LG G2 Mobile Photography Workshop with Aik Beng Chia

Mobile Phone Photography, a recent rise and phenomenon, with the availability and rapid expansion of the smartphone markets, camera, photography apps and social media connectivity that makes mobile phone photography easy to use, upload and share with friends and followers around the world. I had been an avid user in mobile phone photography, using my iPhone 3, 4 and 5 with my Instagram camera application and Here’s my Instagram account! While I am using iPhone for my mobile phone/street photography, there are other smartphone brands and models that have great capabilities too, for mobile phone and street photography!

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There was a LG G2 Mobile Photography Workshop with Aik Beng Chia, one of my photographer friends that I know personally, worked with him before during a recent photography assignment together with a few other photographers. I was there to try out the LG G2 smartphone and also to support Aik Beng too! The LG G2 smartphone is is the latest flagship smartphone by LG Electronics, that pushes boundaries, setting a new standard in the smartphone industry and it promises to change the way we smartphone owners use our smartphones.

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During the LG G2 Mobile Photography Workshop, we were given a quick introduction of the LG G2 smartphone and its capabilities by staff from LG Singapore. Thereafter, Aik Beng took the stage and shared with us about his mobile phone / street photography stories and techniques with the LG G2 and his workflow with the LG G2. At the end of the session, we had a hands on session with the LG G2 smartphone and testing it out around the meeting room located in Suntec City Convention Centre. I loved the rich colours 5.2-inch Full HD IPS (1080 x 1920 pixels / 423 ppi) of the LG G2 smartphone, along with the 13 megapixels and Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) technology inside the LG G2 smartphone, which frees users from the problems of taking blurred photos, allowing them to take clear photos in moving objects such as cars and trains. The super resolution of the phone also provides clearer and more detailed zoom quality. When we finished taking photos with our LG G2 smartphone, we were also able to try out LG portable NFC-enabled photo printer and printed out small mini photos for us to bring home.

Here are some photographs taken by Aik Beng using the LG G2

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Photograph Courtesy of Aik Beng Chia

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Photograph Courtesy of Aik Beng Chia

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Photograph Courtesy of Aik Beng Chia

The LG G2 is a good and powerful smartphone packed with many features. The LG G2 camera capability gives it the added edge if you love mobile phone photography!

My Basic Lighting Photography Setup

The art and world of photography is diverse and exciting with many different photography fields that a photographer will choose to embark on, to learn another skill segment or able to be specialised in that particular field of photography. In my long years of photography shooting, adventure and learning, this particular field of photography, is an area that I wanted to start learning a few years ago from my mentor, yet due to un-forseen circumstances during that point in time, I wasn’t able to learn the art of lighting photography from my mentor. This was thus delayed until I made plans to begin my basic lighting photography setup, after reading and researching on basic lighting, advanced lighting, indoor, outdoor, shooting with strobes, shooting with speed-lights to looking at 3-4 advanced lighting setup by professional photographers that I found in Profoto lighting books such as The Profoto Advantage: For Wedding and Portrait Photographers.

I started saving money, while reading and researching, on how to go about doing it, with tips from a fellow photographer Weili, a knowledgable, highly experienced and expert lighting photographer, who gave me a lot of help and advice on how to plan my basic lighting photography setup. I also received a lot of help and advice from the friendly folks at The Camera Workshop, Daniel and Uncle Nelson, who helped me in getting the whole setup done and giving me advice along the way. As I plan to learn and try out basic lighting photography, learning from my mistakes and accumulating my experiences, I hope to move upwards into advanced lighting photography, with 2-3 speedlights or strobes. This journey is probably going to take 1-2 years depending on how fast and the number of portrait shoots that I am able to do.

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Therefore, what are the items inside my Basic Lighting Photography Setup ?

– 1 x Light Stand
– 1 x Umbrella Swivel Adaptor
– 1 x  2-in-1 Black Reflective + White Umbrella
– 1 x Luxi Incidental Light Meter (via Kickstarter)
– 1 x Canon 580EX2
– 1 x Trans-receiver FlexTT5 & 1 x Transmitter MiniTT1 by Pocket Wizard (Second Hand)
I was fortunate to find good quality second hand Pocket Wizard Trans-receiver FlexTT5 and Transmitter MiniTT1 at half their prices, the Luxi Incidental Light Meter was funded via Kickstarter, my Canon 580EX2 was bought sometime back and finally, my light stand, umbrella swivel adaptor and 2-in-1 Black Reflective + White Umbrella were new. My basic lighting photography setup took me a while because I haven’t decided on the transmitter and trans-receiver brand and model, however, it took off when my Luxi arrived and I found Pocket Wizard at second hand prices!
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My Basic Lighting Photography learning journey had just begun, there is always something new and fun to learn in photography. I am planning to share my photographs and my experiences with my Basic Lighting Photography setup, hoping to encourage fellow photographers to go explore and learn new photography fields too!
Here are some of the links and videos that I used in my learning of basic lighting photography –
Adorama  TV – Small Studio Flash Tips 

EOS Young Photographer Award 2013

The National Geographic Channel and Canon Singapore EOS Young Photographer Award 2013 contest was recently concluded with great success and they received more than 27,000 entries from around Asia with 3,565 Singaporeans among those vying for the grand prize: An all-expenses paid National Geographic Photography Workshop in the US, plus a Canon EOS 60D DSLR camera with EF-S18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II Lens. Themed “A Celebration of Colour”, the EOS Young Photographer Award 2013 was open to aspiring photographers aged 13 to 25, and jointly organised by National Geographic Channel and Canon Singapore Pte Ltd.

