Home > Travel > Heading Back to Singapore

Heading Back to Singapore

by Coole Photography on June 10, 2013 Leave a comment

Singapore again? Yes indeed, this time for more blue hour and night-time shooting and to see the newly opened Gardens by the Bay. I have always been a huge fan of Singapore – the weather is usually kind to me, the streets are always oddly quiet even though it’s busy and the architecture just keeps getting better and better, especially for photographers.

As I mentioned earlier, my main reason for returning was to get some photographs of the Gardens by the Bay, a park which contains three gardens and is home to the fabulous Super Trees! I spent all day, from dawn until dusk, wandering around both the gardens and the bay, stopping for a coffee break every now and again, wearing holes into my flip flops and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. Getting another opportunity to capture more images of the attractions in Singapore was an added bonus and by the end of the trip I was really happy with my work – so unless another major attraction opens or a new assignment comes up, me and my camera won’t be seeing Singapore for a while!

“Ditch the image of Singapore as a dull, sterile Utopia – scratch the surface and you’ll discover a strange brew of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western cultures, a rich social stew that’s anything but boring. Sure, the graffiti-free trains run on time, traffic jams are nonexistent and everyone looks clean-cut and wholesome, but who needs pollution, poverty and chaos?”
Lonely Planet

Considering that in my last post about Singapore I simply split my photographs into day and night shots, I thought I’d give you a snippet of information about each location this time, nothing too detailed but just enough so that you know some of the background and facts, and with that being said, here we go!

The Supertree Grove contains 12 uniquely designed vertical gardens, ranging from 25 to 50 metres in height, all have large canopies that provide shade during the day and come alive with an exhilarating display of light and sound at night. The grove was an absolute pleasure to shoot, and I only wish I had more time there to find new angles and really make the most of this brilliant area!

A view of the Supertree Grove and the elevated walkway known as the OCBC Skyway, located within Gardens by the Bay, showing the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in the background. A view of the Supertree Grove and the elevated walkway known as the OCBC Skyway, located within Gardens by the Bay, showing the Marina Bay Sands Wonder Full Light Show in the background. A view of the Supertree Grove and the elevated walkway known as the OCBC Skyway, located within Gardens by the Bay, showing the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in the background.
A view of the Supertree Grove and the elevated walkway known as the OCBC Skyway, located within Gardens by the Bay, showing the Marina Bay Sands Wonder Full Light Show in the background. A view of the Supertree Grove and the elevated walkway known as the OCBC Skyway, located within Gardens by the Bay, showing the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in the background.

Just behind Gardens by the Bay is Marina Bay Sands, a world-class luxury casino and hotel which is topped by the Sands Skypark and is billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property, at a cost of $8 billion (Singapore Dollars), including the cost of the prime land. Architecture and casinos aside, the resort offers visitors much, much more – a convention-exhibition centre, The Shoppes, a museum, 2 large theatres, numerous restaurants, 2 floating pavilions, an ice rink and an amazing infinity pool located in the Sands Skypark – what more could anyone want! I chose to shoot the resort from a few different locations, but no matter where I ended up, it always looked great in my photographs – my thanks go to Moshe Safdie!

View of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, as seen from Bayfront Avenue. View of the Wonder Full Light Show at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, as seen from Bayfront Avenue.
View of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Bayfront Avenue Bridge, as seen from the Marina Promenade, a walkway along marina bay connecting the Esplanade to the Singapore Flyer. View of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the ArtScience Museum, located on the banks of the Marina Bay Reservoir in Singapore, as seen from Clifford Pier near Collyer Quay. View of the Wonder Full Light Show at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the ArtScience Museum, located on the banks of the Marina Bay Reservoir in Singapore, as seen from Clifford Pier near Collyer Quay.

Singapore’s most famous icon, the Merlion is an imaginary creature that represents Singapore’s humble origins as a fishing village. The statue has a lion’s head and a fish’s body; it stands at almost 9m high and weighs over 70 tonnes. This unusual creature, which has water gushing from its mouth for most of the day, was conceptualised by Kwan Sai Kheong and then created by Nah Seng in 1972. During my last visit to Singapore the Merlion was undergoing a bit of a face-lift, but thankfully this time the site was free of scaffolding! I chose to shoot here at dawn, simply because the crowds don’t appear until late morning, giving me the entire space all to myself, although the water doesn’t come on until just after sunrise – but I actually think the shots are nicer without it, as you get that great reflection in the still waters.

The Merlion situated on the edge of the Marina Bay Reservoir, a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, designed by Fraser Brunner and used as a mascot of Singapore. The Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Merlion situated on the edge of the Marina Bay Reservoir, a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, designed by Fraser Brunner and used as a mascot of Singapore. The Merlion situated on the edge of the Marina Bay Reservoir, a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, designed by Fraser Brunner and used as a mascot of Singapore.

