Featured Photographer – Neo Jin Ju

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Featured Photographer – Neo Jin Ju
– Interview by Editor AL Lee
– Behind-the-scenes Photographer Serene Ong (Serene Digital Crafts)

Image: Left: Neo Jin Jun, Right: AL Lee 


10th December 2021, Singapore
– I last saw Neo Jin Ju (梁金菊) exactly 30 years ago (Dec 1991) – that was when I left Yuhua Secondary School after completing my O Levels. Rewind another 4 years, back in 1988, Jin Ju or “Miss Neo” as she was commonly known, was my Art & Craft Teacher. As one of those naughty boys back then, I had countless brushes (pun intended) with Jin Ju – she even got me to stand outside the class once as a punishment. I cannot remember what had I done, but it was certainly enough to have pissed her off at that time. Fast forward to today, I think back of those days and I realized I actually enjoy the art lessons as those classes took me off the academic grind and offers me (and many of us) a good mental relief.

Through social media, I got connected to Jin Ju somewhere in Nov 2015 but did not interacted much with her until her name keeps showing up on my feeds with her bird images – I was thrilled. Jin Ju is a Birding Photographer & a famous one at that! I decided to connect with Jin Ju & interview her as part of our Featured Photographer Series and to take this chance to connect with a teacher that I had once terrorized in school (more to rekindle all the wrongs that I had done wrong in her class.).

Image: It’s yesterday once more, Jin Ju sharing with AL Lee on the types of common birds at SBWR

 

And so, I invited Jin Ju out to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves on a Sunday morning for “birding walk”. I had mixed feelings but Jin Ju came across as someone completely different from my vivid & faraway memories of her – she was chatty, laughs a lot and most willing to share her knowledge, as compared to her “teacher” image that I had of her.

Image: Teacher & Student again, after 30 years.

 

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Here’s the interview with Jin Ju

AL: You seem to be very knowledgeable with the birds ID, how & where did you learn about the birds?

JJ: I usually look at my peers’ (fellow birders) and see the bird names that they posted. I also did a fair bit of research online too, and that includes books on birds that I frequently read up or refer to.

 


Image of Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker by Neo Jin Ju during our walk


AL: Is it important to know the name of the birds?

JJ: Yes it is, I contribute articles to ZaoBao & pictorials to WanBao and all the information given must be accurate and factual.


Images: some of Jin Ju’s articles from the various newspapers

 

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AL: How long have you been shooting birds and contributing to the newspapers? 

JJ: Since 2017, I had contributed mainly articles to ZaoBao and pictorials to WanBao.

AL: Wow! Can you recall roughly how many articles were published?

JJ: If I remember correctly, it should be approximately 20+ articles on ZaoBao and over a hundred images published on WanBao.


Image of Crimson Sunbird by Neo Jin Ju during our walk

 

 

Image: Waiting for Birds

AL: May I know if there is a specific time or a best time to catch the birds in action?

JJ: I will say the best timing will be roughly between 7.00am to 11.00 am. That’s the feeding time for majority of the birds. However birds can also be spotted at other time if the weather is cooler. Usually during hot weather, the birds tends to hide a lot.

AL: Do birds feeds all day?

JJ: Some birds, they will feed and within an hour or so after they digested the earlier feed, they will fly out to get more food. So you can say they do eat all day.


Image of Oriental Pied Hornbill by Neo Jin Ju during our walk

 

AL: Can you share with me & our readers One tip about bird behavior or spotting?

JJ: Food. If a tree has a particular fruit or source of worms that the birds like, they will return to the same spot over & over again, day after days until the food source runs out. So if you spotted a particular bird that you want to shoot, it is quite safe to return to the same spot to wait for the bird to appear.

Image: “I never dream that I will be shooting side by side with Jin Ju” – AL

 

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AL: I know there are several places in Singapore that many birders like to go like Pasir Ris Park, Jurong Lake Gardens, Botanic Gardens, Gardens by the Bay, Lorong Halus, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves etc but which one is your favorite?

JJ: Personally I like Botanic Gardens, I frequent the area near Eco-Lake, Healing Garden & Fragrance Garden. Fragrance Garden in particular are a hot favorite for migratory birds. I am currently writing an article on this, do look out for it on Zaobao.

Image: Birding Walk & Interview

AL: So what system have you been using to shoot birds?

JJ: I started with Nikon system and had moved to Sony system.

AL: For beginners who wish to learn shooting birds, is there like a “beginner lens”?

JJ: Any lens with a minimum focal length of 300mm will be a good lens to start. However I will advise those who are seriously passionate about birding to invest in better lenses.

AL: Lastly, what is the best tip you can advise budding birding photographers?

JJ: Patience is everything.

Editor’s Note:
Thank you Jin Ju for agreeing to this interview. I am sure our readers will be inspired! Thank you for your time & taking me on this walk while letting me discover another side of you. This meant a lot to me personally.
老师,谢谢! THANK YOU!

Please follow Jin Ju here.

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Interviewer: Chief Editor AL Lee
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Chief Editor & Founder of Ourshutterjourney.com Worldwide and Principal Trainer at Ourshutterjourney Photography Academy. AL is a commercial photographer as well as an educator who believes in the art of digital memories. An ambassador of several photography brands, AL is well versed in many camera systems. Someone once told us AL’s man cave looks more like a camera store than a bedroom.

Contributing Editor – Serene Ong (Behind the Scenes)
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Started photography with a strong affinity in Long Exposure and Macro, Serene has created a following under the name of “Serene Digital Crafts”. She is an experimental photographer who will keep trying until she gets the shots that she had envisioned on her mind. Of a joyful character and friendly personality, Serene had started to contribute to gear review during her free time – when she is not shooting, she will be dedicating her time taking care of her 2 lovely kids.

