Guest Blogger and Professional Photographer, Mathew Browne shares his Photographer’s Top Tips to Singapore.
Mathew is part of the panel of judges for Destinology’s ‘Frame the Moment’ competition, he has been especially chosen because of his travel experience and knowledge. In this article Mathew shows you Singapore through a photographer’s eyes and lens!
Singapore was first established as a seaport in the 1800s and is now a hub for international travel by land, sea and air to Asia and onwards to Australasia and the Pacific. Singapore is a destination in its own right, visitors will find enthralling attractions, luxurious accommodation and world-class dining - a photographer’s dream, with opportunities around literally every corner.
Before any holiday, photo planning should begin. In Singapore, many hotels, particularly those around Marina Bay, offer incredible views. Consider booking rooms on higher floors for a bird’s eye view and look for hotels with rooftop pools and bars for outdoor access if you are not lucky enough to enjoy a balcony. My top tip for photographing from your hotel room: use a polarising filter and/or a lens skirt which will reduce glare and give a much clearer image.
Marina Bay is Singapore’s most incredible waterfront, surrounded by high rise buildings, modern architecture, promenades, and the imposing Merlion stature - the iconic symbol of Singapore with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. The statue itself is arguably the most photographed subject in all of Singapore and a small jetty that sticks out into the bay is the perfect spot to capture it. My top tip: sunrise is a particularly beautiful time to capture the Merlion scene as it won’t be too busy and the light is magical.
Merlion Park is a prime viewing location for the light and laser show that projects across Marina Bay every night at 8pm and 9pm (with a 10pm display on Fridays and Saturdays). You’ll need a tripod for this and my top tip: claim your place at the waterfront early - this display is very popular! Another great place to view it is to the north, just beneath the Helix Bridge with the lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum as a foreground interest.
To the north of the Singapore river you’ll find a monument to Sir Stamford Raffles. This imposing, photogenic, marble statue stands where he is believed to have landed in 1819.
Walk north to the iconic Raffles Hotel, a colonial-style luxury hotel that is famous as the birthplace of the Singapore Sling cocktail. It’s a rite of passage for first-time visitors to Singapore to visit the hotel’s Long Bar and order one of these tropical treats.
Old Hill Street Station, a former police station near Clarke Quay, is a historic building whose windowpanes have been painted the colours of the rainbow. An Instagram favourite - if you’re not dodging traffic you’ll be dodging selfie takers!
Singapore’s Chinese Garden is a beautifully landscaped park notable for its lakeside twin pagodas, my top tip: visit at dusk as the pagodas are illuminated for a charming photo. You can also visit the Seven Storey Pagoda, offering a breath-taking view from its top floor which is reached by an equally ‘inspiring’ spiral staircase. With some careful positioning and a steady hand, you can capture a minimal but vertigo-inducing image here!
Gardens by The Bay
Sprawling over 250 acres the star attraction is the Supertree Grove, 18 huge tree-like structures which dominate the landscape. In the evening the trees come to life with illuminations and choreographed music. Also dotted around the park are 40 sculptures from around the world; some discreet and traditional, some outrageous and quirky. The park is free and photograph rich.
The Flower Dome (charges apply) is the largest greenhouse in the world so there are plenty of exotic wild plants and flowers to explore with your macro lens. Displays change regularly so a little planning could lead to photographic genius.
Busy, loud, fragrant and a riot of colour, Chinatown is a sensory overload! Amongst the apparent chaos sits the imperious Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, a Tang-styled Chinese Buddhist Temple. Top tip: look for the open stairwell of the residential building behind, go up a few floors and point your camera out. You should capture the juxtaposition of modern and classical architecture as the skyscrapers of the business district form a contrasting backdrop. You can visit the temple between 07.00 – 19.00 daily.