The iLight Marina Bay Festival 2014. Who knew it existed?

I certainly didn’t. But having taken up photography recently (amongst the other wallet thinning hobbies I have) it sounded intriguing to me. The promise of light and colorful installations formed images of beautiful pictures in my mind. Wasting no time, I loaded up a tripod and made sure that my only and favorite f/2.8 lens was mounted.

Reaching the Helix bridge, I realized that I wasn’t alone in this conquest of the ultimate night shot of the festival. There were more budding photographers lugging around their tripods than my shutter count. Every installation would come complete with a photographer trying to get that angle that would make the shot that much more dynamic.(One had to be careful where you stood as most of these were on long exposures and the last thing you would want in a picture is that of another photographer).

I will be honest. To me, photography always seemed to be a hobby that all too many people had taken up. Every other friend I knew had a DSLR. And every other other friend I knew was a freelance one. To me, the field seemed over saturated. Cliche in fact. And the knowledge of this pushed me away from taking it up all these years.

So standing there, amongst the forest of tripods,i felt a bit embarrassed (to be carrying one myself..which I quickly retracted and hid away silently).

The light installations on the other hand were beautiful. It’s amazing what a little bit of plastic and LED can do. That to me is art. Taking normal everyday items and finding the beauty in them and showcasing them in a aesthetically pleasing way for all to enjoy.

Certain installations however, were not meant to be photographed, but more so to be experienced. Such as the lines of multicolored lights set on the water along the bay. From certain angles they would look like highly organized waterborne fireflies.But they would be too low to take a interesting picture.

The interactive heart installation was another. Where people would form their own patterns by simply turning on and off a whole grid of red glowing hearts. By itself nothing special. But with a couple jumping around turning them on and off as they made their own unique pattern was interesting to watch and experience.

So, having taken a few snaps (all mainly blurry or shaky) we headed onto the grand finale. The light up of the ART and Science museum. I had seen a few beautiful pictures of it online and was determined to get mine.

I positioned myself along one of the viewing ledges along the helix bridge ( the one with the largest collection of tripods is your best bet) and set up our tripods and waited.

As you can see from the pictures, the wait was worthwhile. They took a perfectly ordinary building and projected a whole cornucopia (my word of the day) of images and shapes on to it’s white surfaces. From time to time, I had to stop snapping and really take in the scene that was being played out in front of me.

After it was all over, I wondered how different my shots would be from the whole army of photographers who had set up at the same location and same angle that I was at. What would be point of all of it? Wasn’t I just “duplicating” the image the guy next to me was taking?

Loading up the photos onto the computer, I realized that this was unfounded. And that ultimately, what makes a photo beautiful is what it means to the person who took it. The experience is key. And that is my take away from the whole outing at the iLight festival.

Open your eyes in the dark and Experience it.

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Paul Goh has 3 cats and takes pictures. To see more and to enquire about the service he provides, visit his Facebook Fan Page relativelyrelaxed

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