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Sigma DC DN 18-50mm F2.8 (C)

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Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC DN (C)
– Reviewed by Editor AL Lee

Image: Editor AL with the Sigma 18-50mm DC DN (C) mounted to a Sony a7r. 

 

29th November 2021, Singapore – Just a week ago, I posted a project for diorama shooting using the Sigma 18-50mm DC DN (C) and I had received a lot of questions from our members & followers about this lens. You can check out my diorama project here. And if you had been looking for a lens with wide aperture, super minimum focusing distance, compact and light weight, zooms from wide to mid tele, this is the super lens that you need. Why? Because with this lens, likely you will not be changing lenses so often and I mean it.

When I first received the lens from Sigma Singapore, my first was impression was “wah so small?!?!” – well this tiny lens measures at 61.6mm × 76.5mm and weighs only 290gm! This is super compact given its F2.8 aperture and a zoom, usually such lenses will come in monster size and weights like a ship – but the Sigma 18-50mm is tiny! I have the old Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC and I was guessing if this is the “replacement” and I later found it is not. The new 18-50mm DC DN is designed from ground zero and takes not resemblance to the EX version in any way be it cosmetically or optically. And the new 18-50mm can be mounted on a Full Frame body while the old EX cannot.

 

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The external of the lens are pretty much everything you will expect from a Sigma, well made, body barrel made from TSC, grippy zoom/focusing rings and the familiar layout are user-friendly to all users. It is also optimized for “Dust & Splash” so it is safe to use this lens in most shooting environment outdoor!

Inside the lens, the optics are arranged in 10 groups with 13 elements including 1 SLD element & 3 aspherical elements for optimum optical quality and sharpness. That is amazing since such configuration are usually found in more expensive lenses etc. Comparing to the previous EX version where ghostings are prominent, the new DC DN version has completely eliminated that phenomenon. And the images turned out super sharp and detailed. (The front element is also equipped with the Super Multi-Layer Coating)

The aperture are made up of 7 rounded diaphragm blades that gives you near-perfect circular bokehs while the focused area are tack sharp. Powered by a stepping motor (sadly not Sigma’s Hypersonic Motor “HSM”), I was pleasantly surprised that the focusing are very fast and accurate despite it is not Sigma’s famous HSM. And the focusing is so quiet that I had to check several times during the review to make sure the lens are focusing – yes it is that quiet!

 

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This tiny monster has a super mini-focusing distance of ONLY 12cm (Measured) and it has a magnification ratio of 1:2.8 which means, you can do a lot of really decent close-ups photography with this lens! (Not Macro though).

Inside the retail, a dedicated Petal Type Hood (LH582-02) is supplied too.

So I took the lens out to Singapore’s Orchard Road and shot everything that caught my attention. Check out the images below!

(All images are adjusted for rotational horizon and cropped for framing. No other edits was done)

 

The Bokehs are delicious! While the focused area are very sharp and full of details. I also like the color, it is a perfect match for Sony’s sensor.

18-50mm is useful for wide-angle shooting (top) through mid-telephoto range like portraits (below).

I had decided to crop out a section to check out the bokeh (below)

I decided to crop out the red area above.

After the crop, check out the bokeh shapes. They are near “perfect-circle”, thanks to the 7 rounded aperture blades.


The Sigma 18-50mm DC DN (C) is super versatile and it performs really well even when darkness fell. The colors rendering are good, like I mentioned earlier, this lens is a superb match with Sony’s sensors.

 

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Summary – Made & designed as a Contemporary line lens, the Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC DN covers a missing link in the lens market for the need of a super lens for APS-C users. Although I used it on a Full Frame body, the auto-crop function works amazingly well. Throughout the review, I did not have to change the lens as it covers almost everything that I wanted to shoot during my walk at Orchard Road. (I have the 50mm F1.4 & 85mm F1.8 with me). Light & compact, paired that with a good zoom focal range and a large aperture (F2.8) – that is none other than the Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC DN (C).

Do check out the rest of the images from this lens here.

Buying this Lens
If you need a wide to mid-tele zoom lens that does almost everything, the Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC DN (C) is our best recommendation, you should go ahead & buy this lens.
Buy from our accredited merchants for a peace of mind!

Renting this Camera/Lens – (Please check for availability first)
For those of you who wish to try out this lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is probably available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:

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Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: https://camerarental.biz/

=========================
Reviewer: Chief Editor AL Lee
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Chief Editor & Founder of Ourshutterjourney.com Worldwide and Principal Trainer at Ourshutterjourney Photography Academy. AL is a commercial photographer as well as an educator who believes in the art of digital memories. An ambassador of several photography brands, AL is well versed in many camera systems. Someone once told us AL’s man cave looks more like a camera store than a bedroom.

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About Ourshutterjourney.com
Visit Our Online Store
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Diorama Shooting Demo – Koon Seng Road

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Diorama Shooting Demo – Koon Seng Road
– Demo by Editor AL Lee

Image: Editor AL’s set up for 1/64 scale diorama of Koon Seng Road.

21st November 2021, Singapore – Recently a photographer got featured for shooting a miniature diorama of Koon Seng Road in Singapore. And many of our students started asking me for tips on shooting diorama. I managed to get the exact same print-out from a reliable source and I decided to do up this article along with a video (below) to show how this is being done.

Check out the video!

 

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I set up a portable table in the middle of the neigbourhood park in the direction of the sun.

The background/ backdrop scene was pre-printed on a sticker sticked to a foam board. Likewise the road are harvested from other images. The road were adjusted to fit into this scene.

As mentioned in the video, the cars used are from Takara Tomy in 1:64 scale. This is important, buying a wrong scale car will destroy the scale management of this scene.

