Published! In JPG Magazine Issue 19
Submitted to Nighttime
Uploaded 6 Aug 2008 — 47 favorites
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© Richard Seah
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Likes 2
Favorites 46
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Submitted to Nighttime

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Photo Info
UploadedAugust 7, 2008
TakenJanuary 24, 2008
ModelFinePix S5Pro
Exposure1/57 sec at f/5.6
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length19 mm
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

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

In the The theory of Color Theory photo essay.

Also in the Top 10 out of 15,000 photo essay.

Also in the story My fantastic win - photographer of the year and the story Look! No tripod..

24 responses

  • Tatiana Watson

    Tatiana Watson gave props (6 Aug 2008):


  • J. Harris Blacklist

    J. Harris Blacklist gave props (7 Aug 2008):

    Excellent feel!

  • Richard Seah

    Richard Seah said (7 Aug 2008):

    You are right, Blacklisted. What I personally like about this image is the feel - quiet and peaceful, quite a contrast to the bustle below.

  • J Epp

    J Epp gave props (15 Aug 2008):

    Interesting composition

  • Dawn Blanchfield

    Dawn Blanchfield gave props (16 Aug 2008):

    A wonderful composition and contrasts. An easy Yeah!!!

  • jontelle naquin

    jontelle naquin gave props (21 Aug 2008):

    this is absolutely beautiful! looks magical

  • Vidyavati Chandan

    Vidyavati Chandan (Deleted) gave props (22 Aug 2008):

    nice shot!

  • Vidyavati Chandan

    Vidyavati Chandan (Deleted) said (22 Aug 2008):

    my vote!

  • peggy gardner

    peggy gardner gave props (22 Aug 2008):

    3 +2 +1 adds up to my vote.

  • Natalie S

    Natalie S gave props (25 Aug 2008):

    LOVE this image, Richard. Very different and the window with the lights is so great. Thank you for sharing your night time image tips. Got my vote.

  • Lynn H

    Lynn H (Deleted) gave props (13 Sep 2008):


  • Eric Sayah

    Eric Sayah gave props (23 Nov 2008):

    Rad shot! Love it

  • Tina Basco

    Tina Basco said (5 Feb 2009):

    and now one of my fave chinese new year shots :)

  • Mark Williams

    Mark Williams gave props (15 Mar 2009):

    surreal- love it- a real favorite

  • Joseph R.

    Joseph R. gave props (26 May 2009):

    Brilliant composition

  • Tristan Welch

    Tristan Welch (Deleted) gave props (7 Jun 2009):

    I love this shot, awesome

  • dp *

    dp * gave props (13 Jun 2009):

    and Lovely. dp

  • Kathleen Mercado

    Kathleen Mercado (Deleted) said (3 Sep 2009):

    This is a truly amazing shot! A fave for sure!:)

  • Femke Dam

    Femke Dam gave props (31 Dec 2009):

    I love it!

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes said (22 Sep 2010):

    Wonderful, I wish I could vote!

  • Daniel Clegg

    Daniel Clegg gave props (20 May 2011):

    Ethereal, floating subjects. Thanks for your art.

  • sandip aine

    sandip aine gave props (11 Sep 2012):

    wow .. artwork ..

  • Lynn E. Harvey

    Lynn E. Harvey gave props (31 Oct 2012):


  • rekha nag

    rekha nag gave props (8 Nov 2013):

    Beautifully composed!!

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