Hey everyone, long time no see! by Ricardo Seah

Photo-Adventures, Travel, Photoshoots… Here’s an update of what I've been up to since my last post.

Photograph: Astrophotography shot at Yosemite National Park. (Nikon D810, 14mm, f/2.8, 30sec, ISO2500)

Photograph: Astrophotography shot at Yosemite National Park. (Nikon D810, 14mm, f/2.8, 30sec, ISO2500)

Sorry for disappearing for so long, I know it's been some time since I last wrote a blogpost. Here are some highlights of photography adventures and events that I’ve been up to since we last spoke.

2018 in a Nutshell

West Coast Road-trip: Oregon > Yosemite > San Francisco

Thats right! Just over a year ago a couple friends and I went on an epic road-trip that involved the camping in the great outdoors, exploration and lots of awesome photography.

We spent most of the trip in tents especially in Oregon and Yosemite, allowing us to be close with nature. I have to say though, it was much colder than expected and I clearly remember freezing and hearing wildlife around the tent while I was trying to fall asleep. This was my second time visiting Yosemite National park and definitely not my last. Theres something about the park that makes one feel so connected to nature and the scenes and viewpoints were just spectacular. a

On the way back to Vancouver from Yosemite we spend a couple days in San Francisco which was a great opportunity to get more photography done and see the sights. I highly recommend checking out “Twin Peaks” at night to get views of the city if you’re ever in San Francisco.

From San Fran we drove back up the Oregon Coast which was such a scenic drive. Anyways, the time spent with friends, experiences we had and the breathtaking views made this a great way to start the year and definitely an unforgettable adventure.

And if you’re wondering how I got the cover shot for this blogpost or just want to know how to take pictures of the stars, check out my blogpost guide to Astrophotography!


Short Trip Back to Asia: Japan > Singapore > Bali 

Had a short but great time travelling back to Asia for a friend’s wedding and had the opportunity to do a long layover in Tokyo along the way where I got to meet a good friend, Emily for dinner and drinks as well as photograph the famous Shibuya Crossing.

From Japan, I flew back to Singapore and I got to surprise my family who didn’t know I was coming. I also got to play tourist at home for a couple days which is always nice, and I photographed some attractions in-between the meetups with friends. Oh and if anyone out there is planning to visit Singapore and wants a little guide to Singapore with places to photograph and what to see and do, please contact me and I’ll send you my guide.

From Singapore, I flew to Bali for a couple days for a friend’s wedding and though I wasn’t behind the camera for the most part, I was infant of the camera as the wedding emcee. Hence I didn’t really do much photography while in Bali, but I highly recommend visiting this great place.


Euro-trip with the Fam: London > Paris > Florence > Rome > Venice

It’s not very often that the whole family get the chance to go on a holiday together and this was definitely a trip to remember. We had a great time travelling together, and though it wasn’t a photography focused trip for me, I got to sneak out a couple of time on my own to explore and photograph the cities.

It was a fantastic family trip and the views, food and experiences we shared were amazing. The only tips I have for those of you who want to travel to and within Europe is a) If you are taking the train systems please get there early and know exactly which platform you’re supposed to be at because we missed our train once while in Italy. b) DON’T TO GO IN THE SUMMER! It is extremely hot and I wasn’t expecting that. In fact I almost had a heat injury. So if you want to go please don’t go in the summer, and if you do go in the summer be sure to hydrate and stay in the shade.


Did some cool commercial and event photography for clients

Had the opportunity to work with some awesome clients such as the BC Tech Association, Belgian Fries, ReviveKit, CBRE and UBC to name a few. From commercial and product photography to event photoshoots, it was a great year and here are some shots I have to share :)

And as always if you or anyone you know is looking for a commercial or event photographer to capture the moments that matter don’t hesitate to reach out to me!


Spontaneous Camping Trip to Callaghan Lake

It was one of those spontaneous adventures with a couple of my bros to a location we hadn’t explored yet and that was decided upon only a couple days prior. The location was Callaghan Lake (somewhere near Whistler) and it was a bumpy road in and only accessible by a 4X4, so thank goodness my buddy Jo had a Jeep Wrangler. It was a nice chill get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and allowed for some nature photography to be done.

We spent the rest of our time by camping by the lake and keeping warm by the campfire as night fell. The one thing we weren’t completely prepared for was the cold. It was so so cold at night making it difficult to sleep and when we finally got up the following day we woke up to snow weighing down on the tent and a winter wonderland outside. All in all it was cold yet great experience with the boys and one to remember.


Road-trip to Portland & the Oregon Coast

Rented a car and headed down to Portland with a couple close friends to explore, eat and drink. We had a great time hitting up the different food spots and breweries. And we also enjoyed a breathtaking sunset by Canon Beach along the Oregon Coast.

A little tip if you want to catch an awesome sunset shot at Canon Beach or any view point for that matter is to get there early to explore the location and frame your shot. Anyways this was a great road-trip with friends and one where I definitely gained some weight after all that eating.


Short trip back to Asia: Guang Zhou > Macau > Singapore

Went back to Asia for a couple weeks and it was the perfect way to end an epic year! It was my first time in China and was there for my buddy’s engagement, spent New Years in Macau and Surprised my parents when I went back to Singapore.

All in all it was s great time spent with friends and family and the best way to round up 2018.


2019 Starting off the year right!

Road-trip to Seattle

Started the year right with a short road trip down to Seattle with some friends to explore the city and see the sights and of course get some Din Tai Fung in our tummies.

Although it was just a weekend rod trip it was a fun time and we got ourselves some of Seattle’s favourites: Rachel’s Ginger Beer and Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. Oh and we also visited a Starbucks reserve which was pretty awesome.