 

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Below is what I’ve gotten before I crop to size.

Below: After Cropping.

To view the full set of images from this project, click here.
To view the other images that I had done with this diorama set, click here.

 

I used my Sony a7R and paired it to the new Sigma DC DN 18-50mm F2.8 (C). It was designed for APS-C cameras – what I am really getting is about 27-75mm F2.8 once it is mounted on my full frame body. This is one underrated Sigma lens – designed as a budget walkaround lens with a wide aperture (F2.8), this lens amazed me with its focusing speed powered by a stepping motor and it is exceptionally quiet and very fast.

The external design is pretty standard. The front takes 55mm filters and generally a small-looking lens (61.6mm×76.5mm) and weight only 290gm). Inside the lens, the real surprise here are the lens elements. The optics are arranged in 10 groups with 13 elements including 1 SLD element & 3 aspherical elements for optimum optical quality and sharpness. That is amazing since such configuration are usually found in more expensive lenses etc. The lens has 7 rounded diaphragm blades that produces nice and smooth bokehs. Another feature that I was very impressed with – the minimum focusing distance is only about 12 cm!!!!!  Add that to the magnification ratio of 1:2.8, this lens is capable of doing many close-ups! (Not exactly macro, but close!) The lens also comes with a dedicated Petal Type Hood (LH582-02) which was supplied in the retail box.
Note: We will be back with a full review for the Sigma DC DN 18-50mm F2.8 (C) 

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In Summary, shooting a diorama is similar to shooting miniature toys. Just that a scenery of the same scale are added thus the importance of scale management. A wrongly scaled vehicle or fixture will destroy the overall composition easily and that is pretty obvious why.
Use good lighting and make use of the outdoor sun. Shadows adds a “reality touch” which adds to the feel of the final image delivery. Remember, you are trying to create a real scene with toys but still leaving hints of reality so that your viewers can be optically confused -and that is the desired effect of such diorama images.

Hope all of you had learn something about shooting diorama today, take care and I will be back with a full review of this Sigma lens too. Ciao.

Buying this Background
This printed background was found to had been extracted from Wikipedia. It was size adjusted and printed on sticker which was transferred to a foam board. If you are keen, I will be happy to help you print and ship it to you for a token fee.

Buying the Cars
All the cars used are from Takara Tommy in 1:64 scale. All Takara Tomy cars have their scale printed on the retail box, so please check carefully before buying. Using a wrong scale car WILL destroy your image. These cars are available in selected pretol kiosks, Toys R’ Us & Don Don Donki (in Singapore).

Buying this Lens
If you need a wide to tele zoom lens that does almost everything, the Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC DN (C) is our best recommendation, you should go ahead & buy this lens.
Buy from our accredited merchants for a peace of mind!

Renting this Camera/Lens – (Please check for availability first)
For those of you who wish to try out this lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is probably available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:

crclogo-small.jpg
Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: https://camerarental.biz/

=========================
Reviewer: Chief Editor AL Lee
IMG_7567.JPG
Chief Editor & Founder of Ourshutterjourney.com Worldwide and Principal Trainer at Ourshutterjourney Photography Academy. AL is a commercial photographer as well as an educator who believes in the art of digital memories. An ambassador of several photography brands, AL is well versed in many camera systems. Someone once told us AL’s man cave looks more like a camera store than a bedroom.

========================
About Ourshutterjourney.com
Visit Our Online Store
Join Our Membership.

=========================

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Sigma 24mm F3.5 DG DN (C)

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Sigma 24mm F3.5 DG DN (C)
Reviewed by Editor AL

Image: Editor AL & his Sony a7R & Sigma 24mm F3.5 DG DN (C).

28th September 2021, Singapore – Right, as promised this is like the “Part 4” review for the Sigma iSeries (DG DN) – this round, the Sigma 24mm F3.5 DG DN (C). (Check out the previous reviews for 35mm F2, 45mm F2.8, 65mm F2). While the NEW 24mm F2 DG DN (C) was recently announced and we had yet to get our hands on the 90mm F2.8 DG DN (C), we noted that the iSeries has total of 6 lenses and the 24mm F3.5 DG DN had been one of the best-selling wide angle lens from the iSeries so far.

If you are comparing the 24mm F3.5 with the NEW 24mm F2, I will say apart from the aperture, there are only slight differences on the size, the weight & the lens elements. We shall not comment further on the F2 until we get to review it. Now let’s take a look at why the 24mm F3.5 had been such a best-seller.

As a super compact lens, the nearly-all-metal construction is the same as the rest of the iSeries lenses. Measuring at 64mm×50.8mm (slightly longer than the L-Mount version) and weights only 225gm, this is the smallest lens in the series.

Featuring the same type of metal lens hood that is magnetic and has grip lines, it has the same design cues as the rest of the series lenses. Likewise, the lens feels really solid and it is also made weather-proof in case of the sudden rain.

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I did mentioned in my previous reviews that I like the aperture ring a lot. It’s the clicking type that feels very premium. The focusing ring is smooth and the button layout is the same as the rest of iSeries lenses. Very good layout for quick operations.

The front of the lens takes 55mm filters and has a minimum focusing distance of only 10.8 cm. Very versatile in my view.

 

Inside the lens, the optics are arranged as 10 elements in 8 groups – including 01 x SLD glass and 03 x aspherical elements. The 7 rounded blades aperture focuses from F3.5 to F22 which is pretty standard.

As I had been very sick for a week, and after serving the Stay Home Notice and getting myself “stamped” as Covid-Negative, I finally found some strength to take a walk with this lens to a nearby park near my house. I went to NTU’s heritage garden to try out the 24mm F3.5 let’s check out the images.

