2012 in review

Mother and her two daughters in Orchard Road

2012 has been a pretty good year for me in terms of my photography. I wish I could say the same about my writing.

Mother and her two daughters in Orchard Road

This post is a little late. I was not able to complete it in time for the end of the year. December was a busy month with several model shoots, my first video production and a wedding celebration.

I had a Christmas party at home with my house-mates but the festive cheer was not extended till New Year’s Day. My grandmother passed away and I rushed back to Johor Bahru for the wake and funeral.

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Photo walks

My previous photo-a-day projects were unsuccessful and I was becoming disillusioned with my ability to produce good shots.

Then, I started to do photo walks weekly. I tried to shoot every Sunday and on the occasions that I was unable to do so, I shot on a Monday instead. I preferred weekends because of the a larger crowd and a myriad of events going on in town. I have encountered publicity stunts, a pet adoption drive, and even a fashion runway.

I did most of the photo walks along Orchard Road. There were days when I decided to take a longer route and started the walk from Little India instead. I realised that it is rather quiet there on weekends and I hope to experience shooting there on a bustling weekday morning.

It was a slow start to the project. There was the initial barrier due to my shyness to approach strangers, my self-consciousness of drawing attention for shooting on the street, and the lack of confidence. I was able to slowly come out of my shell and interact with my subjects and walk up to strangers to ask to take a picture of them.

Street photography - street performer in Orchard Road

If you have not tried shooting on the street or approaching strangers, I strongly encourage you to give it a go. It is an understatement to say that it changed my approach to photography. The confidence gained does wonders to my shooting.

Shooting consistently also improve the number of keepers I got per shot. Of course, there were unproductive days. It is important to know how to shake up things up once in a while to keep yourself inspired. Some methods that worked for me was switching to a different focal length, using a different camera, and looking out for a theme such as street fashion or even be more specific and single out a particular accessory.


Photos by Jen Xi

I launched my portfolio site back in May. Although the site is up and running, the portfolio is still a work in progress. As my photographic taste evolves, I remove photos that I previously put up  on the site. It is still a long way from being a showcase that I can be proud of.

Leica M8

I bought a Leica M8. It has always been my dream to own a Leica. If you are an avid photographer, you should know of this legendary brand of camera. The M8 has become the first camera I pick up for street photography.


My 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt was once again a failure. It was not a futile effort though. I was able to generate a lot of ideas when I was psyched up by the challenge.

I completed the translation of the first chapter of Demi-gods and Semi-devils. It has been on my to-do list for a long time. I plan to work on more chapters of  the series and attempt other wuxia novels as part of my personal project to provide a better translation of the genre for English-speaking readers.

Baby Ruiying


Moving on to more personal matters, I became an uncle this year. My baby niece has been an interesting photography subject.


It has been a fulfilling year. However, other than the downs mentioned above, I lament the lack of time spent with my friends. We have been busy with work, our personal lives and photographic pursuits. I look forward to a 2013 where we have more time to get together.

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