Photo Essay

Islands Of The Island Of Singapore

img 87381 Islands Of The Island Of Singapore Jamie Chan

I had been busy island hopping during the past few weeks. The best part comes when I can actually use the phrase I am on an island of an island.
Yes, my country is an island which happens to own several islands.

First up, would be the trip to St John’s, Lazarus and Kusu Island(:

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View from the top of the boat! Think: climbing up a ladder(:

St John’s, Lazarus and Kusu Island

It was most probably named after a saint called John and it used as an isolation island in the past! Which means, people with rabies or any sort of contagious disease will be shipped off to that island and possibly left to die there or something along those lines.

Along with a few of my mates, Group name: ‘The Dan Tarts’ we tried to fly a kite.

Conclusion: Photographers are not born to fly kites.

Anyways, we then headed to Lazarus and Kusu Island after many failed attempts of trying to get the kite up in the air and I made the following images.

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Tripodophobia -Fear of Tripods
Definition by: The Jamie Chan Dictionary

I admire photographers who actually give a damn about bringing their tripods out for a shoot. The fact that they took time to set it up, mount their camera and composed a shot from it is pretty amazing for me as I am more of a hold your breath for half a second and hail mary kind of photographer.
To lug along the metal monster of a Velbon (my tripod) drains probably more than half of my energy even before I step out of my house to start shooting. It is heavy/ cumbersome/ ancient -you name it. I absolutely detest carrying it around.

In fact, the only time I brought the Velbon out was when I was forced to do so or when I needed to be a little more ‘professional-looking’ by having a tripod at hand which actually makes a really good excuse for me to visit my chiropractor in which I have not done so in a while. Then again, for most parts, the Velbon will either be unused or carried by someone else as it is so troublesome to set it up! I rather hold my breath and get some artistic blur effect than to force the legs open, get it levelled, unlock the legs, adjust the height of all three sides, turn the reel for the middle section, mount my camera, level my camera, make tiny shifts here and there to get the composition I want, attach the shutter release and finally, CLICK. *Insert curse word* I need to be about 5cm lower, repeat process.

Thus I never actually used and worked with an actual tripod on location until recently when I tried shooting landscapes.
I shoot landscapes now. Landscapes are cool.

I was pretty sceptical about shooting landscapes because my idea of landscapes is to shoot a piece of rock or a body of water. It was pretty boring to me coupled with my Tripodophobia at its height, I would rather stay at home, hug my dog and shoot my dolls.

Hold your breath for half a second and HAIL MARY.

I. Enjoyed. Shooting. Landscapes.

Okay your stunned look in front of your monitors/ devices that allows you to read my blog, I take it, is your way of saying good on you Jamie!
Yes, people. Landscapes.    I like.

The world still turns, the sun is still gonna rise from the east and I like shooting landscapes(:
It is actually rather peaceful because you are cliche coming up ‘one’ with your environment/ mother nature as you figure out if it is worth standing at the same spot like a moron while you wait for the sun to stop hiding behind the clouds.
During my trips to the islands, there were no cars or city noises. Just the occasional hum of generators, the sea and the sound of nature which incidentally sounds a lot like pesky insects buzzing around your ears, trying to freak the living daylights out of you.

I certainly do not see myself as the next Ansel Adam but hey, baby steps. I am actually setting up my tripod.
Of course, the images from St John’s Island are pretty much rubbish but I have a soft spot for the next few images I took at Ubin (another island off Singapore) as I do not feel like burning them.

Ubin Island


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This next image  has nothing really special to it but I have a story to tell for this one(:

img 9365 Islands Of The Island Of Singapore Jamie Chan

I’d done some crazy shit in my life and this one made it to the list.
You’ve heard of photographers or even myself standing under the rain, getting wet, testing out if the weatherproofing on our camera is strong enough to survive the next tsunami blablabla but what happens when it comes to an actual storm? Like a soaked cat kind of storm.

When I was shooting this, it was raining but I decided to grab a poncho to shield the camera and run out to shoot this as I told myself I have to get that shot before I left Ubin. I thought to myself, no worries, the camera has a poncho, what is the worse that can happen, -a cold?

I shot blindly as I unscrewed the original filter on my lens and replaced it with the ND filter. I could not stack the two filters together as there were water droplets all over and my hands were shaking from the cold which makes it a bad idea to handhold the filter as well. So I screwed it on and went great. Now I can’t see a thing…
I did a mental calculation on how the 24mm will look like and when I finally set up my tripod, went hail Mary that I nailed my composition and clicked for my ‘test’ shot, I looked up a saw a freaking oncoming storm. Do you know how it feels like to face a storm? I did, but I can feel a refresher course coming.

I saw rain clouds moving towards me while the wind was trying to stuff hair into my eyes. Along with those rain clouds, I spied flashes of lighting. Well, that was not that bad until I realized I was standing under a freaking coconut tree -monkeys excluded.

Basic Survival Guide 101 – great waves, lightning, rain, wind and a brand new ND filter. Oh did I mentioned that I was standing under a tree?
Call the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

I had three hail mary shots before the storm hit me in full force and it was pretty scary when the storm was just right in front of me while I was shooting. It’s like an invisible barrier makes me braver and more moronic at the same time whenever I have my camera in front of me. I was soaked while my camera was fingers cross relatively dry except for the filter which was dripping wet…
Are ND filters weatherproofed by any chance?

Then again, I really enjoyed the chance to shoot as these few months had been really stifling for me. Think, Captive Dolphin.
I’ve been in a slump for way too long and at the rate, I am going, I am really afraid I might lose my craft.
I try so hard but it is never good enough no?

Anyways, this image kind of sums up my entire Ubin trip:

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OMG HDR!!! Or at least, my first attempt at HDR-ing an image.

Ominous clouds, serene nature and the swirly mash of colours are kayaks in which three of my mates were on. While the person behind the camera with the lovely Canon lens is my partner for Ponyodays Visuals.

Which brings me to my next good news that we are setting up a company that is hopefully not called Ponyodays Visuals. As you can tell, we really a name for our new company so suggestions are very much welcomed and needed.
We shoot a wide range of commercial job from I hate to announce this WEDDINGS to Divorce Parties, events, documentary/ photojournalism related areas and well, we dabble(:

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We really need a name T_T

Do check out her works!

Have fun, stay happy, keep shooting and on that note, I shall end off with an image of the Dan Tarts(:

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