new perspective! Internally, the focusing engine is none other than the company’s long-proven Hyper-Sonic Motor (HSM) that focuses lightning fast and operates at an almost near-silent operation. The focusing is not only fast, it is very accurate and it locks on to a subject in milliseconds.

So back to who gets to review the new Sigma 12-24mm ART, over at the editorial office we did a “lucky draw” with all the review editors’ names and I picked the paper that says “Tommy Chia”. Tommy is not new to our readers as he had reviewed quite a fair bit of lenses with us and let’s see what he have to say about the much anticipated Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.



2017 Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART
– Featuring Tommy Chia
Image: Tommy Chia mated the Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART to his Canon EOS 5D MarkII.


Wide angle lenses are essential tools inside a professional photographer bag. I personally own an array of wide angle lenses covering 12mm to 35mm. Lenses from 16mm to 20mm are called super-wide angle lenses. Ultra-wide angles are used to describe lenses 15mm and wider. 

Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.


When the Editor AL picked me to review the new Sigma 12-24mm DG F4 ART, an ultra-wide angle zoom lens, I was very excited as I have heard about this lens when Sigma announced it and now I get to review it! The lens feel well put together when handled, looks refined and expensive. When AL said go test it, the mental pictures in my mind automatically switched to ultra-wide angle mode. Many people are afraid to use wide angle lenses is because of the challenging composition, it look like it suck in all the scene towards the front, with too many things in the pictures making it looking messy. Actually wide angles lenses are very fun to use just by looking for a main subject or lines to compose with. 

“The beautiful part of using a wide angle is to watch those lines stretching off into the distance.”
Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.


The Sigma 12-24mm DG F4 ART issued to me comes in Canon EF mount. The lens has a metal brass mount just like all the ART line lenses. It is in constant aperture of f4. It fitted on my Canon EOS 5D Mark III nicely. The AF motor is so quiet that I thought it was not working. After I got acquitted with the lens, I decided to take it downtown for some test images.  


“The distortion typically associated with UWA are very minimal, just look at those lines.”
Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART. 


AP1_4259s12mm-vert.jpg “The 3 focal length stops of 12mm, 17mm & 24mm offers flexibility of various wide angle composition.” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.   




“Because of the ultra wide angle this lens covers, it is so wide and it opens up many new perspectives for photographers and to the surroundings that he would never had paid attention to before he owns an ultra-wide angle lens.  This is because the lens covered double the area of what human eyes can see & cannot see.” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.    


“I was seated at this location for over 20 mins while waiting for the clouds to cover the midday sun and was rewarded for a bird flying over my frame.” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.    


AP1_4103.jpg“When using UWA lenses, it is a must to keep the camera leveled properly to the horizon to avoid keystone distortion.” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.    


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“This UWA is so wide that the whole scene captured here seems to be rolling out to the viewer!” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.    


“If you are into building interior designs, this lens is just perfect, really perfect!” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.    


“Believe it or not, an UWA lens made this car showroom looks much bigger and more spacious than it really was.” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.    


The NEW Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART is really an Ultra-Wide Angle wonder-Lens. Unlike the previous versions (which are prety good and value for money), Sigma has gotten everything right for this lens. I enjoyed using this lens totally as it is more than just a “landscape lens” like most photographers will think of UWA lenses. Given its capabilities, I can use this lens for many new things like street photography, ID, wide angle close-ups apart from the usual cityscapes/nightscapes/landscapes. I will say get this lens and open yourself to a new dimension of Wide Angle Photography!

Thank You Editor AL & Sigma Singapore for this opportunity!

Tommy Chia
Professional Aerial Photographer
Tommy Chia
Image: Tommy Chia with his Canon DSLR + Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.  

Editor’s Note:
Thank You Uncle Tommy for the excellent and hands-on review of the Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART. The images are inspiring and maybe I should get one too. (lol!). I am sure many will be inspired to try out Ultra Wide Angle compositions too!

OK Guys, You heard the man.

Buy your Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART & Other Great Sigma lenses here.




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Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG ART

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Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG ART

7th March 2017, Singapore – Sigma Singapore sent us the latest 85mm F1.4 ART recently and we were thrilled when receiving it. Why? This is the Sigma lens that almost the whole world had been  anticipating since this lens was announced last year. Sigma’s prime lenses had come a long way since the pre-Global Vision time and some of Sigma’s prime lenses had been a strong challenger to propietory brands especially their famous 50mm F1.4. For the previous version of the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG, it was already commanding the portrait lens market with its unsurpassed sharpness and asking price, and now, meet the NEW Art Series 85mm F1.4 from Sigma!