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The Sigma 24mm F3.5 DG DN (C) being a Wide Angle lens, I reckon it will be nice to test out this lens while strolling at a park, the wider coverage allows me to shoot large structure/ subjects even when I stand closer to shoot.

All images on this review are minimally cropped with no editing except adding of watermarks. You can see the amount of details captured with this lens + camera combo. As the 24mm that was issued to me came in Sony Mount, and with my preference to a7R, this combination is superb for capturing lots of details and the given allowance to crop later if I want during editing.

 

Like the previous iSeries lenses that I had reviewed, the 24mm is so light that throughout the walk, it was really effortless to handheld it all the way. I like the focusing a lot. It somehow reminded me of the Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN (C) that I had reviewed recently. The focusing was fast and accurate, almost spot on every time. And the park was very quiet, I cannot even hear the lens doing it’s focusing, that is very quiet-focusing by the way.


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In Summary, the Sigma 24mm F3.5 DG DN (C) is a very versatile lens. Well worthy to be a landscape lens (or event) given its sharpness and the image quality. Colors are awesome and no ghosting which is a common phenomenon for such focal length lenses. Although Sigma had released a “higher” version of the 24mm in the guise of F2, still the 24mm F3.5 does cater to a larger group of photographers who may not be professionals but needed the wide angle and superior image quality. There is a price difference of about $160 between the F3.5 and the F2 so it really depends what you really need and what you use the lens for. And yes, it does not matters if you are using this lens purely for landscape and shoots outdoor in the day if night shooting in F2 is not exactly your thing,

Buying this Lens
If you need a wide angle lens that does almost everything, the Sigma 24mm F3.5 DG DN (C) is probably your best choice, you should go ahead & buy this lens. Buy from our accredited merchants for a peace of mind!

Renting this Camera/Lens – (Please check for availability first)
For those of you who wish to try out this lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is probably available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:

crclogo-small.jpg
Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: https://camerarental.biz/

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Reviewer: Chief Editor AL Lee
IMG_7567.JPG
Chief Editor & Founder of Ourshutterjourney.com Worldwide and Principal Trainer at Ourshutterjourney Photography Academy. AL is a commercial photographer as well as an educator who believes in the art of digital memories. An ambassador of several photography brands, AL is well versed in many camera systems. Someone once told us AL’s man cave looks more like a camera store than a bedroom.

========================
About Ourshutterjourney.com
Visit Our Online Store
Join Our Membership.

=========================

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Posted in Accredited Merchants, Brand: Sigma, Ourshutterjourney Reviews, Photography Articles & Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN (C)

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Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN (C)
Reviewed by Editor AL

Image: Editor AL at a local farm with his Sony a7R & Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN (C).

13th September 2021, Singapore – I was planning to go downtown to review the Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN (C) & do my usual street photography – then an idea struck me. There’s a private Farm who had extended their invitation to me & our group to visit them so I decided to review the Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN (C) via a farm visit instead.

This review also doubles up as a “Part 3” to the “i” Series lenses that I had reviewed (or still reviewing). We had reviewed the 45mm F2.8, 65mm F2 and now the 35mm F2. (We will be doing the 24mm F3.5 soon too while waiting for the 90mm F2.8).  These new DG DN lenses are designed to be extremely tough with its “mostly” metal construction, the retro yet elegant design & lastly compact and small despite the bigger aperture. Designated under Sigma’s popular Contemporary (C) line of lenses, these DG DN lenses had been widely touted that it is much more premium than the earlier (C) lenses and the overall build & image quality are really closer to Sigma’s Top-of-the-Line ART (A) line lenses.

 

 

The Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN (C) – like its “brothers”, are super compact. I was issued the  Sony E mount which measures only 70mm × 67.4mm (the L Mount version is slightly shorter) and weights only a mere 325gm. For a F2 lens, this is considered very light by most standards. As mentioned earlier, the lens barrel is made from a mix of TSC, Aluminum and even the lens hood (LH636-01) is made from metal too.

 

The Design is (expectedly) similar to the other 3, with a selectable aperture ring, an oversized MF/AF switch and a metal focusing ring, which had proven to be very functionable with great ergonomics being thought out for handling. I like the rounded hump on the MF/AF switch which was very easy to locate while keeping my eye on the viewfinder, it is also very comfy to the touch.

 

 

Inside the lens, the optics are arranged in 10 elements in 9 groups including 1 SLD glass and 3 aspherical glass that helps a lot on cutting flares and ghosting while rendering incredible sharpness. The aperture are made from 9 rounded blades that opens from F2 to F22 which is pretty standard. The minimum focusing distance is a mere 27cm and has a magnification ratio of 1:5.7 , very very decent in my view.

 

 

The front of the lens takes 58mm circular screw-on filters which is common. Personally I like the metal lens hood a lot. Sigma claimed that it is a magnetic lens hood, but you still have to screw-click this hood. Still I like it cos when I sling my camera to a side and walking on the street, those senseless people who expect you to give way to them or tried to walk straight onto you while walking past you will be sure to walk away with a bruise or a cut, thanks to the threaded grip design on the metal hood. People should learn to walk on the street and avoid photographers’ cameras – Sigma thanks for this.

 

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While many people cannot really get along with 35mm and opted for 50mm or 24mm, the 35mm range is one of my favorite as it is very good for framing street subjects, the F2 aperture allows quick focusing in low light condition and the bokeh from this 35mm is awesome too.

Instead of shooting street photography, I brought this 35mm out to a local farm over the weekend and tried to shoot whatever I came across just with this lens. Check out my images below!

 

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Above: The above are not your regular food chicken. These are prized pets!

Below: I am shocked that farmers here had managed to climatize Grape vines for our crazily hot Singapore.

The Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN (C) was fast in focusing and great to use for this visit. The short minimum focus distance really helps a lot for my close-ups.

 

 

The color – when the Sigma 35mm F2 was paired to my Sony a7R, both complimented
each other like a perfect match. I got great colors, lots of details, high quality and contrasty images. Really a joy to use!

35mm is also a great focal length (for me) as I always rather pick 35mm over 50mm due to the slightly wider angle of view so that I may frame both near and far away subjects easily.

 

After the farm visit and a quick dinner, I decided to take the Sigma 35mm F2 to Chinatown for a walk and check out the light-up for Mid Autumn Festival. The 35mm turned into a night monster easily. The F2 aperture just gave me lots of added advantage in low light.

Above: Positioned my camera on the floor and got the above shot with a slow shutter.

Below: Bumped into another Photographer (Janice) who was out cycling so took this chance to test the bokeh too.


In Summary, the Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN (C) is definitely my favorite so far after I had shot with the 45mm and 65mm. 35mm has always been an “in-between” range (between 24mm & 50mm) and it is also a very popular focal length for street photographers. The fast & silent focusing is accurate and the big aperture coupled with a close focusing distance and a high magnification ratio, this is the One lens that you need to cover a lot of genre and shooting  in various situations.

Like my previous review, I strongly feel that Sigma should have given these new DG DN lenses a new naming convention rather than just designating them under the Contemporary (C) line. They are really more ART (A) then just being Contemporary (C) – pun intended.

Buying this Lens
If you are feeling adventurous & curious about this Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN (C), then you should go ahead & buy this lens. Buy from our accredited merchants for a peace of mind!

Renting this Camera/Lens – (Please check for availability first)
For those of you who wish to try out this lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is probably available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:

crclogo-small.jpg
Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: https://camerarental.biz/

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Reviewer: Chief Editor AL Lee
IMG_7567.JPG
Chief Editor & Founder of Ourshutterjourney.com Worldwide and Principal Trainer at Ourshutterjourney Photography Academy. AL is a commercial photographer as well as an educator who believes in the art of digital memories. An ambassador of several photography brands, AL is well versed in many camera systems. Someone once told us AL’s man cave looks more like a camera store than a bedroom.

========================
About Ourshutterjourney.com
Visit Our Online Store
Join Our Membership.

=========================

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Posted in Accredited Merchants, Brand: Sigma, Group Test & Reviews, Ourshutterjourney Reviews | Leave a comment

Camera Rental Centre Promotion Extended to End 2022

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Camera Rental Centre Promotion Extended to End 2022
Text by Lee Shi Qing

07th September 2021, Singapore & Malaysia – We are pleased to announced that we had received news from our rental Partner – Camera Rental Centre Singapore – that our partnership for rental deals for Ourshutterjourney Card Members will be extended till 31st December 2022!

Ourshutterjourney Card Members
– will continue to enjoy 20% OFF for your first rental and subsequent rental* will be fixed at 10% till 31st December 2022! So remember to quote your card number when you are booking an equipment for rental!
close-up-person-s-hand-holding-blank-white-card_23-2147899602
*Limited to Photography Equipment ONLY!

 

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Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: https://camerarental.biz/ 

 

 

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Contributing Editor – Lee Shi Qing
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A firm believer of Self-Sufficient living and gives no f**k to anyone getting in her way to reaching her goals in life. Kind in nature & Dangerous when provoked. Loves Mcdonald’s Fries and hates all the burgers there. While she helps out in gear reviews, Qing is currently serving as an Online Administrator for Ourshutterjourney.com Facebook Groups and Online Shop.

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Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN (C)

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Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN (C)
Text by Editor AL

Image: Editor AL with the new Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN (C) paired to a Sony a7R posing here with Masterpiece Megatron somewhere in Singapore.

06th September 2021, Singapore/ Cybertron Recently Sigma Singapore sent us the Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN (C) lens along with the 24mm & 35mm which we will be reviewing them separately. The 65mm F2 is part the new “i” series lenses from Sigma that are super compact, built like a tank & promises performance. Following the success of the 45mm F2.8 (C) which we reviewed last year, Sigma releases the 65mm F2 (C), 24mm F3.5 (C) & the ever popular 35mm F2 (C) as part of the “i” series lenses from Sigma.

Although designated as a C (Contemporary line) lens, the 65mm (and the other 3 too) feels like a wrongly badged lenses as they produces great images, fast apertures and built super solid. This review unit is a Sony mount, let’s start from the size – measuring at 72mm × 76.7mm (L Mount is slightly shorter), this is a tiny lens given that the focal length is 65mm and a mid-telephoto.  At the front, the 65mm take 62mm circular filters and comes with a dedicated metal lens hood. (Sigma LH-656-01)

Also read: Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN (C) here.

 

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The aperture ring reminds us of an era from another dimension. I like how the aperture ring clicks when I want to adjust it manually but most of the time, I left it in “A” as I personally like to adjust my aperture using dials.  The whole lens barrel are made from Sigma’s TSC compound along with aluminum making the lens very weighty but still pretty light at 405gm.

 

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Inside the lens, the optics are arranged in 12 elements in 9 group with a 9 blade (rounded) aperture. The 65mm starts focusing from as close as 55cm and has a magnification ratio of 1:6.8 which is very decent. The aperture opens from F2 to F22 and the sweet spot for this lens has to be around F2.4-F2.8 as that was when I got the best bokeh and the focused subject is the sharpest. I am not sure if this is limited to this Sony mount example or it applies to the L mount example too – this I am not too sure.

 

And so I took the 65mm out to Evolution Garden at Botanic Gardens and doing a dual review as I am also reviewing a toy at the same time. Let’s check out the images!

