Marina Bay Sands, Singapore – Early Morning Glory

One day in March 2018, don’t know what got into me, I decided to get up early, cycle from home to the Marina Barrage with the complete photo gear AND the  drone to take a few pictures and movies

So, I had the DJI Phantom 3P in the hardcover backpack, a tripod attached to this hard case with a few carabiners, plus a sling bag with the Nikon Df and two heavy zoom lenses over my shoulder. What a stupid idea. I looked and felt like a complete idiot cycling along the Singapore river at 06:30 making my way through other cyclists and dog walkers. The 5 km cycling trip from home to the barrage felt like a 40 km cross-country mountain bike race, I was huffing and puffing upon arrival.

I managed to set up “shop”:

Google Attribution is here

So far so good, but then things went a little off the rail…. I realised that I forgot the ND filter, a fairly crucial accessory when trying to blur the water in the foreground, at home. Secondly, something was wrong with the drone: an error message “gimbal disconnected” kept creeping up. So, my plans of filming myself and the scenery with the drone whilst the Df was auto-clicking via interval timer went south straight-away.

Anyway: with a great mess comes great opportunity. Luckily, I had the polarisation filter with me. With a bit of scrambling I got a few decently looking photographs. Recommendation #1: when taking pictures at dusk or dawn in the tropics, mosquito repellent is worth its weight in gold!!!

Post processing: Colour Efex Pro and Silver EfexPro, a little bit of detail extractor, cropping and some minor adjustments to taste in LR; sharpening and export as jpeg with LR as well.

All done and dusted by 08:00, so I could get myself ready to start working at 08:30. In hindsight: this was very well worth it! Next time WITH the ND-filter.

Here we go. I upload large files for your viewing pleasures:

supertree grove singapore
MBS Singapore
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
and yes: Marina Bay Sands Singapore

pictures are (c) www.jrbc.net 2018; please ask for permission prior to reproduction!

Best of 2017, picture by picture, the colourful 8

best of 2017, the top 8 color photographs

Some thoughts and technical background information about the  eight color photographs that survived the “best of 2017” selection process described in an earlier post.

Image 1 & 2

The first two, very colorful images were taken during a Nikon School workshop. We had the task of capturing the “spirit” of Chinese New Year. The second challenge was to take no more than 50 pictures whilst out and wondering about for two hours. A good idea in the days of digital photography, where “spray and pray” often is just too tempting.

Both pictures taken with the Nikon Df, 85mm f1.8 @ ISO 100, handheld, then adjusted the blacks and whites in LR, sharpened and slightly cropped. In the picture showing the old man, I slightly lightened up his face via a radial mask in LR.

Image 3

Museum of Modern Arts in Brisbane. I liked the structure of the wall and the colors of the floor; decided to give the picture some manual “shake” with the iPhone to make it a bit more interesting.


Image 4

I was on the way to the gym, when this beautiful flower literally landed in front of me. I put it gently into the pool and took the picture with the iPhone.

Some post processing in LR as shown here:

image 5

Initially, this was a “so what” photograph, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. The tilt to the left adds momentum, almost as if something or somebody would enter the picture from the right any moment. Secondly, the path leading out of the frame leaves many questions open. And last but not least, the different hues of green. Nikon J1, handheld, LR post processing.

image 6

Another iPhone 6+. How I wish, I would have had a “real” camera with me for this photograph. I really like the juxtaposition of different structures in this photograph. The apparent chaos in the foreground, the verticals in the corn field, the forest behind, which looks like a whale emerging from the corn sea and last but not least the clouds towering over all of it.

In order to bring out the clouds a little more, I applied a gradient filter with about -1 stop exposure in LR. The grain is really ugly, because of the small iPhone sensor… Never mind, still a really good photograph (IMHO)

image 7

Not the best shot technically, the limitation of the small sensor of the DJI Phantom 3 Professional coming through. But with the clouds (gradient filter in LR to darken the sky somewhat) and the elevated perspective, this frame deserves to be in the final 8.

image 8

OK, for the pixel peepers, the white balance is slightly off, but that’s all I managed to do. A rare inversion weather situation, the solo cross country skier apparently gliding towards the sun – that did it for me. Nikon J1 handheld, some pp in Adobe LR.

