Night Photography Guide For Singapore
I am a night bird of a different kind, I love to photograph places I visit in the night. If you are a photographer of the night, then you will know that Singapore is one of the most spectacular cities to photograph in the night. There are many reasons why I consider Singapore to be one of the best cities to photograph in the night, and safe to move around is only one of them. In this blog post, I share some of my favorite places in Singapore to photograph in the night along with some Night Photography Tips.
Why is Singapore great to photograph in the night?
Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world both for visitors as well as local people. This makes Singapore one of the best cities to explore in the evening and after dark. A great public transport system that includes the world-class Singapore MRT( Mass Rapid Transport or Metro trains ) that connects all major attractions of Singapore and you are never more than a few minutes’ walking from an MRT station.
I think Singapore is one of the rare cities where the major attractions like the Gardens By The Bay, Marina Bay Sands, Merlion etc. all hold spectacular light and sound shows in the evening that are a visual delight to photograph in the night. Not only the tourist attractions but the signature skyline of Singapore renders beautifully to a photograph in the evening and if right settings you can get beautiful pictures of the Singapore Skyline also.
What are the best places to photograph in Singapore at Night?
While Singapore is a treasure trove for a night photographer who loves cityscapes let me give you some of my favorite locations in Singapore where I like to go on every visit to click more photographs as each evening presents something to photograph.
The symbol of Singapore proudly stands in downtown Singapore in Merlion Park. Merlion Park is a major tourist attraction and besides the Merlion, you can also click some of the other landmarks from Merlion Park like the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore Skyline etc. Once you are at the Merlion Park try to find a good location to set up your tripod (Another reason I love Singapore is that they allow tripods in Merlion Park so you can click great long exposure shots) But please make sure you are not obstructing the path of other visitors and occupy a place away from peoples movement. This will not only ensure you don’t harm anybody but also make sure that nobody knocks your tripod and camera down accidentally. What not to miss at Merlion from photography point of view: Make sure you catch the different hues of Merlion when the Laser show is on as you will capture the Merlion in totally different colors and hues when the lights are falling on it giving the Merlion an aura of not just mythical creature from deep oceans but also a mystical one from a Galaxy far- far away. If you are traveling with kids who love sci-fi they will totally love this eclectic avatar of the Merlion during the light & sound show.
How to reach Merlion Park: The nearest MRT station to Merlion Park is Raffles Place on the Green( EW 14) and Red Line (NS 26)
Singapore Flyer is one of the largest slow-moving Ferris wheels in the world. Singapore shimmers like a decked up bride in the evening and the view from the top of the Singapore Flyer takes your breath away. The only challenge is that the flyer is constantly moving, though at a slow pace, it is a beautiful experience perched high in the air in the glass capsule and watch the city change colors and cars moving below you. While Singapore flyer is great to click on the ground you should also take some pictures when you are inside the Singapore Flyer. But remember when you are in the Flyer even though you may not feel it the Singapore Flyer is constantly moving so you need to make sure you need a fast shutter speed and a high ISO to get your shot, otherwise your pictures will come dark and blurry. The nearest MRT stations to Singapore flyer are Promenade and Bayfront both on the Circular line ( Orange line ) and Downtown line ( Blue Line ).
SuperTree Show at Super Tree Grove
The Super Tree Grove in the Gardens by the Bay is lit like a colorful galaxy and the lights change colors with every passing second. You look at the changing colors all around you hearing the music that adds to the drama of the changing lights high above you. The view is better than any fireworks, minus the pollution and noise. A detailed blog post on the Laser Show at Gardens By the bay can be read in this earlier post about photographing Super Tree Show at Gardens By The Bay. The nearest MRT station to the Super Tree Grove is Bayfront on the junction of Circular and Downtown line.
Now I know I have mentioned above the Super Tree Show above so you may wonder why I am mentioning to click Super Tree Grove again in the same blog post. Well, the reason is simple when you are in the Super Tree Grove for the Super Tree Light and sounds show you are in close vicinity of the Super Trees and you cannot get more than a tree or two in your frame even with the widest of your lenses. So to get the Super Tree Grove in a single frame you need to walk further and click from a distance. Again the photography friendly Singapore Tourism Board has made sure that you get your wish. There are many a vantage points to click the Supertree Grove from a distance and one of the best places to do is the bridge that connects the Super Tree Grove to the Marina Bay, this bridge over the Dragonfly lake is aptly called Dragonfly bridge and not only offers a great view of the Supertree Grove but also of the Singapore Flyer. Check the below two images one clicked around Sunset from mobile and the second one clicked by my Nikon DSLR later in the evening after dark.