This was something that I supported and shared in a post with my friends and readers earlier in the year, attended Joe Riis Photography Seminar, who was in Singapore to share about the EOS Young Photographer Awards and impart his knowledge and wisdom in photography. The photography seminar by Joe Riis was a highlight with many students at the auditorium listening attentively to his sharing and I learned too as well from attending the photography seminar!

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EOS Young Photographer Award 2013 Winner: “My Full Colourful Smile” by Hanggi Tyo

Looking through the EOS Young Photographer Award 2013 winning entries, they were pretty impressive and of high standards! From all the entries submitted,  Hanggi Tyo, 21, from Indonesia emerged as the champion, walking away with the coveted first prize, with her entry, “My Full Colourful Smile”, a photograph taken at the Jember Fashion Carnival Show in Jakarta in December last year. Tyo’s shot, which depicts a smiling young woman clad in a vibrantly colourful costume, garnered much praise from the judging panel, which included National Geographic photographer, Gabby Salazar.

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First Runner Up: “Happy in Red” by Chan Zhi Ying

First runner up was Malaysian Chan Zhi Ying, 22, who walked away with a Canon EOS 650D with EF-S18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II Lens for her submission entitled “Happy in Red”. The photograph depicts a child splashing in a tub of water while having her bath, conveying a feeling of unbridled happiness and carefree delight.

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Second Runner Up: “Paju Jawi From Ranah Minang” by Geovani Orlando 

Twenty-one-year-old Geovani Orlando from Indonesia also impressed the judges with his photo submission, “Paju Jawi From Ranah Minang”, earning him the title of second runner up and a Canon EOS 1100D with EF-S18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II Lens.

In addition to the three main prizes, the contest also awarded bi-weekly winners for the colour themed Voter’s Choice Award, held between April 9 to June 3, with an 8GB EOS Memory Drive and National Geographic Channel X Morn Creations Limited Version Shark Backpack each. Meanwhile, the Grand Voter’s Choice, which was tracked from the beginning of the campaign, was awarded to Saidkhsan from Indonesia. He took home an EOS Camera Bag and National Geographic Photo Book for his submission entitled “Love Story”, depicting two entwined butterflies on a vine. Other noteworthy entries highlighted by the judges were “Panorama de Shah Mosque” by Shaharyar Hyder, “The Longest Sock” by Firman Maulana, and “Three Yellow Guards” by Danniel Partogi.

Following the overwhelming response and success of this inaugural event, both organisers are now looking forward to kicking-off another photo contest in October 2013. More details will be released nearer the launch date.

Do vist and drop EOS Young Photographer website here and check out the photographs!

* Information and Photographs Courtesy of National Geographic Channel, Canon Singapore and TPR Singapore *

Singapore F1 GP 2013

The 6th edition of Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix (GP) was recently concluded over the weekend from Friday 20th September 2013 to Sunday 22nd September 2013 at the Marina Bay Circuit in Singapore’s Marina Bay area. The 2013 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore GP lived up to its tag line for 2013 to bring the pre-race weekend events, race weekend atmosphere, fun and carnival closer to the spectators, creating a Singapore Style Formula 1 experience for people from all walks of life. On Thursday 19th September 2013, there was a Flag Off for the 2013 Formula 1 Singapore GP weekend with Rev Up Singapore campaign and members of the public were able to walk around and explore the famed Marina Bay Circuit Pit Lane and Zone 1 Carnival Village. I was there too, soaking in and enjoying the fun on Thursday night and the Thursday Pit Lane Experience was awesome!

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The 2013 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore was my 6th time participating and enjoying the Formula 1 carnival and racing action, that you can see here in my Flickr Collection – SingTel Formula 1 Singapore GP Collection! Growing and enjoying home ground Formula 1 action and carnival, I was able to see the changes and improvements over the past 6 years. The atmosphere was still awesome with great visitor numbers to the Singapore GP race weekend. For 2013, I went on Friday 20th September 2013 to photograph and enjoy the race weekend atmosphere with my fellow photographer friends and social media enthusiasts at the Marina Bay Circuit. Since I started shooting Formula 1 action in 2008, this particular segment of sports photography is not an easy journey to learn and capturing the racing photographs was very challenging due to the restrictions and constraints.

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Accumulating and writing my Formula 1 experiences, I wrote a F1 Photography Tips here in 2009 to share with my friends and readers and it served me well! My 6th edition of Singapore GP was probably my best year in capturing F1 cars in action, it took me 5 years to reach this level through my limited F1 photography opportunities, my sports photography coverage over the years and my  highly trusted telephoto lens for sports and wildlife, the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L lens. I mentioned earlier that while my original F1 Photography Tips served me well, it’s time to come up with a F1 Photography Tips Version 2.0  from me!

