Photographer’s Journal

SG50 Fireworks at Marina Bay Singapore – NDP2015 Rehearsal

Singapore is celebrating its 50 years of independence on August 9th this year. Practices and rehearsals for the National Day Parade (NDP) have started since many weeks ago and since last week, it includes the fireworks too. If you are in Singapore, you can still enjoy the fireworks on the following dates:

– 18 July – rehearsal
– 25 July – rehearsal
– 1 August – Preview
– 9 August – NDP 2015

The fireworks will start at about 7:30pm. This is a very short one, followed by few short ones every 10 minutes after that. The complete fireworks will start at about 8:15pm. The areas around the Marina Bay are generally good spots to watch the fireworks. These include the Esplanade, One Fullerton, Jubilee Bridge, Marina Promenade and Gardens by the Bay East. The ones below were taken from the Gardens by the Bay East. It is a good place for picnic too. So, if you are family with children, this place is ideal. It will be quite packed on 9th August though. So, come early. Have fun and enjoy the fireworks.

Singapore NDP2015 SG50 Fireworks 1

Singapore NDP2015 SG50 Fireworks 2

Singapore NDP2015 SG50 Fireworks 3

Singapore NDP2015 SG50 Fireworks 4

Singapore NDP2015 SG50 Fireworks 5

Singapore NDP2015 SG50 Fireworks 6

Singapore NDP2015 SG50 Fireworks 7

Singapore NDP2015 SG50 Fireworks 8

Singapore NDP2015 SG50 Fireworks 9

Singapore NDP2015 SG50 Fireworks 10

Singapore NDP2015 SG50 Fireworks 11

Singapore NDP2015 SG50 Fireworks 12

Singapore NDP2015 SG50 Fireworks 13

Nikon Df on the Streets of Singapore

Last shooting session with the Nikon Df. Thank you guys, it’s been fun.

And what a day to shoot because it was pouring like cats and dogs. While waiting for the rain to stop, I took some shots using the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G lens. The Df is a head turner. Some passers-by slowed down and tried to look at the camera around my neck. It has a good vintage look.

The lighting was bad due to heavy rain, and people either walked fast or ran to cross the road. I dialled the ISO to mostly 1600, so I could get a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the movement of the people.

Hendra Lauw - Street Photography

Nikon Df has a weather sealed magnesium alloy body. I wanted to test it by exposing it a bit to the rain, but maybe next time. It’s not my camera yet. Again, Santa, are you listening? Christmas is only two weeks away.

Sometimes photography is a waiting game. You wait for the light, for the moment, for the right timing when all elements come together in a picture. I stood under the shelter and my eyes wandered looking for subjects to photograph. It was a busy intersection, but patience can be worth it.

Street Photography by Hendra Lauw


Hendra Lauw Photography

I dialled the shooting mode to Manual and set the ISO, shutter speed and aperture. With people moving and some backlighting, it’s easy to get different and wrong exposures when shooting in auto or aperture/shutter priority mode. By shooting in manual mode, I free myself from worrying about the exposure and just focus on my composition.

Hendra Lauw - Life through the Lens Photography

Hendra Lauw - Life through the Lens Photography

Hendra Lauw Photography

Hendra Lauw Photography

Hendra Lauw Photography

It has been fun shooting with the Nikon Df. Time to return the camera. I will miss the dials on top of the camera, but I hope all cameras in the future will have those dials for the frequently used functions. I just love vintage looking cameras. Thank you again to Nikon Singapore for having me to shoot with the Df.

A Walk in the Park with Nikon Df

I am crazy about buttons and dials on a camera. I just love the look of it with those buttons and dials sitting nicely on top of the camera. I am also crazy about anything that has a vintage look. I bought two old typewriters from eBay recently, for example. I have also collected some old cameras over the years. I foresee this hobby will continue for some time. 

So, when I was offered an opportunity by Nikon to shoot with their new Nikon Df, I was excited. I couldn’t wait to play and shoot with it. They gave me the black version, even though I was hoping it would be a silver one as I love the look of the silver one more.