Before we proceed with the review, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how the lens behaved & performed, the image quality etc. If you are cool with this, read on.


Build like a solid weapon, the new 85mm F1.4 ART uses the same TSC (Thermal Stable Compound) for the lens barrel and the same high quality standard are carried out throughout the external design & build of this lens. Focusing ring are precise and creamy smooth and the feel & handling of the 85mm F1.4 ART is addictive to the touch. Designed for portraits & wedding photographers, this lens is much capable of more genres like close-ups or discreet street photography.

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At wide open, the 9 round iris blades apertures ensures a round and consistent bokeh that is pleasing and and gives the out-of-focus area a nice and dreamy background. Inside the lens, Sigma did not compromise in the use of elements and you get a whopping 14 elements in 12 groups for all the corrections that You think of. The result is a stunning lens that produces razor-sharp image and separates the image plane effortlessly so you can concentrate on shooting and composing while the lens ensures you get surprisingly good results!

The lens focuses from F1.4 to F16 which is common for large aperture lenses and the weight (1.1kg) had been kept very manageable for hours of continous use.  Size wise it is pretty much like most of the 85mm in the market (3.73 x 4.97”) which spot a square-ish but large front look! The front accepts 86mm filters if you are after tele-landscape, a ND filter might find its way there. However, as far as I know, most portrait photographers that I personally know do not really use a front mount filter on their 85mm and to add, a 86mm filter is not exactly cheap too.

The lens operation is quiet as this lens works on internal focusing like many of its Art series siblings and it is run by the company’s long proven Hyper-Sonic motor (HSM) that focuses at breakneck speed and proven accuracy! There’s a distance scale meter for those who still look at it anyway. The Sigma 85mm ART starts focusing from as near as 85mm (coincidence?) which are typical of lenses of this focal length. Sound good so far? We decided to pass the new Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG Art to our guest Reviewer Gary Chow, a portrait & street photographer for a weekend. Let’s check out what he did with the new Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG ART.



My Encounter with the New Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG ART
– by Gary Chow
Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens. 

When Editor AL called me out of the blue, I know he have a lens for me to review and I was surprised that he has the NEW Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG ART for me. I’ve long heard about this lens since it was announced and I am very curious about all the raves and waves that this lens is making on the internet. Now I have it for a week and I decide to use it for my work as well as leisure and see if this lens lives up to its expectations.  


Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens.  

On first look, the lens looks every bit the portrait lens that all of us are familiar with and the distinctive profile of a Sigma Art series lens. Not only it feels expensive (although it’s quite cheap), it feels like a super-grade lens from Sigma and it’s even better than some brands that I know. The switches are well-placed and the focusing is very quiet and fast, so good that it is so easy to use. 

20170216-GCP_2429.jpg Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens. 

The colors rendered are very nice and balanced with no visible sway to a particular color band or hue and it works really well with my Nikon FX DSLR. The focusing lands on the subject easily and the accuracy is great. However those of you who are new to portraits may wish to note that most wide-aperture prime lenses have a sweet spot that is usually stopped down to 2 stops. Likewise, this Sigma 85mm ART will be at its prime at F2.0. However, I do like to experiment shooting F1.4, F1.8 & F2.0 with the occasional F2.8. Like some people say, if you buy a F1.4, why not use F1.4? Then again, you must know what you are doing, hahaha.   


Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens.  

I used the lens for a couple of jobs over the week and I find it very manageable to use for long hours without having my hands feeling like that it is dying of fatigue and no dust seems to be able to stick itself on the lens front – must be the super coating from Sigma I guess. And the switch is easily reached when I need to switch from Auto Focus to Manual Focus and I do not even have to take my eyes off my viewfinder, now that is good design if you ask me.  Importantly, my clients saw the images and they were impressed with the image quality and isn’t that what every portrait photographer is going after?   

Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens.    



Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens.

Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens.

In conclusion, the new Sigma 85m F1.4 DG ART is a great portraits lens that gives ultimate value for its high quality images, color accuracy, fast, accurate & silent focusing, averaged weighted & a reasonable asking price. What more can I ask for? Right? Thanks Editor AL for letting me try and review this new Legend Lens from Sigma. For the rest of you, go get it!

Gary Chow

Professional Photographer.

Image: Gary Chow
Editor’s Note: Thank You Gary for helping out with the review and sharing your images that was shot using the new Sigma 85m F1.4 DG ART! I must say that the images are awesome and bokeh are beautiful & attractive. Hope you enjoy using this lens and continue to support Sigma’s lenses too!

OK Guys, You heard the man.
Buy your Sigma 85mm F1.4 ART & Other Great Sigma lenses here.


