Singapore Airshow 2020

The Singapore Airshow 2020 was the first such airshow that I ever had the chance of attending. The airshow happens once every two years, and the biggest names in the aerospace industry will gather in Singapore along side defence officials representing their home countries. There, they will set up various meetings and make multi-million dollar deals to buy and sell defence related items to the various governments. That’s mainly the purpose of the airshow in Singapore, touted as the biggest event in Asia.

As a sideshow, there are also a lot of military hardware proudly on display, such as helicopters, jet fighters, military airplanes and many more for the trade partners to exhibit as well as the public to enjoy, once the trade event is over.

However, in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak happening around the world, (Singapore is not spared) the anticipated event is somewhat muted this time around. A number of companies and trade partners pulled out of the show in the interest of public health and safety and because of that, trade dealings were substantially less. Even the military aircraft that were supposed to be on display were significantly less than past events.

But still, as it was my first time to the show, I had a great time at the Singapore Airshow, gawking at the state-of-the-art fighter jets, military drones, military planes and even a live band performed by the US army. It was still overall, an impressive lineup of military hardware on display for the public to enjoy and take pictures with. Even I couldn’t pass up on the chance to take good shots of those planes and helicopters on my new X-Pro 3. I set my camera to Classic Chrome as my main film simulation mode on that day and stuck with that throughout my shoot. The results turned out fantastic. Despite the grueling hot weather, the skies were mostly clear and blue, great conditions to take photos with stark contrasts.

I thoroughly enjoyed my photo shoot of the event despite the hot weather. I was glad to have chosen Classic Chrome as my main mode of film simulation on that day. Somehow the pictures of the aircrafts that were on display looked stunning. Metals and grays on the surfaces of these fighter jets and planes look stunning against the blue hue of the clear sky. Personally it seems that Classic Chrome seems to be a good film simulation when taking photos of inanimate objects on a bright sunny day.

Although I cannot make direct comparisons, there were definitely less people attending this year’s airshow when previous years due to the Coronavirus outbreak happening around the region. It was a smooth experience getting on the shuttle bus from Expo to the Changi Exhibition center. There were no snaking queues to get on the bus. Even going back to Expo wasn’t difficult either. Sure, there were substantial crowd, but it was not to the point suffocating. I didn’t have much trouble getting my desired shots of the various planes on display without people all around ruining my shots.

Overall, I had a great time. My only complaint would be the hot afternoon weather.

For more pictures, you can click on the link here.

Merlion park in times of coronavirus outbreak

As you know, Singapore is in a midst of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak with over 70 people infected as of today. While the spread of the virus is not as severe or far reaching as that of China, Singapore has imposed travel limitations to anyone coming to Singapore from China. This has terrible consequences to the tourism industry in Singapore.

I was at the Merlion Park one weekend to gauge for myself how severely impacted Singapore is to the effects of the Coronavirus, especially the number of tourists visiting Singapore this part month or so. Because of the travel limitations imposed, there is definitely a significant decrease in tourism arrivals, especially when Chinese tourists make up the bulk of visits to Singapore as a holiday destination.

I took pictures of the Merlion Park with my new X-Pro 3 and noted the drop in the number of visitors in the areas. It was a blessing for me, as I was able to take pictures of the Merlion without much interference. It was overall, a pleasant picture-taking experience. Although I must add, that the Merlion, if it was a real creature, would have been sad to see so few visitors coming to Singapore to take pictures with him in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Fujinon 35mm f2.0 lens

I saw a pretty good deal on a second-hand lens on Carousell. someone was selling their year-old prime lens, the 35mm f2.0 lens for S$350. It was a good deal. I was in the market for a second prime lens to be part of my budding Fujifilm line of lenses and to pair it with my X-Pro 3 every now and then. However, I wasn’t too keen in shelling out top dollar for a brand new one. I was mulling over the idea that since I prefer sticking to just one lens for most of my photography, having a second lens would add versatility to my shots. I decided on getting the 35mm lens just in case I need it for portrait shoots, or if I am taking portraits of people more often than my usual street shoots. So while I may not use the 35mm extensively, having one just in case would be a good idea. So what better way to just get a second-hand lens, since I will not be using all the time.

