I'm a Singapore event photographer; specializing in corporate events, weddings and birthday parties.


Bukit Panjang Bus Interchange, Singapore

  • Nikon D7000, 35mm f1.8
  • At f9.5, 1/250 seconds, ISO 400. Should have gone for ISO 100.
  • Center weighted metering, Program exposure. I've learned my lesson now, no more aperture priority in bright daylight. Leave it on Program mode, not aperture priority. 
Next to the Bukit Panjang LRT station, opposite Bukit Panjang Plaza, but is otherwise smack in the middle of a residential area. High rise buildings in the background are apartments. 

Buses are run by the SMRT (the train operators), not SBS Transit (the bus company). Many of the bus license plates are TIB, which probably means they are from the old TIBS (Trans Island Bus Service). Corporate musical chairs.

Does that matter? The Transitlink smartcard works on both bus services, so you don't need to know who operates the bus when boarding. But the SBS website doesn't carry information on the SMRT bus services, and vice versa.

For photos like this, you need to force yourself to tilt the camera up. Normal tendency is to place the buses in the center, but then you get a lot of empty road at the bottom of the photo, which doesn't look good.

Three part theory: the three parts of the photo are the buses, the trees, and the buildings. Sky is washed out, doesn't count. Imagine the photo without the trees: bland.


People's Park Complex, Singapore

  • Nikon D80, Sigma 20mm f1.8
  • At f5.6, 1/350 seconds, ISO 100
  • Center weighted metering, aperture priority
  • Increased fill light using Picasa
This is along Eu Tong Sen street, Chinatown.

Photo shows the top part of the People's Park Complex, the apartment blocks. The building looks cooler this way, without the shopping center below. Actually looks more like Hong Kong than Singapore: I'm thinking of the music video sequence in the Ghost in the Shell anime.

Walked down the street, taking photos every 10 meters or so, to get the best angle. About 6pm. Lots of light, so I set ISO 100 and f5.6 aperture priority and let the camera set the shutter speed on center-weighted metering.

Turned out a bit under-exposed because is sort of back-lit by the sky. Had to adjust a bit in Picasa.

The three-part composition theory holds (you need at least three main items of interest in a photo). The building makes up two parts: the green staircases are one part, and the yellow walls are the other. The sky is colorful enough to be the third. Now imagine if the whole building was painted yellow. Not as striking, right?

The hyacinthus blog has more information on the building.

Geylang Chinese Methodist Church, Singapore

  • Nikon D7000, 35mm f1.8
  • At f2, 1/6000 seconds, ISO 100 (should have gone for f5.6, but I'm too used to shooting indoors and will go for the largest aperture by default)
  • Auto white balance, center weighted metering, aperture-priority, auto ISO 
  • Boosted fill light two stops using Picasa. I did an exposure lock on the ground, but I guess it didn't work and the exposure was thrown off by the sky and white walls.
Lots of Christians in Singapore. Small churches all over the place. This one is next to the Aljunied MRT station.

Looks a bit like some condos because half the ground floor is a parking lot, with the main building built over the cars. Couldn't fit the parking lot into the photo. Took this photo because of the windows at the bottom left. Unusual design, simple and modern. Some friends later pointed out that the windows are crucifixes. I hadn't noticed that.

The tree at the bottom right helps to balance out the photo. Most photos, you need at least three main elements to make it work. If only two, it looks too plain. This photo has the sky, building, and tree. Seriously, that small patch of green there is important.

Ananas Cafe, Singapore

  • Nikon D7000, 35mm f1.8
  • At f2, 1/250 seconds, ISO 100 (should have gone for f4 at ISO 400, never mind)
  • Auto white balance, center weighted metering, aperture-priority, auto ISO
This is like a mini food court, with only three stalls. When I saw "cafe" I was expecting one seller and was confused that I had to order drinks from another stall. Conventional wisdom says that drinks are the most profitable, so the owner won't let other stalls sell drinks. Owner of the drinks stall is usually the owner or main tenant of the place, and he or a relative will be manning the cash register.

