Birding Photography Adventure @ Berlayer Creek

My birding and wildlife photography adventure continues on, with my last photography adventure at Lorong Halus Wetland. For this outing, my destination was Berlayer Creek, the park connector segment of the NParks Southern Ridges that connects the whole loop together along with the recent completion of Bukit Chermin Boardwalk and Alexandra Trail. The NParks Park Connectors network is an excellent design and concept that connects many different nature reserves and parks together with trails and roads, excellent for leisure and recreational usage, it’s an area that I would want to share more of our Park Connectors networks, for both the greenery, wildlife, leisure and outdoor recreation features across the whole of Singapore.

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Berlayer Creek, a stream that leads into a mangrove swamp before entering into the sea, is a beautiful space of greenery and wildlife residing inside. It is easily accessible via Labrador Park MRT Station of the Circle Line, the starting point is just beside Labrador Park MRT Station and the boardwalk allows you to have an easy and leisure walk/run towards Bukit Chermin Boardwalk or Labrador Park Nature Reserve. Do check out NParks guide to Labrador Nature and Coastal Walk, it’s very helpful and useful! Before entering/starting on the Berlayer Creek trail, there is a sheltered pavilion and the pavilion roof deck allows the trekkers to have an elevated view of Berlayer Creek. When you are walking down the Berlayer Creek boardwalk, do observe the flora and fauna, as well as the wildlife residing inside. Along the Berlayer Creek boardwalk, there are lookout points that trekkers can rest and relax while enjoying the sceneries. For the wildlife photographers, it’s a great opportunity to wait and observe the wildlife, it’s an amazing place with 60 bird species, 19 species of fish and 14 true mangrove plant species that have been recorded there!

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I waited patiently at each of the lookout points and it was a good outing for me! There were a number of birds being spotted along with some of the wildlife there! Here’s some of those wildlife that I managed to capture when I was there for my birding/wildlife photography adventure!

Oriental Dollarbird

Common Kingfisher

Collared Kingfisher

–  Malayan Water Monitor Lizard

– Giant Mudskipper

Striated Heron

Black-naped Oriole 

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Walking towards the end of Berlayer Creek, the stream/mangrove enters the sea. This is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy! I had very fond memories of this place because I saw a double rainbow for the very first time in my life on 21st January 2012! I had a fun and relaxing time in the great outdoors with my photography gear and capturing images of wildlife, flora, fauna and sceneries. The nature reserves, parks, trails and park connectors are a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of our fast paced city life. Looking ahead, I am hoping to re-discover and re-explore Singapore’s countrywide nature reserves, parks, trails and park connectors, adding on to my different locations/destinations folders from my Wildlife/Animal Photography collection on Flickr.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Total Defence Day 2013

This day, the 15th February is an important and significant day in Singapore’s history. In the year 1942, on the 15th February, Singapore fell to Japanese control when the British forces led by General Percival surrendered at 1820hrs to the Japanese Army. Every 15th February marks Total Defence Day, it also marks the anniversary of the surrender of Singapore during World War II.  Total Defence is for everybody to play a part no matter how big or small, in everyday aspects of our life from all walks of the society, to make our country Singapore, more resilient.

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15th February 2013 marks the 71st Anniversary of the surrender of Singapore during World War II.  The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) organised commemoration events in conjunction with Total Defence Day. I was invited by MINDEF Public Affairs to a private military event a Weapons Presentation Ceremony for the new recruits of 1st Battalion, Singapore Guards at War Memorial Park, which was part of 2013 Total Defence Day events.

The Weapons Presentation Ceremony is a special and unique event for the recruits during Basic Military Training when they made the symbolic first step from recruits into soldiers. This kind of ceremony is usually private and held in SAF camps or a place of historical significance. Being a former soldier that served my National Service, I went through the Weapons Presentation Ceremony before, in my camp. It was an important event and significant for the recruits that were presented with the weapons to defend our country Singapore.

