A monochrome summary of the #DBSMarinaRegatta

Pre-race — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

After photographing last year’s DBS Marina Regatta, I was delighted to be asked back again to this year’s event, alongside fellow friends and photographers, to document and show the fun everyone was having. It is a dream event to shoot for any photographer, which explains all the “big guns” (and small ones) seen at the event.

Besides the festive mood that made the Regatta such a joy to photograph, our clients also took fantastic care of us, down to the nitty-gritty details. They even designated a rest area, complete with power extensions to charge our phones and devices, which are so critical during a fast-paced event like this, for us. The catering was exceptional, just like last year’s Regatta. There was a heavy downpour that nearly put paid to our thoughts of photography on the second day, but the kind folks from DBS quickly answered our requests for ponchos and umbrellas, and we were off again. Amazing.

For that, we have to thank the kind folks like Fen at DBS, as well as Weili, who not only photographed the event with us, but also coordinated with the client. All that effort made us work even harder.

Here are my results, on the DBS Marina Regatta 2014, a black-and-white view. Here’s looking forward to next year!

Youths — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Paddlers analysing their previous race  — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Fierce competitors of the Asian Drum Challenge — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Untitled — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Untitled — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Untitled — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Untitled — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Hello — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

You can see more by searching for the hashtag #dbsmarinaregatta on Instagram. And yes, I’m on Instagram too, where all my shots from the event are posted. This young dinosaur is still trying to move with the times.
Equipment note: All photos in this post were taken with the Sony RX10. With some exceptions, that camera was probably made for events like these. A more detailed note about that soon.

Snapshots with the Samsung NX30

Untitled — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

I was loaned a review unit of Samsung’s NX30 camera for a short while, and it surprised me. I won’t call this a review, since I only have it for a short while, but more of a summary, with some photos from the camera.

Flash and Hat — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Shoes — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Untitled — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Untitled — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Untitled — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

The pros:
- Bigger than my usual Micro Four-Thirds system, but really light, and handles well in hand.
- Fully articulating rear LCD makes it easy to get shots from an awkward angle.
- Dials and buttons for commonly-accessed functions, such as metering, Wi-Fi file transfer (all cameras should have this as a default feature by now), drive mode, simple mode dial, so I don’t have to go into the menu all the time.
- Much improved EVF; as a fan of good electronic viewfinders, I cannot stress how important this is!
- The eyepiece/EVF can be extended and tilted upwards, which is a good idea.
- Easy to manipulate RAW files, resulting in good colour or monochrome conversions.

Rest — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Untitled — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Untitled — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

Untitled — Singapore, 2014. © Callan Tham.

And of course, since there are no perfect cameras, here are the cons:
- The kit lens feels like a kit lens. The results are ok, but I didn’t enjoy using it.*
- The way the extending EVF is made doesn’t feel as strong as it should.
- The AF can be frustrating at times, perhaps because it’s the kit lens, but I’m really not sure.

That said though, it is an enjoyable camera to use. Just to be sure, I handed it off to my wife for a few hours, and she thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a potential hit for Samsung, if they can overcome the ingrained biases of the camera-buying/-toting crowd.

While I’m at it, here are some snapshots of my son taken with the NX30.

© 2014 Callan Tham.

© 2014 Callan Tham.

© 2014 Callan Tham.

At the risk of sounding like Joe McNally, more to come…

* Mainly because I’m a young dinosaur who loves his prime lenses.

[NSFW] It has been a while

Alix C, Singapore, 2013. © 2014 Callan Tham.

Somehow I’ve forgotten about this particular photo of the elegantly beautiful Alix, taken last year. I processed it, but it never made it anywhere online. I figured this would be a good time–a Friday, and a long streak of black and white photographs on the blog–to post a colour art nude.

It’s also probably high time to do some nudes again. The back is healing up nicely, and that’s my cue to get started on work.

PS. Just in case you haven’t noticed, you can see more of my nude work here.

A lofty goal

Restaurant — U.S. 1 leaving Columbia, South Carolina. © Robert Frank.

Classroom — Arab Street, Singapore, 2013. © 2014 Callan Tham.

Restlessness has its benefits. I was flipping through Robert Frank’s The Americans for the umpteenth time when I decided to search for articles about it, and came across this gem. It’s not exactly new–it’s written in 2008, to be exact–but the article, like the book, remain relevant to this day.

I found the following passage particularly encouraging.

“The Americans may have been the result of a man with a Leica and a Guggenheim, or it may have been something larger; a piece of art that asks more questions than it answers, that reveals less than it implies, that suggests more than it establishes, that loves more than it can.”

I’ve always tried to photograph in that manner, and have been accused of various things, from trying to be clever, to boring, to being deliberately obtuse. I do not completely deny the first charge, the second may well stick, but the third, I deny unequivocally.

My photographs may be deliberately vague, but not because I’m trying to be difficult. It’s just that a photograph that tells you less than it shows you have a definite appeal, something that will slowly grow on you rather than the instant fascination that lasts no more than a thumb’s flick away, to be forgotten until the next best thing comes along.

I just happen to believe, and continue to believe, that is the best way to photograph, for myself. That it is a lofty goal. One I will find rather impossible to give up.

Which reminds me, I have been accused of being stubborn too. That one is rather accurate.

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