Hope you enjoyed it and if all goes well, another “best of” will come in 12 month! Thanks again to Martin Bailey for the inspiration.



 

Best of 2017

my top 16

I took inspiration from Martin Bailey’s annual “top ten” process to go through all my 2017 pictures and choose the best ones. I decided to select a total of 16, eight in black an white and eight in colour.

selection process

I organize all photos and videos in Adobe Lightroom for a number of years already. So it is the easiest was to do this journey in Lightroom.

  1. choose all pictures taken in 2017. Total # of frames 1340. The total count in LR was 1500, the difference is made up by pictures taken by other people that I store with permission (eg a purchase)
  2. exclude all “holiday snap shots”, selfies and the like. This reduced the selection to about 200
  3. remove photos which are “nice to look at” (whatever that means…), but have some other flaws. For instance, disturbing elements that I didn’t want or cannot remove.. This got me down to app 55 frames.These are the 55 chosen ones at step 3:
  4. Then it got difficult. First, I removed either the BW or the Color pictures for those where I kept both in the 55 list above. That got me down to about 30.
  5. Then I removed photos where the initial “yes” turned out to be more of a “wow that was a great filter effect”. Down to about 24.
  6. Then it got really, really difficult. I removed those which I thought just don’t have any “umpf” for me. Down to 18.
  7. Then I asked my two trusted in-house experts for their choice, i.e. they helped me to eliminate two more.
    AND HERE WE ARE – THE FINAL 16

oooofff, that was really, really, really difficult and such a pleasure to do!

I will go through each image in detail in a few separate blog posts, providing some thoughts about each image and some technical considerations (camera, settings, post processing)



 

Schnitzeljagd

Mountain biking in Singapore scheint auf den ersten Blick “not the most obvious thing to do”, aber wie so oft täuscht der anfängliche Eindruck: mit ein wenig Kreativität lassen sich 200 Kilometer XC-Trail zusammenbasteln: ein halbes Dutzend offiziell markierte Trails ergeben 50 Kilometer, ca 60 Kilometer gibt der Green Corridor her, bevor die Verlegung einer Pipeline 20 km davon für drei Jahre unpassierbar machen wird und der Singapore Bike Hash, bei welchem ich seit drei Jahren Mitglied bin, und andere Clubs sorgen für den Rest.


Der Singapore Bike Hash (www.singaporebikehash.com) ist in fester Hand alteingesessner Angmos, deren Ortskenntnis, Comittment zur Sache, Arroganz und Ignoranz in gleichen Teilen erstaunlich, bewundernswert, geschmacklos und so von total vorgestern sind. Nachwuchsprobleme sind offensichtlich.

Das läuft so: jeden dritten Sonntag trifft sich die Gang (80% Mann und  20% Frau) meist auf einem abgelegenen Parkplatz um 09:45 zur MTB-Schnitzeljagd. Ja nicht zu früh, Zeit muss sein, den vorabendlichen Kater auszuschlafen. Die Hares markieren tags zuvor oder unmittelbar vor dem Anlass mit Kreide und Toiletten-Papier eine ca. 20 Kilometer lange Schlaufe durch Urwald, Sozialwohnungs-Bauten, militärisches Trainingsgelände, Baustellen und anderes Terrain, welches mehr oder weniger XC-tauglich ist. Besonders beliebt sind Trag-Segmente über Fussgaenger-Ueberfuehrungen. Hie und da werden fieserweise Sackgassen, so genannte T-Checks oder Circle-Checks eingebaut, um die unwissenden Hashers zu Pfadfindern werden zu lassen. Bedenkt man die Knappheit an unueberbautem Land in Singapore ist die Kreativität, mit welcher die Spurenleger immer wieder neue Varianten finden, bewundernswert.

Kurz nach dem Start teilt sich das Feld in drei Gruppen: die Fanatiker, welche immer zuerst und zuvorderst sein müssen, jeder T-Check muss in seiner Gänze ausgefahren werden und jede, auch noch so kurze und unbedeutende Steigung gibt genügend Anlass, eine Bergpreiswertung auszurufen. In einem gewissen Abstand folgt die Gruppe Normalradler, die den Parcours mit gemaessigteren Ambitionen absolvieren. Zuletzt die Veteranen, Anfänger und jene, welche am vergangenen Abend so viel gesoffen haben, dass sie sich knapp auf den Velos halten können.

