My daughter took these photos. I’m IMPRESSED

I took #1 along for the Fast Track workshop conducted by Canon Imaging Academy and she picked up way more than I did. In fact, I was stunned by the standard of her photographs. Looks really professional to me!

This post is written by her.

Bee

To get this image, I used a fast shutter speed. With a fast shutter speed, the camera is able to capture an image at a specific fraction of a second. Even though the bee is flying at a fast speed, the image is clear.

Art Science Museum

This looks suitable for SG50! The Marina Bay area is aesthetically very pretty and is an excellent place for photo shoots.

Panning shot

I have never tried taking panning shots but with the information I gleaned at the theory segment, I managed to pick it up. To achieve a clear image of the focus object, you pan the camera at the same speed as the moving object and the other still components will be blurred and your photo will turn out something like this :)))

Lines

My mum was asking the instructor how to make sense of the scenery when there are too many lines to coordinate. He suggested we focus on something special, like in this case, the LV logo, and choose 1 set of lines to anchor the photo. I used high aperture so the buildings behind are also clear.

Mirror image

I really like this convex mirror in the middle of a pond. With the aid of the mirror, you can see what is behind, which includes the buildings and the sky, yet also see the actual pond which is nicely captured in the mirror.

Bridge

The architecture of the Helix bridge is stunning.

Sashimi

I only managed to take the first dish before my camera ran out of battery! Pity I’m allergic to prawn, but my mummy was happily savouring it.

The next Fast Track workshop is happening at the end of June. See details below.

At the end of the session, I asked Nugene, the instructor, for some constructive criticism of #1’s photos. He said, “You can open a studio for her. She has an eye for photography.”

Wow. I told her she should pursue her interest but she dismissed it by saying that the instructor was probably trying to be nice. She thinks I’m easily impressed because I’m new to photography. Anyone keen to hire her? 🙂

Here’s 6 simple yet effective tips to take better photos which I picked up from the Canon instructors.

Fast Track Workshop

Date: 27 June 2015
Time: 10am – 1pm
Fee: $88 (inclusive of 4-course lunch)

Disclaimer: We were sponsored the Fast Track program. All opinions are my own.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore


6 simple tips for better photos

I have never taken any photos in my life. That is, before I started blogging. Given my pathetic state of almost non-existent photography skill, one of the things on my agenda was to attend a basic photography course. However, I could never find time to get round to doing it (like the many other hope to do things on my KIV list).

Finally, the opportunity came knocking on my door when Canon Imaging Academy invited me to their bespoke Fast Track workshop held at MBS. I took #1 along as she has an interest in photography. For me? I was there for the 4-course lunch at HY California, and to do something fun with my 16-year old. (not easy these days to find cool things which teens are keen to attend!)

While the rest of them got acquainted with rudimentary knowledge of the technicalities of their cameras such as ISO, apertures, shutter speed, all of which was Greek to me, I was delighted that I still managed to pick up several simple yet effective general tips which I can put into practice even while using my phone to take pictures. Here’s some of what I learnt.

1. Tell a story

I never really thought about why I took photos. Well, it was definitely to keep as memories. And now as a blogger, I have to include some photos in my posts because who wants to read a whole text without any pictures to break up the monotony, right? However, to discover that a photo is used to tell a story changed my perspective instantly on what shot I wanted to capture, and what I was trying to convey. Because as they say, a picture paints a thousand words.

#1 in action

2. Patience

Being a novice photographer, I will take many shots so that hopefully 1 or 2 will turn out nice. The instructor Alvin shared with us that it takes patience to wait for the right moment, the right expression, the right lighting even, and to be ready with your camera to snap that 1 excellent shot.

3. Remove distractions

As much as possible, try to subtract distractions in the photo. While on the Helix bridge, I simply took photos with other people walking by. Nugene, the instructor, suggested I wait till there was a break and to take the photo with no other subjects in it. It makes the photo more focused, and the viewer would not have to guess what I am trying to say.

Helix bridge adjoining MBS
4. Food photography

I learnt lots of useful tips on taking food shots. I asked Nugene what to do when the food presented doesn’t look so appealing? For example, in the beef dish below, it was 2 square pieces served side to side. He suggested we turned it around and focus on the first one and use the other one as background. Looks so much better!

