Stephen's Ramblings on Life,Tech, Photography and other things...

10km in 1hr 9 mins

By Stephen Lee

Legs mostly aching now as i wrote this, why u may ask because i ran in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon !. Haha nope i not so garang that i ran the whoel 42km, i only run in th 10km section haha me puny weakling! Okies next time i try do better lah.

But its quite a high running in such a event with so many people running with u trying to complete not matter what the timing is, u'll see all sorts of people, old and young, daddy's pushing their baby's pram as they run, people putting their childs picture on the back of their shirts and i even saw a cat women and spider man running too.

Anyway did the 10km in abt 1h 09min not any fantastic timing (haha fantastic if u consider that i mostly ran 4km for training). But this run has made me want to do other runs (Mizuno, NB Real Run ..)in order to better my timing for 10km, maybe someday i will run the marathon (people laughing in the background).

But must really hand it to the organizers for putting toilets every 1 to 2km or so and the people who supported the runners all the way by shouting encouring words and making noise with their clappers and what not.

So anyone wants to put on their running shoes and join me ?

Food for thought... Today attended a workshop titled "Systems Thinking", for all of u guys (and gals included) can check out then entry in wikipedia where it gives an overview.

The thing that got me thinking about was whether what we are doing now (or have done) is perhaps the best way to go about solving our own or perhaps work problems? Have we really reflect on what is the actual issue or are we having a knee jerk reaction to what's going on.

Haha bit chim right! Maybe just to give an example, if many people are leaving the education service give more pay to keep them. If child not paying attention in class, blame the child (or parents or ...), or if see many crockroaches, take out bygon and kill them and if still see somemore still take out bygon and kill them. If tooth ache, go dentist for filling/ pull out tooth.

Morale of the story,

  1. Teachers may be leaving not because of lower pay but becuase instead of teaching they are perhaps doing more admin work? And therefore they are disllusioned.
  2. Crockroaches appearing more often might mean an infestation, perhaps better to find out where they are coming from and kill at the source.
  3. If it is a toothache, perhaps u didn't brush properly in the begining so if u go for a filling/pull out, it might still happen to another tooth
Don't just give a knee jerk/quick fix to the problem when it might come back and haunt u. Even if u can't really solve the problem at the very source, but u can still make a change however small at where u can influence.

Just some food for thought...

Recently just took up a black and white printing course at SAFRA, in order to "graduate" need to submit 4 prints, so these days looking around for subjects to shoot in B&W. And what better than to go to a jamming session with rock musicans playing instruments and hopping around!

So that was why my gf and i was at the Esplanade open air theatre watching the next installment of Mosiac Jam where musicians from the local clubs come together and jam.

At the same time i was trying a new film,Ilford's Delta 3200(ok the film is not that young but for me its the first time i was shooting with it). The light conditions wasn't so good, so i waited for the show to start, i took a spot meter reading from the musicians face while they were playing and its abt 1/90 @ f2.8 for iso 6400.

So as they play, i shoot away, the results are at my flickr site. Too bad for the slight drizzle at the end though..

From the forums, seems like DDX will give the best grain for the speed so i decided to develope it in DDX, 1l cost $28 from Ruby, whao abit expensive though. I develope for abt 11mins @22c. The results were good grain was ok tone was good. Good developer for use with Delta 3200.

Royal Tanglin Golf Course

By Stephen Lee

Wa another month has past since my last post, judging by how often i post, i think i can rename my blog to "Stephen's Once a Month Rant".

Anyway the purpose today is to talk about golf, eversince i changed my job seems like easier to meet up with my golfing kakis to play golf more often, usually we play at Executive Golf course at Mandai area. But last saturday we tried a new course, the Royal Tanglin Golf Course located at 130 Minden Rd (Just opposite the Singapore Botanical Gardens).