 

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At 65mm, it’s a “weird” focal length since most will likely go for 50mm or 85mm for full frame users however, when I was on the review, I discovered that 65mm with a close focusing distance was actually very useful and in fact purposeful.

I super like how the colors turned out when I paired it with my Sony a7R. And the 65mm focuses really fast and super quiet. At some point during my walk, I came to a part of the garden which was eerily quiet. Still, I can’t hear the lens focusing, well I am impressed.

 

 

And to add, the 65mm focuses very accurately and very fast. I will give it “less than half a second” and the focus landed accurately every single time. As my expectations of Sigma lenses had increased over the years (since I started reviewing Sigma back in 2008), I felt that Sigma had upped the ante a lot over the years too. In simple words, Sigma has kept up with the demands of photographers throughout all these years.


Image: Uncle Koh (OldKingKoh) taking a shot of Serene from Serene|Digital|Crafts who was also present at the Evolution Garden when I was doing the review.

 

I am not exactly a portrait person when I am not shooting commercially although I provide portrait services for various genres, you can say that I prefers to separate my work with leisure. The 65mm in my view – is more than just a simple mid-telephoto lens, it is also a superb street photography lens, a good walkabout lens if you are someone who likes to take a closer view to small subjects, while wanting a better range to shoot faraway subjects (and crop later).

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OK, let me reveal a shot of the toy that I was reviewing. It’s a Masterpiece Megatron from G-Mierch.

 

In summary, the Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN (C) lens gave me more than I expected. In fact, I hope Sigma will start a new line for the “i” lenses as it definitely feels much better quality than the earlier “C” (Contemporary line) lenses and it is very close to the “A” (Art line). Quiet and super fast focusing, light weight and solidly built, I almost forget I was using a Sigma, it’s an experience that you have to experience it yourself to understand how I came to this conclusion. The 65mm is inexpensive and definitely a great lens to use with my Sony system!

OK here’s a part shot from Serene|Digital|Crafts. Do check out my sweat! Hahahaha!

Buying this Lens
If you are feeling adventurous & curious about this Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN (C), then you should go ahead & buy this lens. Buy from our accredited merchants for a peace of mind!

Renting this Camera/Lens – (Please check for availability first)
For those of you who wish to try out this lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is probably available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:

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Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: https://camerarental.biz/

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Reviewer: Chief Editor AL Lee
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Chief Editor & Founder of Ourshutterjourney.com Worldwide and Principal Trainer at Ourshutterjourney Photography Academy. AL is a commercial photographer as well as an educator who believes in the art of digital memories. An ambassador of several photography brands, AL is well versed in many camera systems. Someone once told us AL’s man cave looks more like a camera store than a bedroom.

========================
About Ourshutterjourney.com
Visit Our Online Store
Join Our Membership.

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Posted in Accredited Merchants, Brand: Sigma, Brand: Sony, Group Test & Reviews, Ourshutterjourney Reviews, Photography Articles & Videos | Tagged | Leave a comment

Random Rent & Shoot Outing with CRC

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Random Rent & Shoot with CRC
– Text by Melody Tan

Image: Team Ourshutterjourney at Camera Rental Centre Collecting Pre-assigned Gear 

30th August 2021, Singapore – We decided to do something different and interesting for our August 2021 outing. After much thought, the Editorial Team suggested to our Chief (AL) why not do a “Random Rent & Shoot” outing. He accepted the idea citing this will be a good test of one’s ability to adapt and operate other brand’s gear and so the outing was planned for August’s official outing. Due to the foregoing restrictions on social gathering up to 5 pax, the team was split into 2 teams of 3 pax.

The concept of this outing – photographers are usually very familiar with the gear that they are using (native) and there are always fear of using another brand’s equipment – unfamiliar menus, camera/lens behavior, finding settings etc. So this outing is to get the guys to rent a camera/lens that are not familiar to them. As usual, we roped in our rental partner – Camera Rental Centre – and shared with them this idea. They requested for the attendees’ current system so that they can planned and issue a set of equipment that is NOT native to the user. (sounds like Fun!) It’s like the good old “Tik Kam” – its like a lottery.

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The 2 teams went to collect the gear from Camera Rental Centre  at their given time slot and they were in for a surprise!


Image: Peggy Teo collecting her “tik kam” gear from CRC.

 

Peggy is a known Sony user and Camera Rental Centre  decided to issue her a Fujifilm XT-4 with a Fujifilm XF 8-16mm F2.8R LM WR lens.

 


Image: Uncle Koh a.k.a OldKingKoh collecting his “tik kam” gear from CRC.


Uncle Koh is a known Fujifilm/Nikon/Samsung user and Camera Rental Centre decided to issue him a Canon M6 Mark II with a Canon EF M18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM lens.

 

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Image: Nash collecting his “tik kam” gear from CRC.


Nash is a known Olympus user and Camera Rental Centre decided to issue him a Nikon Z6 Mark II with a Nikon Z 14-30mm F4 S lens.

 

Image: Serene collecting her “tik kam” gear from CRC.


Serene (Serene Digital Craft) is a known Olympus user and Camera Rental Centre decided to issue her a Canon R6 with a Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM lens.

 

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Image: Kennedy (KK) collecting his “tik kam” gear from CRC.

Kennedy is a known Olympus user and Camera Rental Centre decided to issue him a Nikon D4 with a Nikon AF-S 35mm F1.8 G lens.

 


Image: AL collecting his “tik kam” gear from CRC.

 

AL (our Chief Editor) is a known multi-brand user and Camera Rental Centre decided to issue him a surprise Medium Format Fujifilm GFX 50R with a Fujifilm GF 32-64mm F4 R LM WR lens. (Thanks Jason for the surprise!)

