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  • Andrew JK Tan

My 1st 2019 Adventure

HAPPY 2019 Everyone !!

My first photography adventure was of course photographing the New Year Countdown fireworks performance at Singapore's iconic Marina Bay vicinity.

This year's countdown was especially special as the more then 1 hour fireworks display also known as the STAR ISLAND Singapore Countdown Edition was produced by the Japanese which are renowned for spectacular "Hanabi" performances. This special countdown also marks the international debut of this Japanese production by the Japanese entertainment group Avex.

I was really looking forward to capture some breathtaking images for my client who had assigned me to photograph from the 1-Altitude Rooftop Bar. It was not the best of locations as I would be most likely looking down at the fireworks , still I can't complain right !

So the following were the sequence of events which detail my frustration & excitement:

5pm , 31st December

Met fellow photographers (who were assigned to different locations for the shoot later) for our regular New Year's Eve kopi ritual at Toastbox - Esplanade. We joked a lot about the potential of wet weather !!


Adjourned for an early dinner. After dinner we split up to move to our assigned locations.


Messaged my 1-Altitude contact person but did not get any response after 10 minutes. Finally managed to enter and access the 61st floor as the Roof Top bar (63rd) floor was closed because of LIGHTNING alert !! Now wouldn't that be exciting (& a little risky) , I was already planning how I would be capturing the fireworks with lightning if it really happened !

9:15 pm

Finally the Roof Top bar was open , looked for the Bar Manager to check where I would be photographing from. Found him & when i was shown where I would be photographing from , I was utterly DISSAPOINTED !!

I had to climb this 5 feet high GLASS structure which was the elevator shaft !! I did not know how thick the glass was but I could clearly see the elevator cables & elevator as I looked down .... it reminded me almost immediately of the movies Jurassic Park & The Day after Tomorrow which had memorable scenes where the glass cracked & finally broke , you can guess what happens next !

But that was not the worse part , the worse part was actually how far I was from the edge of 1-Altitude. How in heavens was I going to photograph the fireworks later ? The first blast was at 9:30pm

You can see the view that I was getting with the image below. The green plants in the foreground were to "hide" the all GLASS shaft , that also meant I could NOT move further forward. It was a disaster. I could barely see the left over smoke from the 9:30pm fireworks salvo.

Nikon Z6 , Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4S @24mm focal length

I immediately messaged my client about my serious problem on the location (and you know what my mobile phone was running out of battery) , sent her a shot of what I could see and briefed her that I could not access the right location to shoot.

The image below shows my simulation of the FIREWORKS (Best Case) that could have happened only with the largest & highest of fireworks salvos. I am pretty sure what I simulated would NOT have happened at all. Ha Ha , this was more an "insurance" image for my client to show her bosses why I "failed" to shoot from 1-Altitude.

BTW , the Z6 with the Nikkor 24-70mm f/4S really did a great job with the details & dynamic range again with the capture below.


Made the decision (with the agreement of the client) to leave the location and make my way back to The Float !! I was pressed for time as the next fireworks bursts would start at 10:40pm !!

What a struggle to "fight" my way through the crowd massed at 1 Fullerton boardwalk , Merlion Park , Jubilee Bridge and all around the Esplanade area. I was worried that I would not make it in time and also the fact that ALL the best spots would have already been taken up by the media & official photographers from other organisations.


I made it back to The Float Platform , found the best shooting spot I could and hoped for the best. I had hoped to showcase the Nikon Z6 BUT I did not bring the FTZ adaptor to mount my wider lenses as The Float was never the original location intended.

The saving grace for all the frustration & effort was that the Star Island Fireworks production by AVEX at The Float was the best I have ever witnessed especially with the music & sound surround effects.

Nikon D850 Nikkor 16mm f2.8 Fisheye ISO31 10 seconds f14.0 JPEG FINE*

00:40am , 01st January 2019

Finally left The Float area and made my way slowly to Promenade MRT station which was of course packed.

Reached Hougang MRT station at 00:35am after the last feeder service had already left (I was not surprised of course)


Finally reached home after walking for 18 minutes carrying my gear.


Started downloading & working on a couple of images so that I could immediately send to my client and also updated some teaser images to my social media platforms.


Finally went to bed for a short nap.


Woke up in a daze to complete the rest of the images.


Completed my deliverables and sent to client !!

So all in an "easy" day's work ha ha ha.

Nikon D850 Nikkor 16mm f2.8 Fisheye ISO31 13 seconds f18.0 JPEG FINE*

Nikon D850 Nikkor 16mm f2.8 Fisheye ISO3200 1/40s f5.6 JPEG FINE*

Nikon D850 Nikkor 16mm f2.8 Fisheye ISO31 13 seconds f18.0 JPEG FINE*

So if you thought that I always had glamorous assignments , please do think again !!

Having said that , I hope you enjoyed reading my 1st adventure for 2019.

Wishing you and your family the very best and a fantastic 2019.

More exciting blogs coming on the Z6 as I bring it overseas in less then 2 weeks and also for the coming months to photograph some exciting wildlife. Till then take care.



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