In my post about my photography in Singapore, I said that I was going to attempt to take some photos of the lunar eclipse on January 31. When I got my stuff all ready to go, the weather didn't look promising to say the least: rain pouring down, the occasional flash of thunder. Not the best weather to be lugging around a massive lens and a tripod. Just as the sun was setting, I had lost hope. I had already gone to spot that I had planned before, but the rain wasn't letting up. However, I was lucky enough to already be at the right spot when the rain stopped, which meant that I didn't have to waste any time getting set up. This allowed me to make the mosaic of all the phases of the eclipse that you can see below:
I also wanted to capture the moon rising above the skyline. Unfortunately, due to error in my planning, I overshot by a bit. Despite that, I still managed to capture the following video of the moon rising over the Singapore Flyer:
Anyway, that's all for my eclipse. I really hope that you enjoyed this post, and I hope you come back to see what new content I have!
While I was away during the December break, my biggest concern was what photos I could take. Unfortunately, I didn't get much chance to explore the areas around me, but I received some very good news! I had entered my photos into Asian Geographic's images of Asia competition, and I was announced as the Youth Photographer of the Year (Facebook post below).
If you notice in the post, it says that I'll receive an Eos m10, with a compatible kit lens. While I haven't got it yet, I'm eagerly waiting for it because the m10 is a mirrorless camera, and I can't wait to try it out! I'll probably use it for some test shots when I get it, and if they turn out well, then I'm sure to post them on here!
(Also, fingers crossed that the conditions are favourable for me to take the lunar eclipse!)
I used to never take photos in Singapore. All that I used to think Singapore photos were just portrait and street shots. One day, I saw a beautiful intro to a youtube video taken from the waterfront in the Singaporean CBD. That gave me the idea to take a photo from the CBD; however, I didn't want to just copy someone else. I flew my drone as high as I thought safe (it was a windy day), and stitched together my photos to make a massive photo:
After I had taken the photos that I would then turn into a panorama, I brought the drone back to the ground, and switched out the batteries before taking off again once the sun had fully set. When there was no sunlight, and the water reflected the lights from the skyscrapers, it looked absolutely beautiful. When I got home, I combined several shots together to reduce the shakiness of the pictures, to create the following photo:
In the future, I'm really looking forward to photographing the upcoming lunar eclipse from Singapore, and I will post my results on here!
What's so great about it?
Well, being underwater is special itself; whenever I go diving, that weightless feeling and the unique surroundings are completely wonderful things to experience in your life time. It's so amazing that mankind has managed to find a way to search the endless oceans, and see a whole other world.
So, how are the photos?
When I started diving, I saw the raw, natural beauty of the ocean. I saw sharks lazily gliding through the water, moray eels poking their heads out of crevices, turtles propelling themselves through the water with the current and giant schools of fish diving and swarming in a horde. I wanted to be able to capture what I saw, and show others the real beauty of the ocean.
The first time I used the camera, I was doing my PADI Sea Turtle Awareness Speciality. This meant that I had to catch up to turtles, and take a photo of the side of their face. Fun Fact: the side of a turtle's face has a unique pattern that can be used to identify that individual, like a fingerprint. I dove under the waves, and spent a day looking for turtles and photographing them. Most of the turtles were hawksbill, and had very dirty shells. I was beginning to lose hope of seeing a green turtle: the type of turtle with a beautiful, patterned shell. Then, as I had only 70 PSI remaining in my tank (50 PSI means that you are low on air, and you have to surface ASAP), this green turtle appeared from behind us, and allowed me to take this shot before carrying on into the infinite blue. We then surfaced, and headed home for the day.
The next day, we travelled to a different dive site, one which was famed for how many different types of fish coexisted in one area. As soon as I dived down, I noticed the large amounts of anemones. Then, I noticed this little guy, curiously looking at me, and I decided to snap a picture. The reason why clownfish live in anemones is because they are immune to the sting from several species of anemones, and they can be protected from predators.
Then, I went swimming along the reef, with the current. I stopped for a second, and then this school of yellow fusiliers swam around me, creating a tunnel effect. It was truly a great experience to see all these fish slowly swimming around me while I floated in place.
After seeing that, I continued along the reef. Then, I felt a tapping on my shoulder. I turned around, and my dive buddy pointed at a fever of eagle rays that were travelling up the reef. Eagle rays are generally very shy creatures, and the fact that they let me swim close enough to them to take this photo was very special. I watched them slowly glide away, and over the reef. We then had to surface, and go back.
That was my last dive there, and they I headed home the next day.
Would I do it again?
In a heartbeat! It was so amazing to see these beautiful sights, experience the majesty and wonderful setting that the ocean provides. More than that, diving was very calming, and I never wanted to leave the water. If I get another chance to do it again soon, I'll take the chance over almost anything else, hands down.
So... What's been happening?
A lot, as it happens, although I haven't posted in a long time. I've won Travel Photographer Of The Year (TPOTY) in the Under-14 category. I've been playing around with computer editing and am focused more on the composition of my photos rather than the subject.
To see the award-winning photos and the new videos, read on!
The category that I won was Young Travel Photographer of the Year - 14 and under - Places & Experiences. Following is an excerpt for the judges opinion of my photos:
I've been using a lot of photo editing programs in the past: I use Adobe Lightroom as a versatile editing tool, but I use Photoshop if I need to edit a photo extensively. Here's an example of Panorama that I created in Photoshop:
It's a photo of Lake Tahoe, California taken at night with all the city lights reflecting off the water. The little red lines in the sky are the lights from planes flying by.
