Project #08 - Night Photography at Vivd Sydney 2014

It is the time of the year where Sydney is lit up vibrantly at the Vivid Sydney Festival of Light and its the perfect opportunity to do some night photography! 

All the landmarks were lit up with colourful lights and projections and it is up to your imagination to create some beautiful images. I went and shot on the first night of the festival with 2 main ideas. Knowing that there will be hundreds or even thousands of photographers there, I want to do something slightly different, so my goal was to create a timelapse video and a photo collage for a big print. 

First, Vivid is famous for its ever changing projections and even though they are stunning on its own as you can see below,

I find the animation adds another dimension to it, and I have always wanted to try a timelapse, so I tried it out!


For that night, I have used mostly my ultra wide angle (14-24mm) and my telephoto (70-200mm). For those who are in Sydney, needless to say there are plenty of vantage points around the city that you can take, so any lens you have will probably work and you just need to find the right angle for yourself. A tripod is almost essential if you want to get the best shots and I would recommend a remote trigger as well if you want to make sure you won't be shaking the camera. Of course, you will probably need a flash if you want to take photos of your friends as well, but I will leave that till next time. 

Settings & Shooting Tips

 I am sure settings varies between different cameras and different lenses but for these shots, I have used aperture of f2.8 and shutter speeds ranging from 1/6 to 1/20 depending on the situation. In order to get the projections sharp, you need a high shutter speed, but with that you need to increase the amount of light coming through by lowering your f stop and increasing your ISO. Therefore, I have chosen the largest aperture possible and the lowest shutter speed that I can go and still get a good shot. I tried to keep the ISO as low as possible to reduce the noise, so I have chosen ISO 400. These are by no means the only settings, but they do offer you a starting point and hopefully some understanding behind how to choose your settings. 

A few things to note are: 1. If you are using a large aperture, your depth of field will be limited, you can work around this by position yourself so that the entire surface of the building is perpendicular to your line of sight (e.g. standing right in the middle in front of the building) to ensure your focus plane covers the whole building. 2. If you are using smaller sensor cameras, please adjust the settings accordingly as a smaller sensor size limits the amount of light, so you will have to lower your shutter speed or increase your ISO to compensate.

In terms of my timelapse set up, I have used the in camera interval shooting mode and it is taking a picture every 3 seconds. You can vary your interval and that will affect the speed of your final results. A shorter interval will slow down your timelapse and vice versa, you can also vary your interval to create a slow-motion effect. I will defiantly do more timelapse video and make a separate post about that, so stay tuned! 


Here it is, the timelapse that I set out to do and I hope you enjoy it and for those who are not around Sydney, I hope my video can do it justice and bring a piece of my beautiful city to you. 

Because there are just so many stunning projections, I think it will work well with a collage, so here is a my favourite collection of the shots I have taken so far.

Even though it is important to take pictures of the key attractions, there are also plenty of other installations that are worth stopping and framing for. Long exposure is your friend if you want to blur out the crowd, but at times adding that human element will make the difference between your pictures and someone else's.

Final Thoughts

With that many photographers shooting pictures, there is no doubt that someone will probably get a similar picture, but that shouldn't stop you from trying to create images that you want. There are definitely plenty of interesting shots that you can get, so why are you still sitting around, grab your gear and go create some stunning images! 

In order to thank you for your support, I am offering the full res JPG for FREE. You can access the free download by clicking HERE . 

If you have enjoyed my photos, please feel free to share it with your friends and families. You can also like and share my facebook page

If you would like to support me even further, you can pick out a framed print of my collage on the right! 


Until next time! 






Project #07 - Light Painting Product Photography

The sun is down and you are stuck at home, but does that mean there is nothing you can shoot? I don't think so, so the last couple nights I have been trying to to do some lighting painting combined with product photography which I saw online before. I hope by going through my setup and pictures, you can be inspired to shoot more as well. So what does it mean by lighting paining combined with product photography, lets check out one of the images! 

The Setup

These are the equipments you need to take these pictures. Simple right? 

The iPad is installed with an app call myLightPaint and it is quite a simple and easy to use and the torch is used to light up the subject. The camera...well, takes the pictures of course!

You don't really need an app to do a basic light painting, but using the app allows you to change the size and the colour of the light which give you more creative flexibility. 

Changing colour makes the background more interesting.

Settings and Taking the Pictures

Settings that I used for these pictures are:

  • Shutter Speed: 15' to 20' secs depending on how much time you need to light paint the background and light up the subject
  • Aperture: f/8-11 should give you enough depth of field and it will cut down on the ambient light if your room is not light tight
  • ISO: 100 to keep the noise down

These should give you a rough idea where to start and lets go through how to set up the shot.

  1. Set up your subject just like a product placement. I would recommend putting your subject on a dark surface so it blends in better with the dark background.