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The artistes and performers line-ups over the 3 days of racing weekend and a closing concert on Monday 23rd September 2013 was electrifying and big. Huge crowds packed the Padang to catch the big performances, giving Singapore GP race weekend additional fun, entertainment and excitement for their fans and spectators. Famous stars and celebrities graced Singapore GP race weekend over the years and the future stars and performers line-ups will only get bigger and better!  I enjoyed myself on Friday night with Big Bang from Korea performing at the Padang, the crowds were crazy and singing away.

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Stationing myself at Turn 11 during Friday Free Practice One and Turn 13 during Friday Free Practice Two, these are my two favourite spots for capturing F1 cars in action at the Singapore GP. These two turns usually have many photographers and spectators watching and capturing the F1 cars in action! I am looking forward to 2014 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore GP, I am planning to shoot from Zone 1 at Turns 1, 2, 3, 22 and 23 respectively, on top of Turns 11, 12 and 13. Spending Saturday and Sunday at home watching Singapore GP 2013 from my television, it was a magnificent and gorgeous view from the skyline, an aerial view of the Marina Bay Circuit and the Marina Bay area lighted up. Singapore’s Marina Bay Circuit is definitely the crown jewel of Formula 1 and we are proud of that! Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing won the 2013 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore GP, with Fernando Alonso of Ferrari coming in second and Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus F1 coming in third. Here are my selected photographs from 2013 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore GP racing action and Thursday Pit Lane Experience!


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

SingTel Flags Off 2013 Singapore GP Weekend!

The 2013 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix (GP) is back in Singapore and this year, in the 6th edition of the Singapore GP, there are many activities and events to Rev Up Singapore for the 2013 SingTel Singapore GP! On Thursday 19th September 2013, the “Rev Up Singapore” campaign by Singapore GP, opened up the famed Marina Bay Circuit Pit Lane and F1 village in Zone 1 to members of the public, generating a huge excitement leading up to the 2013 Formula 1 Singapore GP happening this weekend from Friday 20th September till Sunday 22nd September!

Gate 1 was opened at 7pm and the huge crowds started queueing up before the official opening time and they walked in to enjoy the Thursday Pit Lane Experience around  the F1 village in Zone 1. There were entertainment and performances on the Village Stage and around the F1 village, there were booths around the F1 village whereby you can buy F1 merchandise too. There was a major event for 2013 SingTel Singapore GP, with the crowning of the SingTel Grid Girl, held at the village stage. SingTel, Title Sponsor of the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix, unveiled Singapore’s top three Grid Girls at The Pit Lane Experience, just 24 hours before race weekend.

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The quote (via press release) by Mr Allen Lew, Country Chief Officer – Singapore, SingTel gave a great insight of the upcoming 6th edition of Formula 1 SingTel Singapore GP –

“Summing up this year’s Formula 1® Singapore Style race carnival, Mr Allen Lew, Country Chief Officer – Singapore, SingTel, said: “This being our sixth consecutive year of sponsorship, we had the opportunity to learn what people enjoy, so we went all out to create a Singapore-Style  Formula 1® experience for people from all walks of life. As a result, we are very happy to have seen a tremendous increase in public engagement; with close to a million votes for the Grid Girls, bigger crowds at the roadshows and over a thousand people signing up for The Big Race.

“We are delighted to have found the first Singaporean to take the chequered flag and thank everyone who participated in the activities. We look forward to an adrenaline-filled race weekend where we have also created a unique way for Singapore to show its support for the race – a specially-designed chequered flag which is available in both physical and digital form.”

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Close to a million votes for this year’s SingTel Grid Girl

23-year-old student, Shannon Lim won the honour of holding the Singapore flag as this year’s top SingTel Grid Girl. She is one of three winning Grid Girls who will flag off the race this weekend. In second and third place were Jermayne Chow, 23 and Stacey Liu, 21, both also students.

The public got to know this year’s SingTel Grid Girl contenders via The Singapore Factor, a series of Singapore-style challenges that were designed to find Grid Girls who best epitomise the Formula 1® Singapore Style theme. Featuring favourite local pastimes like shopping and eating, the clips were available for viewing on www.singtelrace.com. The winners were determined via SMS and online votes by members of the public.

“Being a SingTel Grid Girl has been an amazing experience. The challenges truly highlighted our unique Singapore culture and I really enjoyed meeting all the F1 fans at the roadshows. I watch the race every year and still can’t quite believe that I will be the one holding the national flag on the starting grid this weekend,” said Miss Lim.