I've started dabbling in HD filming, so I use Adobe After Effects to clean a video up. If I need to edit the video (hue, saturation, brightness, etc.) I use a free program called DaVinci Resolve. I'm recording videos in 60 frames per second to create a smooth transition so I don't miss anything. Here's an example of a video that I stabilised in After Effects and edited in DaVinci Resolve (I reduced the quality so that I could upload it):
Subject V.S Composition
If you recall, the TPOTY judges said that my images capture the scale and beauty of Lake Natron, instead of the flamingos. In the pictures that I submitted, my focus was mainly on the flamingos, but the judges picked up on the contrast between the Lake, the Mountain and the bank, showing me that the composition outweighs the subject. How good a photo really depends on how well it's composed, not what it's on. I often see everyday scenes that look amazing depending on the colour, lighting and that undefinable extra element: a bird, a lone tree, beads on a necklace, the print on a t-shirt. It's possible to find beauty in anything. The ability to incorporate the distinctive features of the image is what makes a good photo, even when shooting everyday subjects.
What's been going on?
I've not been posting for quite a while, but I have a lot of new photos. I recently started out in some star photography, and I gotta say, the results are amazing! I look forward to developing my interest in this further, but I will continue to post and share my photos. Now, the title of the post probably makes you wonder;
What is TPOTY?
TPOTY stands for Travel Photographer of The Year. Since I got my DLSR, I've wanted to enter a photo competition and after over a year of photography, I finally did it. I was happy to simply enter the competition, but I never suspected that I was good enough to attract the attention of judges. I was lucky enough to make it into the 14 & Under 'Places and Experiences' category as a finalist. Check it out here! (Ankit Kumar):
Well, I'm aiming to enter the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. I hope that it will teach me a lot about photography, by seeing other people's photos and working towards becoming the best photographer I possible be. If you want to check out the competition, click the button below.
Thanks & Goodbye
I'm looking forward to seeing the results of the TPOTY competition, and when I get the results, I will post them. If you want to talk about the photos that I submitted to TPOTY, comment on the post, or send me an email.
The Singapore Grand Prix finished over a week ago, but Singapore is still awash with the celebration of F1. Race weekend was full of avid fans jostling to get the best spot and to catch a glimpse of their favourite driver. I was there, in the middle of the action to see the blur of metal and tire smoke. Often, the only way to see the cars and their drivers was through my lens.
The most fiercely competitive race was, without a doubt, the ferrari challenge. Strong competitors, racing neck and neck in cars that were barely different. There was considerable amounts of performance issues, and when the drivers went down the straight at full speed, they braked so vigorously at the end that their brake discs were alight with a full pedal-to-the-metal red glow.There were quite a few accidents, with one competitor losing a large amount of body work. The fans went crazy to see a glimpse of the cars racing neck and neck. Having viewed the race from several different positions, turn three was the best viewing place for the Grand Prix.
Moving on to the highlight of the race weekend: The Formula One Grand Prix. In my opinion, practice session 3 was the most competitive race, as the drivers were testing how hard they could push the cars and themselves before the stress began to show. Many of the drivers suffered issues, and there was, of course, the hilarious monitor lizard on the track. Many a driver found the Singapore Marina Bay Grand Prix track very difficult, because, unlike many other courses, Singapore's track incorporated many left hand turns and as such caused drivers to stay on their toes.
Spain is a country full of rich heritage and beautiful landscapes, and my favourite place to take photos is Plaza España. Some of you might have heard the name before, as one of the locations for shooting in the detested Star Wars prequels. Despite this, Plaza España continues to be a frequent spot for weddings, tourism and dances. On the day I went, it was very cloudy, but I still managed to get a few good shots.
My favourite photo from that day was when I spotted the beautiful koi swimming in the reflection of a tower. Plaza España features many such amazing compositions that lead to intriguing shots!
And if you fail to get any of those pictures that you wanted, and you've exhausted all other options, you can attempt to replicate the shot of Anakin and Padmé walking while being followed by R2-D2
I recently went on a road trip in the Golden State, and I saw quite a few beautiful sights. One of my favourite places was Bixby bridge. Now, you might have seen Bixby bridge before, but you don't know where. Bixby bridge is known as one of the most photographed places on the west coast, and a popular site for car commercials.
A little bit further into Big Sur, and you'll see Pfeiffer beach, which has quite a few interesting rock formations. Pfeiffer beach has one particularly interesting formation, where, if you're lucky enough, you can catch the sun shining through at sunset.
Now, on the way back from Pfeiffer beach, I stopped and got out and looked at the stars. Being as remote as it is, there was very little light pollution to block the Milky Way, and it was beautiful. In a big city, you usually see quite a few stars right? A few hundred if you're lucky. But out there, the whole night sky was obstructed by the light of a billion stars, and if you looked closely you could see the edge of our smoky galaxy.
I really recommend a drive around Big Sur, and even if you're not an avid photographer, it looks just as good in person.
Thanks for reading my blog! I just got back from taking some photos, and learning more about photography. I took my first city photos, and I believe that it provides a different feel from the nature and landscape photography that I normally do. Anyway, from now on, I'll be posting every week. This week's photo is of a small sparrow from the Ngorongoro national park. This picture has a bokeh effect (to read more on the bokeh effect, click "Read More")