On Having Fun Doing Street Photography

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Ever since I got my NEX 7 I have been doing a lot of street photography. The camera is small, thus easy to carry around. The angled viewfinder screen also allows me to take candid photos without the subjects barely noticing. Kind of hard to do when you have a huge dSLR aimed at them.

And the picture quality is just excellent.

One area in particular where I like to do street photography is in Singapore’s Chinatown area. The place is teeming with so many photo opportunities it’s dizzying. For example, there’s the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple with its frequent ceremonies and relic showcases. Behind the temple you will find a spot frequented by senior gentlemen with colorful personalities who like to play a form of Chinese chess. Nearby from these spots a colorful Hindu temple called the Sri Mariamman Temple can be found. And there are the alleyways. Plenty of alleyways with their own unique characters. And from the 2-3 times I visited the place I believe that I’m only scratching the surface in terms of all the photo opportunities the area offers.

I must confess that until recently I rarely do street photography, which at times would require one to warm up to your subjects. My naturally shy bearing, coupled with language barrier (people here mostly speak Hokkien which I know zilch about) would get in the way of my confidence in taking close ups of people. But I tried my best to blend in the background, not draw attention to myself, and take candid shots (have I mentioned how I love the angled screen viewfinder?). If any of the subjects notice I’d try putting on a smile, hoping that they were not too annoyed with my taking photos of them. We’ll see if a few more visits can embolden me further to interact with them.

Even though most of the time I tried to keep to myself, in almost all of my visits to Chinatown photographers would strike a conversation with me. All of them ang mo (this is the Singaporean’s term for caucasians). Then a lengthy discussions would ensue, mostly regarding the gears we have and great places to visit for photography in Singapore. I just find this kind of funny that instead of having conversations with my subjects I instead have conversations with fellow photographers.

I do, however, enjoy them.

As soon as I have a newer laptop I’ll be posting the photos I got (lame excuse, I know, but 24 MP is huge and my 2007 MacBook just couldn’t cut it anymore). In the mean time, I’ll still be visiting Chinatown often.

Taking the Monday Off from Work

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Personally, the best kind of holiday is the one where you’re the only one having it. And that’s exactly what I had yesterday. After dropping my wife off at the airport early in the morning (she’s on a week-long business trip to Tokyo, Japan… lucky her) and putting an ‘Out of Office’ notice in my Outlook, I decided to go out to Chinatown area and test drive my recently-acquired Sony NEX-7.

You probably heard that I managed to sell my Nikon D300. I used the extra cash to get myself this wonderful mirrorless camera from Sony. For those of you who don’t know what an insanely great this camera is, try reading reviews from sites such as dpreview.com and photographyblog.com. Unfortunately, Sony’s NEX series camera system suffers from meager selection of available native E-mount lenses (E-mount is Sony’s NEX lens system). It’s a great camera, however, if you have a collection of legacy lenses. I’m planning to get a Nikon lens adapter so that I could use my Nikon lenses on this camera.

The test drive was fun. It was easy to get myself used to shooting photos using this camera. The Tri-Navi system works wonderfully. After roughly 4 hours of street photography I came away generally impressed with the easy handling and great results. I was not that happy with the AF, but maybe that’s just because I got used to being pampered with my Nikon D3 lightning-fast AF.

I should just create a separate blog entry for the impression before I got carried away talking about this camera.

Anyways, I had a great time enjoying my Monday off from work. Aside from filling my SD card to the brim with photos I also got myself another Transformers figure (Generation Wheeljack, a classic character!) in one of the shops in Chinatown Square Center. Yeah, I just geeked out there.

That’s all for this aside. For now. I’m planning to post my impression of the Sony NEX-7 in a later blog. Here’s hoping that all of you are having a great start of the week so far!