Its a nine hole course all par 3, average abt 80-90m per hole, longest abt 110m. When we first reached there, the people running the course said that we probably only need a P,S,Putter and should be good to go. Haha as lousy golfers we are, we took along a 7 since we aren't too good at it.

The hole emphasizes on a lot of short game skills, the fairways are narrow, the greens are small, and sand bunkers are usually around the greens. So being the lousy golfers that I am, I had a hard time just trying to get on the green since its quite small, thats why short game skills are crucial on this course. The number 5 is probably the toughest.

But amazingly, my golfing kakis and i concluded that this is probably the more fun course that we played so far(The other being executive). Not a lot of people play, the grass is well maintained, quiet, and quite nice beautiful in fact.

The cost for 9 holes is $20 SGD, there are not washing points for ur clubs and shoes, toilet gotta cross the road to a place marked as Dempsy's Hut, but the challange and the well maintained course makes it worthwhile.

Saving space

By Stephen Lee

Anyway for those who dosen't have much space on ur c: drive, these are somethings u can do.

1. Clear ur windows restore points, jus keep the most recent one (Just be v-sure before u do something like that). I saved abt 600meg

2. Move ur windows update files, they are usually store in ur c:\windows and are named $NT.... . If u can't find them, they might be hidden go to 'Tools"->"Folder options" and then "view", Sekect show hidden files and directory. Delete them if u are quite sure u wont roll back the updates or just shift them to some where else, when u need them just copy back to ur windows directory.

Comex 2006

By Stephen Lee

Whao its been almost a month since i last posted, shows how boring my life is anyway.

Today being teachers day celebration in most of school in singapore, and i being a nice student (haha... long time ago), took leave and met up with some of my Sunday morning breakfast club friends to visit my Secondary school teacher, Mrs Tan. Its been 10yrs since i left Holy Innocents High... feel like old man liaoz....

After went down to Comex 2006 at the expo to look around for some Blank Cd and Dvds, well most of the prices of Cd and Dvd Rs differ by most 1-2 dollars so u decide whether the difference matters to u, Memory card prices generally are cheaper (Saw a Kingston 1 Gig SD for 29).

Most of the Major brands are represented, Creative, Mac and so on.... even Headphones manufacturer are there like Sennheiser and Audio Technica.

Lots of speakers are there cheap too $20 bucks can get u 2 10watts speakers and a woofer. (Probably its time to change my almost 8years Altec Lansing Speakers that i am begining to find wanting after the comex visit).

This years exhibition took up like 3 halls in expo, and as promised in the papers the walkways are bigger. Although i went during the afternoon, there was already quite a crowd there, so for those that are going on Sat or Sun, think no matter how big they make the walkway it gonna be crowded as usual.

Remember i told u guys that i was interviewed for comments on the NEL breakdown, well they published my face haha. Anyway they got my age wrong though... see if u can find it!

Long day

By Stephen Lee

Monday Blues haha feel like sleeping more at home, but gotta work if not where all my ice cream and mac come from... But to top it off while going off the NEL line was down from Harbourfront to Clarke Quay.

Apparantly it was already down a few hours before i end work. Luckily there was a shuttle service to bring all the affected commuters from the affected MRT stations to Dobby Gaut where the NEL was still functioning. Overall i think that the situation was handled quite well. (Except that it took roughly 1hr extra from my normal time).

Haha most interested was that when i reach Dobby Gaut, a jounalist from Zaobao interviewed me while a photographer was snapping away, must see tomorrow papers got me anot haha...

A week has passed

By Stephen Lee

A week has passed since i started work, so far so good. Just felt that the office is a bit quite though unlike my former job where people talking, equipment noise was quite prevalant. Haha seemed to miss my old job liao.

Anyway just wanted to share this software called Exposure Plot. Basically was it does is look through all ur photos with EXIF info and plots a gaph regarding what aperture, iso or focal length u like to use. Might be useful for planning ur next camera purchase!My plot haha don't know where all the high values come from


Pasir Ris

By Stephen Lee

Isn't it a wonder what a nice bed can do to u, been to a chalet over the weekend and stayed for 2 nights. Haha intend to wake up and do some morning photography, haha the nice bed kept me from waking up at the correct time.