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War Memorial Park is an ideal location for the Weapons Presentation Ceremony, it was constructed to remember all the civilian lives lost during World War II. The 61 meters tall monument, consisting of four columns, representing the four races in Singapore, joined at the base, signifying the unity of all the races. The new recruits of 1st Battalion, Singapore Guards; that were presented with their weapons at the War Memorial Park, would deeply remember their role, purpose, significance and importance of their roles in defending Singapore as a soldier of the Singapore Armed Forces. The Total Defence Day event on 15th February 2013, started with the placement of wreath by ceremonial military police, followed by the Last Post (Bugle Call) and the Observation of 1-minute of silence. It was a sombre moment with the Last Post being sounded and the moment of silence, reminding us of the fallen civilians during World War II. At 1820hrs, the weapons were presented to the recruits of 1st Battalion Singapore Guards, the approximate time when General Percival of the British forces signed the surrender agreement of Singapore in 1942.

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The weapons presentation was also attended and observed by family members of the recruits of the 1st Battalion Singapore Guards. Watching the weapons presentation ceremony from the sidelines, this brought back my National Service memories when I also went through the ceremony. After the weapons were all presented to the recruits, it was followed by the Recitation of the Weapon Pledge, the Recitation of the SAF Pledge and lastly the National Anthem of Singapore.

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While this marked the end of the ceremony and Total Defence Day 2013, their importance and significance must never be forgotten. Lest We Forget Total Defence Day. I would like to say a big Thank You to MINDEF Public Affairs for this special invitation to attend and observe this special ceremony.

Journey of my sports/wildlife photography setup

Photography, when I first entered into this wonderful world, there was no turning back. I remembered the first real influence on my photography and still am a huge influence today, it wass National Geographic, their wildlife photography, travels, photojournalism in visiting countries, cultures and history etc. Therefore, wildlife photography was a field that I liked a lot yet I didn’t really explore due to equipment and budget constraints.

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I have another area whereby I have a very strong interest and that is sports, playing, watching, analyzing and photographing high speed sports action, especially football, rugby, Formula One. Although my current setup did allow me to take sports and wildlife photography, comprising of the Canon EOS 1D Mark III and EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM. I have plans to raise myself to another level in my sports and wildlife photography, with the addition of a prime lens, the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L USM Mark I.

The Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L USM lens is an ideal dream lens (a basic prime lens for sports/wildlife and a must have lens) for most sports and wildlife photography, without going into too much of a comparison of which other prime lens (such as the 400mm, 500mm or 600mm) would be more suitable/better. I saw this beautiful lens probably about more than a year ago, it was a mint and well kept used lens. I tried and held it, knowing that it was a second hand lens, manufactured around June 1995.  Being a very cost conscious and prudent person, never rushing into buying anything (I am a typical Capricorn). I planned my budgeting, weigh the costs and “returns”, almost everyday dreaming about owning an excellent condition second hand telephoto L prime lens.

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After a period of time of contemplating and deciding, I finally made a decision that I never regretted, making a reservation for the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L USM Mark I lens and collecting it on the 22nd Sep 2012 that was Day 2 of Singapore GP 2012. I was very happy to own this beautiful and awesome lens, which can fulfill my sports and wildlife photography (mostly). However, the journey didn’t end here and it only just begun on 22nd Sep 2012, I realized that my current accessories such as tripod, monopod and ball head were unable to handle the weight of my Canon EOS 1D Mark III and EF 300mm f/2.8 L USM Mark I combination.

This was an enriching and enlightening journey, chatting with photography mentors/seniors, Uncle Nelson, Mr Chan, Philip and Daniel. I learned about how heavy a tripod and a ball head (respectively) can take the weight of my new heavy weight combination. There was quite a bit of homework to research the various tripod and ball head brands and their technical specifications. Further in-depth research and analysis was finding a tele-converter and considering a gimbal head for my setup. Finally, after intensive research, planning, weighing the costs and requirements, I decided on the following additional accessories, after 4 months of researching, planning, asking for advice. The purchase flow execution took place a few times over the 4 months, doing it stage by stage, from tele-converter, monopod, ball head, tripod and finally camouflage lens cover. With each individual item separately added over a period of 4 months and on the 22nd January 2013, the Lens Coat camouflage cover arrived, signifying the completion of sports and wildlife photography setup (first round).