Panfried beef on mash

Another question I had was what if the whole dish looks rather dull (as was the chicken dish). He suggested zooming in and focusing on a specific ingredient or colour.

Grilled chicken

5. Jump shots

People these days seem to like taking jump shots. I still haven’t figured out why. Nugene taught us how to capture them jumping all at the same time without having to jump so many times that they get tired and it shows in their expressions. He said that we should give the cue to jump, but only click when we see them lifting off, not when we say ‘jump’. Haha. Worked!

Photo credit: Canon Imaging Academy

6. Find your own style

Photography is subjective. There is no right or wrong way to go about it. Some like the rule of 3s, some like the Bokeh (blur background) effect, some like it over-exposed while others like it under-exposed. He encouraged us to experiment with our cameras and to keep on practicing.


Nugene left us with the sage advice that we should not be so intent on capturing it all on camera without pausing to enjoy the moment. That is so, so, true. Especially on holidays, we are busy snapping the beautiful scenery, and when we get back, we can’t quite recall the surreal experience of being there.

#1 and I enjoyed ourselves immensely at this very unique photography course. We gained new techniques and tricks, had ample opportunity for hands-on practice with the very approachable instructors and learnt tips on food photography while sharing a delectable meal. What a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

These tips are just scratching the surface of what we learnt that day. Stay tuned for the follow-up post where I will showcase #1’s photographs taken at this class. I was blown away. I think I’ve found #1’s hidden talent.

Here are some upcoming sessions Canon will be holding in June. The Zoo outing sounds really good and is not too expensive, whereby you will get hands-on tips in taking photos of your child. (note: not limited to Canon users)

Family Photo Walk at Singapore Zoo

Date: 18 June 2015, Thursday
Time: 2 – 5pm
Fee: $38/pax, inclusive of 1 adult + 1 child below 15 years old (excludes Zoo entrance fee)

Compact Camera Outing

Date: 11 or 12 June 2015
Time: 2 – 4pm
Venue: Around Vivacity
Fee: $28/pax

Fast Track Workshop

Date: 27 June 2015
Time: 10am – 1pm
Fee: $88 (inclusive of 4-course lunch)

We made friends with the other bloggers and here’s a look at their posts of the event:

Claudia of The Loving Mum

Soon Koon of Lemon Film

Phoebe of BPDG Travels

Estella of So Oddly Dreamlike

Serene of xavvy-licious


Disclaimer: We were sponsored the Fast Track program. All opinions are my own.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

{Interview #2} Jeremiah Choy – Creative Director

Jeremiah Choy, 52, is the Creative Director of Sing50, a concert to be held at the National Stadium to commemorate Singapore’s 50th Jubilee celebrations. In 2015, he was also creative director for May Day Rally, Singapore Day (Shanghai) and Spotlight Singapore, a platform in cultural diplomacy in Mexico City. He will be directing ChildAid 2015 in December this year. He was an Adjunct Lecture with the Singapore Management University and was the President of the Association of Singapore Actors. He founded the Orangedot Group of Companies comprising Productions, Entertainment, Management and Talents.


This initiative is part of our 101 Paths to Success series of interviews to gain insight into how successful people came to do what they are doing, and enlighten parents that there is a vast array of occupations for our children to discover. Hopefully it might spark an interest in our children and youths to start their journey of discerning their life’s path.

Your qualifications

LLB (Hons) NUS, Singapore

Describe your job

I am now a creative director, producer and curator. 

In my younger days, I used to be an actor, dancer, choreographer and writer. Oh, I used to be a lawyer too. 

My present job is to think of ways to help my clients “sell” a message, create an experience, or simply curate a series of happenings.

The greatest pleasure in my job is that there is no real definition of what I do. I can be directing a show in theatre one moment, auditioning for a concert the next, or writing for an exhibition. I can be going around to shop for costumes, meeting like-minded people to brainstorm ideas, be alone to dream of concepts or travel the world to do yet another production. The freedom of creativity is what keeps me going.

Tell us about your career path

When I was in primary school, I had wanted to be a doctor. That was because everyone told me that it would be a good choice. Besides, I have terrible handwriting – the sort of squiggles you see when you consult your doctor (no offence to the doctors out there).

