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Chinatown in Singapore never held a strong attraction for me.
The place is packed with tourist shops selling cheap clothes, cushion covers and Chinese souvenirs. One major attraction there is, in fact, a European sausage stall run by an Austrian!
That's the crowded part around Temple Street (which gets its name from, ironically, an Indian temple) and Smith Street (which is a most un-Chinese name).
Elsewhere, at Ann Siang Hill for instance, the refurbished houses are now occupied by French and Italian restaurants, pubs and offices of advertising agencies.
I feel it has lost much of the essence of the original Chinatown.
But Chinese New Year 2008 was coming up and the place was packed - for once with more Chinese locals than with tourists. Also, I had my new Fuji S5 Pro digital SLR and was eager to shoot.
The first time went to Chinatown, I thought to myself... what's there to shoot?
I was amazed that my buddy had started clicking away almost the moment we arrived. I walked around feeling half-bored and, out of obligation, took some pictures of rows of lanterns outside a Buddhist temple there. And they turned out... bleah :-(
But soon I got into the heat of things and got some 'not bad' images.
Then my attention then turned upwards -- to the Chinese lanterns above.
I was struck, especially, by the lanterns set against street lamps. I was stuck by their complementary and contradictory natures - traditional and modern; warm light and cool light.
It was not all that easy to compose my shots as, besides the Chinese lanterns, there were also overhead electrical wires and other obstructions.
This was the best of the lot. I had initially composed the image with two Chinese lanterns and the two street lamps. But when I tried a 3+2 composition, I found that it worked much better.
It has become a favorite among my night photographs.
ISO 2000 1/55 secs @ f5.6 exposure bias -1.67
Also by Richard Seah
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