And it just so happens that someone was selling their Fujifilm lens, the 35mm f2.0 lens. From the pictures posted by the seller, it still looked pristine. The only major flaw was that the lens hood has significant signifying heavy usage of the lens at one point. It was a cosmetic flaw, but a significant one, as it was very noticeable. I was very hesitant in getting the lens at first (it sells at S$700 retail for a brand new lens), but I rationalized my decision, thinking this is an offer that doesn’t come very often. Apparently the owner is selling his Fujifilm lens because he has become invested Sony’s camera ecosystem. So it makes sense for him to offload and sell whatever Fujifilm gear he might still have. And one of them was the 35mm f2.0 lens which I have been eyeing for quite a while.

I am collecting the lens from him sometime this week. I don’t think testing the lens is necessary. For some reason I trust him that the lens will work as intended. From then on I will have two prime lenses for my X-Pro 3. The 35mm lens will be used primarily for portrait shots. S$350 for used prime lens is great deal, especially when you know you aren’t going to use it extensively, but would like to have it just in case.

Chingay 2020

Chingay is an annual street parade that is celebrated in Singapore and Malaysia. It is in celebration of the various birthdays of the Chinese deities or the procession of the Goddess of Mercy. In recent times, the annual street parade consists of floats and processions from various communities in Singapore and abroad. This year is my first time that I actually attended the parade with a ticket. Previous years, I would usually watch the performance on TV, which is broadcast live.

The Chingay performance was a dazzle of lights, colour and music, with numerous floats representing the various Chinese deities, social groups in Singapore, associations and even foreign delegates from various countries around the world. The performance took place at the F1 pit and I was lucky to be seated relatively close to the action. I brought my camera along to capture some of the action. Despite only owning a 23mm f2.0 lens on my newly acquired Fujifilm X-Pro 3 camera, I still managed to get some great shots of the various floats and performances during the parade.

The parade was better than expected, partly due to the sound and lights that nicely complemented with the performance. Aside from that, there were the occasional fireworks, laser light shows and drone performances. Everything was tightly coordinated. The highlight of the entire parade was the 100 meter long dragon that floated and drifted along the length of the F1 pit. It was truly impressive to see it in person.

Seats filling up just before the parade starts.
The start of the procession. It was truly colourful and lively with great music and light shows that accompanied the entire performance.
They even did some interesting stunt on top of the usual dragon dance routine.
The god of wealth (I think) sitting on a flamingo, distributing wealth.
Lightsaber action!
The various floats on display, this one the famous squirrel of POSB bank.
The float from the People’s Association.
Representatives from Japan even took part in the parade!
Behold the dragon! Making its way along the parade. It’s more than 100 meters in length and the head is supported by a helium balloon and steered by a couple of guys on the ground.
Nodding and starring at us while it makes its away along the parade. It was spectacular!
The dragon blessing everyone with wealth and health before returning to its lair.

Classic Negative Film Simulation (Changi Jewel)

I meant to post this weeks ago, but it was only recently that I managed to find time and get around to doing it.

I went to Changi Jewel for a mini photoshoot with a couple of my friends. They have not been to Changi Jewel and they wanted to take some photos of the place. Armed with my new Fujifilm X-Pro 3, I took some photos of this beautiful place, sticking to Classic Negative Film Simulation. Just like with previous photo session with my family and relatives during the Christmas gathering, I stuck with one film simulation and just shoot.

Classic Negative is really beautiful. I can understand why this particular film simulation is great for street photography. It has a certain look to your shots that captures the essence of the scene, without saturating any colours that might potentially pop out in the picture. Although I find that this particular film simulation is weak against greenery and natural foliage (other film simulations can capture green really vividly), Classic Negative is still able to provide a unique look to my photos. Although I have been to Jewel before to take some photos, previously with my Olympus camera, but coming here again and sticking to just Classic Negative provides a totally different look to the shots I took. Here are some samples below.

Changi Jewel, captured at the moment the sky train zips past.
People standing on the glass bridge, offering a magnificent view of the entire Changi Jewel grounds.
Order and balance.
Sun rays providing natural light into the dome.
My friend seeing Jewel for the first time. He is using the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mark II camera, exactly the same camera that I had before I made the switch to Fujifilm.
The lighting was absolutely magical on that day. Coupled with Classic Negative Film Simulation, it makes the shot even more magical.