Eine Stunde kann ich mit den Extremos mithalten, den Rest radle ich so lange alleine, bis andere, welche aus der Spitzengruppe zurückfallen, sich zu mir gesellen.

So weit so sehr gut, peinlich, ganz oberpeinlich wird’s anlässlich des “Circles”, jenem biergeschwängerten Teil nach der Fahrt, anlässlich dessen Fahrer aus offensichtlichen und weniger offensichtlichen Gründen in die Mitte gerufen werden und für ihre fehlenden Fahr- und Orientierungskünste und andere banale Vergehen, öffentlich gescholten und unter Gejohle der Menge einen Becher Bier ex und hop hinunterstürzen müssen.

Der Singapore Hash hat sich den gesitteten Sitten des Landes angepasst und verzichtet auf das Zurschaustellung nackter Haut, so wie ich das 2015 in Kuching erlebt habe, wo anlässlich des “Circles” die Angeschuldigten sich nackten Hinterns auf einen Eisblock setzen mussten.


Mein DuSchlauch-Kanal zeigt einige Video von Mamils (see a previous entry for more on that theme) die sich auf und mit ihren Rädern abmühen. Eigentlich immer same same, innovativerweise wechselt die Begleitmusik, welche youtube kostenlos zur Verfügung stellt, von Episode zu Episode. Kein Wunder hat mein Kanal erst 7 Abonnentinnen.

Klick auf das Youtube Logo um zu meinem Kanal zu gelangen und ein “subscribe” aka “abonnieren wäre ganz nett.

youtube_2

PS: Zwei Monate nach der Erstellung dieses Eintrages, sind der AbonnentInnen nun zehn(e): >40% Wachstum binnen zweier Monate, von solchen Zahlen träumt jeder CEO.

Consequences of Increased Mamilomat Usage

Prelude: a “Mamilomat” is a device used by a Mamil to pursue his ambitions. Mamilomats come in the shape of extremely well spec’d (aka expensive) bicycles of the mountain-, road- or triathlon- category where any gram of possible excess weight can be shed off by an additional carbon-titanium upgrade to overcompensate the effects of a steadily growing BMI of the Mamil owner.

Most humbly I claim © for the word “Mamilomat”.


Main event: I’m committed to 2500 km of MTB and hiking over the course of 2015 – around 1050 km done by mid of May, so far so good.

Regular riding led to a gradual improvement of my stamina (what a surprising statement this is ….): Early in 2015 a two hours 25 km MTB ride used to be an ordeal, now I can do 50km in a morning (see the screenshot from my polarpersonaltrainer.com account below), arrive home in decent shape and have energy to do something else the same day.

On my Merida 29″ hardtail, carbon frame, Shimano XT spec’d Mamilomat* climbing is a sheer pleasure, the big wheels allow very good momentum.

A rant (aka a justification) why I need a full suspension bike will follow in due course – rest assured of that.

map


Afterplay: A new challenge (a really nice problem to have though…) emerges: my thigh muscles, especially the quadriceps are tightening up to an extend that – for the first time in my life – I book a leg massage. May 19th the big day – the physio goes easy on me, but I writhe in pain. OMG does that hurt. She strongly recommends using a foam roller BEFORE and after each ride. How can I motivate myself on a Saturday morning around 05:50 to torture myself with a piece of hard foam?

let’s see; in the meantime : keep riding


 

Local kopi and coffee shops

If you want to go fully local….It needs a bit of experience, expertise and language skills to order a coffee or a tea in Singapore… The choice is all yours !!

kopi = coffee (easy ey…..)

teh = tea (also rather trivial)

si = with condensed milk

o = with evaporated milk

Kosong = no sugar

Peng = ice

==> so an ice milk tea without sugar – teh si kosong peng.

 

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If this is too complicated, there is an increasing number of sophisticated (aka the REAL continental european bread…) bakeries and latte shops

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 la vita e bella