Second Morning, managed to wake up and walk around the beach abit, lots of tents on the beach , families just waking up and stiring, kids and couples walking on the beach and dads and sons fishing. A familiar sight on any of Singapore's beaches during the weekends. This is our version of camping in the outdoors in land scarce singapore, a getaway from the the tall buildings and bright lights.

Go to for more photos

Bonfire 2006

By Stephen Lee

Originally uploaded by Stephen Lee.
Bonfire 2006 was part of the Singapore Arts Festival, there were 3 performances by different groups, i managed to catch the singapore group (Firefiles). Quite a cool show, it was like Mortal Kombat and they were performing to Kitaro music from the Kojiki album i think, Enjoy the photos. They are at


By Stephen Lee

On the 22nd day that i am jobless, I went out for a night time shoot at the Esplanade with my gf who met me after her project work. Just took my tripod and my D70 with the kit lens.

First up typical cliche shot of the Raffles Place area

Saw some people playing with fire, reherasing for shows from Fri to Sat, seems interesting probably will go down on Sat to catch the actual show, and take photos. Too bad i didn't take along my 80-200, miss some close ups of the drummers.

There was also a big board put up for people to draw whatever they one, and each subsequent work will be painted over the previous one.

Next up shots from the Esplanade Bridge at the Esplanade.

Notice the extra lights that the esplanade has around the water front.

Night in Hougang

By Stephen Lee

Set of pictures (haha only 2) taken yesterday while i was at home looking from my bedroom window.

The moon as seen yesterday from my window.

Month Of Photography

By Stephen Lee

Its official i have been jobless for 7 days! haha nope I am not here to talk about the joys of being jobless haha, rather i'm going to talk about a photographic exhibition that i went to just this evening.

Month of Photography in Singapore was started in 2002 and this year it is held together with the Singapore Arts fest. To start off was "Early Works" by Henri Cartier Bresson. My friend who is one of the local photgraphers exhibiting gave me an invite to the opening, the exhibition was not too bad, it even included a video documentary on HCB.

It was only spoilt by people talking too loudly when a speaker was giving an intro to Henri Cartier Bresson, think because most of the people there are from some bank and business types. And the other thing is there were too many people, haha think the people who attended the opening were more interested in the Champange and Red wine that was being served.

Go down to the HCB exhibition at the Arts House and also support our local photographers, their exhibition is at City Room@ Basheer,Bras Basah Complex, 4th floor 8th June to 13th August. My friend (Teo Chee Sern) slot is from 3Aug to 13Aug.

Singapore Arts Festival - Visual Arts
Month of Photography Official Site

Been through 2 interviews, hai... think no chance one. Well another one tomorrow, lets pray for the best.

Well the important thing i feel is to keep your spirits up during job hunting don't start getting too depressed that's bad. Do your job hunt but also at the same time plan some time to do the things that you probably don't have time for.

Anyway to occupy my time, i have been working on a Mindmap software for the Pocket PC. Still got quite a few more stages to go before it can work minimally though. Can already add some nodes to it, move the nodes around. Implement a file saving routine and some edit and delete functions and i think it can be used (abit in a quite ugly way). On the left is what it looks like. Also have been trying to do up my photography website to put some of my portfolio on it. And i am attending my school St John Camp from this sat to next tue.

For those looking for a free mindmapping software for the PC, there is quite a good one call FreeMind. It runs on Java so u need to have the Java runtime in your PC, it's portable; so u can run it on Linux and Mac. It offers auto formating and the nodes readjust themselves automatically, pretty good piece of software highly recommend if you need a mind mapping software. Remember to download the one with all the plugins so that you can export to PDF, HTML even.