Then came secondary school, where I had dreamed to be a violinist. But that was quickly crushed when my squealing violin playing was declaimed by the people around me.

In Junior College, I had wanted to be a doctor again. But dissecting a guinea pig with four foetuses within her made me realise for the second time, that this is one profession I was not meant to be.

So after my A level results, I decided to be a psychologist or psychiatrist. But there was no such course in NUS, so I was prepared to take up Sociology. However on my way to submit my application, a good friend persuaded me to go to Law School. He said that there were a lot of creative people in Law School. Needless to say, I was persuaded. My inner performance cells needed no convincing. 

So after National Service, I went to Law School and stayed in Kent Ridge Hall. I started dancing, singing and participated in Hall activities that allowed my creative juices to run amok. But I studied hard enough to graduate as a Law student, and eventually became a lawyer. 

Came 1988, the first production that changed my life. That was Beauty World, the musical. My first professional theatre that made me sing, dance and act (even as a chorus). I was smitten by the theatre. 

In the 10 years that followed, I co-existed as a lawyer by day and performer by night. It was exhausting but at the same time exhilarating. I was involved in many ground breaking productions by TheatreWorks and Asia-in-Theatre Research Circus.

Then came 1997, the second production that changed my life again. That was Lear, a six country, multi-disciplinary performance that toured Asia and Europe. I gave up my legal career to be in it. At first I thought, I would try going full time as a performer for 2 years. That 2 years have become 18 years.

Over the years, I have gravitated towards Events and Theatre. 

I am fortunate to be one of those people who can truly claim that I love what I do and do what I love. The best thing is getting paid for that. 

How did you find your passion?

I think the passion is inbuilt in me since young. I have always been interested in performing arts since young. Participating in drama, choirs, etc in my schools. 

Which aspect of your job gives you the most satisfaction?

Meeting and working with like-minded people. Getting inspired by the immense talent around me. Having the opportunity to dream, and to make my dreams come true. That is satisfaction. Guaranteed. 

You must be incredibly busy. How do you avoid being burned out?

I always remember to stop and have my me-time every now and then. Me-time can simply mean having a little quiet moment in the middle of all the hustle and bustle around me, just switching off the phone, computer, and all things electronic and indulge in a little garden-gazing with a cup of coffee in my hands. Or just taking a moment to literally re-connect with the inner-me. 

What does success mean to you?

Success is not about being famous and making money. Success is about being happy and enjoying what you do for a living. 

Are you involved in any charity work?

I have my once a year ChildAid Concert, which raises money for the School Pocket Money Fund and the Business Times Budding Artist Fund. I really enjoy doing this concert where I meet many gifted and talented children. They are being provided a platform where they can contribute back to society through their talents.

But more importantly, it gives me the opportunity to share with them some very important qualities of being a professional artiste. That is, the constant reminder to be “HIP” –  to have Humility and Integrity and to be Professional.

No matter how great a talent the young children have, they must be able to share the stage, onstage and behind the scenes, with the cast and crew. Everyone contributes to the success of a concert. 

What does it take for young people to succeed in the Arts?

First, you must truly love the arts and believe in the power of the arts. You must have something to say. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you think that being in the arts is about being rich and famous, then you are in for a huge surprise. People in the arts work very hard. Beauty and fame can only take you so far. It is the passion and conviction that will carry you further. 

One advice to parents

You may think your child is talented. But sometimes, it is your projection on your child. Give your child the space to explore his or her own talent. Sometimes, pushing your child too hard will create the burnout sooner. I have seen many talented 4 to 6 year olds burn out by the time they turn 15 or 16. 

If your child is truly talented, he or she will find the right way of expressing it. As parents, you can help to provide the platform. But by pushing your child beyond what is necessary, then the talent is like a flower that is over watered, which will wilt in due course, choked by the over-attention given. 

One advice to teens

It is alright to explore. You are young. You have dreams. You have a lot of time to decide what you want to do. But do not waste the talent given to you. Do not squander it away. Talent alone does not guarantee you the satisfaction of success. It is a lot of hard work.

To be a good creative director, it takes someone… who believes in himself/herself. Never doubt your own dream or vision. It takes a look of hard work to be ahead of the curve. But the satisfaction comes when you are riding the waves.