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Pink Submissions #17 ″BLACK”

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Pink Submissions #17 ″BLACK”
Pink Feature

27th February 2017, Singapore – I decided to give the Ladies over at PINK Photographers SG  a little abstract theme, “Black” and I wanted to see how each of them translate and interpret this theme. We have done several color theme in the past and this round, it’s a thin line between monochrome and black. And given the possibilities, I am really not sure what to expect. Black is no doubt one strange color. It’s mysterious, it’s hard to comprehend yet it is simple as it is. Certainly not an easy theme here.

The submitted images this round are what is “Black” to the photographer, enjoy! Once again, good job ladies!



Let’s see what the Ladies from PINK SG had submitted! Image appearing not in any order.
(I had also taken the liberty to mildly edit some of the images without the ladies’ permission – lol!)
1) From Alice Chia – A wall paper at Mcdonald’s that’s filled with shapes and text. Black being the complete opposite of white, complements each other and this is the maximum contrast that one can get when these 2 combined. With shapes, text, this is one interesting wall paper to have. Glad Alice spotted this wall, thanks for sharing!
Alice Chia.jpg

2) From Joanna Ng – A nice silhouette of a lady playing with a child in water against the sunlight. When light are restricted and subject are against the direction of the light, it’s a great idea to create a silhouette image like this example by Joanna. The ripples on the water also created many lines and giving this image the texture making it a complete viewing experience. Excellent job Joanna!
Joanna Ng.JPG


3) From Janet Toh – A wall image, probably at Janet’s house and probably painted (or sticker). White wall are simply too neat and clean and in fact, it’s cold and it’s ironical that a home is supposed to be filled with warmth and love. However, this silhouette design on a wall created an interesting story line of trees and birds & complete with a text “Our home” in solid black makes this cold white wall filled with the warmth of a home. Simple yet meaningful.
Janet Toh.jpg


4) From Soh Chui Lian – A museum walkway that had been rendered into monochrome. The designs of patterns and lines makes this shot very interesting and when all the darker areas had “black out” from the rendering, this contrasty scene is created. Now with only shades of Black & White, this scene has a perfect balance of both colors. I like this shot, what about you?
Soh Chui Lian.jpg


5) From Jaqueline Zoe Tan – When you are standing with a strong light source behind you, this is the best time to create a silhouette shadow of yourself. Forget about those selfies and this is how we do “mysterious selfies” of ourselves way before smart phone came. We are all nothing but black in silhouette & shadows. Simple shot, but fits the theme nicely.
Jacqueline Zoe Tan-Black.jpg

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6) From Alice Chia – Kopi-O (Americano Coffee) the word “Kopi” is the Bahasa word for Coffee and the “O” is how the Hokkien dialect describes as Black. Yes, Kopi-O means black coffee and in nice blend of 2 languages (pun intended) and this is pretty much a product of cross cultures like Singapore and some of our neighboring countries. A simple yet easy way to interpret the theme. 🙂
Alice Chia1.jpg



7) From Anny Tan – Another nice silhouette shot from Anny. The theme “Black” never really means monochrome and Anny has proven this by submitting this silhouette image with thousands of colorful glittering lights in the background. Very creative!Anny Tan 1.jpg


8) From Iris Eu – A portrait shot of a lady in black. Shot against a light background of white and baby blue, this lady stands out completely and what better way to make an image contrasty by being the the contrast yourself? This is definitely one of my favorite shot from this submission! Thanks Iris for sharing!
Iris Eu.jpg


9) From Janet Toh – When light is low and your best bet is that shoot “as it is” for a scene without tweaking the exposure. Instead, you get a shot that evokes inner thoughts and a scene that makes you take a second look. One good example, see below for a seascape image at low light submitted by Janet.
Janet Toh1.jpg



10) From Joanna Ng – A horn beetle in perfect glossy black moving along. Although many of us knows that this guy is not exactly black but in super deep darkest dark dark brown, it looks black to all our eyes and the glossy surface makes this beetle even more mysterious.
There are several hundreds of species of beetles and the horn beetle is one of the most amazing ones in its distribution order. Nice catch Joanna!


