Art Science Museum, Singapore

DSCF0853_edited_2000K
Art Science Museum, Singapore (Fuji X-T2, Laowa 9mm f2.8)

One of the purposes of this blog is for me to regularly post pictures I’ve taken and write about them. Hopefully, these will be informative, but largely it’s intended as a learning process for me, to encourage me to take more and better pictures, but also to think about what works in an image and what I find challenging. So with that in mind, here’s the first one.

I’ve been trying some third party manual focus lenses on the Fuji X-T2. I recently purchased a Laowa ultra-wide 9mm f2.8 lens from Venus Optics, after reading a few reviews, including this one by Jonas Rask, who seems to have been able to get some pretty enviable images with this lens. The Laowa 9mm is a quite inexpensive wide angle option. It seems solidly built and is tiny, which makes it really convenient to take around. It also comes with three handy filters, a UV, a circular polariser and what I think is a 10-stop neutral density filter that I have yet to try. This is a manual lens, which I don’t find to be a problem, particularly using focus peaking on the camera, and being a wide angle it’s pretty easy to get a large part of the frame in focus even at f2.8.

The image above is the lotus-shaped Art Science Museum in Singapore, located in the marina area next to the shopping mall at the Marina Bay Sands. I took this with the Laowa 9mm lens and circular polariser, which came in useful as it was the middle of the day. This helped create a nice glow around the museum building, which I quite like, though you can also see the harsh lighting on the water lillies, which I like less. There’s also quite a bit of lens distortion, as you can see from the slanted trees and buildings. Some people would correct this, but I kind of like it, as I feel it’s part of the process of shooting wide angle and it serves as a reminder of what lens I used. Correcting it would also require shooting with some empty space around the frame to allow for some cropping in post-processing, which would have meant composing the shot differently. This is one of the major challenges with this lens. I haven’t shot much with wide angle lenses, and this lens is so wide that composing a shot is difficult. The subject is much smaller in the frame than I’m used to and you really need a strong foreground to make a compelling photo. The walls of the pond that houses the water lillies make for interesting diagonals that I had intended to use as leading lines, but the angle wasn’t quite right so I left these out and tried to use the flowers as a leading foreground instead. The low viewpoint makes the museum structure more dramatic I think.

Because there are no connector pins on the lens, there’s no metadata communicated to the camera, and I don’t keep track of aperture settings, but this was probably taken at around f11-f13. There’s a slight purple colour cast in the sky – I’m not sure if that’s from the filter or the reflection in the glass wall on the right. I could probably have corrected it, but it kind of goes with the flowers so I left it in.

So what do you think? An interesting shot? Does it suck? Could it be improved? Feel free to comment, preferably nicely.

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