Where Did I Go? (Shanghai … continuation)

One thing I tend to do whenever I visit Shanghai would be to make a trip to the The Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower and get access to the highest level to have a panoramic view of Shanghai. Not only are you able to see a great deal of Shanghai at this level, you also get to witness the changes of Shanghai each time you reach this height.

View of Shanghai from the top

View of Shanghai from the top

The same spot where the picture (above) was taken recently showed a much busier Shanghai that about 5 years ago. More and more buildings continued to pop up relentlessly over the last few years. Some friends asked me before on why I like Shanghai so much and for some reason, I believe the only place that might rewrite history of the globe is going to be in Shanghai, at least for the next 10 years to come and this place will reshape many things that the global economy is going to depend on. This place has the power that keeps the adrenaline going and that makes me want to come back to witness it for as long as I can.

View of Shanghai from the Top

View of Shanghai from the Top

View of Shanghai from the Top

View of Shanghai from the Top

More skyscrapers in Shanghai

More skyscrapers in Shanghai

Each time you see a new iconic skyscraper, you will notice that it will be taller than the one before it. This says a lot about the ever growing prospect of this city and what it strives to achieve in creating a name for itself in the global economy. With a population of 24 million in Shanghai, no wonder everyone wants to have a piece of its future.

Jui Yong Daniel, SIM

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Where Did I Go? (Back to Shanghai)

One of the places I went to during the period of blog absence was back to Shanghai. Why the word “back”? I am not a Shanghainese in case if anyone is guessing but I have personally spend a considerable amount of time in Shanghai between 2004 to 2010. For some reasons, I grew to like this place and it has become one of my personal favorite places to revisit from time to time.

Shanghai as a city has been a city of change and it never stop changing. People from different places (inside and outside of China) seeks this city as a place of opportunity and a place of iconic value for modern living. As a result of the constant change and the old becoming the new, the same place that you visit say 5 years ago may still be there but something just do not look the same anymore. Maybe it is this constant flux of change makes me want to go back from time to time to make comparison of what was there and is it still there today.

Every time when I am back in Shanghai, I will visit a few places. One of them is this place known as the Old Street of Shanghai. The Shanghai government try to retain this place as much as possible to reflect the old days of Shanghai and has therefore, made this place a official touristy spot. Almost every tourists will visit this place but the things they sell are not so much of the old Shanghai but modern objects from counterfeit electronics to branded watches, bags, etc. You will also get interesting souvenirs, calligraphy, Chinese seals (stamps), clothing, food (dumplings are famous in Shanghai), Chinese tea leaves, and so much more. But the main attraction for me is always crowd watching. With a cup of Starbucks latte and simply just sitting down, there is so much enjoyment in watching people going about this busy place.

Old Street of Shanghai

Old Street of Shanghai

Old Street of Shanghai

Old Street of Shanghai

Old Street of Shanghai

Old Street of Shanghai

Old Street of Shanghai

Old Street of Shanghai…

I heard that in the near future, the government is planning to make changes to this place. How it will be I do not know but only to visit it again a few years later.  In Shanghai, I am like a witness to the change. Being a part of it and yet not really a part of it but simply a passer by of the same place from time to time.

 

Jui Yong Daniel, SIM

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It has been a year of searching

Time flies and It has been a year since I last posted on WordPress. I stepped into a new dimension of doing something radically different in my work life and this one year has been rather challenging.

For one, I gave up serious photography completely. I abandon and sold off all my commercial tools and got into a smaller and more compact system – the Olympus OMD E series and to tell you the truth, it has been a great experience.

Secondly, I venture deeper into looking at doing new businesses – innovation, technology, transformational business consulting, etc. Some of these bore great results but some are filled with disappointments. For one, dealing with humans always have compromising issues that resulted in frustration, disappointment and anguish. All in all, most of us are selfish creatures and even more so in the business world. The word trust starts to diminish as we sink deeper and deeper into the abyss of materialism. The only saving grace is to indulge in imagery artwork and for a small moment forgets about these unhappy things.

Thirdly, I am and still exploring how I can do good business – good in the sense that it contributes to either environmental or social goodness. This is rather tough and I have made little progress, encountered many road blocks, but the passion is still burning in my heart. Lets hope I can achieve something in 2014.

And yes, I still missed photography and blogging. However, going forward, the stuff here are likely to be more non-commercial stuff and more travel photography which I am starting to enjoy. I even went back to printing out pictures on Fujifilm Instanx film by using their latest Instanx Share SP-1 printer. This little thing prints out pictures via android and iOS handsets. And if you are guessing, yes the smartphone phone camera has been utilized more often than before – where I used to swear that the phone camera is not a camera!