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After catching the crowning of the SingTel Grid Girls, we continued exploring around the F1 village before queuing up to enter into the Pit Lane for the Pit Lane Walk Experience! The crowds were very enthusiastic and this was a highlight that they were looking forward to! The crowds walked along the famed Marina Bay Circuit, near to Turn 2 Grandstand, starting at Turn 3, walking towards Turn 2, then Turn 1 and straight road to the Start/End. Along the walk, you can see and sense the excitement with people taking many photographs on the Marina Bay Circuit track! As we continued walking into the Pit Lane area, looking at the F1 garages preparing their F1 cars for the 2013 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore GP! This rare photography opportunity to be up close to the F1 cars and Pit Garages was something that the participants could not resist and the photography went into overdrive mode, taking as many photographs as possible. Although we can’t visit the F1 garages, I am very happy that I was able to take photographs of the Pit Lane and the F1 cars being prepared for weekend racing action! Walking from one end of the Pit Lane to the other end of Pit Lane, we turned back and walked along the Marina Bay Circuit track, soaking in the atmosphere of the famed Marina Bay Circuit. The Pit Lane  Experience walk feeling was great and enjoyable, it’s building up to the race weekend in Singapore!

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The 2013 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore GP is starting tonight at the Marina Bay Circuit, I am looking forward to my 6th edition of Singapore GP and adding it to my Singapore GP collection! Do check out Singapore GP website for more information and updates! Enjoy and have fun at the Singapore GP this weekend!


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

* Press release/information Courtesy of SingTel and Ogilvy Public Relations *

Canon EOS 70D Review

The Canon EOS 70D was announced earlier on 2nd July 2013, it received rave reviews and excitement for Canon’s latest DSLR. I shared in an earlier post about the Canon EOS 70D launch announcement and shared some personal thoughts about the Canon EOS 70D based on the technical specifications and my personal user experiences with Canon DLSRs since I used the Canon EOS 30D for 4 years, the double digit Canon EOS DSLR family is a highly rated and trustworthy DSLR, the Canon EOS 30D was my “workhorse” DSLR that went through a lot of shots and adventures! Therefore, even before I was given a golden opportunity to test and review the Canon EOS 70D, I am pretty confident that it will live up to the tradition and “power” of the double digit Canon DLSR family line! The Canon EOS 70D was such highly rated that 2 of my friends bought the Canon EOS 70D within a week of its official availability in the Singapore market (My friend bought it on the day itself!). While I was still waiting for my Canon EOS 70D review unit to arrive, their thoughts/views on the Canon EOS 70D was “It is a very good camera with very fast Auto-Focus (AF) especially the Touch Screen AF!”

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Upon hearing that, I was eagerly waiting for the Canon EOS 70D review unit to arrive. Once I got hold of it, I began my fun adventure of playing a new toy, of course, I am testing and reviewing the capabilities of the Canon EOS 70D too! The Canon EOS 70D will be my 4th DSLR review write-up, I had completed, Canon EOS 1DX, Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EOS 6D. The feel and quality of the Canon EOS 70D body is good and firm, living it up to the semi-professional standards. With the latest Dual Pixel CMOS AF Technology, it is also the first model in the EOS series to showcase the new Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, a phase-difference autofocus (AF) technology, the EOS 70D achieves  approximately 30% faster  focusing speeds and delivers improved Movie Servo AF tracking during Live View shooting.

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With a Digic 5+ sensor and 20.2 megapixels packed inside, the colours were vibrant and accurate, it was close to WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). I love the 19pt AF that is packed inside the Canon EOS 70D, with their 3 different AF Area Selection Modes – Single Point AF, Zone AF, 19 Point Auto Selection AF. These features are excellent for sports, wildlife and events photographers! I brought the Canon EOS 70D out during Singapore Night Festival 2013 and the performance under ISO 12,800 was really good. There is a bit of grain at ISO 12,800 and I personally find it acceptable for my usage. The AF Area Selection Mode Button is a good feature that is found in Canon EOS 70D, right behind the shutter button. This allows the photographer to select and change their AF area selection modes. However, that particular button is a bit small and it is not easy for inexperienced users to press and change, you really need to get the hang of it!

Inside the Canon EOS 70D kit set II is the EF-S 18-135mm IS STM lens, it is a pretty decent lens and the EF-S family of lens have greatly improved over the years since the first EF-S lens was produced. With the new Stepper Motor (STM) technology, the EF-S 18-135mm IS STM is very quiet (I can’t really hear much noise when the lens focus) and AF is fast! The focal length of 18-135mm makes it a versatile lens without being too much of a heavy lens for you to bring out and the Image Stabliser (IS) technology is useful. The picture quality from the EF-S 18-135mm lens is pretty good and if you are getting your first lens along with your Canon EOS 70D, you can definitely consider the EF-S 18-135mm IS STM lens.

The newer age DSLRs have the capability of video recording, a function that can be very powerful (just look at the Canon EOS 5D Mark III) and useful. Being a traditional still photographer, I confess that I don’t use the video recording function a lot or at all and I don’t have a DSLR that has video recording function (older generation DSLRs). When I read that the Canon EOS 70D has HD video recording capability, I decided to venture into DSLR video recording and have fun with it! After my maiden experiences with DSLR video recording, the HD video recording capability of the Canon EOS 70D is a big bonus and that is something that would make me try out more video recording if my next Canon DSLR has the HD recording capability (if I do own a DSLR like the Canon EOS 70D).

