The Esplanade Drive

I still have some left-over leave days carried over from last year, so I decided to take Fridays off till the end of March. I could use the extra weekly day off for a lot of things, but mainly I wanted to relax a bit. Aside from that, I also wanted to explore some areas in Singapore for photo hunting purposes. What for? Well, to sharpened my photography skills of course, which is getting a bit dull and was only so-so to begin with (at least by my standard, which I set rather high).

My weekly Friday off started in the third week of February. Around 7 o’clock in the morning I headed off to the Esplanade area. I planned to take a photo of the Esplanade bridge in the early morning’s ‘magic’ hour, when the sunlight has a slightly golden-yellow cast to it. It would make the underside of the bridge glow with bright-yet-soft yellow color. I know this because a few months back when I took a photo of the Helix I chatted with a fellow photographer who also happened to be taking photos there as well. He showed me some of his photo collection. One of them was a photo of the Esplanade bridge glowing yellow. He was kind enough to let me know where and when I can get that kind of result. So that was my aim that Friday morning.

The color of the sun depends on the weather. To get the golden-yellow hue it should not be obstructed by overcast cloud, which was unfortunately the case that morning. I was a bit disappointed by the weather. However, there was nothing I could do to change that and because I was already there I might as well make the most out of it. I chose a spot and set up my tripod and camera.

The Esplanade Bridge

Considering the situation, the results came out pretty well. I used a 1-stop ND filter coupled with a 0.6 ND grad for the bridge shot. I took several shots but the one above is the one I like the most.

I looked behind my back as I saw the sunlight getting stronger as the late morning was passing. I decided to take a shot of Marina Bay Sands standing in the background with the sun next to it. I used an additional gold-colored filter to get the red-yellow sky. The result you can see below.

Sunrise in Marina Bay Sands

I was not entirely happy by the sun’s condition that morning so I walked around the area slightly aimless, undecided whether or not to head back and call it a day. Then I remember the pedestrian walkway under the bridge and I thought that maybe I could take a photo to highlight the symmetry of the bridge (something I noticed during one of my earlier visits there). I headed down to the walkway and again set up my tripod and camera. A pleasant old caucasian man said hi as I was setting up my gears. He also happened to carry a dSLR with him, perhaps on a photo hunt as well. As we chatted he told me that he was in Singapore for the Air Show that was being held later that weekend. We talked about the gears we have and he also said that he would be visiting Borneo later on in the year.

Anyways, we had a good chat. After a while we parted ways I continued my photo hunt and had my results. The photo result was also okay, but I didn’t exactly like the color. Perhaps I just need to get a better CPL, and I definitely need better filters! Lee Filters FTW! Sorry about that. Anyways, I decided to make the photo black and white, and it really came out well. Just see the photo below.

Yin and Yang

The B&W version really shows the light and shadow play between the left and right pillars. You could probably guess why I named it ‘Yin & Yang’.

The sun was already quite high in the sky by the time I was done. I decided to call it a day and I hoped that the next time I go down there the sun will show its golden ray.


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