11) From Soh Chui Lian – This is Chui Lian self posing in this image. She’s wearing black and when this image gets rendered to into monochrome, it makes this image even more interesting to view. I like the final delivery of this image as Chui Lian stood there and face the 3 closed windows, it created an artistic scene out of nothing. Very god idea!
Soh Chui Lian1.jpg


12) From Yew Peck Leng – I am not too sure what material was used to make this black owl. Surely it looks like stone and this owl was carved out of a rock. Usually materials with a rough surface makes it interesting for carvings and even more interesting if ti comes in black or other dark colors. It masked the surface imperfections with the dark shades and yet brings out the texture of the surface at the same time, don’t you think so too? Yes it’s strange, but it works. Thanks Peck Leng for sharing this!
Yew Peck Leng.jpg

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13) From Janet Toh – A snapshot of a bed of pebbles. We have seen this almost everywhere from MRT stations to planters, from HDB stone walks paths to Japanese theme gardens etc. If you look carefully, these oval pebbles comes in 4 shades of grey which the darkest shade is near-black. This image by Janet is an overview of a pebble bed which covers various varying levels of shades and of different sizes, a nice shot to be printed and hang in your pantry!
Janet Toh2.jpg


14) From Anny Tan – Another great silhouette shot submitted by Anny. Instead of figuring out where was this place, I was amazed at the overall composition where Anny made full use of the lack of light and made this silhouette even more mysterious and interesting. I like the “waterfall” and the simple shades of blue color against a completely black out scene. I love this!Anny Tan.png


15) From Joanna Ng – Yet another nice macro shot from Joanna. This black guy with deep ocean blue eyes are very catchy for attention, although 90% of its body is clad in black, the leathery textures and patterns on the body makes this guy really unique – and definitely not possible to see it with naked eyes unless shot as a macro shot. Thanks Joanna for sharing this!
Joanna Ng2.JPG


16) From Soh Chui Lian – Making full use of the wall patterns & designs, and further rendering this image into monochrome, the background screams for attention like no other. And by adding a person (in this case Uncle Koh Lye Huat) into the composition, this created a visual illusion that is impactful and creative! Excellent job Chui Lian!
Soh Chui Lian2.jpg

17) From Janet Toh – Before I end this article, here’s black swan pedaling freely on a lake from Janet Toh. I was hoping that someone submit an image of a black swan and you did it!
Thanks Janet!
Janet Toh3.jpg

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We have come to the end of this round’s Pink Submission. Black is not exactly a simple theme as the word itself encompassed thousands of meanings and translations and it varies from photographers to photographers. I enjoyed viewing this series from the ladies and I hope you guys enjoy it too! There will be more photo-share from PINK Photographers SG ! Look out for the next theme!
– Editor AL



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Pink Submissions #16″Architectures”

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Pink Submissions #16″Architectures”
Pink Feature

09th February 2017, Singapore – The Ladies over at PINK Photographers SG was given another theme for photo-share. This round I wanted Architectures and as the submissions trickles in, I notice a diversity in what does architectures means to these photographers and how they perceived the theme. From old buildings to modern skyscrapers, all these are part of architectures and I am glad to have requested for this theme, it simply shows how a building can be documented in so many ways! Took me a while to select all the submitted images and the below selected submissions are interesting to view, enjoy!
Once again, good job ladies!

Let’s see what the Ladies from PINK SG had submitted! Image appearing not in any order.
(I had also taken the liberty to mildly edit some of the images without the ladies’ permission – lol!)
1) From Pang Teng Lin – When architectures comes to mind, many photographers will naturally form a mental picture of an external image of a building, while a few will think of the interior, from inside out. This image from the inside of a building with a sky glass created an abstract and attractive feel to it. While the glass reflected the sun creating flares, this is one image that I will print and hang it in my study room. I love this Teng Lin!


2) From Cindy S – Modern buildings of today speaks of not just practicality, but design and ambient cues are also an integral part of architectures today. Repetitive patterns are a favorite for those who love to shoot interior of buildings. In this example, Cindy chose to compose this shot at an angle that adds to the mysterious feel while rendering it in monochrome to complete the delivery for a strong and powerful image. Good job Cindy!

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3) From Nicole Wong – While many photographers had been to this place and shot this dome from the interior, Nicole shot it at the blue hour and at an angle that is slightly off -center to create a infinity effect along with a contrasting back(twil)light. Although a simple shot, this composition moves away from the usual fare and stands out completely. A pleasant shot to enjoy viewing any time.Nicole.jpg


4) From Kee Bee – I like this image by Kee Bee because not that this image is professionally done or edited, rather, I like it with the “as it is” feel, some may say that this is a snapshot but hey, don’t you have tons of images like this in your smart phone too? Looking at this image from the 1st person point of view have me “standing” right at where Kee Bee was standing and it gave me the on-site feel. Some times such images are more real than your technically-correct-finely-framed-and-edited shots. I really like the feel of this image – Thanks Kee Bee!