Here are some of the Pros and Cons of the Canon EOS 70D that I summarised

Pros

  • Digic 5+ sensor, close to WYSIWYG
  • LCD Monitor – Touch Screen, can zoom in, zoom out, touch and make changes
  • Fast and responsive Touch Screen AF
  • Able to make changes to the Settable Functions on the Quick Control Screen without turning the dial or Multi-Controller
  • Tap, Zoom in, Zoom out, swipe to the next photo on LCD Monitor
  • 19 Point AF
  • 7 fps
  • Able to display the electronic level in viewfinder before shooting
  • Feature Guide and Help
  • 3 different AF Area Selection Modes – Single Point AF, Zone AF, 19 Point Auto Selection AF
  • Zone AF – from Canon EOS 1DX and Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • AF selection point can be also be changed on the LCD Monitor/Touch Screen
  • Copyright Information can be set and entered
  • Multiple Exposures function
  • Live View Function – Tap and Shoot
  • Creative filters in 70D post processing capabilities
  • HDR Shooting availability
  • HD Video recording capability
  • Electronic level on viewfinder
  • Remote Shooting via Wi-Fi and EOS Remote

Cons

  • Quick Control (Wheel dial), Multi-Controller and Set buttons are a bit small
  • AF Area Selection Mode Button is small and not easy for inexperienced users to press and change.
  • At ISO 25,600 (H), noise level is visible.
  • Battery life drains faster when Wi-Fi is enabled.

EF-S 18-135mm STM lens review

  • Built quality is good
  • Quiet when focusing
  • Shots from the lens pretty good
  • No distance scale on the lens (negative point)
  • New lens cap design
  • Lens lock button

Canon EOS 70D Shooting with the Touch Shutter (One Touch AF )

 The One Touch AF on the Canon EOS 70D is amazing! It’s quick, intuitive, fast response and very useful. I produced a very amateurish video (and my very FIRST YouTube video) to demonstrate this excellent feature – Shooting with the Touch Shutter of the Canon EOS 70D!

Built-in Wi-Fi and EOS Remote

The built-in Wi-Fi is an excellent feature that the Canon EOS 70D possesses. Together with the EOS Remote app that can be downloaded into your smartphone or tablet, the combination of the built-in Wi-Fi and the EOS Remote is very useful and handy, for both photography enthusiasts and professional photographers. When you take photographs with the Canon EOS 70D, your photographs can be viewed immediately on your smartphone or tablet with the built-in Wi-Fi and EOS Remote both switched on and paired together. This wonderful combination will be very good for

–       Group Photo taking

–       Self portrait taking

–       With Live View, can check images from remote locations

–       Placing your Canon EOS 70D on a tripod to capture photography (e.g. wildlife, street, people) movements while you are at a short distance away to observe and take photographs via the EOS Remote and Live View shooting.

–       Commercial/Wedding Photographers in their studio or outdoor location shoot can view their photographs immediately and make the necessary adjustments.

The Canon EOS 70D built-in Wi-Fi feature along with the EOS Remote is excellent for viewing, downloading and sharing with friends and on social media platforms. For a social media enthusiast/blogger/reporter/writer attending events, imagine after shooting the photographs, you can choose and select which photographs to show your readers and the social media world in a relatively short time.

For a better understanding on how the EOS Remote works, do check out this link http://www.canon-asia.com/eosremote/ and they have diagrams showing how the steps on how to use EOS Remote.

Which target segment would the Canon EOS 6D be suitable for?

In my humble personal opinion, they would be suitable for the following:

–       Photographers who wish to upgrade to a DSLR at a lower cost (From a digital compact camera to a DSLR or from the entry level series DSLR to the semi-professional series DSLR)

–       Photographers who wish to own a 2nd camera as a back up DSLR.

–       Enthusiasts from the social media/blogging and Press/Writers/Reporters that would like a high quality DSLR with live coverage and updates functions to their respective distribution channels (controlled, selective and high quality photographs)

–       Wildlife and Sports Photographers, with the additional reach due to 1.6x crop factor, high 7fps and 19pt AF.

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The Canon EOS 70D body and kit sets are now available in Singapore with the following Recommended Prices:

  • Body only: S$1,499
  • Kit I (EF S18-55 IS STM): $1,699
  • Kit II (EF S18-135 IS STM): $2,049
  • Kit III (EF S18-200 IS): $2,149

For the above recommended prices and the powerful technical specifications packed inside the Canon EOS 70D, in my personal opinion, it is a very value for money DSLR that you can own. On a personal note, I have different aspirations and needs since I am looking forward to upgrade from Canon EOS 1D Mark III to Canon EOS 1DX in the future, nevertheless, the arrival of the Canon EOS 70D gives me another choice as my potential 2nd DSLR camera (if I have the additional budget!). If you are planning to buy your first DSLR, the Canon EOS 70D is definitely worth considering to buy!

* I would like to thank Canon Singapore for this wonderful opportunity to review the Canon EOS 70D and Ogilvy Public Relations for making the arrangements *


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Mid Autumn Festival at Gardens By The Bay!