 

And so, after collecting their “Tik Kam” gear, the team spent about 5 mins orientating themselves with the new gear and there was so much laughter as suddenly this group of season photographers became “beginners” again. Apparently lost, everyone tried to find the usual controls for their shutter, aperture, ISO etc and in 5 mins, they are good to go.

The route selected for this outing is from CRC (CMO Building)> Clarke Quay> Clemenceau & back. Time given was 2 solid hours to use the “Tik Kam” gear and shoot whatever the attendees wants. Let’s see what they said about their “Tik Kam” gear and check out some of the images they shot during this outing.

AL LEE
Let’s start with our Chief Editor, AL. He was issued a Fujifilm GFX 50R with a Fujifilm GF 32-64mm F4 R LM WR lens. Let’s check out some of his images and his comments below.

AL: “I was surprised when I was issued the Fujifilm GFX 50R with a Fujifilm GF 32-64mm F4 R LM WR lens. Its a digital Medium Format camera. Although I have a few Fujifilm mirrorless cameras, the GFX is a monster by any standard. From a first time user, I find that everything is easy to navigate and definitely user-friendly on the GFX50R. Its quite a sizeable camera (medium format camera hallo?!?!)”

AL: “Walking through Hong Kong Street to Clarke Quay, I realised the GFX is actually quite a superb street camera – the amount of details captured is unimaginable. Apart from the size which I kinda got used to, this is a very enjoyable camera to use. To add, since the Pentax 645D, the Fujifilm GFX is another great medium format camera that one can use for street or even portraits.”

AL: “I chanced upon an interesting restaurant – WINGS Bar – the facade features a replica 1942 bomber which is a crowd-puller – then I met the service staff – super friendly when I asked about the menu and also invited them for a photo – they happily obliged. Their service uniforms are air force inspired too. They serves various types of chicken wings, beers and lots of finger food options as well as main courses! Do check them out!~ They are located at 3D, River Valley Road, #01-02, Singapore 179023 (near the centre main fountain area).”

 

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Peggy Teo
As a native Sony user, she is known for her experimental shots and a great lover for Sun rise/ Sun set photos. She was issued a Fujifilm XT-4 with a Fujifilm XF 8-16mm F2.8R LM WR lens. Sony to Fujifilm is not (quite) easy given the menu layout is very different, so let check out Peggy’s images & her comments below!

Peggy: “Without prior information nor knowledge nor a manuel, it was indeed daunting to handle an unfamiliar camera. A quick run through the camera with the help of Mr. Koh, I did a quick check to figure out the settings/dials, to understand some quirks and hidden functions i might not otherwise be aware of in this unfamiliar camera.” 

 

Peggy: “Went out on my rounds to gain real shooting experiences, tikam tikam to see how lighting changes, understand the characteristics of the camera/lenses, with much assistance from along the way. It was nonetheless fun to live out the challenge!”

 

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Uncle Koh Lye Huat a.k.a OldKingKoh
One of the famous photography Uncle in Singapore, JB and some say Batam, he is an all-rounder photographer although it is noted that he loves shooting flowers & historic sites in Singapore. He is also widely known as a huge fan of Fujifilm but he also uses Samsung & Nikon often too. For this outing-challenge, Uncle Koh was issued the Canon M6 Mark II with a Canon EF M18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM lens. Let’s check out his images & comments!

Koh: “The event was officially announced to be held on the 28th August 2021 – coded named “Random Rent & Shoot” and in a group of 5 fully vaccinated participants. The gear will be rented from Camera Rental Center on a totally random basis – means I won’t know what I will be getting until the collection time. Totally random & unexpected, they gave me a Canon M6 Mark II.”

Koh: “The above shot was shot from opposite the river. The 18-150mm was surprisingly good in terms of image quality and details. I had not used this camera before since whatever gear we were given, we have to use & shoot.”

Koh: “We went on a rampage around the area around Clarke Quay and blasted away. Some of us even came back with 2000+ shots, but as for me I was armed with an unfamiliar Canon M6 Mark2 with an 18-150mm lens.  Honestly I did no justice with it as I came back with only 117 shots at the end of the day. But it’s quality over quantity right? Anyway the Canon M6 Mark 2 is a very manageable camera for walks like this.”


 

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Nash Teh
An Olympus user who had tried almost every Olympus Zuiko lens ever made, he was issued the Nikon Z6 Mark II with a Nikon Z 14-30mm F4 S lens. The Z6 being a very different camera (Nikon), switching between Olympus & Nikon is by no means an easy task. The handling, the layout and menu is contrasting on a different level. Let’s check out Nash images & comments below.  

Nash: “My hunch was right, I will be getting a NIKON! But I never expect to be given a Z6 mark II. I was thinking maybe I’d get some other Nikon models – comparing with my current system, the Nikon Z6 Mark II is indeed much superior in many ways. I am so happy about it.”

 

Nash: “The Z6 Mark II is light-weight, comes with touch screen, and a flipable screen. Best of all, it is not overly-sensitive when my face touches the camera screen. Although the Z6 is optimized for video shooting, it is very competent for still photography too. In addition, the multiple-focus points on the screen is very useful when it comes to shooting street with people.”

 

 

Nash: “As an ‘Electronics-Savvy’ person, I would say, it did not take me a lot of time to master the basic controls of this camera. It is an easy camera to use. I would really love to get my hands on this camera one day.”

 

 

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Serene Ong
Widely known as “O Se Re” or “Serene from Serene Digital Crafts”, she is also our contributing Editor for gear reviews. An avid Olympus user, she was issued a Canon R6 with Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM lens. Some say seeing Serene without an Olympus on her hand is weird, (actually) we agreed to that saying too. Let’s check out her images & comments below.

