Raymond Phang: Christmas Time in Singapore

Singapore-born Photographer Raymond Phang was still a student when the photography bug hit him like a deadly disease. He was never cured and instead got further poisoned during his National Service days when he was tasked with photographing various events. After he completed National Service, he dived straight into photography and had never since looked back. Photography became his first career and the only one he’s had. It wasn’t too hard for him to decide on the genre of photography to focus on. Life seemed to be all about the violence, death, famine, war, or complaints about rising prices, environmental and morality issues. He found that the world seemed all too depressing and he needed to find the love in humanity and the easiest place to find love is at a wedding.

Since Raymond Phang went official in 2008, he’s carved a niche in the local wedding photography industry doing conceptualized pre-wedding photography. He represented Singapore in 2010 and has won several awards including the ASEAN Young Photographers Award and he was the Grand Winner in the Master Photography Awards 2011 for the Contemporary Wedding Category.

“At Christmas, all roads lead home” –Marjorie Holmes

A few weeks ago I was invited by Leica Singapore to document Christmas using the Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium camera. As the late American author Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder wrote, “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” It so aptly described exactly what I felt when I held the compact camera once again after heavily depending on a DSLR for too long a time. The Leica D-Lux 5 placed next to my DSLR formed a rather amusing picture to me – just like a tiny gingerbread man sitting beside a grumpy Santa Claus, and they’re not on talking terms with one another. Haha!

I brought the camera out to one of the busiest streets in Singapore for a little Christmas adventure. I saw the hardworking and selfless workers busy washing the streets and adorning the entirety of Orchard Road with the prettiest glittery silver ornaments and fancy lights. I see people busy with their Christmas shopping, lovers kissing underneath the giant Christmas tree for a picture, kids giggling and gleefully playing with the colorful toys in the shopping mall. It seemed like everyone suddenly had something in common and somehow this can only be felt during the month of December. Feelings of happiness and joy fill the air and I know it will soon be time for Christmas.

I was about to wrap up my Christmas adventure with the toy I had in my hand when I spotted an interesting sight: three nicely decorated Christmas trees standing on the lorry truck, on the way home, each serving their purpose for Christmas and bringing joy to families. I am absolutely in love with what my eyes see as I am a person who enjoys the journey of the process more than results itself.

I switched on the Leica D-Lux 5, which started up promptly, and I started panning on the moving vehicle. Like all compact cameras, the Leica D-Lux 5 had a fixed lens, which in this case is the Leica C Vario-Summicron 1:2-3.3/5.1-19.2 mm ASPH zoom lens. The lens is amazingly fast enough for a point and shoot camera and at a focal range of 24-90mm, I was able to compose, frame and capture the lorry truck exactly the way I pictured it to be.

The camera’s low-light sensitivity is better than that of previous Leica compact cameras, pushing ISO right up to 12,800. Although noise level starts to become an issue at around ISO 800, I do feel that sometimes the noise adds a little bit of a feel to the image in general.

The Leica D-Lux 5 comes with other fancy features of a point and shoot such as the intelligent-auto mode, face recognition, image stabilization, various scene & color modes, pop up flash and also option for documenting videos or even shooting in full manual mode.

With this shot, I finally called it a day. I really enjoyed the adventure with the Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium although I had to retune my brain to tell myself that this is not a DSLR, but I am happy with the results and the memories it brought back to me – how I felt as a kid when I first held a point and shoot camera.  It was something special.

–Raymond Phang

Raymond’s images are on display at the Leica Store Singapore at the Raffles Hotel Arcade through the 13th of January. More of Raymond Phang’s works can be found on his blog, www.raymondphang.com/blog, and his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/raymondphangphotography.