{Interviews} 101 Paths to Success

#1 – Dr Karen Crasta Scientist Associate Prof at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~


Valentine’s Day Secret Message

Valentine’s Day is just round the corner. Here’s a little idea for you.. (This is another of #2’s creations)


It reads: You have a message.

Takes a lot of finger dexterity to make!

It opens to say…
I LOVE YOU!
Isn’t it awfully sweet? She used one of those cute lil’ mini pegs to make this. She cut out a rectangular piece of paper to fit the peg and drew in the envelope and then wrote the words. She folded the paper into half, and then very carefully glued it on to the peg.

Mini pegs ($12.90) from kikki.K at Ion

Variation: For younger kids, you can use regular sized clothes pegs as it will be easier to write and to glue the piece of paper on.

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~   mummy wee – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore  ~

Party time!

Every Christmas, we attend 2 organised Christmas parties and the kids still look forward to them very much even though they are older now. It has become one of our annual family traditions. We have been going for this Christmas party for the past 10 years and the organiser calls me her most ardent supporter. I also invite a couple of other kids along as we adults like the cosy atmosphere of this party.

My dear lil’ guest in her VIP seat

The kids look forward to the simple games like musical chairs, pop the balloon, and some parent-child games.

Musical chairs

They also take this opportunity to make gifts for their grandparents and aunts. They made some pretty keychains and bracelets this round.

Activity booths

And of course, the guest everyone was waiting for… Santa Claus! 

“Nice to meet you, Santa”

The nice thing about this party is that Santa personally hands a gift to every child. And he makes the effort to chat with them and asks if they have been behaving well. In fact, I was so impressed by one Santa a couple of years back. #5 wrote a card to him, and he took the trouble to get our address from the organiser and even wrote a letter back to him! What a kind and sincere man. It was definitely more than just a job to him.

A personal letter from Santa

This is the second time Kate has seen Santa and she still doesn’t dare to go near him.

“Let’s go back to mummy”

We moved on to another party with the cousins. The girls were busy playing scissors-paper-stones.

My niece smiling sweetly for the camera
The boys were busy looking for their Christmas presents. 
“Hmm.. which one is for me?”

And the adults? Busy makan-ing as usual.

My other niece posing for the camera

Time for the gift exchange. And the best toy? The giant box which held the ‘white elephant’ stool (in the background). The kids kept taking turns going into the box and playing ‘Jack-in-the-box’.

“Merry Christmas, Uncle WH!”

Sane tip: I just love Christmas. It’s a time where friends and family gather and enjoy one another’s company. We are indeed blessed to be surrounded by a big family.

Save tip: The best toys in life are free!


~  mummy wee – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore  ~

Each to their own

Yesterday was a day where the kids had their own plans. #4 invited her best friend over for a playdate. They have been friends since their Nursery days and have kept in contact till now! They only get to see each other during the school holidays and they cherish those occasions. I heard laughter coming from the room almost the entire day. They sure did miss each other very much.

Doing craft together

#3 spent the whole day at Adventure Cove with her friends. It is a school holiday tradition whereby one of the mums will take a whole bunch of kids to Sentosa to play. She even bought each of them an annual pass to Adventure Cove so they could all play together. 

Wave pool

#2 spent the day over at her aunt’s place chopping up ingredients for their fruit cake bake. She’s the most homely one among them.

Her aunt makes incredible fruit cakes

#1 has accompanied her grandma and her elderly friends on a trip to Vietnam. They are going to bring some Christmas cheer to some children in the orphanages there, and I’m sure the elderly folks will be filled with as much joy as the children! And Kate? She hung around and played with whoever was interested in playing with her.

Aiyo, what a good joke

#5 stayed home and played with his Lego and watched TV, which was good because their cousins came over and at least there was someone to play with.

During this season leading up to Christmas, I remind the kids to be more giving, not only of material things, but of their time, their smiles and their love. I also remind them to be thankful for everything they have. We are indeed thankful for the wonderful friendships we have forged, wonderful family whom we are surrounded with, and superb food which we have enough to share with those around us.

Join us in counting your blessings this Advent season!


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~   mummywee – parenting 6 kids in Singapore without going mad or broke  ~

Girls night out

During the school holidays, everyday is a busy day for me. Today I took #5 for a classmate’s birthday party. It was so nice to get to know the mums of the boys he plays with in school. This is the first time I am at a gathering where there are no girls. The birthday boy comes from a family of 4 boys! Must be a handful, but I must say they are very well behaved.