Another dawn location, well quite a bit before dawn actually – the Esplanade. I decided after a couple of days that I wanted to shoot this area in the middle of the night, and as we had a full moon during our stay, this seemed to be the right decision! The first 2 shots below were taken at around 3am, there was not a single soul about at that time and it really was a pleasure being there (plus you’d never get a shot free of the crowds at any other time of the day!).

View of the city centre skyline, Esplanade Theatres on the Bay and the Marina Bay Reservoir, as seen from the Marina Promenade, a walkway along marina bay connecting the Esplanade to the Singapore Flyer. View of the city centre skyline, Esplanade Theatres on the Bay and the Marina Bay Reservoir, as seen from the Marina Promenade, a walkway along marina bay connecting the Esplanade to the Singapore Flyer. The exterior of the performing arts centre known as the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay and the Esplanade Bridge, as seen from Merlion Park.

Linking Marina Bay to Marina Centre, the Helix Bridge is the world’s first curved bridge. This 280-metre pedestrian linkway features the world’s first ‘double-helix’ structure; an engineering feat assembled with great precision. Its curved design is created by two opposing spiral steel members, held together by a series of connecting struts, which symbolise life and continuity, renewal, everlasting abundance and growth, it also resembles the structure of DNA. Whether you are shooting during the day, at sunset or at night, the Helix Bridge really adds that special something to your shots – if you are planning on shooting at night and will be using a tripod, be warned that the bridge does wobble as people walk over it, so try to wait for a lull in the crowds…

View of the Helix Bridge and Marina Bay Sands Hotel, as seen from the Marina Promenade, a walkway along marina bay connecting the Esplanade to the Singapore Flyer. View of the Helix Bridge and Marina Bay Sands Hotel, as seen from the Marina Promenade, a walkway along marina bay connecting the Esplanade to the Singapore Flyer. View of the Helix Bridge and Marina Bay Sands Hotel, as seen from the Marina Promenade, a walkway along marina bay connecting the Esplanade to the Singapore Flyer. View of the Helix Bridge and Marina Bay Sands, as seen from one of the four viewing platforms sited at strategic locations along the bridge.
View of the Helix Bridge and Marina Bay Sands Hotel, as seen from the Marina Promenade, a walkway along marina bay connecting the Esplanade to the Singapore Flyer. View of the Helix Bridge and Marina Bay Sands Hotel, as seen from the Marina Promenade, a walkway along marina bay connecting the Esplanade to the Singapore Flyer. View of the Helix Bridge and Marina Bay Sands, as seen from the Marina Promenade, a walkway along marina bay connecting the Esplanade to the Singapore Flyer.

Another great thing about Singapore is the Marina Promenade, a 3.5km walkway around the whole bay. For photographers, it gives you the chance to simply walk in a circle and shoot some of Singapore’s most iconic structures, without having to get lost on the roads and tunnels! I have always been a fan of blue hour shooting in this area and hopefully you can see why – the following photographs are taken at various points around the Promenade, at either dawn or dusk.

The exterior of the Avalon nightclub with the Financial District in the background, as seen from the Marina Promenade, part of the Marina Bay Sands complex. A view of the skyscrapers located in the Financial District of Singapore, as seen from Clifford Pier near Collyer Quay. A view of the Fullerton Hotels and the skyscrapers located in the Financial District of Singapore, as seen from Clifford Pier near Collyer Quay.
A view of the exterior of the lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, designed by Moshe Safdie and also known as the Welcoming Hand of Singapore. The exterior of the Avalon nightclub with the Financial District in the background, as seen from the Marina Promenade, part of the Marina Bay Sands complex. The exterior of the Avalon nightclub with the Financial District in the background, as seen from the Marina Promenade, part of the Marina Bay Sands complex.

Last but by no means least we have the Art-Science Museum, technically one of the attractions at Marina Bay Sands and designed by the same architect – Moshe Safdie. This lotus shaped building sits just in front of The Shoppes and is softly illuminated at night. I found the museum really interesting to shoot this time around, especially in the early hours of the morning, it was just so peaceful and calm, couple that with such an interesting building and you have a great shoot location!

A view of the exterior of the lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, designed by Moshe Safdie and also known as the Welcoming Hand of Singapore. A view of the exterior of the lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, designed by Moshe Safdie and also known as the Welcoming Hand of Singapore. A view of the exterior of the lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, designed by Moshe Safdie and also known as the Welcoming Hand of Singapore.
Categories: Travel Tags:
  • Sean Francis

    Love your photographs! This was a really good read as well, it’s nice to be able to find out a little more behind your photographs, especially for somewhere as visually stunning as Singapore!