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Here’s my sports and wildlife photography setup that I built up over a period of 4 months

–       Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L USM Mark I

–       Manfrotto 055XProB

–       Sirui Ball head

–       Monopod

–       Lens Coat Camouflage Neoprene Cover for EF 300mm f/2.8 L USM Non-IS Mark I

–       Canon Extender 1.4x Tele-Converter (TC) Mark I (Mint second hand condition)

–       Peak Design Leash (to strap onto my 300mm allowing easy carrying it around)

Along with my Canon EOS 1D Mark III and EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM, these would be sports and wildlife photography setup. Not to forget my new jungle hat gift from my Scoutmaster friends in Hawaii, the multi-functional headwear buff by National Geographic and Oakley Half Jacket!

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This is my story, a journey of my sports/wildlife photography setup, which took time, patience, planning, budgeting and lastly dreaming to make it turn into a reality! With a planned post like this, a portrait shot with my gear was on my agenda. Fellow photographer Renhao kindly agreed to help me out and I had a new portrait/profile photo and new cover photograph for my Facebook Page (that would be updated soon!)

Looking and moving ahead, I promised to bring my sports and wildlife photography to a new and higher level, sharing with all my readers and supporters here, who had been following and supporting me all these time! Here are my sports and wildlife photography portfolio!

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Wildlife Photography

Sports Moments Photography

Flickr

Sports Photography Collection

Wildlife/Animal Photography Collection

Birding Photography Adventure @ Lorong Halus Wetland

With the introduction and testing of the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L lens, loaned to me by my boss/colleague. I slowly got myself more interested in birding/wildlife photography with my current setup suitable for both sports and wildlife photography. Birding and wildlife photography also brought me to more green spaces in Singapore that I wanted to explore again or revisiting those green nature belts/park connectors that I haven’t been to for quite a long time such as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a destination that I have to revisit since my last trip there!

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Till date, I covered the following areas near my home for birding and wildlife photography, West Coast Park, Sungei Ulu Pandan Park Connector and Botanic Gardens. There were quite a number of different species of bird residing/visiting both areas mentioned above. My birding photography adventure was fun, quite a bit of waiting, being very observant and quiet, with some decent and nice photographs!

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One area that I was very keen to explore was the Lorong Halus Wetland, part of the National Parks Singapore North Eastern Riverine Loop, this extensive network of park connectors that I haven’t finish exploring. I heard so much about this wetland over time and keen to visit it. On a public holiday Monday morning, my boss/colleague brought me there and showed me where to drive in, where to explore and what to watch out for at Lorong Halus Wetland. The wetland was beside the Serangoon Tidal Gates (dam/barrage) that enclosed Sungei Serangoon. Leading into the sea. This is a very beautiful and tranquil location, greenery on the sides, the river and the sea.

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Since it was my maiden trip to Lorong Halus Wetlands and my emphasis was on birding photography, I didn’t take landscape/travel photos of this beautiful area. I would be planning to visit it again and share more photographs of my birding adventure and the surrounding areas. During this maiden trip to Lorong Halus Wetlands, I managed to spot and photograph the following birds

–       Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater

–       Common Kingfisher

–       Paddyfield Pipit

–       Long-Tailed Shrike

–       Raptor  (ID to be confirmed, it should be from the Buzzard family)

–       Spotted Dove

–       Baya Weaver

–       Grey Heron

There are a lot more species of birds residing and visiting at the Lorong Halus Wetlands, my hope for photographing the raptors around there didn’t materalise since they didn’t fly out to hunt for food (or they might have flew off to their home destination).

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During my short time at Lorong Halus Wetland, I learned a few tips on birding photography from my boss/colleague, an avid bird photographer and photography seniors that I usually chat with at my regular photography shop.

–       Birds are creatures of habits; they would usually be back at their favourite/usual locations.

–       Patience is a must for bird photography.

