Tuesday, November 03, 2009
I view them in the same light as the photos I used to take with my Holga in '98 and '99: they are lo-res snapshots that capture a slice of life as I see it, walking around the city.
"The best camera is the one you have with you": I read this many years ago somewhere on the net (and now there's a book dedicated to it, as well as other articles), and it rings more and more true as each year goes by.
I have many good cameras, but I often only have my iPhone with me: in a way, this is not so much trying to work around a limitation, as a return to the basics. Once resolution, sharpness and focus are out of your control (as they are with cheaper cameras) then composition is the only thing you can determine. Tone can be adjusted slightly afterwards, but shooting with the iPhone makes me concentrate on composition. I regard these photos as practice, as well as a record of life.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This shot captures a lot of what scuba diving means for me - the sense of mystery and exploration, the alien landscapes (seascapes?) of coral reefs, and most of all, the fact that scuba diving is like flying - the closest we'll ever get to three-dimensionally free moving flying.
Though I've been scuba-diving since 2006, I've only recently got a proper underwater photography kit. Most of the photos I took on this dive trip to Pulau Aur were what I'd call "procedural" - the equivalent of tourist snapshots, albeit at depth. This is the only "art" shot I made on the whole trip, and even so it was a case of neccessity - the flash on my camera had limited range, and the whole photo came out too blue.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
View over Gurney Drive
So our little trip to Penang is over, and we're safe at home with the cats. The verdict on Penang: it's the food. I hate to say this, but all the historical heritage in Georgetown couldn't drag us away from the food. Now, next time I visit Penang, I'll soak up the history in Georgetown till it comes out of my ears ... but this trip was for the makan.
Not that that's all we did. There was some time for some history of a more personal nature - my wife went looking for her grandma's old house, which in the end we figured isn't standing anymore. All we have are pictures of where it might have been - but it was an interesting walk to get there, and it's something less than usual for us.
But in the end, it was all about the food =)
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Fishing Off Gurney Drive
Walked around today, looking for an old address that my wife remembered. Walking around, you see a city from street level, and you see the small things - like this boy fishing off Gurney Drive.
The G Hotel is slightly more cosmopolitan than we imagined ... I thought it was some sort of beach hotel, but it turns out that Gurney Drive overlooks more mudflats than beach, and the hotel is next to a shopping mall - well, to be fair, they're so close I'd call them conjoined. This is not a problem for Singaporeans - we just inserted more shopping into our plans =)
After dinner, we had a short walk along Gurney Drive, and saw a red moon rising over the horizon. By the time we started photographing it, it was more blood orange, and over the course of our attempts to take a clear photo, it became yellow. The locals must've thought we were made, the way we contorted our bodies trying to find a stable spot for the camera.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
The last time I went to the US, 11 years ago, it was my last big Journey as a student. It was the last time I traveled the way I traveled as a university student - you know: on a budget, dirt poor, hostels and backpacking and such. Everything after that was Vacations - because Vacations only exist when you Work, and indeed they are defined in contrast to Work. Vacations connote a minimum of 3-star hotels, room service, and bathrooms you don't have to share with the entire floor. Oh, and baggage that rolls on wheels, rather than weighs on your back.
This most recent trip was worse than a Vacation: it was Work. We were travelling to meet with several universities, along a route that was eerily similar to the route I took the last time - except everything was different. Instead of traveling with friends, it was colleagues. Instead of buses and trains, domestic flights. Instead of grubby youth hostels, business hotels. And instead of Seeing The World, it was Meeting Important People.
So I can't really say I got to see the US the same way I did in '98 - after all, to paraphrase Heraclitus, you can't go on the journey twice. The country has changed, and so have you.
I did manage to sneak some time away to go for a few walks through the various cities - Washington and New York primarily - recapturing a bit of that old feeling of excitement, wandering alone through a foreign city. For various reasons (sheer exhaustion and the cold being high on the list) Boston was experienced primarily indoors, or within the various meeting rooms of various universities. New York remains for me one my favourite - if not the favourite - cities, for the simple reason that I've never felt like a stranger there - not when everyone feels like a stranger. There's an equality of alienation, and, because of that, a sense of being at ease. You're much more yourself than you could be elsewhere.
I Have a Dream
It's a bit ironic that the only time I can undertake major journeys now is when they are work-sanctioned: other than that, the thought of a long journey seems impossible, with the conflicting schedules my wife and I have. I have thought about returning to visit my old University in the UK, but such a trip seems impossible to plan now.
Our second driving holiday in Malaysia. There's something nice about driving yourself on holiday - besides the fact that it's cheaper, it keep you closer to the ground, literally, but also figuratively in the sense you see more of the country. Chasing a double rainbow on the North-South highway driving home was an added bonus - she drove while I desperately tried my hand at that obscure field of photography called "Digital Infra-Red Rainbow Photography (moving vehicle sub-set, high-speed category)". Suffice to say that, had the shots turned out well enough to show, they'd be here.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Our host described Jakarta was a city of juxtapositions. How true: driving through the city is like a cutting through a layer cake of society: slums next to gated luxury apartments. Our driver took us on a short cut through a poor district, where the houses crowded onto the road and I could literally wind down the window and knock on someone's front door and where 50 metres after I saw a little boy taking a dump into an open drain, we emerged straight into a shopping centre where the Gucci and Prada was separated from the outside world only by the metal detectors and security guards.
One more thing: the Jakarta Post is counting down to Obama's inauguration on their front page: "4 Days to Change", stamped right across the banner title. How cool is that.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
The Cenotaph, first in infra-red:
then, for comparison, in visible light:
While I like both photographs, I think the photos make it quite clear why I go to the trouble of shooting in digital infra-red: it affords the opportunity to see the world in (literally) a different light.