  • Johnny Chen

    Beautiful set of pictures!

  • Jess H

    Truly amazing shots Kimberley – well done :)

  • http://www.coolephotography.co.uk/ Kimberley Coole

    Thanks for taking the time to comment everyone, I really love shooting in Singapore so it’s nice to see that you are enjoying my work!

  • http://www.jlgatewood.com/ J.L. “J7″ Gatewood StarrWulfe

    I’m heading there in 2 weeks… Hope to shoot not only the marina area but wander into regular neighborhoods like HDB blocks and industrial parks to get some snaps of regular life there too.

    • http://www.coolephotography.co.uk/ Kimberley Coole

      That sounds great, I hope you get some fab shots! Feel free to post the link to your images on here if you like :)

      • http://www.jlgatewood.com/ J.L. “J7″ Gatewood StarrWulfe

        Here are some of my shots so far… nothing special as I’m using my cellphone and not the SLR… I’m backpacking it and didn’t want the hassle of it all. http://J7is.ME/ix

  • 9preciousgems

    Great Pics! Love those ones of Bronte Ocean pool and Koh Lipe too. What kit are you using out of interest?

    • http://www.coolephotography.co.uk/ Kimberley Coole

      Hi and thanks for your kind words :) My kit is made up of the following:

      Canon EOS 5d MKII
      Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0L IS USM Lens
      Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
      Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

      I always take extra batteries and a few big capacity CF cards – this is just in case I run into power supply issues or go on extended treks, it’s a horrible feeling knowing you can only take a few more shots before your card is full or battery runs out! I also travel with a tripod and have found the Manfrotto 725B to be the perfect travel companion – it’s lightweight, compact and great quality. Finally, I always carry my Lee Big Stopper with me wherever I go!

      • 9preciousgems

        Ah great thanks for replying. Do you use the big stopper for all those long exposures? I’m guessing you use bulb mode and a remote too?

        Great stuff. No primes though – interesting – i suppose if you’re travelling a lot you need the versatility of zooms over the low light capabilities of the prime?

        • http://www.coolephotography.co.uk/ Kimberley Coole

          Hi,

          I use the Big Stopper until just before Blue Hour, after that I find I can get nice long exposures by simply using a very low ISO, although I also always use my Big Stopper when water is the main part of the shot (during the day etc).

          To control my exposures I use the BULB setting and rather than a normal controller I use an app on my iPod Touch called ioShutterPro (http://launch.ioshutter.com) – it’s amazing and really simple, plus I have added a strip of Velcro to both my tripod and iPod so once it sets off going, I attach the two together and relax!!

          And finally, you’re quite right about the lack of primes, my back could not handle any more weight plus I like to keep my camera bag quite small, so this way I get all the range I need in much fewer lenses – also, the low light capabilities doesn’t bother me too much, I’m just as happy to get my tripod out (my ISO never climbs above 100 so that happens quite a lot!)

          Hope the above helps, please feel free to respond if you would like to know anything else :)

          Thanks again,

          Kimberley

          • 9preciousgems

            That is great info – thank you so much.

            One last thing – how do you attach your big stopper?

          • http://www.coolephotography.co.uk/ Kimberley Coole

            No problem :) Happy to help.

            For any LEE filter you will need the LEE System; basically a range of adapter rings which attach to your lens, plus an actual filter holder. You can also choose a holder based on how many filters you tend to use at any one time – the two options are the Foundation Kit (which I use) and the Professional Kit. For more info please follow this link – http://www.leefilters.com/index.php/camera/system

  • Edward Adios

    Hi Kim, if you do drop by Singapore again, give me a shout and let’s do a photowalk. You may just want to take a peak at my works and I am sure you will be keen to meet up. Have a nice day!

    • http://www.coolephotography.co.uk/ Kimberley Coole

      Hi Edward, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Do you have a website that I could look at (although sadly I think it’ll be a while before I head back over to Singapore…) – All the best, Kimberley

  • http://www.clippingimages.com/ Clippingimages

    Love the shots….Great idea and congratulations for making the visual attractive and creative as well.

    • http://www.coolephotography.co.uk/ Kimberley Coole

      Really pleased you are enjoying my work, and a big thanks for leaving so many wonderful comments!

      • http://www.clippingimages.com/ Clippingimages

        Pleasure is mine sir :)

You may also be interested in

Traffic on the iconic Tower Bridge complete with views of City Hall, More London Place and the Shard, located in the Southwark Borough of London.

Back in The Capital

The iconic City Hall building, the home of the Greater London Authority, located in the Southwark Borough of London.

Capturing the Capital

Jetty on Coniston Water, formerly known as Thurston Water, the third largest lake in the English Lake District National Park.

Jetty Hunting in The Lakes

Manfrotto

Manfrotto Ambassador