–       Explore and recce the location on where to camp/position yourself next time when you return for bird photography.

–       Always mount your lens before going in there. You might just spot some birds along the way in (if you are driving).

–       The time frame to photograph the birds is not long, probably a few hours in the early morning from 7am to 10am or late afternoon around 4-6pm (when the weather is not too hot).

–       Don’t make too much noise and talk too loudly, our voices and sound can frighten the birds to fly away and hide.

–       Be very observant and always keep a lookout of the surroundings and skyline.

–       Always be ready to “fire and photograph”

–       Shoot at a high shutter speed (or higher if you prefer) e.g. 1/1000 to freeze the birds in action since their reaction and speed can be very fast.

–       Read up and understand more about the various birds.

–       Consider a tripod or a monopod; both have their pros and cons. It also depends on whether you would be camping at one location or walking around to explore and look for the birds.

–       Have the handy NSS Bird Guide App with you in your smartphone (especially useful and helpful for me to identify the various birds that I photographed)

–       Wear clothes that blend in well with your surroundings e.g. green/brown/khaki clothes.

–       A hat/cap is very useful to provide shade for you from the strong sunlight.

–       A pair of binoculars would be very handy and useful.

–       Be prepared to get wet, muddy and dirty when exploring in the forest, wetlands, swamps etc

–       Do not rush into photographing all the birds in the area, be patient, revisit the location over and over again.

–       Do not destroy habitats or nests of the birds and wildlife.

–     Take only photographs and memories; leave no litter behind, don’t take anything from the natural surroundings. Leave nothing behind but your footsteps only.

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It’s also good to stay up to date with the following groups for more information and updates on the wildlife, nature reserves and birding photography in Singapore, especially on migratory birds arrival

–       National Parks Singapore

–       Nature Society Singapore

–       Birding Singapore

–       Saving Bidadari for Birds and People

–       Nature Photographic Society Singapore

I would be combining bird photography with nature/conservation photography in some areas for the upcoming months in 2013 and I hope that I would be able to share more of my stories and photos here with everybody here. Do take a lookout of my birding photography collection on Flickr and 500px!


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Happy Chinese New Year 2013 !

Let’s all welcome the Year of the Water Snake, marking the start of the new Chinese Lunar New Year! With a new start, I would like to thank all my supporters, fans, followers and  readers for all your support and encouragement in my photojournalistic journey throughout! It’s been an exciting and fruitful adventure for me, with many photographs and stories. Looking and moving ahead in 2013, I m striving to share more wonderful, exciting and unique stories, beautiful photographs on both my photo blog and personal blog. Let this be an new start for everybody! May the Year of the Water Snake be a fruitful and successful year for everybody!

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Along with the bright and awesome fireworks at River Hongbao 2013, welcoming the Year of the Water Snake, wishing all of you a bright and prosperous year ahead in the Year of the Snake!

祝大家新年快乐,万事如意!

身体健康,财源广进,生意兴隆,国泰民安!

恭喜发财,年年有余,学业进步,喜结良缘!

River Hongbao 2013

River Hongbao 2013 is back at Marina Bay Singapore, held at The Float @ Marina Bay from 8th February 2013 to 16th February 2013. This would be my 6th time covering and photographing River Hongbao, enjoying my time taking photographs and the fireworks on Chinese New Year Eve to welcome in the new Chinese New Year! Here’s my River Hongbao photographs collection from 2008 to 2013 on Flickr! Let me bring you back in time and recap together my River Hongbao adventures!

River Hongbao 2008

River Hongbao 2009

River Hongbao 2010

River Hongbao 2011

River Hongbao 2012

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I went down to River Hongbao 2013 on their opening night, 8th February 2013. The River Hongbao 2013 was officially declared opened by the Guest Of Honour, President Dr Tony Tan and there was a 3 minutes fireworks to help warmly welcome the official opening! The displays and lanterns always lights me up with their colours and designs. There are troupe performances from Guangdong province that would be performing during the River Hongbao 2013 period, do check out the performance schedule listing and drop by to watch their performances! Besides performances, there are Guangdong handicrafts and Guangdong delicacies at River Hongbao 2013! Besides River Hongbao displays and performances, there are rides at the Amusement Park for the little kids to enjoy and have fun as well! If you are hungry, there is Food Street for you to grab some local food and Guangdong delicacies!

