TODAY-Canon Photography Symposium


23 May 2014, 1537

A staff of TODAY rang me up in the afternoon to inform that I have won a pair of tickets to the TODAY-Canon Photography Symposium! It caught me by surprise to the extent that I replied, “OH REALLY?” I hoped she was not pissed off at my dramatic reply.

She reminded me to bring along USB ports as well as identity card for verification. The call ended after I double-checked with her about the types of camera that were allowed. Digital cameras were fine, she said.

Both TODAY and Canon were giving away pairs of tickets to the Symposium through their websites and social media platforms respectively.

About the event

Date: 25 May 2014, Sunday
Time: 1pm – 5pm
Venue: Waterview Room, Gardens by the Bay
Registration fee: $15

The event is hosted by Canon Imaging Academy Resident Instructor Nugene Chiang, professional photographer Joseph Goh and multi-media journalist Sion Touhig. Not forgetting MediaCorp artiste Dasmond Koh and DJ Rosalyn Lee from Lush 99.5FM.

Itinerary for the day
1215 Registration
1250 Guests to be seated
1300 Intro to workshop
1310 Speaker Nugene Chiang on Food; Speaker Joseph Goh on Nature; Speaker Sion Touhig on People
1450 Hands-on session
1545 Refreshments
1605 Critique session
1700 End

From the looks of it, it is going to be a discussion cum demonstration session on how to capture three main elements of Singapore: Food, Nature, and People. These are also the three categories of the Stories of Our City competition jointly organized by TODAY and Canon. In addition, critique as well as Question and Answer session. To prep those who are interested to take part? Maybe.

On the day itself
I spent the whole of yesterday trying to contact a few of my photo-enthusiasts friends who personally own a DSLR or SLR. But what a coincidence, friends who expressed interest could not make it.

In the end, I asked Eunice along. She is generally interested in photography but her camera was not functioning. So I brought another one for her. My bag had two digital cameras – a 6yo Casio Exilim and one not-so-young/old Nikon Coolpix, together with two sets of USB ports.

By the way, did I mention that this was Eunice’s first visit to Gardens by the Bay?

We proceeded to the Waterview Room (located next to the Flower Dome) to register and were given red wristband just because nothing about the allocation was mentioned.

Waterview Room Entrance
Red wristband

There was a stage but the colour of the screen onstage was kinda whitewashed. Although there were two LCD TVs by the side, it did not help much since the sun rays were shining through the glass pane of the room. Should have chosen a seat which was nearer to the stage.

Seated in front of us were a group of teenagers sporting red t-shirts. It turns out to be BinGo! Xu Bin’s very own fan club who came here to support Dasmond. The NoonTalk family.

Each and every speaker began their presentations by introducing themselves. Nugene and Joseph went a step further to mention the DSLRs, types of lens as well as digital cameras which they use.

Dasmond & Rozz

Nugene took the stage first, followed by Joseph and Sion. Nugene is the type who would crack a few jokes here and there while Joseph, being an instructor at the academy, speaks and teaches in a way expected of teachers? But he picked up photography by googling about it and is now taking a Master of Photography.

Sion was my favourite. Neither did he share the camera models nor the lenses which he uses with us. His slides were mainly composed of photos rather than words. Sion was the only one who had a stack of notes in his hands and referred to it consistently.

As a multi-media journalist, he was required to take photos for the news articles to be posted online, within a short time span of two minutes! Without the luxury of time to explore, his shots are more pragmatic in a sense. Despite so, one can spot the application of techniques in his photographs. For instance, lines of three (a concept mentioned by all speakers) as well as “triangles”.

Frankly speaking, I am envious. Being able to travel to places and capture the (news-worthy) happenings. Releasing the shutter button to record the moment. Unless the camera is on the tripod, it is a moment that could not be duplicated or repeated. A quote borrowed from Nugene. 😛

All three speakers were done and attendees were separated into three groups based on the colour of wristbands given at the registration desk.

Red – Food
Green – Nature
Yellow – People

Numerous Canon lenses available for existing Canon users to borrow/try out. On a first-come-first-served basis.

While the other two groups proceeded to their venues, the Red group remained and gathered around Nugene who answered questions as we waited for “our subjects” to arrive. When the tables were set up, the three half-heated dishes were “served”. Group members started “feasting” following Nugene’s demonstration and tips.

“Bird’s eye view, side view, …”

There were three dishes, namely Pan Seared Diced Beef Cubes with Potatoes and Thick Brown Sauce, Sauteed Wild Mushrooms with Asparagus and Minced Garlic, and Crispy Duck Jiangnan Style.

Attendee taking a portrait with Nugene and the Chef-in-charge of the three dishes.

Both Eunice and I were sharing a camera since the screen of Casio became black with a spot in the middle. I let her have a go with the Coolpix. Perhaps indicating it’s time to buy a DSLR!

We hanged around doing nothing. Nugene spotted us and came over to ask if we were coping fine.

Refreshments by Rasel Catering Singapore

While we went back to the Waterview Room, the service crew has finished setting up. Most of the attendees probably had breakfast/brunch only as the demand for the catered food was overwhelming. At least one serving for everyone but the food was so tasty that I queued for a second round only to see empty trays. 😥

Joseph with Nature group

The chairs were rearranged with one goodie bag placed on each individual seat.  After satiating our hungers, there was a critique session within our smaller groups. One could volunteer his or her shots for critique.

The event concluded before 1700 but Eunice wishes to have photo memoirs, so we stayed behind and waited for the right opportunity to “strike”?

Dasmond, Eunice & I
Rozz, Eunice & I

The above wefies were taken by spontaneous duo Dasmond & Rozz. Notice the ‘awkward’ gap between Dasmond and Eunice? I asked her about it and guess what, she replied saying this was the acceptable social distance. I burst out laughing.

Rozz accepted our request but told us it was going to be a quick one as there was a car waiting for her. Was the driver Justin Vanderstraaten (her beau)?

Both of us happily forget to submit the survey form XD

Content of the goodie bag

For more information about Stories of Our City (the competition), please visit

It’s my first time attending a workshop by Canon and I personally felt that they could have organized it at a more conducive place. Waterview Room was penetrated by glaring sun rays on the day itself, making it difficult to have a clear look at the photos shown on the television screens.

I am at a loss. Why ask me to bring along my USB cables?

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