The first camera I bought for myself was a Nikon compact film camera. It was the LiteTouch Zoom70W AF QuartzDate. I bought it when I wanted to document my first vacation with a girl, who is now my wife and the mother of our 9 year old daughter. So, I always have this sentimental feeling about Nikon.

Even though I did not start with those Nikon FM and FE cameras, the buttons, the dials and the vintage look of the Df help to bring back this feeling of nostalgia.

I brought my daughter to the park, about two hours before we had to leave for the airport. It was a mad rush but I enjoyed every second of the shooting experience with my daughter and the Df. The Df is a powerful digital SLR camera, and comes with nice addition of dials for frequently used settings like ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, aperture and shooting modes.

Hendra Lauw Photography

I mainly shot in Manual mode because I love playing with the dials to set the ISO, aperture and shutter speed myself. This helped to get a constant and correct exposure for all the frames. 

I shot mostly at the largest aperture of both the 50mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.4. I wanted the background to be out of focus so that the main subject stands out from the surrounding distractions. My daughter was tired after jumping for few times and she rested but I just kept shooting. :)

Hendra Lauw Photography

Hendra Lauw Photography

Life through the Lens by Hendra Lauw

Having a nice cold ice cream wrapped up our short shooting session in the park.

An afternoon chat at a sarabat tea stall

Baghdad Street Sarabat Tea Stall-1

I spent about half an hour sitting at a sarabat tea stall near the junction of Bussorah street and Baghdad street. After a long walk, I had two glasses of iced milk tea. One of the owners sat at a table next to me, resting. We talked in Malay. He told me his legs were no longer strong. His name is Anwarul Haq. I hope I got his name right. He is now 74 years old and has gone for Hajj in 2003. He was 64 then. May God bless him with good health. These two photos were shot with Olympus E-P3 and Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens.

Baghdad Street Sarabat Tea Stall-2

Back in June, I visited them for a tea break and took some shots using my iPhone 4s. I talked to the other owner, Haji Abdul Mualam. Again, I hope I got his name right. He told me that they have been in the business for 44 years now. Haji Abdul Mualam is the one on the left.MORE +

Don’t discard the elderly

Canon P

For the past three years, I have found myself drawn to old cameras. There is something about them that is timeless. Maybe the style, the shape or the sound of the shutter curtain. Or maybe it’s just me who is bored of the current modern styles and just want to go back to basics.

Though not a lot, I have started collecting some old camera. Working and not working. One of them that I really like is the Canon P, a rangefinder camera that Canon first released in 1959 and continued until 1961. Mine was a ‘late’ model. Upon researching, based on the serial number, I believe mine was manufactured in mid to late 1961.

The camera is a solid and pure mechanical machine. It does not have battery and it uses film! In this current fast moving world, sometimes it’s good to slow down, enjoy the moment and just shoot a roll of 36 exposures.

So, if you have any old cameras that your grandparents or parents owned, try to clean them up, buy a roll of film and have fun shooting with it. But if you are really thinking of getting rid of them, email me first.   :)

And, here are some of the photos I took using this camera:MORE +

Kampong Buangkok – the last surviving kampong in Singapore

Kampong Buangkok -

I finally went to visit this place after knowing about it for few years. It’s the last surviving kampong in the modern mainland of Singapore. The place is very accessible. It’s off Yio Chu Kang road, near the Church of St. Vincent de Paul and it’s already surrounded by high rise apartments and landed houses. Not sure, how long more it will stay this way.

I met a nice gentleman, Pak Jumadi, who was cutting a fallen tree and was kind enough to tell me a story of this place. He and his family moved there about 50 years ago. He was only 12. Though he does not live there anymore, he still comes to visit his mother, who does not want to move out, when he is free. He told me a little story about this place. In the 1950s, it was called Kampong Selak Kain. In Malay, it means hitching up one’s kain or sarong. Sarong is a piece of cloth (kain), usually worn by the Malays, wrapped around the waist and it usually covers the legs till the ankle. The place was flooded quite a lot in the old days, hence the people living there had to hitch up their kain or sarong as they waded through the flood water. The place used to be a swamp, hence it’s also called Kampong Paya sometimes.