Singapore Chinatown is easily accessible by the purple North East Line, and the blue Downtown line of the super-efficient Singapore metro train system. Singapore Chinatown is a must visit for some mouth-watering Chinese Street food as wells as some of the best Souvenir Shopping in Singapore. When I visited the Chinatown, it was all decorated to welcome the Chinese New Year, and the hawkers and shopkeepers were inviting you to check all the stuff in the shops. The China town is a vibrant market that reaches its peak energy level after sunset, with tourists and locals jostling for space. Also, it is one of those rare places in Singapore where you can enjoy a little bit of haggling and bargaining. What to photograph in the Singapore Chinatown in the evening: You will find colorfully decorated shops selling all kind of stuff ranging from Chinese Medicine to Feng Shui curios in the Singapore Chinatown. Singapore Chinatown is also a great place to indulge in some street photography and click images of Street Food shops on the Food Street in Chinatown in the evenings.
The nearest MRT station is Chinatown on the Purple ( NE4) and Blue line ( DT19 ) Here is a special tip for you: If you are in Singapore Chinatown in night look for the guys on bikes with colorful lights, photographing them made my
Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Marina Bay Sands Hotel is one of the most Iconic buildings in the world now and easily one of the most photogenic also. The hotel looks even better in the evening when it stands tall on the Bayfront area. But as it is a very tall building (I counted 50 floors then my head started spinning. I should have just checked their website or Googled the same:P ) you need to be at quite a distance from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel to click it. I think that the Merlion Park offers a great view of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and you can click it with the waterfront in your frame. If you have a tripod and a good location I would suggest you wait for some boats to pass in the water and take a long exposure shot that will give you the light trails of the boat also in the frame. The nearest MRT to Marina Bay Sands is Downtown on the Downtown Line and Marina Bay on the Orange and Red Line. But remember better view is from night photography point of view is from the Merlion Park. Oh and if you are still wondering the Marina Bay Sands has 55 floors and I highly suggest going to their top deck for a panoramic view of Singapore around. I think it would not be out of place to share a small trivia here about Marina Bay Sands that it is designed by Moshe Safdie, the same Is architect who besides many prestigious projects around the world has also designed Virasat-E-Khalsa, the museum of Sikh History in the historical town of Anandpur Sahib in Punjab India.
One of the busiest ports in the world, Singapore harbor works round the clock 365 days a year. Singapore harbor is a commercial hub and not a tourist attraction in a true sense. But for a photographer, it offers some unique sights especially in the night when you can see the lights of the port from far away as well as when you are taking off or landing at the Changi Airport in Singapore. Depending on where you are staying or where you are willing to go you can click the Singapore Harbor from a safe distance from many places. In my case, I have clicked the same from the Sofitel Sentosa Resort where I stayed during my last visit to Singapore.
While this one is obvious there are some favorites for most of the photographers for photographing Singapore skyline in the night. When you are at the Singapore Merlion Park just look around you and you will have a glorious view of the magnificent Singapore Skyline, with each building unique in shape and try to reach out the Sky. Once you have soaked in the spectacular view take out your camera and take as many photographs as you want to try different compositions and settings.
Some quick tips on Night Photography
A detailed tutorial on Night photography tips is out of the scope of this post but here are some quick tips for 2 scenarios A) When you are clicking pictures in night without a tripod B) When you are clicking pictures in night with help of a tripod.
When you are clicking images handheld in Night then what should be your Camera settings:
When you hold the camera in your hand and want to do night photography you need to worry about camera shake and noise. Most modern cameras are pretty good with ISO so I would suggest you don’t worry about the same. If you are clicking the pictures in the night without a tripod or putting your camera on a stable surface then you should keep your aperture as wide as possible. In most kit lenses it would mean F3.5. This will allow you faster shutter speed. Now since you are going for a higher shutter speed you will get very dark pictures, so to avoid that you should bump up the ISO to maybe 3200 or even 6400 depending on your camera. Make sure you have IS / VR ( IS= Image Stabilization, VR = Vibration Reduction different names same thing ) on if your lens supports it ( check your lens it will have a button mentioning it ) You will need to take a few test shots and keep on changing your settings depending on the light conditions. A higher ISO may give you noise depending on your camera model but it would give you the desired shot.
Camera Setting for Photography in the night when you are using a tripod:
When you are using a tripod I am assuming most of your shots will be long exposure and you are trying to capture as much light as possible. So, in this case, you need to put your camera on a tripod or sturdy surface. As you are going for long exposure go for a lower ISO to get you least noise in the frame. A lower ISO will also allow you to go for longer shutter speeds without burning the bright parts of your scene. When using tripod IR / VS should be off.
I hope these tips and pictures will be of some help to you and next time you are in Singapore you will go out and click the magic of Singapore after sundown. Any question please ask me in comments and I will try my best to answer. Happy Travels 🙂
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