There are three stalls: drinks, chicken rice, and mixed noodles. Mixed noodles means it's like a rice stall: with canteen-style scoop-from-a-large-dish meat and veg dishes, only served with dry noodles instead of rice.

It's located in the Aljunied MRT building.


True Buddha Shi Cheng Temple, Singapore

Wasn't sure what this was. Looks like a Chinese Association building from the outside, but when I peeked in I saw candles. There was a sign in Chinese on top, but I can't read Chinese. Couldn't fit the sign into the photo. I could have pulled back to get it in, but then motorcycles and other junk at the sides would have gotten in too.

Anyway, I later Googled the street address (117) and the road (Sim's Avenue) and found out that it was a temple.
  • Nikon D7000, 35mm f1.8
  • At f4, 1/1500 seconds, ISO 400
  • Auto white balance, center weighted metering, aperture-priority, auto ISO

Old Shophouses Along Sims Avenue, Singapore

  • Nikon D7000, 35mm f1.8
  • At f4, 1/3000 seconds, ISO 400
  • Auto white balance, center weighted metering, aperture-priority, auto ISO
There are still a lot of old shophouses like these in Singapore. Not renovated into up-market yuppiefied cafes like those in town, still serving as ordinary shophouses. Some of these aren't even air-conditioned. From the closed windows, the top floor of all of these are, but bottom floor of some, aren't. 

The bright paint makes these stand out. Many are pretty drab and run down.  

SBS Bus and Bus Stop, Singapore

Singapore has double-decker buses. Pretty cool. I remember seeing a tourist family board one, many years ago. The son, about ten years old, was really excited about going to the top level, but the father didn't allow him to. The son got pretty upset. 

There are bus stops about every 300 meters, almost anywhere in Singapore. The bus service is well run. There were a few separate bus companies, but were consolidated into the Singapore Bus Service (SBS). It's now called SBS Transit, because they run some light rail (LRT) systems too. Probably dropped the whole "bus" thing from their name so the full name is just SBS Transit, for all I know.

Until a few years ago, when the SMRT that runs the trains, got into the bus business too. I guess the government thought that competition would be good, after all. 

The signs on the metal post on the right, shows the service number of the buses stopping there. Underneath the bus stop, there are detailed route tables for all the services. All this information is kept up to date. I remember seeing a change in bus service at one bus stop. The new information was updated on the same day the service was changed.

  • Nikon D7000, 35mm f1.8
  • At f2 (I hate fractional f-stops), 1/2000 seconds, ISO 100
  • Auto white balance, center weighted metering, aperture-priority, auto ISO (didn't get a chance to trigger because this is in bright afternoon sunlight)
Driver's face is blocked by reflection on the windscreen. Ah well, you can't have everything. Huge advertisement plastered on the side, but you can't see what it is from this angle. What does work, is the two guys walking to the bus stop. Adds balance to the photo.

Rice Delivery Truck, Singapore

  • Nikon D7000, 35mm f1.8
  • At f4 (if you've got light to spare, stop down a bit as margin against focus error), 1/1000 seconds, ISO 400.
  • Auto white balance, center weighted metering, aperture-priority, auto ISO (didn't get a chance to trigger because I set the minimum ISO to 400, and this is in bright afternoon sunlight)

Old-school advertisement on a rice delivery truck. Wouldn't look out of place in a photo from 30 or 40 years ago. For a more modern design, take a look at this refrigerated delivery truck.

Truck says:
Golden Palace
100% Premium Fragrant Rice

Refrigerated Delivery Truck, Singapore

  • Nikon D7000, 34mm f1.8
  • At f2, 1/60 seconds, ISO 125
  • Auto white balance, center weighted metering, aperture-priority, auto ISO (set to trigger at 1/60 seconds, which explains the fractional ISO)

This is a refrigerated delivery truck. Love the colors. Found it parked in a residential area at 7pm. The driver probably lives nearby and had knocked off for the day. For a more traditional design, take a look at this rice delivery truck.