8 Days till I am officially jobless, any Kang tao !?!?!

Wao got a phone call today asking me for an interview. Haha first job interview that I ever had wonder how it would turn out.

Time to recount my experiences after recharging, after waking up at 6am in the morning and ending the day when i reach home about 12. All i can say that being a wedding photographer is not such an easy task. He being entrusted to capture the days events so that the people involve can look back and enjoy and if possible capture the side of the wedding that the couple did not see, that's quite a big job considering that he cannot fail in his task. haha so remember pls take pity on the person who dares to take on this big challenge!

After the experience i find that the Wedding day photographer gotta have these skills.
1. Be very prepared -> Lots of Backup equipment (Flash, body, batteries), make sure that you know how to operate the backup equipment if it is different from your main camera.

2. Knowledge of the whole wedding procedure -> to be able to advise and also to preposition for the best shot as the wedding happens.

3. Be confident and assertive -> So u can direct the couple positively, sometimes they also might not have a clue as to what is going on :) !!

4. Next is to see and read as much as possible -> Look at other photographers photos and read relavant books (I will list some that i found useful later), to get new ideas and have better technical skills.

Main problems that i encountered.
1. Flash photography
You need to know your flash techniques well, like when to use bounce flash and when to put on ur bounce card or Omni bounce. Anyway i was using only my SB600, therefore guide number is low, with a more powerful flash, some of the below symptoms might not happen.

Omni Bounce, the shadows were very harsh but at indoors due to the low ceilings of HDB flats with lots of surfaces to bounce the light off, it tends to light up the whole area quite evenly.

Bounce card, When possible try to use bounce flash instead, but HDB flats tend not to have a flat ceiling (usually there is a beam running across somewhere) so need to take note on the bounce angle. If blocked use a bounce card, which usually diffuses the light so that shadows are not harshed but take note of big groups, the light fall off at the edges may be quite significant, and if the bride and groom are wearing white there may be premature flash cutoff (Either A or TTL) due to the white clothing reflecting more light and so generally the scene may be under exposed.

2. Lens Focusing
Remeber if u are not using a Parfocal Lens, you will need to focus after u compose your shot, if not your focus will not be correct. Only some lens from Canon and Tokina are Parfocal. Don't remember any lens from Nikon being Parfocal but i could be wrong. But no matter what the case is "After u compose the shot, then Focus". I''ve got quite a few shots the focus wasn't quite spot on.

3. Group Photos
Remember that the Chinese families are quite big and some although there are less and less 3 room flats around in Singapore, they are still around. U will need at least a 28mm (35mm equiv or 18mm for Digital 1.5 crop) lens to shoot (just barely as i found out). And trying to get all of them sharp is also a big problem.

I've read this book "Group Portrait Photography Handbook" By Bill Hurtner about a week before the shoot, it contain tips on how to shoot big groups and how to arrange them too. Although I read the older version the new one should be just as good, anyway the link is below for u guys to check it out.

Basically the main thing is to ensure that your subject is in your plane of focus, thus it is important to get you subjects close together (front and back rows) to ensure that they fall within your plane of focus.

Anyway for it was fun, although i wasn't paid but it was good experience and probably i will try to find somemore unpaid jobs. Its always happy to take pictures of happy people !

First Wedding

By Stephen Lee

Went on my first wedding yesterday, boy it was tiring... ran around from place to place haha still tired even now. haha gotta go back to slp liao.... will post more about the wedding later and the lessons that i have learnt.... till then... slp tite.

Morning at Punggol

By Stephen Lee

Anyway for those of my friends who don't know i will be officially jobless on the 1st of June so got any Kangtao pls feel free to contact me ah!! (sljm at singnet.coms.g)

Quite free for kopi nowadays so feel free to call me up too (But not too expensive kopi ah, must budget)

Woke up early one morning and decided to go for a sunrise shoot at punggol park. Too bad there were too much low lying clouds and so didn't get any of the "Normal" sunrise shots with the big big orange glow coming out from the trees. But as the time passes, the sun begin emerging from the clouds and i spend the next half hour or so taking a few shots and enjoying the morning.