5) From Doris Ang – This image was originally submitted in color, I decided to render it into monochrome to add the “coldness” of this image. Nothing is more cold than a subway that is completely vacant and making it colorless just adds the dread to create a stronger image. Although this image may also be interpreted as a scene off a horror movie, this image also shows the contrast of how a busy place can be really dead and quiet. In brief, this image trickles my thoughts, i love it Doris! Doris Ang.JPG


6) From Pang Teng Lin – A walkway, a corridor usually features a repetitive pattern which is also another favorite of photographers. Although there’s a photo-bomb in this image, this shot was shot at a right time where the sun from the outside overwhelms the interior by reflecting light to the inner pillars that reflects the same light to the walkway ceiling and illuminating all the details and patterns. This created a unique exposure balance and everything else in this image is so neat making this image a joy to view & enjoy.


7) From Pang Teng Lin – Recently many local photographers had flocked to this place in one of the “city garden” creating their own versions of this scene. Making use of the arc and framing a “city hotel” within the arc, this is a refreshing composition of this place. Teng Lin picked an angle where the descending curves on the right are in tangent to the hotel’s downward curve on the right. This created a new perspective and very different from what the others had shot, google a bit and you will know what I meant. Teng Lin thanks for sharing this, now I have another angle to shoot this!




8)  From Carolyn Chee – Guess what interest me most on this image? Nope, not that church, I’ve been there before. Look carefully and you will see the triangle flags flapping in the wind and for a second, i thought its birds flying across the street in an orderly manner. On the overall composition, Carolyn used the road as a leading line for this image to lead our focus to the church at the far end which is technically correct, but the cars weakens that effect, however the flags aka “birds” saved this shot and made it special. Nice one Carolyn!


9) From Alice Chia – We don’t really see windows like these anymore. Shot at a heritage-conversation area in Singapore, these colonial style folding windows are getting rarer by the day. Alice dedicated the full focus on these windows that allows viewers to have a clearer & detailed look at these soon-to-be-gone fixtures. Nice one Alice!


10) From Pang Teng Lin – Another colonial-style building that has been transformed into a museum. Teng Lin made use of the shadow-cast from the sun light penetrating through the tree leaves to create this very nostalgic feel of yesteryears. Very clever and creative. And I also like how the building is framed where the top right of the image shows the curve of the roof lines oh my I love this shot! If Teng Lin is going to print this for me, I will hang it up in my office!


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11) From Joleen Tan – And before I move to other modern buildings, Joleen sent this image of an old house with a wind mill that got me interested. It is amazing how architectures can be designed and build to “defy” physics and to harvest physics – go figure. I like the chill & relax feeling when looking at this image – where things are much simpler and people are happier. Totally enjoyed viewing this shot!
Joleen Tan.jpg


12) From Magdalene Teo-Yong – Enters the skyline of Singapore’s business district! Many photographers likes to capture images of building with a touch of water feature (rivers, sea, lake etc) I like this image as Mag had composed this shot with many interesting lines, some visible on first sight and some are hidden and you can only see it if you stare at it long enough. This is one shot that packs many surprises within an image and this has to be one of my favorite from this round of submission. Thanks for sharing this clever shot Mag!

13)  From Carolyn Chee – Buildings by the water banks with a mountain in the background complete with low clouds and random tints of blue sky. This is such a quiet and peaceful image that really lifts up one’s spirit! I like the overall feel of this shot although it doesn’t emphasize strongly on the architecture theme. This image will better fit into “travel” or “Scenery” theme. But I allowed this image to pass through this round as the buildings in this image are unique and boast different styles, all within the same side of a water bank.
Still, I like this image very much! carolyn.jpg


14) From Alice Chia – Very interesting framing here with contrasting brightly colored bridge against a monotonous shrine. The only pity is the water is green and not blue – just a wishful thinking. I like the feel and overall delivery of this image, not for anything else and those of you who knows me well, I can pick tons of faults with images but at the same time, I am able to see & feel things that are also present in the images. I like the feel of this image.

15) From Carolyn Chee – Here’s another good example of “buildings by the banks”. Simple framing, but combined with a nice blue sky, calm waters and a white tower against a dark colored building in the background, somehow, this image simply got everything right. Nice shot Carolyn!



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16) From Pang Teng Lin – Almost every photographer in Singapore had shot this and done this shot. But I like this version done by Teng Lin, not much crowd at the usually crowded MRT exit, added a litle slow shutter and a good control of the exposure where one gets to view the structure of the unique canopy of this building along with the people that makes this shot interesting. The overdrapping trees on the top left also reminded us nature is not that far way from modernization. Good shot Teng Lin!