Fujifilm Eterna Film Simulation

On Christmas week, my extended family had a gathering in one of my cousin’s place and I had the opportunity to put my new Fujifilm camera through its paces. Specifically, I wanted to shoot and take pictures of my family members at the gathering using only one particular film simulation.

As you know, the new X-Pro 3 has a range of film simulations that Fujifilm developed to mimic the look and feel of their traditional film counterparts. However, as a photographer using Fujifilm camera systems for the first time, I am still largely unfamiliar with the different film simulations and how they are best applied. So rather than worrying about what film simulation I should use for the Christmas gathering, I randomly chose one and stuck with it throughout my shoot. Overall, at the end of the day after reviewing those photos and tweaking them a little in Lightroom, it turned out really great.

I used the Eterna film simulation and surprisingly it worked well for portraits. Skin tones are beautiful and while the colours are more subdued, it has that movie film quality to the pictures I took. The pictures are less punchy, but portraits stood out really well. Just look at some of the samples below.

I must have been really lucky to have chosen a suitable film simulation for these kinds of shots. I am extremely excited to try out the other film simulation modes Fujifilm has to offer built into my camera.

X-Pro 3 first impressions!

On the 28th of November, during lunchtime, I received a call from my local camera store. He was calling to inform me that the Fujifilm’s latest camera, the X-Pro 3 has finally arrived.

I was super excited. I headed down to the store after work, and collected my camera.

What a beauty! I got the normal black version of the X-Pro 3. It does not come with the special Dura coat on the titanium plates.

I brought it out for a spin today, walking around Fusionopolis, close to where I work. It’s a complex of buildings with ultramodern architecture, housing various engineering institutes under the A*STAR umbrella. It is a place I am very familiar with and because the place becomes relatively quiet during the weekend. It was a suitable place to experiment using the new camera and to get a feel on how the camera handles in my hands without too much distraction along the way.

I did not choose the camera. The camera chose me!

I also brought it to Orchard Road on Friday evening, to soak up the festive cheer and also to revel in the Black Friday sales that every mall was promoting to test out the camera is low light conditions.

I paired the X-Pro 3 with the Fujinon 23mm f2.0 lens. Perfect for street photography.

So what were me initial impressions after using this camera for about 24 hours?

Right off the bat (and also during the demo sessions I had with the camera before it was launched), holding the camera is really comfortable. The grip is not too big and bulky, yet not too small to be insignificant. It felt just right. The body isn’t heavy. Paired with a light lens like the 23mm f2.0, the weight feels perfect. The camera grip, paired with a suitable wrist strap, like the one I got from Deadcameras, makes carrying the camera around a joy.

I am a wrist strap kinda guy when it comes to lugging my camera around. I don’t really like to carry my camera around my neck. Instead, I prefer the wrist strap. And paired with X-Pro 3, its a match made in heaven.

The dials are solid and have a solid click whenever it is rotated. It is made of metal and the inscriptions and markings on the dials are meticulously painted. It is just oozing with quality. The placement of the dials are well placed, allowing easy access to all the dials without over stretching any of your fingers or contorting your fingers unnaturally or uncomfortably.

I have primarily used only the EVF so far, or the electronic viewfinder. It is nice to have the option of the OVF, or the optical viewfinder. I will definitely attempt to take pictures using just the OVF. It will definitely be a fun and interesting experience to see the world through the OVF and take creative pictures with it.

First shots with the X-Pro 3. Colours are out of this world! Fujifilm’s color science is top notch.

And the film simulations. There are so many options to choose from. All of them look gorgeous and some of them are better suited for certain kinds of photography. I have yet to familiarise myself with the different film simulations. But with time, hopefully I will master them and apply them in the correct conditions to achieve specific photography styles.

Experimenting with different film simulations on the X-Pro 3.

There are more features that I have barely scratched the surface and it will be an interesting journey for me to experiment and try all of them. The X-Pro 3 is a really fun camera to use, one that I am sure will enjoy using it for many years to come.

The camera does low light really well.

To view the album of the shots I have taken with the X-Pro 3 on the first day, please visit the this link.