Saturday, February 25, 2012

Week 9 - Impact

As much fun as I had doing photography in Singapore, I really missed photos of people.  In fact, one of my favorite shots from Singapore was a simple portrait of a young girl from the streets of Little India. 

Resting in her mother's arms and dressed for some kind of celebration.  She is so comfortable, yet aware and a bit curious.  I got the feeling that my brief photo session was a welcome break from waiting for the celebration. 

As much as I like the color and gaze of this child, I am more proud of this next photo.  On the surface, it isn't anything special - a basketball shot, where I was lucky enough to be close to the player.  But what makes me really proud is the player.  This is one of the 'developing' players on the team.  She is frequently found ambling downcourt after fast breaks - reversing near half court - only to reverse again before she finds her defensive assignment.  But for this moment, she is in the game.  She is ready and she is a star.  I sent this photo to her mom.  At the next game, her performance skyrocketed.  She believed that she was a star. 

I've read articles about great photographers making an impact.  Most of us take pictures.  But great photos happen when we decide what we want to do with our photos.   When we choose a cause in the world to impact.  Global warming, save the chickens, or whatever.  My impact is the self-confidence of my subjects.  The belief that they can be a star.  The belief that they are already a star.  After all, it must be true.  If their stardom is already captured in a photo, it already is true!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Week 8 - Stairway

I'm joining a weekly photo feedback group.   Part of my goal of my Photo 52 challenge is to share my photos and gather more feedback.  I have to admit that both sides of the feedback area a bit uncomfortable for me.  But I also know that I want to take my photography skills from good to great and that takes feedback. 

Week 8 and I'm wrapping up my photos from my Singapore trip.  This week is another shot from Pulau Ubin.  As I walked the wetlands boardwalk, I was surprised to find this overgrown staircase.  It was well cleared in its day.  I wonder what caused it to be abandoned.  How long has it gone unused?  I love that is it the hidden surprise in this photo.  I really see a rocky coastline shadowed by the lush greenery.  It is easy to skip over, but then I notice the steep staircase.  I'd would have loved to explore it!   

I believe that each one of us holds our own hidden staircase.  It might be part of our own overgrown history.  But it is still something special.  And that abandoned staircase is just waiting for someone to climb it to see the spectacular view that is just over the hill. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Week 7.5 - Silhouettes

A bonus post this week so that I can participate in the Silhouette challenge from the Kat Eye View
Both of these photos comes from Pulau Ubin - a small island off of Singapore.  I spent a fabulous day mountain biking around the island and taking photos.  I had an ah-ha moment as I attempted to compose photos there.  My history of sports photography has been trying to remove extra people and clutter from a shot.  But with landscapes, the composition is more about what I choose to leave in the image. 

The calmness of the island was a total contrast to the heavy population of the Singapore mainland.   This bay was so calm and quiet that I nearly missed the boat home as I relaxed on the sea wall. 

This amazing tree stands in the middle of the island.  I love the lace-like quality of the branches and the strength of the straight trunk.  How long has this tree graced this earth?  What an amazing reminder of Mother Nature's capability to produce something so perfect. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Week 7 - Plain Silly

I'm still traveling to Singapore.  Earlier this week, I (along with 500 tripod toting photographers) went to take sunset shots of the city skyline.  Singapore has a beautiful setup - beautiful skyline that includes small traditional buildings flanked by modern skyscrapers and a beautiful bay just made for reflections.  Taking a great night shot was like shooting fish in a barrel.  You just couldn't miss.  But my favorite photo of the night was the small flower just sticking his tongue out at me.  Can you believe it would do such a thing?!

I love how Singapore seamlessly blends its history with its modern self.  In this nightscape, you can see the historic Fullerton hotel and the iconic Merlion in front of the broader cityscape. 

Again, an amazing blend of past and present.  This time, a fisherman in the middle of the waterway.  This area is commonly used for tours.  Amazingly, this guy sat and fished while the tours went around him. 

I don't often do night photos and even more rare that I have a tripod, so I played some with zoomed time exposures.  It gives the city a sort of 'batman' quality. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week 6 - Photo Heart Connection

This week I'm responding to a prompt from Kat Sloma of Kat Eye View.  Her challenge is to pick a photo that you like.  It may not be technically the best, but it should somehow brings you joy or brings you back to look again - A photo that simply touches you. 

This is a shot that I took this week on Pulau Ubin - a small island near Singapore.  I find this photo an odd mix - the hopeful green with the grey background.  The calm ocean waters  verses the chaotic glare of the wetlands.  The thriving bird life verses the lost tree.  Somehow, this survivor of a tree outlasted all other trees in this coastal wetland.  How did it survive the salt water that exposed its roots?  How did it ever grow in this location so far from its peers?  Whatever its past, it looks lonely.  Yet I can't help but think of it making the best of the situation, leaning toward the birds and playing in the mud!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Week 5 - Singapore nights

This week has been interesting for photography. First, I'm in Singapore on a business trip. I'm traveling alone which means that I have plenty of time to explore and take photos. On the other hand, I don't have my children or sports team to photograph, so I've been a bit out of my comfort zone. Even more, my free time is largely after dark. While I understand how to do night shots, I've not played much trying to get nice effects. I just don't have the mental starting point of what appature, shutter, and ISO will give me the effect that I like. And I have to admit that I'm not much of one to carry a tripod! So Friday night in Singapore, I headed down the main shopping street - Orchard Road - intent on really composing some nice night shots. I feel great about the effort. It was the first time that I was able to intentionally create bokeh.  Yeah for me! 

Singapore is a very modern city filled with interesting buildings.  This is the entrance of a shopping mall.  This is my favorite shot of the night because of the straight lines of this building structure and the curve on the left.  The hint of the moon behind the clouds is an extra little touch.
The official end of the Chinese New Year is Feb 4, so there are still some holiday decorations.  It is sort of like the 12 days of Christmas.  The start of the CNY celebration was Jan 25, but there are some decorations remaining for the end of the holiday.  I'm told that in China, the holiday season is marked by a massive exodus from the coastal cities inland. There are annual stories of overfull trains and busses that cannont handle the rust of holiday travelers. 

I like color streaks of the cars in this image.  The blue and yellow come from the colorful Sinagpore taxi's.  As I post this, I realize that I might need to crop a bit more on the right side to get rid of the crosswalk and allow focus on the color.   

These lights were wound on some trees along the street.  The photo is a bit dark, but I like how the lines flow from one tree to the next.