  2. Set your camera on a tripod and nail the focus. After everything is set, switch the lens to manual so it won't refocus every time you press the shutter.

  3. Practice the lighting (light painting) - Try the light painting so that you know how fast and how much you need to move.

  4. Practice the lighting (subject lighting) - Try lighting the subject with the torch and experiment how close you need to shine the torch and where do you need to shine it with.

  5. After you got the lighting sorted, you can now take the picture! I do the light painting before I light the subject because I do find that procedure easier.

Some tips that I found useful when I was shooting this are

  • Start with a smaller subject because it is easier to control the lighting 
  • Try to minimise stray light when you are using a torch
  • Make sure you are not shining your torch towards the camera
  • Watch out for shadows on your subject
  • Place subject far away from a wall so you won't light up the background

I finished off by trying it with my guitar and it was getting a little bit difficult because of the larger size. But it is still a very fun way to create something interesting in the comfort of your own home. 

Post Processing

This is something you can definitely get really close in your camera and as you can see, you don't really need to do much in post processing. 

I don't think there is one specific way to edit because your lighting set up with be different, but generally you want to darken the background and makes the light painting more prominent.

Final Thoughts

I think this was definitely a simple and easy thing to try if you are bored at home. It just proves that all you need is your creativity and some simple props at home. I hope you found this post helpful and feel free to share your results.

If you have enjoyed this, feel free to check out my other blog posts, like and share my facebook page. You can also visit my store to purchase a print to decorate your house or as a gift for a friend. I am only shipping within Australia at the moment, but I am working on international shipping, so that hopefully will be coming soon. 

Until next time! 


Project #06 - Top Gear Festival

It has been awhile since the last post, but I definitely want to write about this last weekend I had. One of my favourite TV show, Top Gear, has come to Australia for an exciting, hectic Top Gear Festival and I definitely couldn't pass up the chance to capture some great motorsport photos. 

Lucky for me, the weather is great, so lets get to the shooting part!

The Gear

I don't think gear is everything, but having the right gear obviously would be the most ideal. It is good to know what kind of focal length you will need for these events as you do want to pack light and zoom might be a good idea since it is most likely going to be crowded and fenced, so that flexibility might not be a bad idea. I brought from ultra wide to telephoto just because I know it is going to be a long day and having that wide range to play with might not be a bad idea.

One thing I have to mention is how great the X100s is! While everyone was standing way back to take photos of some of the cars exhibits, I was right in the front. Fair enough the wide angle might capture things that you might not want, it was still very useful in those situation because of its small size and light weight. These photos were taken by the X100s and it was such a great camera to use to get these details shots of the exhibits.

Covering the event

I spent most of the day covering the track since that was my intention and I think finding the right location is probably the most important starting point. I chose my location based on 3 factors.

1. The picture I imagined in my head

I chose a spot next to a corner and then followed by the straight because I can take photos of car drifting around the corners and then tried some panning shots along the straight.

2. The available light

This really is out of my control but luckily the light was alright. It was during midday so it is a little too direct than I would like it to be , but it works out pretty good. 

3. The coverage of your gear

We certainly all wish to have as much as gear as we want, but we work with what we have. The most important point here is to understand your gear and use them well. 

Some drifting action around the bend, it is good to keep an eye out for some driver's reaction.

Motorcycle is definitely a great subject to try out some panning shot. 

A few tips on panning

  • start with a faster shutter speed and work your way down
  • follow the subject before you press the shutter and press it when it gets within the frame and follow through after the shutter closes to keep a smooth image
  • Use the "active" mode on your Nikkor VR lens (or mode 2 for Canon if I recall correctly), as it will stable the vertical axis but not the horizontal axis, which makes it easier for you
  • Keep practicing

There are definitely plenty more tips around that you can find on panning but those are the ones that I pay the most attention to, especially the last one. 

How can it be Top Gear Festival without the one and only Jeremy Clarkson. 

Afterwards there are more racing action. Check out the slideshow below

Highlight of the day was the Red Bull RB7 which was driven by F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo which broke the lap record and it was definitely very exciting to see this piece of great engineering driving around the track. 

Another interesting idea that I wanted to try was some wide angle panning shot because it is a little bit different and I think sometimes are more powerful than a tight crop pan shots. So these are some that I got!

Then I ended the day at the home straight where I caught some great motorcycle stunt.

That's pretty much cover my entire Top Gear Festival experience, It was definitely a fun and tiring day. For those of you who were there, share some pictures with me and for those who missed out this year, hopefully you enjoyed this.

Feel free to check out my portfolio and my facebook page and if you enjoyed this and know someone else who would like it too, feel free to share this and if you like it so much, free feel to check out my store and purchase a print to go on your walls! 