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The highlights for me at River Hongbao would definitely be the lanterns and colourful displays, along with the fireworks on the opening night and Chinese New Year Eve to welcome the new Chinese New Year! I would photograph every one of the twelve animal signs of the Chinese Zodiac, they always make it an interesting collection of photographs for me to collect and keep over the years that I attended River Hongbao! I felt that the other lanterns and displays at River Hongbao 2013 is interesting and unique, it would be a great event for families to bring down their children to attend and share with them more on our Chinese New Year celebrations and culture! With Chinese New Year Day 3 being a public holiday off-in-lieu since Chinese New Year Day 1 falls on a Sunday, it would be a event that you can bring your family and loved ones there or with your friends to enjoy the Chinese New Year festivities.

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Here’s some useful links on River Hongbao 2013 whereby you can find more information and updates!

River Hongbao website

River Hongbao Facebook

On Day 2 of River  Hongbao 2013, Chinese New Year Eve, the River Hongbao 2013 was very lively and busy with many people. From the seats at the Floating Platform, overlooking The Float @ Marina Bay whereby River Hongbao 2013 action was happening. There was a sea of people and action around the lanterns, displays and watching performances. At 12 midnight, everybody there at River Hongbao 2013 ushered in the Year of the Snake together, watching the fireworks display! I was there to capture the fireworks too with fellow Marina Bay AmBAYssadors!

After 2 days of covering River Hongbao 2013, I began to look back at my 5 years of River Hongbao and this is my 6th year photographing, writing and sharing this wonderful event. This has always been an event that I like to photograph, sharing the colours and festivities. There are bright and colourful, that can be seen through my River Hongbao 2013 photographs collection. Do visit River Hongbao 2013 to enjoy the Chinese New Year festivities and welcome the Year of the Snake!


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Spring Celebrations 2013 at Gardens By The Bay

Spring Celebrations 2013 is happening at Gardens By The Bay! Welcoming the Year of the Snake with a beautiful of flora display in the flower dome featuring some 8,000 colourful blooms. The Gardens By The Bay is definitely a destination to visit during the Chinese New Year period holidays with your family and loved ones, enjoying the beautiful flowers blooming and sculptures around the Gardens By The Bay. I was invited by National Parks Singapore (NParks) and Marina Bay Division Singapore to visit the Spring Celebrations 2013, sharing information and photographs of the Spring Celebrations 2013 at Gardens By The Bay, with fellow Marina Bay AmBAYssadors.

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We took the Garden Cruiser to tour the Gardens By The Bay and had a greater understanding of the different unique sculptures located in the various parts of the Gardens. Therefore, when you are visiting Gardens By The Bay, do keep a lookout for them! When you are at Gardens By The Bay, you have to visit the the Meadow, you can see something very unique and very impressive, it’s a “very big infant” sculpture, by internationally acclaimed artist Marc Quinn. The impressive sculpture is known as Planet, explores the intimate relationship between nature and humanity, and serves as a natural extension of the Gardens’ efforts to connect people with the stories of plants and the planet. The sculpture is a depiction of the artist’s infant son and he can be seen appearing to be “floating” above the ground. You have to visit this impressive sculpture yourself to view it! Do visit Gardens By The Bay during this Chinese New Year holidays period!

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Next stop was Flower Dome, one of my favourite places in Gardens By The Bay. Inside the Flowers Dome, Spring Celebrations is in the air! With about 8,000 colourful blooms, spectacular and in bright colours, you can find a selection of penjing (or bonsai) up to 200 years old, 3-metre-long snake topiaries, grand kumquat plants measuring 3 metres in diameter, and life-sized oriental pavilions inside the Flower Dome. Here’s more information about Spring Celebrations 2013 at Gardens By The Bay!

