Tokyo Auto Salon 2013 – second pass

Ever since I had two lovely attention seeking children (gotta spend more time with them now until they disappear with their friends), I no longer has all the time in the world to pursue my hobby of photography and polish the pixels after each session, even if I had the chance.

After the photoshoot at Tokyo Auto Salon 2013 at MBS, i spent about about two hours to select and post process the pictures. The haste resulted in some pictures being dropped in the first pass, which would otherwise had made the cut if I had look through them more carefully. Anyway, the following are additional pictures after doing a second pass of the raw files. For these, I could took some effort to fine tune the exposure, cropping out distracting background artefacts etc.

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I posted the above picture before in the previous blog on the Tokyo Auto Salon 2013. But I find a tighter crop nicer.

Fisheye fun at the Marina Bay

Last friday, just before I headed for the Tokyo Auto Salon 2013 at the Marina Bay Sands, I purposely alighted one stop earlier at the Promenade MRT station to take some pictures at the Marina Bay. As my fisheye lens had by this time became my favorite lens to add some twist to otherwise ‘stale’ scenery, I only brought it for this wide angle lens (other than those portrait lens for the models).

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The above semi panoramic shot of the helix bridge and the financial centre at the background is actually a crop from a simple, levelled fisheye shot. Before I had my fisheye lens, I’ll usually attempt to take several pictures of such scene and stitched them together using Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE). With fisheye lens, I merely need to crop out the centre.

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Louis Vuitton parvillion

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This is one of the ‘shot to death’ scenery shot around the Marina Bay ever since MBS came to existence. The fisheye effect merely spruce up the other wise boring image.

Tokyo Auto Salon 2013

True intention

Took  leave on friday just to attend this event. I came specifically for the models. What better chance than a motor show to pay one fee and get to shoot so many of them. And I make no effort to hide my intention and told my wife I took leave today to take pictures of models.

Strange adminstration

But before I can even begin recording a single pixel, some administrative issues right at the beginning almost piss me off. Most of us photographers already anticipated the crowd and bought tickets online. But the peculiar thing is that we need to exchange our online receipt for actual ticket on site. When most of us arrived at 9.30am, there was already a long queue to collect our tickets. There were about 6 booths for tickets, 3 for internet booking and 3 for on site ticket purchase. There was no queue for the latter! At 10am, one could easily had paid and got ticket on site and head straight in, while online ‘ticket’ holders had to queue and had our ‘vouchers’ verified against our identity and transaction record in their system, making ticket collection even more frustrating. This is friday, I wonder how the situation will be like over the weekend, when most of the crowd are expected to arrive.

Let’s begin

Anyhow, I didn’t waste my time queuing as I was able to finish reading Straitstimes online by the time I collect my ticket… and finally I can begin taking pictures. The first model I encountered was one of the J-girls. She was ‘off limits’ though, as only press photographers can take pictures of her within a cordon and I’m not so keen to fight with the crowd of photographers outside the cordon to take a good shot. So make do with this to complete my ‘set’ of pictures today.

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More of them appeared onstage later, together with the Japanese group, AKB48.

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More models

There were many models at various stations, posing besides cars or as promoters in booths distributing pamphlets once the bunch of crazy photographers like me had taken enough pictures. After attending a few roadshows or our photoshoots such as those organised my SAFRA photography club, I saw many familiar faces.

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Other typical models, special attendance by the J-girls and AKB48, there was also some stage events. One was a drum performance during the opening ceremony and the other was a cheer leading performance, by the Magnum Force Cheerleader.

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Lessons learnt

I rarely had a chance to do portrait photography with models and since my wife ban flash photography with my kids, I learnt a great deal about flash photography today.

  1. Don’t save on batteries. After perhaps more a few hundred flashes, the recharge cycle for my flash slow so much that cost me many shooting opportunities. I’ll try getting the Energizer lithium batteries next time
  2. Getting a bigger flash. I’m using a 2-battery FL36R, for the next event that I’ll attend, I might want to get a bigger flash, perhaps the 4-battery FL50R.

S.E.A. Aquarium – Jelly focus

Back to S.E.A. Aquarium again. The first two trips was meant as a recce to find out what are available and where they are located. This time, I’m back to focus on the jelly fishes. I’m aware of the poor lighting, so this time, I brought my fast lens with me, the 50mm F/2.0 macro lens.

Before heading to see the jelly fishes, I decided to have some fun with my fisheye lens, probably my favorite now.

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Shipwreck at the Strait of Karimata & Java Sea zone

Now back to the jelly fishes. I always like watching jelly fishes swimming around the water. They never failed to mesmerize me.

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Jelly fishes at the Ocean Journey zone

After trying for a quite sometime. I continue to find shooting jelly fish (or any moving creatures at SEA Aquarium) a big challenge. The poor lighting limits the shutter speed and getting a sharp focus very very difficult. In the end, I had to do manual focus for one location and wait for a jelly fish to swim to that location to get a good shot. Thus even if I can get a well focused shot, the composition sucks.

After having enough shots at jelly fishes ( I can still see swimming jelly fishes even if I close my eyes), I head for the exit. Taking a few shots here and there but none came out well enough for my liking. One that turns out satisfactory, just satisfactory (far from being called a keeper in photographer’s jargon) was the shot of a Lionfish.

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Lionfish at South China Sea zone

And one shot of the sharks right at the exit turn out ok, though the clipped fin ruined the composition. I’ll concentrate on these one day.

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