17) From Janet Toh – Nice slant, nice design, nice blue sky, its one of those architecture image that catches your attention easily. For me, I will likely frame it differently going in for a tighter crop of a section or something but this shot is simple, neat and screaming for attention. I like this shot as it is, thanks Janet for sharing this!Janet Toh.JPG


18) From Trisha Lim – This looks like a super long outdoor staircase. While many photographers prefers shooting the front facade of a building, this image by Trisha looks like the staircase is an emergency exit at the back of a building. Stretched across the full length of the building, it “cuts” across the image nicely and certainly impactful on view.
Nice one! Trisha2.JPG


19) From Pang Teng Lin – In our multi-racial, multi-religion nation, religious buildings are common. Like this temple in Chinatown, it had been shot to death from both local and tourist photographers. But I like this shot because Teng Ling got all the technical-stuff right, plus at a moment where there are persons entering the temple and with no vehicles in sight. Further to that, it had been rendered into monochrome so on overall. this has created a clean and neat image that will ensure viewers’ appreciation. I love this shot very much!

Well, we have come to the end of this round’s Pink Submission. I hope you enjoy viewing the images as much as I do. Architectures are defined in many ways as seen from this submissions and I will encourage all of you to pick up some tips from these ladies and how they visualize buildings – both exterior and interior. Keep up the excellent job @ PINK Photographers SG ! Look out for the next theme!
– Editor AL



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Pink Submission #15 “My Best Food Photo” Editor’s Picks

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Pink Submission #15 “My Best Food Photo” Editor’s Picks
Pink Feature

09th February 2017, Singapore – The Ladies over at PINK Photographers SG had been hibernating for a while since our last Pink Submissions #14. So I decided to “wake them up” by starting a Photo-Share on their “My Best Food Photos”. Then it started, images of delicious-looking food started to appear on the wall and it build up a momentum. Then I realized, hey the standard of the images had improved a lot after such a long break! Good job Ladies! So browsing through the wall, I had hand-picked the ones that really deserves a feature (and almost have me licking my PC screen!)

Let’s see what the Ladies from PINK SG had submitted!
Image appearing not in any order.
(I had also taken the liberty to mildly edit some of the images without the ladies’ permission – lol!)

1) From Cindy S– I guess the Pokemon craze had moved to dining tables since it came & left last year. Still, Pikachu is definitely cute enough and in this case, delicious enough for your palette. Cindy shot this image from a top down (single) perspective which have an overview of all the different food on the plate and presented the Pikachu (Pokemon) correctly. Good Job! (Hope it was delicious too!)Cindy.jpg

2) From Fong Ling – The recent Chinese Lunar New Year had most of us on a Yu Sheng spree and there are more choices today for the fish aka “Yu” than the original fish which is the Wolf Herring, today we see Yu Sheng with abalones, tuna, shrimps and the most popular of all is none other than Salmon.  Fong Ling took a low down approach for this shot and the close-up angle highly accentuated the salmon with ice which let the viewer have a “fresh” feel of the salmon. Excellent job!fongling2

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3) From Iris Eu – The good old  Siu Mai (烧卖 – a traditional chinese dumpling) is a staple breakfast Dim Sum that most of us grew up with. While this is mainly a pork dish, our Muslim friends has a chicken version which I love too. (the chicken version is also very tender!). Iris shot this with the bamboo cover half-opened gave viewers the feel that this serving of Siu Mai is steaming hot and fresh out of the steamer. Good idea & presentation!

4) From Nicole Wong – The stark simplicity of this shot was what caught my attention. The clean look and neat presentation packs a lot of details within this frame. Nic framed this shot quite nicely although the biscuit was slightly cropped off at the bottom of the frame however she was at the “just-right” distance where there’s just enough to capture every ingredient on this plate nicely. Good one Nic!

5) From Joanna Ng – What can be more enjoyable than a plate of Char Kway Teow when Chinese flat glass noodles sauteed with egg (sometimes Duck Eggs), garlic, sesame oil, soya sauce, lots of pepper, chilli (optional), fresh cockles, bean sprouts, fish cakes, fresh prawns and topped with chopped spring onions? Using a simple approach to this image where less is really more – Joanna isolate the background and have all of us looking and lusting after the juicy prawns on the noodles – right at our face! Good one Joanna!


6) From Lily Lim– Fried Glutinous Balls with Sesame is another super popular snack in Singapore. Comes in many choices of fillings, the popular ones are minced peanut with sugar & the red bean paste (dao sa). Although I wonder why there’s a morsel of Chinese parsley on the plate, this close-up angle have me wanted to lay my hands on one of these, I am serious! Nice work Lily!