Serene: “Before the camera was issued to me, I was nervous and worried as I do not know which camera/lens I was going to be issued. Especially if its a camera that was unfamiliar to me.”

 



Serene: “
However, After receiving the camera (Canon R6), I was able to feel less anxious as (luckily) I was once a Canon user. With Uncle Koh’s kind assistance, I was able to familiarise fast. The R6 was easy to operate and manage.”

Serene: “Overall, the experience was extremely enjoyable and exciting. This ‘Tik Kam’ outing is superb and very fun! Thanks CRC for co-organising this event and I was able to get a cheaper price for renting a camera beyond this outing as an Ourshutterjourney Card member.”

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Kennedy Lim (KK)
One of the few photographers that we know who lives, eat & breathe Olympus cameras, probably the best way to “sabo” him will be to issue him a completely different camera. He was issued the mighty Nikon D4 with a Nikon AF-S 35mm F1.8 G lens.

 
Kennedy: “I was surprised & excited when I was issued the Nikon D4 with a 35mm prime lens. The D4 is a legend camera when it replaced the D3 and the specs are way ahead of time. Although the D4 had aged, it is still a very competent performer a definitely made for the pro users.”

 



Kennedy: “The FPS are crazy, just imagine, when the D4 was launch a few years ago, it was the industry’s fastest FPS DSLR with a ridiculously high dynamic range. I used it for this outing and I like the crazy speed.”

Kennedy: “While many cited that the D4 is a great sport or birding DSLR, I personally think it is also a superb Street Photography camera. I love the images that I’ve gotten from this outing. The ‘Tik Kam’ idea was damn good and creative. Else I do not think I will have a chance to use this camera.”

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Well it seems that it had been a very fun outing for the group! Renting a camera randomly and learning it within minutes is definitely challenging but also fun at the same time!

Thinking to rent a camera or lens to try before purchasing? Do check out our appointed Vendor Camera Rental Centre!

THANK YOU CAMERA RENTAL CENTRE FOR MAKING THIS HAPPENED!
– from ALL of us at Ourshutterjourney.com

PS: Ourshutterjourney Card Members Enjoys Special Rental Deals!

Here’s a Parting Shot~

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Contributing Editor – Melody Tan
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Loves quiet walks along beaches, has a mind of her own and decides everything in life in either black or white with nothing in between. Her priority these days revolves around her 2 lovely kids & teaching them music or photography. A lover of yoga and an avid traveler, Melody aims to visit at least 30 countries before she reach 40 years old – from what we know, she had completed 27 as of 2018.
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Posted in Brand: Canon, Brand: Fujifilm, Brand: Nikon, Brand: Olympus, Brand: Sony, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pang Teng Lin (冯廷莲) Featured on 银色嘉年华

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Pang Teng Lin (冯廷莲) Featured on 银色嘉年华
Text by AL Lee

Image: Pang Teng Lin in Action.


Featured Video after the jump

10th July 2021, Singapore
– One of our group Trainer (and Senior Member) – Pang Teng Lin got featured on 银色嘉年华 (or Silver Carnival) on 7th July 2021. It was a special feature for seniors in Singapore who live life to the fullest after retirement. Feature includes seniors who live their lives differently after they retires & those who hone their hobbies into professional level.

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Tenglin first joined the group in 2016 and she had been with us since, rising up from a regular member to a trainer in the span of 5 years. She had won multiple awards – including awards from our competitions and her work had also been exhibited in our national-level exhibitions (SnapShots Series) winning accolades from other photographers. To add, she was also a graduate from our Academy’s Street Photography Masterclass which she graduated with full competency.

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I first met Tenglin in 2013 during an event by Canon Singapore that I was leading. She came across to me as a very humble learner as well as someone with a great learning attitude. It was much later that I found out that she was a retired educator herself.


Image: Can you spot Tenglin & AL?

 

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Let’s check out the Featured Video!

 

Tenglin is active with many photography groups in Singapore and she has built up a following for her work throughout the years. Her images are mostly on public view so you may wish to check out her work here.

A little snippet, I once asked Tenglin why she never stopped learning despite having gained lots of experience in shooting and had followed many photography teachers over the years. Her answer is:

“I never stop learning as I believe no one will be able to learn everything, so I continue learning as much as I can, for as long as I could.”. – Pang Teng Lin

Personally as an Educator, I have seen my fair share of learners who are stubborn, refused to embrace new things, new skills, new technologies but Tengling is definitely a different breed. From her former background as a Teacher, she fully understood what educators had gone through. Thus she is very appreciative of all her photography teachers as she views those knowledge that she has gained is far more precious than gold.

Some of her teachers are:
(in alphabetical order)
Allan Lee (SJS/OSJ)
Andrew JK Tan (Mentography)
Edwin Koo (KIO)
Francis Lee (Private)
Goh Kim Hui (PSS)
Goh Koon Peng (PSS)
Guohaoshui (Private)
Jeffrey Wong (PSS)
Paul Hui Man Yan (PSS)
Wilson Wong (SPIN)

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Despite all the awards that Tenglin has won in photography, she remains humble and is always ready to share what she knows with fellow photographers. She is selfless and most willing to teach if anyone is keen to learn. We got a lot to learn from Tenglin. Congratulations Tenglin for the recognition & keep up the good work!

Do check out her work or follow her here.

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Reviewer: Chief Editor AL Lee
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Chief Editor & Founder of Ourshutterjourney.com Worldwide and Principal Trainer at Ourshutterjourney Photography Academy. AL is a commercial photographer as well as an educator who believes in the art of digital memories. An ambassador of several photography brands, AL is well versed in many camera systems. Someone once told us AL’s man cave looks more like a camera store than a bedroom.

========================
About Ourshutterjourney.com
Visit Our Online Store
Join Our Membership.

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