Until next time! 


Back to Basics - Film Photography Part I (ft. Lomography Konstruktor)

Recent I received a gift - the Lomography Konstruktor! I have been shooting for just over a year and half now, but I haven't tried to shoot with film yet. I think this is a great gift for me to get back to the basics and learn about the fundamentals of photography.  

I am going to write about my film photography journey as I believe even though we can always rely on the technology with digital camera, there are still things that we all took for granted. The ease and flexibility of digital photography shouldn't be the easy way out from understanding the basics . So for those who share this same passion for pure photography, join me on this journey and I will share my experience with you all. 

The Konstruktor is probably a bit more of a gimmick than a fully functional camera, but that doesn't mean we can't use it for some great photography, but before that, we need to build it! The camera comes as a DIY kit just like a toy model which allows you to build the camera yourself and I definitely enjoyed the process of building it. 

First is the lens. This is a fairly easy part to build as it's a fixed focal length (50mm) and fixed aperture (f/10) lens, so all you need to do is screw the mount, focus ring and the lens together and there you have it! 

Next is the winding mechanism which controls how much we can turn to go to the next film. The gear locks itself after one rotation to advance the film by one frame, quite a clever design.

This is the shutter mechanism, as this camera only have 2 shutter mode: N (1/80sec) and B (bulb mode) so all we need is a switch to choose the shutter mode and a button to trigger the shutter in the mirror box.

That's basically all the components we need for a camera to works, of course there are also the shutter mechanism and the mirror box, but that part is already built for you. With a few screws and clips... TA DA... the camera is coming together!!

Add in the hood viewfinder on the top and decorate it with the stickers provided, and here is my first film camera.

Now all we need to do is load up the film and we are ready to go! Since I am in Australia where it is sunny most of the time, I have chosen to load the ISO 100 colour negative film.

There it is! Probably one of the cheapest full frame camera! 

Looking through the viewfinder of this camera is quite different compare to looking through a DSLR. Although the image is not very sharp and the build quality is quite plasticky, that feeling is still very unique and simplistic. 

So, now that I have the tool, I can go take some shots! This is going to be a challenge because there are no settings to choose, all I can do is to find that right light and composition. I hope I can come back with some good results to share with you all, but if you are looking into trying film photography, this might not be a bad starting place for you! 

I hope you have enjoyed this and if you have a minute or two, please check out my other posts and if you like any specific photo in my portfolio, please feel free to drop by the store and pick up one for your own home or as a gift!

Until Next time!


Project #05 - Race Car Photoshoot

Here it is, my recent shoot for a university race team. It was a very exciting experience for me because it was my first time doing anything like this. So lets get into it! 

This was the first shot of the day and we chose to shoot the car in the main walkway of the university because it gives context to where the car comes from. It was around sunset,  so the sun was giving the sky a nice warm colour but there wasn't much cloud to get anything dramatic unfortunately. I started without using any flashes but it is basically impossible to balance the light difference between the subject and the sky. 

As you can see, not very good... So that's why I tried to add in some flashes to bring out the subject and create a more 'punchy' look. I set my main light on a light stand on the right firing directly down on the bonnet of the car. But since the car is quite large and the back of the car wasn't lit properly, I used another flash on the left at a low angle to light up the back wheels and the side. With these lights, I am able to expose the sky correctly and at the same time put more focus on the car. My lighting setup was quite simple and probably not very technical as it was mainly trial and error, but the point is, photography is all about experimenting and problem solving and I think it was a great learning experience for me. The camera settings for this shot was 1/320sec, f/4.5 and ISO200 and that is the setting I used for most of the shots.

Below is the before and after post processing of the shot. Gradual filter and the adjustment brush are definitely useful in this occasion. One thing that I picked up along the way is we need to be careful of the reflection of the light and try to avoid hot spots on reflective surfaces and you can get around this problem by pointing the light in different direction. 

After that, we moved location to get a front shot of the car. I found a corridor which i think would be suited for this but it is already getting dark so with a bit of improvisation and experimentation, I went for a darker look which works quite well with the black and red colour scheme of the car. 

I started off by setting up 2 flashes, firing from a 45 degree angle on the both side. The image was not too bad, but it wasn't too interesting either. As we kept shooting, one of the flashes didn't fire and we noticed that with only one light, it created a more dramatic look, so we just ran with it. As Henri Cartier-Bresson said, "Of course it's all luck!" We were definitely lucky for this one and this is what the final image looks like.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and I know these images still have lots of room for improvement since I am only just starting to get into flash photography. It was definitely a fun experience and I think you guys should all give it a try! 

If you have a minute or two, feel free to check out my other posts and my portfolio. For those of you who would like to show some appreciation, feel free to share this around! Also if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me or drop me a comment below! 

Until next time!