Open Category, Honourable Mention
This is my story... I trekked my very first mountain, Mount Batur back in 2017 with my friends. After a long and arduous climb to the peak of 1717 metres above sea level (actually, only 2 hours climb), and sitting in the cold darkness waiting for the sun to peek over the horizon, was something that I came to love. Every step, every breathe felt like it was going to be worth it in the end. Making it to the top felt like I was literally on top of the world. After descending Batur, I felt like it was not enough to satisfy my taste buds for adventure. Not long after, I made another trip to Indonesia, to hike Mount Ijen, with a height of 2799 metres above sea level. I loved every step I took, every steep edge I climbed over, every slope I slipped, every edge I looked over and every breathe I took. Once we reached the summit, everything felt like it fell into place. But there and then, it felt like it wasn't enough to satisfy the inner mountain in me. A few months later, I climbed Jogjakata's Mount Merbabu (first picture). There, looks a mountain that might conquer my taste buds for adventure and adrenaline. Standing at 3145 metres above sea level, every step I took, rocks fell below me and with wet slopes, knowing if I slipped, I might literally die. But the thought of death did not stop me for making it to the top for that glorious and perfect summit and the beautiful sunrise that awaits us. To be honest, It was definitely tough on our way to the top. But after making the summit, though it was exhilarating, my taste buds for mountains did not go away. And probably I never want this feeling of the craving of mountains to ever go away...
During this pandemic, I have been making plans for the future, having set my eyes on my next target, mount Kinabalu and my eventual goal, Everest Base Camp. But as of now, all I can do is bask in the memories of the mountains I summited...
- Tell us more about what inspired your entry?
What inspired me about my entry was the passion I have for the mountains, and the adrenaline I got from climbing it, which even till now I can feel it in me. It's refreshing for me whenever I conquer a mountain and it feels enlightening.
- How does your entry connect to you personally to the theme This Is My Story?
My entry connects to me personally in accordance to the theme in a way that people have passion for sports or a certain hobby. Naturally you will invest your time and money into it, and for me, it was a lot of time spent researching the mountains, which mountains are suitable for my fitness levels, finding the guides and of course the travelling expenses. So I would say that climbing mountains is my hobby, I definitely would love to capture mountains for a living.
- How did you conceptualise your shot? Did you use any specific techniques to achieve certain effects in your shot?
TBH I did not have an idea i was going to get the first image, however the second image was more of the use of the sun flare of the edge of my subject. Getting my subject to use his phone and turn at the same time, and as he was turning, the sun flare shine through my lens.
- Was there any external inspiration behind your shot that you have used as reference?
As for the first image, it would be the grandeur of mountains, which are things that do not cross people’s mind often. As for the second image, would be the use of technology and being among nature. (Technology is taking over humans, just take a look in the MRT)
- Why did you think that a series of photos would work better than a single photo?
I felt that the images complemented each other in terms of the edits, and both were taken among the mountains.
- From one photo to the next, perhaps can you explain the link between them?
I would say that the link between both were taken among the mountains and also edited similarly. And also to show the beauty of what the mountain can provide.
- How did the use of post-processing enhance the storytelling ability of your entries?
Post processing definitely helped in a way to make the photos more like what I had seen among the mountains. If ever people asked me if these mountains were as beautiful as the images they have seen, I would say to just see it for yourself.
- If you had the chance to retake your shot(s), what would you do differently?
I would love to climb another mountain opposite it and capture another angle of the mountain.
About the Photographer
- When, how, and why did you get into photography?
I started photography at Primary 5, when my mother gave me an Olympus compact camera. I used that camera for about 3 years till I got to change to a Canon 60D, which then led me to my first wedding photoshoot and subsequently the other paid shoots.
I was really fascinated, when I was Primary 5, how an object could capture what I saw. I was intrigued so I kept doing it.
In Poly, I studied Architecture, but felt that I did not have passion for it. And on the side, I was doing photography and realised that the satisfaction I got from Photography outweighs what I felt for Architecture. Soon after I left the army, I found a photography job and the rest was kinda a history.
- Do you define yourself by any particular style(s) of photography? If so, what are they and why?
I would say I do a lot better in Architecture, Street/Candid and Landscape/Nature Photography. And I do not shoot portraits really well.
- How has your photographic journey been affected by COVID-19? Are you more inspired to take more photos? Have the restrictions hindered, or conversely enhanced your creativity?
Like I have mentioned above, I love shooting mountains, and of course Singapore does not have a lot of mountains, or let alone any. COVID-19 stopped me from travelling which in turn stopped me from capturing mountains. But it did not stop me from dreaming which mountains I can and will climb after, and not just the next one, but the following one, and the one after that.
- What are your photographic goals after Montage 2020?
TBH I want to be a National Geographic Photographer (eg, Jimmy Chin), though it is really far fetched, it is still my end goal. But short term goals will be to gain more exposure and different experiences in photography and videography.