Will be posting more and for a start some pictures of places I been to over the past one year will soon find its way to this blog very shortly.

 

Jui Yong Daniel, SIM

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The Ruins of Modernization

If you want to have a quick insight into what globalization has done to a country that once to grow quickly into a first class economy, look not further but just go to Shenzhen and venture into Dongguan. Dongguan and some other cities in China are economically zone for industrial purposes. As with any evolution of a country’s economy and state of things, industrialization comes right after agriculture development. Dongguan is zone economically to produce goods – largely electronics for both domestic and global consumption. In fact, the world relies on China for most of the electronics goods that we use in our daily lives in today’s high-tech environment.

Key question is what has industrialization done for a place that was once a place where its people go about their lives in clean and healthy environment – where most people operated as fishermen and farmers? There is no better way to describe than to show you just a picture of what it is like today.

Ruins of Modernization

Ruins of Modernization

I wonderful how far off are we before we destroy the once clean environment of our planet and everyone have to live in conditions such as this.

Jui Yong Daniel, SIM

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Sharing an interesting infographic

Been terribly for the last 4 months that I have neglected this blog of mine. I missed the chance to go out to do what I like – photography. The camera and lenses have been in the dry cabinet (to keep fungus out of the way) for a quarter of a year and that is really terrible for someone who has a passion for photography.

I even sold off 3 lenses given that I will not have time to do any for the rest of the year. In fact, i kept only the cameras and a specialized lens for architecture – the genre that I love best among all other.

Why do I work this hard? I do not have an answer but I sort of went with the flow when more opportunities surfaced and I sort of wanted to do something different to benefit a soon to be forgotten part of society before I really retired from corporate world. It is still a long journey but hopefully I can see the fruit of my labour.

Nevertheless, the thought of going back into fine art photoraphy always excite me – not so much of making money but keeping my soul happy. It is still a struggle because I am answerable not just to myself but the people around me. Interestingly, I found an interesting infographic that talks about how being an hobbyist is probably better than being a working photographer.

Want to be photographer infographic

Want to be photographer infographic

I will still try to find time to shoot but this year it will be more architecture related imagery.

Warmest regards

J.Y. Daniel, SIM

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Netball – A delightful game to bring an old photographer back to the love of sports photography

Netball

Netball, a game of grace (by the ladies of course)

 

Wikipedia defines it as a ball sport played by two teams of seven players. Its development, derived from early versions of basketball, began in England in the 1890s. By 1960, international playing rules had been standardised for the game, and the International Federation of Netball and Women’s Basketball (later renamed the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA)) was formed. As of 2011, IFNA comprises more than 60 national teams organized into five global regions.

There was a game that was played at the Choa Chu Kang Sports Hall. The game was among a series of other sports such as Badminton, Basketball, Table Tennis, and indoor Soccer. Unlike netball, all other games were largely played with much aggressiveness and force (especially where the game was dominated by the masculine gender). Even mixed doubles Badminton requires a certain amount of force from the feminine player to compete for points throughout the game. Netball on the hand, was feminine force dominated and maybe that was why it has so much grace involved that even any forms of contention was done with such elegance in their actions.

Netball

Netball – a player waiting for the referee to signal to her to commence the first throw. She stood firmly without any posture of intimidation. It was also difficult to guess who she will throw the ball to.

I am not really into sports these days but I was there simply to capture a few good pictures for memories sake. As it is that I might have mentioned somewhere in other posts that my foundation in photography started with sports photography. However, this genre has been something that I abandoned over the last 2 decades in preference for something more stationery in nature, such as architecture, landscape and portraiture. As I picked up my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, boy was I amazed at the weight this thing actually weighs. The weight was even heavier when coupled with a huge professional series body. I also realized that the lack of practice in sports photography has made me somewhat lost when I walked around the court. Yes, walking around the court where the ladies were playing netball but totally unsure how to start the photographing process. In the past it was instantaneous where once I am into the battleground of the players, I knew exactly what to shoot, where to run, where to stop and more importantly, the ability to anticipate the movement of the players.

Netball

Netball – A throw can be in any direction but as a photographer, you need to understand the player as each of them has a tendency to behave in a certain manner (such as a preferred person to pass the ball to).

It took me awhile to swing into action and know what to expect as each game progress. A photographer needs to know who are the top scorers in the game because you would want to track her with your lens to capture some interesting shots since she will be in action more (having control of the ball) than the other players. You would also want to isolate some shots with just one or two key players instead of all shots that frame many players within as too much of such pictures will dull the whole viewing experience of the users.