Buang Kok was actually the name of the narrow street (Lorong) there. In the photo above, you can see the old street sign, Lorong Buang Kok 1954, which the resident there keeps. 1954 was the old postal code of this place. Singapore has had six-digit postal code system now.

He invited me to sit in the veranda of his mother’s house and drew a map and explained to me about the place. Lorong Buang Kok was about 2.5 km long, he said. In Malay, they call that distance 2 batu.


This house, according to Pak Jumadi, was already there when his father moved to this place. It could be the oldest house there. Nobody seems to live there anymore now.




And this used to be a big fish pond, he said.


That’s Pak Jumadi in his yellow rubber boot that he wore when he was cutting the fallen tree.


He politely declined when I asked if I could take his picture, but he said I could take picture of his back  :)

I may visit this place again when the weather is dry. I would like to get into one’s house and have coffee with them. Enjoy the rest of the photos below.


Fuji X100s does Little India

Fuji X100s in Little India

I brought the Fuji X100s out to shoot in Little India late last night and spent few hours there till past midnight. This time I set the camera to shoot in RAW + JPEG mode. All the images here are the JPEG files, straight out of the camera. No post-processing other than resizing them for web usage. All were shot at ISO 6400 except for two of them.

Enjoy the photos. MORE +

Fuji X100s – First Impression

Fuji X100s

I rented the newly released Fuji X100s last weekend and had only few hours to play with it. But, that’s enough!!! Enough for me to rent it again today! Will play with it again some more. For those who are interested in renting camera and lenses in Singapore, visit this Camera Rental Centre near Clarke Quay.

So, that’s me shooting with the Fuji X100s near the construction site of the Jalan Besar MRT station. I managed to draw the attention of some people walking there.

All images here were shot in RAW format and then converted to JPEG with almost no post processing. I cropped two of them and converted one to black and white. I actually shot it in black and white but I don’t know why it’s showing in color when I downloaded it.

First impression? MORE +

Marina Bay in 2005

Marina Bay in 2005 - Night Photography by Hendra Lauw

I had no idea that where I stood when I took the photo above, one evening in December 2005, would become a shopping mall, hotel and one of the two Singapore’s first casinos. Slightly more than a year after I took this photo, the construction started in February 2007 and the rest is history. From June 2010, the site has become the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, The Shoppes and Casino. It’s Singapore’s first Integrated Resort at Marina Bay.


The Sea and Sky

High key photography - The Sea and Sky

This high key photograph was shot one morning in 2010 at Changi Beach. It was a hazy morning and the contrast between the sea and the sky was high. I wanted both the boats and the aeroplane, but the sky was too bright, hence the compromise to lose details on both. The boats were almost in silhouette as I had to take some exposure of the sky too. Just in case you ask, no I did not have my graduated ND filter with me that morning. Original photo was shot in color and converted to black and white in Adobe Lightroom 4.

Here is another one.MORE +

Binondo in the Morning

I took these images of Binondo, the Chinatown of Manila, in May this year. The weather was good that morning and there were lots of colors on the street. I was shooting with my iPhone 4s using the 645Pro app, except one, the black and white image below, that was shot using Hipstamatic app.

Binondo in the Morning was supposed to follow Binondo at Night, but I got distracted and posted others first. But, here you go. Enjoy!MORE +


Cockfighting is a blood sport between two roosters that have been trained to be aggressive toward each other. The roosters have one of their legs fitted with metal blade. During the fight, when their legs are kicking each other, this blade will injure or even kill the opponent. The owner of the winner will bring the dead / injured rooster home.

This game is banned in certain countries, but you can still see this in some other countries.

The game usually involves money. Lots of people in the cockpit bet against each other and it’s amazing to see their sign language during the betting time before the game starts. Two persons can bet against each other even though they sit very far apart from each other. Only the sign language involved to initiate and close the deal. When the game is over, you can see the loser throw money (rolled and tied with rubber band) to the winner.

All photos shot with iPhone 4s using the 645Pro app.MORE +