Mid Autumn Festival 2013 is coming soon and Gardens By The Bay is beautifully and brightly lighted up with many displays of light and colours, bringing the Gardens to life with an enchanting and magical displays of lanterns and flowers! The new Mid-Autumn themed floral display in the Flower Dome features three striking dragonfly lanterns perched amidst a field of vibrant flora such as “lantern flowers” like Begonias and autumn-blooms like Chrysanthemums, Astilbes and Celosias, while Chinese lanterns add to the festive ambience and traditional paper cut-outs illustrate the myths and legends behind this festival.

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In celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, there will be an extension of operating hours and a 15% discount on admission tickets to the conservatories from 13 to 22 September 2013. From 13 to 22 September, keep an eye out too for Mid-Autumn Festival @ The Gardens 2013, with a colourful display of hand-crafted lanterns in the outdoor gardens and The Meadow, exciting stage performances, competitions, and activities where proceeds will go to the President’s Challenge 2013. Visitors will also get a chance to win Gardens by the Bay memorabilia gift packages worth $50 in our Snap & Win! Contest, when they upload photos of the Mid-Autumn celebrations at Gardens by the Bay on their Instagram account.

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On Friday 13th September night, I went down to visit Mid Autumn Festival at Gardens By The Bay, I had a fun time photographing the lanterns and light up from the Meadow to the other end of the Dragonfly Lake. The lanterns and light up were combinations of different themes, from Jurassic Park and World of Fairy Tales. I loved the Jurassic Park theme lanterns especially the Green T-Rex! There were also lanterns showcasing our multi-cultural society in Singapore at the Meadow area! Walk along the Dragonfly lake towards the Dragonfly Bridge, you can’t miss the floating Ancient Chinese Palace! Continue walking towards the Dome, you will be to spot the beautiful and elegant Sky Lanterns! There are a lot more different lanterns on display at Gardens By The Bay! Check out their website for more details and drop by my Flickr set and take a look at what are the different lanterns that you can find at Mid Autumn Festival at Gardens By The Bay!

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Mid Autumn Festival celebrations starts from Friday 13th September to Sunday 22nd September, it will be a great and fun time to bring your family and children down to visit Gardens By The Bay and celebrate Mid Autumn Festival together, under the stars at Gardens By The Bay! Remember to bring your lanterns, take many photographs and participate in the Snap & Win! Contest.

Wishing all a Happy Mid Autumn Festival !! 


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

* Event information provided by Gardens By The Bay and MSL Group *


Old Playgrounds: Elephant Playground

Exploring, documenting and photographing the Old Playgrounds remaining in Singapore, I traveled to the Eastern part of Singapore to re-discover the Old Elephant Playground. This particular Old Elephant Playground design was a combination of swings, slides and mini tunnels and it wasn’t the type of Old Playground that I played mostly at. However, this did not stop me from enjoying and playing at the Old Elephant Playground, located inside Home Team NS Chalet, Pasir Ris Park.

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This Old Elephant Playground is getting more popular with the younger generation who probably grew up without having too much idea of such types of Old Playgrounds in Singapore. They were taking their pre-wedding outdoor photographs at the Old Elephant Playground, it was happy, funny and enjoyable to see their lovely photographs! When I visited the Old Elephant Playground, the nostalgia feelings of back to my childhood days came flooding back into me when I first arrived at the Old Elephant Playground. I stood there, looking at the Old Elephant Playground, basking under the lovely morning sun shining beautifully on them. Stepping up into the Old Elephant Playground, the feeling of the sand pit Old Playgrounds, it was priceless.

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Touching and feeling the different components of the Old Elephant Playground, we can feel and see the history and heritage of the Old Elephant Playground. The painting on some parts had faded in colours and had peeled off. For the slides, it’s the same old feeling whenever I was up there, sliding down slowly and enjoying the fun times as a kid. The swings were probably replaced since the seat and chain looked pretty new and shining! As a kid, we can run around, up and down the slides, on the swing or even play “Catching” game! Those were the happy days when we were kids, the stress and pressures were not there like today, we just had our fun and enjoyable play times with our friends at the playgrounds! Nearby to the Old Elephant Playground within the same compound, there lies another Old Playground, 2 swings on wooden poles. The seats and chains were probably replaced since they also looked pretty new and shining!

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As I continue to bring you through a journey into the Old Playgrounds, through my eyes, my photographs, personal stories and documentaries of the Old Playgrounds, I sincerely hope that all our Old Playgrounds will be preserved and conserved for the sake of our future Singapore Generations. Our future Singaporeans will be able to have a glimpse and an idea of the leisure, recreational and cultural aspects of their forefathers generation. The history and heritage of our Old Playgrounds can never be underestimated. In my journey to photographing and documenting each Old Playground remaining in Singapore, some may not make it, gone and will be lost into the history books or archives forever.

Will you join me in going back to your childhood days and play again at the Old Playgrounds?