More awesome commercial, event and portrait photoshoots!

Been fortunate to start the year off right photographing some client events and a profile shoots. Here are just a few.

I’m looking forward to working with more amazing clients this year so if you or anyone you know is looking for a photographer to capture events or portraits or even conduct a photography workshop, don’t hesitate to contact me :)


Thank you all so very much for your continued support and stay tuned for more to come! Till next time, keeping shooting, keep smiling and take care!

How to: Astrophotography by Ricardo Seah

Astrophotography 101

I often get asked how to take photos of the amazing night sky filled with countless stars. The stars have to be one of my most favourite subjects to photograph and to share my passion for astrophotography I have put together this guide for you. It's a little long but you'll come to realise that astrophotography is simpler than you think, just follow along and you'll be shooting like a pro in no time! Here's everything you need to know about shooting the stars!

What you will need:

  • A camera! (one where you can adjust settings manually like a DSLR) 

  • A tripod (a solid one and not that cheap plastic one the store threw in as a deal)

  • A torchlight or headlamp with a red-light setting (you are going to want red light in the dark as this helps to protect your night adapted vision.. trust me, I studied this in psychology 101)

  • Preferably a wide angle lens with a wide aperture / low f/stop number (the lower the f/stop number the better. So like an aperture of f/2.8 is good, f/1.8 is better and f/1.4 is awesome) 

  • A remote shutter release/shutter release cable (this isn't absolutely necessary but will make your life easier)

Note: All my recommendations for the gear listed above can be found on my gear page.

Optional stuff to bring:

  • A human. Believe it or not these can provide good company especially in places where its really dark and wildlife might be around. (I suggest bringing a friend, preferably one who isn't afraid of the dark.)

  • Food/snacks & enough water/tea/coffee to last you the night out

  • A portable stool/foldable chair unless you want to be like me and just lie on the ground

  • Some form of communication device incase you get lost or find yourself in trouble (you will likely be in a dark location far from civilisation and thus bringing a phone with enough juice is a good idea)

  • A good playlist of songs to keep you going through the night such as my Astrophotography playlist on Spotify

  • Gaffer tape (pretty random but I always have some in my camera bag.. this is to help you hold focus on your lens once you've found the sweet spot in manual focus)

Let's get to it!

Now that you're all gear up and ready to go you will have to... do some research :/ 
Do your research!!! 

1. Figure out which night is best suited for your astrophotography adventure. You'll want:

  • A night with little to no clouds at all (clouds usually catch on to any available light in the environment and that shows up in shots)

  • Little to no visible moon (i.e. shoot when its a new moon or before the moon rises) you can check a calendar that shows moon phases 

2. Figure out which location is best suited for astrophotography

  • A location with little to no light pollution (i.e. get away from the city! You want complete darkness) a good resource to find the right spot is the dark sky finder

3. Plan your route in advance

  • The best spots are often far away and might not be easily accessible and might not have good signal for your google maps to operate 


Now that you've got the right gear, found the right night and the best spot.. lets get to the technical side of things! Here are the settings you'll need to take note of:

Settings before you head out and shoot

  1. Make sure you set your focus to infinity, this is best done during the day and you can do this by autofocusing on something in the distance taping the focus ring with some gaffer tape and then switching to manual focus.

  2. Turn off any "long exposure noise reduction" settings your camera might have (take a look at your camera manual if you're not sure about this) 

  3. Turn your LCD brightness to the lowest possible setting take a look at your camera manual if you're not sure about this) 

  4. Shoot in RAW file format instead of JPEG. This is not necessary but is recommended especially if you want to edit your images. (Even though I don't personally like to edit much or use Photoshop, I still do some minor adjustments in Lightroom, so I recommend shooting in RAW)

Settings when you are out on location/for the shoot

  • Use your widest aperture/lowest f/stop number (this will allow for more light to hit the sensor)

  • Use the 500 rule to calculate your shutter speed (Take 500 divided by your focal length that you are shooting at to get the right shutter speed. This will help to prevent any star trailing in your shot) 

    • Ok example time: If I'm shooting with a 24-70mm lens and I set my focus length to 24mm for the shot, what should my shutter speed be?

    • Answer: 500 ÷ 24 = 20.833333 We take this result and round it down to the closest shutter speed which then gives us a shutter speed of 20 seconds

  • ISO is dependent on camera model, some will require higher ISO settings than others to get a well exposed shot. I suggest starting with ISO 1600 and working your way up till you get a well exposed image.

What to do?

Now that you have the gear, the right time, the right location, the right settings, it's finally time to shoot! (Own time, own target.. Carry on! #singaporeaninsidejoke)

Using the red light setting on your headlamp, locate the perfect spot where you can see a good portion of the sky while being able to include some elements that inform the viewer of the environment/scene (such as a mountain or some trees) this helps to put the shot into perspective and will look much better than a plain shot of the sky alone.

Set up your camera and remote shutter release on your tripod making sure that all legs of the tripod are secure (so your tripod doesn't slip or fall). 

Using the settings mentioned above take a shot. If you don't have a remote shutter release then set your camera on a 2 second timer to take shots so as to avoid vibrations caused by pressing down on the shutter button. If the image turns out too dark then adjust to a higher ISO setting till you get the perfect shot.

If you follow all these steps listed above you should get something similar to this:

Note: As you can see there is some warm light coming in from the left side of the photograph and that is light pollution coming from a town far far away in the distance (this just demonstrates that the further away you are from any city/town/street lights the better). 

I hope you found this guide helpful. Please give this post a like if you found it useful and share it with friends and family. And don't forget to follow me on Instagram for my latest shots!

Look at you... You're now shooting like a pro! Get out there and keep shooting those shooting stars!