Chingay Parade 2011: A Bentekwatro Affair

Posted: April 25, 2011 in Chingay Parade
Tags: ,

Every year, Singapore holds a street event showcasing a mixture of culture & extravagant floats signifying diverse culture of the country. This event is called Chingay Parade.

When I knew about the parade’s schedule last February 10, 2011, I was disapointed as the dates were in conflict with prior commitments. I was ready to lay down my arms when Abs, a co-shooter & a close friend, told me we go to the rehearsals instead. At first I was doubtful. Rehearsals? No fancy lights n’ stuff? Performers not in costume? The hell with it. There oughta be a few sparks to catch a few shots. It will be worth checking.

I packed my arsenal together with my wife who’s also into photography & met up with co-shooters Abs & Glen, another close friend, on site. My wife was eyeing for the 135mm so I brought my 70-300 & 24mm 2.8D to cover a wider range. When we arrived at the venue, we were suprised that non-performers like us were free to roam & shoot on the street where the action is happening. Then it occured to me that this was a great opportunity to practice composition using wide angle. Without hesitation, I handed over my 70-300 to Glen who’s wanting to borrow the lens for this event & plugged my 24mm. I set my cam in aperture priority mode, with aperture set wide open at f2.8, ISO set to auto at 6400 max, & metering set to spot.

When things started to sizzle, I was posed armed with only 1 focal length. If I effed this up, I have to wait for another year for a comeback. Within a few moments, roars of big bikes came screaming. I fired a couple of shots & managed to snag one… Well… not as furious as you imagine…

But the hardcores stopped for a Hell’s Angels candid pose…

Enter the Dragon: It  came spitting fireworks non-stop knocking every person in its path. When everyone else was taking cover, I braved through the chaos clipping several rounds with my eyes shut hoping to get a single keeper.

I was spraying shutter count when my lungs held back for oxygen. I was breathing gun powder. When the chaos subsided, I was covered in gray ash & was gasping for air. Thankfully, the autopilot was quite cooperative…

Then flames spewed…

Youths flew…
Then the rest came to party…
SMILE!! You’re in Candid Camera!!

Even though the event was just a rehearsal, I was enjoying it ten times more compared to an official parade. With all the barricades & spectators on the actual event, I wouldn’t have gone close & bathed in the action. I had a personal assessment that in order to get a wide angle’s full capability, you have to shoot your subjects up from their noses. Otherwise they will blend-in & disappear in the background. But this is, of course, a case to case basis. Yes, wide angle is hard to use. But from what Chingay Parade taught me, it is the best focal length if you want to get down & dirty with your subjects.

  1. Anonymous says:

    >parade photography looked liked studio shots especially with wide, intimate captures.Great shot and technique, nice motorcycles too! – PR

  2. amazing photos. 🙂 perfect timing 🙂 captivating 🙂

  3. […] the full dress rehearsal. The first event was on February 2011 and you can view my experience here. One can generally draw a quick & obvious comparison between last year & this year’s […]

  4. zilvidu says:

    awesome photos idol ian!

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