Port Blair

By Stephen Lee

I spent a day in Port Blair in Feb. Lets start with some geography and some brief history about Port Blair first; Port Blair is located in the Andamans and Nicobar islands between Thailand and Mainland India. The British were the first to formerly surveyed the place and during WWII the Japanese took over the Island and use it as a forward observation base. When India declared independence in 1947, the island was merged with the Indian mainland. For a more historical information u can look at here.

There are buses, taxis and small taxis that are like Thailand's TUK TUK. I mainly took the Tuk tuk around the city. They are relatively cheaper usually costing not more that 20-30rps. Although there is a meter in the Tuk Tuk but so far i have not seen it working, therefore u need to work out the cost of the ride before going off.

Celluar Jail
The Celluar Jail was built as a prison to house political prisioner during the British rule of India. It was called "Celluar" because each prisoner has their own cell , and thus were housed seperately. The design of the jail was spread out from the center with 7 "wings" outwards like a star with 7 points. Out of the original 7 wings only 3 remains to this day.

The entry fee is 5rps and add another 10rps if u want to shoot pictures. This pricing system where there is a seperate fee for shooting pictures in the facility is common in India (I encounter this at the submarine museum in Vizag, see my later post on Visakapatnam).

The best time probably is to go sometime in the evening around6-7pm as there is a sound and light show at around 7pm describing the story of the Celluar jail. However the rest of the jail exhibits is quite bare. The are probably only 3 exhibits hall (One at the entrance, one near the stage and one at the 2nd storey of the main building) which describes the history and some pictures.

List of people incarcerated in the Celluar Jail.

New Lighthouse Restaurant

Just outside the Celluar Jail is a restaurant that looks like a tiny lighthouse; all I can say is that is probably the best Indian restaurant that I have eaten in Port Blair. The food is good but be expected to wait up to 20-40mins for your meal to come. Prices for Tandoori Chicken depends on the size of the chicken, for a whole chicken expect to pay up to 300rps. They also offer a limited western and chinese menu.

Devastation of the tsunami
Next to the restaurant, remanants of a amusement park ravaged by the tsunami can be seen. The stone seats are broken, the ferris wheel is in a state of disrepair and the ticket booth seems trapped in time as it displays a calendar dated "2004 Dec". The Year and the month of the tsunami.

Well that concludes the short time i had in Port Blair.....

For more photos of my trip u can visit my website at

It's been a long time since i updated my blog, well so here's the update! I've been to India (Port Blair and Visakapatnam) and Bangkok in the 2 months that i've been gone from this site and i intend to share my travel experience and do some sort of a Lonely planet guide thing.

So stay tune okies!

Where is this ?

By Stephen Lee

Just to share some pictures that i found after looking through my archive, can anyone guess where this is ?


By Stephen Lee

Well it's has been long since i last been down to Chinatown during the Chinese New Year season. So I decided to go down today and take some pics.

As usual the Singapore weather today was HOT HOT HOT! Was sweating the whole time i was there. Lots of stalls and lots of people selling and people buying. Guess the most popular store was the Lin Chee Yuan Bak Kua stall, the queue was like a snake all the way round the street. Really pity the Bak Kua stall nex to it, pretty quiet. When it comes to the good stuff, Singaporeans are all to ready to queue and wait.

Also saw lots of photographer walking around, haha some were carrying so much equipment i thought they were going to to war.

I just had my D70 with kits lens and started to snapping away, didn't take much though. (Sun was hot, light wasn't too good). Probably should pop down during the evening time and think about evening/night photography.

Anway just to tell the consumers down there, walk around abit before buying things, price difference can be quite substantial!

Happy Chinese New Year !