7) From Emily Xu – Ice Cream Prata (Ice Cream scoops on Indian pancake or bread) is a form of happy food in my view. Usually you get 3 scoops of ice cream in the typical Vanilla+Strawberry+Chocolate combo with generous whip cream all over and dripping with caramel or chocolate sauce, sprinkled with peanut bits and served on a bed of piping hot prata. Emily shot this at the “eye-level” of the ice cream which is a good move as she had managed to capture all the ingredients that I had mentioned above. Nice one Emily!

8)  From Cindy – this chicken dish was shot at a near-perfect lighting with all the ingredients properly presented and yet not overwhelmed. Every single details is properly captured and the end result is excellent! Look carefully, there are 12 visible ingredients from this image and see how many can you spot!
PS: Cindy, please bring me to this place one day! I almost lick my PC screen again!


9) From Ang Qianling – A hearty but light breakfast for four persons. Qianling took the top down approach for this shot and in such example, it created a nice “food scene” rather than a food shot. Very simple composition but yet very interesting to take a 2nd & 3rd look. As usual, people like to associate white color with breakfast & mornings and this shot is what magazines will usually publish for morning/breakfast related articles. Good job Ling!

10) From Joanna Ng – Charcoal-Toasted Bread are disappearing fast from this part of the world. Many had switched to electric toasters which (trust me) the end result is very different and the taste differs too. Joanna took this shot during her trip to Penang and this is a shot of a hawker preparing the toast like a BBQ (hence “Bakar: in Bahasa) which is getting very rare. You don’t see this very often these days. (in fact none in SG now). The feel of this shot is very interesting and showcased the authentic way to prepare & toast the bread. Thanks for sharing this Joanna!

11)  From Cindy – Bak Ku Teh (Pork Ribs Soup/ Spare Ribs Soup) is another local favorite. Started as a street snack or a budget meal, today the Bak Kut Teh market is worth at least $10M in Singapore with more & more chain outlets sprouting on top of the hawkers selling this peppery and tasty soup dish. Due to nature of this dish – usually comes with many side dishes – Cindy took the top down approach and she definitely picked the right angle. This is another good example of a “Food Scene” rather than a Food shot. Good job Cindy!

12) From Fong Ling – Another great shot by Fong Ling. A Shashimi platter given a close-up treatment with near-perfect lighting, right exposure and all details are clearly seen in this image. Like the previous salmon image by Fong Ling, you can see the ice and everything else with lots of details. Everything just look so yummy and juicy here – Good Job Fong Ling!

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13) From Joanna N– Pastries are best shot in numbers especially when they are colorful and part of a huge tray or display. Joanna focused on the 1st piece while she bokeh off the rest using a wide aperture setting makes the first piece stands out and you can’t help staring at it. The glaze also made the pastry looked really fresh and yummy and the low down and close-up angle Joanna used simply makes this an excellent image. OK Joanna, now tell me where is this sold?!?!

14) From Ellis Tay – Ramen, a favorite dish here and enjoyed by almost all Singaporeans made it to this list here. As most Ramen noodles are usually drowned out by the broth, Ellis did the right thing by using chopsticks to lift up the noodles for this shot. With every ingredient being visible and in focus, this is an interesting shot where you will tend to look at the ingredients one by one. (And if you flip this image upside down, you get a Smiley face too.). The angle and exposure being perfect, this is one great shot of a bowl of Ramen. Ellis, please tell me where can I eat this Ramen. 🙂

15) From Trisha Lim – Every Singaporean knows Fried Carrot Cake, and given the long list on the net about the bests of Carrot Cake stalls, this is a favorite snack dish. Personally I like to have this as a meal at times too. Trisha did an angled shot of this plate of Fried Happiness and you can see the near-burnt egg that had been deliciously smudged on the carrot cake along with the rest of the ingredients that are visible and so tempting. Nice one Trisha!

16) From Magdalene Teo-Yong – Apparently Mag’s son Ryan is a budding home chef who takes a deep interest in culinary art. The plating and presentation on this image was done by Ryan himself and Mag decided to shot this with a close-up but top down angle to accentuate the cuttings of the meat, showing all the other ingredients in equal attention creating a very menu-like, but artistic approach to this shot. The contrasting colors of the ingredients also helped made the meat looks even more delicious. Good shot Mag!
(Mag, please help ask Ryan when he is going to cook for Uncle AL can?)
Magdalene TeoYong.JPG

17) From Kee Bee – An interesting ice cream cone that was animated with chocolate-made eyes. Although this is a simple shot, it caught my eyes. While the focus is strong on the ice cream cone face – the bokeh of the wall paper with a man at the back made this shot situational-contrasty and very interesting to view. OK, Kee Bee, now tell me where is this place.
Kee Bee.jpg