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Some quick information on Spring Celebrations 2013

Dates: 1 to 28 February 2013

Time: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Location: Flower Dome

Details: Admission charges into the Cooled Conservatories apply. Tickets can be purchased here.

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Here are the flowers that you can spot inside the Flower Dome during Spring Celebrations 2013 at Gardens By The Bay

Penjing (various species) 

Torch Bromeliad 

Cherry Blossom

Chrysanthemums

Coralberry

Camellia

Peonies

Cymbidium Orchids

I had a fun time photographing the various flower blossoms inside the Flower Dome at Gardens By The Bay and would go back again to enjoy the flora and fauna, enjoy the greens and gardens. Besides that, I am keen and looking forward to photograph more different perspectives and views of the SuperTrees during the night! Do check out my dedicated Flickr collection and 500px collection on Gardens By The Bay!

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After finishing our visit at the Flower Dome, we were hosted to a dinner at Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant, located at Flower Dome by NParks and Marina Bay Division Singapore, with a Lo Hei to welcome the Year of the Snake, wealth, prosperity and good luck in the Year of the Snake! This was a time for networking and catching up with fellow Marina Bay AmBAYssadors, photographers, social media enthusiasts and bloggers, along with NParks and Marina Bay Division staff. I would like to say a big Thank You to NParks and Marina Bay Division Singapore for the warm hospitality and time with us!

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Wishing all 恭喜发财! See you all at Gardens By The Bay Spring Celebrations 2013!


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Capture, Share, Discover Anywhere with Flickr App

Sharing photographs with loved ones, friends and the world wide web, is something that we photographers (most of us) love to share our beautiful works and masterpieces. Photography today has changed a lot over the years, especially in the digital era along with the expansion of the use of social media tools and the various social media channels/platforms. Photography today is fast, on the move and live updates, with the revolution and evolution of mobile photography. There are a few photography sharing platforms/sites, such as Flickr, 500px, Smugmug etc etc. I am currently using Flickr and 500px, to host and share my selected photographs.

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I was recently invited to a Yahoo event whereby they presented and shared with the attendees on the Flickr App. Since I had already downloaded and started using the Flickr App before the event, I didn’t really explore the Flickr App more in-depth and the Yahoo presentation gave me a greater insight of this powerful user friendly photography app that it was capable of that didn’t cross my mind and exploration of the app. Today, I would be sharing about the Flickr App, that allows you, the photographer to Capture, Share, Discover, Anywhere Anytime with the app itself. Flickr is not just for professional photographers, it’s just as suitable for semi-professional, amateurs and fun leisure photographers too! Here’s the link to Apple iTunes App store for you to download the Flickr App, do download it and start sharing away with your family members and loved ones! When you downloaded the Flickr App and started using it, there are more interesting functions and features inside the Flickr App that you would find it useful and handy for your photography sharing! For more on what’s new, check out the Flickr blog (http://blog.flickr.net/en/2012/12/12/our-latest-flickr-iphone-app/).

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The Flickr App user interface is great, user friendly and easy to use. Sharing across Flickr, social media channels and platforms is simple and easy too! Let me share with you more information of the other capabilities and functions of the Flickr App –

– Capture the Moment

– Filters

– Built in Photo Editor

– Share with the world

– Discover the huge collection of the beautiful world of photographs inside the Flickr community

– Use the Flickr App to showcase your current portfolios to your loved ones, friends and those who are interested in your photography works

– Tilt to Full-Screen and to see HD photos

– Follow and discover your friends photographs

– Easy access to a photograph’s information and in-depth EXIF Data

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The best and most fun experience is to go and download the Flickr App and use it! Please do go ahead and download the Flickr App, have fun, play with the app, take photographs, share it! Do connect with me here with your Flickr app and photography !

Flickr

TanGengHui Photography Page

Photoblog

Personal blog

Here’s a short video about the Flick App ! Hope you enjoy the Flickr App experience to Capture, Share, Discover Anywhere with Flickr App!! I would like to thank Yahoo for providing the screenshot photographs and video!