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Shooting Traditional Opera Troupe

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BACKGROUND

Singapore is a small island-city with 6 million dwellers from diverse backgrounds and cultures. As such, it is a convenient place for photographers, like myself, to absorb the vibrancy of her unique and rich heritage. In a special month annually, local photographers will "slow down" in the lunar 7th month. In that particular month, the people of Taoist and Buddhist faiths celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival. They believe that hell's gate to be opened for spirits and ancestors to visit the human realm. Typically, for Photographers, we have either heard so much from our grannies or witnessed strange encounters ourselves, that we will avoid the taboos (even when we of other faith).

 

LAO SAI TAO YUAN TEOCHEW (OPERA) TROUPE 老赛桃源潮剧团

In the community/temple events at Hungry Ghost Festival, the organizers usually invite Traditional Opera Troupes to excite their events. Such art forms were the main entertainments back in the days before television, but have since seen its decline in interests. In the last decade, such celebrations had been replaced by songs and dance performances, known as "Getai". On our Monday expedition, a photography friend - Mr. Francis Lee, arranged a photo walk to one of the few remaining troupes - Lao Sai Tao Yuan. Amazingly, I had my first back-stage experience and I was at it with exuberance, not felt in a while. Below, I share are some of the photos shot on that Monday night:

 

PERFORMING ART

While taking photos of the performers on the backstage, I was immediately impressed by their professionalism. In the midst of preparing for their performance, they willing to help each other on the dressing. They endure the tropical weather in their thick costume and were still able to sing convincingly to the audience. The performers did share on their diminishing art form and it is not difficult to see that the youngest performer is already in her 60s. Regardless, they had a spectacular performance. They performed with glitters in their eyes...

 

THE GEARS

I was very ambitious for the shoot, that night, at the opera.  So the gear lined-up is extensive:

  • Sony A7RIII on
    • Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L on Sigma MC-11
    • Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L on Sigma MC-11
    • Sigma Fisheye 16mm f2.8 on MD-E adaptor
  • Canon EOS RP on
    • Canon EF 50mm f1.4 on EF-R adapter
    • Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L on EF-R adapter
  • Vanguard Xcenior 30 (Bag)

 

RECOMMENDATION

Today's recommendation, I wish to share on the Vanguard Bag. It's no longer available online at the popular store, but should not be an issue for you to hunt a bargain in your city. At 30L, it contained my gear listed above, with some extras - like Nissin Flash, a load of batteries, 40mm crystal ball, etc. I have just switched out from a back-pack, as this sling bag will allow me to change between the lenses, without the need place bag on the floor. The harness is soft but tough and is comfortable to manage the load. The only consequence to the bag is that, though it has a laptop compartment, it did not fit my Macbook Pro 13" (for 11" and tablet).

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gerald Ng (falconite), that's me, is passionate in photography, comic and web design. I freelance Photography & Web Design Services from my website at https://falconite.com and for hiring if you like my pictures and want to learn how I shoot them. I also manage and is Web Administrator for www.ShootLah.com and its Facebook Group. ShootLah proliferates photographers to jointly go for shoots and share the photography tips and passion.

Please leave me a message if you have any questions to photography or gears shared here on this article. I will be happy to reply to them, within my experience. If you wish to join me in shoots, you can and should visit ShootLah on our facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ShootLah.

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