Happy Birthday, Nicholas!

In the evening, it was the 4 girls’ turn and we went to watch the Wild Rice production of Jack & the Bean-Sprout! We were slightly disappointed though. We had thoroughly enjoyed the previous years’ productions and we laughed till we were in stitches. But we felt that this show was not tight enough. 

Ethel Yap surprised me with her vocals… and er her alien outfit. Well done!

Nevertheless, it was a nice change to be out with the girls, instead of putting Kate to bed. All thanks to my sister-in-law for getting us the tickets!

Sane tip: It’s good to get out at night once in a while and do adult things. There was a time when I did not leave the house past 8pm for a few years! And when I finally did, I was marvelling at the night sky. Funny how deprivation makes you marvel at things you used to take for granted.

Save tip: Get a really nice SIL! *wink*

~   mummywee – parenting 6 kids in Singapore without going mad or broke  ~

Trick or Treat?

The kids look forward to Halloween every year. They get to dress up, play with their friends and collect a whole bucket full of sweets to last them a looong time. Every year, they go around the condo with their neighbours knocking on doors shouting “Trick or treat!” At the end of the night, we usually gather around the dining table to swap sweets and stories. They would share with each other which were the best houses to go to with the nicest sweets, and would comment on the elaborate decorations on the doors of some houses or the scariest outfits some people donned. I still remember the funny stories they shared. There was one lady who gave them sugar instead of sweets. Oh, and this story cracked all of us up. #1 came back with an apple in her bucket. An old lady opened her door and they tried to ask her if she had any sweets in Mandarin which was “tang guo” but the poor old lady heard it as “ping guo” and thought they were in need of an apple. As it turned out, the refreshing apple was the most cherished item in the bucket at the end of the long, humid night.

This year, #2#3 and #4 invited their classmates to join them. I instructed #4’s friends to hop on her school bus and pay the auntie their single fare for a ride back. But they called me during recess telling me that they didn’t dare to do so as the auntie is very ‘fierce’ and they pleaded with me to pick them up. I relented but told them they had to wait for 20 minutes as I had to pick #5 up from his school first. They spent their time at the library while waiting for me.

My kids know they need to have a nap if they wanted to stay up late as they have to wake up at 5+/6+ for school tomorrow. I asked their friends to have a nap together with them but they said they were used to sleeping late. I got #2 to make sure that #4 and #5 had their naps while I went off to pick #3 and her friend. While the kids had their 1 hour nap, their friends played with Kate. I must say they did a really good job looking after her. Well done, girls 🙂

Kate loves Nat jie jie

Our stash of hats and buckets… A few weeks ago, my neighbour saw that I had so many kids and I guess they concluded that I was the best person to donate all their unused Halloween hats to. So we had plenty to go around. #2 invited 5 of her friends over and they had fun dressing up and putting on dark eye make-up for each other.

My sister-in-law and my hub decided to have a simple BBQ for the kids. There were so many of them it felt like a party. They rustled up an assortment of chicken wings, rack of lamb, pork chop, corn on the cob and sweet potato for the troop. My SIL also made the kids’ favourite truffle oil spaghetti.

They all ate their fill before heading off. They had decided to go back to our old condo as we hardly saw any Halloween decorations on any of the houses in our estate. Besides, it was a good opportunity for them to play with their old friends.

The 2 littlest Halloween tots…

Ew.. What happened to Kate?

All set to go trick or treating!

The new neighbour in our estate



Sane tip: I love when the kids mingle around and the older ones help the younger ones. It’s a great ecosystem & best part is, I’m left out of it! I dropped them off at the condo and they took care of one another. #3’s friend tore her shoes in the process and #2’s friend was resourceful enough to use some string she found amongst the sweets to tie it together. And it worked.

Save tip: Costs nothing but everyone had a bucketload of fun! Hmm, I need more occasions for the kids to bond like this. Christmas? New year? Perhaps we can start our own traditions. Put little trinkets or handmade gifts in a huge basket at our door and all the neighbourhood kids can walk around, exchange little gifts and get to know one another.

~   mummywee – parenting 6 kids in Singapore without going mad or broke  ~