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Everyday Aspirations by Karen Mitchell

The Singapore Night Festival 2013 recently concluded their 6th edition over the weekends of Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th August and Friday 30th & Saturday 31st August 2013. It had been a great fun and excitement of arts performances and festivities around various parts of the National Museum of Singapore, Armenian Street, Singapore Arts Museum and other parts nearby these few areas. I had a fun time at  the Singapore Night Festival 2013, covering, photographing and documenting the Singapore Night Festival 2013 on both weekends, Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th August and Friday 30th & Saturday 31st August 2013, with lots of photographs taken during the Night Festival 2013!

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There were many artists and performers during Singapore Night Festival 2013, there was one particular visual artist, that caught my attention and the visitors that came to Singapore Night Festival 2013 as well. The visual artwork was titled “Everyday Aspirations” by Karen Mitchell, on display at the alley between The Substation and Peranakan Museum during both weekends of the Singapore Night Festival 2013. Her visual artworks was about “Aspirations”, that are one-word, collected from friends, friends of friends etc, resulting in a total collection of 365 “Everyday Aspirations” of ordinary people that were selected and their texts were laser-cut onto wood panels. Visitors to the “Everyday Aspirations” visual artwork were able to shine the light (even their own lights) through the wood panels, casting shadows of these Aspirations, projecting the Aspirations across towards the walls and ceilings. The occurrence of the the different sized shadows from the different lights projection through the wood panels, gave a shared aspiration to themselves and the people around them. This served not just as a big shadow, it made an imprint into a person’s memory, not just for themselves, for the rest around them too!

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The “Everyday Aspirations” visual artwork was something that I really liked a lot, each word meant something to me, inspiring and encouraging. I enjoyed the first weekend on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th August to photograph different views and perspectives of “Everyday Aspirations” beside just shining the light through the word and projecting it on the wall. I had fun playing with the words and shadows, I composed a bokehlious straight line photograph of the “Everyday Aspirations” words. This visual arts display at Singapore Night Festival 2013 was popular with the visitors, this special collection of 365 “Aspiration” words means something to them, deep in their hearts and minds. They were all searching for a word among the many words of “Aspirations”, to take and leave an imprint for their hearts, minds and souls.

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Looking at the size of the crowds, taking photographs and shining light the words, “Everyday Aspirations” was definitely something that touched their hearts. I was planning to go back on the second weekend to continue photographing “Everyday Aspirations” by going there earlier to avoid the crowds. However, something unfortunate happened, with “Everyday Aspirations” unique feature and close connectivity with the audience, there were 114 visual art pieces of “Everyday Aspirations” that were missing after the first weekend on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th August. It was very disappointing for Karen, the artist herself, and for Singapore Night Festival 2013 visitors. An online message went viral, asking them to be returned back to the artist for the second weekend, however there wasn’t much news. Instead, at the end of the second weekend of the Singapore Night Festival 2013, another 74 pieces of her “Everyday Aspirations” were lost, making it a total of 188 pieces missing! The loss of the missing artist artworks will not reflect well on us, the visitors to arts festivals and events.

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While the loss of the missing artworks is painful and disappointing for Karen, it’s also a testimonial for her visual artworks “Everyday Aspirations” that connects people with words to their hearts and souls.

Sony announced revolutionary Cyber-shot™ DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10

Sony announced a range of breakthrough new products across its product categories at IFA 2013 in Berlin. The list of new products was extensive and there was one particular announcement that caught many people attention with their announcement of the revolutionary Cyber-shot DSC-QX 100 and DSC-QX10, that got a lot of people interested and talking about it!

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DSC-QX10 Black (3)

The Sony DSC-QX 100 and DSC-QX10 is going to give mobile phone / leisure photography an even bigger boost than before! With their lens-style camera, it turns your smartphone into a power-packed specialist camera. Smartphone photography today is a very popular form of photography, easily accessible with the number of smartphone users in the world. The number of photographs shot with the smartphone is only going to get bigger with the expansion of the smartphone markets and brands. From my personal observation based on their specifications, style and usage, the Sony DSC-QX 100 and DSC-QX 10 would greatly enhance a smartphone user photography experiences and usage, giving it the edge towards the power and capabilities of a digital compact camera.

Here are some quick features for the Cyber-shot DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10

  • Links with your phone via Wi-Fi, shoots fabulous photos
  • NFC for easy one-touch connection
  • Get better-looking pictures with high resolution sensor, optical zoom, Optical SteadyShot and manual controls
  • Shoot from any angle then frame scenes and adjust settings on your phone’s touchscreen
  • A perfect partner for new Xperia™ Z1 and other Android and iOS smartphones 

The DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10 attach in a moment with the supplied smartphone attachment that fits several popular smartphone models (width 54-75mm/max. thickness 13mm). Connection to your phone is made via Wi-Fi and the latest version of Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile application. Linkage is even simpler for NFC smartphone owners, with easy one-touch connection made without any complicated settings.

