A Meaningful Hobby

PASSION

I call it Shutter Therapy.  My right index finger quivers uncontrollably when it does not meet a shutter button for anything more than 24 hours.  When I had my cataract surgery on both my eyes, I was to stay at home for 2 weeks. It was cold turkey for me.  During that period, I HAD to take out my camera to "molest", even when it means no outdoor shooting.  Even today, it's not uncommon to find me with my eyes on the television set, but with a camera in my hands.  Almost every item at home has been given its glory in the form of a picture stored in my 3TB network drive.  From my daughters' stationery trinkets, to the toaster, to even the occasional bug that visited us at home.

KNOWLEDGE

Sidewalk Shutterbugs Photography Group

My hobby turned serious in 2009 when I acquired my first DSLR - the Canon EOS 500D.

Initially, I photographed all genres - landscape, streets, people, portraits, anything that comes in front of my lens.  Some people say it's unfocussed (no pun intended), but I felt it's the only way to find my comfort zone.

It's amazing to find a wealth of information on the net and the libraries. However, the best lessons were from the interest groups that I joined - mostly made up of hobbyists younger than my goodself (sigh). At every organised outing, I came home with fresh ideas and shooting techniques. There's just so much to learn.

 

Macro Photography Group at ClubSNAP

I joined a macro photography group at ClubSNAP.  Here, I had the opportunity to meet hardcore macro enthusiasts.  We capture images of small creatures, not normally seen in such details with our naked eyes.  Yes, right down to the common housefly that had a faulty eye amidst the several hundreds it had in its compound eyes - this appears similar to a dead pixel on our LCD screen. 

I find that I fit into this group pretty well.  Most of the die-hards here live by the principle that good macro photography does not necessarily require expensive gears.  Here, I get to learn that a close-up lens can be stacked with another similar lens, giving many more times magnification than a dedicated macro lens. Light diffusors are mostly DIYs, from airsick bags to bubble wraps and transulent drawer liners sold at hardware shops that cost less than a meal at the foodcourt.

ClubSNAP streetshooters

Even as I moved on to other genres, I realised that the skills I developed when shooting macro, when applied to other types of photography, allow me to further enhance my images.

As I began to take things slower ..

I progressed from kit lenses to L-lenses, mirrored to mirrorless, and lately a rangefinder. As I began to take things slower, I started to appreciate "making" photographs and not just taking them.  I ventured into film in Nov 2013 and realised it's a whole new experience, new rendering - a completely new look that not even Photoshop or Lightroom can produce.

In Aug 2014, I traded my digital rangefinder for a 1956 Leica Double Stroke M3 coupled to a 1961 Canon 50/2.2 LTM. The savings I get from this deal was sufficient for me to pamper myself with lenses for a very long time!

 

JOURNAL

Hotline Volunteer Team - Parishes Counselling (Family Life Society)

In the groups that I work with, I have quickly become the default photographer whenever there are informal gatherings or meetings.  My friends have come to realise that an image not only captures the mood and the purpose of the occasion. It serves as a meangingful momento on when, what, why, how the moment in time took place and who were part of it.

Company teambuilding off-site at Krabi Island

At work, the same applies.  Be it a Lunar New Year "Lo Hei" session, Christmas dinner or an overseas teambuilding trip, my camera is always ready with accessories that suit the occasion.

SGCares Volunteer Group @ St Luke's Elder Care (Whampoa)

Those who view my pictures always have a good thing to say about them.  Either they are too polite and do not wish to be overly critical in their opinions, or I have indeed come a long way from where I've started on the hobby.  There's only one way to find out.

I offered to take photographs for non-profit organisations.  That started the volunteering chapter in my life.  One thing leads to another, and I began to realise that I am really enjoying volunteer work.  I get my usual Shutter Therapy while giving some of my time back to society.

GIVING

Ganbatte Japan Project

When Japan was hit by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, I was part of the Ganbatte Japan Project that was spearheaded by ClubSNAP together with Mercy Relief.  Over 2 consecutive weekends, we approached shoppers along Orchard Road for their contributions.  Those who gave $10.00 and more get to have their photographs taken and a copy given to them on the spot.  The photographs were uploaded into a page on Facebook that was dedicated for the project. 

We raised a total of S$37,128.75 for the project.  It was back-breaking, but we enjoyed ourselves tremendously, and for a good cause, too.

Health Outreach Program at Pulau Kundur, Tanjung Batu

I now cover other sports and school events organised for youths and children with special needs as well as other Church activities involving the less fortunate.

Here, I also get to learn certain professional photo-graphy etiquette that is required for the occasion - my photographs will show only the strengths and capabilities demonstrated by the participants and I will edit away areas that are deemed sensitive.  It's more than just shooting and producing images.

RECOGNITION

Almost all phtotographers have, at some time during their hobby, submitted their images for publication.  I am no exception.  I am proud that two of my photographs were featured in Images Magazine, one of which won a prize in myGREATshot Contest: 

Prize Winner - myGREATshot Contest
Featured photograph in the Travel Section

Latest comments

24.06 | 00:46

Hv you uploaded pictures of your recent trip? Oslo etc Tq

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22.05 | 20:21

Thank you for your compliments, Nick & Marie. While in Japan, do as the Japanese. YOLO!! 😂😂

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22.05 | 20:12

U look wonderful in your kimono. Enjoyed your photos. Thank you for sharing with me.

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06.05 | 07:18

😊

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