 

Netball

Netball – some players tend to be more expressive with their hands gesture. Capturing shots like this lend creativity to the audience in trying to interpret what the subject was trying to say.

Netball

Netball – A frame such as this has the subject being isolated shows the intense concentration of her body language.

 

Some shots are rather comical and less of the sports in focus. By capturing interesting light moment shots add creativity and also a new angle to the photo-documentary. The one below illustrates a possible mistake by the players in passing the ball to the wrong target or the one further down that shows 2 netball players dancing instead of competing for the ball.

Netball

Netball – some shots shed a lighter moment of an intense game, such as the lady at the extreme left covering her mouth with her hand – as if some mistakes have been made.

Netball

Netball – Is she putting off a dance in the middle of the game?

There will be more shots of one or two particular players given their more outstanding performance or their ability to capture the attention of the photographer.

Netball

Netball – a player who tends to be more expressive that the rest.

Netball

Netball – even as she walked around, she will know ho to position herself in line of sight with the photographer.

Netball

Netball – and even if she stumbles, she will know how to carry her composure well enough to look good and be graceful (if you compare her and that of the other player on the right you will know what I mean).

Netball

Netball – The same female player with a different post but equally worth the attention – sending the ball away or calling the ball towards her?

 

Last  but not least, in every sports photography coverage, find the keeper’s shot is of utmost important. If you do not have one that you think is a keeper, it goes to show that you have not have a fruitful day. I am glad that I have managed to get at least one although I have to admit that my skills are a bit rusty after all these years. Not to forget that age is also catching up and my speed is slower which in turn affects my agility.

Nevertheless, here is one that I like very much as it shows the grace of netball – the game, the ball and the player.

Netball

Netball – the Keeper’s shot.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Jui-Yong Daniel, SIM

Architecture Archival of Singapore .. before they are (or I am) all gone…

It’s weird but once we turn 40 (or maybe it is just me), we tend to try and recall the past or the journey they we went through more often than before. When we were younger, we just want to quickly grow up, get a job, find good money to support our parents, and settling down (and to some, start their own family), and eventually pay off the housing loan so that we can have a roof over our heads “for good”. Once we have more or less done all that. we soon realized that a good 40 years have gone by. That is pretty much how it is like for me at this moment.

Reaching 41 this year and for the past 1 year since I turned 40, I realized that as we aged, our environment too are changing. Many of the architecture structure that I grew up being familiar with are no longer around. More and more buildings are being torn down to make way for new projects and very soon, maybe none of the buildings that I grew up knowing will even ever be around. Sad but true. Someone once said that each generation has its own history to write and change is what enables history to be written from one generation to another.

Now that I am no longer traveling as much for work and also having more time to pursue my own freedom in photography, I have decided to start an ongoing project to photograph the places that I grew up knowing. This will be an ongoing project and to be updated whenever I have new pictures to upload. It will be a random approach in covering these places. If memories permit, I will write a little note on what I can remember about these places.

First stop Chinatown

Chinatown Complex

001. Chinatown Complex
This place always amazes me because after all these years some of the stall owners are still around peddling their wares. I am sure some of them actually grew up in Chinatown area and has ever since made this their home, playground, and livelihood. I have only been inside once to buy things but that was so many years ago. I was probably still a secondary school student at that time and I vaguely remembered coming here to buy something for a school project. At that time I was staying in Whampoa Drive and traveling to Chinatown with buses can be quite a chore for me (Why bus? Well, there were no MRT at that time). I wonder how long more this complex will still be around now that due to the Thomson line, Pearl Center has already been marked for demolishing.

 

People's Park Complex

002. People’s Park Complex
This is one of the earliest commercial housing project that took place as early as 1967 (if my I did my homework correctly). This makes the complex a very very old building and the recent fire incident 2010 and the Singapore Civil Defence Force found out that there was a breach of safety measures.I remembered visiting this complex only when I was in my adult days. Going there meant visiting travel agency for packages to China. Other than that, nothing much to do at this place though I am always amazed with the shops that operated within. You basically can get all sort of items including branded ones like Mont Blanc and Rolex.

 

The Majestic

003. The Majestic
Majestic Theatre was a Cantonese opera house built by philanthropist Eu Tong Sen, also a tin mining and rubber magnate, for his wife who was a Cantonese opera fan. Eu also formed an opera troupe for her, and bought the street on which the theatre sat, naming it Eu Tong Sen Street. The building was designed by Swan and Maclaren, the leading architectural firm at that time which also designed Raffles Hotel and Victoria Memorial Hall. The theatre was completed in 1928.