I can still remember back in school, seeing a pink truck in the driveway of a house near the school, almost every day. Some puppy shampoo company van. 

The truck says:
Cultured Greens
We care for your wellness
Processed & Packed for your Convenience.

Prop Match Taxi Advertisement, Singapore

  • Nikon D7000, 18-200mm f3.5-5.6
  • At 34mm, f5.6, 1/350 seconds, ISO 100
  • Auto white balance, center weighted metering, program exposure, auto ISO (can't remember what minimum shutter speed I set, but it didn't trigger because even at ISO 100 the shutter speed is already 1/350, this is bright noon sunlight)

I like advertisements. They seem to tell you something about the culture that is both surface and deep. This photo is a twofer: taxi ad in front of a political banner. 

Taxi ad is:
Need some privacy?
Find your own home
@ www.propmatch.com

The banner behind says:
Dr Teo Ho Pin
Mayor of North West District
MP for Bukit Panjang Constituency
Chairman of Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council
Wishes All Residents
Gong Xi Fa Cai

MP, Member of Parliament
Gong Xi Fa Cai, Happy Chinese New Year
Bukit Panjang, Long Hill (in Malay)

Small banner on the left is from the police:

Wendy's Restaurant, Singapore

  • Nikon D7000, 18-200mm f3.5-5.6
  • At 18mm, f3.5, 1/125 seconds, ISO 1000
  • Auto white balance, center weighted metering, program exposure, auto ISO (minimum shutter speed set to 1/125)

Wendy's just opened in Singapore last year. This one is in Plaza by the Park, near the Singapore Art Museum. I was getting tired of the normal fast food here and was looking forward to them opening.

When they finally did open, the first thing I tried was the breakfast, which wasn't too impressive. Their lunch/dinner was better. Not as different as I had hoped, but yes, at least some variety.  

I remember them being in Malaysia in the 1980s (they pulled out later) and was surprised to find out that they weren't in Singapore then.


Taxi Cab With DHL Advertisement, Singapore

  • Nikon D7000, 18-200mm f3.5-5.6
  • At 105mm, f6.7, 1/750 seconds, ISO 6400
  • Center weighted metering, Program exposure, Auto white balance

This was on Hill Street, outside Funan. Slogan on the advertisement is "No One Delivers F1 Like We Do." I like the ads on the taxis and buses here. Adds color to the place. I used to work with a marketing manager, who preferred taxi ads over bus ads. Her reasoning was that a taxi will run all over Singapore and get more exposure, while a bus is limited to one route. I still prefer bus ads because they are nice and big. 

Tech products age fast, gives photos a sense of history. I have an old photo of a bus ad taken with a Sony digital camera that uses 3.5 inch floppy disks. The ad is for Iomega Zip drives. 

ISO 6400 is a bit high for daylight. I was testing high ISO on the new camera. This is frame number 52 on my spanking new D7000.

Duck and Hippo Sightseeing Bus, Singapore

This is one of the Duck and Hippo buses. Their website is http://www.ducktours.com.sg/

Took this photo on the way home after buying the D7000 from Funan IT Mall, so I was in "test camera" mode, taking photos of everything. This is somewhere near City Hall MRT, but I'm not sure where.

I set ISO to 1600 to test out the high ISO performance. Surprisingly, the high ISO was needed: shutter speed is only 1/125 seconds. It was a cloudy day, 5:30pm in the evening.
  • Nikon D7000, 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 
  • At 26mm, f5.6, 1/125 seconds, ISO 1600
  • Auto white balance, center-weighted metering, Program mode

SOTA, School of The Arts, Singapore

Trunk of the tree is not in the photo. What looks like the trunk is part of the building. The guy sitting there was there when I walked past. I didn't ask him to model for me.

Whenever I see the building, I think of the movie Fame. It's next to the Cathay Cineplex building, where I like to go for movies. It's at the end of Orchard Road, less busy than the rest of Orchard Road. 
  • Nikon D7000, 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 
  • At 34mm f4.2, ISO 800, 1/125 seconds.
  • Center-weighted metering, Program exposure mode, auto white balance

Like most day shots, this is easy because there's lots of light. No tricky yellow light either. Set everything on auto and you'll be fine. It was a bit under-exposed because of all the white. Boosted fill light about two stops using Picasa.