18) From Alice Chia – Home-made chocolates made by Alice herself. Being an avid baker, her hobby is creating lots of sweet treats and you can see that she bakes every other day for her family, friends & colleagues. I like how Alice had created this shot by using the focus-on-one-among-the-rest to bring my attention to the Pink-White heart shaped chocolate while everything else is off-focused. Looks so tempting indeed! Alice, like I always said, I WANT ONE YESTERDAY!
Alice Chia.jpg

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19) From Shi Qing – Gourmet breakfast are the rage these days with more & more brunch cafes/ eateries opening all over Singapore. Shi Qing used the top-down approach for this to an advantage as such breakfast platter usually comes with several different “main” and by using this angle, every single ingredient is visible and well balanced out without overpowering each other. The lighting from the background also made the sausage looks even more juicy and yummy! Simple shot but great shot! Good Job Qing!Shiqing.JPG

20) From Nicole Wong – This simple shot is contrasty due to the colors of the ingredients and it caught my attention easily. Everything was in focus and not overwhelmed in any way makes this a pleasant shot to view and appreciate. Nic picked this angle which accentuated the neatly lined-up meat and the side dishes becomes what they are – side dishes – so all focus will be on the mains. Looks yummy!

21) From Sue Fang – This is one of those shots that you will see on Instagram but on closer look, this is one clean shot that did away with all that filters and yet looks tantalizing. Everything on this plate are nicely focused and Fang picked this angle that allows viewer to see everything from a nice tilt yet not overdo giving it a balanced and “well-spread” platter with me almost licking my PC screen again. Good job Fang!
Sue Fang.JPG

22) From Ang Qianling – What ever this bowl is, I am not into this food-genre -hahahaha! I like how Ling had included a fork and have viewers channel their focus onto the centre of the bowl among the other ingredients that made this bowl (or those ingredients in it) interesting. Given the presentation of this dish, a top down shot is definitely the right thig to do here and Ling got it right. I saw 6 main ingredients here, how many can you spot?
Ling, will prefer to date you for steamboat or Ramen, not this please. You’re Welcome.
Hungry? I was really looking for 08 nice images and ended up with 22 superb food images!
Excellent job from the Ladies @ PINK Photographers SG !
Look out for the next theme!
– Editor AL



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Valentine’s Day with Olympus

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Valentine’s Day with Olympus

4th February 2017, Singapore – It’s 10 more days to Valentine’s Day and it is that time of the year again where you crack multiple heads (your head plus your friends’ heads) just figuring out what to buy for your partner. Although buying gifts for guys are generally easy, but getting something that is both practical and useful will be the key to a lovely Valentine’s Day. The tough one (in our view), will be getting that perfect gift for the lady.
Agree or not – well we are speaking from our own experiences (indefinite laughter).

Now, if you are still feeling lost about what to gift your significant other, here’s some suggestions from us.

For Him
Customize a camera for him. For the gentleman with a keen eye for detail, the customisable OM-D E-M5 Mark II is perfect as it defines Olympus’ pursuit of excellent operability as well as aesthetic perfection. Go the extra mile to show how much you’ve understood your partner’s style by customizing the unit’s mounts and dials.

The customisation service, available exclusively online here, allows customers to drift away from the full black camera models and personalize their OM-D E-M5 Mark II body from the mounts to the dials. The OM-D E-M5 Mark II features an improved in-body 5-axis image stabilization system as well as a dustproof and splashproof camera body and lenses to make shooting in any environment possible.

Read more about this Award-Winning Camera here.

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For Her-
Time to pamper her with the PEN E-PL8 is the perfect gift for ladies who love taking selfies and wefies! With a flip-down touch screen and selfie mode, there is no excuse to getting a bad picture anymore. Available in three classic colours, the camera also serves as an ideal fashion accessory! Combining high-performance with premium style, the PEN E-PL8 features sophisticated smartphone and social-sharing integration and unique selfie-oriented technology with a high-resolution touch-sensitive LCD screen and powerful 3-Axis VCM Image Stabilisation (IS). With the first mirrorless camera of its kind to feature the innovative 180-degree flip-down LCD screen, the PEN E-PL8 is the perfect addition for the socially active & trendy photographers looking for high quality pictures.

Read up more about this awesome camera here.


Hope our suggestions helps you & your partner to decide on a photographic Valentine’s Day. Go on a date and discover what the above cameras is capable of and at the same time, rediscover each other again. Isn’t that Love is all about?

Happy Valentine’s Day to All of You.
– Editor AL.


Buy your Olympus & Other Photography gear here.



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