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There is no need to have the phone and camera attached. Place the Cyber-shot™ exactly where you want it, and fire the shutter direct from your mobile phone – it’s perfect for grabbing high-angle shots or self-portraits. Weighing just 105g (with battery and Memory Stick Micro), the Cyber-shot™ DSC-QX10 partners an 18.2 effective megapixel Exmor R™ CMOS sensor with a high-quality Sony G Lens. Boasting a powerful 10x optical zoom range, it’s great for power-packed close-ups of people, fun-filled events and distant landmarks that are just not possible without a dedicated zoom lens. Built-in Optical SteadyShot combats camera shake, keeping handheld pictures and videos steady and blur-free, even in low-light conditions.

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 The Cyber-shot™ DSC-QX100 features a large 1.0-type Exmor R™ CMOS sensor with 20.2 effective megapixels. Enjoy sumptuous, ultra-low noise images – even indoors or at dusk when many cameras and camera phones seem to struggle. It’s simple to frame shots and tweak camera settings like aperture control and exposure compensation as well as photo/video record mode on your smartphone’s big touchscreen. You now get more creative control than you’d ever get with your phone’s regular camera enabling the user to capture beautifully background defocussed shots. Everything’s easily accessible, with extra dedicated keys for fingertip control of zoom and shutter release on the camera body. The DSC-QX100 is also teamed with a wide-aperture Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens with 3.6x optical zoom with Optical SteadyShot giving all the picture quality you’d expect from a premium pocket camera.

The powerful BIONZ processor in the DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10 refines your image for beautifully natural, detail-packed stills and HD video. Superior Auto helps get the best from any scene, automatically recognising dozens of different shooting conditions and adjusting camera settings to suit. As an extra refinement, the DSC-QX100 sports a dedicated control ring for camera-like adjustment of manual focus and zoom.

Accessory options include a soft carrying case and dedicated camera attachment case for a perfect fit with latest models from Sony Mobile including the brand new Xperia™ Z1. The new Cyber-shot™ DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10 from Sony will be available in Singapore at all Sony stores and authorised outlets from October 2013.

Specifications Sheet

   Model DSC-QX100 DSC-QX10
Image Sensor 1.0 type (13.2 x 8.8mm) Exmor R CMOS sensor 1/2.3 type (7.76mm) Exmor R CMOS sensor
Effective resolution Approx.20.2 megapixels Approx.18.2 megapixels
Image processor BIONZ BIONZ
Lens Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T[1], with 7 elements in 6 groups (4 aspheric elements including AA lens) Sony G Lens, with 7 groups (including 4 aspheric elements)
Maximum aperture F1.8(Wide angle)- F4.9 (Tele) F3.3(Wide angle)- F5.9 (Tele)
Focal length (35mm equivalent)(still image 4:3) f=28-100mm f=25-250mm
Optical zoom 3.6x 10x
ISO Sensitivity (Still Image)[2] ISO160-6400 (iAuto), ISO160-25600[3] (Superior Auto), ISO160-3200 (Program Auto), ISO160-3200 (Aperture Priority) ISO100-3200 (iAuto), ISO100-12800[4] (Superior Auto), ISO100-1600 (Program Auto)
Movie record MP4: 12MP (1440×1080/30fps) MP4: 12MP (1440×1080/30fps)
Image stabilisation Optical SteadyShot™ (with Active Mode for movies) Optical SteadyShot™ (with Active Mode for movies)
Focus type Contrast detection AF Contrast detection AF
Focus Modes Single-shot AF; Manual Focus; Touch AF Single-shot AF; Touch AF
Shooting modes Superior Auto, Intelligent Auto, Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Movie Mode Superior Auto, Intelligent Auto, Program Auto, Movie Mode
Wireless networking Wi-Fi: Send to smartphone / control with smartphoneNFC: One-touch remote Wi-Fi: Send to smartphone / control with smartphoneNFC: One-touch remote
Dimensions (WxHxD) Approx. 62.5 x 62.5 x 55.5 mm Approx. 62.4 x 61.8 x 33.3 mm
Media card compatibility Memory Stick Micro™ / Memory Stick Micro™ Mark 2 and Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card (Class 4 or Higher) Memory Stick Micro™ / Memory Stick Micro™ Mark 2 and Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card (Class 4 or Higher)
Weight (main unit only) Approx. 165 g Approx. 90 g
Weight (with supplied battery and Memory Stick Micro) Approx. 179 g Approx. 105 g


[1] REI = Recommended Exposure Index

[2] REI = Recommended Exposure Index

[3] Achieved by using overlay burst shooting

[4] Achieved by using overlay burst shooting

Although I do not have any hands on experience with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10 yet, my personal thoughts, in my personal humble opinion, on the 2 models, are that they would help in the group of leisure people taking photographs and also getting the smartphone users to be more even active in taking photographs. Since it is open to both the iOS and Android OS users, the pool of smartphone users is huge. The designs and styles are revolutionary, the impacts would be more in the leisure and digital compact camera market. These 2 models DSC-QX 100 and DSC-QX 10 might help/complement a professional photographer in their field of photography works too.

I hope that I am able to share more in-depth of my thoughts and views if I am able to get a hands-on with the DSC-QX 100 and DSC-QX 10 review units, and go around testing, playing and reviewing them!

* Information and photographs Courtesy of Sony Singapore and Waggener Edstrom Worldwide *