Clarke Quay, Singapore

  • Nikon D7000, 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 
  • At f4, 18mm, 1/60 seconds, ISO 720.
  • Center-weighted metering, aperture priority, auto ISO.

Okay it's touristy, but I was there and the light was good. About 7pm, so the buildings are lit up but the sky is still bright.

I like this shot because of the view of the diners at the bottom left. You only get this view within a small area on the bridge. A few meters left or right and you don't see it. I think most people who walk around the area won't notice this photo-taking spot.

Compositionally, there are three elements that make the photo work: row of buildings on top, diners at the bottom left, boats at the bottom right. Oh yeah, the sky too.

I set aperture priority f4 instead of f3.5 because I find the fractional f stop annoying. Shutter speed was controlled via minimum shutter speed setting on the auto ISO, which is why you get a weird fractional ISO of 720. So basically this is aperture and shutter priority with the exposure controlled by ISO.

Center-weighted works because the scene is still quite evenly lit by daylight. Later in the evening, I switched to manual exposure and adjusted off the LCD playback.

Apartments along River Valley Road, Singapore

  • Nikon D7000 and 18-200mm f3.5-5.6
  • At 50mm, f4.8, ISO 100, 1/180 seconds

Cloudy afternoon, but still lots of light. I set auto-ISO minimum shutter speed as 1/60 seconds, and still managed to stay at ISO 100. Outdoors photography is easy.

Center-weighted metering. I knew there would be no problems with this scene, especially with Active D-Lighting. Aperture priority, set to maximum aperture. The fractional stop f4.8 is of course due to the variable maximum aperture zoom.
Four separate apartment buildings, compressed together by the telephoto perspective. It's the colored one on the left that makes it work, otherwise the photo would be rather plain. Yes, blue sky is fake, courtesy of Picasa.

Just happened to be there, but I did have to walk around a bit to get the best angle. Three layers - sky, buildings, trees - adds balance and interest to the photo.


Corner of Singapore Art Museum

Corner of the Singapore Art Museum, next to Dome Cafe. Used to be a Catholic boys' school, St. Joseph's Institution. St. Joseph's is still around, but in a different location. Along Bras Basah Road, opposite the Singapore Management University. After the museum opened, a friend and I went for a free guided tour of the exhibits. The tour guide looked at us and asked if we were St. Joseph's old boys. We weren't. I guess we didn't look like culture vultures. 

  • Nikon D80, Sigma 20mm f1.8 
  • At f6.7, 1/200 seconds (max. flash synch speed), ISO 400.
  • Center-weighted metering, Program exposure mode (which explains the fractional aperture stop, I'd use full stops in manual mode).

Used the D80's built-in flash to fill in the building against the afternoon sky. Not much else to say. With daylight photos, you've got lots of light, so exposures are easy. You don't often get blue skies in Singapore. When you do, grab the chance to take photos.

Old Shophouses along Petain Road, Singapore

  • Nikon D7000, 35mm f1.8 
  • At f2, 1/60 seconds, ISO 100

Center-weighted meter, aperture priority, auto ISO (minimum shutter speed 1/60, which is now what I set if there is enough light, 1/30 indoors, 1/15 if it is really dark).

Tree is a bit out of focus, should have gone down to f5.6. Lots of light, was only at ISO 100.

About 7pm. Lights in one of the rooms were switched on, which adds a nice spot of color. Purposely positioned the tree at the side, otherwise the photo will be a bit bland. Couldn't get a good shot with the ground floor, blocked by parked trucks and cars.

I'm really liking the 35mm f1.8. Going to be my main lens.

Whole group of roads there, near Farrer Park MRT, named after WWI generals. There's another bunch of roads near Changi Airport, named after WWII RAF Fighter Command airfields.