I hope you will enjoy this thread and more importantly, use photography to archive your own memories. Some day, the generations after you will still get to see what you have seen before though it may not be possible for them to resonate the same experience that you have been through.

 

Jui Yong Daniel, SIM

Last 2 to complete the 12 models for 2012 Project …

Was glad that the last 2 models shoot was done. I realized and probably for all things that when you do the same thing over and over again with very short break in between, one will run out of creativity and the initial fire of passion might just refuse to ignite and burn any longer.

Here are the last 2 models that I have photographed in the month of August to complete the 12 to be featured in a personal pictorial book that I am printing.

Riana was from USA, a very beautiful woman that makes swimwear photography a bliss to do on any beach scene for as long as the sun casts its ray on the right places.

Riana from USA

Riana from USA @ Sentosa’s Tanjong Beach

Riana from USA

Riana from USA – Frame within frame as they call it. I like this shot best.

Riana from USA

Riana from USA – a close up version of Riana

The 12th model for this project was Natalie from UK. She is a bit different from other model. I personally felt that she is more athletic given the body toning she has put herself through. I like you decide but none the less, she has a stronger appeal as compared to other much slimmer and frailer looking models.

Natalie from UK

Natalie from UK – I think she looks good in white. I brings out the sportiness in her.

Natalie from UK

Natalie from UK – Green is good. These days, everything is about environmentally friendly and Green color has become a new fashion statement. :)

Natalie from UK

Natalie from UK – I always like shooting with a darker mood and using black color backdrop, props and even what the model wears always add great mystery to the framing experience.

And yes, that has complete my 12 Model 2012 Project. I have more or less neglected my other project on archiving the architectural impressions of Singapore. I have another 3 months to go to do at least 9 more projects of different places that resonates with Singapore’s Urban Landscape. Hopefully the weather is good and time is available (both of these are becoming a challenge to me these days with the wet hazy weather as well as a new focus to make things happen in today’s unsustainable planet).

Till then, no more human models. I am sure you will see more building models instead.
Cheers,

Jui Yong Daniel, SIM

More pictures of Larisa from Brazil

Since it is still a public holiday in Singapore today, I have decided to spend more time doing more pictorial upload of Larisa instead of plunging myself at numbers crunching for my business plan writing (which I will probably do it towards the end of the day when it is much quieter and I can have all the time to myself).

Meanwhile, thanks to all who have liked my previous post on Larisa, here is more for you to enjoy.

Larisa from Brazil

Larisa from Brazil
Sentosa Tanjong Beach, Singapore

Larisa from Brazil

Larisa from Brazil
Senotsa Tanjong Beach, Singapore

Larisa from Brazil

Larisa from Brazil
Sentosa Tanjon Beach, Singapore

Larisa from Brazil

Larisa from Brazil
Sentosa Tanjon Beach, Singapore

Larisa from Brazil

Larisa from Brazil
Sentosa Tanjong Beach, Singapore

Larisa from Brazil

Larisa from Brazil
Sentosa Tanjong Beach, Singapore

Larisa from Brazil

Larisa from Brazil
Sentosa Tanjong Beach, Singapore

Larisa from Brazil

Larisa from Brazil
Sentosa Tanjong Beach, Singapore

Larisa from Brazil

Larisa from Brazil
Sentosa Tanjong Beach, Singapore

Larisa from Brazil

Larisa from Brazil
Sentosa Tanjong Beach, Singapore

Let me know if you like this series by dropping some comments. Would love to hear from you :)

Cheers and have a good week ahead.

Jui Yong Daniel, SIM

Larisa from Brazil

While I might say I have done a fair bit of portraiture works over the years, I had to say that the workshop I did 2 weeks ago was probably the very first portrait photography done at the beach. One reason for not doing is the thought of having sands all over my legs and having seawater on my footwear. Cleaning up remains a chore as it is not easy to get rid of sand and seawater. Much worse is the thought of having to clean the equipment (camera gear) as sea and sand are clearly no friends of electronics and anything that might potentially get rust on them.

Anyway, I decided that if I do not try, I might miss out something in life. After all, one should focus on creating great pictures and like all work of passion, there is always a little bit of suffering that goes along with it. The pain is probably the pleasure – lame excuse but it gets me going.

Here’s a picture of the 10th model to contribute to my Portrait Works Collection 2012. Some people are just simply more beautiful that others and if you look at these beautiful models, you will realized that the thing that sets them apart from each other is the pair of eyes. Like they say, the eyes are the window to the human soul. Maybe there is truth in those words.

LARISA from Brazil

LARISA from Brazil
Eyes are windows to the Human Soul

Enjoy … :)

 

Jui Yong Daniel, SIM